Friday, December 23, 2011

Bible verse doodle

Psalms 18:2, KJV. Drawn in Sharpie on Bristol paper.
This was fun to make, but I have a typo. It's high tower, not strong tower. I had that Kutless song in my head. *sigh*

Monday, December 19, 2011

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood. Colored pencil. October, 2011.
A sketch from back in October. I realized all of a sudden that I had never tried drawing Little Red Riding Hood--so, there you go. Not terrific; I sketched it up in pencil and then added the color without taking much care with composition or boring things like that. The hand, obviously, I did not use a model for--and I really should have.

After getting that far into the drawing I realized I could try and rework it and make it more dramatic, but I'd spent too much time on it to do anything major on that piece of paper.
So I went and did another with graphite...

Graphite. October, 2011.
After doing that one, I did a couple more thumbnails (small sketches), making her lean more and exaggerating the curves in the cloak to make the composition more dramatic.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fairy Tale Castle

Castle ~ Acrylic. September 2011.
This isn't strictly related to a fairy tale, but golden apples do show up in a lot of tales, and castles as well. I had a lot of fun doing this one. :)This painting started in August. I began with a separate pencil drawing, and then moved on to the final piece in acrylic. I spent a good amount of time reworking the composition after I had started the painting--another delay (albeit necessary) when I was struggling to get it finished in time along with three other unfinished pieces I had intended for the fair and needed to complete.

The top half of this painting I am pretty fond of (especially the style of the clouds), although looking back there are a lot of things I would fix. I was going for layers, like one of those books where the images are printed on transparent pages, and the image builds up and changes as you turn the pages. However, the delivery is still awkward and chunky. I would love to revisit this concept sometime, now that I'm more certain of what I want out of it--and what I could do to improve on it. Another good exercise would be starting a series in the same style and color scheme.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Colored pencil. May 2010.
A portrait of my nephew and niece, done in colored pencil May 2010. This was entered in the Wayne County Fair in September 2010 and it won a first place ribbon.

That plaid shirt. I still look at it and think, What on earth made me decide to try that? To think it'd be fun? It was insane. But it worked.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fairy Reading

Over two months since my last entry. *wince*
Sorry. I will say that life has been utterly insane. Though, for all my running around, I seem to have gotten very little done. I don't understand how this happens.

But on to the interesting stuff.

Graphite. July 2011
A fairy drawing from earlier this year. The idea for this drawing centered around texture--the wings, the dress, even the tree. The wings weren't quite successful for me. Too jagged and kind of clunky; they look broken. Dress--meh. I'm still rather clueless about folds, so it's hard for me to judge. I had fun with the detailing along the hem; it was taking the hem from a dress drawn back in March a step further. I found a dress on Pinterest (yes, I'm on Pinterest--now you now why I've been accomplishing so little) the hem of which has the same sort of feel to it.
I liked the concept of the drawing, but wanted to take it a step further with color, going for a vintage children's book style.
Watercolor. July 2011.
So here's this one, painted with watercolor (and some very, very fine brushwork). I worked out some of the kinks but created a few more in the process. Lesson learned: sketch the design out till I'm happy with it, then spend hours on a painting. :) You can see the personality changed from the drawing to the painting: the fairy's wings have been reworked and the tree is far more understated and softer than before. The fairy's face, on the other hand, has grown sharper (dislike); she looks rather fierce for someone reading peacefully. I had a blast using the selective colors with fine linework, though. I could see revisiting this style someday soon.

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Brand of Craziness

I'm frantically at work on entries for the fair...but in the meantime, here's one of my entries from last year. I drew initial drawing with graphite pencil.

After starting this, I realized it was too small, not even filling a 9" x 12" page, so I did another using black and white charcoal on 11" x 17" charcoal paper (I cropped it to a smaller size). Although I used some vine charcoal while initially sketching it in, I mostly used charcoal pencils for the details.

Charcoal is a fairly forgiving medium--well suited for a project like this, which required quite a bit of erasing. I loved mixing the blacks and the whites with the medium tone of the paper. The stairs were a fun and sometimes frustrating challenge...and the hard work paid off with a first-place ribbon!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fun Crafty Project

I've had a hankering lately to find some cute way to store the endless amount of shells my family and I have collected over the years. We had them (actually, still have some, sadly--I didn't even manage to use them all up) in a plastic bag, stashed away in a closet. Today I finally got around to working on an idea I'd had. Jars, to be precise.

I used a couple of (rinsed) tomato jars and one applesauce jar for these. The images were from The Graphics Fairy; the shell image can be found here. I just printed it out, cropped it, and tied it on with string. This was the applesauce jar.

For this one, I used a pretty French label. I cropped, inked, and sanded it, then used Mod Podge (love that stuff) to attach it to the glass. Then I tied a bit of lace around the neck of the jar.

