Apr 28, 2010

Garden Mice

Great for any indoor garden or plant!  I'm in the process of creating more and best of all, they're free for the time being!  I haven't decided what I'm going to do to be honest, I think it will depend on how many I make.  You never know, I might print them out and make the stakes myself and sell them as sets.  Eh, we'll see.  ;)

But for now, just download them, print on cardstock, cut them out on the dotted lines, and glue to any kind of stick or stem.  Be sure to write down what kind of plant/herb/flower you're attaching them too and HAVE FUN! 

Apr 22, 2010

Garden Mice

Created these as labels for my wee herb garden in the window here in the studio, and also wanted to do something in regards to earth day.  So I started to think of people in my life that work with the earth or in Jacob's case...uses what's from the garden to feed others.  Once all three are colored I will be offering them with blank banners for free to use in any indoor garden or plants.  I know I'll be using them in mine!  :)

Happy Earth Day!

From the Book - More Ikarian mice sketches
{ graphite | 2010 }


I am truly enjoying these mice.  I return to them every now and then, trying to find the most comfortable and right look for them.  They started out so simple, almost cartoon like, but have matured into these fine creatures.  Granted, not everyone likes mice.  But I can't help it.  Thanks to the inspires of Beatrix Potter and her adorable tiny characters. 

IF - Detective

"The Great Mice Detectives"
{ watercolor & colored pencil  |  2010 }

Why not work on the portfolio a bit and add some flare.  I created this piece not only for Illustration Friday, but as a promotional postcard.  So nice to get two things done at the same time.  I had a lot of fun creating this piece, and even tried a new technique I've been anxious to use.  Colored pencil!  Love it!!!

Apr 7, 2010

Poppy Tutorial - Hair

Previous step Skin Tones   |   Beginning A Poppy of a Tutorial

hAiR has, for some reason, been an issue for many.  I don't blame them.  What you see is difficult to translate in drawing.  Many of my students try to draw every strand but get frustrated because it ends up looking so flat.  I remember having that frustration early on but found a way around that in comics.  The hair was broken into shapes, or sections.  That has always helped and now I find much more manageable.  Wish that were true in real life. 

Because my fairy became a woman of color I had to darken the color from my initial tone.  So here I added a nice layer of Vandyke Brown, over all strands.

Typically I have three to four colors in my hair.  If you look closely you'll notice your hair isn't just one color, even if you think it's just flat out black.  Because the fairy is more Indian than African, I went with dark browns. 

I made a mixture of Sepia and Dioxazine Violet.  The Sepia seemed too flat in color so by adding the violet I gave the brown more depth, richness.  I then proceed to choosing where I want the dark strands, and where I want the lighter ones.  I tend to choose the deeper strands to darken.  Meaning they look like they're layered under other chunks of hair.  This adds more depth and volume.  Also, naturally, the darker strands are further from the light source.

Lastly I add Yellow Ochre to only the parts of hair that are lighter and closest to the light source.  That simple!  It looks complicated, but once you break it down it's actually quite simple.  Four layers - Shadow (Dioxazine Violet), Base tone (Vandyke Brown), Dark tone (Sepia and Dioxazine Violet), and Highlight (Yellow Ochre).

I also added small amount of deeper shadows in her skin and added the Dark tone mixture to her eyebrows.

From here you take the blending, the several tone application, highlights, building up shadows, etc to the entire piece.  Treat each section as you would the skin or hair.  Before you know it you'll be finished.  Next post will hopefully be the finished piece!

BUT if there is something you have questions about or want to see the process of, let me know, and soon, so I can record it.  :)

Apr 3, 2010

Spring Sale

Free Shipping on orders $35 or more! 
20% off* on top of the free shipping if you sign up for the Mailing List this month of April 

*you'll receive an email within 24hrs with a coupon code
(these offers only apply to prints sold on sarabutcher.com) 

With so many holidays and times to celebrate in spring, find an image that speaks to that individual.  May Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Graduations, Birthdays, or just to say "I'm thinking of you."
If not for a friend or loved one, what about you?  Does your home or space need a bit of pick me up?  Something bright to get you out of the winter blues?

Find it at the Printshop!

