Monday, December 26, 2016

My Illustration Process: From Start to Finish!

Since I love seeing how other artists create, 
I thought it would be fun to share my illustration process 
from start to finish...

My process always begins with sketching.  At this stage, I'm trying to get a feel for the character(s), the movement, and the expressions.  I also like to try and develop a rough plan for the layout of the page(s).

Next, I create more finished drawings based on my original sketches, but making adjustments as needed.  I create these drawings on plain old copy paper (but in the size the final artwork will be in).

After my my layout is set and my drawings are complete, I use my light box to trace my drawings onto 140lb. watercolor paper.  When my original drawings have been transferred, I use a dark brown prismacolor pencil to lay in my underlying values.  (I want to get a base down so that I can see where darks, lights, shadows, and highlights will go.)

When I finish my colored pencil layer, I cover the images with clear gesso and let that dry.  Then, I put on a wash of burnt sienna fluid acrylic.  This layer adds warmth and depth to the final painting that would be difficult to achieve if I left those areas white.

Now the fun really begins... I start adding color (using acrylic paint).  I start by painting the areas that would be furthest away (in the background), then moving to areas that are closer to the viewer (in the foreground).  
I build up my paint in layers, starting with darker values and gradually lightening them.  Not only does this allow for smooth blending, it gives the final painting more depth.

(It was at this point that I accidentally dipped my sleeve into my palette and smeared it across the page as I was working. 
I don't recommend that!  Hahaha!)

When I'm adding color, I try to avoid using paint straight from the tube.  I use a porcelain enamel butcher's tray palette and mix my paints directly on the smooth surface.  Once I've mixed my colors, I transfer them to folded damp paper towels.  (This keeps them workable for a long time.)  If I spritz my paints with water and cover my palette with plastic wrap, I can use the paints I've mixed for days.  (Also, the porcelain surface is great for easy clean-up!)

I keep building on previous layers, moving around the painting (avoiding working on any one particular area for too long).  The final step is to add the last little details and the whitest whites.

(Actually, the final step for this painting was fixing my "oops" paint smear digitally!)

I hope you've found this start to finish look at my illustration process helpful...
See you in 2017!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Run, Crab... Run!!!

Last week I teased you with a quick gestural sketch.
These are the paintings the sketch led to...

Do you love to see how an artist creates their art?  Me too!
That's why next week I will be sharing my process (in detail, with pictures) 
from sketch to finish!

Friday, December 9, 2016

An Update and A Tease...

I realized I never posted an update to the doughnut illustration I shared last month, so I wanted to be sure to let you see how it turned out...

In case you missed the previous posts, this is the sketch it started from:

And, since I'd love to keep you in the loop, here is a little tease of something I'm currently working on:

Be sure to check back next week to see what becomes of this rough sketch!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

When All Else Fails... Make Art.

I have been at a loss for words lately.
I have been feeling all sorts of feelings, but I can never seem to find the right words to express them.  

When I was little, I was painfully shy.  (So shy in fact, that school conferences were arranged to discuss my shyness.)  While I had a difficult time speaking up in the typical verbal sense, I discovered a way to communicate that didn't involve words... Art.  Throughout my life, I have found that even when I don't know what to say, I can turn to my familiar friends, drawing and painting, to help see me through... It's my visual voice.

Since I currently find myself in the all-too-familiar predicament of struggling to verbalize my feelings, I was excited to read this post by Alisa Burke.  When she shared the #artistsforlove movement that a beautiful and generous group of artists have started, it felt like a call to the easel.  
This is my offering...

Click here for a hi-resolution downloadable & printable version.

Please feel free to download, print, and share this image.  Or, if you feel called to do so, create your own image for the #artistsforlove movement.  I love the idea of humans around the world creating beauty for a common purpose, don't you?

No matter where you live, no matter what you believe, I think we can all agree that we could all use a little more kindness right now.

(A painting I made of Patience in February 2014.)

