Monday, December 15, 2014

#7- It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

There is not much I love more than the Christmas season, so to have the opportunity to participate in The Colored Pencil Magazine's competition replicating Christmas bows was very exciting. Each month The Colored Pencil Magazine puts out a reference photograph and calls artists to interpret the photograph using Prismacolors. So many incredible artists across the country enter the competition. I have really only experimented with Prismacolors this semester in art class, so I was excited to have another opportunity to improve my skills, but I was also nervous going up against these artists. Most everyone was just drawing the bows themselves, and while they looked awesome, I wanted to do something unique. I really enjoyed creating a self portrait a few projects ago and decided I also wanted to improve my skills in that area. I have to say that putting down the first marks on a face in un-erasable colored pencils was absolutely terrifying, let alone my own face. I began by simply mapping out the parts of the face and attempting to get the proportions right. When I felt confident in that, I began layering in the lightest skin tones and gradually building up. I also placed darker values around deeper parts of the face like the sides of the nose.

Once the face was finished, I moved onto the bow. I used an actual Christmas bow as a reference to get the correct highlights and pattern of the bow. Getting the metallic look of the bow was a challenge but I achieved it by mapping out lights and darks and adding in rods of light. I completed the piece with the hair by layering and layering multiple colors to get the value that I wanted in the direction that I wanted. It was a definite challenge and I had never really done anything like this before, but I learned a lot from the process.

The final product is not exactly what I had in mind, but I am really happy with it. I think it really paid off to take the risk and venture into something that I was really uncomfortable with. This piece has given me new confidence to take on things that others say sound crazy and has also given me a new respect for Prismacolor artists!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Nature turns Mechanical

For this project, we were asked to choose an aspect of nature and turn it into something mechanical. To be completely honest, when introduced to this project, I was really uninspired and unenthusiastic. I knew I had to do it, however, so I began brainstorming ideas and remained uninspired. I came upon an image of a chameleon and began to think about how the creature changes based off of its environment. I thought that it could be a really interesting concept to portray the chameleon in figurine form in a workshop type environment changing to be mechanical.

I was finally starting to get inspired so I did a bunch of sketches. It was challenging to come up with all of the different mechanical pieces to incorporate into the figures because I am definitely not familiar with those materials! I did some research and came up with an idea that I was really excited about executing.

I decided to draw three of the figures placed strategically across a long paper. I began by mapping out the areas that the chameleons would be and then started drawing in the details. This was definitely a challenge for me because most of my artwork and therefore what I am most comfortable with is more impressionistic and not so realistic. I do not typically focus on small details, rather on shapes and colors. To think about all of the small details that I would have to include as well as all of the value that I would have to include to make the figures look realistic was really intimidating. I decided that this project, however, would be a great chance for me to put my aesthetic into another project. I practiced a lot and started to get the hang of it! It was a big challenge to get all of the right value in the right places and the correct perspective. I crossed a lot of bridges with this project!

I haven't completely finished yet, however I am really liking how it is turning out. There is room for improvement but that just shows me how much I am improving as an artist. Looking back at my drawings from even last year at this time I can see how much I have perfected my skills and grown into my own style. I am excited to finish this project and see how I overcame an assignment that intimidated me!