Monday, April 30, 2012

Beach Scene WIP - Day 3

Most of the driftwood has now been completed, just the large piece behind the little girl and a small piece sticking out from under remain unfinished and they should be completed tomorrow.  I did manage to work in the ocean and blend it into the sky, and I think I'll keep it!  I have never before attempted ocean waves but these look pretty good to me, glad they were distant waves!

Guess you can now see that I am pretty much committed to sharing this work in progress with all of you.  I want to thank all you for your input and encouraging me to do so.  Gosh, I certainly have some really nice friends!

Happy Day!
Karen Anne Brady 

PS  Did you notice the extra piece of driftwood that I added to the pile??? 8~D

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Beach Scene - WIP - Day 2

On this day I took the tracing paper drawing and transferred it to Stonehenge paper (size 9" x 12") with the aid of my trusting, old, dependable light table.  This time I used a terra cotta color pencil to transfer the drawing, it's a bit on the pale side but at least this color will not interfere with the colors I add.

Over the area with the little girl and the sand I placed a sheet of clear fisker plastic, so that I won't be rubbing off skin oils or smudge that part while I am working on the driftwood pieces portion.  I am deviating from the colors in the photo because I like all the different hues and tones of driftwood (I love to collect odd twisted pieces of driftwood when I'm at the coast ... they remind me of beautiful works of art created by Mother Nature).  Some pieces are relatively new and hold some of their original color, whilst other pieces have turned wonderful shades of grey and whitened in light of the sun.   Others have been used in relation to a cozy beach fire and display charred pieces of varying degrees of charcoal and deepest black.  They are each, like us, unique in their shapes, forms and degrees of character.

I began with the first piece of wood and traversed across the page until six pieces have been completed.  Tomorrow is sure to see the addition of more pieces and perhaps the first indications of the ocean in the background.  I figure if I don't do well on the ocean, I can always turn it into a pile of sand!

Happy day!
Karen Anne Brady

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Question ....

I am beginning work on a new illustration and I was wondering if I have done too many works in progress (WIP) on my blog?  Would you like me to post daily pictures of this piece, or wait until I have finished it, made it into a slideshow video and then post that?

Your comments will help me determine which way to go ....

In the meantime, here is the sketch I worked up on tracing paper ... this is a beach scene.  I want to work mostly on back ground in this illustration and this sketch is loaded with beach treasures and driftwood and lots of sand!

These are the two photos I am working from,  I like the way the little girl is positioned in the first one and the driftwood in the second photo has a lot of character.....


Here is the sketch I created using these two photos and then adding more "stuff" to the overall drawing ...
Thanks for your input on whether you prefer daily postings or a slide show video when this project is completed!

Happy Day!
Karen Anne Brady

Friday, April 27, 2012

The little girl is completed and I have decided an apt title for this piece is "Little Daydream Believer".    The shirt and hands were finished today as well as another technique I decided to try out for a deep black background. 

I applied a layer of intense black marker pen to the background, but found that it was a bit uneven ... so I grabbed my trusty old bottle of India Ink and a flat broad water color brush and applied two layers of ink over the marker pen.  That did the trick and achieved the deep black background I was hoping for.

Since I finished a bit early I also added the photos of the progress on this illustration to a slideshow I am working on that features my past few works in progress.  If you'd like to see the slideshow video it is now available on YouTube at this link

Happy day!
Karen Anne Brady

PS  I am using techniques I have learned and am learning from the book "Colored Pencil Portraits - Step by Step" by Ann Kullberg and my other favorite book, by Alyona Nickelsen in her book "The Colored Pencil Painting Bible".

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Two YouTube Slide Show Videos

Today I just wasn't quite in the mood to work on my little girl so I thought I'd try my hand at creating a slide show for presentation on YouTube.  I ended up creating two and thought I'd share them with you.

Zentangle Inspired Alphabet and Numerals

The 75 Day Sketch Challenge

Well, at least I didn't waste the day and learned how to upload a slideshow onto YouTube!

