One Word One Day

In the middle of all the Make Art That Sells mayhem, I made time to go to the ASA's One Word One Day event, to benefit the indigenous literacy foundation. This is the third year they have run this event and the first time I've been able to make it, so I was determined to go.

Basically illustrators get together for a few hours and illustrate a word. This year was 'Pounce'. You can make as many images as you like, in any medium you like, and there is a plethora of beautiful art supplies supplied by Zart.

For me, it was a time to see some friends, have a bit of fun, and play with some new materials. I think when you are constantly producing art for deadlines, it is difficult to give yourself the time to just play and be free and not worry too much about the outcome.

I was sitting next to Ann James from Books Illustrated who has a very lovely loose way of working and I think this was influencing all of us at the table. I played around with some 'Magiclay' which is like mouldable paper which then dries and you can paint it, plus some collage, feathers, leaves, buttons, watercolours, oil pastels, charcoal, fingerprinting and even mud!

I didnt know where I was going with this when I started, and that was part of the fun. Here's the craziness I ended up with :

I-F: Caution

No need to use caution when lost in your imagination! The scan isn't great on this one - you may want to click on it to see it bigger + some more details.

Well, I have come to a decision about which medium I will use for my book (gouache vs. watercolours). I'm going to stick with the tried and true (w/c). I think more than anything, learning gouache to any level of mastery in a limited time is a stress I don't need to put on myself!

And I think watercolours will be just fine, thank you very much. I want to make sure I use them intensely, brightly - so I will keep having fun with this. Also experimenting with using coloured pencils for shading in this one, giving it a bit of a sketchy/hand drawn feel, which I like.

I-F: Wrapped

There's nothing more comforting than being all wrapped up in bed when it's stormy outside. (As it was here in Melbourne this past weekend!)

Well thanks again for all your encouraging comments on my brush painting from my last two Illustration Friday submissions. As fun as it was (and as much as I want to continue!) I need to get down to the crux of my dilemma at the moment: which medium will I use for my book?

I've used watercolours for several years now, but I want to incorporate collage a lot more into my work, which is difficult to do with w/c - because it's transparent, you can't paint on top of the collage paper. So at the moment I am experimenting with gouache, hoping it will get me where I want to go....

IF : Modify

At the moment, I'm modifying my painting techniques. Experimenting, trying new things, new media. I've had this Chinese Watercolour Techniques book for ages that I've been wanting to try. They make it look so easy! I'm trying to use watercolours more intensely - it's easy to let them get all washed out and I prefer the really bright, deep colours.

My poor chook looks a bit worse for wear here, but I had fun with this anyway...

IF : Idle

Ah, those idle days of childhood...

This one is a bit of an experiment - watercolour background, but the foreground is done in gouache. It is my second attempt at using gouache (too embarassed to show you my first one!)

I think it will be good once I get used to it. I remember feeling this frustration when I first started using watercolours! But I like that you can use gouache thick or thin - transparent or opaque - and then it dries with a matte finish (unlike acrylics) which means you can still use other media on top of it.

so stay tuned for more experiments!

I-F: Stitch

acrylic on paper with some collage, ink, coloured pencil, photoshopping

I've been sick the last few days. (poor me) sometimes colds seem worse in the summer. This one seems to be dissipating quickly though so hopefully it keeps going that way.

I slept pretty much all day yesterday, under a quilt which my friend made for me as a wedding present. Isn't it beautiful? I think it was the most amazing present we got. It's obviously my inspiration for this week's IF.

And I just wanted to thank everyone who commented on my last post, and helped me with my colour crisis - BRIGHT definitely took the cake!

Since then I got a book on colour theory which I have been reading in my sickie-half-awakeness, and I think i am soaking it in by osmosis (ie. falling asleep on top of the book!)

all the best for a creative week everyone xx

I-F: 100%

This is 100% the same composition as my last IF post for "soar"!

I have been going through a colour crisis lately. Ever since I read Penelope's post on colour, I've been looking at my own work differently. I tend to go for the really bright, happy, punchy colours, but sometimes they are so bright that they look a bit fluoro and garish.

When looking at other IF entries for "soar," I took careful note of which ones I liked, and a lot of them had really earthy palettes. So I thought I'd try something different, but using a previous composition so that I could really compare the two.

So what do you think??!! I've wanted to update my illo-of-the-month for January on my website, but not sure which one to choose, so please help me decide!! Leave me a comment and let me know which one you like best - bright (soar) or earthy (100%) ?

I-F: Scale

this bird is definitely not to scale.

okay, a bit of a stretch for this week's I-F theme, but I couldn't think of anything really good. This image popped into my head some time ago and I've been wanting to paint it ever since. I am also submitting this to Art&Design online's 3rd online exhibition. (you can see last year's here)

Still having lots of fun experimenting with acrylics and collage. it's really interesting how a medium can change your expression of an image!

Experiments 1 & 2

I've been feeling lately that my work needs to go to that next level, and I'm trying to figure out if I can do that in watercolours. I'm not sure - I still get really frustrated with them sometimes, and I feel that I can't always get the effects I like. I looked through my collection of children's books and other artist books and all the styles I was really drawn to were more of an acrylic or oils look. I'm not giving up on them yet, but I'm trying my hand at acrylics to see if that gets me where I want to go.

I sat down and wrote out things that I enjoy doing:
- incorporating drawn patterns or collage
- simple shapes and characters
- limited colour palettes (complementary especially)
- lots of texture!

and I thought I'd try to redo this rather simple illustration I did digitally years ago, in a few different styles to see what grabs me:

this was the first one I did. still feels a bit too much like a child's drawing, i think maybe it's the outlines.

this one is getting a bit better... I like how with acrylics I can make the collaged paper part of illo as opposed to it sitting on top of the paint. I used coloured pencil for a few outlines, but only where they were needed. This is feels good so far - may keep going with this for a bit...