Today, Carla's second lesson asked me to do some blind contour drawings. I chose to do a few elephants, one of my two favorite animals. The other one is the giraffe (but I also love cats and horses and chickens and dogs....well, all sorts).
So here I am getting ready. I have the iPad set with lots of elephant images. My coffee cup is full. I have my paper, my pen (my husband did buy me a fine-point sharpie yesterday but it is still in his car), and the card stock.
Okay, kind of silly but this doesn't happen often. I have matching socks on!
Hawk is planning on helping me.
Here's one of my contour drawings. I really like this one -- even though I couldn't look at the page while drawing these elephants it has a nice feel to it.
Here's contour number two. The one on the left you can tell is an elephant but just. And the thing on the right is part of an elephant -- I can make out his ear.
Carla says to put some made up pattern behind your contour drawing of choice. Hers is really cool (if you don't have her book, it is well worth it -- the pictures alone are worth getting it for even if you don't do the projects). I choose to paint instead. I am not sure at this point how the watercolors will do on the card stock.
Here is the result. I think I might still do some more on it but i like it. I ended up using my finger to paint most of the time. I also used a coffee filter to dab the paint. And of course the paper dried bumpy and wavy. But that is okay. I think this has a lot of emotion. If I do more with it I may post the finished project. We'll see.
What am I learning on my illustrator's journey? That a free hand is necessary for emotion-packed pictures. That I have to enjoy it for it to work out. That I can learn from the mistakes as much or more than I do from the successes.
The second part of lesson 1 is to finish one or two of the cats I drew yesterday. One of the ideas Carla mentions is to paint them with acrylic on canvas. I didn't want to do this because it is exactly what I've been doing for too long. My favorite thing is to use boxed canvases with glue and acrylic paint.
I had to do something new.
I went into my bedroom and found this piece of canvas drop cloth. Yes, it is canvas but a totally different kind! And so I cut a piece of it (I tried to rip it first but that didn't work well).
So,here's the piece of canvas. I decided to try and use watercolors on this drop cloth.
Here's what I chose to use: watercolors from Walmart, water, brushes and my handy yogurt lid for a disposable palette. Those circle things I didn't use so I won't mention them again. If you look you can see the two cats I chose. I drew them on the canvas with ballpoint pen. I asked my husband to buy me a fine-point black sharpie for later assignments.
I also added some flowers in the middle of the cats for the left one to give to the right one.
This is a real fuzzy picture but I'm including it anyway. I messed up. I added black to outline the girl cat's mouth and it got away from me.
I fixed it by painting over it with white and red....it takes a while for this canvas to dry so I had to make sure things were really dry before doing a next step.
I am almost finished. I am liking the cats but I have no idea what to do with the background. Not sure about the flowers.
All the extra stuff takes away from the two cats. I don't like the words or the flowers at all. I do like the cats though.
Cat One. The color is brighter in person.
Second Cat. She is cute...
So I cut them out and threw the rest away. Not sure what I will do with them yet. Maybe I'll make them into bookmarks.
I am concerned that this is the second cat that I've made that has a big red nose! I will continue to try and try new techniques. Lesson Two I will do tomorrow. It is a blind contour lesson.
Today I began Lesson 1 in Carla Sonheim's Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists book. It is drawing cats in bed.
I originally thought I would get in my bed, but I made a makeshift bed beside my 13 year old son who stays home with me. I put the book and the materials needed on the pillow. It required a fine point sharpie but I used a black pen instead since I could find a fine-point sharpie (They seem to disappear really quick in my house).
The assignment is to quickly draw 30 cats. This is what I did.
Page 1 of 3. The paper I used was a piece of white card stock. cat in the top left corner I tried drawing over in a fat sharpie to make them darker for the pictures but it didn't work out well. So, I left the others as they are.
I like a couple of the cats on this page.
Page 2 of 3.
My favorite cat on this page is the on in the bottom right corner.
My third sheet.
I especially like the cat with chicken legs. But the very bottom one is interesting too. I drew part of that one with my eyes shut because I was having trouble getting variety.
The next part of this assignment is to develop one of the cats into a more complete picture.
I don't have time at the moment. This will have to wait until tomorrow. I have loads of laundry to fold, dishes to wash and a 13 year old son who needs changing, feeding and placed in his stander.
Do any of the cats I drew speak to you? I'd love to hear any thoughts.
I'm not a full-fledged professional illustrator but I am again on my way!
And just for good measure here is a picture of my favorite coffee cup. It is usually filled with hot very black coffee (Seattle's Best #5 is my favorite).
My book came yesterday! And I am so excited to begin it. I read the introductory pages while doing dishes and cooking biscuits and gravy (I was going to show a picture of my early morning self holding the book but the computer wouldn't cooperate.)
I want to start it now but I am going to do my illustration assignments only Monday thru Friday since my family is around all weekend and they need my attention.