Happy Day!
Karen Anne Brady

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Little Girl WIP - Day Six

This day found me working on my little girl's hands and shirt, yep - I decided I like lavender!   Right now I have about 5 or 6 layers on the shirt of different shades of lavender and purple, I finished off today by using a paper stump to softly blend these colors together.

I am sure to be doing quite a bit more work on the shirt tomorrow and probably the hands as well.  For now, I am pleased with the way the progress is going.  Maybe tomorrow I will have a completed illustration for you?  We'll see ....

 I cleaned out my freezer earlier today (tomorrow is recycle/trash day) and found two nice New York steaks buried in there, so guess what I'll be popping onto the old BBQ tonight!  Right now they are nicely marinating away in some Kalbi (Korean) Marinade - Yum!   That, along with some Rice-A-Roni Fried Rice on the side plus a loaf of crusty french bread should prove to be a tasty dinner!

Happy Day!
Karen Anne Brady

PS  I am using techniques I have learned and am learning from the book "Colored Pencil Portraits - Step by Step" by Ann Kullberg and my other favorite book, by Alyona Nickelsen in her book "The Colored Pencil Painting Bible".

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Little Girl WIP - Day Five

 Today I worked on the hair, adding more colors and detailing it with illustration pens in sepia and brown.  To place a bit more emphasis on the hair highlights, I used an X-acto knife point tip to lightly scratch away color in a few areas.

I then applied a wash of Prismacolor soft core salmon pink to the entire face area to deepen the facial tones and add some much needed pink to the flesh.  After that I proceeded to add the delicate eyebrows and eyelashes using extra fine tipped illustration pens.

Tomorrow I think I'll begin work on the hands and quite possibly her shirt, in the photo her shirt is pink but I'm kinda leaning towards changing that color to lavender.  Anyway, here are the results of today's efforts.

Happy Day!
Karen Anne Brady

PS  I am using techniques I have learned and am learning from the book "Colored Pencil Portraits - Step by Step" by Ann Kullberg and my other favorite book, by Alyona Nickelsen in her book "The Colored Pencil Painting Bible".

Monday, April 23, 2012

Little Girl WIP - Day Four

Early this AM I was out and finished weeding my two garden beds, turned the dirt in both and actually planted Rainbow Swiss Chard in one area.  I will begin planting seeds for the other herbs and plants in mid to late May according to the seed packet instructions.  Last year I had a curly leaf parsley plant and I let it flower and go to seed, but I forgot to harvest the seeds ... much to my delight I see that it seeded itself in a nice little 2' x 2' square and the new baby starts are doing quite well!  I guess Mother Nature planted that little patch for me ... Thank You Mother Nature!

Now to the little girl drawing ... I am really tired today so I didn't get as much done on the picture as I wanted, that's OK, I got a good start on the hair on the right side of the paper.
First I laid down a nice even wash of the color beige, I then used a sharpened mahogany Prismacolor soft core pencil to define the the curls and indicate where I want the shadows.   Once I have completed the hair, I will go back to the shadowing of the face and add more color so it doesn't look quite so pale. 

Happy drawing, coloring and gardening!
It is supposed to rain for the next 6 to 7 days, so I'm sure to have plenty of time to devote to my little girl in the next few days or so.

Happy day!
Karen Anne Brady

PS  I am using techniques I have learned and am learning from the book "Colored Pencil Portraits - Step by Step" by Ann Kullberg and my other favorite book, by Alyona Nickelsen in her book "The Colored Pencil Painting Bible".


Little Girl WIP - Day 3

After working on exorcising the weeds from my raised garden bed yesterday I still had some time on my hands so I sat down and did a bit of work on the little girl's hair.  Like my gardening efforts, she is coming along slowly but surely.

It seems that most of my children illustrations seem to end up with red hair, I must have an unconscious liking for red hair?  I think I am going to have to study that chapter in Ann's book on how to color hair for brunette's; would have been smarter to do that "before" I started on the hair in this illustration.  Oh well, at least it is beginning to look like hair!

