Thursday, October 16, 2014

Easy Watercolor Skull Pennants

by Sarah Trumpp

I love Halloween.  I love it like Joanie Loves Chachi, probably even more since Scott Baio isn't involved.  If you love Halloween like I do, this is a perfectly simple decoration that is shockingly easy to make.

My cousin's kitchen is adorned with Tibetan prayer flags, and I decided she needed some skulls.  Hey, it's not every day that I get to decorate other people's houses!

I started with watercolor paper cut into 5 x 3-inch rectangles and then cut those into long triangles.  I sketched very simple skull shapes in water-soluble pencil.  Wonky eyes?  Uneven chins?  Perfect!

 I used a very wet watercolor wash for the background, starting with plain water and then dropping the color down in random places, letting it run as it pleased.

While the paint was still very wet, I covered it with Kosher salt.

The salt absorbs the pigment and leaves very cool random patterns once it dries.  Let it dry completely and scrape it off using an old credit card or the edge of a piece of watercolor paper like I did.

After I tried to see my future in dried watercolor blotches (and failed miserably, I might add), I shaded the skull with diluted India ink.  I have never found a black watercolor that doesn't make me want to gouge my own eyes out, so I use ink for blacks.

I used very wet watercolor loaded onto a brush and gave my pennants some splatters for added texture:

Once that dried, I used a 01 Micron to give the skulls some definition and decoration.

To string them all together, I used Perle Cotton on a ridiculously long needle (you can use a shorter needle - I just happened to have a dollmaker's needle in my backpack with all of my clothes.  Why I decided to bring a dollmaker's needle on a 3000-mile road trip is beyond my own comprehension).  I started by poking a hole through the front...

and then brought the thread around the back and poked it back through.

Once I decided how far apart I wanted them (about 6 inches), I locked them in place by making tiny cuts by each hole (being extra careful not to actually cut all the way to the hole)..

and then brought the thread through the notch, pulling it tight to lock it in place!

I hung the pennants over my cousin's sink using simple scotch tape.  I'm sure she'll find a more permanent solution - she's smart like that. ;)

These skull-themed pennants are a great way to bring the Halloween spirit into your home or the home of unsuspecting family members whether it's October or June!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Creating a Seasonal Mailart Display

 by Ann D'Angelo

Although my house is already brimming with mailart, I am always looking for new ways - and new reasons - to display more.  I don't need a particularly good reason, by the way. The mailman came?  Let's display mailart! My husband made grilled cheese? Does it have a side of mailart? The earth is still circling the sun? GALILEO MAILART! 

As one might imagine, Halloween nearly provides more reasons than my mortal human form can withstand. For anyone who shares my affliction, here's a fun project that helps considerably.

To make one of these - or something like it - follow these steps.

1.  Start with a wooden base.

My base came from Goodwill, and it looked more or less like this:

Wooden alphabet blocks would also do nicely, as would an old-fashioned cheese box.

2.  Paint it up.

I decided to go with a traditional Halloween color scheme using Mars Black and some "Tangerine" craft paint, but any paint will do.

For added appeal, I tinted the tangerine and grabbed a stencil.

3.  Embellish the front of the base.

For the front of my base, I wanted something dimensional that also looked sophisticated. On the tangerine blocks, I stamped Halloween images using Staz-On ink, then embossed them four times over with clear embossing powder and a heat gun.

For the black blocks, I robbed some doll heads of their eyes (I know - it sounds gruesome, but it looks cool!).

4.  Insert the display elements.

The most obvious way to display mailart is to use 18- or 20-gauge wire, drilling tiny holes in the base and then using epoxy or epoxy clay to hold the wire in place on the bottom while rolling the top into a spiral shape.  For this project, I decided to go a different way:  I drilled larger holes and inserted Tinker Toys, which is to say, two-inch sections of dowel rod with a slit in the middle.

For maximum visual impact, I painted the dowel rods with stripes.

5.  Add height.

This last step is an optional one, but I typically like to put a display like this up in the air.  In this case, I used plain wooden spools, nailing them into the bottom of my base before embellishing them with components from snaps.  Thimbles would work well in place of the spools, as would dice, drawer knobs, and a variety of other found objects.