The first assignment we are told to get back in bed and draw 30 cats! It sounds like the perfect excuse for me to then take a nap afterwards so I believe I shall save this for late Monday morning when I am getting a bit tired.
I want to tell you a quick story of how I got the book. It came via Fed Ex last night a out 5:30 p.m. I am a prime member on Amazon.com and get my stuff from them (if it ships from Amazon) in two days.
Well, my husband was already home. He has grown to tolerate my love of books but I definitely don't buy all the books I want, and when one comes and he is around I feel kind of sheepish.
He goes to the Fed Ex guy, takes the package, sees it is from Amazon and says, "Hmmm, I wonder what this is?" and then gives me one of those looks.
Oh well. I am not into clothes or jewels or really anything but books.
So, my progress continues in my mind. I am not going to be drawing this weekend but I'm thinking about it, simmering around in there. And I even caught myself this morning saying, "I am an illustrator."
I did it. And you all helped!
I was talking last night at the writers group how ridiculous it was for me to set up this website, but you know what -- if I fail as an illustrator so what. I at least tried.
But I don't plan on failing.
And this keeps me accountable.
And guess what -- my made my very first creature out of a blob via instructions I got from Carla Sonheim's website.
I took photos so see below my process and the finished product. I ended up using too much pen but overall I think Red Nose is kind of cute (that's the cat's name). I enjoyed the process. Last night all I could think of was drawing my first blobs today.
So here are the pictures:
These are the blobs I ended up drawing. They were originally in pencil, but you couldn't see them in the photo so I went over them with a black sharpie. Incidentally I got all of them in my living room!
Here are the materials I gathered: a roll of watercolor paper I had bought months ago for a friend's project. Watercolors (and I mainly used the kind kids often have on hand -- I wanted to see if I could use cheap stuff to do the work). Pens, a #2 pencil, a sharpener, paintbrushes, index cards -- those are what I drew the blobs on.
I went with this blob. I copied it in pencil onto the paper. Then I went over it with green watercolor.
I turned the picture to the left and ended up using that nose looking thing for a tail. At this point I did a couple of layers of green and pink on the outline.
I added pencil for shading and hair. I also filled in the eyes a bit. I am really liking him at this stage. I add a moon and a window because the light needs to come from somewhere.
Here is the finished creature. I don't like his back left and I think I got too much pen on him but overall I like him. And I absolutely love him as being my very first blob project and the first step as an illustrator. Would love to do another but have to do some writing.
One last photo -- old yogurt lids or ice cream lids make great palettes. You can just throw them away when you're done. Also if you are teaching a bunch of kids they each can have their own.
So, that is it for Jane's illustrating today. How's your dream coming? Pursue it. Don't wait.
The pregnancy went on for months. It was dormant for a long time.
How does that work?
Is that even possible?
The pregnancy finally began to progress. There were starts and stops. There has never been a consistent growth. The nourishment needed to get this illustrator born was sometimes nonexistent.
And now the illustrator has been born. Here's her picture:
Yeah, she's big for a newborn. She's between 125 and 132 pounds (depending on her appetite)!
That is one big baby.
And she's been in that womb a long time. She's almost 45 years old.
And yes, she's me, Jane Anne Viernow Hinrichs.
I didn't know until the last ten years or so how much I love children's books.
I should have known. Mom said I would sit in the closet at age 2 surrounded by books for hours.
I guess I haven't changed.
I buy picture books for myself because I love the pictures.
I began painting in 2003 when my husband bought me my first paints.
Since then I've sold quite a few, had a few shows; have sold some through galleries and online. Here's one of the latest:
But my paintings aren't illustrations.
So, I've been drawing for months. I've gotten a lot better, but I still don't have a style.
I researched art colleges, but that isn't an option for me.
Finally I stumbled onto a resource who has already helped me -- an art teacher by the name of Carla Sonheim.
I bought one of her books and have been studying her tutorials on her website. She offers week-long online courses too. They are very reasonable, but I don't have a week I can dedicate strictly to illustrations quite yet.
But one day....
And until then I am going to do the Art Lab for Mixed-Media Artists -- 52 creative exercises (oh, it is something like that). I am already working on her blog exercise!
And she's accessible. She has replied to two of my emails.
This illustrator is finally born.
But like a newborn babe, I have a lot of growing to do. I have no idea what I will become (just like we don't know who are children will become).
If you want to watch this journey unfold, stop back when you can.
I'm so excited. I'll post my projects online for you to enjoy or laugh at or both....It doesn't matter. I want to do this.
What is your dream?
Jane enjoys drawing and painting. Join her. Doodling, drawing, ART - all of it is great for brain health!
Check out Jane's Youtube channel below. And if you see a picture on my blog you would like to purchase send Jane an email (or check out Jane's store).