Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Printmaking I, Spring 2014 - Part One

Cross-hatched test linoprint

When making the difficult decision of which classes to take for the Spring 2014 semester, I was excited to discover that my college offers a printmaking class. I'd never actually tried printing anything before (unless you count stamping cards). Some art history books I'd read gave descriptions of printmaking methods such as etching, but I had a hard time picturing and understanding the process just from a paragraph in a book. Since I had the opportunity, I opted for the hands-on experience. Unfortunately, I didn't take photos while I was working, so I can't really show you the process. But I'll talk about my experience with the class and the projects, at least.

We had a total of six projects over the semester: a collograph, a reduction lino print, a woodcut self portrait, a line etching, an aquatint etching, and a soft ground etching.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

East of the Sun and West of the Moon gets Photoshopped

I started up a project on a whim a while back--putting an old, rough drawing into the computer and adding linework and color digitally. A long while back, I had edited the drawing in Photoshop, just cleaning up the linework. Here's the original pencil drawing that I used as a base (just a little sketch):

The reason I started the project was because I wanted to get some more practice in Photoshop. I'd also really been wanting to add color to the edited version, which I had been using for my avatar for one of my Tumblr blogs, because the black and white version was just kind of...meh. I wanted a more exciting avatar.

It's been an incredibly fun project! And a welcome avenue for procrastinating from doing schoolwork. (Hey, at least it's more productive than scrolling through Pinterest or Tumblr.)

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen by Kelsey Hamersley. Acrylic. April 2014.

"She was beautiful but all made of ice: cold, blindingly glittering ice; and yet she was alive, for her eyes stared at Kai like two stars, but neither rest nor peace was to be found in her gaze.
-The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

I painted this as my third assignment for my Illustration Techniques class (Spring 2014). My first two assignments were for the fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon, (see Project One here and Project Two here) and were created mostly with pen & ink and watercolor, with only a little acrylic. So for the third project I decided to shake things up a bit and try some acrylic, while still keeping with the fairy tale theme. I've only done a couple of fantasy paintings solely in acrylic before, one in late 2012 and another in late 2011, so I figured it was about time! Plus I thought acrylic would lend itself well to painting all that snow.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Coasters & Crafty Things

Time to break out some old stuff! I'm contemplating making some crafts to sell on Etsy, and painting wooden coasters is sounding really appealing to me right now. I've only painted coasters once before, a set of six I painted for my sister for a Christmas present back in 2012, and I had a blast with them. I'd love to try my hand at a similar project sometime in the near future. Actually, my mom is a decorative painter and has a large collection of wooden surfaces just begging to be painted... *plots*

I think the cover of the container was my favorite part. It reminded me of painting henna, except more loose and doodley.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Enchanted Wreath

The Enchanted Wreath by Kelsey Hamersley. May 2014. Traditional inks colored digitally in Photoshop.

This project followed a similar construction process to my previous Tangled screenshot project, which was created for the same class. Our last assignment for the class, Rendering Techniques, gave us some freedom in selection and subject matter; we were supposed to work digitally, but could choose Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator.

I found Photoshop to be better suited to my style (I'm a big fan of linework, and Illustrator was more about shape, plus I liked being able to work out the main drawing by hand, as that's my strong suit) so that's what I went for. Instead of copying a pencil drawing and inking over it, I drew a rough pencil sketch and did all of the inking on tracing paper. It was a little painful for me putting hours of work into such a poor surface, but I liked drawing over pencil through the tracing paper better than drawing over a copied pencil sketch. I felt more free stray from the path and experiment and less like I was tracing and had to get every line right. I was also inspired by Tony DiTerlizzi's drawing process (see for example) and wanted to try a similar method out for myself.

The original ink drawing, scanned into the computer:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tangled Screenshot Art

By Kelsey Hamersley. Spring 2014. Traditional inks colored digitally in Photoshop.
This was a school project, where we chose a dynamic screenshot from a movie (the more dramatic, the better), scanned an initial pencil drawing and printed it in non-photo blue, inked it, scanned it in again, and colored it in the computer. I used a Wacom tablet working on this when I was at school, and a mouse when I was at home. I could have edited the inks more in Photoshop, but chose to focus on the color because this was my first Photoshop project.

The class was Rendering Techniques, and it started with more traditional drawing and then carried over into digital, using Photoshop and, later on, Adobe Illustrator. I enjoyed the chance to get my foot in the door with working digitally, though I was stressed because I have very little experience creating art on computers. This particular project followed the process used for creating comic books. I'm a big fan of pen & ink so it was fun being able to use an element that was inside my comfort zone before stepping into the digital work.