Happy Day!
Karen Anne Brady

PS  I am using techniques I have learned and am learning from the book "Colored Pencil Portraits - Step by Step" by Ann Kullberg and my other favorite book, by Alyona Nickelsen in her book "The Colored Pencil Painting Bible".

Friday, April 20, 2012

Little Girl WIP - Day 2

Today began with my adding several more layers of skin tone colors to the little girl's face.  I find it a bit difficult to determine the shading when just working on the skin so I moved on and began working on her eyes, her lips and a bit of the hair, especially the hair around the face.  By adding these features I will be able complete the shadowing on the face.

At one point I had applied so many layers that I was finding it difficult to add more color because the "tooth" of the paper had been flattened by all the additions.  I took one of my blending stubs and gently smoothed the layers together after which I applied a coat of workable fixative.  When you begin to lose the "tooth" on the paper, a light coat of workable fixative allows you to add more shades with relative ease.  Another tip to remember, when you have applied too much color it can be lifted off the paper with a kneadable eraser or by lighly placing a small piece of magic tape on the offending area and using a ball point pen to trace over the area you want lightened, then gently lift the tape up and it removes the unwanted marks.

Her face is beginning to come together and is now taking on a realistic appearance.  There is still quite a bit more work to be done, but at this point I am beginning to feel a sense of accomplishment.  Here is where we are at today's end .....

The weather here in Portland is supposed to be in the 70's for the next few days and I will be taking advantage of this good fortune to weed out some flower beds and put in some seeds for a nice herb garden.  Ergo, I may not get any work done on our little girl until I get a good handle on my gardening endeavors.

Til I post again ... Happy Day!

Karen Anne Brady

PS  I have been studying this drawing since 5PM (its now 8:24PM),  have noticed  three glaring mistakes I am going to need to correct at the first possible chance.  Primary rule in art ... if it doesn't look right ... it is wrong ... I found 3 wrongs.   I'm working off a photo, what works in a photo and I was trying to hard to faithfully follow from the photo ... doesn't always work in an illustration, now I am going back to "Karen Basics" ... do what feels right, not what you think you see.

PPS  I am using techniques I have learned and am learning from the book "Colored Pencil Portraits - Step by Step" by Ann Kullberg and my other favorite book, by Alyona Nickelsen in her book "The Colored Pencil Painting Bible".

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Little Girl WIP - Day 1

I'm beginning work on a new drawing, as yet untitled.  Thought I'd share this work in progress with you since I am again trying new things.  This time I wanted a subject where I could learn to do more with the eyes, work on hands and try out curly hair.  I just happen chanced upon a delightful photo and was given permission to use it for my next illustration.

So here is the photo and the tracing I made of the original sketch (original sketch being way too messy with erasures and smudges to get a good scan of) ....

I then took the tracing and retraced it onto a nice piece of Stonehenge paper (this paper is totally awesome and extremely forgiving) using a Prismacolor Verithin pencil in the color of Terra Cotta.  On my last picture, I had traced the drawing onto my art paper using a graphite pencil and had troubles with the graphite lead when I was applying my colored pencils.  Figured this should eliminate that problem!

I commenced to lightly draw in the wavy curls onto the piece of Stonehenge paper and began the slow process of applying my skin tones.  First I layered all the skin areas with a very light even layer of "Cream" which I then followed with another light even layer of "Light Peach".  I then used the "Light Peach" to begin setting in the areas of shadowing; this was followed with very light layers of "Deco Pink", "Jasmine", "Pink Rose", and "Beige".  Each being applied to enforce the shadowing and lightly blending into the original foundation colors of Cream and Light Peach.  

There are over 21+ hues within  6 color value groups that can be applied to the skin to create a realistic looking image, so you can see I am not even half way through the Six Value Groups that contain 21+ hues.  But, I am establishing a very good base.

Now, as I have said before, I am NOT a portrait artist but rather an artist who prefers to draw people ... ergo, this illustration may or may not end up looking like the original subject.  But I certainly hope it will end up nice!

