I just wanted to pop on here and wish everyone a happy holidays! No matter what or if you celebrate, I hope you are all happy, healthy, and surrounded by good company.

Santa Claus Christmas Sketch

I also wanted to share a quick sketch I did.  A cute little Santa for Christmas.  Merry Christmas!

Happy Jurassic Thanksgiving!

One thing I was thankful for this Thanksgiving was a movie marathon of the series on TV.  Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III are some of my favorite movies (the first book is awesome, too!).  Paired with my family’s roasting turkey, it inspired a sketch today.

I liked the idea of drawing the iconic Jurassic Park T-rex (although Tyrannosauruses are actually from the Late Cretaceous period…oh well).  Let’s hope this turkey outran its mighty ancestor!

Jurassic Park Thanksgiving Sketch

Ghosty Meringues at Last

You know the feeling: you’re waiting in a checkout line, glazing your eyes over the tabloids and cooking magazines placed around the candies and register.  Nothing particular interesting, and all you can do is shake your head at the front pages of celebrity alien babies and other oh-so-realistic scandals.

When I was about nine years old, though, I loved the holiday cooking collections.  Little books of themed recipes, dotted amongst the gossip, their covers always had some cute or intricate design.  I distinctly remember one booklet that featured a haunted chocolate cake and creamy looking ghosts.

After much insisting (and let’s be honest, some begging), it was purchased for me.  The recipes included non-alcoholic cocktails, cupcakes, snacks, and yes, those adorable cookie ghosts.  Although I kept wanting too, my family and I never quite made the time or had the motivation to cook them.  Until now.

Finally, I made the meringue with help from my mom, a good cook and baker.  It was a fairly simple process: make the meringue (perhaps not so simple itself), pipe it into ghost shapes on a floured baking pan, place little chocolate chips for the eyes, and bake.

Only a few of my ghosts looked like those on the cover.  Initially it was a little frustrating, as the meringue didn’t stick to the pan enough to shape; instead it was dragged around with the tip instead of staying in place.

Ghost Meringues Uncooked

It was for the better, though.  Because they all looked different, they developed their own personalities as individuals.   That may sound strange, but it was fun to try and pipe one thing, and see them end up in unique ways.

Uncooked Ghost Close-up 1

Uncooked Ghost Meringue Close-up 2

Uncooked Ghost Meringue Close-up 3

Besides the ghosts, I also attempted to do more traditional meringue shapes.  My mom called them “little poos”, and I’ll happily admit many of them have a certain, unintentional resemblance to the poo emoji.

Inspired by some mega meringues I saw while in Assisi, Italy, I tried to make some large ones.  Mine were really sad in comparison, so I gave them their own faces with the chocolate chips.  They evolved to a more ‘melted snowman’ look.

Uncooked Big Meringues

Somewhat surprisingly, they actually came out really well.  Well, the ghosts and little poos *ahem* meringues did.  The large ones, which were experiments anyway, were a little chewy in the middle, but were still enjoyable.

Some of my favorite ghosts were:

Star Wars Dianoga Cooked Meringue

The top left one vaguely reminded me of a dianoga, a.k.a. the Star Wars trash compactor monster.

Ghost Dementor Meringue Baked

We agreed this ghost in the middle had a resemblance to a Dementor.

Baked Ghost Meringue Trio

Here are three that I feel most match the original ghost design.

Again, this was a fairly straightforward project.  It would be neat to make the full project like the cover, placing the ghosts near, or maybe even floating around, a haunted house.  I could see doing this other Halloweens, or maybe dying the meringue pink and making hearts on Valentine’s Day.

 

Have you ever made meringues?  How did it go? Let me know below!

It’s become blaringly apparent lately that my goal of 31 ink drawings by the end of Inktober was a bit too ambitious.  The second week of October I got a bad cold, and now I’m putting a lot of work into my Latin studies.

However, I am happy with the improvements and drawings I have made, despite being disappointed about the total count.  But hey, life happens.  Thankfully the use of ink is absolutely not limited to this one month and challenge.  I look forward to continuing to improve and create inky art in the future.

