Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ritratto di Bimba in progress...

Hi everybody! In little more than a week I will be going to see my parents in Italy!'s been two years since my last visit and it feels like forever. So much has changed and I have missed my family and friends enormously. I am looking forward to introduce Bella to all and I am curious to see how she will behave during the trip and in a completely new environment (actually, I am mildly concerned about the flight...we've been told to bring lots of little new toys with which to entertain her...I wonder if that will be enough or if she will try to take the airplane anticipated apologies to our fellow travelers).

I don't expect I'll have time to draw at all (it used to be difficult before the baby!) and my internet access will be limited. These are the last days when I'll be able to post anything. So I though to share the project that I have just started: Ritratto di Bimba. It's the counter part to the Ritratto di Bimbo from several months ago (you can see it here).

Let's see how much I will be able to advance in the next few days...there are so many things I have to organize before we leave...

In case I could not write again before the day of the flight, let me wish you a very happy and sunny June. I'll be back in July!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pirates! Finished!

Here is "Pirates!" finished. I hope you, as well as my dear Pit, will enjoy looking at it.

Talk to you soon!

PS: When the picture was finally almost done, I left the drawing pad on the coffee table together with a couple of pencils, as I planned to pick it up again the following evening. That was a bit of a mistake. In the morning, while I was making breakfast, little Bella got her hands on it...I always try to give her pens and pencils to see if she likes to draw something, but usually she just sticks them in her mouth and chews on them. This time, though, she must have felt inspired, because she grabbed a nicely sharpened black pencil and she "improved" the look of the beach. I didn't even realize it until I set back down to continue my work. Too bad I was in a panic, otherwise I could have taken a photo of the nice bold stripes she had made between the crocodile and the parrot...;)

Pirates! (WIP)

My nephew Pit, has developed, like many children his age, a passion for "Jack and the Neverland Pirates" cartoon, so I thought I would make him a picture with my take on the theme.
Here you can see the (slow) evolution of the piece starting from the minimalistic sketch I posted weeks ago (yes, that's how slow I am!).

I imagined the "pirates" on a beach near the seaside town of Albisola (near Savona, Italy). The landscape is not very accurate. I actually think the beach is more stony than sandy, but I took a poetic license for the occasion.
I am not so passionate about going to the beach, as I am a pretty bad swimmer and I don't like sunbathing. My family has a country house and we always went there for the summer, so I grew to enjoy hiking and running in the grass more than building sand castles. Hence my poor knowledge of the beaches near home! ;)
For sure Bella and Pit will have a blast in June, when we go to visit Italy, though. Of course they are the two pirate-wanna-bes in the picture, although I realized I made them to look a bit older than they actually are.

Can you spot the mistakes I made?

My friends caught immediately the weirdness in Bella's left leg...I was hoping it would go unnoticed, but clearly it was not so inconspicuous. I managed to fix that while coloring, luckily.
The sky had me concerned for a while. I built up layer after layer of light greyish blues because I did not want a color that was too intense, but at some point I picked by mistake a marker, I don't remember which exactly, that turned out to produce the most in-your-face aqua effect ever. I spent the rest of my time that evening just trying to tone it down. I think I saved it in the end, but just barely.

There are also issues with the prospective, which I did not pay too much attention to, since there were no buildings in sight (how smart am I?). The perspective blunder became evident to me only half way through the coloring phase, so it was too late to do something about it. We will have to live with it! :D

Not having watched cartoon, I have only a vague idea of the content, which I assume must be tame and rather sweet, given it's targeted to small children. Anyways, since I am a pacifist, abhor the use of weapons, and dislike to see children handling toy-guns or toy-swords, I omitted them from the picture. Maybe this position is too strict (actually, as a kid, I would have loved to have a toy-sword) , but what can I does not feel right to see little ones pretending to shoot or spear each other. Bottom line, my pirates are more bohemians of the sea, treasure hunters, than cannon shooting ocean outlaws.^^

The crocodile was suggested by my husband, to pay homage to the Disney's Peter Pan movie. Of course it's just an inflatable to help the kids swim and I really did not want to make it too realistic, because it's not supposed to be threatening. However, the more I colored it (bright yellow and green), the more my husband complained that it looked like it was going to attack the children. Hence, the bright pink scales...the definitive deviation from natural colors appeased my husband and, hopefully, will make sure Pit will find it funny, not scary. ;)

