Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Blue Jayne

Hello friends,

"Blue Jayne"
I love plays on words so I was very excited to whip up this little painting!

This is a  new piece of mine which will be in two upcoming art shows in Vancouver next month. The first will be The Blue Show by Rain City Illustration at the Ayden Gallery. It will be on for two days - March 31st & April 1st, with reception night held on April 1st. (I'll try to be there) What I'll have there is this blue version (above), printed and presented in a 6 x 8" frame. 

Next, the original of this image (below), which is actually sepia coloured, will be in The Postcard Show: Volume 4 on April 5th.
I'm killing two birds with one stone. Get it? I'm such a cheese-ball today, I know.

Anyhow, come down if you can. Both pieces/versions will be up for sale. :)
original size: 4 x 6

Now, here are the process steps that led to the finished piece(s):

Pencil concept sketch


Finished colour with ink washes + gouache + white pencil

Quick colourization in Photoshop
Some tonal adjustments and gradient application
Selected the background and re-colourized it
Process gif! I've been planning to do one for ages!
(*P.S - not sure if the colours are a little off on Blogger. Lately they've been differing from what they should be)
Original size: 4 x 6"
Materials: Pastel Paper + Microns + Ink + Gouache + White pencil

More lighthearted "play-on-word" mini paintings will be posted shortly.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Freebie Friday - Colourful + Abstract Textile Textures

Hello and happy Friday!
Apparently it's Pi day today. I don't have any Pi or pie textures (yet) but here are some colourful,  patterned, and abstract texture resources. =)

Feel free to use these resources for personal or professional projects but please:

Do not claim the original resource images as your own,
Do not redistribute commercially. Basically, don't save and sell the resources as your own, but by all means do share the link to this page with others. :)
Do not use these textures as a base to create your own stock art/resources.

And, please feel free to share anything you've made with these resources with me. I'd love to have a look! =)

Some previous Freebie Friday posts:

Branches, Berries and Blossoms
Blue Pattern Textile Textures
Black and White Textiles (part 3)
Black and White Textiles (part 2)
Black and White Textiles (part 1)
Coffee Stained Paper
Fanciful Florals
Vintage Inspired

Have a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pattern Pastimes

Happy Tuesday :)

Today I'm just doing a quick post about why hand-patterning is a pleasant and positive pastime for me.

Basically, when I'm looking to take a break from my various art projects and still want to do something productive, I grab some pens or paints and I draw patterns. It's great for me because:

1. It's very relaxing and helps me think about things that are happening in my personal and work lives.

2. It trains my hand to more easily render intricate details and shapes, which are integral to my illustration style.

3. It's also an exercise in balance - balancing amount of details, and element types.

4. I can do this pretty much anywhere, anytime. All I need is a few pencils, pens, some decent paper, and a flat surface to work on.

5. Best of all, it's just fun for me. I've been patterning things here and there ever since I was 5 years old.

Now, here are a few small, postcard-sized (under 5 x 7") pieces I've done last month.

Freehand-Patterned Teapots - No preliminary pencil work for the pattens.
Pencil-Planned Patterned Cake - Here I penciled the pattern grids only. The patterns withing the squares are free-handed.
Pattern Vortex - This piece had a bit more penciling underneath the pen. For some of the triangles and squares I drew a few notches to space out the lines evenly.

Have a great week everyone!
Some prints and things at my Society6 shop, as always :)
{Facebook Art Page}

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

White Media Wonderland - Pencils and Pastels

Hi! It’s been a while since I’ve written something actually useful, hasn’t it?

In turn, today I’m starting to write a little bit about different white media like white pencils, chalk pastels, acrylics, gouache, and inks and when it’s best to use each of them.  I really love using white to render pattern details and to add luminosity, so I’m pretty excited to talk about it. Welcome to part one of three!

(For the record though, the following points are my opinions based on my personal experiences, and thus results may vary. Experimenting for yourself is truly the best way to discover which materials are best for you.)

Ok, let’s begin! First up are pencils. (P.S. - don't forget to click on the images to view them larger=) )

1. Pencils - Conté and Water-soluble

White pencils can be great for rendering fine details like whiskers, fur, hair, and flying pollen (or as I like to call it - fairy dust). The reason they’re good for such tasks is because they are quite easy to control. All that is necessary is a sharpened tip and with a few gestures there are nice, sharp highlights.

