Sktchy and Me: 2017 Edition

You’ve heard me talk before about how much I like the Sktchy app I have for my phone but maybe you’re not quite sure what it is or how it works.

Here’s a blurb from the Sktchy website:

What is Sktchy?

Sktchy is an artist’s best friend. Find drawing inspiration in an ever-updating gallery of reference photos. Upload your own photos so other artists can draw you. Discover and connect with amazing artists from around the world. Share your creativity in a fun, supportive community. Bye-bye, creative block!

What if I’m not an artist?

Even if you don’t call yourself an artist, you have creativity worth sharing with the world, and Sktchy is a fun, no-stress way to get started. The Sktchy community welcomes and includes artists of all skill levels, from gallery-repped professionals to amateur doodlers. No matter where you fall in that spectrum, Sktchy is for you.

Sktchy is definitely my go-to site for artistic inspiration!

After a slow start I ended 2017 by creating sixty five drawings of human and animal portraits along with a few landscapes. I was inspired to make a slideshow of my entire 2017 Sktchy work after a few of my friends did the same.

Just under two minutes of fun… I hope you enjoy it!

If the embedded video won’t play please use the link to view it through YouTube.

A Parrot… from Start to Finish

After doing a whole month of ink work it was hard to let go. I started drawing a parrot on a pre-painted acrylic ink background, fully thinking I would do it all with my ink filled fountain pen.

Instead of having my subject looking off the edge of the book, I usually place it so it’s looking toward the center of the book as I do here.

I even put quite a bit of work into the shading and modeling of the beak but it didn’t feel right. I got up, made myself a cup of tea, and thought about why I was so hesitant to keep going. I finally realized I was missing color!

This parrot is red. No, not just red, but a screaming scarlet red! And he wasn’t about to let me portray him with a bunch of black lines.

OK… color. I could use red watercolor but because green is its complement in color theory the red would turn muddy grey against the green. Not what this parrot deserves.

I went in search of my gouache that has been languishing in a drawer since earlier this summer. Gouache has larger particles of pigment which in turn yields greater opacity. Just what I was looking for.

I layered the gouache thick enough to obscure the background, along with ninety-nine percent of my ink lines, but not so thick that the paint will crack as the page is turned.

As I was debating what to do on the verso page of the spread I remembered an overheard humorous comment on the current political climate… “What could possibly go wrong?”

It had to go in the journal!

I still chuckle every time I open the journal and see this spread… just one of the reasons why I create.

Done Fakin’ It ‘Till Next Year

April has come and gone and I’ve been finished with my Fake Journal for two weeks.  I took a lovely break, went on vacation, and am back with my wrap-up.

I’ll be posting the full wrap-up on Skylark Karma, my fake journal blog, but as I’m unable to share video there I’m going to post it here instead!

 

If this video doesn’t play you can also watch it through YouTube.

If this piques your interest be sure to check out the daily postings of my 2017 Fake Journal… that way you can easily read my character’s daily writings.

Hope to see you there!

IFJM and a Little Blog Housekeeping

I started blogging here near the end of 2013 and haven’t changed a thing on this site since then.

Well it’s about time!

If you’re a newish reader then you might not know I actually have a second blog where I keep all the “fake” journals I’ve created the last few years… well, they’re real journals, but each one has been kept by a persona I take on for the month of April.

April is International Fake Journal Month… IFJM for short. Roz Stendahl is the brains behind this activity and I wholeheartedly join in by adopting a character and journaling as this person, all the while posting images of this work daily, or nearly so.

I make references to this blog… Skylark Karma… when I lead up to April but ’till now I’ve never had a sidebar widget of my own.  When you’re on the home page you can see the image of a crow on the right; it’s done in gouache and marked up with my blog address. Just a simple click of the image and you’ll be whisked off to browse my current and former fake journals.

I had a great time creating this image.  First, I drew a rough outline on a prepainted acrylic background in my Pentalic Aqua Journal before going in with gouache.  There are passages where the line drawing shows through and others where the gouache is applied thick enough to hide and correct the misdrawn lines.

