Inktober 2019 Conclusion

Oops, pretty late on this one! Another year of #Inkotber has come and gone.

This is my 5th year participating, but only my 3rd year actually managing to make a new painting for nearly the whole month. I usually burn out somewhere in the last week or am too busy with the influx of holiday portrait commissions to be able to finish, but I’m always glad to have participated.

This year, as anticipated, I crashed and burned near the end with the incoming commissions. But I did make a few pieces I’m really proud of, and really solidified a style I enjoy working in.

The fox painting below has already sold, and I was honestly a little heartbroken to part with it. It’s one of those pieces I keep looking at and I can’t believe I made it. Real proud of it for now, so I’m probably going to make a print to hang on my wall.

I also got pretty obsessed with the purple/orange/black palette I ended up using. Still on a roll with it, and trying to incorporate some more colors into it.

The main four colors I used for it are Dioxazine purple, Mauve, Cadmium Orange Hue, and Payne’s Grey. Then obviously black ink along with them.

A little tip I discovered (which is honestly probably common sense to you if you use ink frequently), is that you can clean a plastic ink palette really well with rubbing alcohol!

My palette has been stained and building up ink for like 5 years now and I didn’t want to throw it out, but I couldn’t see what colors. Was actually mixing in it. Then I realized if I clean my dip-pen nibs with rubbing alcohol, why the hell would I not try that on my palette?!

Works like a charm. Except for the areas that had the least diluted ink. Those are pretty caked on, but at least now I can actually see what I’m mixing. I hope that tip can help someone!

That’s all I’ve got for now. Most of my original Inktober paintings can be found in my Etsy shop, and I’m working on making prints of the few that people requested on Instagram. Now, onward to the holiday shop rush!

Thanks for reading, and stay warm! ❤

I thought it was the ugliest palette ever…

I picked up a reddish-orange colored pencil to sketch with the other day and decided, “I should base today’s color scheme off this pencil.”

As my hand automatically reached out for the paints, my brain short-circuited. I don’t normally use a bright, bold red in my limited palettes. What do I do? Pastels don’t match this color, do I even have matching colors?? In the midst if the internal struggle on what the hell color even is, I looked down to find my hand and eyes subconsciously coordinated what I thought was the absolute ugliest color palette in the world.

This grody palette consists of vermillion, a weird/obnoxious limey-yellow-green color, a sort-of-pastel yellow, lilac, and a dark periwinkle I like to call “burple”. Burple can’t decide if it wants to be blue or purple. How am I supposed to make that work?? Just imagine those colors for a hot second. Laying those out on a palette looked like fresh spring barf…gross.

The paint was already on the palette by this point, so I’m basically committed now. I decided to start painting. To my surprise, the owl that I painted looked kind of alright in the colors. I mean it is an obnoxious owl so it gets a pass on the weird color combo, right? I decided to give the palette another shot and went for something I thought surely could never work; a portrait.

As it turns out, I really liked the effect on that too! It looked kind of vintage, and…I don’t know. Something about it just works. Suddenly my brain explodes with 2.3 billion other ideas on what I think this palette would be suitable for. It has certainly grown on me, so expect to see this pretty-ugly combo for a while 😉

Illustrating with Alcohol Markers

In need of a fresh update on my portfolio, I’ve been trying out new materials and techniques while illustrating. I’ve fallen pretty deep into a comfort zone that consists of mainly animals, people and the occasional flowers/food. I want to branch out a bit more and get comfortable applying my style to other subjects. I also want to unify my style a bit more so it can still look cohesive and recognizable across various materials/subjects.

This week I’ve been trying out Copic markers. My style heavily relies on the texture and shapes of brushstrokes, so alcohol markers are quite a challenge for me. I’m finding that I’m going to need to develop a slightly more distinguished shape language for the sketching of subjects to make a non-paint piece still look like my style.

Here are a few of the better illustrations I’ve done with markers. They still look far-removed from the rest of my work.

On the note of expanding subjects…I’m still a bit overwhelmed. There are so many things I’d like to try that I don’t know where to start. For the time being I’ve just taken to illustrating objects around me, but I would like to organize a bit more structure around them. If you have any advice about choosing a subject for a self-initiated project and sticking with it, please let me know! I’d really appreciate it!

Catching Up

Sorry for the absence! I’ve been quite busy lately so I’ll catch you up quickly:

-Thought I was losing my job so I doubled down on art, made a huge plan for overhaul to my portfolio, Etsy shop, business plans, commissions, etc.

-Didn’t lose job, super busy with summer festivities, painted my living room/studio walls, and then ran out of time for art

-Currently trying to find balance between being able to pay at least most of my bills by cutting day job to part time, and getting my art career off the ground.