Right now it looks a bit spooky, as you follow along on this "Work In Progress" (WIP) you will see the image grow and come together in this artistic process of creating a colored pencil painting.  Wish me luck!

Happy Day!
Karen Anne Brady

PS  I am using techniques I have learned and am learning from the book "Colored Pencil Portraits - Step by Step" by Ann Kullberg and my other favorite book, by Alyona Nickelsen in her book "The Colored Pencil Painting Bible".


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Dance Recital Diva"

I just finished another colored pencil "painting" which I have aptly named "Dance Recital Diva".  This time I have also incorporated techniques from the book "Colored Pencil Portraits - Step by Step" by Ann Kullberg.  Her techniques are different from those used by Alyona Nickelsen in her book "The Colored Pencil Painting Bible".

The basic difference in the two styles is that when Alyona refers to a wash it is generally a mineral spirits wash or blending with a colorless blending pencil.  With Ann, a wash is a uniform layering of colors to form a base.  In this illustration I have used Alyona's mineral spirits wash on the back ground and hair; while I used Ann's techniques for the skin tones.

If you want to learn skin tones, get Ann's book ... it, to me, is phenomenal!  Basically it is light layers of color applied with "sharp" tipped pencils, ever so gently.  It does take time but I think the results are well worth the effort.  She even has instructions on how to create your own skin tone bar and how to effectively use it.  With her skin tone color guide you  are provided a foundation for skin tones of all ranges.

When I began this picture I had ordered her (Ann's) book but hadn't yet received it, but I did have a list of the colors in her value groups.  I started out with how I thought the colors should be applied and ended up a bit frustrated because things were not progressing well.  I said a little prayer to God for help and walked away from the piece before I ruined it any further.  Would you believe, the next day her book arrived at my door step before 10 AM, and I had only ordered it three days prior with standard shipping!  Now that was a fast answer to my prayer!  Thank You God!

Anyway, I read the instructions for "Creating Believable Skin Tones" and started in again.  I also did something one should not do ... I used my electric eraser and removed most of the colors I had earlier applied to the face.  When they say Stonehenge paper stands up to abuse - it is true!  Well, it wasn't quite a clean slate but the area was clear enough for me to start and complete a fairly decent face with believable skin tones.

Now the hair, well that is more or less my own technique that I have developed over the years.  I really like the hair strands to show, so after I applied the base colors for shadows and highlights and then applied a mineral spirits wash to those colors, I used illustration pens (in orange, light brown, sepia, dark brown, and a bit of black) to provide the illusion of hair strands.

First I will share with you the photo I used for this picture ....

I used this photo and tweaked things a bit (artistic license).  I changed the bodice of the dress to black because I wanted more contrast between it and the sleeves; then I changed her hair from a braided pony tail to hanging loose (it just felt right).  The result is:

I know it doesn't look a lot like the photo, but I have never claimed to be a portrait artist; I am just an artist who likes to draw people in a realistic fashion.  All in all, I think it turned out rather well!

Happy Day!
Karen Anne Brady

Saturday, April 7, 2012

WIP - Day Eight

Yesterday I thought I had finished and, as usual, I placed the piece on a small easel on our coffee table.  Every so often I look at it and think, OK its fine.  Later in the evening my husband remarked that the line on the jaw made it look like the boy was holding up a mask to his face.  I looked at it again and could clearly see what he meant, it did look more like a mask than a face! 

Taking his critique, today I worked on the jaw line and neck areas ... adding more shadowing and softening the sharp line.  Believe me, I was really concerned about overworking it and had to get up and walk away several times.  My husband and I finally agreed that this is a good as it is going to get ... so, I hope you like the subtle changes ....

I think I have decided to title this piece "Tender Young Thoughts",  what do you think?

Happy Day!

Karen Anne

Friday, April 6, 2012

WIP - Day Seven - Finis

Ended up I needed to take a day away before I could complete this illustration.  Basically, I applied about 7 or 8 layers of various shades of blue to the shirt, after which I applied a light mineral spirits wash using a paper stub.  Once I had allowed the mineral spirits to dry, I went back with a Prismacolor Soft Core black pencil and ever so lightly enforced the darkest part of the shirt shadows.

