Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Serenity #6

Woohoo!!! Sixth time is a charm. A couple of posts ago I shared a few previous versions of this same pose. I really liked number four but it was looking a little too realistic and also looked way too much like my red-headed step-child. Really. Not that she wasn't adorable at that age, but she's become a beautiful, grown woman and can no longer pose for me as Serenity. Plus, if I do a children's book with her as the star, I will stress about creating at least 3 more books starring the other kids. 

On Monday I came up with the version below. While you look at it I'm going to look away and wince. I think it's really bad. (Her hair looks like a perm from the late 70s.)
I'm sharing because I believe in the golden rule. I like to see the flubs of illustrators I admire. It makes me feel like anything is possible if you just keep at it, so I'm treating you the way I like to be treated. 

Instead of getting upset that I had lost about three hours of my life, I laid out all five versions and noted what I liked and didn't like about each of them. I then returned to the drawing board and did the sketch for the one that you see on top. 

I did the sketch on drawing paper because when I move to bristol paper or canvas I can get a little tense and it shows in the drawing. I went over the pencil lines with a micron pen and then applied a thin layer of gesso to the back and front of the drawing. I could still see the image through the gesso, thank goodness! phew! I painted her Tuesday in acrylics and though it's a painting on drawing paper and may not last for a thousand years. I'm okay with it. I'm okay with it until I decide to do #7.

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!