Christmas is just around the corner and what better gift can you give to someone special than a custom illustration of their beloved pet or family member? Now is the time to order! It can take me several weeks to complete a beautiful masterpiece for you, so look through your photographs and find that special picture that would look great as a work of art and send it to me today!
The frame I used for the aspen drawing is made from aspen trees. I posted this picture to demonstrate the size of the completed illustration and to show how beautiful paintings are when they are matted and framed.
Dark Umber is the last color to be added to the branches for now. At this point, the branches look complete; however, later I will add Black to the areas that I feel need to be darkened, in order to add depth and balance to the drawing. Are you drawing these branches in your sleep?
There are many drawing mediums available to artists, each medium having its own specific advantages and drawbacks. Although an artist may find pleasure in working with various types, individual artists usually have a favorite form of expression, based on many factors, not the least of which is simply personal preference. My favorite is colored pencils.
The primary reason I prefer to illustrate with colored pencils is that I have total control over where the color is placed and how it is blended; however, there are also several technical reasons I prefer colored pencils over other mediums such as oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolor.
The process of achieving the desired colors on an illustration, using colored pencils, is similar to watercolor in that each colored area is created by using translucent layers of various shades, slowly building to produce the desired effect; however, watercolor tends to bleed and blend where it wants to and not necessarily where I want it to.
Acrylics dry rapidly, which can make it difficult to blend colors and which adds a sense of urgency to complete the drawing.
On the other side of the spectrum, Oils take so long to dry, that if you're not careful, working the paint too much can cause the colors to blend together more than you want them to, and you wind up painting mud.
Pastels blend nicely together; however, because of their softness, they smear easily and can become messy. They blend on anything and everything they come in contact with.
Colored pencils are wax based and do not smudge or smear. They are not a liquid base, so there is no drying time required. You can stop drawing whenever you want, take a break for any length of time, and resume later, with no concern about anything drying out. And, as an added advantage, there is no messy clean up of paint brushes and pallets.
The one major drawback to colored pencils is the time involved in completing the illustration. If you want a painting that you can complete quickly, then colored pencils is not the medium for you.
Shown above is the reference photo I have selected for my illustration. Over the next few weeks, I will post the various steps used to create the drawing.
"Girl in France" is a colored pencil illustration that was commissioned by a friend of mine. Her daughter was having a wonderful time in France and her mother wanted to give her a special "welcome home" present. She had several great pictures her daughter had sent home to her, but this one was the pose the she felt best captured her daughter's joy. Her mother wanted to add "The Happiest Gurl in all of France" to the bottom of the illustration. The misspelling of "Gurl" is a family pun and made the painting extra special for her daughter.
I love drawing people and animals, and that is what is usually commissioned from me; however this drawing was a special treat for me, because I had the opportunity to include a beach scene with cliffs in the distance.
Some of the things which make a drawing special, as opposed to a photograph, are the subtle changes that can be made to improve the overall feeling that the picture presents. In this drawing, of course, the obvious change is the elimination of the second girl in the background; but there are several others, less apparent.
To make her daughter more of the focal point, I drew her larger than she appeared in the photograph. That's like zooming in on the main subject, while leaving the background in place. In order to balance the drawing, the girl was raised from the bottom of the frame and placed off center, using the cliffs in the background to achieve overall balance. (You might note that in the photo her right foot was cropped, so I had to "make one up".)
The girls head was placed against a background of a very light, cloudy sky, in order to bring out her features, and the tone of the overall picture was lightened, to give it a brighter, more cheerful feeling.
Seascapes present a unique set of challenges to an artist. Ocean waves and foam on a beach are beautiful in real life, and the artist must strive to capture that same mood for the illustration. The waves need to be dark in some areas, showing the depth of the ocean and lighter in other areas, showing the reflection from the sun above. The briny foam requires random patterns of the sandy beach, underlying the pure white foam. Each hole area in the foam requires a slight shadow on one edge and bright white on the other edge. This gives each area depth and makes it more obvious that the "white foam" is on top of the brown sand.
This is a drawing of my husband Eldon and my oldest daughter, Heather. The photo was taken when Heather was about six years old. She's now in her mid 20's. We loved to go fishing in the mountains of Colorado. We still do, but as the children grow older and move away and life throws curve balls at you making it physically more difficult to make the hikes up in the mountains, fewer and fewer family fishing outings happen.
I love drawing pictures that have deeper meanings than just a straight forward view of a smiling face. The smiling face picture is always a nice classic because it preserves the unique beauty of that particular person, but it rarely tells the story behind the story. This particular picture always brings a smile to my face when I see it. For one thing, it reminds me of the particular fishing trip that we had gone on that day. My memory isn't as good as Eldon's, however. He could tell you what lake or creek we were at that day, or how many fish we had or hadn't caught that day. Probably even how much each fish weighed.
Another thing it reminds me of is how Eldon was always so patient with the children when they needed another worm on the hook or had snagged the line in a tree. This picture also reminds me how much Eldon loves Heather and how much Heather adores and idolizes her father. She has said recently that her Daddy is her hero. This picture shows that statement to be true by the smile she has on her face as she's looking at her father.
Life continues to move forward and the past will always be in the past. Sometimes I wish I could turn back the hands of time and relive the hectic days of motherhood. But at least I'll always have my wonderful memories of our three children when they were young and memories of my husband when he was young and strong.
Having my drawings of my families treasured moments in time, is something that I cherish and will be able to pass down from generation to generation.
Starving artist trying to get noticed...(and not starve)