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Dollshe Eye Candy

Am I procrastinating working on the Tatami Room photostory or am I just excited about Brick Facade 2.0?

Can’t both be true?

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Brick 1.0
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Brick 2.0

As mentioned in the last post, the Dollshe Saint and Bernard are sculptural brothers, so I set out to make Brick Facade look like Tennyson’s brother.  Looking at Brick side-by-side, I would say the change was subtle. Darker eye brows and more depth to his eye area.

I made their wigs, using a free pattern from Antique Lilac for Tibetan fur wigs. Since they’re bros, I used the same fur, a blonde section and a long ponytail for Brick. Both face-ups are by me, as are most of the clothing, except Tenny’s hoodie (unknown maker), Brick’s suit (Dollmore), shirt and tie (Dolls of Mine).

Today was another lovely, partly cloudy, cold November day.  I love the shadows I got on the lads. Here are few shots of the new Brick and his little brother, Tennyson. All photos were taken with my Canon Rebel and edited with Digikam.

The Bernard has a lovely sad innocent look to him, and the Saint tends to look a bit cross or skeptical. Overall, I think the look of being related comes through, the wigs help. It’s a bit tough with the difference in skin tones.  In terms of character in my cyberpunkish story, Tennyson is a Goth New Romantic, in order to maintain his pasty complexion. As a private eye, Brick gets out more, so he’s got a bit of color. How the brother relationship will play out in the story remains to be seen.

After flipping through the photos, Brick is the older brother, who protects Tennyson from the Big,Bad World.

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Why is there a shrimp on my sweater?

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Brick Facade 2.0

Here is Brick Facade (Dollshe old SA Saint) and his original face-up, along with Ethan (Dollshe Pure Body Bernard). Truthfully, I felt Brick was too pale but, well with my hand issues and getting all sidetracked with photography and drawing, I didn’t think about it again until yesterday.

I wanted Brick to be one of the boys in my Tatami Room photo shoot. However, when I took his head out of his storage box, one of his eye lashes had partially peeled off and his eyes were rolling around in his head. The poor boy needed some work. This is my first face-up since taking my drawing and painting classes.  Would my new painting skills improve my face-ups?  That is a question I wanted to answer.

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Here is Brick cleaned up – yes, there is some residual color. It’s really tough to get into the corners of the eyes and the lip crease.

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The day was good for a new face-up it is a clear, sunny, if cold November day.  In terms of humidity, a good day for a face-up. What style face-up should Brick have?

The Bernard and Saint are sculptural brothers, so I set out today to remake Brick to look like Tennyson’s brother. I love Tenny’s coloring, although the gloss stage of his face-up was a bit heavy-handed and his lower lashes are a bit heavy. These are obvious in real life, but this doesn’t show up as much in photos, where he just looks gorgeous. 

I didn’t think to shoot them side-by-side before starting, so here the lads are, after laying down Brick’s first three layers.

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The main difference between Tenny and Brick 2 is I used acrylics on Tenny. It gives him a more dramatic look, which works for his character and sets him apart from Ethan.

For Brick, however, I wanted a natural look in a color range that makes them look like brothers. For Brick 2.0, I used Rembrandt and Volks pastels, Prisma pencils, and Tamiya gloss.

brick2.0_4372_v1I start with shadows and work toward highlights, sealing between layers. My shadows, mid-tone and highlights were variations of brown. Chosen because Brick 2 is Oriental skin, so I have to work a bit darker than I did with Tennyson’s Fresh skin, which is nearly white. Once the brown layers were done, I added the peachy/rosey layer, which is when he really came to life.

Here are Brick and Tennyson after the final sealing and gloss layer. I really like the way Brick turned out and will be patient and wait until at least tomorrow for the gloss layer to cure before I put him back together and shoot more photos.

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Tamami Room Teaser

I spent the day shooting a photostory with four of my crew: Ethan (Dollshe Bernard), Ginger (Elfdoll Soah), Tuesday (Lilis Liv/Glorydoll hybrid), and my Dollshe IM Hound.

The photos were shot at the Seattle Go Center tamami room.  Brian brought in his studio lights, so it’s my first shoot with lights.  Thanks, Brian. I learned quite a lot today, and might even remember how to access full manual on my camera.

