Sketchbook pages 11-12
Lightening up. A playful, mostly linear teen-dream.
I’m giving the graphite a little rest and working on Canson Mi-Teintes, nicely textured black paper with a white charcoal pencil.
I’ve no idea what this is about, except that my garden pig plays a starring role;)
Sketchbook Project 7-8
To smudge or not to smudge.. three schools of thought, I think..
Some are opposed to using a finger or an implement to blur and fill with graphite, feeling that it’s a muddy and lazy process. Others feel it’s the only way to modulate values. Still others don’t make judgements about the do’s and dont’s of technique. Clearly, I feel comfortable in the last camp;)
Because Spring is part two of a four-part project, I had be sure that the choices I made for this piece will harmonize with the previous work.
I have a very clear vision of the overall project, and have decided to contrast the moods of the seasons greatly. On the other hand, I will needed to organize specific consistencies.
*minimizing of neck and body
*some sort of collar appropriate to each season
*the same necklace representing nature’s hardships
*long hair with a life of its own
*a certain amount of dimension and texture in the back round
*a value gradient dark to light from bottom to top
*one element of disguise
*clear difference in position of the head and eyes reflecting the qualities of each season
(*perhaps a border when all four have been completed)
Below are the steps I took to stylize Ms. Spring, ultimately leading to the finish (above).
Above is a screenshot of the basic Photoshop underpainting of “Winter”. Below is a visual tutorial of the painting process. Please feel free to ask any questions that may come to mind, since my text explanation is spare.
All of you creatives who commented on my last post, aiding focus and offering your thoughtful opinions, thank you!
I am pleased to report a common thread, with one image the majority favorite. I’m flattered that it has been referred to as classical.
I am also delighted that opinions varied widely and for a variety of different reasons. These three were all chosen more than once….
The “crown of thorns”, ( never occurred to me), but I love the association.
This last one is more distorted than the others but seemed to elicit interest as an image associated with pain. I can see that.
You’ve given me plenty to think about. THANK YOU.
A very dear young artist friend of mine, put out a request for artist renderings of a mythical creature she tagged Skullbunny*.
The only prompt for the creature depiction was some variation of a bunny skull attached to any sort of creature body.
Why? These depictions of Skullbunnies became part of an imaginative multi-media gallery show resembling a museum display, dedicated to the infamous Skullbunny.
My friend Leah, created detailed evidence for the rarely seen (imagined?) creature, its habitat and its eery (campy) effects in our society, including Skullbunny puppets, fashion, and cinematic influence. The show was a big success and lots of silliness and fun ensued.
*The image above was my contribution to the show.
My artist friend Rachel is seventeen years old. It’s difficult to assign a chronological age to this young woman because she is both wise beyond her years and as uninhibited in her creativity as a pre-schooler. That’s how I knew she was the perfect candidate to collaborate with me on this illustration for BIG KIDS Magazine.
Tah Dah! Our collaboration is above. The prompt for the illustration is “Treasure Maps”. We’re mapping our creative journeys. Rachel created the left side, I worked on the right. On my side the journey relates to Rachel, as her friend and mentor. It helps to have an older artist friend, for encouragement and suggestions; that would be me. I’m in my skinny yellow house complete with family and cats and plants and that’s where Rachel comes to make art. Rachel’s is more comprehensive… the journey so far. Rachel wrote the beautiful poem. The entire work is about being an artist; from play scribbles through adulthood. Rachel, moves from scribbles scanned from an actual construction paper masterpiece she created as a very little girl, through growing pains, to near independence.
Rachel and I decided to keep the tone or feel of the illustration light and full of kid inspiration. After all, the inspiration was and is BIG KIDS Magazine-truly a work of collective art.
*The image accompanying the first post is a collaboration of Rachel’s work and mine. The second post, all Rachel and this post is our published collaboration in BIG KIDS Magazine.
Last post was an introduction to the fabulous Big Kids’s Magazine. This link connects you to the homepage of the BIG blog.
You might say that BIG KIDS Magazine discovered my blog for young artists called Portrait of a Girl and Her Art. Lily (one of the creators), left a wonderful comment and requested that I take a “peek” at the Big Kids blog. I was instantly entranced by the vision and esthetic beauty of the project and left several comments on her blog. A lovely cyber connection grew, and I enthusiastically agreed to make a collaborative illustration with a young artist friend of mine for the upcoming “Treasure Map” issue.
It made sense to me that if my excitement was any indication of the success of the up and coming magazine, you all will be excited and interested as well, so I requested an interview with creators, Lily and Jo and senior editor Luca, to share with all of you:
Elena: How do you (Lilly and Jo) know each other?
