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



  1. Hi Astera. Thank you so much for visiting me and leaving such kind words. You have a lovely space here and I loved watching the artworks you have posted...each one so beautifully detailed!

    Good to be connected. :)

    Amalia XO

  2. Hello Amalia,
    thank you so much for stopping by! ^^
    I love how internet brings people with common interests together. Let's keep in touch. :)

  3. Hello Astera,
    thank you for sharing the different stages, that is always fun to see. Such a wonderfully detailed piece, it was amazing to see it come to life. you are so skilled at making the folds in the fabric and her hands are so beautiful.

    You are Italian living in the USA and my sister is american living in Italia. ;-)

  4. Thank you dear Tammy (*sends hugs*) are too kind, I actually don't feel very confident in drawing folders. I don't think I have a full grasp on how fabrics work, yet. I'd like to practice looking at references more, in the future. The compliment for the hands really is encouraging, too, as they are another very weak point of mine. Happy you think they turned out OK!

    And then... look at how strange is the world! Has your sister been living in Italy for a long time? Does she like it? Do you get to visit her sometimes?