All the photos were shot with my Canon Rebel, although I have to admit to a teensy bit of jealousy for Brian’s shift tilt lens…until I googled the price.

I’ll just admire it from afar.

I need to edit the photos and create the story, but I wanted to throw out a little teaser.

IMG_4313_v1As I was telling folks at the Go Center the names of my dolls, I remembered that Mr. Hound still does not have a name.  Vicki helped with some suggestions.  The leading contender was Callum but as I drove home, I saw a license plate that reminded me of a good name: Rex.

Hey, my doll’s name is Rex!

Isn’t Rex a great name?

Yeah, it’s the best.

But I digress.

Here is my Hound in his outfit of the day.  Rex or Callum? Cast your vote, or offer a suggestion.

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WoW Week 6 The Final Whimsy

Here is my last Ultimate World of Whimsy mixed media homework. This week was about whimsical animal friends for your whimsy humanoid characters, plus alternative background technique.

WoWweek6animals_4242_v1For this piece, I used: Canson watercolor paper (9×12), Neocolor 2 crayons, Prisma pencils, Sakura Micron and gel pens, Andirondak pigment inks and acrylic dabbers, Golden matte medium, pieces from Practical Householder, tissue paper, patterned cardstock, Canson mixed media paper, stamps, and white Sharpie paint pen,and a brayer.

The characters were drawn, colored, and clothing collaged on a separate piece of paper then cut out and layered onto the background page. My whimsy critters turned out adorbs.  I like that bunny looks less than thrilled to be in a Hands Across America moment. I had some trouble with smudges and the Neocolor’s reactivating in unwanted places.

What I really like best about this piece is the background.  The first layer of color were done with Neocolor 2’s and Andirondak acrylic dabbers.I did a lot more stamping on this piece and chose stamps for texture rather than text. I don’t have stamp company credits.

The glued down pages work a lot better than in Alice’s page because I also did a tissue paper layer.  After the tissue layer, I took a Raspberry Andirondak acrylic dabber all over the page. Thinking the dabber and stamped text was too much, I used my brayer on the still-wet layer to diffuse the colors.  It worked, but the brayer pulled up the tissue paper, which, when tacked back down, created some nice additional texture.

By way of review of the class, besides the lack of homework feedback, the videos are long (typically an hour) and the healing is intermingled with the art.  I watched all the class videos, but did few of the healing exercises. I tried to keep an open mind, but frankly, she didn’t have anything new to say to me on the subject. As she mentioned several times, she glossed over the presented healing techniques and left it up to you to investigate further. Her heart is in the right place and I think art has some healing properties, but if you need help with serious matters, I suggest a trained professional.

As an art teacher, I recommend Tamara and this class. She is a wonderful goofball, her explanations of each technique is clear, as are the videos. I think this class is suitable for beginners and those exploring whimsical drawing and mixed media art. There is no time limit on accessing class materials. The pdf handouts summarize the videos nicely. The price of the class is very reasonable for the content.

On her art class website, you have 2 options for the class: on-line only (which is how I took this class) or spend about $20 more and get access on-line right away plus dvds of all the class materials. Today, I went to Tamara’s etsy shop and found she sells the dvd versions of the class. Since there is no feedback on the class site, and I plan to take more of her self-paced classes, I’m tempted to buy the dvds through her Etsy shop.

I learned a lot in this class and am looking forward to merging this class information with what I’ve learned from Jane’s classes and see what emerges.

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WoW Week 5 – The Color Wheel

My Ultimate World of Whimsy is almost over.  Actually, I finished the class this weekend, but my posting is a little behind. Here is my effort for Week 5, which was primarily about color theory.  There was a useful exercise to create secondary and tertiary color wheels using only primaries – I used my Neocolor 2s in yellow, cobalt blue and scarlet.

As has been my habit, my first time through a new technique is to make my version of the teacher’s piece. Still using 9″x12″ Canson watercolor paper, ungessoed. Alice and her bunny friend were drawn with a graphite pencil and I am beginning to see the problem with the graphite smearing. It’s not so obvious in photos, but in person, the graphite does muddy the colors a bit.  Still enjoying my Neocolors 2, blended with an aquabrush, Golden Matte Medium used to glue down vintage magazine pages, Prisma pencils, and Golden acrylics.

