Thursday, December 29, 2011

Little shoes

I've discovered that I love drawing in ink on watercolor paper.  I'd figure the ink would bleed or the pen would catch on the texture of the paper, but those things don't happen and the lines can get such nice variation! These were done small, 2x3", as gifts.  I think I'll do more, perhaps a series.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sorry that the card is late....

I'm quite late with our holiday cards this year so I drew this up today, made lots of prints, and put one in each card!  I hope everybody enjoys it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A page of male faces

Thinking about it now, I wish I'd done a Santa hat on one of these!  Pen and ink with black watercolor wash.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Illustration Friday: "Round"


This guy is my debut into "inking" digitally.  It kind of cracks me up to call it inking since there is no actual ink involved!  It did feel more like pen inking than I thought it would though.  And it was fun to play around with Photoshop CS5 with all its options for customizing brushes.  I colored the illustration with a brush I made myself from a sample of a traditional ink drawing.  A little art irony perhaps!  Just as a side note, I use an Intuos tablet, and an old one at that.  Still works great though.

Something occurred to me as I was coloring this.  As I'm "painting" (of course, without actual paint) and discovering how textures work in Photoshop, I'm thinking that visual interest generated by Photoshop could probably cover up for a lot of bad drawing!  I'm going to have to be mindful of that as I practice.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

And...more bunnies

What always happens to me is that I'll get an idea for an illustration, do a sketch I like, and then not be able to decide how I really want to finish it. After finishing the Illustration Friday "silent" bunny from this week I still wanted to try it a couple of different ways.  Here they are:

The first one was drawn with brush pen on paper from an old Arches watercolor block.  The paper has a lot of texture to it and the brush pen really picked that up.  I think I like this one better than the one I posted for Illustration Friday!

The black and white version was drawn on watercolor paper too because I was planning to color it.  I have a thing for black and white art though, so the color never happened.  The paper is smoother than the other one, Canson Aquarelle, and I used both the brush pen and my crow quill and ink.

Funny isn't it, how different styles of finishing a sketch can have such an effect of the feel of it?  I haven't decided if I'm done with this yet.  If I try anything else I'll post it here!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Illustration Friday: "Silent"

This week's topic made me remember the sweet, silent baby bunnies we had in our yard at the end of this summer.  They were so still that I had to put leaves and sticks next to them so I could hope to find them again in the grass!  I drew this little interpretation with pen and ink and colored it with watercolor.  My watercolor skills are a little rusty but I'll keep working on them!  The posts with bunny photos are here and here.

Added 11/17/2011:  two new versions of the bunny!  Check them out here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Watercolor block sketchy doodles

Last night I used an old watercolor block page as a sketchbook.  I had just opened a little watercolor set ( Cotman Sketchers' Pocket Box by Winsor & Newton) and I really wanted to play around with the cute little blocks of watercolor.  I was sketching mostly with ballpoint pen so I couldn't correct anything.  Then I touched up some of the drawings with pen and ink after the watercolor dried.

You can see the little boy's head from the top picture in the bottom corner of the bottom one.  I cleaned the top sketch up to post alone because it was my favorite.  No judging the bad proportions!  Pen sketching means you just kind of....go with the flow!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Illustration Friday: "Scary"

The Escape of the Fire Sprites
Well, it finally happened:  I actually had a piece of art already done that could be used for Illustration Friday!  I did this for fun as a Halloween illustration and got lucky with this week's topic.  It was drawn with crow quill pen and ink.  Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Illustration Friday: "Fuel"

I had this little sun lurking in my sketchbook, wanting to be finished.  So I practiced using Illustrator CS5 and completed Illustration Friday at the same time!  The colored one above is the second version;  the first version is below.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Illustration Friday: "Ferocious"

In an American tall tale, Pecos Bill roped a ferocious tornado with his rattlesnake lasso and rode it all the way to California.  There, as it rained itself out, Bill fell off.  When he fell, he created a low spot in the ground that became Death Valley.  Come to think of it, Bill was pretty ferocious himself!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Boots 'n' Dots

Just playing today and thought I'd share the result!  It's inked with crow quill and finished in Photoshop.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Illustration Friday: "Mysterious"

This guy knows about as much about being mysterious as I do!  I used Dr. PH. Martin's liquid watercolors over pen and ink .

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Today's favorite sketch

This gal is wearing some large-sized shoes, eh?  I always did have trouble with feet. And today I wasn't looking at any reference to help me!  Still, I like the feel of this sketch and drawing a fashion-style figure felt really good, like going back to my roots. This was drawn in ballpoint pen in my sketchbook, scanned and laid on a pink background in Photoshop.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bunnies...the next morning

I was worried about the bunnies so I went out this morning to check on them and found them all curled up in the old nest spot!  I could only see 3 of them so I hope the 4th one is safe on his own or underneath these cuties.  I don't think any lawn mowing is going to happen in our backyard for several days!  These little guys could be anywhere!  The stick in the picture is one that I stuck in the ground so I could find the nest.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Backyard bunnies!

