Friday, May 2, 2014

First Friday Art Class for May 2014 - Fairies and Mermaids

Our class today was based on concepts from the book How To Draw Fairies and Mermaids from Usborne Books. (If you have girls in your house that like to draw, I highly recommend this book! The projects in it are fun, SO cute, and very clearly explained!)

Since our focus was fairies and mermaids, we used these as our color inspiration...(and a tasty treat)
And these mini cupcakes made with mini Reese's cups were our little fairy treat (idea found here)...

FUNNY SIDE NOTE: when I showed the girls the mini cupcakes, one of them goes, "Let me guess...Pinterest??" Hilarious!! Sometimes I do have my own ideas, but yes, this did indeed come from Pinterest. :)

We worked with ink and watercolor today. We worked backwards in a way. We began by painting the shapes on our page and then going in afterwards with ink and doing our actual drawings. This requires planning ahead and a bit of flexibility and serendipity.

Before I go into the details let me talk a little bit about my process and some things I tried that didn't work.

FIRST ATTEMPT - I'm using Prang watercolors and a Papermate Flair pen on card stock. I did the paint first and pen lines second. I don't love the outcome for a few reasons. The lines are thicker than what I'm after and I overworked the paint on the paper.
SECOND ATTEMPT - I decided to try a different route this time and do the drawings first and then add the color. Well, although the Flair pen works marvelously with Prisma markers, it does NOT work with watercolor. It smeared all over and my daughter said they ended up looking like evil fairies--NOT the goal. 
THIRD ATTEMPT - I drew the fairies first and then went in with colored pencils. They're cute enough, but they just didn't have that soft, spontaneous feel that I was after. (I did give this option to the girls in class if they didn't feel comfortable using the watercolors, but none of them took this safe route which I'm really glad about!)
FOURTH ATTEMPT - I'm getting much closer here. I did the paint first being very careful not to over work the color and then I went in with the pen lines.  I also added some paint and colored pencil accents. My daughter loved these and thought they were perfect. But I was still not completely happy. The lines are too thick but I was trying to stick to the materials the girls would be using in class. (One thing's for sure, in doing so many samples, I'm now able to draw these little fairies and mermaids in my sleep!) :)
THE FINAL SAMPLE - okay, NOW I'm happy with it. On this one I used Prang watercolors, Micron Pens (you just can't beat a Micron!), and paint and colored pencil accents. I concentrated on being more free with my paint on this one and then making my lines exactly where I wanted them--not letting the paint determine where things would be. (i.e., the first little fairy's dress is very off-set from the original color blob--I love this look. It gives the drawing an interesting graphic design element). 

At the very beginning of class I had the girls gather around while I did one fairy and one mermaid from start to finish so they could see the whole process before they started.

Here are the basic steps:
1. Paint your shapes...this is where the planning comes in. For the fairies, you paint a circle for the head (I had the girls use a dime as a reference size for this--we want our fairies to be small and dainty) and then a blob of color underneath the head that will be the dress. Add some wings, hair and a floating yellow blob to be the top of the wand. For the mermaids you paint a head, leave a little space below the head and then paint a rectangle of flesh color. Then paint small rectangle directly under the head in whatever color you'd like your mermaid to be and then paint your tail. Once the head is completely dry add the hair.

TIPS: you want your paint to be nice and watered down, but not so wet it takes hours to dry. 

You need to let each section dry before moving onto the next. You don't want your hair to bleed into the face or your mermaid tail to bleed up into the tummy.

Don't feel nervous because the paint just serves as slight guide. We're doing sort of off-set drawing here. You don't have to use the paint as your exact parameters. Basically, if there's something you don't like about the paint, it can be fixed with the drawing!

So the first step gives you something that looks like this...(this page became my FOURTH ATTEMPT pictured above)
2. Draw in the details...I like the thin lines I can get from Micron Pens. For class today the girls used Papermate Flair pens. I draw the chin first, and then the dress/body. This gives me good reference points to work with. Then I add the arms, wings, hair, wand, etc.

3. Add other elements...with pen you can add details to the dresses (hearts, buttons, lace, etc.), or scales to the mermaid. You can add little magical sprinkles coming off the fairy wand. Then you can go in with paint and add polka dots. We used bright pink, lime green, blue and white paint today in class. We decided those were good fairy/mermaid colors. You can add other touches--like rosy cheeks--with color pencils. There are so many ways to personalize and decorate your fairies and mermaids. That's the really fun part!!

