WIP Sideshow 11 Doodle Series

WIP 8x10 DoodleWIP 8″x 10″ Doodle for Dayton Sideshow 11

Even though I have signed up as one of the art coordinators for Dayton Sideshow 11, I decided I wanted to attempt to be one of the showing artists again. With me not only working at my regular Monday through Friday, 8-4:30 pm design job, but to have teaching, helping with a nonprofit, and commissions on the side along with it has made me feel a little crazy. Then to top it all off, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I do believe I have signed up for a little more than I can handle, but I am hanging in there and trying to stay positive! Sometimes taking it a day at a time is the best thing.

The piece I created for Twitter Art Exhibit: NYC (blog post will come later) made me realize I should do something similar for Sideshow 11. Originally, I wanted to play around with Ampersand’s Claybord material. The test board made me realize that the way I use acrylic does not work really well on the surface. SIDENOTE: Whenever you get a chance artists/crafters, TEST your mediums that you are not familiar with because you may be surprised in the results. In fact, colored pencil worked really well on the surface, but I knew it would take FOREVER.

For the sake of time and knowing that I would need at least three 8″x 10″ pieces finished by the beginning of May, I have switched back to watercolor paper, Prismacolor lining pens, and acrylic paint. The other day, I was able to pencil out one 8″x 10″ piece and the preview is above. Next step? INKING!

Sunday Doodles

Sunday Doodles
Pencil Doodle on 9″x 12″ Bristol

It can be so easy to get caught up in day to day activities, but there are quiet times that I really crave when I become so busy. Sunday, I took the time to wind my mind down and pencil out some doodles.Thought I might be able to use this for a future t-shirt design or whatnot. In the meantime, it is fun to decompress for a little while. Even when you feel you have no time, this kind of work insists that you make room for it.

The Progression of Maggie

Using the same type of process as I was doing for my Musician/Singer Series, I wanted to make a late birthday gift for my Bestie, Michelle, who was moving back from San Francisco. Sneakily, I looked through her Facebook and found a perfect image of her Great Dane, Maggie.

Maggie, The Goofy Great Dane

When creating your own artwork or photography, think about keeping compositions off center or not entirely symmetrical. It helps create intrigue when it isn’t stuck in the center of the paper or photo. There was a lot of personality to the picture above because of her right ear being folded in on itself and it not looking like the other ear. Once drawn out in pencil (often use Faber-Castell or Staedtler brands) on an 8″x10″ piece of watercolor paper, I did have a moment where I wondered if the ear would be too weird, but I ultimately stuck with it.

WIP Great Dane Portrait
WIP Penciled Portrait of Maggie

It took me a while to get going on the inking of the pencil drawing because (to this day) inking makes me nervous. Ha! There is this fear that one stroke is going to ruin the whole piece. Especially, since ballpoint pens do have a tendency to spit ink from time to time. I try to switch to a different pen (I have several of one kind I like) when that happens, and that tends to help the problem. Or I have a little strip of paper that I will roll the ballpoint tip on to clean it up. Once I finished the inking without any catastrophes, I felt it really brought her to life.

WIP Inked Maggie
WIP Inked Portrait of Maggie

After I doodled in the background with a finer ballpoint pen, I felt I might have taken away from the dog by doing so and decided to paint the background thick enough to dim the doodles. At first, I was thinking of painting everything in bright colors but after my dad mentioned it would be a shame to not leave the dog white I was tempted to do as he suggested. Concentrating on only painting her tongue, inner ear, slightly in the eyes, and then the background, I went to town. This town I was painting dominantly pink, and then I realized I had almost obliterated the doodle background. Whoops! I gave it a day to dry before I went back over the doodles with the thin ballpoint, and BAM it looked great!

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
-Scott Adams

Final Painted Drawing of Maggie
Final Painted Drawing of Maggie

Musician/Singer Series Pt. 3: T-Boz, Gwen Stefani, and Pink

Three Pencil Sketches
Three pencil sketches of T-boz, Gwen Stefani, and Pink

In one night, I had cranked out these three pencil sketches for my Musician/Singer Series. At this point, I was trying to pick facial expressions that were different from the other pieces. These were the three I also had love/hate relationships with during the making of them.