Once the piece is finished, display some fabulous mailart, like these ATCs by Sarah Trumpp, Cindy Jo Blair, and Sal Scheibe!


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Awesome new workshop website!

iCreateFlix Workshops

I know that there are a lot of online workshop fans out there so we wanted to share an awesome new website with you: This wonderful site is filled with video and PDF workshops with a focus on arts and crafts, mixed media, painting and fiber arts, plus home & garden too. The best thing about this site is that it collects so many of the small workshops you see on blogs and Etsy and brings them all together in one place. Well worth a visit.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Issue 23: The Frida Edition!

Woohoo! Issue 23 (the Frida Kahlo edition) is now available for free download! We have lots of fun projects inside:

  • Beach Ladies: Poses through Stick Figures
  • Ideas for Architecture: AKA Cute Little Whimsical Houses
  • Gallery: In celebration of Frida
  • Frida Kahlo: An Easy Amigurumi Pattern
  • Skulls & Roses Pin Toppers
  • Musings of a Self-Trained Artist: A Laywoman’s Laycolumn
  • Walk-Through: Frida in Mixed Media
  • Altered Bingo Balls
  • Frida Kahlo Rag Doll 

Download Issue 23 (Summer 2014) here! 6.3 MB

Once you've finished with our latest issue, please visit our Past Issues page to download 22 issues from 2008 - 2014. There's tons of great reading there!

Freebie templates for issue 23 can be found in the Freebies! section of the ArtTrader Mag website.

Monday, June 30, 2014

New Issue coming July 14th!

Our new issue will be available online on Monday, July 14th We have lots of fun Frida art and tutorials along with cute little whimsical houses and drawing stick figures. Yes, you read that right. Drawing stick figures! Actually, it's a little harder than it sounds. Andrea Melione takes you through drawing a beautifully done action pose using simple stick figures. All coming up next week, after the holidays in Canada and the USA. Happy Canada Day and happy Independence Day!

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Whimsical Mermaid in Markers by Andrea Melione

Start with a clean line drawing (erase all pencil, as the graphite will muddy your marker colors when you add them.

Now you can lay in your base coats. I have used Canary Yellow and Spanish orange.  Outline first, then fill in with color.

Now I add mid-tone color. I am using Spanish orange for the canary yellow mid- tone, and Orange as a mid-tone for the Spanish orange.

 Now I add the dark tones. Orange goes over Spanish orange mid-tone and Burnt Ochre goes over orange mid-tone.
Here I’ve added a Violet background, Light Violet for the wings, and Avocado for the seaweed.
 Here I’ve added a cyclone shape in the background for a school of fish, and detail on the wings
To the left is the finished ATC! I Added the school of fish and other highlights with a white gel pen. In addition, I re-inked the drawing with a pen - to make the line work bolder. Finishing touches were made with Stardust Pens (a Sakura product.)

Prismacolor Markers:

• Canary Yellow
• Spanish Orange
• Orange
• Burnt Ochre
• Violet
• Light Violet
• Avacado
• True Green

Novelty Pens:

• Green and Purple Stardust pens
• White Gelly Roll (med)
• Uni-ball Vision Roller Ball Stick
• Water-Proof Pen (Fine and Extra-Fine weights)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Issue 22 (Spring 2014) Now Available!

Here's what's inside:

  • Design 911: Paper Dolls - The gateway to creative problem solving! 
  •  Do It Five Ways: Stencils 
  • Look! Altering Your Glasses Case 
  • Musings of a Self-Trained Artist: A Laywoman’s Laycolumn 
  • Artist Inspiration Dolls
  • Anti-Art-Journaling: Chronicles Project Online 
  • Walk-Through with Markers: Whimsical Mermaid Reader’s
  • Gallery: Art Journal Pages 
  • BunnyMonster Art Doll 
  • Reader’s Gallery: Owls 
  • Whimsical Houses: Keeping things in perspective
  • Gallery: Whimsical Houses 
  • Altering a Doll Head with Epoxy Clay and Paint
Download Issue 22 (Spring 2014) here! 6.3 MB

