Friday, July 21, 2017

importance of making art for fun, plus illustration friday and color collective

I just added an art for fun section to my website. 

Q: What is art for fun?

A: Art that's just for fun might be in a different style, use a different medium, or it could even be a doodle! Art for fun is just for you. It's not part of a project or for your portfolio (though it could be in the future.

Q: Why is it important to take time away from other projects to make art that's just for fun?

A: It can be hard to keep your creativity if you're schedule is full, or if you feel obligated to create only a certain type of art for a project, or your portfolio. Art for fun doesn't have an agenda, so there's no pressure. You can create what you want. It can help you stay creative (and avoid burnout) and the things you learn could help you make art for books or other projects. You never know what's going to happen when you make art without a plan*. 

* Not having a plan and doing it for fun doesn't mean you can't be inspired by an illustration prompt, or try new materials to change up your style. (If you've visited my blog before, you might have noticed that I do a lot of art for illustration prompts. This is why.) What it means is that nobody is expecting you to make the art. You can experiment! You can make mistakes!**

** Mistakes are part of the creative process, but sometimes it seems like we don't have room to make mistakes. You don't have to turn in art for fun, or show it to anyone, unless you want to. I don't show all the art for fun on my site, but it's fun to be able to show a few of the pieces I like.

Q: Do you have any examples of art for fun?

A: Yes! Here four pieces of art for fun I made this week (notice how different each of these pieces are). Two of them are for illustration prompts. If I were making these for my portfolio, I wouldn't feel like I could experiment with style and medium as much as I did with these:

1. The prompt for Illustration Friday this week is: ice cream. I enjoyed creating my roller skating dinosaurs, so I decided to paint a dinosaur eating ice cream and experiment with acrylic paint and texture:


2. The color for Colour Collective this week was a blue color - Pantone 292 C, to be exact, which is harder to create in traditional mediums when you can't "pick" the color like you can digitally. I experimented with watercolor, watercolor crayons, and sponge painting to come up with an umbrella boat with a bear and two birds, and lots of blue:


3. This image is a character study of 3 Cats meowing, but mostly it's another experiment in sponge painting (I love sponge painting, but I can't control it, which is part of the fun and also part of the frustration):


4. Last but not least, I experimented with not using black line for my giraffe and sheep (with a little sponge painting in the background):



These are all very different, and I learned things from each one that will help me make art in the future, even if it's digital art. If I were only making art for a book or my portfolio, none of these images would exist. If I weren't making art for fun, I wouldn't grow as an artist, and eventually, that would catch up with me.

Q: What does your regular art look like?

A: If you're not familiar with my art, you might not realize how different this art is from what's in my portfolio. Here are my two latest pieces for comparison, one color, one black line:
I. Roberta and Bailey (the robot) at the Beach:
[Note - even this is different than the art for the book I illustrated (EWE AND AYE) - it's important to keep growing as an artist, IMO.]



II. Crabby Stories - Teller of Tall Tales:


Do you make art for fun? 

Or if you're a writer, do you write stories just for yourself? (Writing for fun can have similar benefits to making art for fun.)

If you want to see more of art for fun, check out the new section on my website.

If you're interested in becoming a picture book illustrator and/or writer, here are some of my past posts that might help:

The Path Illustrators Take To Get Their Work Noticed And Advance Their Careers


Five Tips For Illustrators  

Three Ways To Make A Picture Book Dummy 

Ten Tips For Choosing What To Draw For Your Portfolio, And Ten Ways To Find Inspiration

How To Write A Picture Book In Twelve Easy Steps  

If You Just Want To Illustrate And Not Write  

Friday, June 16, 2017

dinosaurs rollerskating for illustration friday and colour collective

The prompt for Illustration Friday this week is skate, and the color for Colour Collective this week was Ceylon Yellow. So of course I thought of a dinosaur rollerskating! Ended up doing two paintings (so far) and they are both still wet, which means I can't scan* them. Luckily, I can photograph them! Am experimenting with mixed media paintings, these are the first two.

In the first painting, a dinosaur taking a relaxing skate through town (well relaxing for the dinosaur, not so much for the people):


In the second painting, the dinosaur is skating out in the country. A child waves from the car going by (the parent driving is not as happy about the dinosaur as the child):


Thinking about doing a third image, where the dinosaur is skating much faster, maybe even racing someone or something. Or a dino who is not quite as steady on skates. Or maybe just a giant dino foot with skate picture. Hmm. Need to start sketching!

p.s. As you can see by the differences in the two pictures, I'm still developing the dino character.

