Sunday, September 29, 2013

Challenge:29 faces (last day, #29 and bonus)

The weekend is almost over, we are sort of settling down in our new rhythms and, after spending an enjoyable afternoon in the sun, we are back home, looking at the pictures we took today and preparing for the new working week.

So, finally I have a little time to spend with the friends of 29 Faces and share my last 2 faces. I'll put this in my daughter's room...

#29 (and bonus) Pure Love

It's been great to play and explore new techniques and it's been especially wonderful to meet so many talented and kind people via the challenge. Thank you Ayala for hosting this initiative and thank you to the participants who shared their art and exchanged suggestions and support. Let's keep in touch!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Challenge: 29 faces (Day 12: # 28)

Yesterday, my mother in law arrived from Italy and we are very excited, but, because of all the cheering and greeting, I haven't had lots of time for drawing and posting.
So, I just quickly made this thank you note for Ayala which will also be my 28th face. I always wanted to make a face made out of words, and this is the perfect moment for trying! Here it is! A big hug to you Ayala!

#28 Thank you Ayala!

I have a little bit more work to do on face # 29 and I am not sure I'll be able to publish it tomorrow. However, I am pretty sure I'll be done by the end of the month. ;)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Challenge: 29 Faces (Day 11: #27)

Good day everybody!

Yesterday night I decided to try something slightly different from my usual coloring technique. I set aside my adored Copics and turned to my Prismacolors. A couple of years ago, I did a small evaluation of how Prismacolors would work for coloring faces, but they seemed way to bright for my already rather saturated palette, so I abandoned the idea of using them for more detailed or delicate projects. Instead, have been using them mainly to cover great surfaces to spare the more expensive Copics

However, since I had made this drawing kind of simple, more catoonish than usual,  I thought I could give Prismacolors another chance.
Because I have been kind of obsessed with the inking dilemma during the past few days, in this case, I limited the inks to the minimum and created the contours of the face and hair just with colors. I did not completely follow my own intention, though, as I ended up outlining the arm and hand quite too much (even if I used the grey multiliner rather than the black one)...something to watch out for, next time

I wanted her hair to be fluffy and aqua-blue, and I liked how it turned out, but I had no precise idea about how to do the rest,, so I did a couple of trials (on the right). I picked a pretty yellow-green for the wall and chose to keep her dress and balcony neutral. How does it look?

 #27: Cotton Candy

Notice that while I was using watercolor paper for the main drawing, I did my experiments on an old piece of very smooth lower quality paper from my earlier works with Copics. The colors look so different! Also the feel of the ink going on the paper is different (it does not really sink much, it seems to stay mostly on the surface: I never liked it too much).

I'll try and make another attempt today, but I'll use a different watercolor paper and hopefully I will keep my grey outlines really light.

A big hug to you all!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Challenge: 29 Faces (Day 10: #26)

Oh my, another mermaid already?
Yesterday, I found this old sketch and, inspired by Uuna (if you don't know her, have a look at her beautiful collection of diverse works on her blog, BTW)'s suggestion to have a completely mermaids-dedicated gallery, I decided to quickly color and shared it here.

Although the face per se is rather small, the rest of the drawing promises to be more complex and long to finish, with waves, bubbles, rocks etc, which I have to research and will take me much longer to finish. So I did not attempt to color the whole thing and limited myself to the lady of the ocean. This is a direct take on the Little Mermaid, so we will call her Ariel.
Have a lovely afternoon!

#25: Ariel

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Challenge: 29 Faces (Day 9, # 25)

Yesterday evening my daughter and I played with markers. I bought her a small box of Crayola with watersoluble non toxic flat pointed markers. I placed a dark blue bed sheet on the carpet (she loved the waves we made while arranging it on the floor, BTW), we sat with our papers, and we started scribbling and making dots. I am not sure she liked to draw with these markers too much: they are made so that the tip cannot be squashed by too much pressure, but the way Bella holds them in her hands (like hammers but not really perpendicular to the paper, that it) makes it difficult for her to actually get a sign out of them. I'll buy her some with regular pointed tips, next.

