Unbelievable Cactus In Stippling


Now are these cactus unbelievable because no one can believe such cactus exists or because they are unbelievably cool cactus.

I love words almost as much as I love drawing and painting and it gives me joy to come up with a title that can have more than one meaning. No doubt though – these cactus were done with the stippling – little dots – technique.

Thank you Alice for giving me this Cuttlelola dotspen. It IS unbelievably cool!

I’m taking off from posting, the rest of the week so Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate and I hope everyone has something wonderful to be thankful for whether they celebrate or not!

Dinner at the Black Hole Diner – Tangle Drawing


Artwork – Zebra Zensations Technical Pen on Hahnemühle Nostalgie Postcard

I started this one while at the airport, waiting to come home from Florida. Airports always feel a little bit like a black hole to me, sucking all the energy from you – hence the title.

Since I got home, I’ve played hide and seek with it, finding it and adding a bit, losing it and finding it again. I’m convinced it was hiding out in that Black Hole!

Waiting – A Pencil to Paint Tutorial


Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen and watercolor on a Hahnemühle Rough Watercolor Postcard. Brushes: Princeton Aqua Elite Travel Brush Set, Series 4850 Synthetic Kolinsky 

This painting is what is known as a ‘line and wash’ because it is drawn in pen first and then painted with watercolor.

Before You Start

Some paintings, you just start and go with the flow. But if you are using a reference, it is often best to think about what you like about it and how you might achieve it. Don’t stress, even if you don’t know for sure, it will help.

Did you know that dogs have a sense of time? It’s been scientifically proven.

Reference photo courtesy of Fran on Pixabay.

And what I wanted from this reference photo was that expression of patient waiting for something to happen. He knows it isn’t time yet.

I chose the Hahnemühle Rough Watercolor Postcard so that the texture would add to the dog’s wild ‘do!

Pencil

(This scan is darkened so you can see the pencil lines. You should pencil lines in lightly)

Even as he patiently waits, this guy is busy – all that hair and the big eyes and nose and the division of color. I did a little more pencil work than usual, to get a sense of what went where.

Not sure if you’re up to drawing this? Art Tutor has a great grid program that will help by applying a grid to your uploaded photo. You can also crop and adjust color and value.

Pen

There’s a lot of penwork going on here and I thought I break things down a little more than I usually do.

Some of my penwork was done to establish values:

  • The lightest area, I leave the white of the paper.
  • For the lightest grey, I draw long even strokes.
  • The mid-grey at the bottom, I use long, even strokes that curve to the shape of the nose
  • The nostrils are the darkest part of the nose – I used tight, curling strokes, but still left space for the paint to show.

Some of my penwork was done to establish length and direction of the fur.

For long hair:

  • I used long strokes that curve in the direction of the hair – they’re pretty wild, because the hair is
  • I’m sneaking in some values too – I darken some areas
    • where the hair separates
    • where the hair casts shade

For shorter hair:

  • I use strokes of varying length – more evenly than the long hair strokes
  • For value, I just add more strokes where it is darkest

For texture:

  • I use swirling lines – very loosely – to imply the texture of the carpet.
  • The lines follow the direction of the nap.

White Tail Saki – Pencil to Paint Tutorial


Artwork- Zebra Zensations Technical pens and Daniel Smith Watercolor on Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Photo reference from A_Different_Perspective on Pixabay.

This is the last of my lost and found postcards, along with Sunday’s caracal cat, and Monday’s Sheep. So details will be sparse because I can’t remember that far back.

The White Tail Saki monkey of South America weighs about three pounds. This is a painting of a male. The females are lighter, and have bright strips of hair from eyes to chins. 

This painting is what is known as a ‘line and wash’ because it is drawn in pen first and then painted with watercolor.

Before You Start

I didn’t take enough time before I started this card. I was getting ready for my trip to Florida and painting cards ahead so hubby would have them for his lunchbag while I was gone (then I mislaid them – cheesh!)

No painting is a waste of time, though. I know why this one didn’t come out the way I wanted it too. And that happened before I even began.

Usually, I look at my reference, and think how I might create the values, the textures and the colors, I’m seeing. These days, it only takes me a few minutes, and I know which palette I’ll choose and the brushes I’ll use. But those few minutes are probably the most important in the entire painting.