Once you've finished with our latest issue, please visit our Past Issues page to download 21 issues from 2008 - 2014. There's tons of great reading there!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Self Portraits: Collage Style

Musings of a Self-Trained Artist: A Laywoman’s Laycolumn
By Ann D'Angelo
This article originally appeared in ArtTrader Magazine, Issue 17

Last year, I received an invitation to join a Self-Portrait swap, and in fine neurotic fashion, I freaked out, my internal monologue sounding roughly like this:  What if I make myself too young?  What if I turn out all hot and skinny, like the love child of a Victoria’s Secret model and a number 2 pencil?  What if people start sending me books like Self-Delusion & You: How to Get a Grip on Your Actual Height, Weight, and Bone Structure, You Ninnypants? Despite my misgivings, I wound up joining the swap because it had this caveat: I had to collage. 

Collage, as it turns out, liberates the artist from that entire dilemma. Since there is no way to create a realistic portrait of the self using images of others, the artist must look past the appearance to behaviors, personality traits, and internal conflicts.  This exploration of the self can be lighthearted or truly searching, but in either case, the exercise is so satisfying – both emotionally and artistically – that I am hereby recommending it as an excellent way to kick off the New Year.

The Example

In this card, which I made for the swap, I decided to try having a little fun at my own expense.  The central joke here is that I created myself out of an image of Napoleon, with whom I seem to share the overachieving desire to conquer the world, along with a certain smallness of stature and some seriously questionable hair.  The Speedball pen references not only my writing aspirations, but also my wish to succeed quickly on all fronts.    (Logging the hours?  Gaining experience?   Bah humbug!  I want to bowl a 289 right now, please.)

As for the artistic process, I found that the layering of accomplishments – the A, the row of stars, the pair of ones– served the piece both thematically and visually, creating dimension while expressing my ridiculous yearning for marks of approval.  On a literal level, the pink glasses signify that this woman is me, but the repeated use of the same pink color across various symbols of achievement suggests that this need colors my vision.    

Although my desire for approval is not something I particularly like about myself, I’ve been working on finding ways to laugh at my faults, instead of burying them deep in my underground shame tunnels. In that respect, this card proved wonderfully therapeutic. I don’t think anyone has ever said that collage is the best medicine, but maybe someone should.

The Suggestions

By way of conclusion, I have a few suggestions for anyone who wants to undertake this cool exercise in artistic introspection.

1. Choose the focal images first; figure out what they mean or express afterward. 

2. Be open-minded. An image of a man might convey something about a female artist even more handily than an image of a woman. The same holds true for images of two people. (Who doesn’t sometimes have a two-way argument going inside their brain?)

3. Make conscious decisions. Choose colors, snippets of text, and supporting images that express the theme.

4. Create a series. When it comes to self-awareness, who couldn’t stand a little more?

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Wonderstrange Workshop: Collage & Mixed Media

Two of the ArtTrader Team have put together a new online workshop for the Wonderstrange website. The program, by Ann D'Angelo and Sal Scheibe, focuses on creating mixed media and collage art with a themed focus. More about the program:

We all know there can be joy in a spontaneous, instinctive artistic process where we are guided from layer to layer by what feels right and what looks good.  Yet that same process can turn on us, especially when things start to feel wrong and we don’t know why, when we can’t understand what happened to the piece we were so in love with 20 minutes ago, when the joy is suddenly gone.
To avoid that spiral, this class helps you introduce more intention into your process, making conscious, well-informed decisions about colors, layers, shapes, and the “ripple effects” of every new addition to your work.  Through this workshop, you’ll be able to:
  • Create stronger focal points packed with visual interest
  • Develop rich, layered backgrounds that support your focal point – and your theme / prompt
  • Identify and resolve problems so you can get back to the joy of making art
You can download a fabulous PDF preview of the program here:

Friday, February 14, 2014

So many faces!