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At the time that Tamara made the class video (about 2 years ago), she was really into tearing up book pages and gluing them down with matte medium.  She happened to be using Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” in Dutch.  It kind of broke my heart to see her tear out one of the pages for the project. But hey, not everyone loves that novel. I’m sure someone out there will cringe to learn what I used: a mid 1950s magazine called “Practical Householder.”

This was my first attempt with this torn paper technique and I think I could have used a lot more pieces in order to form more of a background. I followed Tam’s lead and used a Q-tip for applying the orange dots. The color scheme Tamara used was blues and blue greens and orange.  Her color scheme was more pastel than mine and I think my orange dots are a bit dark but the piece is growing on me so I probably will leave it as is. Overall, I like my Alice and think the bunny is adorbs.I tried the torn paper technique in three more pages, with better results – one of the pages was used for Week 6.

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WoW Week 4 – Mori Girl

When I was younger, I recall several moms in my circle of friends who loved owls, of all shapes, sizes and colors.  Macrame was also big back then, as was Harvest Gold and Avacado. That’s right, I was a child in the 60s and 70s.  Ok, I’m still a bit of a child…but I digress. I don’t remember which mom had the macrame owl, but I know someone did.  My mom, not big into owls.  In fact, every time we saw one, she’d say, “you know, owls mean death to our people.”

I was introduced to Mori Girls last year, when I joined a Sewing Project group on Den of Angels and the outfit theme of the month.  A quick internet search and I found an adorable look that has recently translated into whimsically drawn Mori Girls. For Week 4 of World of Whimsy, I decided to give my Mori Girl a go.

I started with my Mori Girl, who went through several dress changes and I ended up with this gal. I like the way she turned out and I decided to try a darker, more night theme for my picture.

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While I did take many photos along the way, I am going to skip to the end.  Which is where the owls come in.  I will admit there were a couple of times that I wondered just what I was doing and would it turn out? My Mori Girl is cute enough, but I wanted a bit more Dark Whimsy.  Then it hit me: owls.  People think they’re adorable, but all I think, thanks mom, is: owls are the harbingers of death.

WoWwk4_4227crop_v1I had a lot of fun with this page. I used Neocolors 2, wet, origami paper for her skirt, lace for the dress, a cute star button sewn on, stamps, Andirondak pigment ink, tissue paper, and my own hand-carved stamp around the edges, Prisma pencils and Sakura Micron pens. The paper was ungesso’d Canson Watercolor paper 9×12.

As you can see, I’m having some trouble with my paper buckling, so I will try out different paper when I run out of the Canson.  I will try gessoing the Canson to see if that stiffens it up.

This is the most mixed media piece I’ve created to date and I really love her. I think my Mori Girl is cute and it’s got a touch of Dark Whimsy without beating you over the head with the gloom.

I have to say that I have not much missed all my fiber crafting. I am making these works of art for my own enjoyment,enjoying the mixed media techniques I’ve learned, and am even more enticed by the Life Book 2014 class.

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WoW Week 3 – Fairy Girl

Has a week gone by already?  No, it was a 3 day weekend, I got my chores done, and was inspired to continue onto Weeks 3 and 4 of Tamara Laporte’s Ultimate World of Whimsy.

Weeks 3 and 4 are about creating backgrounds and embellishing the art. As much as I love Jane’s e-classes, she has not yet covered backgrounds. Also, Jane’s style is such that her backgrounds tend to be simpler, in that she leans toward a wash of color, adds some text and most of the focus is on her whimsy girls.  Which is all very well.  But, as we know, my style is Fill the Page.

Tamara fills the page.  And how!  I am in page-filling heaven.

As has been my style for most of these classes, my page mimics the teacher’s page and Fairy Girl is no exception. Although, I have to admit, that I am still working in the same hand made Canson Mixed Media journal from Week 2.  Tamara suggests working on a piece of 9″ x 12″ watercolor paper. I haven’t made the leap yet, worried that I can’t fill the page. Here’s my Fairy girl drawing.

WoWwk3_4168_cropped_v1What’s amazing, to me, is how she looks at the end.  I don’t plan these pages out.  I just work through Tamara’s instructions and have fun.  Taking photos as I go, since I have found that to be very helpful. Not after every step, because, well I get carried away with the play.

For the background, I used Neocolor 2 in blue and greens, spread around with water. A technique I’m quite smitten with.  Next I used various stamps with with my Andirondak Caramel and Raisin ink pads.The next layer is tissue paper applied with matte medium.  I don’t remember where this particular tissue paper came from, but I really like it. It’s white with a little gold crown scattered around.  The next layer was to cut paper in my color scheme into little squares and glue them down. In the class video, Tamara got her little squares together, then discarded them from her picture.  I placed them around the page before I glued them down and happen to like them, so I kept my. Next was another layer of stamping. I used the same ink and stamps as the previous layer,this time over the dress and off the edge of the page. Lastly, I took some Neocolor 2 green, on a wet brush and dabbed it around the page.

WoWwk3_4185_cropped_v1Black neocolor 2 for her hair and Adirondak Dabber in Pearl on the scrubby side of kitchen sponge dabbed around the gal. There might have been using a piece of bubble wrap as an overall texture stamp.  It’s all a bit of blur, really.

Each of these layers takes quite a bit of time to dry, even with a heat gun. While I wait between layers, I read the class pdfs, and draw in other journals. I have quite a store of blank images waiting to be colored or turned into bigger, fuller pages. Again, very exciting, since I was worried about having material for the Life Book class. In flipping through my earlier Jane classes, I can see images that I want to go back to and develop further, now that my drawing is improving.
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The quote Tam used was about dreams and wishes from some classic Disney princess song.  I’m not a fan of the genre, so I went in search of other quotes involving dreams and wishes.  I found the James Dean quote “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”

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Yup, that’s the one for me. I wrote it with brown Higgins ink in an aqua brush. I should have practiced a bit first, but didn’t and it blobbed on me.  I haven’t figured out yet how to fix it.I may just go over it with a light gel pen. I’d hate to paint over it and lose all those layers…so I’m waiting for inspiration to hit.

I added an aura around my Fairy gal and thought I hadn’t incorporated it enough, but now I like it – it’s like she’s powering up to grant a wish. I used Prisma pencils in related colors to give Fairy girl back some definition. My trusty Sakura Micron pen was used for the pupils, upper lashes, and wand (a bit too stark, I thought), white Sharpie pen for the twinkle in her eyes.  Until I reviewed the photos, I thought her hair needed darkening. Now I think it has nice texture as is and making it solid black would be too much.

I finished this page on Sunday and was so happy with it, overall, that I decided to move on to Week 4, but, that is a post for another day.

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WoW Week 2

I posted my World of Whimsy Week 1 composition page to the class forum last week. In the end, I posted the same image I posted here, but sans the digital elements.  I have yet to receive any comments.  Either folks are shy or there is no one else currently taking the class.

Anywho, until I get feedback from classmates, if there are any, I’ll just post my weekly homework here. The art portion of Week 2 is about shading. I did not mention in the last post, that Tamara’s class include an art portion and what she calls a ‘healing’ portion. So far, these healing portions have been about dealing with your inner critic, mainly as it pertains to art.  She also had an interesting short video on what she called “Copyright thingies.” Basically, she said, don’t worry about copying my style, or anyone else’s when you’re taking classes. It’s how we learn. I have noticed that my drawing style has shifted from Jane’s whimsical style to Tamara’s. Although, in both cases, the style is my own, in its way, with clear inspiration from each teacher.

I made a smaller, more portable journal from Canson Mixed Media paper. My tablet is 14″ by 17″ and I cut 6 pages in half for pages that are 7″ wide x 8 1/2″ tall. It a good size to carry around in my bag and takes markers, watercolor, acrylic, ink, and gesso all pretty well.

While watching this week’s videos, I drew several pages of whimsical characters, trying out Tamara’s shapes.  Today’s page is a gal that, looking at it today, kinda looks like Megan from Family Guy as a green eyed Indian Princess.  Not what I was shooting for, but I don’t plan.  I draw the face then color it in as I see fit.

My girls tend to have black or red hair.  Hm….because my hair is nearly black and Bill’s is red?  Possibly. There are more practical reasons:  I bought Distress Stain in black soot and bard door.  In playing with these 2 colors, I happen to like them best for hair, although I throw in a blond, a brunette, and sometimes purple, every once in a while. Just to mix things up.

Jane favors colored pencils for drawing because she doesn’t like the way the graphite smears when you starting adding mixed media materials.  Tamara draws all her whimsies with pencil. Prisma pencils erase well on gessoed paper, but not at all well on untreated paper. The Colerase pencil doesn’t erase well enough on untreated paper for my taste, so I am giving drawing with graphite a try.

I am using an Eberahard Faber Design Drawing 3800 in 6 B. No special reason I chose 6B, other than I had one.

A couple weeks ago, I picked up 3 Neocolor 2 crayons.  I liked them so much, that I picked up the tin with 15 and, luckily, have no duplicates.

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After drawing my gal in pencil, I set about shading her, Tamara style. Initially, I used Peerless watercolors and really didn’t like it, so I painted over it with Decoart Crafter’s Acyrlic in Flesh.  I really like the way Prismas worke don the this paint and wanted to try the Neocolor 2’s, wet on this surface.

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And I love it.  In addition to the Neocolor 2s, I used Peerless watercolors, Colorbox pigment ink in Cyan, Prisma pencils, and a white paint Sharpie for white highlights.

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I am continuing to journal in my style of working pages in layers.  This page is not finished, but I have nothing to add to it just yet.  She’ll need to sit there for a while before I figure out what else she needs. There are a few corrections to be made on the page, but again, I need to find out how the page will develop.

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As for the gal herself, I am pretty happy with how the shading turned out, given it was my first attempt at shading using Neocolors.

wow_geg_4183_v1After 2 weeks of World of Whimsy, I like Tamara’s teaching style and, am less apprehensive about tacking Life Book 2014.  I think that year-long class will be a big help to finding my own style.

All of the photos were taking with my Canon Rebel, editing in the GIMP and Digikam. I forgot to take photos of this gal before I started coloring, so I don’t have a blank version of her face to fiddle with digitally.  That’s ok, though, as I did take photos of some of the other drawings from this week that have not been colored.

If I can pull myself away from drawing and coloring, I will try a little digital photo manipulation.

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World of Whimsy Week 1

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I am not quite ready to complete my last assignment for Supplies Me. I am distracting myself by working on the art assignment for Week 1  of Tamara Laporte’s Ultimate World of Whimsy. The art assignment is a review of the composition Rule of Thirds. The assignment was to draw some elements that would fit on whatever paper you want to use, cut them out, and play around with the layout, taking photos.

One of the other layouts without the digital elements will be posted to my class, but am posting this Dark Whimsy version, with the giant quail flying off with the kitty. It is so silly, I had to share. I really like how my mutant quail and tree turned out. It was quite enligtening to review the Rule of Thirds by moving elements around the page.

The picture was edited and enhanced in aviary and pixelomatic.

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Doodling Around

After getting the day’s chores done, I went up to the loft and worked on my homework for Week 7 of Supplies Me.  The acrylic/mixed media homework. However, I am not posting today about the homework, because I’m not sure I like what I’ve done.  I need to set it aside and look at it with fresh eyes in a day or two.

Still wanting to work in my journals, I decided to turn my brain back to a more doodle-based page. At some point if 2012, I ran across joggles.com, which is a pretty awesome mixed media site.  It was one of those meandering link follows that landed me there.

I looked through the tutorials and found something called Zentangles, and next thing I knew, I was hooked.  I still enjoy tangling, as the cool kids say, even though I’ve been sidetracked by the Aussie awesomeness of Jane Davenport’s whimsical faces and simplified figure drawing system.

There is something freeing about tangling, I think it is because the designs are abstract and there is no goal, other than to relax the old bean. Just what I needed. However, I didn’t want to work on a traditional tile, I wanted to tangle in my journal.