I’m not really satisfied with the way this painting came out. NOT BASHING! Just not totally satisfied. And this is the step where I went wrong.

Pencil

(This scan is darkened so you can see the pencil lines. You should pencil lines in lightly)

Another reason I can tell that I rushed through the beginning stages of this painting is because my pencil sketch is really minimal-even more so than usual. Mostly I made sure it fit the postcard and placed the facial details and foot. That’s all that is really needed, though.

Not sure if you’re up to drawing this? Art Tutor has a great grid program that will help by applying a grid to your uploaded photo. You can also crop and adjust color and value.

Pen

With all the fur going every which way, it can be hard to figure out what’s fur and what’s foot, arm, leg or hand. I tried to get away with the direction of the fur, and a little value.

I would have been happier if I had decided to go all fur and merely suggest the arms or been much more detailed and really worked on getting my values correct.

Paint

I like the background to this painting much more than I like the monkey. It’s pretty abstract as my backgrounds often are. I used negative painting in places and lifted color in places to create the feeling of foliage.

I have to guess at the colors, but I’m pretty sure these are the ones used.

There is a red in there too, but I’m not sure if I used Burnt Sienna (most likely) or Tranparent Red Oxide.

Want to know more about the Tools?

Hahnemühle Postcards (review)

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

A Sheepish Hello – Pencil to Paint Tutorial


Artwork- Zebra Zensations Technical pens and Daniel Smith Watercolor on Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Photo reference from Skitterphoto on Pixabay.

Have I mentioned that I have gremlins in my home? I know I have, because if I turn away for an instant – an INSTANT – things disappear. I couldn’t possibly lose this many things! Further proof – the things always reappear somewhere, right where I’d trip over, days or weeks later. Months in some cases.

So, I scanned, I lost and I found it the other day along with yesterday’s caracal cat, and the card I’ll post on Wednesday. So details will be sparse because I can’t remember that far back.

This painting is what is known as a ‘line and wash’ because it is drawn in pen first and then painted with watercolor.

Before You Start

Make sure you keep track of your supplies, and your finished work and maybe your shirt and shoes.

Pencil

(This scan is darkened so you can see the pencil lines. You should pencil lines in lightly)

All the shapes are simple – notice that most of them are ovals.

Not sure if you’re up to drawing this? Art Tutor has a great grid program that will help by applying a grid to your uploaded photo. You can also crop and adjust color and value.

Pen

There isn’t a lot of value contrast (light to dark) in this painting, so my penwork focuses on the outline and on the texture and direction of the fur.

Paint

I don’t remember what I did, but I can tell that this is a painting that I did very quickly, and it was kept minimal. I used very watery mixes, slightly thicker for the eye. The whole thing, from pencil to paint, probably took about half and hour and that was including taking the time to scan each step.

It’s a guess, but I’m pretty sure these are the colors I used (I kind of checked it out by using the same colors for yesterday’s caracal cat).

Want to know more about the Tools?

Hahnemühle Postcards (review)

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

Caracal Cat – Pencil to Paint Tutorial


Zebra Zensations Technical pens and Daniel Smith Watercolor on Hahnemühle Rough Watercolor postcard.

This painting is what is known as a ‘line and wash’ because it is drawn in pen first and then painted with watercolor.

Before You Start

Okay – this was one of those paintings where life and art collided a bit.

I thought I had scanned the pencil drawing, but I didn’t evidently. Note also that the pen drawing is minimal – almost unfinished. That’s because it’s unfinished.

It would be nice if you could always plan what you want and get the result you want. Sometimes though, you just do the best with what you’ve got.

I was interrupted when I was doing the pen drawing, and life got crazy for a while, and I didn’t get back to it for a couple of months. Who knew what I had planned at first. In the end, I made my decisions at the point where I was adding paint and they were partially dictated by the fact that I had left masking fluid on the paper for too long. I’ll explain why later.

Reference photo courtesy of Rinzler on Pixabay

I’ve written elsewhere about using color in shadows. In that write-up, I talked about the intense blue and purple shadows that can give a real sense of light.

