Saturday, December 11, 2010

H&H2: Peinture L'essence

For my Heads and Hands 2 class this week, I had to paint a portrait from a photo provided of an art model. (You might recognize this woman from past assignments). I learned a new technique of painting with oil paints on cardboard, called "peinture l'essence." This technique was created by one of my favorite painters of all time, Edgar Degas, to mimic the look of dry pastels using oil paints, and was often used by the great Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, as well.

I had never been a huge fan of oil painting before, but I absolutely LOVE this new technique! Thanks, Degas!

Lesson Learned: Oil paints dry quickly if you paint on cardboard! I used a piece of cardboard as a palette and thinned the paint with turpenoid before painting on the board. The pigment dried instantly, making it possible to layer the paint without it getting muddy. It was like using dry pastels, but easier because I could apply it with a brush! I was never patient enough to enjoy oil painting, but now I don't have to be patient anymore! Yay!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Illustration 2: Animal Illustrations

For this assignment, we had to choose an animal to first paint realistically and then turn into a character. I chose to illustrate a Muscovy duck.

I saw this duck at a park near Lake Merritt in Oakland last year with my family. It had so much personality and I took a ton of photos of it. I went back to the park to take more photos for my project and it was still there!

Before I knew the that it was a Muscovy duck, I thought that it was some kind of weird chicken-duck hybrid, so I called him Chuck the Chicken-Duck.

Here is the realistic rendering of the Muscovy duck painted with watercolors:

When it came time to turn the duck into a character, I made him into a nerd. The duck at the park seemed like a nerd with the way he waddled and wheezed, and the other ducks picked on him and stole his food.

Here is my finished watercolor illustration of Chuck the Duck:

Lesson Learned: Use references when creating animal characters. It is so much easier to create a character if you have an image to start from. I took over 100 photos of the Muscovy duck in the park and spent some time observing it so that I could have a starting point to create this character. I was able to develop a character with a personality based on the real duck's mannerisms and a characterized look based on the real anatomy of the duck.

Monday, December 6, 2010

H&H2: Composite Drawing

For this week's assignment, I had to combine an image of me with one of an animal. I decided to use a Siberian tiger as my animal reference. I was lucky enough to find a photo of a tiger in the exact same pose as a photo that Greg had taken of me for a self-portrait assignment

And here is the composite drawing that I did using the two photos as references:

Lesson Learned: When combining references, always try to find images with the most similar pose and lighting as possible. It will make your drawing so much more realistic looking.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

CFD2 Mucha Copy

For homework over Thanksgiving break, we were assigned to study one of the works of the great Alphonse Mucha. (Check out some of his INCREDIBLE artwork here:

I picked one of his most lovely decorative panels, Summer 1896. I used colored pencils for this thorough study of Mucha's figure drawing techniques. It was not required to use color for this assignment, but Mucha's use of color was so masterful that I did not want to overlook what I could learn from mimicking his use of color as well as his design and drawing techniques.

Lesson Learned: Line weight is extremely important in figure drawing. Varying line weight adds interest and dimension to the drawing and helps to define overlapping forms and contours of shapes.

Monday, November 29, 2010

H&H2: Pastel Portrait 2

This is a pastel portrait that I drew with an analogous color scheme for my Heads and Hands 2 class. I'm really loving doing portraits in pastel- definitely something I will continue to do on my own time after this class is over!

Lesson Learned: Purple and red don't clash! They are next to each other on the color wheel and are therefore harmonious in a color palette as long as you transition between them with a bit of red-violet.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

H&H2: Pastel Portrait 1

Here is my first pastel portrait for my Heads and Hands 2 class. I had fun using soft pastels for this life-size portrait from a photo of a model who posed for this class assignment. It was fun to experiment with colors and to explore the different textures within the model's head and hair.

Lesson Learned: Do the underdrawing of a pastel portrait in full-value charcoal. Get a very accurate drawing with all of the shadow shapes carefully blocked in in black charcoal first. Then, when you go over it with colored pastels, the value will be darker and the color duller where the charcoal lies underneath, making those areas naturally fall into shadow to create form on the head.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Illustration 2: Bag Design

(This blog update is a bit late, since this project was assigned at the end of September and due the first week of October.)

My second assignment in my Illustration 2 class was to create an illustration for a shopping bag for a particular type of store. The weekend after the project was assigned, I spent the weekend with family in Monterey. My inspiration for this project came when we visited a giant candy store in the Tin Cannery Outlets near the Monterey Bay Aquarium. When we entered the candy store, little Rulon was completely overwhelmed by the countless barrels brimming with delicious candies of every kind, and I captured his priceless expression on my camera.

When I was flipping through my vacation photos later, I was so amused by this photo and that hilarious expression. Rulon looked completely entranced by all of the candy in the room. So, I decided to design my illustration around the concept of a child being hypnotized by colorful, yummy candies and ended up with this fun watercolor illustration.

Lesson Learned: Though planned, posed reference photos can be great, sometimes the best reference comes from everyday events and spontaneous incidents.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Illustration 2: Narrative Paintings

I absolutely love my Illustration 2 class that I am taking right now! I have to admit that I was terrified going into the class knowing that it was a class taught entirely in watercolor. I had never done a complete painting in watercolor alone- only made up mixed-media techniques with a little bit of watercolor here and there. I was even more intimidated when I found out that my professor for the course, Camille, is an outstanding watercolorist who has won national awards from the California Watercolor Association, among her other impressive achievements as a professional illustrator. I was afraid that I was going to be horribly inept with the new medium and be completely embarrassed as this watercolor master critiqued my sloppy work in front of the whole class.

I was relieved on the first day of class when the teacher was not at all intimidating, but exceptionally kind, generous, and (most importantly) patient! She teaches watercolor painting in a way that makes it simple and understandable, and my learning curve was much less treacherous than I had anticipated. I am actually beginning to fall in love with watercolor painting and plan on taking a more advanced level watercolor illustration class with Camille next fall!

For our first assignment, we had to complete two narrative illustrations that take place in the same setting at two different times of day. The objective was to not only create a nice composition and tell a story, but also to show proper watercolor painting techniques and variations in light temperature and color at different times of day. It worked out perfectly that we went to visit Greg's family in Ephrata right after this project was assigned, so I got some great reference photos on the farm.

For my first painting, I illustrated a young man working in the barn. Just a typical day of work in the hot summer sun.

For my second painting, I illustrated the same man in the same barn at night, going to check on things and wondering why the lights won't turn on. Little does he know that the barn is haunted...

I am really pleased with the way my first assignment turned out, and I got an excellent critique from my teacher. I just have to make a few adjustments to the hands and the shoes and then I will be ready to add it to my portfolio!

Lesson learned: Don't be scared of a new medium until you've tried your best to learn it from someone who knows how to teach it! You just might end up loving it!

Blog time!!

I decided to start a blog for my artwork!

My official portfolio website will still be available at this blog is simply a place where I can share more about the projects that I am currently working on and what is inspiring me at the moment. Don't expect personal photo updates here- that's what Facebook is for. This is strictly an art blog, and I would love any feedback you have to offer on my artistic endeavors.