Showing posts with label art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art. Show all posts

Monday, May 21, 2018

Acrylics #2: The Day

For my second foray into painting with acrylics, I decided to work on the sketch I mentioned in the last post—nicknamed the day. So just for reference, I’m going to show it again....

Overall, I’m happy with how this painting turned out. I was a more comfortable with the medium—I don’t even know why I was stressed out about it in the first place—which partly contributed to how much fun I had while working on it. One of the things I was most excited about was the color choices I’d picked for it.
Last time, I mentioned that I wanted a smoother transition between light and dark. I wanted the shadows to be deep, and the lightest spots to standout. And that meant adding more shades to bridge the gap between the light and dark extremes. I love how the colors turned out, particularly how the blues look against the rest of the painting. I don't know about anyone else, but I like working with blues because its a color that's easy to match with others. I love the coolness of lighter shades as well as the richness of darker ones. I also made a few minor tweaks to the sketch, and while the focus remained squarely on the face, this time around I wanted more detail. With the night, the headband was just a kind of, well, random lines that I added as sort of an afterthought. For the day, I wanted the veil/headpiece/clothes to have a specific look where the details were vague enough to fit my preference, but precise enough for them to be immediately recognizable

Acrylic is a pretty forgiving medium. Unlike watercolor, it's easy to go back and make little tweaks without having to choose a different medium—like colored pencil, gouache, gel pin, ink, etc.— to make corrections. However, my biggest takeaway from this is that I’ve learned more about my own process, and some of the immediate changes I made were focused on how I approached the painting at the start. For the night, I worked from the center before moving out to the edges. That worked out okay, but when I paint using traditional mediums, I noticed that I prefer my first layer to start from the background before then working my way in, leaving finer/finishing details for last. While working on the day, I kept that in mind and found that I wasn't frustrated with the progress with this piece as I added more and more to it. 

It's easier to see what I'm talking about when the two paintings are shown together. So for comparison purposes, here they are side by side. Going forward, I have a couple more projects in mind. I won’t mention the exact details yet, because I don’t have any sketches prepared and my plans aren’t set in stone. That being said, I look forward to using acrylic paint again....

Have you used acrylic paint before? If so, what do you like or dislike about it? If not, would you try it?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

WIP December #4: New Paint + Another House

WIP: I've returned to drawing houses.

Comments: The simplest explanation behind this painting is that I got some new art supplies that I needed to get comfortable with. I haven’t done a proper review for them and figured that I might as well go ahead and talk about them, since I will be using them regularly. The first item is a new set of colored pencils: Prismacolor Premier. Second, Michaels had a 60% off coupon on the Saturday after Black Friday, and I got new watercolor paint: Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box. I have used products by Sakura before—including the white gel pens and the fine liners—and have wanted to try this set of watercolors for a long time.

Sakura Koi is very different from Reeves Watercolor. The colors are vibrant, and I disn't feel like I had to try as hard to achieve the shades I wanted. The finish is smooth. It’s not chalky once it’s dry, which is what I was expecting since this paint is a little more expensive than Reeves. I also love the colors, and I'm especially a fan of the olive green. I’ve tried to mix paint to get that shade before, and it’s never been exactly what I’ve wanted. So, having the shade already there—no mixing required—makes me absurdly happy because I know that I’m going to get a lot of use out of it.

This painting was more of an experiment than some of the other pieces of art I’ve talked about on the blog. So, I also wanted to see how white gel pen and my new set of Prismacolor Premier colored pencils would look on top of the paint. Due to the colors I was using, you can’t really see the colored pencils. That being said, the white does standout.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

WIP December #3: Faces

WIP: Faces.

Comments: I’m halfway through this series of posts and have decided to temporarily switch gears and work on some faces, because facial features are one of the things I need to work on. So, here are two pages from my sketchbook.

I’m trying to challenge myself so I don’t fall into the habit of being too comfortable with a limited set of features, because I don’t want all the characters I draw to look the same. It’s something I tend to keep in mind, particularly when I’m going the digital route. With traditional mediums, I'm more conscious of this.

As I finished the first page, I realized I just wasn't done with this yet.  What should have been a quick drawing exercise ended up creeping onto the next page. Once I fell down that rabbit hole, I ended up finding  too many unique faces that I wanted to sketch. I just kept going when I knew I should have moved on to something else, but I was on a roll. And then there's that one lone doodle. It looks so out of place next to the other faces on the page, and more than once, I wanted to add more and more detail to it. It also didn’t help that I was working on the same two pages across multiple days and had to remind myself that it was just doodle.