Even though I often struggle to find the right words, I am very grateful to know people who don't.  My friend Patience Salgado is a kindness revolutionary, and her words are magic.  I am so happy to be able to share them with you...

Kindness is not doing acts to appease our guilt

or to try to prove our goodness,

Revolutionary Kindness asks us: be bold in our resistance to what we know is not right/true

for our fellow humans… be honest with each other and ourselves about the state of our nation (and hearts) and the ways we have individually contributed… be willing to be uncomfortable while we learn the nuances and implications of our white privilege… keep trying when we get it wrong… be quiet and listen to the groups of people who have a different

skin color, religion, sexual orientation and abilities… be ridiculously bold in our belief of the power of empathy and kindness… act, to serve, to give - not because we are good people,

but because we *know* and deeply feel our own humanity...

and know just how much we need each other

and how much we need kindness ourselves… believe that kindness can change or touch something

when no one else around you can see or believe it… take kindness to places where none seems to exist, or to seek and discover it in the unimaginable… try, just try kindness as a way of understanding the world and yourself… offer what we have and nothing more, not to save the world, not to fix, but to follow our call as humans - the outcome is not our business.

This kindness humbles you, makes you fierce, stretches you in ways you didn't see coming, checks you, heals you, reveals your biases, comforts, disturbs, empowers, changes *you*. ❤️

-Patience Salgado
You can read the original post at:

Friday, November 11, 2016

Still Paintin'...

Like most weeks, I have been faced with a number of distractions 
(some good, some not-so-good).
And, like most weeks, I have continued to make art every day
(some good, some not-so-good)!

Here are just a couple of the things I've been working on this week...

A personal project.

A professional project (continued from last week).

In the interest of sharing (and of holding myself accountable, preventing distractions from getting the best of me & keeping myself on track), I am letting you know that I will share the finished painting next week!

Friday, November 4, 2016


It's Art Every Day Month!
(And, I've decided to play along.)

Here is a new project that I've just started this week...

The first sketches in my notebook.

A larger sketch that I transferred to 140lb watercolor paper.

Please check back next Friday for more of this project, and more of the art that I create every day!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Don't Worry...

(A drawing I did this past week for a dear friend's birthday.)

I know I've been away from the blog for a while, 
but I'm happy to report that I'm not trapped under anything heavy.

More soon...

Friday, May 20, 2016

Around Here Lately...

I'm not sure what it is, but there is something about Spring that makes me want to clean up and organize everything!

This year, that also means sprucing up my website
and de-cluttering & simplifying things here on the blog.

I still have artwork to sort and upload to the website, but I am very happy to have created a new "Freebies & Kindness" section (where you can download my well-traveled "Take What You Need" poster) , and a special spot for my collaborations with Tyler.  I have also dedicated a space specifically for all things silly & random that I can't wait to fill with all sorts of ridiculousness!

In addition to all of that, my first Life Book lesson goes live on Monday!!!  I had so much fun creating the lesson, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone makes!  
(You can still sign up here if you'd like to join in on the fun!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

I'm baaaaack!!!

For reasons I will not bore you with in this post, I am officially beginning my new year right now!  Yes, I am a month late, I have no resolutions, and I have no word of the year...

But... What I do have is fresh perspective, a whole lot of enthusiasm, and a motto for the year to come... Let's Dudish!

So, what does "Let's Dudish!" mean?
For me, it's a reminder to:

Stay true to myself, my goals, and the things that make me feel alive.

Say "Yes!" to opportunities that make my heart sing, and politely decline ones that don't speak to my soul or that just don't feel right.

Take better care of myself physically, emotionally, and mentally... 
And, be kind and gentle with myself along the way.

Leave plenty of time for play.


Have fun!

I'm really excited to (finally) be leaping into the new year...
I've missed blogging and YOU!

I would love to hear what your plans are for 2016!
(If you wrote a New Year's post, 
leave me the link in the comments so I can catch up!)


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