Musician/Singer Series Pt. 2: Lajon Witherspoon & Florence Welch

Lajon Witherspoon Pencil Sketch

WIP pencil drawing of Lajon Witherspoon on watercolor paper

This pencil drawing from my Musician/Singer Series depicts Lajon Witherspoon, who is the vocalist for the alternative metal group Sevendust. The screaming in some metal bands can make my toes curl, but Lajon’s smooth and deep vocals are haunting to me. Plus, it helps that they have a strong melody in their music, and it isn’t just hardcore two note riffing the whole time. Lajon’s vocal range makes their music even more powerful to me.

WIP Inked Lajon Witherspoon

WIP inked version of Lajon Witherspoon

If you haven’t read my previous entry introducing the Musician/Singer Series, I had gone through various music videos from each band or artist to grab screenshots that I could use for reference. As a side note, I began to notice that music videos where the bands were all male seemed to have dramatic lighting creating high contrast and switched sometimes between B&W to color. Meanwhile, all of the women musicians were definitely more sexed up. The Pop and R&B genres had bright colors and less clothing. It’s sad that so many of our women musicians are encouraged to flaunt what they have, but most of the men never do. Not to say it never happens, but I found it an interesting observation while I was working on this project.

Final of Lajon Witherspoon

“Life is changing. I can’t go on without you. Rearranging. I will be strong. I’ll stand by you.”
-“Angel’s Son” by Sevendust

In the painting stage of each drawing in my series, I wanted to keep the colors unexpected for the viewer. I love painting in tones that are not the typical skin color. I chose colors by the feeling I had for each image. It’s hard to explain, but some of them just screamed at me what colors should be within the piece. Since I knew it was going to be a series, I did try to stick within about 5-6 different colors and usually painted with only 3 of the 5-6 colors in each piece.

The acrylic I like to use is by Liquitex. Their Professional Acrylic Artist Color Heavy Body in tubes has strong color and can go on thick or thin depending on how much water you have in your brush. They can be pretty expensive, but they do last a long time if you do not paint in very thick layers. Grumbacher’s Academy Acrylics are also another type of paint that I enjoy using. They are not heavy body like the Liquitex and will be more transparent when you paint with them (plus they are cheaper). I like to use the Academy Acrylics like Dioxazine Purple painted over top of a Liquitex Cobalt Blue to get a darker shade. Some artist’s may use the tube of black intentionally for shading or to make dark colors, but I do find it flattens the work. When you see someone with black hair, it can have a blue or purple cast depending on the lighting. It’s difficult to get that if you use straight up black, and that is why I will use other colors to create “black”. Also, I tend to not mix my colors on my palette ahead of time. I allow them to mix on the paper.

Final of Florence Welch

“And when we first came here, we were cold and we were clear.
With no colors in our skin, ‘Til we let the spectrum in”
-“Spectrum” by Florence and the Machine

Another piece from the series is of Florence Welch, who is the singer from the English indie rock band Florence and the Machine. I am not that familiar with the band and have only heard some of their music. Her voice was what caught my attention, and I couldn’t resist not including her in my series.

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Artist Trading Cards

A friend of mine hosted an artist trading card swap during a small art show opening. Since I have only participated in art swaps that involve the post office, I was excited to go out and be an active participant in selecting the art I would receive in return for my cards. You could do up to five 2.5″x3.5″ cards, but I ended up only having enough time to draw, ink, and paint three.

Rihanna in progress.

I have had these screenshots on my iPad for MONTHS from various music videos I loved. For some reason, it occurred to me that I could finally use these screenshots as inspiration for the cards. Unexpectedly, I ended up enjoying doing the series so much, that I have continued the theme onto larger sizes of watercolor paper for an art show I have been accepted into. Definitely having a blast creating the work and can’t wait to see what more comes out of it! 🙂

Madonna and Jessie J inked and ready for paint!

The first drawing I had completed was Jessie J so it didn’t occur to me until I had sketched out Madonna that I should fill the background with my doodles. There are a lot of people now who are familiar with my doodles, but have no idea that I can draw more realistic. I have played with mixing the two before, but not quite in this way. I did end up choosing to use only three colors: red, green, and blue to paint with for all three which made them pull together as a series even more than in ink form.

The final three.

Artist Trading Cards

I can’t remember what I named Rihanna, but Madonna’s piece was named: “I was sad and blue.” Jessie J’s card was named: “Stomp stomp I’ve arrived!”

Medium: Mixed media (ballpoint, Prismacolor Illustration markers, and Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic Paint) on watercolor paper.