Are you working on anything interesting?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

WIP December #2: Houses

WIP: Houses.


Comments: At this point, I have committed to drawing a few buildings before moving on to something else. Around the time I started working on this post, I watched Minnie Small’s video on how she draws buildings—she has a lot of good advice, and I highly recommend checking out her channel if you have the time. You can check out the video HERE. I was inspired by it, and decided to just take the plunge and draw buildings without overthinking the process. I had a lot of fun just playing around with pencil. I originally thought that I might try to also work on my lines with Fine Liners—or even colored pencil—but it didn’t work out that way. As I moved from one sketch to the next, I quickly discovered that I liked the look of it as is, which prompted me to leave them in pencil. Also, apparently I'm a fan of houses with panel exteriors. It was something I notice when I was looking for references. I was drawn to houses with interesting architectural details and exteriors—particularly wood and vinyl sidings.

Story time: I used to live in a house that had a combination of red brick and vinyl on the exterior. I remember a couple of occasions when the wind actually damaged and tore down the vinyl. I can't remember how many times that happened, but I'm sure that it was more than twice.

Friday, December 8, 2017

WIP December #1: Introduction + Mini Paintings

I’ve been having a lot of fun with art related posts, and I got this idea at the end of October to do a short art series in the month of December. I wanted to end of the year in a way I haven’t done before. So, starting today and scattered throughout the month of December, I will be posting somewhat random pieces of art including sketches and paintings. I'm calling this WIP (work in progress) December. There will be six posts in total.

WIP: Mini paintings (waterfall; barn; lake).


Comments: If you follow the blog on twitter, you might have caught the tweet about the barn and lake paintings. And let me tell you, I’m having an inordinate amount of fun painting on small pieces of paper. I found that it’s a good exercise because the limited space has challenged me to think about what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, and committing to each color choice and brush stroke. Fun fact: when I paint water, I don’t typically do reflections on. It’s a weird habit that I’ve developed and hope to get away from. So, I wanted to switch it up for the lake piece and actually work on some reflections.

Fun fact #2: waterfalls aren’t that difficult for me—neither are most basic bodies of water like beaches and coves. When I started mixing in traditional painting with digital painting, oceans, waterfalls, and lakes were the subjects I started on and got really good at. I’ve done them often enough to memorize the key features and colors. Water turned into a subject I enjoy painting. It's kind of relaxing.

I’m probably going to be drawing more buildings for WIP December, because I want to get to the point where I can draw from memory instead of relying so much on references for simple things. I need to stop painting bodies of water, and get to work on buildings.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Review: Draw 50: Sea Creatures by Lee J. Ames with Erin Harvey

35272546Title: Draw 50: Sea Creatures
Author: Lee J. Ames with Erin Harvey
Source/Format: Blogging from Books; Paperback
More Details: How-to; Nonfiction
Publisher/Publication Date: Watson-Guptill; July 25, 2017

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Part of the best-selling Draw 50 series this step-by-step guide to drawing various fish, sharks, oysters, bottlenose dolphins, crabs, polar bears, coral, and other ocean life is for artists of all levels. In this new installment of Lee J. Ames's beloved Draw 50 series, readers will find easy-to-follow, step-by-step visual lessons on sketching and rendering all kinds of sea and ocean-dwelling creatures. Animals and plants from in and near the water featured in the book include clownfish, whale sharks, sea otters, dolphins, turtles and more...
When it comes to drawing books, I don’t typically reach for ones that are specifically how-to or step by step. I like reading about the technical aspect instead. However, my goal is to improve on certain parts of my drawing skills that I consider to be weaker than others. So, when I saw Draw 50: Sea Creatures I couldn’t resist.

My first impression of this book is that it was a lot smaller than I expected it to be. I’m not too familiar with Step-by-step books, but from the description I expected this one to be a little thicker, page wise anyway. Also, the examples of the process did not have any text to offer further explanation. However, that wasn’t necessarily needed because the steps are pretty straightforward.

To get a good feel for how well this book works, I broke out my new sketchbook and drew five of the creatures in pencil. I tried to follow as many steps as I could. At some points, I did find myself skipping to the last step. However, that was mainly because I’m not a total beginner and didn’t end up needing the skipped steps to get to the finished drawing. That being said, Draw 50: Sea Creatures is good for beginners. The steps are simple visual examples that could be helpful with learning the basics of sea creatures. Even I found this book to be a good exercise. I also liked the fact that there was a pretty good mixture of creatures to draw like conch shells, blue claw crabs, pelicans, lionfish, narwhals, puffins, and sharks—just to name a few.