This one had another French label, with the same treatment as the last one, only I used some sheer ribbon instead of lace.
All in all, I quite enjoyed myself, and it was a fairly quick project. There's a lot of versatility with these--you can vary the jars, the attachments, whatever you use to fill them, and so forth. It makes for a cheap decorative way to store memorabilia.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Angry Tree Drawing

Charcoal. August, 2010.
I have a few rather moody drawings of trees I've nicknamed my "angry tree drawings". This is one of my favorites. (Though, looking back at it now I'm tempted to work back in--or just start another one! :P) This was done on gray charcoal paper, 12" x 18" (it comes out a little shorter with the top cropped off) using white and black charcoal, mostly charcoal pencils with some vine as well.

Angel Doodle

An angel, done with a blue pen in a little sketchbook of mine a couple of months ago. This probably qualifies as a doodle, if an ambitious one; I drew it straight on with the pen and basically made it up as I went along. I would enjoy revisiting this concept someday with pen & ink or charcoal.
I was aiming for mimicking an etched type of style with this one...but mostly I was just having fun.


Little sketch of a mermaid I did a couple of nights ago, in pen & ink (first drawn, very loosely, with pencil). If you look at the waves, I snuck in the words "Teach me to hear mermaids singing" in a fit of nerdiness. It's a reference to a John Donne poem, Song, which I'm familiar with thanks to my favorite book Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. The poem's also used in Neil Gaiman's book Stardust.

But, for the drawing itself. Not wild about the pose (my mermaids are still too stiff), but I had a lot of fun stylizing it like that. Incorporating text was a fun experiment as well--I could see trying that more often.

Here's another mermaid I did a while back, also in pen & ink and rather art nouveau. It's silhoutted, mostly in attempt to mimic my fairy drawing (see my profile pic)--I've yet to succeed in creating a silhoutte I like as much as that one (depressing when I created it in 2007--the fairy one, not the mermaid).
Even stiffer. I'm not thrilled with this one. I did enjoy drawing the rock and waves like that. Her tail reminds me of a Chinese dragon. This was drawn either early 2011 or late 2010.

I'm not quite sure of the reason for my fascination with drawing mermaids on rocks (I did one a couple of weeks ago on a leftovers box, too--talk about creative medium) but I will admit that my childhood obsession with Disney's The Little Mermaid probably didn't help. Of course, I love the fairy tale just as much if not more, despite its sobering conclusion. (Side note: If you follow my fairy tale links to, on the lefthand column you can find the link "illustrations" for pictures of artwork for that particular fairy tale by various artists--or you can go straight to the illustration gallery. I've had a lot of fun browsing through those; you may want to check them out.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

East of the Sun and West of the Moon

East of the Sun and West of the Moon illustration. Colored pencil, 2010.
Also a fair entry for 2010. I created this early 2010 (ish...not entirely sure) and worked on it some more to prep it for the fair that September. Based on one of my favorite fairy tales, East of the Sun and West of the Moon. (A girl rides the winds to find a place that doesn't exist and save her lost love from the troll princess. What's not to love?)

December 2011 Update: My current assignment in art is to come up with a children's book based off of this fairy tale--illustrations and all. It's going really slowly, but I have come up with a pretty comprehensive Pinterest board for inspiration. :P I haven't come to a decision yet, but I started out hoping to base the whole style of the book off of this drawing, and likely redo the drawing to use as cover art. We'll see where this goes.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More on self portraits

Funny thing about this portrait which I posted about a little while ago: I brought it to my art lesson the other day and my teacher (Fred Del Guidice) loved it. I was happy enough to see I've improved somewhat in oils, which I've only really started to paint with in the last few years, but that was certainly a welcome reaction. (Though intimidating, when I ended up working on an oil landscape at that lesson--and that one turned out to be considerably less impressive...actually, pretty mediocre. *sigh* Win some, lose some.) There are still some faults, definitely, but I'm going to have to call it a draw--no more tweaking. (Best to recognize it when you get to that point in a drawing/painting where it's a risk continuing when you like so much of it already--you have to draw the line sometime [heh--cheesy artist pun] when any further work is as likely to ruin it as improve it. To show an example I'll have to write about another portrait I did...)
So, anyway, success on that count. (Yay!) And someday I will write a post showcasing some of my horribly awful failures in the art of self portraits, just so you know why this one makes me so happy.
I also went ahead and changed my profile pic on my Facebook page to this painting--before that it had been the fairy drawing like I have here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sleeping Beauty in the Wood