So that you can see what a big difference the color made in this project, here's the ink drawing:

Feel free to use the black & white version as a coloring page if you want. ^_^

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Grand House

The Grand House by Kelsey Hamersley. Drawn with pen & ink and painting in watercolor and acrylic. Another installment in the fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon; this time, the part where the lassie and the white bear journey to visit her family.

The tale up to this point is pretty similar to Beauty and the Beast; the Beast also allows a homesick Beauty to leave to see her family before returning to his castle. But the tales diverge quite a bit after this, and that's where the parts I love about East of the Sun and West of the Moon come in to play. Bring on the trolls and the winds!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The North Wind

The North Wind
A scene from the fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Here the lassie meets the fiercest of the winds, on her quest to find her beloved.

"So when they got to the North Wind's house, he was so wild and cross, cold puffs came from him a long way off.
'BLAST YOU BOTH, WHAT DO YOU WANT?' he roared out to them ever so far off, so that it struck them with an icy shiver." -East of the Sun and West of the Moon

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Night of Stars

Painted in watercolor and acrylic, November 2013. I mostly painted this in watercolor, and then pulled out highlights with white acrylic.

The scene is from a short story I've been working on, titled The Night of Stars. (The title was inspired by the song Barcarolle (Night of Stars) as sung by Charlotte Church...or played by my sister on the piano.)  There's an inspiration board for the story on Pinterest, if you want to see a little of what's going on in my head. Also, what I've written thus far is posted on Figment. I played around a little with the painting in Photoshop to create a book cover for it:
My art and my stories both are strongly influenced by all of the books and fairy tales I've read through my life, and this painting is a prime example.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Here's a pair of mermaids, from 2012/2013, drawn in graphite pencil.
I need to draw mermaids more often! They're a lot of fun.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

School Sketchbook

As per usual, I'm woefully neglecting this blog! I thought I'd post an update, at least, of where I'm at art-wise. I've been taking classes at a community college since summer 2013, working on an Associate of Arts degree, and having a lot fun with the art classes. It's work, as well, but it's a privilege to be working in a creative environment with other artists and talented teachers. The students and teachers in my classes have been incredibly friendly and encouraging. I've been learning a lot!

I have yet to take pictures of all the projects from my Spring 2014 classes, as well as a few big still lifes and some ceramics projects from Fall 2013 (I took Drawing I and Ceramics I that semester), but I'll try to get those posted eventually. In the mean time, here are some of the drawings I did while keeping a sketchbook for Drawing I. This album is also up on Facebook.

The main focus of the class and the sketchbook was drawing from observation, which was really good for me, and a stretch that I needed after spending so much time focusing on my fairy tale illustrations and drawing from my head.

Gesture drawing of my mom and my grandpa, done in ballpoint pen.

This hat was one of my favorites of the sketchbook drawings. My teacher had suggested that I try covering the paper with a layer graphite and then "draw" with the eraser to lifting out the highlights. I did that partially with this one, not in the background, but in the hat itself.
This one was drawing with a carbon stick, also using an eraser to pull out highlights.
Gesture drawings of my baby nephew. He was eight months old at the time.
Copying Degas! I used charcoal, black and white Conte crayons, and white pastel. I also rubbed a burnt sienna Conte crayon in places to get a warmer tone. I really should have filled the whole page or used larger paper (mine was 9" x 12"), because the original was bigger, and I was struggling to get that amount of detail in.
Copying da Vinci. I used graphite pencil. Leonardo da Vinci's was done in metalpoint, and there was an insane amount of subtlety in the way he could communicate the planes of the face in so few lines. I cheated and used tone as well as line, 'cause I am no da Vinci. Trying to capture the angles and curves of those simple lines was a challenge!

My teacher for the class pointed out that I'd kept the left handedness--those lines slanted from the lower right to the upper left (or vice versa). It's more difficult to draw lines that way when you're right-handed (which I am).
Another da Vinci copy. I had much more of a struggle with this one than I did the previous one. Getting it to look like the person in the original isn't the challenging part for me, so much as striving to get it as close to the original as possible, getting all the proportions and the curves right. I can't say I succeeded; it's a humbling project, but also a very good exercise to learn discipline.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sketchbook Pro

My mom got the app Sketchbook Pro on her Kindle Fire awhile back and made the mistake of introducing me to it...I've gotten hooked. I keep taking off with her Kindle. :) Here are a couple of the more "finished" paintings I did (still not very finished--but it's a small screen).

I'm not very used to creating digital art at this point, but I'm definitely going to keep experimenting with it. I love traditional art, but digital art has its advantages, and it's getting to be a big part of the art industry these days. Thus far I've used Photoshop in a couple of class assignments this semester, and I'm eager to try it out some more.