Posts Tagged ‘drawing’

WATERCOLOR: Lifecycle of a portrait

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Here are the main stages of a typical watercolor portrait of mine. I posted a shortened version of this on my FB, tumblr and Instagram but thought I would elaborate more here.

Stage 1

The first stage is using a reference photo (sometimes I use multiple photos and combine them, like I did with my friends Ijeoma and Andrew) to create a pencil sketch. This is generally the most time consuming part and creates the skeleton for the entire image. In this example, the shadows are bumped up in post processing to make the sketch appear darker than it is, but I do seem to rely on these lines more than most of the process photos and tutorials I see on youtube. But comparison is an art killer, so fuck it.

This part is generally the brow scrunching and sort of annoying part. Every time I erase, I damage the watercolor paper some, and I already work pretty wet most of the time, often causing nubbins to develop on parts of the paper that I pick off with tweezers. This is where I really appreciate having an art projector, though there is definitely a deepened sense of satisfaction when drawing these freehand.

For this portrait, I used my pigma micron ink pens to outline the pencil sketch, then erased the pencil (which often shows through the watercolor in ways I don’t like), but sometimes I save the outlines for later. Just depends.

Stage 2

You can see in this image that the lines aren’t nearly so harsh, in part because I have erased the pencil. I am working on sketching with less pencil shading since I just erase it anyways, but for right now it helps me see the balance of the shapes as I draw and gives me a chance to practice where I want shading. At the point that I took the middle image, I had probably let the paper dry two or three times. There is a lot of drying, then wetting to smooth color edges in the way that I work, and lots of building up of the dark layers. The white balance of the photo is a bit warm, here.

Stage 3

At this point, I have added all the watercolor I intend to add and started working on highlights and deepening shadows, which I do with white and black ink pens respectively. My style is lines for dark and bubbles for highlight, usually but not always. I like to add a few squiggles and dots here and there for depth and detail, and at this point I usually widen my outlines with a slightly larger micron. Eventually, I would really like to upgrade to acrylic inks and nibs for this. The white balance of this third image is a bit on the cool side, but I like that it shows the element of detail in how I add texture to skin by utilizing both cool and warm tones.

So yeah, that’s how I do it. Usually takes a few hours. Eventually I hope to be the type who can draw interesting backgrounds and not get totally burnt out, but for now it’s color splotches, swirls, and drips.

Experiment: Daily Post-it challenge

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Challenge: A post-it sketch in ballpoint for every day in August.
Duration: One month

Compendious Result: Fine for 8 days, then trainwreck failure — and I’m ok with that.

This was one of many, many production challenges I’ve given myself over the years, none of which I’ve completed fully.

It is said in most circles that ‘real’ artists art every day. Perhaps that may be so, but I don’t work that way. I go in spurts and phases between my various art forms, and always have. I am inspired and proud for my artist friends who bust out a sketch a day and stick with it, but that just ain’t me.

While the idea of a more structured and disciplined life appeals to me, with more focus and mastery of less, I doubt it will ever show up as rigidity in how I create and practice my artwork.

The eyes have it

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Perhaps I should do something themed-wise with this eye stuff. I’m starting to collect quite a few.

All in a day’s work

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

I pulled down my acrylic and water based visual art show today and put it right back up a couple miles away; Currently Showing at Broadcast Coffee: June 1, 2014 – August 1, 2014. 1918 E Yesler Way, Seattle, WA ‎
(206) 322-0807 ‎ ·

A few things didn’t make it. For starters Black Cat watercolor was adopted by Christi, and Orion, the round bubbly acrylic, was also spoken for during my last show.

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As well, my watercolors Brown Cat, Neil’s Owl, and Untitled Boot all have new homes at my office.

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And though neither of my pieces that were displayed at SEAF this weekend sold, I gifted Penned One to David Jones, one of my favorite poets, who incorporated poetry about both of my pieces into the Poets Tour at the festival today.

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Add in the fact that I directed the performances at the Festival this weekend, (can you tell I’m all important like with my radio thingie?) and, well.. I’m not really sure why I’m still awake.

