Monday, April 14, 2014

Experimenting on Craft Day

Do you ever talk with fellow artists about how much fun it would be to share tools and techniques and just play for an afternoon? On Saturday, several Austin illustrators got to do just that when the talented and organized Marsha Riti made a good idea into an afternoon of craft at the lovely home of Luz Marie Iturbe. So much fun to try out media that you might never invest in just to play! With everyone bringing in a little something to share, you realize which tools are worth getting for your own studio.

I am now in love with liquid watercolor. I had one bottle that I never really used; but getting to play with the whole set of colors suddenly opens up possibilities. I will be making a Jerry's trip this week.craftday1
The effect when you drop the color onto wet watercolor paper is pretty divine. On the right, some liquid watercolor had dried on Yupo watercolor paper (propylene) and reminded me of Fiver's visions in Watership Down (saw the movie at a young age, and it stuck with me).
Another artist brought in tools to do impressing on paper, which adds line and texture under the graphite or colored pencil that follows. I had some fun making wave patterns. The alligator is done in watercolor pencil.
Trying out some liquid frisket to create texture on an orange. And after using a piece of the Yupo paper as a palette for the liquid graphite I was playing with, the resulting spot reminded me of a gorilla head.
Thanks to Marsha for organizing us and to Luz Marie for being such a wonderful host (with a totally fun trampoline)! And thanks to the other illustrators for bringing and sharing your tools of the trade.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Part of a promo with my fellow Girllustrators. A bit of Valentine's silliness.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Secret Garden Nesting Dolls

This post could be subtitled: "How I learned That I Know Nothing About Acrylic Paint Or Painting On 3-D Objects." IMG_6864 So, I had this idea several months ago that illustrated nesting dolls might be a fun project to do as a silent auction donation for the upcoming SCBWI Austin Conference. A couple of other illustrators decided to take on the challenge, too (you can see an adorable set by the talented Marsha Riti here). nesting1.1 Things with my set started off promising enough. The robin and the key were a pretty straightforward choice with The Secret Garden theme (one of my favorite books). The largest nesting doll, which is the garden in bloom, ended up being the most challenging. nesting2 After ditching the randomly placed flowers I pencilled in, I decided to use a lamp from my grandmother as an inspiration point. I went on to repaint sections of this doll at least 4 times. Lesson: opaque acrylic craft paint is nothing like watercolor and wants to clump up on your brush any chance it gets. IMG_3953 Above you can see the attempt at translating a 2-D sketch onto a 3-D object. IMG_6857 And the completed set, after two full afternoon sessions and lots of revisiting. This was taken just before they got their clear coat, which made them look super-glossy like real nesting dolls! They're drying for the next 24 hours, and I hope to post some photos of the final set before conference. Overall lesson: while these did turn out to be fun, they would have been even more fun if I had built in a little more learning curve time.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Round Robin, Week 3

AF_RR3.1 This week I'm doing the final illustration lap of the Round Robin collaboration with Marsha Riti and Diandra Mae. Marsha kicked it off with a beautiful setting of the scene, and Diandra created some wonderful characters and drama. Decided to add a little atmosphere.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Round Robin, Week 2

So, it's my week to kick off our round robin collaboration. AF_RR2
Check in with Marsha Riti and Diandra Mae over the next couple of days to see what else develops in this scene. Happy drawing!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Round Robin, Week 1

Conducting a little art experiment with illustrators extraordinaire Diandra Mae and Marsha Riti where we collaborate on a piece every week round robin style. Diandra handed me the most adorable, forlorn fox, and here's what I added.
Marsha, over to you for the last leg of storytelling/artmaking!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Costume idea for the manatee with a sense of humor manateehalloween

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sketching at Barton Springs

Joined up with other SCBWI Austin illustrators on Saturday and tried to capture the scene at "Barking" Springs: part dog park, part swimming hole. Lovely morning to sit beneath the sycamores and watercolor. barkingsprings2 barkingsprings3 barkingsprings6 barkingsprings5 barkingsprings4