With this painting, I wanted a much more subtle effect. I don’t know if you see it on your screen, but on mine, this cat has subtle hints of violet. It’s pretty subtle, but that’s one of the things you start looking for when you are more experienced.

I also had some colors that I don’t use too often, and I wanted to play with them. So I did.

Pencil

Oops! No pencil scan. The shapes are fairly simple though, so I know I freehanded it, mostly just blocking in the shapes, placing the facial details and making sure everything fit the size of the card.

Not sure if you’re up to drawing this? Art Tutor has a great grid program that will help by applying a grid to your uploaded photo. You can also crop and adjust color and value.

Pen

The light blue on this scan is masking fluid. There is a lot of white on this cat, much of it interspersed with other colors so I decided to reserve it before drawing with the ink. As mentioned above, I was delayed in painting this and the masking fluid came back to bite me for two reasons.

  • You shouldn’t leave masking fluid on paper for very long because it will be harder to remove.
  • You shouldn’t use masking fluid on rough paper because it can seep into the wells of the paper and be harder to remove.

You get the theme of this? Harder to remove. More about that later.

When I came back to this drawing after a couple of months, I knew at this point that the masking fluid was going to be a problem, to the point where I might have to throw the whole thing away, so I didn’t draw any further.

Paint

Daniel Smith is known for colors made from unusual pigments. Often, these seem to be so close to other more common colors that people wonder why bother.

The difference often has to do with characteristics – the unusual pigment might granulate more, or be more intense. Sometimes, the main difference might be the way in which the color mixes with other colors.

It was the mixing qualities and temperature I was exploring with this piece. The colors I used were:

I also used Phthalo Blue Green Shade, which is a common color.

Note that I used watery mixes for all of this. I wasn’t trying to capture the exact correct color of the fur, but I wanted a subtle sense of light shining on fur.

I started by painting the sky with Phthalo Blue and dropped in touches of Wisteria here and there.

Many animals have an off-white color in their coat, especially when it is ticked or mixed with other colors. Buff Titanium is a good color for it, but I’ve found it easily leads to green if you add blue to your shadows. Monte Amiata is a yellowish color, but can take a little blue without going green. In a light wash it looks similar to Buff Titanium. Not giving up the Buff but Monte will be used more often.

For the shadows, I wanted to punch up that subtle hint of violet and turn it more towards purple so it would be warmer (look up purple vs violet if you are confused by that) so I used Wisteria.

In essence, I wanted the fur to reflect my background, which was Phthalo Blue with a little bit of Wisteria, so I add some Phthalo Blue to my Wisteria shadows, especially at the top of the head.

Rose of Ultramarine is an interesting granulating color. It’s a mix of Quinacridone Rose with Ultramarine Blue. It’s a purple, but the blue granulates – settles into the wells of the paper so the rose comes forward. (And yes – you could mix your own if you have these two colors-though getting the right mix might be a challenge).

The cat’s fur has a variation of color – more of a charcoal & brown with cream in real life giving a textured look to the fur. I added a darker mix of the Monte Amiata to give a feel of the real color, and then used the Rose Of Ultramarine for the rest of the darker fur, as though the light was hiding the real color from the eye. I let the Monte and Rose run together slightly.

The granulation doesn’t show well in the scan, but is there in real life.

And now for the masking fluid. I did get most of it off, but not all of it, and it left a muddy greenish stain in a few areas. Fortunately, that doesn’t show very well in the scan, either.

Should you run out and buy these colors? Only if you are at the stage where characteristics like opacity, staining, temperature, granulation, and other qualities of color pigments have started to make sense. The reason for this post is to help you get to that point, but there are other similar colors among the standards that are cheaper and easier to use for the beginner to intermediate watercolorist.

Whew! Sorry that turned out to be a longer post than I intended.

Sow What – Postcards for the Lunch Bag


Artwork- Zebra Zensations Technical pens and MIYA Water Colors on Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Photo reference from Sipa on Pixabay.

Did you know that an adult pig can run about 11 mph? That would be a seven-minute mile. I’ll bet more than one farmer has found this out to their vast chagrin!

Want to know more about the Tools?

Hahnemühle Postcards (review)

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

Miya Watercolors (review)