Goodnight, Grandma P.

Friday, May 30th, 2014

In addition to directing the performances this year, I have two small pieces of work that were juried into the Festival (first time), and have modeled for Jim Wilkinson’s installation “Stall”, as well as being the model in the photograph Jim Duvall chose to be in the show as his Masters of Erotic Art piece in the festival.

Today I am most thankful, however, that no matter how stressed or overstretched the task may mean I am, each performance production I direct invariably gives me at least one opportunity to console and remind a troubled artist (as well as myself) that I do what I do because art heals.

Break many legs, and have a great Seattle Erotic Art Festival, everyone.

Watercolor in progress

Monday, May 26th, 2014

9×12, Inspired by Jimmy Gersen’s work


Thursday, May 8th, 2014

2×3 ballpoint + snapseed

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Ballpoint in 2×3 sketchbook.

Pencil Eye

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

Branching into color

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Used my Holiday present from Scott today – a Visa gift card – for art supplies, as stipulated. My new loot includes a set of pens that I completely suck at using so far, they’re fat and weird and don’t blend like I would expect ‘blendable’ pens to, but after throwing away a couple of drawings I managed to spit out this one, which I like more and more as the day goes on.

Mostly, I did this to avoid practicing drawing more realistic arms, cause man are those a bitch. :P Also: Upgraded to 4×6″, which was pretty much required to use these pens.

“Finished” sketches

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

These drawings represent a few milestones for me artistically.

Firstly, it is while creating these tiny sketches (2×3″) in my sketchbook yesterday that I was able to draw, for the first time in memory, a recognizable likeness on purpose. And then I did it again, multiple times!

Secondly, as to my emerging cartoon style, I am getting more comfortable with the crosshatch shading that I am drawn to, and experimenting with adding elements to create a sense of motion and accessory.

I am really digging these, so I completed the concepts by editing them digitally and creating a set of them.

All drawings are in ballpoint pen, drawn in my 2×3″ sketchbook.


Patrons, be on the lookout for scanned, printable versions of these next month!

Working on drawing expression today

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Still not me..

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

But getting closer.

SOLIDARITY: My Next Visual Art Project

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Sort of eerie, looking back at old art, and seeing in hindsight how descriptive it really was.

I made this pencil drawing in one night in 1996, before I used references to draw. As I recall, I had never tried to draw cracked surfaces before, and I was stunned that I was able to draw the heads and hands so well, in addition to being able to portray the slouching of the character on top of the head, which was, of course, me.

In fact, I would venture to say now that it was all me, and that this was a self portrait, though I didn’t view it as such at the time.

Generally, historically, I’ve had no deep direction or purpose when drawing. I haven’t really been the type to realize what my artistic compulsions are actually saying until long after I’ve said them, even when I do have a bit of an idea (like with Obsidian). Usually, it’s something like “Hmm, I think I’ll try to draw a head” and off it goes.

Though it would still be difficult to articulate (or maybe my brain isn’t working that way right now because I have a cold), I am able to see myself and who I was so clearly in this work that it’s a little frightening. After this last year or so of resetting perspectives, doing some deep psychological work regarding my expansive inner world, and gaining a few more artistic skills, I have a plan for my next big thing; I have decided my next visual project will be a series of self portraits in all the artistic mediums I know. Acrylic, watercolor, ink, ballpoint pen, pencil, charcoal, oil pastels, sculpture, sewing, photography, digital art, bloodwork, etc.

As an experiment in support options, I’ll be moving my art blog content to my Patreon account for the duration of this project and potentially beyond. I’m new to the site and still figuring things out, so I don’t have any videos or goals laid out just yet. You can help me by suggesting the types of things you’d like to see from me, and participating by pledging support, and sharing my Patreon page with your friends. Readysetgo!

First Self Portrait: ballpoint pen

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Meet Donia Jonquil Francis. Does it still count as a self portrait even if it doesn’t really look like you and reminds you of like 3 other people?