I was off work today while my kids were in school for the morning so, with some bonus free time, I grabbed the opportunity to do some art. I had not found time to play with the supplies in my November Art Snacks box so I got those and my art journal and set to work. The Liquitex acrylic gouache I received was in a deep turquoise colour, one of my favourite colours, and I let that inform the subject matter as I thought the colour would suit an illustration of the Statue of Liberty. I didn’t want to try and draw the actual sculpture, however, so I drew my version of the iconic figure, changing her pose, hair, and face, but leaving enough elements for the subject to be obvious. I have not used gouache much generally and have never used acrylic gouache so this piece was a big experiment in media for me. I liked that I could use it thick on the crown but that diluted down it behaved a bit more like watercolour, which is how I used it on the body of the figure. I even managed to get some watercolour-like pigment blooms going. Gouache and I never got on well in the past, which is why I have barely used it, but I may have to give it another go.
In my Art Snacks box this month, among the items I received were phthalo green watercolour paint and a red watercolour pencil. I was utterly stumped for a couple of days because the colour combination was just so horribly Christmassy. All I could think of was Christmas trees and magical elves. Aside from the fact it is only September, it is also utterly sweltering here. It is so hot here that my kids were sent home early on their second and third days of the school year. Am was, therefore, definitely and absolutely not feeling the Christmas vibe. I then remembered that I had a bunch of Art Journal Adventure prompts I hadn’t used and one of those was P. P for Poppies. Poppies are red and their stems and leaves are green. I had an idea! But, as long term readers will know, I do not do botanical illustrations. I suck big time at drawing flowers. Not my thing at all. My solution was an obvious one because it’s a subject I resort to all the time in my art journal: throw a female figure in there.
I went way too heavy with my first layer of phthalo green watercolour which meant the subsequent layers just got darker and darker. The clothed portion of the figure is way too dark and opaque. I dislike it. Also, that arm is way too long. She would have orangutan proportioned arms if that arm was straighter. I think, however, that I just about get away with it. Maybe. I chose to stylise the poppies because I knew I would never be able to pull off more realistic poppies. I quite like those. So I feel rather meh about this art journal page but I am glad I did the Art Snacks box challenge because it was the shove I needed in a hectic, busy, difficult week to eke out some much-needed art time. The value of that can never be underestimated.
If you happen to follow me on Instagram, you will have seen this illustration as my response to this month’s Art Snacks challenge. I received two red products in the box this month and that immediately inspired me to draw a Ladybug Woman. I drew it on a sample pack of watercolour paper, also in the box, which means it is in that narrow format that I used recently for my Frankenstein’s Monster. I am enjoying working in this restrictive space as it really forces me to be creative with my composition.
Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was to use black and white with one colour. By coincidence, my Art Snacks box had just arrived and it contained a black fineline pen and a green alcohol marker. I, therefore, decided I could combine the challenges while giving myself the additional challenge of working on a narrow piece of paper. A childhood spent watching classic monster movies means I have a Pavlovian response to black and green. The combination always makes me think of Frankenstein’s Monster. I, therefore, set about drawing the Karloff version of the Creature in the narrow space of the paper. I was very happy with the ink illustration but then worried I would wreck it when adding the green. I have never been much good at “colouring in” plus I have never used an alcohol based marker before. I rubbed some of the marker on a piece of wax paper so that I could dilute it with water and brush it on as a light wash first. That then gave me the confidence to go in directly with the marker to create darker green areas. I am pretty pleased with how the illustration turned out. I had envisaged using it as a tip-in for my art journal but two of my kids want it as a bookmark so I guess that’s its destiny.
Mother’s Day was the excuse I needed to step away from the laundry, leave the vacuum unplugged, ignore the fact the basement playroom looks like it has been ransacked by raccoons, and instead spend some time at my art table. My monthly Art Snacks box had arrived the previous week so I thought I would have an experiment with the supplies within it and participate in the challenge to create some art using only those resources. Given I had a highlighter yellow paint pen and a bold orange chubby Pitt pen, the colour scheme shouted 1980s at me. I, therefore, knew I was going to end up creating an illustration with an ’80s vibe. What emerged as I sketched was a pig sporting various 1980s fashions. I actually did not wear any of these types of clothes in the ’80s because a) I have never been fashionable b) I think I was still wearing 1970s hand-me-downs when neon and ra-ra skirts were in style and c) I was a non-conformist as a child. I did have a pair of legwarmers that I wore when roller skating so I guess I dipped my toes into this style, though my legwarmers were grey. But I digress. My pig looks confident and ready to throw some shapes on the dance floor.
We had a Snow Day yesterday with schools closed and my preschool closed due to the winter storm and the bitter temperatures. It was definitely a day for hibernation. I tidied and read and baked and found time to work in my art journal. My January Art Snacks box had just arrived the previous day and I was eager to experiment with the contents. I used the Art Journal Adventure prompt as my starting point – year of the dog. As a cat owner, that might be a bit treacherous but it has been a while since I drew a dog so I thought I should take the opportunity to practice. My dog ended up super goofy and long and bendy but he’s playful and that is what guddling about in my art journal is all about. It was also fun to experiment with the products in the box, all of which I liked and all of which I will use again and again. The photos are not great thanks to the very dull lighting conditions and the fact that I was wrestling one of my cats at the time. He definitely did not approve of this dog illustration.
Having spent such little time at my art table this past month, I decided to participate in the challenge of using the materials from my December Art Snacks subscription box to create something. Between working in a preschool and doing festive stuff with my own kids, I have been up to my eyeballs in cutesy, whimsical, adorable winter arts and crafts. I, therefore, decided that I needed an antidote and looked to one of my default art subjects for inspiration: zombies.
The box included a pad of Grumbacher mixed media paper and its narrow format gave me the idea of drawing a zombie squeezing through a narrow shape. I had not used a Krink paint marker before so I watered its acrylic down and used it to fill in the entire illustration. The Bruynzeel coloured pencils added more shading and detail to the zombie and then I used the green Pentel Slicci gel pen to create a frame around the drawing. The box also included a Caran d’Ache gold marker but I will use that in other future projects. It just didn’t strike me as right for a zombie. I have missed drawing zombies. I need to draw more of them.