That's basically it.

The girls did some amazing drawings today!!


Hopefully they will practice drawing fairies and mermaids all over the place at home!! We also discussed that this same method would be fun to use to draw ballerinas or little girls in summer dresses. Lots of possibilities!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

I hope everyone is having a lovely Easter.

Friday, April 4, 2014

First Friday Art Class for April 2014 - Fashion Graffiti

It's spring and our thoughts have turned to FASHION here at First Friday Art Class. And today we did a project that is all about letting loose and having fun! We were greatly influenced by the work of Ana Strumpf. (As soon as I saw her altered magazine covers I knew it was a project my art girls would totally dig!!)

I'm calling this class FASHION GRAFFITI. And here are the supplies...
You'll need:
Fashion magazine pages - a close up of a face is great, but full body pages work well too
White card stock - used to mount your drawing on
Scissors - if you're doing the cut out method
White pens - I have yet to find a white pen that I really love so if anyone has some suggestions, I'd gladly give some new pens a try. I've had the best luck with the Uniball Signo Broad but even that is pretty unpredictable
Black and colored permanent pens - as you can see in the above picture I have a thing for Sharpies
Other markers, paint, pastels, etc. (optional) - for today we used some scrapbook markers just to get some lighter, less opaque color

There are two methods for this and the image you choose sort of guides you to which method will work best for you. 

1.The first method is to use the full magazine page and design and decorate all over it AND THEN mount it on cardstock to give it some sturdiness. 

That is the method I used here because the background was quite simple and just begging for color and design...
2. The second method involves finding an image you like, cutting it out, mounting it to white cardstock (using a thin layer of glue stick) and then designing on the image and also on the surrounding paper. 

That is the method I used on this piece...(I may go back in and fill the entire background on this one. Still not sure. My daughter keeps saying, "Don't you always tell us 'you have to know when to stop', mom?" :) Great to have my own art advice used against me).
So basically that's it. 

I had several images pulled from Vogue and Lucky magazines on the table when the girls arrived. I had lots for them to choose from and didn't want them getting bogged down looking through a bunch of magazines. (Plus, let's be honest, they're not always appropriate for little eyes). 

The girls chose their image. Decided if they wanted to decorate the whole page or cut it out. And they went to work. I had to encourage a few of them to really let loose. Others dove right in and went for it. 

This is a great "There is No Wrong Answer" project! It's great for sparking creativity and for loosening up. This is also a great project for when you don't know what to draw. Just grab a magazine, open to a page, and decorate the crap out of it. :) 

And here are the girls' pieces...
I didn't get a picture of this one totally finished. She added a lot more to the background and it looked marvelous. The girls loved to see that they could add things to the photos and have them look like they were there all along (in this case the striped sleeve and her necklace).
This artist was more hesitant to dive in. I had to keep encouraging her. She didn't want to ruin Jennifer Lawrence. :) Her finished piece was a bit more subtle than some of the others but beautiful and creative just the same. We found that there was something really wonderful about starting with a black and white image and being able to add wild pops of color. 
 I knew this artist would "get" this project right away. This is so right up her alley. She immediately chose this picture of the singer Lorde and designed and enhanced it amazingly well!
 This artist is one who always dives right in. I love her fearlessness. She went right for those red lips and didn't look back.
 It was fun to see this artist get braver and bolder as she went. She began by just adding some added color to the lips and then she got more and more confident and began to really make this image her own! The little conversation bubble says, "I love fashion!!!" 
 The girls really responded to pictures of people they knew. In this case Hayden Panettiere. I love the streaks in the hair and the crown on her head. All added by this creative artist.
It's a bit hard to see but this artist added a Cruffle to the cheek. That's a fun homage to a former class. She also added the polka dots to the dress, the necklace, and the earring. Wonderful creativity going one here!

At the end of class we had everyone's parents here to pick them up trying to get the girls to put their pens down and get going. We even had one who was quite late for a babysitting job. :) That's a sign of artists being totally in the zone. I love it!!!

