Now that Christmas is over I can safely share some of the commissions I’ve been working on the past few months! I enjoy getting to create these pieces that are often made in memory of a special pet or given as a personalized, memorable, gift!
For the most part I start any commission from a clients photo, sometimes more than one photo – especially with multiple subjects or for correct coloration. The better quality photos I have to work from, the more details I am able to add in! However, I do like the occasional challenge of working from an old photo!
While pastels are one of my favorite mediums (you can read more about what pastels I like to use here), I’m always thankful for those commissions that bring a different medium to the table and break up the pastel work!
Once I begin a piece, I send in progress photos to the client for their approval of the work at different stages – I like to work with them to make any needed adjustments so the piece represents their subject and personal taste best! When the final drawing is complete and approved it’s signed and packaged before being delivered, shipped, or picked up!
Some pieces take longer than others (depending on subject, size, medium, & adjustments needed), accumulatively, the completed pieces this season took between 80 & 120 hours to complete.
I’m grateful to receive commission requests and be able to do what I love! Thank you for all your support this season (and all year long)!
Check out some of our current projects happening in the art room and how they’re made!
Check out lasts months post for more info on some of the projects below!
Radial Mandala designs on glass! Students finished up working on their radial mandala designs – so many cool pieces! Check out last months post for more info on this project and keep an eye out for a DIY on this project to be posted soon!
What’s in your cup? Students worked on how to draw cylinders and shade them in. Next they will create a drawing of their cup, decorating it with patterns and designs, filling it with a favorite drink! This project will be created with mixed media!
Impossible Shapes! Impossible shapes are a type of optical illusion – they can be drawn, however, could never exist in 3D form. Students practiced drawing an impossible Penrose triangle, and impossible square, before choosing which one they would like to paint. They also completed a color wheel and choose a color harmony to utilize in their painting.
Acrylic Pumpkin Paintings! Students worked on drawing spheres and turning them into pumpkins. They included light and shadow, completing value scales and working on shading. They drew their pumpkins and mixed their own colors to create shades of orange for their final pumpkin paintings!
Tux has been so excited for classes to start this past month! Check out some of the cool coloring pages by students! Grab your crayons and colored pencils and download your own Tux coloring pages here!
A look at some of my favorite mediums, brands, and supplies!
Pencils! I definitely enjoy working in graphite – and I think it’s one of my favorite mediums to teach as it’s a common drawing medium that almost everyone has used at some point but you can do so much with it!
While I have my favorite brands I’ve also completed pieces with just a plain #2 pencil – sometimes keeping it simple is better!
I also have a collection of different pencils and “accessories” that I like to use. I have my favorite mechanical pencil from an artsnacks box years ago – the Alvin Draft-Matic 0.5mm, it’s comfortable to hang onto, has a built in eraser, the lead doesn’t break easily, and just feels nice! I often use it for sketching and outlining.
Follow along to paint your own watercolor crab! My crab was created with just two colors – yellow and blue, however, you can make your crab any colors using these techniques! You can download the crab outline below and transfer it to your watercolor paper or draw your own crab outline (or outline of your choosing).
What you need:
Watercolor paper (I used Canson XL cold press 140lb)
Watercolor paints – I used Rembrandt brand in Azo Yellow Medium & Van Gogh brand in Phthalo blue
Step one: Transfer the crab outline to your watercolor paper or draw your own outline! Download the crab outline above and follow this quick tip to transfer the crab outline here.
Step two: The crab is created with a wet on wet technique – I did sections of my crab at a time, starting with the shell, I brushed on a layer of water.
Step three: Before the water dries that you applied in the last step, add blue watercolor to your shell – the paint will spread wherever the water was placed.
Step four: While your blue paint is still wet, add dabs of green or yellow paints to your crab shell and let them spread! I used a little yellow painted mixed with my blue.
Step five: While your paint is still wet, sprinkle some sea salt on it! The paint pools under the pieces of salt, when the paint dries, we’ll gently remove the salt pieces and have a unique effect left on our papers created by the salt!
Step six: Repeat steps for all the crabs legs!
Step seven: If desired, flick paint, to add some interest to your background! I used watered down blue.
Step eight: Let your paint dry – I don’t recommend speeding up with a hair dryer when the salt is involved as it can blow the salt pieces around and disrupt the textured effect!
Step nine: Once the paint is completely dry, gently rub off the salt pieces. Enjoy your crabby painting! 🙂
Ever want to transfer a drawing or printed image to another piece of paper or copy it multiple times? I typically draw my outlines on just a plain piece of printer paper and transfer onto my final drawing paper with this method….you can easily and quickly transfer your drawings this way and the transfer is also erasable!
All you need is your drawing or image you’d like to transfer (these work best on thin papers), a graphite pencil & and the canvas, paper, or surface you want to transfer your drawing to! You may also prefer to have some tape handy to help hold your paper in place.
Gather all your supplies!
Turn over the drawing, or outline you’d like transfer. Using the side of your pencil tip, shade in the back of your outline. You only have to shade where the lines you’ll be tracing on the flip side are – you can check this by flipping your paper back over and holding it up to the light (looking through your paper) to see if you’ve missed any areas with the shading.
Once you have the backside shaded in, line up your outline on the surface you’d like to transfer it to. Use tape to hold your paper in place while you trace.
Pressing firmly, trace your outline with a pencil. You can take a peek to make sure the transfer is working or to check and see if you’ve missed any lines! You can also trace your outline with a colored pencil to clearly indicate where you’ve already traced!
Once you’ve traced your outline, carefully remove the tape and your paper to reveal your copy! Since this is a graphite transfer you can also erase or lighten any lines before using your transfer in a finished project! 🙂
Follow along to paint your own sand dollar in acrylics! You can download the template for the sand dollar outline below or draw your own!