Anyways..., while she was having great fun uncapping all of the markers and wearing the caps on her fingers, I started dotting a piece of paper and soon I had this new face popping out of it. I haven't be coloring in pointillism for ages (possibly the late 80's), so that felt like taking a time machine and revisiting my middle school years...also no real outline, pencil or ink made, was required, so that took care of my ongoing dilemma for the night. :)

# 25 Spirit of the forest

Monday, September 23, 2013

Challenge: 29 faces (Day 8, #24)

#24 Just above the surface

Since I finally caught up with the challenge, I felt that today I could just take it easy and spend a bit more time on one piece, coloring it properly. Again, this is a post-it sized drawing of...a mermaid. Notice that I have already two of them in this series....although I cannot say that mermaids are my superfavorite mythological creatures or that I particularly like the sea, they pop up in my works over and over again, at the point that I have a mermaid in the name of my only blog. I really can't tell you why. Maybe it's that I am a terrible swimmer and I wish I could zoom happily in the ocean unafraid and free to roam?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Challenge: 29 Faces (Day 7: #21, 22, 23)

Happy Sunday everybody!
Have very little time today. Bella just went to sleep and I am about to follow her for a quick afternoon nap (my favorite thing in the universe!). Well...with the tiny amount of time that I had today, I made this new tiny faces. These are mainly sketches to try out some effects, but I hope you might still enjoy them. They were definitely useful and fun for me! :)

#21 Graffiti Goddess: A proof of concept for a much bigger project. I am not sure that's a crown or a complicated headdress....
# 22 The way she looks: A girl like many others walking in the city, unnoticed by all, but determine to hold on to her dreams...
# 23 The way she sees herself: ...yet, she is not unnoticeable, she knows to the core of her own been that is unique, strong and unforgettable. She has the power of making her dream come true.

These are mainly sketches to try out some effects, but I hope you might still enjoy them. :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Challenge: 29 Faces (Day 6; # 18,19, 20)

Today, I have drawn 3 guys. This is pretty unusual for me, given I feel much more comfortable drawing female figures or children (lots of my female artist friends feel the same somehow...). But this is definitely the right time to give it a try!

# 18 Marcus: Completely drawn without references, he's a youngish noble roman man.

# 19 Actor: This one was copied from the same copy of Vogue I used for my previous four faces. Also in this case, I can't say I see a lot of resemblance with the original (hence my living out his name ;)).
#20 Dad? Ok, for this one I started with a random photo from the internet. As I was drawing, though it seemed to me that the subject was coming to resemble more and more one of the actors of Once Upon a Time (Alan Dale, who plans the rather mean King George). When my husband laid eyes on him, though, he said immediately: "Wow, good job, this really looks like your father". I guess there is something about him that could remind of my father, but....well....

This morning is absolutely radiant and it promises a lovely September day: hope you will all enjoy with your dear ones, as I am planning on doing. Have fun!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Challenge: 29 faces (Day 5: #14, 15, 16, 17)

The other day, I found an old copy of Vogue  that has been laying around, waiting to be read. Not sure that's going to happen, given how busy with other stuff I am. However, I decided to use the magazine differently for a quick exercise. I know I could do better when it comes to drawing hair and faces in unusual positions. Especially I find it extremely hard to draw a face viewed from the bottom. I remember spending several hours as a kid, trying to copy a famous Star Wars poster in which Luke Skywalker looks upward holding his light saber above his head (remember it?). I had to give up. My brain could not wrap around the prospective illusion of nostrils almost aligned with eyes: all I got was a sort of flattened snout that looked like a pig...poor Mark Hamill! I tried so hard that I made a hole in the paper with my eraser. After which I desisted...and never really overcame that obstacle.

So I took advantage of this opportunity to practice on difficult head poses and on hair as well.
I started from the cover, went on to draw the face of the models/actresses in the following pages, not paying too much attention to resemblace (too time consuming) and focusing on shiny locks and jaws/neck proportions....I know I still have to work quite e bit on this! :D

#14 Scarlett attempt: Anpther case in which inks did not help with resemblance. I guess I tend to make eyes too big these days. Her head is just slightly tilted backwards, hence the funny shape of the nose...maybe the problem is that her eyes do not follow the perspective of the rest of the face?

# 15 and 16 Kate attempt front and side: She does look nothing like Ms Winslet but I am pretty happy with her hair and hands.

# 17 Oooops...I don't remember the name of this actress, but it does not matter because again any resemblance is lost. This was of course the most difficult subject and makes me think there is still a lot of practice in store for me, if I want to master this pose. I wonder if coloring and giving it dimension with shadows, would improve it....

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Challenge: 29 faces (Day 4, # 10,11,12,13)

Back to pencils. I think there is nothing that brings life to a face like the pencil's sign. Over and over again, when I ink my pencils, faces become stiff, less genuine. The softness of a smile is lost, sometimes the resemblance to the original subject vanishes. And it's not just because I make subtle changes/mistakes while inking. The faces I draw directly in pen- ink, although quite spontaneous, still lack that dynamic spark that pencils have. This is particularly true when working on small drawings like these. What's your experience?