Most of the ArtTrader team has been participating in the 29 Faces challenge for the month of February. We're halfway through and maybe slightly behind but we're getting there! It's been a lot of fun so far. We've all been using a variety of different mediums and techniques. It's a good experience with these challenges, even though they're time consuming. You end up with a lot of great art and good practice.

Here are a few of the faces we've been making.

At left are Sarah Trumpp's incredibly awesome wooden heart faces. She used colored pencil on wooden shapes and they turned out fantastic. These would make great ornaments to hang on a tree or hang a bunch of them on a wall in a group.

Below are a couple of Ann D'Angelo's faces from her blog. At left is one in markers and ink and at right, (Ann herself in a lovely self-portrait!) in acrylic paint.

Below are a couple of my faces from my blog. The one on the left is pencil and watercolor and at right is a digital painting in Photoshop.We'll update at the end of the challenge with lots more faces!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The MONSTER LIST of swap and journal themes!

Stuck for inspiration? At a standstill because you just can't . draw . another . butterfly. Ugh. Or something else with the word "dream" in your art journal? Need a new theme for your next ATC swap? We came up with a huge list of themes a few years ago and most of them are pretty standard, some a bit weird, all good things to draw.

Pick a number between 1 and 437. Have fun!  Happy art prompting!

  1. Ancient tree
  2. Mystical tree
  3. Healing tree
  4. Forest
  5. God Trees
  6. Greenmen
  7. My favorite tree
  8. Realistic tree
  9. Whimsical tree
  10. Tree hugging
  11. Eyeball trees
  12. Christmas trees
  13. Creepy & dark Trees
  14. Cherry blossoms
  15. Fruit Trees
  16. Scientific Tree Illustrations
  17. Alien trees
  18. Tree houses
  19. Baobab tree homes
  20. Tree swings
  21. Lady of the Forest
  22. Tree Nymph
  23. Autumn leaves
  24. Winter trees
  25. Any type of flower
  26. Daisy field
  27. Daisy chains
  28. Rose queens
  29. Flower fairies
  30. Eyeball flowers
  31. Flower bouquets
  32. Flowers on hats
  33. Bees & Flowers
  34. William Morris Flowers
  35.  Fashion diva
  36. Fashion disasters
  37. Victorian ladies
  38. Ladies of the (era ie 70s)
  39. Chubby ladies with round bellies
  40. Size acceptance
  41. Feminism
  42. Feminists
  43. Weird hairstyles
  44. Lives of medieval women
  45. Geishas
  46. Harajuku Girls
  47. Natural landscape
  48. Landscape by medium: watercolors, pastes, etc.
  49. Colorful landscape / landscape by color schemes
  50. Landscape in a pop / graphic style
  51. Whimsical landscape
  52. Candyland
  53. Creepy & offbeat landscape
  54. Barren fantasy landscape
  55. Alien landscape
  56. Moonlit landscapes
  57. Sunrises
  58. Rainy Days
  59. Family pets
  60. Animals with hats and scarfs
  61. Chimeras
  62. Horse
  63. Unicorns
  64. Cute.... but eViL!! (animals)
  65. Koi fish
  66. Koi pond
  67. Deer
  68. Weird animals with antlers
  69.  Pregnant ladies
  70. Fertility
  71. Fertility Goddess
  72. The Blue-Do: Grandmother hair styles
  73. Vintage housewife
  74. Hip dads
  75. My happy family
  76. Fishing with grandpa
  77. Babies & moms
  78. Hipster parents 
  79. Cooking with grandma
  80.  Disaster kitchen
  81. Cats with hats
  82. Funky cats
  83. Lazy house cats
  84. Who let the dogs out?
  85. Dogs in detective clothes
  86. Pet portraits
  87. Cats dressed in medieval clothing
  88. Dogs in Shakespearean costumes
  89. Obese pets
  90. Pet fight
  91. Pet love
  92. Accountants with calculators
  93. The office gossip
  94. Diner waitresses
  95. Bartenders I have known
  96. Inappropriate office attire
  97. Cubicle life
  98. Librarians
  99. I love to read
  100. Pile of my favorite books
  101.  Birds with funky hats
  102. Gothic Crows
  103. Roosters with Glasses
  104. Zetti Bird Collage
  105. Birds on branches
  106. Birds of (location)
  107. Whimsical birds
  108. Collaged or mixed media birds
  109. Mutated Birds
