I actually painted this illustration over a year ago as it was produced in response to an Art Snacks challenge. It was drawn in the yellow section of my Rainbow Art Journal – hence its relevance now. At the time I created it, I thought I might eventually circle back to it and add something to it but ultimately I have left it just as is, as a simple little ink and watercolour illustration. Sometimes, after all, less is more.
Using all of the media in my Art Snacks box was very much a challenge this month. There were two gelatos in colours labelled cherry and pistachio. I don’t have much success with red and green colour palettes and I have even less success with using gelatos. I know people who absolutely love gelatos and achieve a great deal of success with them. I meanwhile only seem able to achieve scribbly, scratchy, puddly messes. The box also contained an acrylic spray and sprays are again something I have no aptitude with. I tend to make an absolute mess with those. I was feeling very daunted about embarking on an illustration using these materials.
I received a peach hued marker in the box so I knew I would draw a human figure. I was using the three narrow paper samples provided so that format suggested the composition to me. I was actually surprised with how successfully I managed to create flesh tones using the beige base of the paper and the peach marker as I usually make a streaky mess with markers. And then it all went wrong.
I smooshed some gelato onto the paper and activated it water and moved the pigment around. However, no matter what I did, my initial scribbles remained visible and the pigment settled unevenly so it all ended up looking rather patchy. Evidently I need much more practice with using gelatos. And then I added the spray and made even more mess and really stuffed up the illustration. I drew on some branches dipped in the ink actually using the spray pump tube as my mark-making tool. When I tried to use it as a spray, however, I didn’t achieve fine mist but instead got large puddles and ugly drips. Such a mess. Time to step away and call this piece done. You can’t win them all.
I was all but housebound this weekend for various reasons: a rabble of teen boys celebrating my oldest turning 16 by spending 12 hours in our basement and devouring copious quantities of pizza; a backlog of household chores – not unrelated to the invasion of teen boys; and a day of near non-stop rain. Being on domestic lockdown, however, meant that I had time for arting. I decided to work in my art journal on last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt which was something to do with fairytales. My mind immediately went to Red Riding Hood because I have some inexplicable compulsion about illustrating that story. That was precisely why, however, I decided to steer myself away from the first thing I thought of, to challenge myself to illustrate something I had not in a while. I, therefore, decided to draw Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I used ink and watercolour.
I appreciate that, in the story, the trio of bears actually discover Goldilocks when she is fast asleep in the comfiest bed but I am not a pedant – well, not about that at least. I, therefore, opted to draw them discovering the golden-tressed interloper as she is gobbling down the “just right” porridge in the best chair in the house – a chair she later breaks. You may be forming the impression that I view Goldilocks as the villain of the piece. Darn tooting I do. She commits breaking and entering, rummages among other people’s possessions, eats food that was not designated for her consumption, and breaks furniture. No wonder the bears growl angrily when they discover the little miscreant in their house.
This was the other art journal illustration I created at the coffee shop when I met up with my local art friends. Again, I was limited by whatever portable art materials I had in my travelling art kit, things that won’t make a mess or require a lot of drying time. I had not drawn zombie bunnies in quite some time so I thought it was time that they made a reappearance. I did the outlining with my trusty micron pens and filled in the colour with watercolour pencils. Although I am not a massive fan of watercolour pencils generally (because I am not very adept at using them) but they do come in handy for drawing on the go. I activated the pigment with my water pens. The process doesn’t replicate the look of actual watercolour but it does the job.
I started this art journal page on Earth Day (22 April) but did not make much headway beyond covering the page in fragments of map from an old atlas and painting a white area for the face and neck. I was able to return to the page this weekend when I met up with some local art friends at a coffee shop. The circumstances necessitate the use of non-messy, portable, quick-drying art supplies. I, therefore, completed the page using Neocolor II crayons and Inktense pencils. Because I started the page on Earth Day, this illustration is of a sort of Mother Earth figure. I like that the text and shapes of the maps can still be seen through the layers of colour. The beady eyed among you will be able to detect that I used mainly Scandinavia with a wee bit of the Caribbean. I wish I had made her face more expressive but drawing while chatting is a challenge. I was productive and managed to create another illustration during the meet up but I will blog about that page tomorrow.
The Art Journal Adventure prompt this week was “heart” but, of course, I did not go all sweet and whimsical with my take on that prompt. Rather than the typical “love” heart, I decided to create an illustration inspired by an anatomical heart. Don’t expect it to be medical-textbook-accurate, however, because realism isn’t my thing either. What I came up with was a female figure with an exposed heart. I used her hair as a sort of curtain being pulled back to reveal some abstracted ribs and that bright red heart. My first impulse was to show her peeling her skin back to reveal the internal organs so I am glad I came up with the more aesthetically pleasing option of the long, dark hair. I do enjoy working with a limited palette so I kept this illustration to just the monochrome and splashes of red.
Since I was in the yellow section of my Rainbow Art Journal, I wanted to include a page that was about complementary colours. In this case, that meant yellow and purple. I have also been using this art journal to record the art materials I use so this page was created using three Daler Rowney Aquafine watercolours: cadmium yellow, gamboge, and purple lake. I got the illustration to the point that the figure was complete and the background was entirely yellow. Thinking that the yellow background was too bland and that the figure was floating in too much empty space, I added the purple plant forms. I think perhaps I went a bit overboard and now the background is too busy – and the purple a bit too dominant in a page that is supposed to be predominantly yellow. Nevermind that I strayed from my intentions because I quite like the illustration regardless.