Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ilustration Friday- Midsummer Night

This is my first try at illustration Friday, and I'm happy to participate.

I feel this could have been better, but it just came out the way it wanted to. I sorta had a late start on the project, so I sorta pushed myself and tried to rush it just a tad. But I managed to finish just on time and I'm happy about it.

The name, (A Midsummer "Knight's" Dream ) is what came to mind when I read the topic for this week. I thought the pun was perfect, and at first I was thinking about making a manly knight, but then my sister inspired me to do something even better. And so, here we are staring at a quirky, modern knight, ( Also known as a nerd in cos-play armor), dreaming of being a real knight and winning the princess's hand.

The Process
I started off by drawing my beginning elements on watercolor paper. Then I pen and inked the tree, the small branches being my favorite part of inking.Next step was painting. The sky was done with an acrylic wash, and the clouds were unintended but it just happened because some spots just wouldn't coat properly, so I went with it. The ground and tree on the other hand were watercolor washes, it worked much better for me.After the basic stuff was done, I added grasses to the background with more acrylic.A final step for the basic image was giving the tree some leaves by dabbing it with an acrylic caked sponge. From here I took my hand drawn collage elements and traced them on, then added shading with brown pastel. For the dream bubble I used tracing paper and colored pencil, I wanted it to have a slightly transparent look, so that worked. Once I finished gluing everything on, I painted more grass in the foreground. And the last final touch was to add lightning bugs with a jell pen.

In case you're curious, here's a sketch process page of different images for our nerdy knight's dream. I chucked a couple images and settled with the ones that worked for me.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CFC (Week 4) "Sleep Little Angel"

All right, this is the final composition for week four on grid, titled, "Sleep Little Angel" .

When it came to the grid technique, the things that came to mind were comic book panels and quilts. I thought about it for awhile then got the sweetest idea of a baby peacefully sleeping. Though she's more of a toddler, which was my intention.

To my slight irritation, my brother and Mom both think that the baby looks like Paula Dean.
And my dad thinks it looks like a little girls head on a babies body. But regardless of their opinion I think she's cute. I even joke about digitally adding a stick of butter in her hand and call her Paula baby. And I may actually do that some day .

Besides a try at using the grid technique, I also think this could be a vignette. Last night when I completed it, I just realized that, and was so happy that I unintentionally used the vignette technique.

The Process
After completing my baby with a few simple tricks, I cut a piece of watercolor paper to size and sketched out the quilt design. I didn't want to make the blocks completely straight or even in size; reason being is because I wanted the quilt to look like it was rippled from the weight of the baby. And the whole squiggly look gives it that child-like appearance.Again, my color scheme went by pastels. At first I thought to do blue, pink, and yellow blocks; but then I decided the yellow would be overpowering, so I decided to use a mint green instead. Once I painted everything in acrylic washes, I outlined the little ties and inner edge of the quilt with a gray colored pencil. As a final touch I added white polka dots on certain blocks with a paint pen. I felt the quilt was a little flat and that the polka dots gave it a better baby feel.Again, like I do with many of my projects, I outlined the baby on the page so I'd know her placement. I did a full outline so I knew where to shade.As you can see here, I made the whole outline and added lines where the quilt would be creasing from weight. Then I went over the lines with light blue pan pastel.

After shading,I smothered the page in Liquitex mat finish, then added the baby and smothered more on top of her. it's the first time I've ever tried sealing my collage piece with mat finish; and from my experience I can say this, it's like trying to paint with soft, room temperature butter. It can be a little sticky, so I added water to mine.

So, there you have it, it's been a fun four weeks of art making for this class, enjoy.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

CFC (Week 3) part 2- "Seaside Treasure"

 Since I still wanted to try the Vignette, I tried making another picture. At first it started out with more of a vignette format, but the look just wasn't doing the trick for the project, so I ended up chucking the idea of vignette at a certain point and just decided to do what I wanted and felt fit the picture. The composition I ended up with, "A Little Seaside Treasure", may not be a vignette as I planned, but it came out cute anyway.

Since I was happy with my work, I posted it on the site just for the heck of it. Claudine liked what she called the watercolor affect of it. Her exact words, "Beautiful watercolor affect!!"

