Thursday, January 31, 2013


The word of the week, WINGS. This week was harder for me to finalize an idea. I narrowed it down to 2 completely different ideas, Icarus (the boy who flew too close to the sun) or a butterfly hanging her wings out to dry. I wanted to push myself more, and since the butterfly comp is what I would normally choose, I chose to draw Icarus.

Icarus was such a challenge! I wanted to show him falling and drew him from almost every angle possible; head first, feet first, just an arm grasping a feather. I finally settled on this comp.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Reworking Jack

                    Re-worked                                                                                            Original
So after I posted Jack, I had a few friends look and tell me what they thought. For clients I generally show them black and white sketches of the compositions, and tell me what they think. A sketch is much easier to change than a finished piece. Since this composition was for me, I didn't have anyone to run this by besides myself. I knew the look that I was going for, and I approved my initial sketches.

Jack's Eyes
Jack is supposed to be scared not sad. In my original sketches they had been, and I accidentally changed them.
Reworked                                                                       Original

The Fix: Colored Pencil
This actually was an easy fix. I changed the angles of the upper eyelids and added so more shadows/highlights.

The Ground
I had wanted to show the ground where the beanstalks came out of the ground with the leaf that Jack is sitting on making the horizon line. My husband looked at it and said it didn't make sense. I think the perspective might have been off, I'm not sure.

                             Reworked                                                                           Original

The Fix: Colored Pencil
I created more cloud cover, then I also then added more cloud cover nearer to the top of the bean stalk; which I will talk about in the next point.

The Castle
I hadn't even thought of the giant's castle, in my head that was a different scene.

                            Reworked                                                                             Original

The Fix: Colored Pencil
I wanted the castle to appear hidden in the clouds. I added some outlines of a castles and shaded some areas. I like that you have to look at the picture for a while to notice the castle.

Honest critiques are so valuable. They change your perspective and how you view your piece. Sometimes as artists we get too attached to our illustration and don't want to change our "baby". I loved the original, but now I love this finished piece even more. It's not that the other piece wasn't finished, but listening to the critiques helped. I think the reworked piece looks more complete than the original.

As an artist you have to listen to a lot of critiques and take each of them with a grain of salt. If your work is for a client, and they want something changed, you are generally going to change it. When you are working on your own piece; you have an open pallet. This piece was a practice piece, and I had the freedom to experiment to my heart's desire. The freedom to try something new where you possibly might make a mistake is huge. Those risks can make or break a piece, and when you are under a deadline you often times cannot afford to take risks. When you take risks with your pieces you learn about yourself and what you can do, and about the medium and different ways it works. Taking risks is a vital step in the learning process of life and art, and I am very glad I took the risks with "Jack".

Thursday, January 24, 2013



When I first saw the word, Myth, I thought of Jack and the Bean Stalk, but I didn't want to go with my first idea. I needed to brain storm, that's what I've always been told. So, I mulled over some nursery rhymes, Jack and Jill, Mary Mary Quite Contrary, but none seemed to pop. When Little Miss Muffet came to mind, I thought that was it! I started drawing some sketches of Little Miss Muffet having a tea party with the spider. I tried different angles, poses and everything. I was determined to make this work, but it just wasn't.

When I decided to stop pushing for Little Miss Muffet; I thought I should at least sketch out my idea of Jack and the Bean Stalk to see where it would go. After all, I reasoned, that Jack had been part of the brain storming. Just because Jack was my first idea didn't mean it was a bad one. You always have a first idea. Sometimes the first idea is the best, other times there is a very good reason you brain stormed.

I loved Jack! The more I sketched him the more I liked him. I had always thought of him as being brave and fearless, so I wanted to show a different side of him. What if Jack was fearful instead of fearlesss? What if Jack hadn't really climbed up, but had been taken up? What if he hadn't had a choice, but made the best of his situation?

In continuing with the theme of Jack being scared, a blue oil wash was dark and scary. The sepia wash seemed too warm and safe. Jack was now facing the unknown, which at that moment was pretty foreboding

To create the whole look, I used a technique that my college professor taught me, simply put: layers. I plan on showing a step by step process, but for now, I will have to use my words.

  #1 mask off the area of your piece (I use tape)
  #2 sketch out the composition in a colored pencil (include shading)
  #3 Color the image using +Prisma Color Pencils
  #4 Water color
  #5 Spray a layer of +Krylon Crystal Clear
  #6 Apply +Liquitex Clear Acrylic Gesso and +Liquitex Matte Medium Medium Mat
  #7 When the gesso and mat medium are dry, apply an oil glaze over everything
  #8 Lift off any extra glaze with turpentine, or a dry kneaded eraser
  #9 Lift off the tape

I will explain the steps further, when I have images to go along with it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Beginners Blog

I decided to try something new this year; but it was not a New Years Resolution. I wanted to pursue my art further; either creating a website, blog, or expanding my portfolio. I am somewhat of a technophobe, technology is great, but I don't always get along with it. I enjoy drawing, I always have, but I will admit it is hard draw everyday especially with no deadline. I don't want to sound like the typical artist, but I do work better under a deadline.

I found a great website that has helped me, +Illustration Friday. I gives it's audience a "word of the week", and lets them post their illustration. The illustration can be in whatever medium the artist chooses. An added bonus is that by the end of the year, you as an artist can have an amazing portfolio. The great part for me is that you have to post by Friday. The world does not come crashing down, you will not get fired, or lose a client, if you do not post by the deadline of Friday. However for me it is a deadline, and for now it counts.

I am not saying that this is the only way I will draw and the only thing I draw, but it has definitely helped give me that jump start to drawing. I carry around my sketchbook and pencils, in case there is a free moment now where I can sketch an idea. I am finding myself looking forward to the next "word of the week".

I posted last week on +Illustration Friday, and hopefully will post again either tomorrow or Thursday. I'm really not procrastinating; life happens and this beginning of the week was a little crazy (packing/moving). I am a people pleaser, and hoping that I did not bite off more than I can chew. I am not so worried about the drawing, I enjoy that. However, I am incredibly nervous about the posting.

Last week's word of the week "ocean".