Pencils are also good for building up subtle, glowing highlights. With a dulled tip, smooth accents – like the sheen of skin – can be created through repeated layering and steady pressure of pencil to paper.

They sound pretty good, don’t they? And they certainly can be, but they can also be fairly fussy, because the mentioned techniques don’t work in all circumstances.

For example, sharp lines and bright white highlights can be difficult to achieve atop pencil drawings that are rendered so tightly that their surface is shiny. To show through, the white needs to come in contact with the tooth of the drawing surface.

Another unfortunate thing that might happen is that the highlights may come out too faint or they can actually smudge the pencil colour(s) underneath, which may not be the effect you’re going for. Smudging tends to happen most when you’re pressing the white pencil down vigorously on dark colours.

On the other hand, these issues of smudging and being too faint, don't seem to happen when layering white conté-type pencils on top of ink wash and watercolour paintings. This General's Charcoal White pencil I bought recently was easy to apply.

Afterward, I did have to handle the painting carefully because if I rubbed the pencil, it would fade.

For best results I suggest using white pencils when you’re drawing on darker paper and when you’re using fewer other colours, and when you're using them final touch up tools in your paintings.

White pencil will look lovely as a subtle accent on sepia, gray, or pastel paper and quite striking on black paper. 
Bette Burgoyne - Transillumination • 2010 • 25" x 30" • black paper, white pencil

To get more saturated whites, I recommend putting the white pencil down before any other colours.
Also, simply by limiting the overall colour palette the white will stand out, like in this beautiful piece by Mia Araujo.
"The River Styx"
each panel is 8.5" x 13"
Graphite and white pencil on toned paper.
2. Chalk Pastels

Pastels can be a great medium because they are so soft and easy to blend. They are more saturated in hue and therefore can be used to draw brighter whites than the pencils. Also, they tend to be easier to apply on top of pencil drawings (than pencils).

However, since they are so soft, achieving fine lines requires more practice and it may be easier to start familiarizing yourself with chalk pastels by using them to create dreamy, misty scenes. 

"flowers_2" by Graszka Paulska
pastel 100 x 70 cm
Because they’re so soft, chalk pastels are very malleable. If you’re not happy with something, you can erase it, or lift it off the paper with ease.

However, this also can be the chalk pastels’ biggest downfall. Since the pigment adheres so loosely to the paper, it smudges easily too. You might have worked for a long time on getting your drawing just right, and then in one fateful moment you accidentally whip around and your arm or sleeve smears all that effort. Imagine what a shame it would be to mess up a piece like this:

"The Snow Queen" by Christian Birmingham
Though using spray fixatives can help keep the chalk in place, it’s also a bit risky. Not all sprays are archival and they can dull and darken the colours of the piece.

It’s best to get a good photo or scan an art work that uses chalk pastels as soon as possible, because the originals may not stand the test of time, unless they’re always safely framed behind glass or tucked away in a plastic sleeve :(
Anna Petrova/ Анна Петрова
 I personally like to make a “pastel stash/cloud” on a different piece of paper and then use q-tips to dip and deposit soft highlights onto skin. (This method is great for working one-handeldly.) Rubbing the q-tip directly on the pastel stick works too, but you might need two hands for that.

As with the white pencils, I really enjoy the look of white pastels on darker paper with only a few other colours. They make lovely studies and preliminary illustrations.

Monte Ellis
And now, here are how some the white pencils and a white chalk paste stick I own compare in brightness on some black paper and beige paper.

1. Conté a Paris - France 630 - Blanc/White
2. General's Charcoal White - 558
3. Prismacolor Scholar - White
4. Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth - Mondeluz Aquarell - 3720/1
5. Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth - Mondeluz - 3710/1
6. Staedtler Watercolor pencils - Karat - 124/0
7. Paper Papier Plus - White
8. Crayola Wax Crayon - White
9. Koh-I-Noor - Artist's Dry Chalk - 8500-1

Hope this will be helpful to some of you!
Happy drawing!