*p.p.s. If I have time tomorrow, I will scan these pictures so they look better. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

cows and chickens preparing for the farm games

The color for Colour Collective this week was Baker-Miller Pink (the color of the cow noses below). I wasn't sure what to draw, but then remembered a sketch I did a long time ago of a chicken running over the top of a line of cows. It was for a title page of a picture book that sadly never got published, but I've always liked that sketch.

I added a second line of cows, a bunch of baby chickens, had fun with the colors, and came up with this:


Today, I found out that the prompt for Illustration Friday this week is team. I decided that the cows and chickens are teams getting ready for the upcoming Farm Games (which I imagine are like the Olympics for farm animals). Team Moo is preparing by eating a hearty meal. Team Cluck is preparing by running sprints (the baby chicks are still a little unclear about what that means). I decided that in order to concentrate, Team Moo and Team Cluck would have to have no distractions in their image, so away went the background and the image now looks like this:


It looks the same, and yet completely different! I like looking at art with different aspects added or subtracted to see what it looks like and how it changes the image as a whole. Speaking of completely different, here's a version without the black line:


Here's all three of them together, which makes a completely different look, with the white square in between the two multicolored squares (which makes it easier to see that the cow lines are not straight):


Not sure which one I like best. As usual, I like them all for different reasons. If this were for a book project, the one that worked best with the characters and story would be the one to go with for printing (still not always easy to choose).

Do you ever do multiple versions of images or written stories? If so, how do you decide which one you like best, or which one makes it to final art/text?

Friday, April 28, 2017

kitty superhero hideout and a hopscotch superhero

Happy National Superhero Day! To honor the holiday, here are my two latest superheroes:

For for Illustration Friday this week (prompt = shoe) and for Colour Collective (color = lava red), here's the Kitty Superhero Hideout:


Not sure yet whether the Masked Mouse is a friend or foe. Here's a close up of three of the four kitty superheroes:



Last week, I drew the Hopscotch Superhero for Colour Collective (color = kingfisher):


Can't remember the last time I played hopscotch, how about you? Drawing this made me want to get out the chalk and go hop!

Happy National Superhero Day!

Don't forget to wear your cape.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

that's not a rabbit - when magic tricks go sideways

The word for Illustration Friday this week is illusion. Magicians are masters of illusion, but they have to start somewhere. This little girl needs a bit more practice pulling a rabbit out of her hat:


What's that bear doing in there? And why is the bear wearing bunny ears? Or is it really a rabbit in disguise? Illusions can be mysterious.

p.s. This is also for Colour Collective tomorrow (the color is Jonquil Yellow).

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

art fun with idioms, mimes, birds and cows

This past week has been filled with art and idioms.

To celebrate the first day of spring, I wondered what would happen if the early worm got the bird, and decided that would probably be big news:



The season might be only a week old, but the idiom art keeps coming.

For Colour Collective on Friday, the color was Blue Bell (like the flowers). That doesn't have anything to do with idioms, or mimes, but I decided to use both of those as inspiration for my image:

Read Between The Mimes! (I had to do it. Once I thought of the idea, it cracked me up.)

After the worm and the mimes, the word for Illustration Friday this week is umbrella (which makes sense, because it's spring and it keeps raining). I thought about drawing a rain filled umbrella scene, but then the idiom, "When it rains, it pours!" came into my head, which of course got changed into, "When it rains, cows soar!" And then I thought of Mary Poppins, and well, this happened:


It's a whole herd of the rare Mooey Poppins cows! (with apologies to Mary Poppins)

This will also be my art for Colour Collective this week (the color is Burnt Sienna, which I used on half of the umbrellas - the color looks a lot more red in the Colour Collective swatch than it does when I get it out of a tube of paint - was a perfect color for the umbrellas though).

Here's a close up of a few of the umbrella flying cows:


I've got a feeling it might be an idiom filled season. ;)

There were a couple of non-idiom art pieces this week too. I did two quick sketches for "holidays." (Note: there are holidays that are just a little odd and nobody really knows why they are holidays, but they're usually fun to celebrate and draw pictures for, so yay? these two images are for those type of holidays).

Holiday #1 National Poultry Day - a quick sketch of a character from a WIP:


Still working on her look. Will not be using these markers for the final art (I always forget I don't like these evil markers* until after I've used them - won't happen again ... until the next time I forget)!

Holiday #2 National Puppy Day - another quick sketch (but this time not with the evil markers*)



Happy Spring Everyone!

What's your favorite idiom?