My latest (and probably last) drawing for Inktober is still in progress.  Last year I made a picture for my grandparents of a deer, and since then I’ve really liked drawing them.  Moose are clearly a little different, and I was interested in studying those differences.  I also wanted to try and create a short hair texture in contrast to the antlers.

Inktober Moose 2016 WIP Watermarked

I’m really loving it so far.  It takes time to build up the shading with short strokes, and I’m largely testing out the techniques here, but it’s turning out well.  Also, it makes me happy to be using my colored microns again.  The dark chocolate color suits the moose for obvious reasons, plus it will make it look more natural and soft when complete.  Now I only have the rest of the legs and some grassy elements on the bottom to do.

The face, which I did first, doesn’t quite match the rest of the body.  Because I grew more confident as I went along, the head has more tentative shading.  It shouldn’t be hard to go back and add a little more.

 

How are your Inktobers going? Let me know in the comments below.

I ended up doing something different today.  I recently bought a Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen in black, and have been longing to use it.  While browsing Google searches for ink art, to find some inspiration, I stumbled upon the work of Charles Dana Gibson.

Specializing in inked images of figures, particularly women, he is widely regarded as a master of pen and ink.  If you search his name in Google images you can see why.  His characters feel alive and real.

As I learned at the Library of Congress website, his design of women in the 1890’s became known as the ‘Gibson Girl’.  In fact, it became a cultural icon that set fashion and beauty standards for many years.

The particular illustration I studied is simply known as Head of a Girl, and dates to somewhere between 1893 and 1914.  I followed his example of doing a loose graphite underdrawing and then inking.

Head of a Girl Inking Study

To be honest, I didn’t do much of a sketch first.  As you can see, I have been using an “Inktober Practice Apple” sticky note to warm up and play around with techniques. I did a little thumbnail there, a sketch of the basic face on the right, and went in with my Pitt pen.

The end result is okay.  Gibson’s girl looks alluring in her blasé expression, while mine just looks bored.  But the important thing is that I learned a lot from this study.  It was a fun experience to give structure to the face with simple diagonal lines, and an updo through carefully placed yet loose swoops.

I did get overconfident and less careful by the time I reached the neck, which is why it is, well, a bit tree-trunk-ish.  I tried to fix it, but gave up since it just seemed to make it worse.  Anyways, I look forward to studying more of Gibson’s work to improve my own inking.

After taking some time off for my birthday, today’s Inktober work is inspired by the occasion.  I had a few other ideas, but since it was my 20th I thought I should doodle something for it.

Inktober drawing #3, on the fourth

My cake last year actually looked a little like this one.  Well, it had three small tiers anyway.  I finally broke out my colored Pigma Microns.  It’s mostly dark blue, with tiny orange accents on the candles.

One thing that’s been particularly interesting to me about ink lately is the use of different textures- how one pen can create a variety of surfaces.  I played with that in this, experimenting with the crosshatching on the table, the little flowers on the borders, and the scumbling/scribbling background.

I was nervous about the background.  It felt like adding that dark scribbling would either make or totally ruin the picture.  In the end, I think it could have been done better.  Although it does add some depth which is nice.

Inktober 2016: Day Two

This evening I felt like drawing some fashion.  Clothing folds are something I would like to be better at, as well as drawing people beyond just headshots.

Pinterest is often my go-to for inspiration and references.  Interestingly enough, though, the subject today isn’t wearing any of the outfits I found.  The end result, as you can see, was a sort of amalgamation of what I saw.

Inktober 2016 Day Two Woman

Materials used: Pigma Micron pen, Pigma Brush, white Gelly Roll, Copic Cool Grays

I don’t often draw women with short hairstyles, but I was inspired by some updos and dress/skirt combos.  This turned into a character from the 1940’s and ‘50’s.  I like to think she’s a down-to-earth, sarcastic journalist or businesswoman.  In this image, I imagined she was halfheartedly contemplating a problem in the office.

Her backstory and design were gradual developments, which I think was both good and bad.  It was good in that I was able to keep going and finish the illustration without being bogged down by my perfectionism.  That said, her proportions are off, since I didn’t really stop to check them while drawing.  Oops.