Overall, Draw 50: Sea Creatures was better than I thought it would be. I’m keeping this one on my shelf, because I have a feeling that I’m going to end up getting a lot of use out of this book. (Actual rating 4.5 out of 5)
This copy of the book was provided by Blogging for Books (Publisher) for this review. 
About Lee J. Ames...

Lee J. Ames began his career at the Walt Disney Studies, working on films such as Fantasia and Pinocchio. He taught at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, and at Dowling College on Long Island, New York. An avid worker, Ames directed his own advertising agency, illustrated for several magazines, and illustrated approximately 150 books that range from picture books to postgraduate texts. He resided in Dix Hills, Long Island, with his wife, Jocelyn, until his death in June 2011...

About Erin Harvey...

Erin Harvey is an artist who works primarily in pencils, charcoals, oils, and pen and ink. She lives outside Atlanta with her husband, Ben, and their two children. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Thought Corner: Canson Watercolor Paper

Campany: Canson 
Type of paper: Watercolor
Source: Purchased

Other info: 140lb; 300g
Size: 9in X 12in
Number of sheets: 30

More information:

Ideal for watercolor, acrylic, ink, and other wet techniques. Surface sizing to control absorbency. Durable surface allows for reworking. 
Today, I have a different kind of review to share on the blog. I'm going to be talking about one of my recent purchases: Canson Watercolor Paper. The example I’m going to be using for this post are from a page of birds that I painted on August 16th, 2017. Birds are actually sort of one of my weaknesses, and usually I'll draw quick simplified ones that don't require much of anything at all. I had a lot of fun with this page; although, I feel like I could have done a little better with the Christmas Robin. But it is what it is. Luckily, I'm only using the pelican as a example. The European Robin is just the sad bird that hangs out in the corner of a couple of the pictures.

Some things to know...

  • Like with any paper, you really have to test it out for yourself to see what works best for you. This post is my opinion based off of my experience.
  • Price was fair for thirty individual sheets.
  • I used Reeves Watercolor paint for these paintings.

Canson is a brand that came highly recommended—thanks Adri—and I was eager to try their watercolor paper for myself. Here's what it essentially looks like. Outward appearance is pretty normal for what you would expect from watercolor paper. The size is also pretty standard when compared to what I've used before.

However, that being said, I do like the interior design. When you open the cover it’s not directly attached to the paper, so you can fold it back and have it out of the way. I found that to be incredibly useful since my desk has a very limited surface space left over between my laptop and art supplies. This feature is particularly useful when I don't necessarily want to take the page off of the stack.

Now, the paper is basically the selling feature. I've used 90lb cold press, and let me tell you it's nothing like the 140lb. For one, the latter is a lot sturdier. Two, I liked the way the paint dried. Reeves already has a matte finish, but between this paper and the one I was using, Canson was noticeably smoother. Three, it handled the water well. It does warp under heavy saturation, but if you have tape around the edges it'll be fine. And four, reworking top layers of paint is easy.

The progress of the Pelican from left to right...

The progress of the pelican shows what I mean about the potential for reworking. This is the only bird I didn't work on continuously. I set it aside for a least an hour before returning and it was easy to get right back to smoothing out some of the edges—particularly in the brown and blue areas along the head, neck, and wing.

(Finished pelican was touched up with a bit of white Sakura Gelly Roll gel pen around the blue part beneath the brown of the beak.)

Overall, I‘m really happy with this paper and will be buying more from this brand in the future. One more thing: Puffins are now my favorite bird. They’re adorable. I didn't get the progress of the puffins on camera, but I wanted to post them anyway. So, here are a pair of bonus Puffins. If you look in the corner of the picture on the left, the European Robin makes another very small appearance, LOL...

Have you tried any of Canson's paper? If so, tell me about your experience in the comments down below. And if not, would this be something you would be interested in? Or what is u our favorite type of watercolor paper.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

So Yeah, I'm Entering A Contest...

This is my entry for Marissa Meyer's Design a Lunar Chronicles Bookmark Contest. This is for contest purposes only. Don't take the image without giving me credit and linking back to the original post.

A little bit more about it...

I was really inspired by three things: Winter (the character), the moon, and the lunar palace. The primary colors I used are gray, black, and blue with a dash of color to the face (the three scars and the eye). I wanted to keep it simple in terms of color. Basically, I wanted the focus to remain on Winter.

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