Apr 1, 2010

Poppy Tutorial - Skin Tones

Previous step Shadows   |   Beginning A Poppy of a Tutorial

One thing I have noticed in many watercolor paintings, other than my own, are the colors used for skin tones.  Everyone has their own way of portraying skin.  Some with browns for all ethnic groups, some pinks, some peaches, some multiple colors that you wouldn't even think of using for skin.  When I started I thought about how I wanted it to look.  I loved the old classical oil paintings, and the glow they gave off.  How soft they looked.  After many tries, I came to my own way that I don't see much in others' work.  I encourage the same for you.

My fairy has gone a different direction once again than I anticipated.  After looking at my portfolio I realized there were very few women of color.  I LOVE illustrating women of color, but apparently I do more in pencil than paint.  Probably because it's faster.  The steps using Rose Doré and the purples for shadows work for any ethnicity, from there you can choose Asian, African, Indian, Caucasian, etc.  Some take a bit more work, and a woman of color is one of them.

The first step is I prepped my color.  I mixed water into my Burnt Umber, cleaned my brush, then mixed water into my Cobalt Blue.  After choose a place on my palette that was clean, I moved my Burnt Umber over, a bit more than I think I would need as far as enough paint to do all of the skin.  I then grabbed a little bit of the Cobalt Blue and mixed it into the Burnt Umber I set aside.  I knew I wanted a brown, but wanted it to be a bit darker than what I had on my palette.  And Sepia was just way too dark for me. 

I mixed enough water into my mix so it was roughly one part paint, one part water.  Then gently I coated all of my skin with the mix, pulling any extra around instead of constantly adding more.  I say gently because I didn't wanted to disturb the layers I already had. 

Don't judge quite yet.  After the Burnt Umber mix dried I then returned with Alizarin Crimson and brought back my reds (following the Rose Doré laid before).  Same technique and everything.  Once that dried, which since I started at the head and work down, by the time I got to the feet the face was already dry, I brought my shadows back using the Cobalt Blue.  Violet, to me, would be too dark and drastic. 

I do this over and over again until I reach the reds and the shadows to where I feel most comfortable or appropriate for the piece. 

Tip:  Again, don't judge your work yet.  The hair will throw you off, the eyes, eyebrows, etc.  Everything will look wrong at first.  Even some of the colors may seem wrong.  Underpainting always looks a bit off, but it's necessary, and again, to me, it just makes sense in watercolor.

Okay, so she still looks a bit off, but it isn't the color.  It's the facial features.  I was intending for her to be Caucasian, so now instead of being African, she looks more Indian.  I'll go with that.  :)

Once all of my layers were 100% dry (very important!), I wanted to bring the brown tone up more.  I just didn't feel she was dark enough.  So by this time my Burnt Umber and Cobalt mix has dried off a bit.  This is perfect because I wanted it to be more saturated than watered down.  I didn't go over the whole skin surface this time, instead I brought out my shadows more deeply by adding the mix and blending out. 

Once I was finished with that I let it dry (which only took a few moments) and went back in with the Rose Doré.  Are you sensing a pattern here?  I only added the Rose Doré where it needed to appear more fleshy.  For example the cheeks, fingers, nose, elbow, ear, etc.  If you're unsure about where those areas are, go take a look in the mirror.  It's all the same no matter where you're from. 

Finally, I added the highlight.  If my light is warm, like it is here, I always add Yellow Ochre.  I love the softness and overall glow it gives up against the blues and purples.  Remember?  Compliment colors bring out each other.  My Yellow Ochre is very watered down.  I like to have control as to how much is showing.  If it's not enough then I can always go back in.  But that wasn't the case here.  Too yellow might make the Cobalt blue look green.  And I wouldn't want that!

Tip:  Don't be afraid if your painting isn't going the direction you wanted.  It has a "life" of it's own, and to fight it usually tends to something you'll dislike much more.  Just go with it.

Next: H A I R!

And the Winner

of the Fantasy Art Collection Book Giveaway is 
Dawn Obrecht

But I was thinking, and I have a surprise for everyone.  I decided to have a second place prize as well.  You all have been awesome and so supportive, I wanted everyone to win!  So the second prize is a picture packet that came with the books.  It contains all the pages in the book that show my work and statement, along with my website and the Fantasy Art Collection's website.

Winner in 2nd is...
Lisa Evola

Thank you everyone for participating in this drawing!  It was SO much fun that I know for a fact I will be doing another one soon!