Lilly: We met when we were both living in Hobart, Tasmania, about 12 years ago but lost touch once I moved to New York and Jo moved to Perth. I had finished studying at art school and Jo had just left Tasdance and was the co-director of the Hobart Fringe Festival on which I was working. We met through a very brave, imaginative and generous mutual friend and while sharing care of her apartment wrote notes to each other on a large piece of brown paper that revealed an unseen poetic and charged connection between us even then. We last saw each other in 1999 but will finally meet and layout the next edition in the same city in January!
Elena: Did you grow up with unplanned time and an aptitude for daydreaming?
Lilly: I spent much of my childhood climbing trees, and one in particular, a liquidambar in our backyard that was the launching pad to witchland – an imaginary place above the clouds I frequented for much of my childhood. I have memories of collecting sticks and flowers and making elaborate installations on tree branches and in hidden parts of our massive garden. I have three siblings and the television was rarely on. We made up shows almost every day and worked on projects and performances that spanned days and weeks. Jo’s mother was a folk singer and they lived across the road from a travelling circus. I know she spent much of her childhood under the next-door neighbours house in a ‘kids’ world, and was surrounded by song.
Elena:Do you think that the experiences of childhood have changed since your were children?
Lilly: Yes I think when we were kids there was much more time to just be in the world without structure or guidance or expectations of a particular outcome. It feels like even unstructured play has become a commodity or something to be evaluated and assessed. Though I think there are elements of childhood today that are enormously valuable and can be celebrated as well – the access to information and how that inspires inquisitiveness is wonderful: At least 10 times a day Twyla will ask a question I can’t answer and then say “Let’s look it up mum!”. I think there is a danger in romanticizing the past that can diminish the beautiful opportunities for connection and play with our children today.
Elena: Are you both moms, and if so how does being a parent influence the content of the magazine?
Lilly: We are both mum’s and cannot imagine that we would have made BIG without this grounding, limiting, uplifting and propelling element in our lives to balance and stretch us beyond what seems possible. I think in giving birth and mothering it becomes clear that seemingly impossible things are actually possible. That you can meet a sun rise having not slept at all and still make it through the day.
Elena:You come from different artistic expressions. How has that enriched your collaboration?
Lilly: BIG is a multidisciplinary arts publication and our immersion in different arts practices broadens our base and provides us with a much wider platform to draw from. We are both connected to extraordinary artists working in varied fields and feel that exposing children to many different art languages provides them with a much wider range of investigative and expressive tools.
Elena: I know of so many children and organizations who would adore enjoying a subscription to BIG magazine in the USA, and I hope many will subscribe today! Do you hope/plan to bring the magazine online so that one may subscribe without the shipping expense in the US and other parts of the world?
Lilly: We are in the process of considering a digital version of BIG Kids Magazine so that it is more accessible to International readers. We have received enormous interest in an online option and while we don’t want to dilute the tangible experience of hand held BIG pages, we also want them to be as accessible as possible to distant readers. We are currently looking at international stockists but in the mean time it is encouraging to have received so many overseas subscriptions.
Elena: How about an ipad version?
Lilly: We are very interested in new technology and developing meaningful, interactive, illustrated apps for ipad in the future, though obviously we believe there is enormous value in having an object that can be held, ripped, scribbled on and altered in a very physical and direct way. We are working on some allegorical stories and our Books that Grow series that will most likely be adapted for ipad and other devices.
Do you accept submissions of work from children outside of Australia?
Lilly: Yes we invite and receive contributions from children all over the world. Work that is scanned at 600dpi or high quality photographs can be emailed from anywhere and we are passionate about facilitating both intergenerational and International conversations.
Are there any new projects in the works, together or individually?
Lilly: We have just launched the Mother Artist Network (our new MAN) on our blog to invite discussion and creative response to the challenges of working as a mother-artist. I have just held an exhibition of new work and Jo is working on a new dance duet. Together we are expanding our collaboration on Books that Grow and we are currently in the middle of making of the next edition of BIG!
Your Facebook page www.facebook.com/Bigkidsmagazine is flourishing! How did you get the word out?
Lilly: We honestly just opened the page to our friends and it went from there. We have never pushed or asked for ‘likers’. The magazine has received many wonderful reviews on various blogs and book sites so I think they bring people to us as well.
Economies are suffering worldwide. Why did you decide to launch a new magazine now?