  110.  Men in hats
  111. Flying men with umbrellas
  112. Winged men
  113. Hot construction men
  114. Men of the (era ie 70s)
  115. Men with long hair
  116. Nature Kings
  117. Mustache fun!
  118.  Brothers and sisters
  119. Me and my Brother/Sister
  120. Little goth girls
  121. Kids with freckles
  122. Schoolyard bullies
  123. Creepy kids
  124. Mushrooms
  125. Groovy mushrooms in party hats
  126. Fruit
  127. Mixed media pears
  128. Fruit hats
  129. Vegetables
  130. Still life fruit display
  131. Cute Princesses
  132. Mad Kings
  133. Dark & Evil Queens
  134. The Tudors
  135. Marie Antoinette
  136. Playing Card Royalty
  137. Knave of Hearts
  138. Tree Nymphs & Dryads
  139. Wizards
  140. Warlocks & Witches
  141. Elves / Dark elves / Drow
  142. Faeries
  143. Floating castles
  144. Creepy castles
  145. Dragons
  146. Dwarven beards
  147. Dwarven love songs
  148. Harry Potter universe
  149. Tolkein universe
  150. Forgotten Realms universe
  151. Demons
  152. Elementals: Fire, Water, Earth, etc
  153.  Brothers Grimm Tales
  154. Aesop's Fables
  155. Hans Christian Andersen stories
  156. Alice in Wonderland
  157. Gothic Alice
  158. Mad Hatters (any style hat)
  159. Vintage Wind-up Robots
  160. Sexy Robots
  161. Alien plants / landscapes
  162. Martian Barkeepers
  163. Star Trek
  164. Doctor Who
  165. Vintage Sci-fi movies
  166. Cyborgs
  167. Wind Spirit
  168. Lady of the Forest
  169. Witch of the Wilds
  170. Atlantean Witch Doctor
  171. Ice Queen / Snow Queen
  172. The Raven King
  173. Goblin Kings
  174. King of Cruelty
  175. Harvest Goddess
  176. High Priestess
  177. Bee Priestess
  178. Goddess of Despair
  179. Goddess of Insects / Spiders
  180. Goddess of Chaos
  181. Goddess of The Undead
  182. God of Fire
  183. The Four Horsemen: Plague, Death, War, Famine
  184. Angel of death
  185. Sandman: The Endless
  186. Superheroes
  187. Favorite comic book characters
  188. Favorite TV shows
  189. Favorite TV character
  190. TV from the (era, ie 70s)
  191. Hospital heroes
  192. Chuck Bartowski & Captain Awesome
  193. Old style TVs
  194.  Favorite movie scenes
  195. Design a movie poster
  196. Movie title mash-up
  197. Favorite movie character
  198. Movies from the (era, ie 70s)
  199. Film Noir
  200. Hitchcock
  201. Movie stars from the 40s & 50s
  202.  Silent film stars
  203. Interpret the lyrics of ____ song
  204. Scene from a music video
  205. CD covers
  206. Skeleton bands
  207. Musician portraits
  208. Music from the (era, ie 70s)
  209.  Pointy Hats
  210. Pet rocks
  211. Streaking
  212. Lava lamp designs
  213. Care bears
  214.  Art Spirit
  215. Queen of Art
  216. Craft Junkie
  217. Art Supply Hoarders
  218. Artistic anatomy
  219. Figure drawing
  220. Reclining nudes
  221. Favorite Artist PAT
  222. Self portraits
  223. Me, by my favorite artist
  224. Caricatures
  225. Stained Glass / Tiffany Glass
  226. Ultimate Sculpture: David
  227. Cave Paintings
  228. Black & White
  229. Color Schemes / Theory
  230. Shades of (color)
  231. Warm & Cool (colors) portraits
  232. By medium: Watercolor
  233. By medium: Acrylics
  234. By medium: Markers
  235. By medium: Colored Pencils
  236. By medium: Graphite
  237. By medium: Oil Pastels
  238. By medium: Fabrics & quilt art
  239. By medium: Thread art
  240. Collage part people
  241. Postage stamp people
  242.  Abstracts
  243. Impressionism
  244. Expressionism
  245. Cubism
  246. Surrealism
  247. Fauvism
  248. Realism
  249. Pop art
  250. Art Deco
  251. Graphic Design
  252. Art Nouveau
  253. Mucha ladies
  254. In the style of (artist)
  255. Zetti
  256. Eyeball suckers
  257. Mad hatters
  258. Hats you would never wear
  259. Zombies
  260. Whimsical zombies
  261. Zetti Zombie
  262. Voodoo dolls
  263. Lord Midnight & Queen Darkness
  264. Scary kids
  265. Idiot wizards
  266. Creepy little girls
  267. People with antlers
  268. Creepy masks
  269. Blind contours with your wrong hand
  270. Graveyards
  271. Bubblegum monsters
  272. Cookie monsters
  273. Fallen / Gothic Angels