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Animal Experiments

Applying the landscape style from last week (outline in indigo watercolor) to animals. squirrel 2013_june.animals b&wcats

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Process: Lake Como in Watercolor

Let's start with my photo reference, a shot of Lake Como in Northern Italy from several years ago. Side note: this is one of the most beautiful, dreamy places I've ever been. lakecomo1 I start off with a minimal sketch in HB pencil and a light pink wash for this one (I don't recommend having cat hair on your paper, as I have done, but when you've got a kitty in the studio during shedding season, it's tough to avoid) IMG_3097 Three layers of color here IMG_3100 More layers, lots of viridian green and prussian blue in the mix IMG_3115 And voila. Finished sketch with watercolor and some graphite detailing on the boat and houses.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Landscapes Three Ways

Just playing around with watercolor approaches. I posted some progress shots of these last week, but here they are "finished" and scanned.

Watercolor, charcoal & graphite landscape1
Outlines in thick indigo watercolor, filled in with transparent watercolor layers landscape3
And landscape detail outlined in softer watercolor of different colors landscape4.1 My photo reference (the amazing Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC) and a postcard of Toshi Yoshida's woodcut "Linnoji Garden", my jumping off point for experimenting with technique. IMG_3118

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Desert Inspiration

Working on a Victorian gothic piece for this weekend's SCBWI conference in Houston, but the images in my head are more influenced by the subtle textures and earth tones and blazing blue skies of the desert. Took a trip last weekend to Palm Springs with some high school friends that I rarely get to see, and it was a lovely time filled with desert hikes, swims in a saltwater pool, delicious food (still thinking about that tender porkbelly and buttermilk onion ring sloppy joe at the ACE hotel restaurant), and the wackiness that is Palm Springs. IMG_2369 photo(5)
Joshua Tree
IMG_2362 IMG_2367
Indian Canyons
IMG_2484 IMG_2500 IMG_2487
Palm Springs
Alpine woods at the end of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Marilyn, larger than life

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Squirrels Night Out

I just read last week's 7-imp post on David Ezra Stein's Ol' Mama Squirrel, which is going on my book wishlist straight-away. Love how he captured their fierce, chastising nature, even when dealing with creatures many times their size.

I recently drew several pages of squirrels, trying to figure out the look and personalities of some that are going into a story I'm writing. Thought these guys ended up looking like what might happen on squirrels night out.
squirrels night out

Friday, February 08, 2013

Lion, squirrels and conferences, oh my!

lionsandsquirrels The Austin SCBWI conference kicks off tonight, with an exciting event at the Children's Museum honoring Patrice Barton, Crystal Kite winner, and full of readings by E.B. Lewis, Liz Garton Scanlon, Cynthia Leitich Smith and more. Conference also means this week has been chock full of illustration and printer wrangling. Lots of new pieces in the portfolio this time! The above sketch is a work/possible story in progress...

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

From the sketchbook: dino & flamingos

I feel like this guy has a story, but I'm not sure what it is yet... sketchbook_1.8.13_dino
My nephew stopped by while I had out the bright fuschia liquid watercolor and wanted to try it out. His snake (he's 2 and everything he draws is a snake) looked like a flamingo, so I embellished and then did one of my own. I'm partial to the energy of his! Might have to use it as inspiration to stray a little from my own comfort zone. sketchbook_1.8.13
Do you ever feel like you hold the year in the palm of your hand? You might be right IMG_2113
...or maybe you just ordered a mini-calendar online thinking it would not be quite so mini.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Inspiration on a frosty morning

Walking with my dog this morning out at the Walnut Creek trails, I was struck by the beauty of the glittery dew and frost and subtle golden colors of winter. My brain kept mixing watercolor paint to capture those shades, but the only tool I had on hand was my phone. And now I have my painting inspiration for the week... IMG_2101 IMG_2089 IMG_2103 IMG_2098 IMG_2085 IMG_2095 IMG_2087 IMG_2081 IMG_2105 The frosty abandoned tennis ball might be my favorite moment.