I’ve been working on making more Youtube videos (editing takes me forever so it’s still pretty slow going) but I’ve been having fun working on them when I can. It’s something l’d really like to work on more. I’ve made clay pins for my bag that a lot of people liked so I’m currently working on a batch for a shop update (hoping by early September) . I’ve added some more custom options to my Etsy shop, as I find it’s easier for people to feel comfortable commissioning an artist that way. Finally, I’ve been working on new stickers for my shop, updating my Redbubble and working on adding digital prints to my Etsy shop.

Clay Pins!

(A shop update is in progress!)

polymer clay pins cute colorful animal shapes.jpg

Pink & Blue Pet Portraits

pink and blue pet portrait paintings in watercolor.png

A simple, quick and budget-friendly option

 

Dayjob // Dreamjob Drama:

My day job (a retail job I’m not particularly fond of) changed things around and my hours got cut from full time to about 15 hours per week. At that point I would not even earn close to a minimum wage. So with the extra time, I could either get a second day job (not much to choose from in my tiny town) and quit my art career….or double down and try to get my career off the ground. Clearly I chose the art.

I had all this extra free time so I worked on new products and paintings and marketing and had a few commissions come in and things were looking a little less bleak…..but now my day job changed things around again and I am back to 35-40 hours per week…..I barely earn enough to live as it is, and while I have the comfort of “okay I can pay most of my bills…” I no longer have time for all the plans I made for my art.

At this point….I think I just need to take that leap. Otherwise I’ll be forever stuck in my shitty little comfort zone where I’m miserable but surviving. I think I really need that little push. You know, the fire under your ass that be like, “HEY GET MOVING I DON’T CARE IF YOU’RE WORRIED OR IT’S NOT PERFECT OR IT’S UNCOMFORTABLE!!”

So maybe I’m not flat out quitting my part time job, but cutting it dangerously low to force myself to be responsible for making up the rest of the money I need to live from my art. A craft that I have been honing for a solid decade.

Also it’s summer so everyone and their mother wants me to be there for their wedding/graduation/birthday/their kid’s birthday/fireworks/etc…..so family and friends have gotten the largest slice of free time I had. I was trying to be productive and just ended up planning too much and spreading myself too thin. You know how it is.

How to Paint with a Limited Color Palette

A questions I’m often asked is; “How do you choose colors/make stuff so colorful??”

how to use limited color palette watercolor painting

I figured I’d finally address this where I can write a lengthy explanation that I can direct people towards. So if you really want to know specifically, keep reading. TLDR? Very carefully.

(Also, I made a video explaining it too! I do drop some f-bombs, though, so be warned!)

I have always loved bright and colorful things and art or objects with a pleasing color scheme. Especially analogous color schemes with the one offbeat color that stands out real nice. I was also mystified for the better part of 10 years on how to use colors in such a way. I want all the colors, but am then immediately overwhelmed by them. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m far from mastery on this and will likely never achieve it, but I’ve finally found a good starting point to work from.

Pick 3 colors and stick to them.

I mean it. No others until you’re confident with those 3 together.

Pick three colors you really like and force them to play nice. Easy route? Primary colors. Easy route with a slight twist and totally different aesthetic? Pink, yellow and blue. I find these the easiest to start out with (like how they teach you primary colors in kindergarten). But don’t mix them and make extra colors just yet. Try using these colors alone in different ratios on a painting. Pick one thing to paint and replace all the dark colors with blue, for example. The mid-tone values can be replaced with pink, and the lighter tones with yellow.

Once you get a sense of how the colors are working, you can start darkening/lightening or saturating/de-saturating each shade. Then slowly incorporate more colors as you go. For this piece, I ended up mixing the pink and blue to make a purple color for the rocks and shadows. I also added Payne’s grey to get a much darker, but still harmonious, blue tone for the darkest parts of the fox (eyes and nose). Don’t be afraid to try again a few more times if it didn’t turn out well the first time.

There are sooooo many different looks you can achieve based on different proportions of just those three colors alone. Maybe try dialing one color back a bit and adding more of another. Choosing colors becomes more and more intuitive with each piece you make. Trial and error is the name of the game here. Once you become super comfortable (like, uncomfortably comfortable) with this trio, start adding different colors or swapping one out for something totally different.

I filmed the painting process of this piece and narrated it. Once I’ve finished editing & uploading the video, I’ll link it here. Just in case you want to hear my rambling instead of reading it.

Video Process

I’ll be making a follow up video and blog post in the future about how to choose weird colors and force those to be friends later (featuring acrylics). Hopefully I’ll get better at explaining things, too. If there’s something I missed or I can improve on, or if you just have more questions let me know!

