After practicing a bit with watercolor this month, I decided to test myself with another Society of Visual Storytellers (SVSlearn.com) monthly contest. The prompt for this August was DRAGONFLY. I tried several ideas and multiple thumbnails before settling on 3 dragonflies escaping a wide-mouth bass.
For inspiration with the watercolor, I looked to Beatrix Potter and her illustrations of Jeremy Fisher. Her color and her mix of linework and brushwork to show water is gorgeous!
I’m getting closer! At the pace I’m going it’s more like an eternal creep than a forward motion, but I’ll take it.
So I think it’s pretty obvious looking back over my blog that I have inconsistency issues with at least my posting schedule. Yet another 2020 goal forgotten due to COVID-19. Nevertheless I feel like the eternal creep toward better skills in art is making progress. At least now I’m working in color again!
A bit of background. I have virtually no skill in watercolor, save a class I took the summer I was 12 and several books I have lread. I feel infinitely more at home with oils where I can cover over my many mistakes.
That being said, I am starting to realize that thinking of painting lights to darks requires a lot more pre-painting thought and therefore planning ahead (not my strong point). No offense to the many fantastic watercolor artists out there, but it feels like I’m thinking backwards when I consider lighter values first. Yet even at this early stage I can see a continuation of such thinking helping my overall process in art no matter what medium I am using. My kids have forced me to acknowledge that I’m growing my brain as a muscle by using watercolor and therefore the uncomfortable feeling that I get, not unlike their discomfort in doing algebra problems or converting fractions to decimals, is completely just a side effect of the use of weak muscles. Darn it! Didn’t expect that to come back at me so soon.
I recently signed up for a class on Sktchy about drawing 30 Faces in 30 Days. My goal is to practice with my nib pen, and get more comfortable with drawing faces. The good part is that Sktchy gives you 30 photos, so all you have to focus on is drawing. This is my first one.
This post is a bit delayed, but here are the Inktober52 prompts for January and the illustrations I managed to get done for them.
For the first one, I didn’t really think up a story beyond the sequence of a bird lifting off into FLIGHT.
Then came SHADOW, and I learned how to design a composition that would tell a story using ink wash and crosshatching. The story was taken from my daughter, defending her turf from the shadowy dragon rather than being intimidated by it.
I think BRICK is one of my better overall compositions. I’m really proud of how the bricks turned out. This one is something that crosses my mind when I watch squirrels scale the brick wall near our house, while the rabbits are stuck watching them from below.
In SNAKE, I think I managed to take things a step further. I had story, composition, and wash all working well together. I just wanted a bit more crosshatching in the design. I had a question put to me of, what if a snake wanted a new way of getting around and wanted legs?
For this Inktober weekly prompt of SHADOW, I channeled ideas from my daughter. She is obsessed with asking if monsters are asleep every time I put her to bed. She isn’t afraid of the monsters per se, she actually finds them funny. But she needs to know that they aren’t awake and playing without her every night. I think, if she did find them a threat, she would be like the girl in my illustration and poised ready to defend her turf. #Inktober52 #Inktober52shadow
2019 is over. My goals did not materialize the way I wanted them to. The main reason is the fact that art and illustration are not “my main gig”, and juggling around everything else in my life gets hectic if not chaotic at times. But in all fairness, I did complete 2 goals of 2019 – I improved my inking ability through Inktober and daily drawing, and I drew over 100 bears.
For 2020, I would like consistency to be my main focus – consistency of drawing practice (time), consistency of drawing ability (skill), and consistency of posting online. I’ve also got a goal of learning to draw the human figure.
Since drawing over 100 bears got me to be more comfortable with fur, with inking, and with drawing the basic shape of a bear, I’ve decided to draw 100 of each – hands, heads and figures this year. Here are the first 5 hands. They are clunky and awkward, but they are a start in understanding the hand as a form. I’m starting by working my way through Drawing the Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis. Let the improvement begin!
I’m learning how to use Affinity Photo at the same time as I’m piecing this one together. I keep sketching in my sketchbook, then snap a photo and upload it, cut, paste and adjust it into place. It’s forcing me to learn the program bit by bit as I have to look up how to everything first.
I’m liking how my scribbles are turning into something understandable. I think I’m going to keep a running list of the items I draw, as I clarify them into detail, so I have my final 50+ “Can you find it?” list when I’m done. Much more refining to go!
So I got an unprecedented 3 hours to work yesterday and the ideas started flowing. I had been looking at Norman Rockwell’s April Fool’s Day paintings to see how to fit 50+ images in my drawing. And ater, yes more thumbnails, a composition began to emerge in all its scribbled glory.
Then I tried my newly acquired digital program (for fun since I have no clue how to use it yet). I was able to scribble out a bit more.
Then, because I’m leaving the thumbnail phase, I began sketching the kids. Just an idea of what they could look like.
Starting to pull together! Now let the drawing and imagining begin!
Ok, it’s not entirely true that I’m just really slow. It’s just that sometimes, after the rounds with kids and homework and housework and bed, there isn’t time (or brain power) for drawing.
So now I’m back at it!
My theme is like a day-in-the-life-of kindof thing – “An afternoon with homeschoolers”. It’s one I don’t really have to research too much on to get the stories, because I was homeschooled, and my kids were homeschooled. So this is basically how our house used to look on a daily basis.
I did, however, research different living room/kitchen photos to help envision the space I wanted to create rather than just using my living room.
I had done all sorts of thumbnails, just to figure out the space I was trying to portray.
Then I did a small thumbnail-ish sketch of how I wanted the room to look, since I had very specific criteria that I wanted to portray in my illustration.
And I turned this into a bit bigger sketch during an art chat with with my 12yo. I was explaining how drawing boxes without a horizonline eventually lands you in trouble (all the while landing in trouble) and making sure perspective is right is crucial in the long run.
Now I’m back at thumbnails to get the perspective/POV I want and structure the composition, although, I might have to take back my drawing table if I want to get anything done.