Last month I decided to take a break from artist trading cards and work on something larger. I found an old 5.5″ x 8″ mixed-media sketchbook that I had not quite finished and and some tubes of black and white acrylic paint so I decided to practice acrylic portrait painting.
I find that I really enjoy painting portraits in acrylic despite the fact that a sketch like this would have probably taken much less time if I had used oil paint.
I start with a basic sketch and then just build the image with lots of thin layers of paint. I make sure that I move from dark to light, just as if I were working with oils. My method is probably a lot more tedious than it needs to be, but I like the results.
The other day I posted about the Secret Solstice gifts I made last month. Here’s the second gift I made. This was for my old mail art pal Annette. We’ve traded a bit here and there for about five years now. I knew she was a Poe fan and since I’d been drawing a lot of Edgar Allan Poe portraits this year I felt it would be pretty easy to do another. This one is 5″ x 7″. It was nice to work a little larger than I’m used to.
During this challenge I learned a lot about what stops me from practicing every day. I also finally seemed to understand that not all drawings are going to be good ones, no matter how much I practice.
In the past I drew in fits and starts. If it didn’t work I’d get into a funk and drop it for a while. But now I see that by doggedly sticking with it I end up with far better work and more work that I am proud of.
Hello there! Can’t believe it’s September already. Now that summer is almost over I feel a little more like spending more time at the computer. I’ve spent most of August trading a lot of custom portraits on atcsforall.com and illustratedatcs.com. It’s been challenging and fun.
Here’s one of the cards that I made for a trade on illustratedatcs.com. I like the way the eyes turned out in this portrait. I’m still not comfortable with watercolor, but it’s not bad. Just a year ago I was so terrified of watercolor. I’m so glad I decided to just get over myself and give it a try. Perhaps I’ll be able to take a class next year, but right now I’m just going with my instincts.
I’ll post a few more of these portrait cards next week.
Here’s another artist trading card. I was watching an old movie called Ten Minutes to Live, which is a 1932 independent film by African American film director Oscar Micheaux. It was included in a box of public domain DVDs we bought a while back. There was this scene where the villian is coming down a flight of stairs. I loved the way it was lit, so I paused the film and made a rough value map and a quick sketch altering his features to make him a more romantic sort of mysterious stranger. Later I did this drawing and painted it with indigo blue watercolor.
In my greed to gain a nice stack of artist trading cards I joined too many swaps. I’ve been doing nothing but making cards for many weeks. I counted my cards the other day and found that I had 101. I know that I have more on the way. Good Lord! That means I’ve made…. oh man, that’s a lot of cards. It’s been good for me though. I made it a point to sign up for themes that I found difficult and I really stretched myself. But I had better take it easy before I burn out.
Here’s a card I made the other day. I tried to do an acrylic painting, but it was such a disaster! I’ve not painted in ages and the 2.5″ x 3.5″ is a wee bit confining. (A bit? right…) I like how this turned out.
I started using a Copic marker E51 Milky White for the base flesh color and then just layered with color pencils. I am really enjoying doing these small format portraits.
I made this card for a young woman who goes by Mangosteenskin on Monday Artday ATCs. I love her watercolor illustrations so I asked her for a trade. She’s from Malasyia, so she asked if I would like a portrait card of a girl wearing a Sabahan costume. That sounded great for me and I agreed to do this portrait card for her. It was quite a challenge to do a double portrait on a 2.5″ x 3.5″ card, but it was fun to do. Check out Mango’s card. It’s charming. I can’t wait for it to arrive in the mail.
Thanks everyone for checking out my leaf painting and leaving me such great comments. I’ll be posting more watercolor exercises soon.
Here are two of my favorite artist trading cards from the stack I made last week. I’ve been making custom cards and drawing cards for themed swaps, but these I made just for fun. I traded the 40s Beauty on the right, but I’ve decided to keep the one on the left. I’m still admiring the job I did on the hair. I’m getting a lot of mileage out of my three gray Copic markers. I am starting to feel a little tight and cramped drawing these miniatures though. It’s time to take a break and do some larger things.
Another big project for me last week was organizing my blog list. I just put all of my blogs on Google reader and found that I am trying to follow 55 blogs! How did that happen? Fortunately it’s summer and most people aren’t blogging as often. But what am I going to do once all the vacations are over?! I’ve tried to reduce the number, but as soon as I drop one, I find another two to add. *lays head on desk*