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!!


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