Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Art Apron

I keep getting glue, ink, and whatever on my hands and want to wipe them on my clothes. Solution? The magical reversible art apron! Design is from "A is or Apron," and my enthusiasm to spend ALL DAY working on it was from watching too many episodes of "Design Star." I wanted to pick my OWN colors and patterns after criticizing the contestants.

Monday, July 26, 2010

First journal entries

Okay, using the watercolors now! Excuse the rough visuals, I tried taking pictures instead of scanning AND I am trying to work on actions in photoshop. The next batch will be much more polished - even if they are images of sketches. I'm using a journal that is not intended for watercolor, and if I show enough steadfastness to get through this journal, I am going to get a large reporter-style Moleskine. The design is brilliant, and it is no surprise that I'm seeing it over and over again in sketchblogs.

However, in my journal, I have many pages of doodles, color mixing, and ink/watercolor. Here are the images that I actually sat down to draw with intent.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A House is Not a Home Unless...

My friend Jesse is finally settled into his newly purchased home and is have a house-warming party. I've been practicing my calligraphy, but without any pressure in a journal. I decided to take a quote and try to make the whole thing complete. Here is the result after writing it many, many times, cutting words out to decide on alignment, then writing it many times again. There are still loads of errors and inconsistencies, but this is my best so far. This quote really helped me improve (not yet perfect) my o's and s's.
After finishing the quote, then I wanted to age the paper a bit. In the process I gave it a big wrinkle. The horror. But I embraced the wrinkle, purposefully made some more for texture. I think it actually got better because of the "oops." Then I added a background and some happy stamps.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Play Drawing

Inspiration everywhere! It took me a whole summer to figure out how to relax and enjoy being creative. The purpose of art used to be for a purpose. A present or something useful or a tool for me to vent. I never really stopped to just enjoy the process and play. Everything needed to be a perfect finished "piece." Even my new travel journal! The perfectionist in me wants to have well-laid-out pages filled with deep and skillful images.

This afternoon I tried painting the sky and fell into the perfectionist habit again. One of the first things I am learning about watercolors is that you cannot overwork them. I painted layer upon layer of clouds until it became a formulaic, fake sky. The Simpson's theme was more realistic.

Frustrated, I flipped the page and decided to play. But whenever I observe something, it needs to be perfect! Unless I don't draw anything. So, I didn't draw anything, I made blobs of color. I played with puddles of water and pigments. And I enjoyed it.

Then, after that mental realignment, I sketched and painted my wind chime to enjoy its shape.

Note: This whole post was inspired just by reading a review of this book. I soooo need to get it once I run out of daily ideas (though maybe I won't!).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Field Watercolor Tin

Full Watercolor Tin
Originally uploaded by melbergink
Yes, I quit watercolors when I was younger because they were too hard and unruly, but now I want to JOURNAL. How hip and trendy of me. I want to squash the perfectionist in me and let loose with color, mistakes, and observations.

Anyways, it mainly is because I love big potential in small packages (which is why I collect card decks). After unsuccessfully finding the perfect tiny travel kit, I researched online and found this pretty common low-budget technique converting an Altoid tin into a palette with Fimo clay. I changed three things to most designs:
1. I made my wells rectangular instead of round because that maximizes the space. I used the side of the pencil sharpener in the kit.
2. Because I used rectangular wells, I saved enough space to put masking fluid, masking fluid applicators, and an eraser. I could take those out and fit a collapsible brush instead depending on my whimsy.
3. The lid of Altoids tins are now embossed, which leaves a lumpy mixing area. Not okay. So, I glued down a thick piece of paper shaped for the lid with Mod Podge. Then I put down a layer of "Royal Coat Dimensional Magic" to make it waterproof and a usable as a mixing area. I also experimented on a separate sheet of paper with diamond glaze and a gloss varnish, but the Royal Coat did not stain and wiped off the easiest.

This tin was added into a zippy bag with a pencil, pen, waterbrush (no water jars needed!), and an eraser. I'm hoping to gain the confidence and ease to not use an eraser/pencil, but baby steps people. This is a return to colors after 15 years. Watercolors = rebellious nomad that lives day-to-day and does not need to fit in the lines. Unlike myself. I pay my rent on time every month.

To see more details on how the full kit works, see the parts that allow me to hold the journal AND palette in one hand while leaving the other free for drawing here and in action here. Freekhand was the brains behind that. Finally, the complete package thanks to the technology of Ziploc.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A new batch of bookmarks

I particularly focused on making interesting backgrounds.

Today I am going to finish making a portable palette to try to get out of the house and watercolor. Too hot to actually do that now... My problem is that I don't know what to try to paint/ink. How ridiculous is that? I have a world of options. It needs to be relatively simple and an interesting texture. Maybe I'll be inspired as I head to Hobby Lobby to pick up some colors I need.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Roald Dahl books would not be the same...

Playing with stamp inks has reminded me that color can be fun. Instead of just using stamps, I want to use my illustrations as well. In the inspiration of two of my favorite illustrators, Quentin Blake and Beatrix Potter, I am practicing using inks and watercolor. This is new territory, so I have no established style. Do I stay loose with color? Because color adds more understanding to the image, do I get loose with the inking? Do I aim for a more scientific illustrator style? Shade with color or with pen? Both? So many options!
With the baby quail, just tossed in loose colors and added a general outline very quickly w/o thought.
With Eleanor, using the pen as a method to add texture. Fur has always been a challenge for me.With the bosun's whistle, I stuck to my normal style of inking. I can't resist playing with line thickness. Trying to get the look of metal with watercolors, but I need to be more bold with darker accents. It's nice to upload pics because I can see errors that I couldn't after staring at the actual illustration.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Smaller Canvas

So, I was desperately looking for some inspiration, and Tim Holtz gave it to me. I am so bored with my lack of backgrounds, but any drawing of backgrounds = distraction. I want my background to illuminate the drawing! Anyway, I am using some of his Distress Inks and got some stamps to practice with on tags. They are not incredibly intimidating - I can mess one up and through it away.

In testing, I discovered that Prismacolor, Sharpie, and Staedler pens are permanent even on Modge Podge, but Faber Castle are not.

I'm still working on the calligraphy and drawing to make these "bookmarks" more of my own. However, here are some results after playing with the stamps and inks.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

To Do:

Since I'm on the 'net, and I don't want to forget, so I'm making a "To-Do" list here.

1. Practice with my new fabulous tools - distress inks and stamps to assist in backgrounds! I don't want to become one of those "stamper" ladies, but I want to use those tools to create interesting backgrounds for my own art.

2. Try calligraphy with a non-broad nib. I have no clue what those are called. The ones people wrote letters with back in the good old days.

3. Test different pens and inks to see how permanent they are. Just 'cause I'm curious, and it may be useful.

4. Make a tag that would make Marissa happy. (Marissa, I don't want to creep you out by this, but visiting your site makes me happy, so you are the current standard!)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Current project

Okay, I really haven't stopped creativity! I've been working for a couple of hours every day for the last week on calligraphy. Definitely still learning because I am not consistent yet and some letters are just hard! "O"s are evil. I am trying to do words now so I can work on spacing. However, if I really don't like a letter, I'll repeat it for practice (hence "Xyloooop"). Here's one of my practice sheets-