Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Comics about German Shepherd Puppies for Inktober 2017 Day 3

#inktober  #inktober2017

A Watercolor Sketch in an Exhibit

I am excited to share that I was asked to contribute a little watercolor sketch to an exhibit coming up this fall in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The exhibit is called Capturing Shadows and Lights:  West Michigan Artists Inspired by Creative Youth Center Student Writing.

The exhibit runs from October 16 through November 18 at Madcap (downtown).  It benefits the CYC's creative writing and literacy tutoring programs.

This is an exhibit of visual art responding to student writing in the 2017 CYC student anthology.

We were asked to read the anthology, written by students of all ages K-12, and pick one to respond to visually.

The phrase "you are the moon blooming in the sky" caught my imagination.  So this piece is titled "moon, blooming."

It's a 5 x 7 watercolor on Strathmore 400 watercolor paper, matted in an 8 x 10 mat.

I'm honored to be part of this project!  If you live in West Michigan, check it out!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Comics about German Shepherd Puppies for Inktober 2017

I have decided to try to do all thirty-one of my Inktober 2017 drawings as one panel comics about German Shepherd puppies.  I have had many.  I have one now.

I will also use the official prompt list, just to keep me thinking up new things.

I am working in a gray toned Stillman and Birn alpha notebook, approximately 3x5.  My plan is to use black and white ink and maybe a splash of color here and there.  I'm starting with my Pentel Pocket Brush pen.

Here are days 1 and 2.

 This will be fun!

#inktober  #inktober2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Messing Around with Character Design

Thinking about some ideas I have for a middle grade graphic novel.

Character design is hard!  There is so much to think about in terms of recognizable sillhouettes and, well, a lot more.  Not the least of which is my ability to actually draw a character over and over, in a bunch of poses, with emotion.

Sometimes it drives me crazy how limited my skills are.

But, I have to work with what I have.  I want to move forward.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Puppy Portraits

Different media.

A German Shepherd puppy and an adult Dutch Shepherd.   Such fun to draw their ears at any stage of life!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sketching A Theatre Performance

Last spring I attended a performance of a play entitled "As We Go On," which told the stories of several LGBTQ persons.  It was very moving, especially in this current political climate in the United States.

Because this performance was essentially people telling their stories, I decided ahead of time it would be a great change to sketch.

Here are the pages that resulted.  I did these on prepared backgrounds (completed for a course I took on background creation, with no idea what I might eventually put on them).  I did them all in real time, in the theatre, so in very low light conditions.

I wanted to catch impressions of each speaker, as well as the most meaningful quotes.

This proved a great way for me to "take notes" and/or journal about the event.  I certainly remember it clearly!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

More Sketching on Prepared Backgrounds

Dog toys and my own feet.  Two subjects that are always around.

The backgrounds--prepared weeks ahead and with no plan as to what I might sketch on them--make these pages really interesting!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sketches from Tulip Time 2017

Back in May, I attended the Tulip Time Muziek Parade with a newly homemade accordion sketchbook.

My goal was to fill the whole thing with ink drawings in real time, as the parade passed me by.  I could add watercolor later, if I wanted to.

I drew very fast for over an hour!  WHAT FUN!!!  I was exhausted from such intense attention-paying, and from the exercise of my visual memory as the parade moved by very fast, but it was great.  I can't wait to do it again next year!

Here are the results, two pages at a time.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Sketching on Random Backgrounds

Last spring I did a terrific class in how to pre-prepare acrylic ink  backgrounds, just to add a different dimension to my sketchbook.  Now and then I take them out to sketch on them.  I don't plan ahead--just use whatever background appears on the page to draw whatever I was planning on drawing.

Sometimes it works out in a funny, appropriate, match, like this portrait of my wonderful teacher, Roz Stendahl, which I drew during a live webinar.  I had started it before she told us she had a cold, and said she might look a little "splotchy."  Perfect pages to go with this quote!

This next one is just the next page in my sketchbook, as I sketched during the webinar.

What I discovered was that the blank background page and design (it had the blank insets there just waiting to be filled) impacted how I listened.  I was listening for something that would fit on the page as I had designed it.  So the notion of a plan, of 1-2-3 steps, just seemed to fit.