The bunnies in our backyard nest came out this morning!  So cute.  It's really wet outside after Hurricane Irene and it's still raining so I'm worried about them.  The mom just left them out in the grass (clover patches)!  I guess they'll know what to do.

There are four of them but I only took pictures of three because I was afraid I'd step on somebody as I was trying to get closer.

I hope rain will keep the hawks away until these little sweeties can get themselves hidden!

Bunny 1

Bunny 2

Bunny 3

Thursday, July 28, 2011

First digital painting!

It's about time I tried painting (not just coloring) in Photoshop, so today I did and I love it!  I didn't take the time to develop a good drawing because I just wanted to play, but what the heck?  Now there will be something to look back on if and when I improve!

My favorite things about it, at least today, are the lack of mess, the ease of changing things, and the almost instant gratification.  Nothing had to dry.  And there is no fear of messing up.  Very freeing.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Illustration Friday: "Gesture"

I've read a couple of good Regency romance novels recently (my favorite reads) so for "Gesture" I drew Regency romance mice!  I used pen and ink and watercolor.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sketchpage 1

I need to sketch more, draw more, experiment more.  That's the only way I'm going to find out what really floats my boat.  I know I've said that before!  Procrastination, fear, life get in the way.  This needs to become a priority.  These are from this morning, sketched while I watched the Tour de France.

Some are "random shape" creations and some are general doodles.  A few are pencil but most are done with ballpoint pen.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Illustration Friday: "Midsummer Night"

Full Buck Moon
Many Native American tribes called the full moon in July the Full Buck Moon because in July, deer bucks begin to grow that year's new antlers.  More information and moon names can be found

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Only top-of-the-line for me!

The bulb in my fluorescent art lamp died and until I can replace it, this is the best I could find in my house!  Poor thing.  I shouldn't laugh at it; it's doing it's best!  :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

First brush pen doodles

I tried a brush pen for the first time today and thought it was great!  Mind you, I didn't do a whole lot with it but I love the line variety it gives and I loved not having to dip a brush!  The one I have is the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.  

Monday, June 20, 2011

Illustration Friday: "Launch"

More babies!  How did I go this long without realizing what fun subjects for drawing that babies are??  It cracks me up every time I see a baby do this, and it always will.  For this illustration I used ink with brush and pen, and Photoshop.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Baby, that's fast!

Today I drew babies from life!  Just a little perk of babysitting for me. Those little buggers sure move fast! I wasn't sketching nearly fast enough.  I'd look down for just a quick glance at my paper and look back up and the moment was gone.  I almost had to draw without looking 
at my paper!  These were done in ballpoint pen.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Illustration Friday: "Swept"

This was so much fun.  I've been enjoying my pen and ink more than ever and working on getting more interest in the lines and contrasts in my illustrations.  I've also started experimenting with hand-drawn background textures.  This turned out to be very "busy" I think, but maybe not too much?  I asked my daughter if I'd gone overboard and she said to leave it alone.  So here it is!

Monday, May 23, 2011

What I've been up to: gift plates for the 136th running of the Preakness Stakes

For the second year I was proud to be asked by the Maryland Jockey Club to create gift souvenir plates for the owners of the horses entered in the 136th Preakness Stakes!  I'm sorry I haven't been posting much lately but I wanted this to remain a surprise until the presentation day so I didn't want to show anything online.  I took some pictures as I worked, which I'll share here.  I'm not a very good photographer but I hope you'll get the idea!  I loved doing this work and I hope you enjoy taking a peek at the process.

First, I like to tie the plate design to the Preakness logo.  For each year, there's a new one.  This is the 2011 logo design and a few of my sketches based on making the plate tie in with it.

Logo image source and design information
A few rough sketches in Photoshop
Final design choice.  "Triple Vision" was used for design purposes only and was not a Preakness runner.

I printed the design out a couple of times and created templates for the top graphic and the jersey and cap.  The horse's name would have a guideline only and be painted freehand.  The paints I used are Folk Art Enamels, which are acrylic paints designed to be used on glass and ceramics.

Top graphic template
After the template
The ribbons on the top graphic were created using templates as well.  The type at the bottom was painted freehand using a guideline like the one in the center area.  At the time this picture was taken I had already scraped off the guideline.  Smoothing edges and scraping off guidelines was done with an X-acto knife.
Freehand painting of the horse's name
The last step is painting the jockey's silks
Bad lighting and photography aside, this is what
the final product looked like.

The painting of these plates involved a lot of scraping and repainting.  Any time a letter looked bad or I damaged one too badly trying to perfect the edge I had to scrape it off and start over.  I found that the freehand painting of the horses' names was the hardest part of the painting because it was difficult to space the letters properly with each other and to space the name as close to center as possible.  The letters also have to be pretty close to the same size.  Due to all my "perfecting", each plate took approximately 5 hours to paint.

Here is a picture of all 14 finished plates!