Lilly: Now, more than ever, kids need a place to be able to hone their interest, imagination and the ability to respond to the world in creative and curious ways. We need the next generation to be expansive and out of the box thinkers and see BIG as a way to encourage that leadership and wider view on politics that will feedback back in personal, social and dynamic ways. Yes, it definitely is a risk and nerve-wracking with it, but both Jo and I are seriously committed to engaging kids in best practice and in opening communication lines between artists and kids to foster future thinkers and movers! We are hopeful BIG will attract some best practice creative organizations in the near future and that we will find financial support for our work though contributions from larger voices and structures. We trust the work and each other, somewhat bravely, and believe in generosity as a key stakeholder in future economies.
With each subscription you give away a copy of the magazine. How do you decide where to send it?
Lilly: We are developing partnerships and donating magazines to all kinds of people and organizations that work with children. Sometimes people contact us asking if they can participate in the program, often we will reach out to an organization that we feel might benefit. We love the idea that BIG can be accessible to kids that may not otherwise be able to get hold of it but we are also interested in facilitating relationships and finding mentors who can support children to interact and contribute to the BIG world.
Elena: And now, a word from eight year old senior editor, Luca.
Elena: What do you like to do when youʼve got nothing else you have to do?
Luca: Play with my little sister, play video games, read The Phantom Tollbooth, invent lego and duplo characters and games and stories.
Elena: What is your favorite subject in school?
Luca: Free drawing
Elena: Do other kids know that you are an editor of a magazine?
Luca: Yes, they respect me a lot
Elena: What do you do as an editor?
Luca: Well, make decisions about what goes in the magazine
Elena: Whatʼs your favorite part?
Luca: Being in charge of making decisions
Elena: If you had a magic power, (maybe you already have one) what would you do with it?
Luca: Shift shaping – means you can take the shape of any object, like I could take the shape of a million dollars, I could change into a flower, or massive bumble bee, I would re build the Guilford hotel and save people and stuff like that.
Part 3 tomorrow
This is part of a repost from my blog for young artists. I thought it might be exciting to share with you some excellent examples of exemplary online presence and some terrific work by very young artists. Their ages span from pre-teen to young adult.
The sites below are three brilliant examples of what very young visual artists are doing. The first is Isabella’s beautiful blog.
Isabella has created three separate sections for her work. There’s the poetry section, fine art section, and fashion (her own designs). Isabella regularly posts wonderful works in progress. You must have a look.
http://eleanorleonnebennett.zenfolio.com will bring you to Eleanor Leonne Bennett’s website that is full of her fantastic photography. It is worth every minute you’ll spend on her website, enjoying her work. I urge you to investigate every photograph.
Kellie See, at kelliesee.wordpress.com beautifully chronicles her coursework as an art student studying illustration. On her terrific blog, you’ll find very specific and instructive posts about what she is thinking and working through. This is what Kellie has to say about her blogging experience:
“I think blogging is fantastic. Its such a great opportunity for people to meet others that share similar interests. Since I started blogging I’ve seen some great pieces of work and read the most amazing posts by other bloggers. They are truly an inspiration for me. Blogging has opened up a whole new world to me where I can share my work and get real opinions and comments back. This is so useful and is a great way to find out what others think and to also help you decide which direction to take next. The blogging community have been fabulous and they are so friendly which makes my blogging experience all the better. I really wouldn’t be without it. Kellie “
Apart from the cringing ache of hearing my voice in the voiceover, the trailer for Portrait of a Girl and Her Art was a joy to make. Many thanks to the artists for their vibrant contributions and thanks to my son Julian for his music.
If you don’t already know about my book and are not already acquainted with my blog for young artists, they are both called Portrait of a Girl and Her Art. The blog is devoted to young artists and their work. The book celebrates young female artists. The trailer provides a teaser of the amazing art created by these very young artists.
If you haven’t already visited the blog, please have a look around by clicking here. If you have visited, I can promise more about the book, and additions to nearly every page on the blog. If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, students, or young neighbors who have an interest in art, please direct them to the blog. It is my hope to keep the blog growing with more projects, ideas, and interviews so it may become a place of true artistic community.
All of you readers inspire me through your blogs, comments and support. Through the book and attention to the blog, I hope to pay it forward to the next generation of artists.
*Flowers, pastel by Elizabeth
There are many new posts up on Portrait of a Girl. Parents, artists and art teachers, wander on over. I’d love your comments and ideas.
Click the new page tabs–MORE IDEAS, INTERVIEWS, GREAT LINKS, ART SHARE, PROJECTS and PRACTICAL INSPIRATION.
I’ve just added a new page on my Portrait of a Girl and Her Art Blog, which supports my soon to be available book, of the same name. I’ve included printable guides for your sketchbook and portrait work, along with some general basics about making art. If you’ve never tried working in a sketchbook or drawing a portrait, now’s the perfect time to start. Just click here.