This next page is something I did later.  One of the cool things I find when working with pre-prepared backgrounds is that I'm less likely to fil up a page with words or sketches.  Instead, I find a few words or a small sketch that seems to fit the background design.  I leave more space.  I think this has the effect of adding more impact to what I do put there.  And it allows some space for my eye and mind to wander a bit.

I enjoy the same sort of space and wandering in this next spread.  When I did it, I wasn't thinking about traveling at all.  But when I turned to it in my sketchbook, it seemed like a page about traveling to me!  And so, I just made a list of all the travels I will be lucky enough to take in the next year (it's a big year for me travel-wise!  I never travel this much!)

And sometimes, the page doesn't really inspire me to do anything in particular, so I just proceed with my sketching as I would do if the page were completely blank.  I did that here, with a funny left-handed exercises I had wanted to try.

I am still exploring how I want to work in a sketchbook with prepared backgrounds.  Do I like it better than blank pages?  Are there certain circumstances in which I do like it better than blanks? Other circumstances in which I do not?  Lots to learn and discover --and more backgrounds to make!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses

People laugh when I tell them I keep a sketchpad and pen with me at all times.

I do.

So when I am in a car waiting for a train, or to meeting someone, I can spend the minutes drawing something.

My purple aviators were sitting on the dashboard of my car while I waited to meet a friend.  Not only were they upside down, but they were reflected the buildings behind the car--curved!

Now that would be really hard to draw, I thought.

Yep.  And fun too!

Done on a 4 x 6 Strathmore sketching pad with a Uniball Vision black pen.

Don't leave home without 'em.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

More work with Background and Collage

Here is another example of a prepared background I made in a journal as part of a wonderful course I took with Roz Stendahl, and some collaging and journaling work I did over the background.

This background came as the result first of a light ochre-colored wash, then later layers of blue and brown.  You can see texture lines in those colors--the "dots" would be created by spritzing the ink while it was still wet.  The lines (on the left in the blue) were created by dragging a silicone texturizer through the wet ink.

Once it thoroughly dried, I added the journaling and the selfie.  I posted this selfie a few weeks ago as one I sketched on a day I took my mother to the hospital for some out-patient surgery.  I simply printed it and collaged this copy in.

The journaling was inspired by a book I'm reading about cultural context:  what are some basic facts about the "character" of the place where you live, and how does it feel to live there much of the time?  How do these things go together?   It's something I'm interested to explore across many pages of this journal!

I don't ever do much with collage, but I really like this notion of working with my own art from other sources to create new pages.  I want to explore more of that.  And the texturing tips I have learned from Roz!  So much fun.  (Messy, but fun!)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sketching and Collaging onto a Background

I mentioned a while ago that last spring I took a fantastic course in creating backgrounds for art journals taught by Roz Stendahl.

Here's one example of the kind of work I did with her class.

I had done this sketch from an old mugshot I found online (old mugshots are terrific to sketch from!).

We had begun creating backgrounds in the class and had hit the point where we were adding some stuff to them, collaging, drawing, journaling, and really experimenting to get a feel for what could be done.

Anyhow, here is what I came up with.  This isn't a miracle of design of anything:  it was my first shot at working this way!  And I'd never used some of these tools before (I can't even remember what-all I used, other than it involved paint pens).  But it was terrific fun to play with and to discover the depth that you can get in a page starting with interesting layered backgrounds like this.

See that little piece of washi tape on the right?  Not real washi, it turns out, but plastic stuff.  Cool looking, but doesn't take ink or paint very well.

Anyhow, this is sort of a "kitchen sink" spread--what will this do? was my mantra as I played.

I learned a lot!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Practicing Faces

I practice.  A lot.

Scribbling almost every single day.

Sometimes that includes exercises, either from a book or a video, or something that I make up myself, to learn something that I know I need to improve on.

Like human faces.

How am I going to get better at drawing comics if I don't get better at drawing human faces?

I thought I'd show you a few pages of my practicing.  No attempt to create anything pretty here!  Just lots of scribbling, with spirit, to practice, practice, practice.