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.
This page is another example of me cannibalising my own work and seeing if I can regurgitate it in a different way or using a different media. The basis for this page is an ink and watercolour illustration I produced as part of a challenge to produce 100 faces. I decided to attempt reproducing the face but using mixed media. The orange background has photographed a little brighter than it actually is. In reality it is closer to an apricot hue, hence me titling this page “peaches and cream” for the contrast between that orange shade and the white disc that frames the head. I also kept the skin tones quite pale which means she could be said to have a peaches and cream complexion.
Roald Dahl’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ was one of the first chapter books I ever read to myself and I absolutely loved it. I would often return to it, as an old friend, when I was mooching around for something to read. I thought it would be apt, therefore, for Mr Fox to appear in the orange section of my Rainbow Art Journal. I started with a layer of “newsprint” deli paper, partly as a nod to Mr Fox’s textual origins but mostly to cover up some messy ink mess that had bled through from the other side of the page. The painting of Mr Fox took me no time at all, probably 20 minutes in total, broken down into painting as base layer and then another small dollop of time in which to add some shading and detail. Having been executed in a bit of a rush, he’s not my best effort but he’ll do.
This weekend, I grabbed some small parcels of time and used them to create an illustration in my art journal. I used last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt, which was to use an element and repeat it at least three times, and combined it with a prompt I had missed that involved the number 5. The idea of repetition made me think of clones and that made me think of the pod people from the movie ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ and then that segued in my brain to thinking of the book ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’ and thus I arrived at a decision to draw five clone children with expressionless faces and soulless eyes. I did the grey and black inkwork first and had intended to leave the hair white as a nod to the movie adaptation ‘Village of the Damned’ but, on a whim, I decided to add a splash of colour with red ink. I am undecided as to whether that was a smart move or not and my children – who I use to judge my art work – are split 50/50. What do you think?
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.
I had not done much in my Rainbow Art Journal since March so I decided to use some free time to start and finish a page in one sitting. I turned to a blank page in the orange sector, got out some orange drawing ink and some black India ink, a pot of water, and got to work. My intention had been to keep things loose because that is something I find to be challenging. I started out well and it is possible to detect the areas where I let the ink puddle and run and dribble. I struggle with abstraction because I don’t know how to balance the elements and create focus so I decided I would carve a figure out of the ink. Of course, inevitably, I ended up with a too tight illustration as a result. Fail! Ugh. Maybe I should just give up trying to work in a loose, uninhibited, less intentional way.
Today was my last teaching day of the school year. I am working at my preschool’s summer camp for the next fortnight but summer break is in reach. I am looking forward to a summer spent hanging out with my kids, relaxing, travelling, spending time on hobbies and interests, and generally having a much more flexible schedule. This week, however, was completely hectic and crazy in the way that the final weeks of the school year always are so this week’s art journal effort is still sloppy and rushed. That’s OK, however, because I needed those 20 minutes of art time as a brief escape pod from my ridiculous schedule. I used this week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt – the letter B – so I created a watercolour illustration of a Big Blue Bear.