What you need:
Canvas (I used an 8″x8″ stretched canvas)
Acrylic Paints – I used Apple Barrel craft paints in Bright Blue, Teal, White, & Black
Sand dollar template (unless you’re drawing your own) & Pencil
Step one: Draw your sand dollar on your canvas or download the outline below – cut and trace onto your canvas or use transfer paper.
Step two: Mix together a little black paint with some blue paint to create a dark blue and fill your background and inside details with it!
Step three: Pain the white portion of your sand dollar with teal paint. Then double dip your brush into the teal and dark blue and add a layer onto your background – it’s okay to see brush strokes and areas of different colors! Don’t wash your brush – we need it for the next step!
Step four: Using the same brush in the previous step, without washing out the dark blue/teal paint, paint your sand dollar with white paint (if you have a lot of dark blue or teal paint left on your brush make sure to wipe some off before applying the white). By using the same brush some of the dark blue & teal paint will come through on your sand dollar – creating a more realistic texture and a painterly style! Once your layer of white is dry you can add more white to brighten some areas if needed!
A look at some of my favorite mediums, brands, and supplies.
The surface on which you create your art is just as important as your mediums! There’s like a million papers to choose from – Also I may have realized I have a small paper collection while taking photo for this 😉 There are many different papers to use for all sorts of mediums, but these are a few of my favorite papers!
Bristol paper: Bristol paper is a thick card stock like paper, it comes in Smooth or Vellum surfaces. I use both depending on what I’m drawing! I use this paper for several mediums too, including, pen, marker, graphite & charcoal. The vellum surface has a little more tooth to it and takes more layers than the smooth. We use this paper a lot in classes!
The first two pieces were creates with mixed media (watercolor, colored pencil & pen) on bristol smooth & vellum. Then graphite and charcoal both completed on bristol smooth.
Watercolor paper: When I was first introduced to watercolors they weren’t my favorite medium….then I was introduced to Arches watercolor papers and watercolors quickly became one of more favorite mediums – all because of the surface. Arches is super expensive but totally worth it! The paper holds up to washes, layering and lifting techniques like no other. It comes in hot press or Cold Press in multiple weights. I prefer 140lb in cold press for paintings like my Westside series and hot press for any paintings where I don’t want as much surface texture. As it is rather costly, when starting out with watercolors in classes and for making simple little hand made cards or quick paintings I always use Canson XL watercolor paper – it’s a great paper that holds up well with watercolors and we also often use it for color pencils & mixed media!
Watercolors completed on Arches cold press and hot press papers.
Stonehenge: Is one of my more recent discoveries. I’ve only used it with color pencils and it’s amazing how many layers this paper can take and still have a pretty smooth surface texture!
Work in progress and completed work both on Stonehenge with colored pencil.
Pastel Paper: Pastels are one of my all time favorite mediums. I started off using Canson Mi-tenis papers and still use them on occasion (this is also the paper I use in classes), however, most of my pastel work is completed on PastelMat. It’s an amazing surface that has a velvety texture and takes layers upon layers of pastels. It also holds the pastel well and comes in various colors.
Soft pastels created on Mi-Tenis and PastelMat.
These are just a few of my favorite papers to work with my favorite mediums but there are so many to choose from – what are some of your favorite surfaces?
One point perspective lettering is a fun and easy way to get started with perspective drawing and an element you can apply to other works of art! Check out the instructions and video below to create your own one point perspective words!
What is perspective drawing? When we look at something we see things a little differently then how they actually are – for example, we know that the edges of a road are parallel, but if we’re looking down the road, the edges seem to eventually come together and vanish at a certain point in the distance, making the road appear to get smaller and smaller the further away it gets. The same can be said if you look at houses lined up on a street – the house you’re closest to appears to be largest and the houses way out in the distance appear to be smaller, even though if you were to walk up to the houses in the distance, they would actually be the same size as the house that you’re closest to now! So in artwork when we want to achieve a realistic or dimensional look, if we’re able to create the appearance of what we see, rather than what we know, we can make a more convincing piece of art.
VANISHING POINT: The vanishing point is that point in the distance where, in the example above, the edges of the road seem to disappear. In one point perspective drawing we only have one vanishing point – so we’re drawing objects or scenes directly from the front, or their true shape. For example (in the photos below) a cube with one point perspective will show a square at the front, whereas two point perspective will show the cube with the corner edge closest to you, making us able to see two sides of the cube, which each require their own vanishing point far off in the distance.
EYE LEVEL LINE: We also use an eye level line (or horizon line) in perspective drawing. The eye level line is the height where your eye level is – we can determine if objects in your drawing are at eye level, above eye level, or below eye level, simply by drawing your objects on the eye level line, above or below the eye level line.
Once you understand one point perspective it’s a lot easier to understand two point and multiple point perspective drawing!
In the video below I use one point perspective to make a word look 3D. You could also do your name or initials or apply the same method to geometric shapes! This is also only one way one point perspective can be used – you can also use one point perspective to create a landscape and other works of art too!
Ideas & Tips:
You can be more precise and measure out the area where your letters will be placed so they’re even in size!
If you have a longer word or your letters are closer together – Start with the letter that’s closest to the vanishing point when drawing the lines from the letter back to the vanishing point. Then work out from that letter. Letters that are closer together will often overlap when drawing the lines to the vanishing point. (For example the ‘E’ in ‘DREAM’ below overlaps the ‘R’ and the ‘R’ overlaps the ‘D’).
Try changing where your eye level line and/or vanishing point are on your paper to create different angels.
Stagger your letters so you have some at, above, and below, eye level!
Instead of letters you can try the same method with geometric shapes.
Some Student examples of one & two point perspective drawing!