* the markers aren't really evil - I just keep forgetting they don't work like paint, even though they have a brush tip - or maybe I just keep hoping that the markers will magically work like paint if I let them sit for a while - I am optimistic (though not about the markers)

Friday, March 17, 2017

rain during a blizzard and art challenges

This has been an art filled week!

We had a blizzard on Tuesday. You may have seen something about it on the news, or wondered why everyone was talking about Stella (that's what they named the blizzard). We got hit by the blizzard, and then it shifted and we got rain, and then snow, and then rain and snow together, and then snow again. Yay! (Ugh!)

So I made some art:


I even made an avatar out of the image (because it's a bit of a self portrait and shows how I feel about snow, and rain-snow). Check it out on the sidebar.

After the blizzard, it was National Panda Day on Thursday. (Yay pandas!) So of course I had to make some art for that too. (BTW, did you know pandas are hard to draw? They are!) When I was done with the line drawing, I realized some grasses would make a great background. As a bonus, it could be my Colour Collective image (the color is clover green this week):


I had so much fun making the green grasses with my brush markers that decided to make more art with them. It did not turn out well (there's a reason I don't use those markers very often). There was a lot of clover green though, so I scanned it to use as a second Colour Collective image. After scanning, it looked even worse, so I painted over it in Photoshop. It looks much better now:


Today I looked on the  Illustration Friday site and saw that the prompt this week is snail. And then this happened (and luckily it has clover green in it, so it can be a third image Colour Collective image):


That's the end of my art filled week. It started off with winter and ended up with spring ;).

Wishing you all a creative art filled weekend (whatever kind of art you want to make or enjoy, whether it's visual, written story, music or something else)!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

a pie loving bear coloring page for pi day

Happy Pi Day! (a.k.a. Pie Day) Here's a pie eating bear coloring page to celebrate (+ 5 more new coloring pages too, including - a cat and mouse, a lost sock train, pigs on a combine, kids playing in the sun, and smart alligators):


Ready to color? Click here!

Friday, March 10, 2017

punk rock toddlers and a tiny mermaid waving hello

The Colour Collective color for this week is: Amaranth. I played around with a few ideas and ended up drawing a trio of toddlers rocking out. Unfortunately, one of them was a complete drawing failure and got inked out. I had just enough room on the paper I was using to create a new character to round out the trio.

Since everyone posts their images for Colour Collective at the same time on Friday afternoons (19:30 GMT), that gave me time to check out the Illustration Friday prompt for this week. Luckily, the prompt ties in with the image I created for Colour Collective. The Illustration Friday prompt is: punk.

My little rockin' toddlers love punk music! A coincidence? Probably, but still true. Here they are with their newest member (the one in the middle) and their new song:


The toddler on the left is my new avatar. She is not impressed with the singing talent of their newest punk rocker.

In other news, apparently it's winter again. If you'd rather think about warm tropical weather, or just need a friendly bit of happy today, this tiny mermaid is waving hello to you:


I like the tiny mermaid, but my favorite character is actually the octopus with an attitude:


Also, in case you didn't notice, there's a shark hiding in the picture too.

Whether you're rocking out, dreaming of warm weather, making art, or plotting your next book while shoveling snow, I hope you have an awesome weekend! (Even if you're not doing any of those things, I hope you have an awesome weekend doing whatever it is that you're doing!)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

scoop for an underwater reporter, a leaping sheep, and a snowman

The Illustration Friday prompt this week is: scoop. My first thought when I saw the topic yesterday was a reporter getting a news scoop. And then I wondered what it would look like if that reporter were a shark. A real live shark in the ocean, trying to interview an elusive subject. (Creativity is strange sometimes, or maybe it's just my creativity that's strange.)

Here's the underwater news report, and the moment that my shark reporter gets the scoop:


After drawing this, I realized that scoop could also refer to a scoop of ice cream. So of course I wondered if the octopus would hide as a cherry on the top of an ice cream sundae to avoid the shark reporter. Might have to draw that later! Until then, here's a close up of the Ocean News, in case you want to know the scoop!



When I went to post this today, I realized I hadn't posted my leaping sheep pictures from last month. The first one below was for Valentine's Day, the second one was for my first Colour Collective image (the color that week was Opal Grey). It's basically the same image, but with a few differences that make a big difference in the final look:

Sheep In Love:


Leaping Sheep:


Can't decide which one I like better. They're both fun for different reasons. Which one do you like better?

Finally, here's a snowman to brighten your day. I drew it for my aunt Thelma, who loved snowmen, but was not fond of winter: