So I’m working on something Pretty Darned Cool (capitals required) and it’s also something I’m really proud of… but I’m going to reserve a whole post for it. Curious? Stay tuned!
(Hint: it’s called CC:Otherworlds, and it’s a year long, joint art project I’m participating in!)
BUT that is a post for tomorrow. 🙂
Today I figured I would share some of the things I’ve been doing in my sketchbook recently. Many of these have been posted to my instagram (@seeclairedraw) which you should follow if you like off-the-cuff snapshots of my work!
These were done using a little strathmore notebook I keep in my backpack, a waterbrush pre-filled with water, and my watercolor set and a set of water soluble pencils. In one case, I also used a dip pen.
So this post is part INK JOY and part me spreading tantalizing information about a future project. 😉
To start. Ink. ❤ I used to hate inking traditionally, because it was the point in the painting/drawing where all your hard work could go the way of the dodo in one flat second. And it has. But then I realized it was also the point where a interesting sketch could transform into A Real Thing. And the biggest moment of relief was making an effort to never ink directly onto my sketch, but instead to use a lightbox. This meant if I screwed up, whatever, just throw on a new sheet of paper and start over again. Yes, I lost all my previous work, but realizing that if you did it once you can do it again is incredibly freeing.
Now I love inking. 🙂
I recently started experimenting with new inks, and sort of fell in love with a fancy-pants one.
(not in its original container) – Rapidograph black India ink! It’s fancy enough to be used in fountain pens, and makes a suuuuper delicious looking line.
And now comes the second point of this post.
A friend and I VERY SOON are going to be unveiling a project that is going to be Super Cool. It involves art and stories both, and if you like seeing behind the scenes stuff like this, it is totally going to be your jam.
The Wiscon Art Show has come and gone, but I thought I’d show some pictures of my area. I sold some prints and one original piece, and had an amazing time getting to meet other local (and non local) artists.
Every year I attend Wiscon– a local feminist science fiction and fantasy convention– but this year is extra special, as I am showing art in it! If you are a Madison local, make sure you stop by! It is at the Concourse Hotel over Memorial Day weekend. You must have a Wiscon attendee badge to view the art show.
Who is excited? ME.
I’m expanding my originals and making a few extra things just for this, including this little piece! At only 5×7″ it’s one of the smallest completed paintings I’ve done.
It also lets me say “I BLEED FOR ART” since I cut my finger (not badly!) putting it into a frame. ;P
So a friend and I are working on developing a SUPER SECRET but SUPER EXCITING project. Not to spoil anything, but it involves drawing. ;P It also involves drawing on a schedule, so this last week I’ve been experimenting with my sketch-to-illustration timeline and seeing how comfortable things feel at different paces. The result is that I get to draw mermaids. So you know. ;P That’s cool. I’m looking forward to painting this salty lady today and tomorrow.
Here’s a bit of a behind-the-scenes on my process!
Step One: The idea! Usually drawn on something silly (like lined yellow paper) or in this case, a far-too-small notebook right by the spine.
Step Two: The “make it into actual art” step, aka, designing the layout. I don’t worry too much about details here; this is just figuring out shapes and overall design.
Step Three: “Details, details, details.” 90% of the time I do this part of the drawing in Photoshop, just by drawing over a quick phone pic of the layout sketch. Photoshop makes it wayyy easier to scale, flip, mess with, and generally muck around without losing anything you’ve already worked on. I don’t worry about making it look very polished, though, because this step is just one more in a line, and won’t actually be seen at all in the final product.
Step Four: INKING! This is my favorite step. I print out the Photoshop illo and trace it onto watercolor paper using my lightbox. I use a fountain pen with rapidograph waterproof ink. Cause I’m fancy.
And that’s where it currently stands! Next up will be watercolors and a little gouache. 🙂
Somehow in the course of my life I have lost more erasers than I thought possible. Once again I found myself sans my hard eraser, and my kneaded eraser had become seriously nasty over the vestiges of time (and pencil trimmings). How terrible. I had to go to the art store. Woe is me.
In all seriousness, though, going to art stores is my happy place. It’s my shoe shopping, it’s my dress trying on. It’s freaking delicious.
So of course I bought on-sale brushes, a new notebook, fresh fancy ink to try, and oh yeah also erasers.
I also bought a smudge stick.
Crazy as it is, I’ve never really used a smudge stick before. They’ve been around, and I sort of understand their point, but smudge sticks are not a tool I keep in my box. So I figured it was time to give it a solid try by doodling out some concept sketches for a short story I wrote and using the smudge stick very sparingly to give it that ‘field notes’ look I was going for.
I’m still not sure how I feel about the thing. But more tools in my box is never a bad thing!
Well this is slightly after-the-fact, but I went to Capricon 36 (a lovely little convention down in Chicago) and took part in my first-ever art show!
Since I’m late in the game reporting these fun times, I won’t go into too much detail. But it was a great experience and full of great people I’m delighted at having met and learned from. I got to meet Karen Ann Hollingsworth (http://www.wrenditions.com/) who is just delightful, and my friend Sam ran the art show, and although she was running around being All Important, she also showed art herself (https://www.etsy.com/shop/SamHainPress).
In sum: lovely humans, lovely art, lovely time.
(From now on I’ll talk about art shows BEFORE they happen, not after. ;P)
Here’s what my stuff looked like!
I also sold prints!
You may notice those items that look a bit like cards. A bit like cards that you can buy… 😉 More on that very (very!) soon. Stay tuned!
Gouache (Rhymes with squash. Seriously. I don’t know how that happened either…) is this super cool medium I’ve never played with before. Ever. At all. It’s basically opaque watercolors that dry flat and matte and lovely, and I thought, “Hey, I love watercolors. I think it’s time to push our horizons a bit, experiment and break out of the box, Claire.”
So me and my feet walked to my local art store after work and picked up a new and shiny set (with a new and shiny notebook, because artists always need new and shiny notebooks. This is just a fact of the universe).
Lo: my bounty. my Darth Vader Christmas ornament watches on.
It turns out, gouache is 100% different to use than watercolors, and I’m 100% still finding my sea legs with this paint! It’s interesting, and I’m intrigued and looking forward to playing more with it tomorrow. But it’s always humbling to try something new and have to learn it (more or less) from scratch. Definitely helps kick the ‘ol ego back into its rightful place. 🙂
The best part about painting, in my humble opinion, is the state of my dinner plates when I’m done. (I’m too much of a grump to pay good money for proper painters pallets when, really, anything flat and nonporous works just fine, damn it.)
My parents throw a leap year party every (you guessed it) 4 years. I’m happily putting together a little postcard they can send out to invite their friends to the soiree! What a fun project, right?
We talked about some design options while I was up at their place over Christmas, and decided a front/back postcard would suit their needs best. Front would be a cute little illustration, back would contain the invite information itself.
We decided to go ahead with an hourglass design, with a leaping frog, which lead to this color sketch:
The frog wasn’t all I was hoping for, though, so I moved on to what is now serving as my final rough draft:
Left to do: clean up a few things and get out a ruler, then on to final inks and watercolors on watercolor paper (using one of my favorite tools, my lightbox). The back will be fully designed using some of the same motifs from the front, so look out for a future post with the finished project.
Any questions? Ask away! Or email me at email@example.com
I also have an active instagram account: seeclairedraw