Materials used in this painting:

  • Winsor & Newton Watercolors (Cotman series) in Permanent Rose, Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Blue and Payne’s Grey.

  • Strathmore 400 Series watercolor paper

  • Winsor & Newton Cotman Brushes (the blue ones) and Princeton Elite (?) brushes (the black ones)

I hope this was helpful to you, and thank you much for reading! 🙂

Now go forth and make shit colorful!

Catching Up & Finishing my 365-day Drawing Challenge on Instagram

Time to catch up…

Oh hello there! It’s been a while since I’ve made a post hasn’t it? I ran out of time for extra things in November. I just worked a ton, made some new year’s goals and finished a year long drawing challenge.

Did you have a good holiday season, or was it a lot of chaos too?

I posted a new drawing to Instagram every day for an entire year!

Another big thing I’ve accomplished recently, was finishing a 365-day drawing challenge! I’ve made a post before about what I’ve learnt along the way, but I just can’t believe I actually made it to the end. A new drawing or painting. Every. Single. Day to make.

Then there’s the photo to take, editing said photo, writing a blurb to go with it, tagging it, and then eventually posting it to Instagram. It was a ton of work but I am so happy I stuck it out to the whole way through.

This accomplishment itself deserves a whole post, so I’ll probably be posting a detailed conclusion of that soon.

New year’s resolutions

I’ve recently had a look back at what I’ve accomplished in 2018, and was surprised I could actually cross off most of the resolutions I made. I started an Etsy shop, built my website portfolio, started this little blog here, and a ton of other more personal goals ❤

Going forward into the new year, I’ve made a couple new goals. I want to really focus on my portfolio to get more commissions as well as some larger, professional editorial work under my belt.

Right now, what I want more than anything in the world, is to make painting and illustration my full time job and be able to leave my less-than-stellar retail day job. I also want to keep blogging here to improve at writing, and I think I’d like to start making more videos for Youtube as well. I even got a fancy (for me anyways) new microphone for it, so ya girl’s gonna be adding voiceovers to vids now~

Anyways, thanks for reading!

Learning to Draw Animals

This year, one of my biggest goals was to learn how to draw animals and become comfortable with painting them. I was never good at drawing animals. They always turned out looking broken and creepy with backwards legs, due to a gross misunderstanding of anatomy. That, or just very stiff and awkward like a product of picture day in middle school.

Now they are currently my favorite subjects to draw and paint. Pet portraits and animal-themed nursery art are also what I’m commissioned for the most. It’s really interesting to reflect back on that.

A tip if you want to learn to draw animals. Really pay attention to the fundamental shapes that make up the body and the flow of them. You will see similarities in the anatomy repeat between different animals and those fundamentals will help you learn to draw any animal way faster. (Though, to be fair, this advice could probably be applied to drawing literally anything)

Remember, basic shapes are good. Basic shapes are your friends.

Also, Practice makes perfect…or vast improvements at the very least~

(On a side-note, I feel super weird not including any fun pictures or anything. Until the holidays are over, though, I’m not going to have a whole lot of time to put into my blog 😦 I’ll update and beautify when and where I can, however!)

1,000 Instagram Followers

Recently I have hit 1,000 followers on Instagram, which is crazy to me. When I started posting I doubted I would ever even have 500 people, let alone a thousand, interested in my art. So I just want to say thank you to anyone who may be reading this. So,

Thank You!! ❤

A bit about my journey on Instagram…

I had originally started on Instagram as a way to share the traditional art I was making whilst my computer was broken for about a year and I couldn’t make digital art. This ended up being a huge turning point in my career path. I went from wanting to be a digital concept artist for the longest time, to accepting that I wasn’t cut out for that kind of work. It was a rough, but I think my broken computer situation ended up being the best thing that could’ve happened. I probably wouldn’t have gone on Instagram, found a bunch of awesome illustrators who inspired me, and chose the path I’m on now if it hadn’t.

To me, 1,000 people is a lot. Considering I started with around 250 of mostly just friends and family in January. I have made so many new friends there over the last 2 years which has been awesome and has pushed me to really keep improving my work.

I also found that starting my 365 day challenge journey and sharing it on Instagram has really helped connect me with a lot of people, which has been super cool too~

Here’s a fun comparison of the first few illustrations I had ever posted to Instagram to some more recent ones. (And I think it’s safe to say, my skill in just taking the pictures of my art has improved drastically haha)

Summer 2016 vs Fall 2018:

Anyways, that ended up being a longer post than planned. Congrats if you made it this far and thanks for reading! I hope you had a great weekend 🙂

Also, if you’ve ever had a huge stop and switch in career/life paths, please share! I feel times like that can be super difficult and it’s always nice to know you’re not alone and all the stuff you learn along the way~