The Process
Very simple actually. All I did was take a 6'' by 6'' piece of Vellum paper, then I made a background with pastels. The fairy was an improved Dover book image that I did, then I drew a shell beneath her and colored the two with colored pencil. To get the translucent look on her dress tails I lightly colored where things would show through, then went over it with white pastel. Something interesting I discovered while trying to erase a pencil mark is that pan pastel is erasable. This resulted in me taking my gummy eraser to the sky so I could get that fluffy cloud look. After using a white pastel pencil for those final little touches, I went out and sprayed the picture with a mat finish so it wouldn't smudge everywhere.

A good note to remember: (Make sure you're hands are clean of black pastel before working on the lighter areas, I almost messed things up because of that.)

Just so you know, the fairy is holding a pearl, in case you couldn't tell. :)

CFC (Week 3) "Snow Fairy"

Week threes lesson was on Vignette. I had trouble figuring out what to make and still feel I didn't fully succeed in the vignette look; but I gave it a try with what I'd say is the second full blown digital collage I've ever done. Digital collage is actually very new to me and I was only able to pull it off after I downloaded a free program known as Paint.Net, which is like photo shop without the price.

To give a brief explanation to what vignette is; it's basically when you have very little space to work with and lots of small elements you want to use, and you just sorta figure out an artistic way of cramming it into the center of the page, leaving an outer border that pulls it together.
Like in old story books where there's a picture in the center of the page and it almost has that tunnel vision feel to it.

In the case with my picture above, "A Mid Winter Night Dream" , I tried my hand at the vignette look by centering the picture and leaving an outer border. It still didn't seem to apply to the class, but I decide to share it anyway and ask Claudine what she thought. Surprisingly, Claudine believed it could be considered a vignette; but regardless of her opinion I may try to do a better, truer vignette someday.

In case you're wondering the process of how I made this picture, it's really quite simple. I went and found a good background border image and then found the perfect center background image, and then I went and found a picture of a dancing belly dancer. With her I went in with Open Canvas and covered her belly, then added the over skirt along with some extra sparkles and jewelry. And then after changing her color, I added dragon fly wings that I cut and pasted from a post card image. Since I didn't like their green color with the blue, I went and changed it too. Finally, after putting her together I went back in to Open Canvas and added her glowing reflection on the ice, along with the glowing white spots that represent other snow fairies.

In case you're wondering, Here's what my picture looks like without the border.

Friday, June 24, 2011

CFC part 2 (Week 2) "Good Morning Kitty"

 (Note, above is is updated from Sept. 2, 2014. Storybook syle applied)

This is the second composition I did for week two on composition for collage. My inspiration for this piece came from the way our cat sits at the table waiting for you to give her milk.

The title I gave this piece is, "Good Morning."

The vintage look was inspired from Claudine's style, and I decided to make my own vintage version of art. I like the style and certain colors of the 50's;that whole retro look has a certain feel to it I just can't resist, especially when it comes to the machines of that era.
This composition, again, took me several days to complete.

The Process

I began sketching out my kitchen layout on watercolor paper, then used paint tape to protect the outer border. The process of painting was interesting; I tried out my new Artist Loft paints and noticed there was a difference in drying texture. Instead of feeling slightly sticky like latex on paper as Reeves paint feels when dry; the Artist Loft has a smoother, slightly rougher feel to it once dry. I discovered this after painting on a test sheet.
Mixing the colors was fun.
I loved the over all creaminess of the paint, not just in painting, but in mixing. :)
The only thing I painted on thickly were the cupboards. Everything else in the background was done with more of an acrylic wash.
When it came to choosing the look of the curtains in the picture, I went searching through our 1930's fabric bin. After picking up scraps here and there I settled on this polka dot one as my inspiration. With a little adjusting I painted the curtains in a similar pattern, only I left out the red dots and smaller blue speckles. My main goal in the picture was to keep things in pastel colors of blue-green, pink, and yellow. I question whether the picture would have had an even more vintage look with the red though;since red was "In" for kitchen appliances in the 50's.

After completing the painting process I went on to coloring my collage pieces. Again I used colored pencil for this.

After asking my brother for some advise, he said my cat looked like a rat. It bugged me after that and I was determined to make my cat look like a cat. My sister made several sketches for me and after about five tries I ended with two I like.

These two I had trouble deciding over. The one on the left wasn't as cat-like and my brother liked the one on the right better. In the end I settled with the one on the right since it was fat and looked like it didn't need any more milk. The cat is based off of my cat Lucy, who's fat and has the same hair color.

