Saturday, October 29, 2016

Halloween 2016: Costume pARTy!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is almost here again, and you know what that means... costume pARTy! In case you missed the original Halloween Costume Art, I like to commemorate the holiday by drawing various (often hilarious) costumes pulled from the latest costume catalogs.  

Random Costume Assignment

This year I enlisted my brother to help randomly assign costumes for my usual cast of characters. Even though the costumes were completely random, a lot of them worked out quite well for the people who received them.

1st time is not the charm

Once I knew who was who, I took some time to sketch out a possible plan. Ten people is quite a lot to fit into one picture, especially since I wanted them to interact in some fashion. 

Getting ink

A few preliminary sketches later, and I was ready to start inking. This is one of my favorite parts of the process, as it refines all the hazy spots and makes it look so official!

Gibdo attack! (Bonus points if you get the OoT/MM reference!)

As luck would have it, one of the randomly assigned costumes is also the one I'll be donning this year: Link, the Hero of Time! (And if any mummies come after me, I have an awesome new Hylian shield backpack with which to defend myself!)

Mwee hee hee! Don't feed the octopus, kids!

But what's this? Nine tenths of the way through inking I realize I have a giant blank spot in the bottom right corner that sets the whole page off balance. So what's a girl to do? Add a purple octopus, of course! This was the only non-random costume of the bunch, and while there was legitimately a purple octopus costume in the catalog, I took some liberties to make it everyone's favorite octopus royalty, Ultros.


At long last, the ink is complete and it's starting to look like a real picture! 

Sketches, what sketches? We woke up this way.

Next step? Destroy the evidence! (A.k.a. erase the pencil lines.)

Let the coloring begin!
With the black and white coloring page ready to go, it was time to bust out the markers and get coloring! With the magic of musical soundtracks to inspire me - Into the Woods for Little Red Riding Hood, Chicago for the flapper, Newsies because it's awesome, and so on - I was able to enjoy some therapeutic coloring time, like those adult coloring books, but from scratch!

At last, it's done!

And voila! I used a mix of Prismacolor markers, Staedtler pens and some metallic Sharpies for this one, plus for the pattern of Disgust's dress, I drew the pale flowers with white coloring pencil first, then applied a wash of green marker and added the blue and green flowers at the end. It was something of an experiment and I'm quite pleased with how it came out!

Thumbs up!
If you want to get your coloring on this Halloween, feel free to use the black and white image above. You can also check out the one from two years ago. Either way, if you do I'd love to see the final product. Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Nailed It! The Art of Pinspiration

Bird's Eye View

Have you ever wanted to draw, but had no idea where to begin? This sort of creative block seems fairly universal to most any creative avenue (writing, painting, cooking, you name it), and one of my favorite ways out of this rut is to step back and do a little R&D. 

When it comes to art, for me that means working from a reference. This not only gives your creative brain a break while still flexing the muscles, but also gives you a chance to study up, refine your skills and experiment with new styles. Where can one find references like this, you ask? Pinterest, of course!

Hey, fancy ladies!

These fancy ladies were inspired by this Fashion Photo which struck me as soon as I saw it. I referenced the clothes, hair and postures of the ladies, but gave them to a few of my own characters instead. (If I really wanted to maximize the learning experience, I should have gone after that background, too, but... maybe next time!)

Women's Fashion Sketches

These sets of sketches are based off pins curated by Pinterest's Men's and Women's Fashion categories. As you can see, photos of people are great examples of how clothes hang, fit, etc. on a body, as well as a person's stance, weight, expression and so on. As usual, I took all of the above and gave them to my original characters to add a little of my own style and fun.

Men's Fashion Sketches

Along with photo references, I've also recently delved into my Art board for inspiration. For this study, I picked out a few pieces with a slightly abstract, colorful style I seem to be drawn to. I didn't have my watercolors handy, but I did have a nice set of very inky markers I wanted to test out, so it worked out rather well.

Color Study x3!

I based these exercises in color on these awesome pins: HorseFace and Bird. Of my own renditions, the bird is by far my favorite, partially because it turned out so well and also because I like the original so much (it's the cover of my Art board!). In my opinion, the face turned out pretty well, too, and the horse is... okay. And you know what? Okay is okay because this is practice. Phew! It's amazing what a little grace can do for the creative process!

Face & Bird... Take 2!

These two pieces are based on Face Profile and Bird Profile, because apparently I'm fascinated by faces and birds! Once again, the originals were watercolors and my renditions were done with marker, but perhaps I will bust out my watercolors to practice those awesome effects soon. 

In the meantime, to see how fashion advertisements and costume catalogs can also be handy (and hilarious) references, check out my Guess Who: From Catalog to Coloring Book and Halloween Costume Art blogs!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Dewey's Debut: The Birthday Book Brownie

Birthday Book Brownie!

This year's birthday cake was extra special because I got to share it with another awesome character... Dewey! I love a good book and this guy's no exception. I drew the little dude as part of my Leadership class project (a donation station benefiting the local library), and then made the cake in honor of Dewey's official debut. So what kind of cake to you bake for such a celebration of literacy?

So we meet again...

A book cake, of course! Or in this case, a book brownie. In the interest of fewer crumbs in the library (and because I make a killer brownie), I opted for a brownie cake instead of the usual. 

Books & Brownies? Yes, please!

A good tip for showstopping brownies? Doctor up a boxed mix with tasty extras like cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate chips. I also swap out half the oil for applesauce, as it's less oily and you can't tell the difference.

Isn't he cute??

When it came time to decorate, I decided to freehand Dewey. The original artwork (above) took me a few tries (and a little Photoshop) to get just right, but I only had one go with the icing...

Now that's what I call food art.

To do the line art, I simply put some chocolate frosting in a ziptop bag, cut off a corner and used it as a piping bag. For single attempt in icing, I think it turned pretty well!

Because sprinkles are for winners!

For some finishing touches, I added a thicker line of chocolate around the edge to mimic the book cover (plus a little at the spine for the bend of the pages). The sprinkles were for extra color and fun. 

Ready to book it!

All packed up and ready to go... to the library!!

A deluge of Deweys!

As part of the Leadership project, our class held a coloring contest featuring Dewey. It was super fun to see so many fantastically colorful versions of Dewey on display and know I had a part in it.

Coloring contest winners - Great job, kids!

These three masterpieces were the winners of the contest and earned their artists great prizes, like the chance to roll the first "gold" coin down the wishing well.

Dewey's Donation Station!

While I did the artwork for Dewey and other graphics on the signs, this wishing well was a huge team effort involving everyone in the Leadership Folsom class of 2015. Thanks to everyone from the build team to the fundraising crew and all those in between, the whole project was a success, and we were even able to donate $3000 to the library at the debut celebration!

Leslie Knope would not approve

The event itself was a total blastlocal dignitaries showed up along with parents, kids, business owners, caterers and more! Since the shindig just happened to be on my birthday (and had a delicious book brownie (birthday) cake), I decided it was actually secretly my birthday party. How nice it was for everyone to come! ;)

Let's READ!

Here's to another exciting year to read, write, bake and otherwise creatively make the world a funner, tastier and all around better place. Let's read!