It seemed I should be done, but something just seemed to be a bit off.   I didn't want to over work the drawing so I decided to add some more indigo blue and black to the back ground because it just didn't feel right.  Figured if I correct the back ground, then maybe I'll find what is bugging me.

Once I had added the additional colors to the background, I took a Q-tip that been dipped in mineral spirits and delicately dabbed at those colors ... I wanted a bit of a smoky, shadowy look and thought this might be just the ticket.  Too my utter surprise, once I had completed this the entire picture seemed to pop out at me and say "We're done!" ....

I then sat it on a small easel and settled back to watch a re-run of "Murder She Wrote"; wanted to distract myself from the work and kinda study it every so often.  I become so involved in a piece that I really can't see it anymore, I see what I am intensely working on but not the whole piece.  I find that by distracting myself with a good TV mystery I can slowly see what I have done and where I need to go next.

After about an hour, I saw his eyes needed just a "bit" of color added ... so I took the piece and went over to my area, added just a wee bit of black shadowing and then I was happy!  I am very proud of this piece, still don't have a title but it will come, and pleased to share the final results with you at this time.

Take care, be happy, let art bring happiness into your life.
Karen Anne

PS ... The above scan just does not capture the colors, so I am adding another ... it would be great if I could show you the true colors ... but it is half way between the above and the following ...
This one captures the vibrancy (somewhat) of the colors ... but not the softness of the real textures ... so if you can imagine the softness of the first and the vibrancy of color in this ... you might be able to see what I actually did...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WIP - Day Six

Day Six started off slow, I visited with internet friends, got caught up on some correspondence; put a ham bone with trimmings in a pot with some onions, celery, carrots, and misc. herbs to make a stock for some Ham and Potato Chowder tomorrow night .... mmmmmm ... the house is really smelling good!

Then back to the drawing table!  Today I worked a bit on the hair and face, and then placed my full attention on the hands ... hands are hard to do, so wasn't especially anxious to get started.  Especially since I am not all to sure about a formula for skin tones.

As luck would have it, I recently met a new i-friend and today she provided me with the following which I am finding to be quite helpful and thought I would share it with all of you!

Skin Tone Groups ...
There are 6 value groups to build with. You need to move either up or down the groups but don't skip values. You should not see your strokes. Start with a light wash of
Value gr. #1: Cream then Light peach. Move on to the next group. Use light to medium pressure. (I use light)
Value gr. #2: Jasmine, Deco pink, Pink rose, Beige.
Value gr. #3: Yellow ochre, Peach, Mineral orange, Blush pink, Rosy beige.
Value gr. #4: Goldenrod, Clay rose, Pink, Light umber, Pumpkin orange, Burnt ochre.
Value gr. #5: Dark brown, Terra cotta, Henna.
Value gr. #6: Dark umber, Tuscan red, Black. You should be able to achieve any skin tone with these colors.
Don't skip over any value groups!!!!! You can skip colors within a group.

Back to the drawing board ... I followed the above from #1 to #6 and finally carefully blended all the colors together using a paper stump dipped in mineral spirits.  I think the hands came out pretty well.  Next I started layering various shades of blue to the shirt.  I began with a light blue, used a darker blue to add some shading, went over that with an even darker shade, followed by a light application of the original blue.  I'll be adding more tones of blue tomorrow and then apply the blender pencil or the mineral spirits ... or perhaps a combination of the both ... we'll see.

All in all, I think this piece is coming along quite nicely.  

Happy Day!
Karen Anne Brady

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

WIP - Day Five

It's hard to believe that this is Day Five!  Today I basically worked on the hair color; first I applied several layers of different shades of brown and then blended them with the colorless blending pencil.  When you use a blender pencil (or mineral spirits), colors have a tendency to change a bit, one of the dark browns I had used turned to a charcoal black when blended.  Lesson learned?  Test out your colors with a blender on a separate sheet of paper so that unwanted results don't show up on the piece you are working on.