After adding color to my character's skin, I added a little blush and glow with my pan pastels. Just a dab of red on the cheeks and a swipe of white over the skin gave her that life-like glow I always love.Something I like to do with all my collage projects before gluing is trace around them with pencil so I remember their placement. You just have to be careful about this depending on the material you're working on and whether you plan to erase the excess pencil marks that may show slightly.
When it came to gluing, I realized I didn't have enough tacky glue to water down. So I used Elmer's glue instead. The only advantage about Elmer's is that you can paint with it strait out of the bottle, no water required. It's alright for gluing, but I highly recommend tacky glue or
some other strong glue for projects, especially if you're dealing with thick paper like card stock. Another highly useful tool for keeping things smooth is a brayer. It roles out any unwanted lumps and bubbles; though it helps to make sure your paper is flat when you place it anyway. For the table cloth and cupboards I used the Elmer's, but as for the smaller elements I used tacky.

The final step was to simply cut off the excess edges of the paper and it was done.

The table seemed too large, the same mistake I made on the office picture; but rather than trimming the bottom off I just cropped the picture. Reason for this is because some of the ladies in the class thought this looked like a children's book illustration, and this gave me an idea. I plan to save that extra space in case I ever want to add a text box.
A final close up for extra details. Even with some frustration involved, the final piece was worth it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

CFC (Week 2) "Madam Valentines Holiday"

As my first composition on horizon for week two in the class, I really gave it some thought before deciding what kind of picture to make.
As I browsed through my images I remembered a picture of an old train station I saved and instantly had an idea forming in mind.
What took me several days of thought and work process, ended up being well worth the effort in the final result, which I entitled, "Madam Valentine's Holiday" ( Name inspired by my sister)

The Process
This was the image before I started working with it. As you can see, it's much darker in color. I found it while browsing through Google images. Unfortunately, being a low resolution image and having an ink jet printer that makes things darker in color when printed, the image came out on the fuzzy, dark side. But regardless of this, I decided to use it and make dew with what I had. (Note, this is an image of the old
Union train station in Washington D.C.) After getting my background, I went and browsed through all the images I saved from graphics fairy till I found just the right characters for the picture. Then to shrink them down to proper size I put the images into Works Word Processor and adjusted them till they were all done and on one page for printing. (Note how the red pencil in the picture is pointing from the woman's head to the body I drew her before they were colored) Once that was done I looked through the people I chose to see which ones worked the absolute best, then added color to them with colored pencil, as you can see from the example above.

When it came to choosing Madam Valentine's head I worked with these three choices. I asked myself which one had a mysterious look that a lady in red would? The one on the left I felt had too innocent a look, and the one on the right was looking the wrong way; so I went with the one in the middle who had a face that was both beautiful and mysterious in my eyes.

Making the Bodies
Making the bodies for the characters that didn't have any was relatively simple. For the main character, Madam Valentine, and for the man second largest to her, I placed their cut out heads on a sheet of paper then drew seven to eight heads to estimate proper length of their bodies. Then, starting from their shoulders, I made a pencil outline and formed their structures then added clothes. Once that was finished I went in with colored pencil and made them stand out. After their bodies were complete, I glued their heads to the backs and"tada", you get a complete character.

Cutting Tools

When it comes to doing projects that have very small, intricate pieces involved; and you want to get as smooth an edge as possible; I rely on my straight, pointy thread scissors and my very handy razor pen and cutting pad, which my mom found brand new at a yard sale.
The razor pen I mostly use for cutting areas the scissors can't get at, like the inner part of of the suitcase handles in the picture.

The very last thing I did once everything was glued on the page, is outline the architect with colored pencil to help things pop out since the resolution was low and everything seemed kinda dark. And finally to make the picture come to life, I adjusted the intensity and color on the computer to give it more of that sunlit glow.

(A quick reminder, the whole time I worked on this project I remembered to apply asymmetry even in such a spread out setting. If you look closely at the picture, you'll notice almost all the men have their eyes directed at the lady in red.)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Hello My Friend "

This is my third composition I did during week one, but I never posted it to the gallery. The title "Hello My Friend" seemed to do the trick since that's what I imagined the fairy saying.

I started off by painting a piece of white scrapbook paper in a pleasant blue green tone, then added a white wash over top of it since the color seemed too dark for my taste when it dried.
As far as the flowers go, the center bunch was leftover from an image page I printed out for another project and the other bunches came from a Dover Art Nouveau Motifs book we own.
Everything needed color that was soft and dream-like, so I used my Prismacolor Pencils. At first I really wanted to give the fairy a soft glow and tried to mix my primary color pan pastels into a pale flesh tone, but that soon got annoying and I just couldn't get the right tint; so then I got the idea to use colored pencils for her skin and then layer white pan pastel over top of it. To my delight it worked and gave it just enough glow, (Though I still plan to get the flesh-tone pan pastels, someday.....).

