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.