I didn't really like the results after using the colorless blender so I turned to a paper stump dipped into mineral spirits.  This perked it up a bit, but I still felt something was amiss.  I added fine lines of tuscan red, dark brown and terra cotta (Verithin pencil) and this seemed to be helping achieve what I was striving for.  Yet still, I was not satisfied with what I was seeing.

Finally I fell back on my trusted and faithful tools ... my art illustration pens!  I used orange, light brown and dark brown, diligently applying several lines of each.  At last I was gaining the look and feel of hair.

Another nice little trick, it is always nice to see some white strands of hair in the piece, an easy way to do this is to place a piece of tracing paper over the art paper and, using a fine point ball point pen, draw the strands onto the tracing paper.  When you apply your colors these lines are deep enough that they don't pick up color and provide the light strands you may want.

Having a few minutes to spare and not wanting to work on the hair any more today, I began working on the shadowing of the hands using a soft core pencil in peach.

Here are the results of today's efforts .....

Oh, yeah ... I didn't like the way the eye on the left side of the sheet was looking so I "erased" what I didn't like using an X-acto knife blade with slow gentle strokes and then added some corrections with verithin pencils.  It still needs some more work, but not today!

Take care and Happy Day!
Karen Anne

Monday, April 2, 2012

WIP - Day Four

Today I remembered that I should have started with the background first (whoops!), so I switched over to that area of the picture and began layering different colors to get the effect I was looking for.  I wanted a deep black for behind his head and a lighter greenish black around his face and hands.

First I applied a layer of a mossy green over the entire area, followed that by a deep blue, then a deep red, dark brown, and finally black .... I kept the colors lighter by his face.   Then I took my Prismacolor Premier colorless blender and blended together all of these back ground layers.  (I had used a Derwent colorless blender earlier, but it is rough and doesn't blend nearly as well as the Prismacolor one.)  This provided a nicely mixed waxy base.

 The final step was to apply a mineral spirit wash to the background with a Q-tip, using small circular strokes.  For now, I feel the back ground looks well enough to focus on another area of the picture tomorrow.  I'll probably do some touch up on the background later, but it's good enough for the time being.

Oh, I did also work on the face, neck and ear shadowing just a bit; and applied some pinks to his cheeks and nose.  This time using the Prismacolor Premier colorless blender for blending.

I think this is turning into a "test different techniques" illustration, if I mess it up during the process I will have learned.  If it turns out good, well that would be great!

Til tomorrow...

Happy Day!
Karen Anne Brady

Sunday, April 1, 2012

WIP - Day Three

On Day Three I added some more shadowing to the face, colored in the eyes, added lashes and eye brows and began working on the hair.  I have used the mineral spirits (applied with paper stumps) for all the blending, I think I am beginning to get the hang of this blending with mineral spirits.  Go slow and easy.

I was having trouble working on just the face, I needed more in other areas so that I can see where the shadowing needs more emphasis and I decided now was a good time to beginning working on other areas of the drawing.

I now think I am off to a good start .....


Til tomorrow ...

Happy Day!
Karen Anne Brady

WIP - Day Two

Our two youngest grandchildren spent the night and I didn't get much work completed on the piece as I would have liked,   I did manage to add more shadowing to the face.  This time I am trying out mineral spirits applied with a paper stump for blending the colors.

At one point, I had muddied the shading so badly I was ready to toss the piece, but I really hate to waste a good piece of paper.  Instead I used an X-acto knife blade to gently scrape away the offending mess, praying I wouldn't mess it up further.

I finally put it aside, feeling like it was only good for experimenting further with different techniques.  After a couple hours, I went over to see what I could salvage and much to my surprise, it didn't look half bad!  I had forgotten a key rule when using mineral spirits ... you have to let the paper completely dry before moving on!  When mineral spirits are used for blending they tend to turn the paper a grayish hue, making the area look muddy; once the paper is dry you can see the true results.

Day Two (I still haven't titled it)

Guess I will continue and see where the piece leads me......

Happy Day!
Karen Anne Brady