That's all for the moment. I have been adding a few more details and I'll show them to you, as soon as the sun is out and I get to take a decent picture of the final piece.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Piedino Pien di Fiori

Hello everybody!
I have been incommunicado for almost a week, because our modem fried and we have been waiting for a replacement since last Thursday. It's so strange not to have internet at home: we felt isolated and almost blind. Well we've got our new modem, so things are back to normal.
I just wanted to share with you Bella's gift for Mother's Day. It is very special to me.

I hope all of you, mothers out there, have had a wonderful and sunny day with your family.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WIP (with a ton of descriptions!) for "Global fashion"

Premise: this is a long and detailed WIP I do understand if you find it boring and skip all my babbling. ;) However, if you are interested in this kind of posts, let me know and I'll try to write more of them (you can also tell me if you think I should use my time better..I will not get offended! ;)).

I mentioned a few days ago that I intended to participate to a contest. It was about travel and the things we bring back or lose or we find different uses for. When abroad, I tent do by local clothes (so many pretty fabrics out there). Back home, I wear these items separately, to give an interesting spin to an otherwise plain or classic outfit. Here, I decided to pull all my "explorer" wardrobe out all together (ok the glasses are from Italy, and I am Italian, so technically they don't count, but, since I live in the US, I decided to include them too...;)).

You have see the sketch for this in the previous it is again in case you had forgotten about it. ;)

The next picture is the inked drawing. I decided to adopt the mirror image to the one I first chose for the sketch, because I realized that I tend to draw figures with faces looking towards the left (it just comes more natural to me, for some reason) and I wanted to change for once.

Of course, immediately my husband pointed out that her neck is unnaturally long. In this case, I had been aware of it. It was intentional, as a matter of fact. ;)
 I wanted to give her a more "Modigliani-woman" look and focus the attention on the necklace, also separating the collar of the vest from the draping of the scarf.
Also, probably it's hard to see it here, but her face and hand have been inked with gray Copic Multiliner, to soften the line of the skin. I ended up correcting this detail to increase contrast with the background during the final stages of coloring.

In this next image, I put down the main colors of the drawing and started shading the pants and the tunic. I have to say that this is the stage that I am more satisfied of. I think that things went a bit downward from here. I guess I kind of liked the flat colors, Japanese print-style I had there. However, I wanted to experiment coloring a subject against a bright light source (the window), so I kept going, Typically my characters are in full light and I end up shading them in a pretty standard way. That would not do. In addition, a well placed shadow brings to life portraits and creates dynamic impression even in very non dynamic scenes. So, there you have it...I kept working with my markers.

I also used pencils more heavily than usual, to give more texture to the drawing. I have mixed feelings about that. I need to practice more...
Here, I am yet adding more shades, coloring the items of the room. For a while I was tempted to leave the flower motif black and white, then I came to my senses: the whole point of this Peruvian vest is that is so colorful and happy, an uplifting contrast to the winter greyness of the Plains.

In the following picture you see the main reason for me being unhappy about this drawing (good thing I did not have time to submit it to the contest!). You might have guessed that up till this point I had not really planned the scenery outside the window. Well it was supposed to be my garden, always there for me to copy, no? Yeah, but to improvise it directly with markers on an already blocked background was not a very good idea, given my present skill level. The more I worked on the spruces, the more I had the feeling I was messing up...and I was! They turned out rather ugly and out of sink with the rest of the piece. Too bad. Lesson learned: do not leave trees to chance.

My way of fixing it was to draw the glass of the window! I used diagonal strokes of white pastel to achieve the effect. Another advantage of this solution is to give the impression of light coming from the window and contrasting better the character (especially her arm). Oh, well...I'll do better next time! ;)

Here is a final cleaned photo of Global Fashion:

BTW, the sources of the outfit are as follows:

Head-scarf from Egypt
Sunglasses from Italy
Earrings from Taiwan
Necklace and alpaca vest from Peru
Dress from India
Ring from Chile
Teapot and cup from Japan