I love this full spread but a closeup of one of those faces would make a great image link. But which one? If I used the one on the left, he would be looking away from the body of this text.

… and it’s blurry, especially behind the eye.

But the crow on the right… that’s the one!

I love how the blues, greens and purples all combine to say – black.

I ran it through my photo processing software to add the lettering and… Voilà! … I have a permanent link to my Fake Journal blog.

Please visit and see who “I am” and what “I’ll be creating”.  The magic starts this Saturday, April 1st.  Join the fun!

Dino-mite!

I can’t remember which of my friends sent me this meme but they definitely knew my love of paleontology and dinosaurs, both real and plastic.

Plastic is made of oil.

Oil is made of dinosaurs.

Plastic dinosaurs are made from real dinosaurs.

No… oil was formed long before dinosaurs lived. And besides, this dinosaur is made of gouache!

Dino-mite!

OMG! Gouache – Week 2

Twice a week we get more videos in Mary Ann Moss’ OMG! gouache class. She presents us with so many ideas and techniques it’s hard to know which one to try first.

Ya just gotta dive in!

Who knew there are yellow and red striped peppers?  I guess we all do now. This little guy went through so many layers… ugly, ugly, ugly and then…  Boom!    Done!

 
But too much blank space… one of the ideas was to use gouache when lettering. But what if I ruined it?   …and after all that work!

Sometimes you just have to go for it.

 
Btw… remind me what a pain it is to paint background around an object! I used matte acrylic craft paint from Jo-Ann. Cloudless. Yum!

I now have a small selection to use instead of wasting my good gouache on backgrounds.

 
Next I was inspired by a favorite batik pattern… ooops! The full tortoise in the lower right is the correct pattern. I forgot the second line on the shell for all the others. And yes, I painted the entire page first with acrylic before I even thought about gouache.

 
I thought I was brilliant but in fact I was too smart for my own good. I wanted to keep the paint nice and juicy so I kept a slightly dampened sponge in my palette and tucked the whole thing in a zip-top bag. It must have been way too humid because my M. Graham Sap Green seemed to be growing MOLD!  A “science experiment ” as Roz Stendahl says. Ugh!  Just a small square of sponge now and no more plastic bag! It must have been the honey M. Graham uses to keep the paint soft and moist.

 

Today was hot enough for me to pull out my mother’s old silk chinese paddle fan. As I cooled myself I admired the hand-painted bird and flowers. Could I do that someday?

Why wait!


 
I’m off to re-watch the videos to see what I might want to try next… I’ll just be here playing.  Have a great day!

OMG!

G!  … as in Gouache!

I’m taking another Mary Ann Moss class… OMG!… this time it’s all about gouache, an opaque water media very similar to opaque watercolor only more so.

This first thing I learned was that it’s pronounced g’wash… rhyming with squash.

Fair warning… lots of photos ahead!

I bought a lovely selection of Schmincke gouache selected by artist, Roz Stendahl and to that I added a few tubes of M. Graham gouache. I squirted it into pans and arranged my palette.

When closed the palette latch is a little loose so I made a band out of 1.5 inch elastic. I love the turquoise!

I started playing first by adding white to get tints and then seeing if my pens would write over the matte surface.

Hmmm… I wonder what secondary mixes I can get with my selected primaries?



Ah… nice!  But what do I mix to get the brightest hues?




I’m still finding it hard to judge how much water… or rather, how little water to use. My gouache blocks on this spread have lots of streaks. I wonder once I conquer the water issue if I’ll also get rid of the streaks, but for now I rather like the wabi-sabi look.


Great practice but now what? Well. I decided to draw my Friday. My black Uni-ball Vision wrote like a dream but my white Signo?  Not so much. After a few issues with hard starts and skipping I learned to use a light hand. It’s a nice arrow to have in my art quiver.


I better get working on the next lesson or I’ll be behind my amazing classmates.

Thanks MAM… It’s my summer of gouache!

If you want to see more of Mary Ann Moss please check out her blog: Dispatch From LA.