  274. Monster in the closet
  275. Things I have trapped in a bottle
  276. The Big Lebowski
  277. Grandma with demon eyes
  278. Eyeball trees
  279. Eyeball flowers
  280. Carnival Freaks
  281. Evil Clowns
  282. What's on my laundry line
  283. Careless Bears
  284. The skull collector
  285. Fail
  286. Chimps in office suits
  287. Evil corporate CEOs
  288. Best Beehive Hairdo
  289. Sock Puppets
  290. Tupperware parties gone wrong
  291. Unfriendly teddy bears
  292. Desperate Housewives
  293. Santa in the Summer
  294.  Funny propaganda posters
  295. Cabinet of curiosities
  296. Zingers from Grandma
  297. Carnival Freaks
  298. Scaredy cat Monsters
  299. Distorted human anatomy
  300. Ship of fools
  301. Things under my bed
  302. Weird Sidekicks
  303. Seven deadly sins
  304. Offbeat wedding toppers
  305. Mustache madness!
  306. The Prom Date
  307. Voodoo children
  308. Toilet monsters
  309. Men with bad teeth
  310. Evil toys
  311. Oddly shaped balloons
  312. Me in 20 years
  313. Favorite books
  314. Favorite characters
  315. Design a book cover
  316. Book PAT
  317. Short Story PAT
  318. Shakespeare: Bad Kings
  319. Shakespeare: Ghosts
  320. Shakespeare: Comedies
  321. Shakespeare: Sonnets
  322. Portraits of William Shakespeare
  323. Shakespeare: Character portraits
  324. Shakespeare: Expressions & idioms
  325. The poetry of (name)
  326. Naughty limericks
  327. Found Poetry
  328. Favorite Quotes
  329. Idioms
  330. Coffee mug sayings
  331. ABC swaps
  332. Illuminated Manuscript
  333. Gods & Goddesses Greek
  334. Gods & Goddesses Roman
  335. Gods & Goddesses Hindu
  336. Gods & Goddesses Norse
  337. Gods & Goddesses Aztec
  338. Gods & Goddesses Japanese
  339. Gods & Goddesses Native American
  340. Gods & Goddesses Mayan
  341. Gods & Goddesses Egyptian
  342. Gods & Goddesses Chinese
  343. Goddess of Love
  344. Goddess of Fertility
  345. Goddess of War
  346. Goddess of Peace
  347. Goddess of Nature
  348. Goddess of Beauty
  349. Goddess of the Moon
  350. Goddess of the Sun
  351. Meditations
  352. Affirmations
  353. Madonnas
  354. Icons
  355. Sacred Books
  356. Sacred Writings
  357. Sacred Hearts
  358. Tarot Imagery
  359. Religious Symbols
  360. People in love
  361. Holding hands
  362. Friendship
  363. Marriage
  364. Funky bridal design
  365. My imaginary friends
  366. Goddess of Joy
  367. My book shelf
  368. Kites in the sky
  369. Tea Cups
  370. My favorite coffee mug
  371. You make me so angry!
  372. Depression
  373. Loneliness
  374. My worst quality
  375. Fruit and Flowers still life
  376. Beer! How I love it
  377. Sweets, Cakes & Candy
  378. Inside my refrigerator
  379. Recipes on ATCs
  380. Female Shoes
  381. I carry too many bags
  382. Weird eye glasses
  383. Design-a-dress
  384.  The morning after
  385. Beautiful decay
  386. Things my psychiatrist told me
  387. Asymmetrical Me
  388. Blind
  389. My salvation
  390. The apocalypse
  391. Vanity
  392. Matriarchy
  393. Strongly Vaginal
  394. My mental blocks
  395. Art Therapy
  396. Imagination: What's in my head?
  397. Enlightenment
  398. Yin & Yang
  399. Fountain of Youth
  400.  Lab experiments gone wrong
  401. Scientific illustrations
  402. Medical anatomy
  403.  Peace Signs
  404. Hearts – Valentine type
  405. Hearts – anatomical
  406. Hearts – sacred
  407. Hearts - Gothic & Black
  408.  Love letters & hate mail
  409.  Disco Dancers
  410. Mermaids
  411. Underwater worlds
  412. Shopaholics
  413. The Waif Look
  414. Masquerade masks
  415. Venetian Ball
  416. Pirates & Ninjas
  417. Mad Scientists
  418. Scientists Named Steve
  419. Rocky Horror Picture Show
  420. Summer of Love
  421. The Wild West
  422. Steampunk vehicles
  423. Steampunk ladies
  424. Steampunk cowboys
  425.  Day of the Dead
  426. Calavera Girls
  427. Sugar skulls
  428. Halloween
  429. Black Cats & Pumpkins
  430. Sun & Moon people
  431. Star spirits
  432. Magicians
  433. Clowns
  434. Circus People
  435. Carnival King
  436. Flappers & Gangsters
  437. Naughty women in history