See you next month.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Sketch - 2/16/14

My notebook got a little water damage on that right edge. Serves me right for throwing it and a bottle of water all in my purse. :(

Friday, March 14, 2014

Another "Life is Sweet" Cupcake

So a funny thing happened a few weeks ago at our church Boy Scout Cake Auction. One of the little girls in our congregation fell in love with my cupcake drawing. She started off the bidding and then just kept raising her hand until her mom said, "You're the high bidder! Put your hand down." She was outbidding herself. :)

Needless to say, she won the cupcake. And after the auction a friend came up and offered me a deal. She told me she was bidding on the cupcake but just couldn't bear to outbid the young bidder because "she is just so cute!" So we struck a deal...I do another drawing of a cupcake for her and she will make me one of her famous Texas Sheet Cakes. They are legendary!

And so I present "Life Is Sweet Cupcake, part 2".
5" x 7", ink and Prisma marker on paper

Friday, March 7, 2014

First Friday Art Class for March 2014 - Value Tangles

We've done a couple classes in the past focussing on Zentangle patterns and designs. This time we did some new designs but added value to them to give our drawings depth and interest.

I began by having the girls do a simple value scale. For kids this age, I suggest a 5 section scale. I tell them that square 1 is our absolute lightest value so we leave it blank. Then we do square 5. This will be our darkest value. Then we do square 3 which will be a value right in the middle of our lightest light and our darkest dark. Then do square 2 which is a value right between 1 and 3 and square 4 which is a value right between 3 and 5. I think breaking the value scale up this way is the best approach--especially for young artists.

We did another value scale just like the first one and then once it was filled in the girls experimented with their new tool--a blending tortillon. I had them use the tortillon in circular motions and back and forth to get a feel for what they can do with it. We talked about the benefits of this over using your fingers to smudge--it's cleaner and can get into smaller areas. I personally use both a tortillon and my fingers in my work.
We then talked about shading our Zentangles. We aren't going for total photo realism with the light source always in the right place. Our focus is to create depth and try to show which parts are behind and which parts are in front. So basically if something is behind something else, we shade it. We kept it simple.

We then went to work on the rest of our worksheet. (I will put a link to each separate Zentangle below).
We followed our usual pattern where I drew on the white board and they drew along with  me on their individual papers. We had fun combining ink with graphite and exploring all the things you can do with these particular designs.

I don't always show the girls the end results before we begin, but I felt that it was important for them to have a sample to look at for today's drawings because of their complex nature. So before class I completed my own worksheet and had it there on the table for them to look at.
Here are the links to each fun tangle and this is the order we drew them--sort of ranging from simplest to the  most complex:

Globes - a great introduction to shading a round object and drop shadows
Gems - this is definitely one you need to stand back from and then suddenly your drawing really does look like a shiny gem (or a jelly bean as the girls pointed out)
Thumprintz - the shading really makes this design
Stacked Tubes - very simple but with great results, we added handles to a few of our stacks making it look like a giant stack of tea cups. (I personally LOVE this design--great for mindless doodling!!)
ATORM - the is a fun pattern and the full page of it is just gorgeous
W2 - this creates the complex basket weave pattern, once you add the shading this design really pops! (*see note below for a tip for doing this one)
Folds - this is the one the girls seemed to want to do lots more of right as class was ending. I noticed them experimenting with different shapes and ideas.
Puffles - like the Cruffles we did several months ago but with a twist

*W2 can be confusing. I find this to be VERY helpful. Some of the girls did too. Others just used my sample as a way to "get" it and then they went from there. It takes a bit of practice, but once you get it, the look is sooooo cool!!
You want each little square to look like a pinwheel NOT an argyle. Notice in the picture that the top looks like a basket weave and each tiny square has lines coming off like a pinwheel. Where the bottom drawing just looks like squares in a geometric pattern.

The reason I chose each of these particular Zentangles is that they each lend themselves very well to adding value by using our graphite pencils and blending tortillon.

The girls got so excited that they kept having me hold their papers up and away from them so they could really appreciate the depth they were creating. It was so fun to hear them all ewww and ahhhh over each others drawings!!

Pretty impressive, don't you agree?

I had hoped to have time for the girls to do more of these designs on their own on a blank paper, but the worksheet took our whole class time. Which was totally fine--that just meant we spent the whole time drawing together which was really fun! I challenged the girls to practice at home and see how they could adapt and change these designs to make them their own.

See you next month where I'm pretty sure the spring will bring us a fashion inspired class!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Newest Name Signs


These two were gifts for friends who just had new babies.

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