Ballpoint WIP of T-Boz
Ballpoint WIP of T-Boz

The composition of T-Boz (Tionne Watkins) from TLC had the most movement out of the entire series. She wasn’t too hard to ink, but I was trying to be as careful as possible with the hands. I have found that it is best to use the shadows to help shape your hands more rather than to draw only an outline of the fingers and palm. Especially when you have fingers pointed and some bent toward the palm, there will be a lot of foreshortening (Dictionary.com says it is “to reduce or distort in order to convey the illusion of three-dimensional space as perceived by the human eye”) happening within the drawing. Hands always feel complicated. Many kids that I have taught in drawing programs will avoid them like the plague by drawing characters with their hands behind their back, etc. Maybe the fact I do focus a lot on the face in my work, is a little sign that I am avoiding the hands as well without consciously making a note of it?

Final Mixed Media of T-boz
Final Mixed Media of T-Boz

Originally, I was going to paint her nicely creased shirt green and yellow, but as I was laying down the color I thought it looked HORRIBLE! In fact, I almost scrapped the whole thing then and there because I was getting short on time before the art show. Taking a deep breath, I grabbed a paper towel and tried dragging off as much paint as possible, wetting it with a clean brush, and wiping it again until I was able to get as much of the color off the paper. I already made her hair orange and skin blue, and was afraid making her shirt similar to the hair wouldn’t let her stand out. Once I painted the yellow layer, then my orange, and then a darker red, it looked better and you couldn’t even tell I had started making it green. The crosshatching of the ballpoint also made it different enough from the hair. Making the background purple behind her, pushed her orange and blue colors forward and toned down the more detailed pattern behind her. At the art show, this was the one that had the most exclamations and people recognized her right away. People seemed to respond to the more dynamic body position, and I couldn’t help but think I should have done more of them that contained more than just the head. Maybe next year?

WIP Inked Version of Gwen Stefani
WIP Ballpoint of Gwen Stefani

I was not happy with the inked version of Gwen at all! This was another point where I had put her aside intending to never use her again. The original screenshot I had taken was pretty blurry and I had difficulty with the angle of her face and the sunglasses. I could barely see her eyes, but drew in what I could. In retrospect, I wonder if it would have been better if I had never drawn the eyes in at all. Texting two of my best friends with the results, they kept pushing me to continue to work on it and they thought I was seeing it more critically than anyone else would.

WIP Beginning to Paint Gwen
WIP: Beginning to Paint Gwen Stefani

Deciding to give her a go, I started painting some color into her and was beginning to LOVE how the sunglasses looked. I felt like her hair should be pink, but I do think the color decision made people think she was Pink even though Gwen did dye her hair pink for many years.

Final of Gwen Stefani
Final Mixed Media of Gwen Stefani

For being a work that I almost threw away, it turned out rather nice! There still could be improvements made, but there are times when I need to keep Salvador Dali in mind,

“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.”

WIP Inked Version of Pink
WIP Ballpoint of Pink

Once I had a chance to ink this one, I felt it looked better than the pencil sketch. I allowed the pencil sketch to sit for a while before I went ahead and inked it. The angle of her head and sneer Pink was making made it seem so out of proportion. I also wasn’t sure I liked her thick fake eyelashes in the drawing, but once she was inked it seemed to ground her on the paper for me.

Final of Pink
Final Mixed Media of Pink

She was one of the few pieces I knew exactly what colors I wanted to use, and I had a blast with her. Since she didn’t have a lot of her hair showing, I balanced the composition by using the red in her earrings, eyes, and lips. I even mixed some of the red into the background and her outfit. It is something I try to do in a lot of my work. A lot of different colors can make up an object. Such as painting a blue sky on a landscape, maybe you can use that blue in the grass as a shading color. Trying to add the colors you use throughout your painting, drawing, etc can make it very cohesive.

