Sunday, April 22, 2018

Illustration Friday - PINK

I did this sweet girl (my step-daughter named her Luna) this week as a practice exercise on my ipad in the Procreate App. When I started her the Illustration Friday word of the week was CROWN. I tried putting a crown on her and making her a princess but it just wasn't looking right and my original sketch showed a flower in her hair. I'm glad I stuck to the original and WOW! how serendipitous that this week the IF word was PINK! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A few more Brynhilds and a few Serenitys

I'm getting a little more consistency with Serenity's mom, and I've begun to sketch Serenity again. She is not as stylized as I would like, so my goal next week is to work on that. I would have gotten further this week but once again my basement studio has puddles of rainwater. (When will this end?!?!?!?!) Before the floods came I was able to spend a day with my acrylics. Below is a close-up of one of many Serenity faces.

I just love the energy of the paint! I really think I'm onto something with these acrylics! Who knew?!

The bottom image is a few different tries over the last few years of the idea I have for the cover image, including the acrylic on the right, my current work in progress. I still have to decide what I want her frog to look like and ya know what? He doesn't have a name yet. Like Brynhild, his name will probably not be used in the book but it would be nice to be better acquainted. I'm open to suggestions.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Character practice - Brynhild

As promised, (to myself mostly) I have worked on a character from my current picture book. This is Serenity's mom (I named her Brynhild today). I still have a lot of practicing to do. There are certainly inconsistencies but not too bad for my first efforts, and I feel like I've jumped over a hurdle. I'm excited to push a few of these a bit further and maybe even get out the acrylics.

     Below are the first two sketches I did:

I did the top one and knew I wanted a character that was a little more unique and whimsical. 
I pulled out a copy I had done of an illustration by one of my favorite children's illustrators - 

Chris Van Dusen.  Please click on his name and check him out. He's amazing! Again, this is a copy of his work that I did a few years ago for educational purposes. Once I had a look at these characters, I returned to Serenity's mom and did the more stylized second version.

The next thing I did was get out my clay and doing a little sculpting. Sometimes doing a three dimensional version of something helps me understand how to draw it.

Creepy, yeah? 
I was home by myself as I worked on her and my imagination started to run away with me. 
I was a little freaked out thinking she was going to open her eyes! 
What the heck is wrong with me?!

I pulled her out again the next day to refine her and I changed her expression. 
I was alone again and thought that if she did open her eyes she would at least be smiling at me.

Until next Wednesday! Have a lovely week!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Mrs. Cow - a portrait in ACRYLICS!

7 1/2 " x 8 1/2" acrylic

     I used to dislike acrylics completely. I used them on throw-away pieces, sketching out ideas before turning to my precious oils. (There are no bad painting mediums only bad painting medium owners.) Little by little I've been discovering their benefits. They keep my illustrations a little fresher and more painterly. I've always fought against having my brushstrokes visible to the world but the truth is brushstrokes can give a piece more energy. Bring on the brushstrokes!

     Thankfully, I did the majority of Mrs. Cow on Monday. I added a few last minute touches Tuesday morning with wonderful little puddles of rainwater all around my feet in my basement studio. I did not want to spend my day down there, so from the comfort of my dry living room I pulled out my iPad and practiced some facial expressions. 
     This is what I don't do enough of. This is where fear of failure comes in. These aren't terrible but they aren't great. I've been meaning to do this with my book characters and I'm dragging my feet about it from fear that I can't make it happen. But I can . . . with practice. I simply need to make a commitment to draw more. So, (shall I do this?) next week I will post some sketches of one of my book characters, in different positions, or with different expressions, or both. There, it's out in the world. I will share my results, good or bad, or both. See ya next Wednesday!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

If at first you don't succeed . . .

I've started working on my next picture book and this one I'm doing a little differently. Instead of one painting for each page like I did with the First Pearl, I'm doing several smaller paintings and hope to put them all together digitally at a later time so that I have more flexibility for edits. This is one of those smaller images (done in acrylic).

Now for the fun part. I'm going to show you how this guy started. Please don't laugh. Okay you can laugh, but don't tell me you laughed. Below are three starts in my sketchbook. Notice I actually wrote the word BAD beside each image. I guess I do this in case a hundred or so years from now, when someone is going through my old sketchbooks, I want him/her to know I knew it was a bad sketch. Sometimes I'm ridiculous. I may have mentioned that before.

Next is the winner:

I thought this guy was pretty cute! (Notice I wrote the word - Better. I need an eyeroll emoji right here.) The challenge was now going to be coloring it. It is a black kitten, looking at a glowing pumpkin. Using the sketch above, I got out my iPad and worked out his coloring.

 He's a little creepy, but with both of these images I was ready to get out my acrylics.

Much better, but not as happy as that little sketch in my sketchbook, so I opened his mouth a little, threw on a bit more highlighting and added digital whiskers. The whiskers and a spot of highlight on the eyes are the only things that are digital in the final piece. Nothing worse than trying to add something like whiskers over the top of the painting and messing them up. Acrylics are not forgiving.

I wanted to share how crappy some of my starts can be. There are just times I feel like I can't draw to save my life and then with patience and perseverance it falls into place.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Flower Shop in the Rain

This is a 17"x11" acrylic and oil on illustration board that I did for me! I posted about it a couple of weeks ago. For anyone who didn't see it, below is the original sketch I did on my iPad.

I like the reflections in the sketch but I'm very pleased with how the painting turned out.