Inktober 2016: Day One

Today’s art star: Batman!  I’d never drawn him before, so I was excited to try something new.  I was inspired to go with a similar style to his animated appearances, where his eyes are just white shapes.  To go with that I put white rim lighting on his him.

Batman Inktober 2016 Day One

Although Batman is known to be stoic, I decided to give him a snarl.  The sort of look he might have before stopping some frustrating bad guys.  I wanted to capture the grimness of Gotham abstractly, so I used my Copic cool grays to add rain in the background.

It’s time for another Inktober! I thought you might want to see which ones are in my arsenal this month.


First, are the Pigma Micron pens by Sakura. Technically, there are also the Pigma Brushes and Pigma Graphics, which are ink brushes and markers respectively. This is a mixed set of 16 I purchased a while back. The Microns are what I use for all of my inking normally. The Brush makes occasional appearances when I’m feeling fancy, and the Graphics are seldom used to fill in large areas.


I also have a selection of colored Micron pens (more than what’s above, but here is an array of most of the colors). These were my favorites last year, as I received them for my birthday at the beginning of Inktober.


The basis of pretty much all of my drawings, I use pencils to do a sketch that I ink over. I tend to prefer wooden pencils around the B-HB range for these, but I’m not too picky. The erasers I use are pretty cheap but good for erasing the sketch after inking.

Some people consider using Copics and other markers cheating for Inktober. Other people say that there is ink in the markers, so they count. I’m kind of in between. For this year, I’ve decided that I can use some of my cool grays, but only for accents or to fill in spaces.

A major staple in many artist’s supplies is a white gel pen. Specifically, I use a white classic Gelly Roll by Sakura. It gives an opaque color fairly easily, making it good for bold highlights and fixing inking mistakes.

Edit: I picked this Pitt Pen by Faber Castell up about half way through Inktober. I’ve been meaning to get one for a while, based on some positive reviews on YouTube.

What are you using this Inktober? I’d love to know in the comments!

A while back, while searching through the depths of Pinterest projects, I found a lot of simple yet modern paintings. I felt inspired to try it myself. So I grabbed my easel and my new set of Grumbacher Academy Acrylics and played around.

You may have seen the style before: they usually consist of one to four solid colors with dynamic white lines. The way it is achieved is you first put painter’s tape on the canvas where you’d like the white lines. You could make different colored lines by first painting a layer of the desired color on the canvas and then put the tape (but make sure it’s dry first!) Then you simply fill in the shapes left between the tape.

Essentially, the concept is to mask sections using straight lines, then paint the exposed canvas surface. I didn’t actually have any painter’s tape on hand. Instead, I used some washi tape and hoped it would work. Before starting, I had the general idea to use spring-like colors and that’s it. Sometimes it’s best to ‘give in’ to the artistic process and just see what happens. In the end, I think it turned out pretty well.

A couple weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to teach a class at a local homeschool group. It was a fun opportunity, but I wasn’t sure what exactly I could teach. In many (practically all) ways, I feel like a student myself. My mom suggested the painting above, and it was the perfect project.
I have to admit I was a bit nervous going in. I had teaching experience from being a Girl Scout and some school projects, but this felt a little different. Many of the families who are in the group are good acquaintances, so I really wanted to make the class fun while educational.
There were about eight kids, and they helped make it an awesome experience. After a brief introduction about the history of Abstractive painting (specifically cubism, and the evolution of geometry in modern design), I showed them my painting as an example. Then they all raised their hands. One by one they all had compliments on my “cool” painting. My confidence more than boosted, I actually had to redirect the attention from mine so they could get started.

What they did with the concept of ‘geometric abstraction’ –a versatile term anyway—was great. They each interpreted this idea of shapes and white lines in a unique and surprising way. Some of them went beyond just coloring them in, and experimented with various textures and patterns.



One adorable little student finished early (his painting is above) and wanted to make a second one. I only had limited supplies, so his mom prompted him to ask where I bought them. They made plans to make more at home. Later on, more kids said they wanted to paint this again at home.




As class ended, things got a little crazy as their families came to get them. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get many pictures of the paintings without the tape. But I did get a little on video!

Throughout the hour, the kids were enthusiastic and super imaginative. It was a genuine pleasure sharing this project with them.