#10 Windswept
# 11 Something on the horizon
#12 Is that so?
#13 Melissa (somehow her ear ended up floating away up her head...I did not realize it because...I've got distracted by the fact that Bella walked over the paper and made that lovely wrinkle right there in the middle of the head...:D)

Have a great afternoon!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Challenge: 29 Faces (Day 3, # 7,8,9)

Three more faces I did yesterday night. This time I took the plunge, let the safety net of penciling the faces first, and went directly to the inks. I just used a regular pen and went with the flow, without thinking too much of the outcome...3 pretty different individual came into being. What are their stories?

#7 Big neck, bad temper
#8 The grudge
#9 The prayer

 See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Challenge: 29 Faces (Day 2: # 4,5,6)

Here come 3 more faces for the challenge (and I am so behind)!

They are simple sketches this time. Again, these are miniatures that could easily fit into a stamp.
One displays how little I know about how to use properly watercolor. Who knows, one day I might end up learning this charming technique!

#4 Blue woman

#5 Regina

#6 Elena the beautiful (a portrait of one of Marina Bychkova's dolls... I have a fixation with them....)

 Thanks for watching!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Challenge: 29 Faces (Day 1 = Setember 16!)

I have never participated to art challenges, but, perusing my friend's Tammie Lee's blog, I found this one that appeals to me and seemed fun. It's called 29 faces and it's been launched by Alaya Art.

I should have started at the beginning of the month, so I am entering the game late. I wonder if I'll be able to complete the challenge by the end of the month. I'll have to do a couple of faces per day to catch up...but that's fun and good practice, too.

Here my 3 mini faces for the day:

#1 Baby's got her wish.

#2 Student learning a new lab procedure

#3 Mermaid waiting for a pray

The originals are about 2-3 inches...the only way I have to make something quick!
Copics and random paper.

Many thanks to Ayala for this intriguing opportunity!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ritratto di Bimba (Bella's Portrait) finished

It's done. And I think I sort of saved it.
Thank goodness for my husband's constructive criticisms and the mixed media approach that allowed me to correct at least partially my mistakes with pencils!

What did I change?
-Her eyes were/are not aligned. I used a dark brown pencil to redraw the lower and upper lids outlines to create the illusion of new boundaries.
-Her lips were vampire-like, way to red and dark, like if blood had congealed on them (yuk!). I used a white pastel pencil to tone down the redness.
-Her smile was sort of uncertain, so with a dark violet and brown pencils I pushed the corners of her mouth further sideways and upward.
-Then I used  dark and reddish brown pencils to define better her cheeks and the smile-puffiness under her eyes (what do you call those thigies?...8 month old kids cannot possibly have "bags" under their eyes!).
-After this, I darkened the left side of her face, because somehow it looked too broad before. This also, I think, helped giving a more 3-dimentional look to the face.
-I added wisps of hair here and there, to avoid the impression she was wearing a lopsided wig.
-Finally, I toned down the contour of her face and collar overlapping white pastel pencil to the too severe and bold multiliner sign.

I think that's about it.
I feel better about it, I think I can safely hang it in Bella's room without making her cry in fear of creating an unpleasant "mommy thinks I am ugly" complex. ;)

Hope you guys are all happy and enjoying this beautiful September day. Hugs and kisses,
Astera and family!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Portrait of Bella in progress

Hei there! How are you guys? After my summer vacation, I came back to a ton of work, daycare-born weekly colds, and unavoidable evening exhaustion. The most stressful times are gone, though, so I have a measure of tranquility that allows me to draw again. In fact, I have picked up the portrait I started in June  and am finishing it.

Here is a glimpse to the work in progress:
I got stuck on the inks, because the lamp in the living room that I normally use to work broke and we needed to get a new one. That and the fact that after dinner I just wanted to curl up doze off while watching TV...
Once the inks were finished, the fun part began and coloring has been relatively fast.I enjoyed a lot coloring the dragon!

So, after coloring everything, I started working on the face, which is unusual. Usually, the face gets colored first, because I usually have a pretty clear idea of what I need to do and it's a lot of fun, plus I tell myself that if I make a mess I can start over by transferring everything and giving it another try without too much grief. Instead, this time I was so happy with the lineart that, modestly speaking, I had no doubt, the coloring of the face would be very easy. I started with the skin, with which I was pretty happy. Then I proceeded to the mouth and the eyes...which turned out way too she looked like a not-so-pretty vampire.  Plus, with colors, all the irregularities and symmetry issues that I could not see in the inks became very clear. Why do I always miss these flaws until the very last moment? Looking at it in the mirror (I know I should have done this ages ago!) showed all the problems even more to fix them?