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!

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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. 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.

Musician/Singer Series Pt. 1: Myles Kennedy

I will be trying to get the blog caught up to my work posted on Instagram and Flickr. Months back, I was trying to save drafts and have them publish during certain times, but since WordPress was fighting me I let the time pass. It’s too easy to fall behind!

Back in May, I was honored to be chosen as one of the artists in a two day art show/festival called Dayton Sideshow. We had many talented local artists who either had video installations, sculptures, or paintings. There were no restrictions to what we could create, which was wonderful! Since there were going to be musical acts going on during the entire two days, I decided to continue my artist trading card theme: my favorite musicians/singers.

At the beginning, I decided I didn’t want to hang the work traditionally. Remembering that I had seen an image on Pinterest where someone used clipboards to hang up illustrations and ideas, I decided it would be something to catch people’s eyes as they walked through the building. Grabbing my Strathmore and Canson watercolor paper pads, I cut them up in various sizes that would fit on the three different sizes of clipboards I had purchased at OfficeSupply.com. They had very reasonable prices and I recommend them for clipboards 100%!

Instead of just getting studio/stage shots of the bands, I went through many music videos and took screenshots of moments that I felt would make a good drawing. My first choice was Myles Kennedy, the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist to the rock band Alter Bridge. I cannot get enough of his voice and so much of their music has such power or frailty behind it! My normal process lately has been to go directly to inking and work with my mistakes, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that successfully with portraits. I already had a clear idea of what I wanted in my mind, but penciled out Myles in the top right corner and leaving room for doodles on the rest of the paper later.

Myles Kennedy WIP

“On broken wings I’m falling, And it won’t be long,
The skin on me is burning, By the fires of the sun…”

-“Broken Wings” by Alter Bridge

The artist trading cards I created previously made me realize I wanted to ink these using my ballpoint pens instead of the Prismacolor Fine Liners. I did keep changing which ballpoint pen depending on what I thought worked better on the watercolor paper at the time. The one that stayed the most consistent for me was PaperMate’s InkJoy 700 RT 1.0 M. Once I inked Myles, I decided to look up what he had for tattoos. I found out he had an octopus on one arm and a Koi fish on the other. I love making connections in my work, so I doodled around Myles with a Koi fish swimming around the swirling waves and octopus tentacles.

When I started adding my acrylics, I thought I had ruined his face with the green on top of the yellow. It made him look sickly. Once I introduced some blue and pulled up a lot of the green with a paper towel, I kept going by adding more reds and purples to his hair and shirt to brighten things up. I chose to keep the upper left corner mostly white other than a few purposeful splatters of color that I dabbed with paper towel to keep the saturation down. It gives a nice weight to the right and bottom side of the composition. This piece turned out to be one of my favorites despite it being the first one penciled!

Final of Myles Kennedy

A Rose by Any Other Name…

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.”
-Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden
Pink Rose
If you can’t tell, I am trying to catch up on some posts that should have happened months ago. I had sat in on a painting party at the local art studio, but I didn’t particularly want to paint anything the other people were working on. It had been a while since I had painted on canvas, so this was to get me back into the game. I pulled out my iPod and found photos of roses I had taken. I have never attempted to paint roses (especially since they are a very complicated plant), but for some reason I was inspired at that moment to do one and decided to go for it.
For about three hours, I made a good amount of progress on the acrylic painting. It still needs some reworking and more depth to it, but my bestie, Michelle, took one look at it and asked if I would paint her one! 😀 Guess that means this painting has been “Best Friend Approved”! One of these days, I will get back to it to finish it up.
WIP Rose Painting
Work in Progress: A Rose by Any Other Name…
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Sample Plate

At the end of last year, I was asked to create a sample plate for the art studio I frequent that has a pottery painting section for their customers. Of course, I was thrilled to have a chance to paint more pottery since it is now my obsession! Choosing fall like colors, I sponged about 4 different colors onto the plate (which is a really fast way to get your glaze on the bisque). Of course, I sponged about three layers of color for each spot and waited until it was completely dry before I took a water soluble marker to draw out my doodle design I had in mind. Once it is placed in the kiln, the ink from the marker will burn off and you won’t see any trace of the lines. If you make a mistake in your line work (which you see below), it will not affect your final piece.

Didn’t want to get too carried away with the doodle since customers may try to mimic the plate. I wanted to try out one of the dark green glazes instead of using black on top of the autumn colors, but I was a little worried that it wouldn’t be strong enough to go over top of the other glazes. Just in case, I went over the lines three times to make them as dark as possible.

WIP: Sample Plate

Work in Progress: Sample Plate

Above is what your pottery will look like after you have covered it in glaze but you haven’t fired it. The colors will always be more on the pastel side at the beginning. Once they have been placed in the kiln the colors will become more vibrant.

It turned out beautifully! I loved how textured the background ended up being because of using a natural sponge to place the color onto the plate. In the final image, the dark green looks black, but it did turn out well. It has been at the studio for several months now, and it has been cool to pop into the studio and see it hanging on the wall.

FINAL: Sample Plate

Final: Sample Plate