I felt like the bottom of the picture was missing something, so I decide to do more paint stamping to give it that planty feel. Once it was dry and I put the pieces on it looked much better. But then something else seemed to be missing and the picture still didn't seem to have the right balance, so I went and found a dragonfly from my scrapbook supplies that picked up on the other colors in the picture. Once that was added everything seemed to pull together just fine.

A final touch to the fairy was some translucent embossing powder to the top edges of her wings, just for a little sparkle. ( Sometimes I wonder if the picture could use more sparkle? Couldn't hurt..... I don't think.)

Anyway, this picture was fun to make and I like the dreamy feel to it, hope you do too.

Friday, June 17, 2011

CFC part 2- (Week 1) "A Day At The Office"

This is my second composition I made during the first week on asymmetry. "A Day At the Office" is what I named it, and the title stuck like glue. At first I had too much desk in the picture so I posted it when it was incomplete and asked for advice. Claudine suggested cutting off about an inch from the bottom, and the results were satisfying. This piece took me much longer than my first, (Several days to be precise), but in the end it was well worth the effort. Again I used several elements from the fliers such as the man, the office chair, and the fan. My whole inspiration came from the man and his tie blowing, which sparked the idea of a fan across the room. That then led to me trying to figure out the environment he should be in, and at first I thought a news room, but as I played around with different things I ended up with an office picture.

The city in the window was a pain to draw and color (All those little windows) but it worked. Most of the desk supplies, excluding the piles of paper here and there, I hand drew on certain images in the fliers that I wanted to transform. That's how I ended up with the old telephone, typewriter, and red pencil cup with pencils. As for the calender, I drew that then glued an image from a spaghetti box on it.

The walls of the picture needed color and I wanted to give them an old plaster look, so I mixed up a pleasant green color and scraped it on with my palette knife to get that textured look.

I couldn't believe how many people liked this picture in the class gallery, but I'm happy they did and glad that I inspired a few.

Composition for Collage (Week 1) "Playful Summer"

As of three weeks ago, starting on the 2'th of this month, I was signed up for an online art class through Big Picture . The class is on composition for collage, with Claudia Hellmuth as our teacher. This is the first time I've done an online art class and so far I think I like it.

Our first weeks assignment was on asymmetrical, which I soon discovered just meant that your picture was balanced. Claudine provided images for us to download and use in our art pieces, but none of the images appealed to my taste, so I resorted to finding my own.
After several days of having no inspiration I felt like giving up, but then I got determined and went rummaging through the Sunday paper. After browsing through all the fliers I found images that satisfied me and worked with each other. Once I found the girl and umbrella, I needed a background; and since I didn't want to use my good scrapbook paper on a project that was experimental, I went and painted the back of a cracker box with acrylics. At first the yellow clouds didn't seem right, but once I put things together it turned out fine.
Since the top of the girls head was missing I went and made her a hat, then added colorful jewelry. Her eyes were looking over so I knew to make the picture balanced she needed to be looking at something, that's when I decided to make a butterfly with colors that picked up on her necklace.
As I worked with the picture I decided it needed more in the corner, so I stamped with paint to make it look like plants. Once it dried it seemed to work.
The final step was to trim off the excess cardboard and take a picture.

Once I posted on the sight and got positive comments, it kept me driven to keep making more pictures and continue with the class.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Paints

Since I've been doing more projects that include paint as an important medium, and I was wanting something a little creamier and smoother than the Reeves acrylics I've been using, I finally went out and got some Artist Loft paints for a try.
At first I thought I'd like to find some Studio paints in the pretty pastel colors that Claudine Hellmuth sells; but then my brother suggested Liquitex paint, which he believed had the same creamy consistency I was looking for. I was skeptical at first, but went to Michaels to check them out anyway. After seeing the price for a single bottle I felt like giving up the idea of creamier paint and just sticking with Reeves; but then I noticed that the Artist Loft paints were a little cheaper and over all would add up to less, so I settled with those.
Indeed they're creamy and work just as well as the other brands, and with a little color knowledge you can make anything imaginable with the primary colors alone.