VERY soon now, Portrait of a Girl and Her Art will be available in hardcover, paperback and PDF .
I’m working on additional electronic formats.
Very soon I’ll have purchase info ready for one step clicking.
Portrait of a Girl and Her Art already has a dedicated blog where art tips, exciting interviews with young artists, and submissions of art by young artists will keep the inspiration momentum flowing! Please visit soon.
Just in case you did not catch this interview of Leah on my Portrait of a Girl and Her Art blog, I’m reposting it here, center stage.
Leah Olbrich is a fascinating young artist, and a wonderful young woman. Enjoy.
(Leah is featured in “Portrait of a Girl and Her Art”on page 43 and page 70).
Leah was instrumental in literally putting “Portrait of a Girl” together. She helped write, design and layout the pages, so it’s natural to pick Leah for the first blog interview. I am so very proud to bring you up to date about Leah’s Master’s degree work in puppetry:
Elena:Why did you want to pursue a Master’s degree?
Leah:I have an undergraduate degree in illustration. I chose that major because I am compelled to draw, and illustration satisfied the drawing and experimental component of exploring quirky creatures and people in my work. I decided to go to graduate school to take the quirky creatures and people to the next level and create them in three dimensions. By the time I got to the end of my undergrad work in art school, I felt I had just gotten my feet wet with the 3-D work. I decided it was important to try to find guided exploration in the 3-D realm and that became puppetry.
Elena: What is your definition of puppetry?
Elena: You would rather create the creatures and leave the performance to others?
Leah:I’m not one hundred percent, sure yet what I’ll want to do in the end, but things that I’m currently exploring are stop motion animation, special effects, character design and development, sculpture, and 3-D illustration. Once you really start paying attention to how much “puppetry” is used in the art world, you can see just how much you can do in the field.
Elena: Who are your heros of 3-D?
Leah:I love the Brothers Quay, Jan Svankmajer, David Michael Friend, the early work of Tim Burton, Brian Froud‘s work with Jim Henson, Red Nose illustration studio, Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, and Ralph Steadman just to name a few:)
Elena: What would you like to leave us with?
Leah: I find that things are most interesting when they are imperfect in life and in art, because you have to discover the beauty in them or define the beauty for yourself. Beauty does not have to be beautiful. It can be grotesque or grungy. In puppetry, this can be challenging because there is a desire for anthropomorphic qualities, but human movement is not always achievable nor desired. You have to make specific decisions; should the creature be real, representational? It boils down to aesthetic style- perception, or how you would like the audience to perceive what they are viewing. An example is Sesame Street where the puppets simply bop around and a marionette that moves as close as possible to how a real human or creature moves.
Elena:Any advice for young artists?
Leah: Don’t be afraid to try a million materials. Put you brain in your hands and let your hands do the thinking.
My brandy new book, PORTRAIT OF A GIRL AND HER ART is in the final stages of production! Hopefully, all typos and misspellings have been identified, and the many gorgeous images have been perfectly placed.
What’s it about? Quite simply, it’s all about young female visual artists and their work. It’s a labor of love that has taken me five years to complete. In it, you’ll find portraits of fifteen featured artists, quotes from them about making art, and at least one featured work from each. But wait, there’s more. The book is chock full of vivid visual art of all kinds from even more girls and young women artists. There’s also..a take-away guide for you, the reader, to inspire your artwork and/or a creative way of thinking. And finally, “sketches” or little bios of the featured fifteen artists from my point of view. It’s eighty pages packed with awe and inspiration.
I couldn’t be prouder of this book! You’ll be hearing lots more about it in the weeks to come. I’ve also created a blog for PORTRAIT OF A GIRL AND HER ART to keep the inspiration flowing. The blog will serve as an interactive art class filled with tips, concepts, interviews, ideas, heart, and of course, lots of ART! I’m working on it as you read. Everyone is welcome to visit and participate.
I just can’t wait!!!!
I tried on about ten different looks and decided on the most practical and most flattering. I did it at four AM. And I had a really good time! There are still alterations to consider. I imagine I’ll be changing a few accessories as well and updating as the trends change, but I’m already enjoying my new style-theme called Spectrum.
This make-over is in anticipation of an exciting début. I can’t wait to share it with you.
A little different approach here, but this piece is also inspired by Microcosmos. The color in the film is glorious, but I wanted to concentrate on one element at a time, so I went with black and white. The textures take over here. I’ve allowed the tree to define the texture. I made a rubbing with a charcoal pencil over the stone blocks that make up my patio. The result is the grungy almost embossed feel of the trees juxtaposed with the flat smooth insects. More to come.