Done with Carb-Othellos on drawing paper, August 2008. Inspired by the fairy tale The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood (although, it turns out, she still has a castle in that one. No zonking out in the woods. Well, that's what artistic license is for). I had a blast drawing this (especially all the little circles in the hedge...because I'm crazy) but it got blurred fairly quickly--even from this picture it was starting to--so I redid it later on:
Pen & ink and watercolor, on watercolor paper. Entered in the fair 2009, where it got a first place ribbon. Here's a picture sans frame, for you to get a better look at the color.
I was going for a stained-glass type of style in this--art nouveau. Since then I've attempted the style with a lot of my fairy tale drawings. I could still be tempted to redo this one again and combine the aspects I like from both versions: trying to capture the warm, golden tones of the first but cleaning it up more (but not as much as the second, which seems too clean--there's too much empty space). I'm not sure what I'd used for media--perhaps pen & ink and watercolor again, or even acrylic or oil. But it's a possible future project.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Best of Show for the Wayne County Fair 2010, and a bit of the drawing process

I entered this in the Wayne County Fair for fall 2010, and it received Best of Show for grades 9-12. It was painted with watercolor and pen & ink on watercolor paper, using a photo I took in Florida as reference.

I started off by blocking in the details in using pencil.

After that, I went over the pencil drawing with the pen & ink. 

And then I gradually added the watercolor. 

Here are some details: 

When it comes to drawing something I find tedious (or that I expect to find tedious), I tend to ease my way into it. I'll avoid the problem, or skirt around the edges and work my way in. I also like to jump to a different area after a while; it helps keep me energized about the project.

The biggest challenge for this project was the background. The ship masts and houses were hazy and backlit by the sunset, and it was hard to tell where one thing ended and another began.

My reference photo
The finished result

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ahh, self portraits...

Self portraits are kind of the bane of my existence. You'd think they'd be simple--whose face do you know better than your own, right?
Ha. Ha ha ha.
I've learned the hard way that they are anything but simple, and have some extremely hideous testaments to this fact tucked away in my portfolio. (Note to self: Why haven't I burned those yet?)
Any critiques about self portraits are going to either slam your personal appearance, or your drawing ability...or, better yet, both. Add to the fact that this one, my current WIP (Work In Progress--familiarize yourself with this term, as I plan on using it a lot), is in oil (my oil painting skills are still sorely lacking) and you'd best tread lightly. Take for example, the other night (Thursday, I think) when I showed it to my sister, Courtney.
(Pardon the angle--oil paintings tend to get glare. And stress the "WIP" factor. It's supposed to look bad.)
Actually this one wasn't looking too horrid--I had prepared for the worst. The expression was kind of dead, as was my sister's (she's had to work some crazy hours lately, so she was sitting there on the couch looking zombie-like) so I joked that it looked like her--but not as pretty (you know, gotta throw in a compliment to soften her up). To which she said, "Well, it's not hard to look prettier than that."
"It's a self portrait!" I cried.
Then she said it looked like I had a mustache. Sigh. So, basically, I'm ugly and I have facial hair. What would I do without my family?

I've worked on that painting some more and it's looking much better (and hopefully mustache-free), though I'm still not ready to call it done. These do you absolutely no good if you don't know what I look like, of course.
5 x 7, oil, June/July 2011.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cat Portrait

Colored pencil. June 2011.
Drawn earlier this year (2011) using Prismacolor colored pencils and Koh-i-Noor woodless colored pencils on Bristol paper (9 x 12, but I didn't fill the page to the edges so it comes out closer to 8 x 10). I used a picture of one of our Siamese kittens, but it was completely freehand--I don't use graphs or tracing paper. This won Best of Show for the Wayne County Fair 2011.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chandelier Card

I have this awesome chandelier stamp that's been sorely underused. I finally broke it out for this birthday card. I used a white card (from a set), stamped the chandelier and the swirls in pink and black, stamped the birthday text in black, stamped over the chandelier with embossing ink and used holographic embossing powder over it, and (lastly) added a faintly pinkish rhinestone on top.


Went a little card-making-happy today.
I'd come up with a vague idea for a card using a background stamp of mine in blue, and ended up with this:
White card (from a set), stamped the background with a couple of blue inkpads, then inked around the edges with more blue and some light green. Black swirls stamped on. Hot-glued the green ribbon, plastic pearl strand, and finally the green flower (with a button from a jar I bought awhile back).

Next, although I already made a chandelier card on a whim, I wanted to play around some more with that stamp, so I made this:
Pink card (from a set), stamped with black swirls, then used black embossing powder with my chandelier stamp. White cardstock for the tag--I just stamped it on, cut it out, inked around with black and pink, and then stamped the "Happy Birthday" on.

I don't have any specific uses for these yet, but there are always birthdays coming up--it never hurts to be prepared. (As I've learned the hard way from frantically throwing cards together before dashing out the door...) Unfortunately, these are both rather girly. I'm always hard-pressed to make manly cards. I'm the family cardmaker--exciting job with the number of relatives I have, but it does save us the effort of buying too-expensive ones from the store.