My journal is a Teesha Moore style journal, made from Arches 140 watercolor paper.  Yes, the paper does crack, but that doesn’t bother me. Before cutting the pages and assembling the journal, I sprayed it with Mr. Huey’s ink in Ocean and swirls of Tim Holtz Distress Stain dabber in Barn Door. When one side was dry, I did the same to the other side, then assembled my journal. The page was not gessoed.

I started with Tracy Bautista’s Doodling exercise in Doodles Unleashed and my new tool, Peerless watercolors, which I love. The doodle prompt is the make circles, lines, squares, flowers, dots randomly on the page. After the page dried, I set about enhancing the doodles with some tangles and tiny faces.

I used Copics markers, Sakura Micron pens, Sakura Gel pens and Pitt Brush markers. The faces were a late addition but I like my little flower faces.

I brought out my Canon Rebel to get a good macro shot of my page. The photo represents less than a quarter of the full spread.

I am a fill the page kind of art journaler.  Every so often, I try to simplify a page, but I always go back to this style.  I think my pages could do with a little compositional improvement, but hey, they are art journal pages. So what if this page doesn’t tell a story, other than, perhaps, how crowded it is in my brain?

close up of one my art journal pages.
close up of one my art journal pages.
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Week 7 Body Basics Practice

I am on Supplies Me Week 7. Have I mentioned how much I love this class?  I have enjoyed all of the Jane Davenport eclasses. She is a bit kooky, which I like, but, more importantly, she has a terrific teaching style that gives you simple tools for drawing faces and bodies that is easy to remember and practice. Which is what I am doing today. The Body Basics exercise for this week is to put the whole body together. It is also this week ‘s mixed media project, but I wanted to spend some time practicing bodies before tackling my homework.

For about as long as I can remember, I have loved ripping pages out of magazines, particularly fashion magazines. My first Art Jounal was the place I pasted all those photos, then I wrote and doodled over top of the pages, to varying degrees of success.  As I have struggled with drawing figures over the years, I have gone back to the Vogues, Elles, etc and used those tear sheets to practice. Usually short-lived practice. Until now.

My friend John was kind enough to give me all his Fall Fashion issues, which was a stack about a foot high. As usual, I pulled all the pages I liked. After watching this week’s Body Basics video and practicing a few figures, I decided to give my new skills a test using my tear sheets.

Today’s journal is an 8×10 hardbound sketchbook, unlabelled, so I don’t know the brand. I gessoed a page a while ago and decided to do my body practice on this page.

I flipped through my tear sheets and chose a Gucci wool dress ad or possibly trend page. I like her pose, but am not yet up to profile faces, so I changed it to a 3/4, turned face, and I changed her dress to dark violet because, as much as I love black in my wardrobe, I like color in my drawn ladies.  I have known that my drawing style is not quite realistic and I am not fighting it. It is a sort of whimsical/anime style. Making supermodels the ideal drawing figure for me.

I drew my party girl with my Prisma colorerase in Indigo. Then Prismacolor pencils for her face and dress, both of which I blended. The background is a Pitt brush pen. I initally tried to avoid the black area of the fence she is sitting on, but ended up coloring over it. I like the look it gave the fence. The page is not finished, bit Pittpen on gesso takes some time to dry.

Overall, I am pretty happy with my Party Girl, although I had a little trouble with foreshortened legs, but hey, I tried and its not too bad. I included the inspiration page for reference. There was no photo credit on the page, but they included the jewelry, hair and makeup credit, go figure.

I have a whole stack of pose tear sheets to practice with. I have 1 lesson left in this class, so I have been considering my options.

The next one in the series is I Heart Drawing, where Jane explores the figure in detail, but I want to put in more practice first.

I am interested in Tamara Laporte’s Life Book 2014, but a year seems like a big commitment for a new teacher. I saw some of her whimsical girl art in an issue of Digital Studio and looked at her blog and class offerings. Isigned up for The Ultimate World of Whimsy, how could I not?  The class explores faces but also creatures, art journal page composition, color theory. it is a 6 week, self-study class. If I like it, I will sign up for Life Book.

I don’t know where all this new found art journaling will take me, but I am enjoying the ride.

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