Despite the struggles these three made me go through, I believe they added a little “oomph” to the series as a whole. It’s easy to work in a vacuum and convince yourself that your work isn’t good. So don’t be shy and show your piece(s) to someone you trust to get honest feedback from. You never know what you may have missed or what could be on it’s way to greatness.

“Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement.”

~ Henry Ford ~

Vintage Post: Exploration of Cat Character

Another previous post from my first blog! This contains the sketches I had to create for a college digital illustration class. These were what I drew before I decided on the B&W cat I posted a few entries back. Looking back, I wish I had gone with the She Cat from the top left of the first page (she has a delicate claw in a fish bowl).

Original Post date: March 24, 2009

Thought I would post up some of my brainstorming that I drew out when I was working on coming up with a character for Illustration class. All of you have possibly seen the already computerized and toned drawing below. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure whether to mix a cat with a human body or just keep it as a cat with a cartoon flare.

Do you draw out several ideas for characters before settling on one?

Vintage Post: Part of My Drawing IV Final Project

Here is another post from my older blog. I was in the last semester of college at the time and immersed in a project that I would like to eventually finish.

Original Post: March 15, 2009

For the past two days, I have been finishing up one of my drawings for Drawing IV class. It is my personal project that I am starting to freak out about because I am supposed to do 10 of these. Since I am drawing them in graphite and they have to be a large size, they are taking a lot of time!

The idea behind my project first sprouted from the old vanitas (which means vanity in Latin) still lifes. They are usually devoted to reflecting on the shortness of life by being subliminal in still lifes by using flowers, tabletops, smoking paraphernalia, or luxury goods. More obvious symbols of mortality used were skulls, burning candles, pipes about to burn out, bubbles, or clocks. The main idea is to make the viewer contemplate the work, look at it longer than a glance, and challenge a silent debate. Every person, who looks at an image, brings his or her own experience to that piece making it a type of symbolic still life painting.

Each of the 10 drawings I will be doing are going to be portraits of family members who have passed on or are still living. Only they are not going to have the actual person in them, objects that were their own items or things that remind me of them will be used to form the portrait. The one I finished last night is my Mom’s portrait because when I was growing up she would play the piano for me, and I was always fascinated by her jewelry box. I could even point out the music on the piano and items inside the jewelry box and what they mean too. I know the image isn’t the best. I took several pics with my camera, and it kept wanting to give it a fisheye appearance and bleach out!

Title: Mom 
Medium: Graphite
Size: ~28″ x 32″

Vintage Post: Creativity

Why am I calling this post Vintage? Well, my friend, since I am phasing out my long time Xanga blog, I will be bringing over some of my older posts on here so they don’t completely disappear off the face of the earth. Whether you are reading them for the first or second time, I hope you still enjoy the “Vintage Post” series.

Originally posted: Sunday, 22 February 2009

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” -HENRY DAVID THOREAU

I tried to draw something quick last night in pencil, but again I ended up really enjoying what I was drawing and continued to work on it through the night.

Every time I draw a character on the page, I feel it becomes too lonely looking and begin drawing more people around her. When I sit and sketch I can’t help but make a collage of images together to fill up the page. The drawing may not make sense, but I am entertained by it while I render such a piece. 
Before I stick the image I did in, I would like to quote an activity out of the book called “The New Creative Artist: A Guide to Developing your Creative Spirit” by Nita Leland.

Do a Drawing a Day

“Reinforce your drawing habit. Draw something- anything- every day. Keep a pencil and paper in the family room, in the kitchen and in the car. Draw odds and ends: a phone, soda can, bone, pencil sharpener, teakettle or geranium plant. Draw from memory and imagination: an apple orchard, the neighbor’s dog, a man-eating flower, a frog who is a prince, a Martian.

Draw with your right hand, then your left; with your eyes open or closed. Whenever you see a pencil, pick it up and draw. You learn to draw by drawing.”