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Walkthrough: Blending Markers, Portrait Style

By SL Scheibe |

Here's my method of using markers for portraits. I often use shading with no blending at all but sometimes you want to make the markers work a little like paint and this is the method I use to get markers to blend just a little.

Please note you can click on these images to enlarge them. I know the first one is difficult to see due to the light color.

I start with with lightest skin tone and sketch out the face I want to draw, hair included.

My next step is to come in with a slightly darker color and add some minor shading so I can make out the features more clearly. I then go back to my original light color and go over everything, including the new darker color to help blend it in. This is using the light to dark to light blending method.

I used a darker skintone to make a few outlines clear and to shade in some shadows.

At this stage, I bring in my other darker skintones and add in shading where applicable. I blend it together with my lighter skintone using the method mentioned above.

It's time for a few more colors so here I've added pink tones and blue eyes. With the pink, I again used my lighter base skin color to go over the cheeks and help the colors to blend into each other.

I simply added some hair color using the same method, going from light to dark and then coloring light over top to blend it all in.

I used a brown .005 Micron to come in for the fine lines around eyes and some basic linework. I find the Copics and Prismacolor markers far too thick for this sort of thing on a small image (this is approx 4" x 4").

These images were blended using the same method. Click for a closer view.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

10 Minute Art: Intuitive Watercolor Faces

This article originally appeared in ArtTrader Magazine, Issue 9
By SL Scheibe
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These fun little ATC watercolors shouldn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes each. They’re quick and easy to create, even for fairly new painters. The trick is to not worry about getting things perfect. You need to paint intuitively, which means you should be more interested in plopping down some shapes and shadows to suggest facial features rather than painting in actual features.

Start with a wet watercolor board or paper that you have and plop on your paints to form a very basic facial shadow. This should take about 20 seconds. Let dry and continue with another shadow/shape layer, slowing forming into a face. Each layer should take no more than a minute. You’re painting intuitively here, not realistically! That's the key point. Once you have a shape you’re happy with, take your ink pen and outline some features. Add funky lines and bubbles but don’t spend a lot of time making things perfect.These little ATCs are 10-minute bits of fun!

Here are a few more samples:

This article originally appeared in ArtTrader Magazine, Issue 9 (Winter 2010)
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