trying out sketching

I am into words. I am an editor, I love to read, and I believe you need to write clearly to convey your ideas even if you’re not a writer or an editor.

But words aren’t the only way to share your story. As I’ve seen with The Sandman and all the other graphic novels I’ve recently started to read–not to mention every museum, photograph, or artwork everywhere–pictures and images are just as valuable storytelling devices.

I want to use images to tell my stories, too. So I’ve been checking out sketching and fashion illustration, and this weekend I got to play around with watercolors. I started with this really cool sketchbook that has all the figures already on the page. It’s called The Fashion Sketchpad, and I saw it first on this post by A Beautiful Mess that talks about fashion sketching. I’d like to keep practicing and draw the figures on my own, but for now it’s a great way to get started. I started by sketching some looks from the Olympics Opening Ceremonies. (Please forgive my weird mannequins, I’m working faces/hair/etc. Well, I’m working on all of it.)

opening ceremony singer fashion illustration

 

opening ceremonies sweatsuit

I also tried some looks from Fashion Week. Here’s some from Kate Spade and Prabal Gurung.

kate spade fashion illustration

 

prabal gurung fashion illustration

I sketched directly on top of The Fashion Sketchpad’s figures, but I’d like to experiment more with using actual watercolor paper. I also love this idea for drawing interiors.

interior design sketches

I have a lot more practicing to do, but I am excited about what sketching and painting can do!

adventures in spray paint

rae's days shelf before

I have this shelf by my door. I use it to hold my purse or shoes right when I get home. It’s the perfect size for the tiny space between my front door and my closet. And it was black, which was fine. But not great.

So I got some spray paint. And headed to a rooftop.

roof top view

This was the view. Not too shabby. Then I put my shelf on some trash bags and started spraying. It went pretty well for my first time spray painting something, all things considered. I did a few coats and touched up some spots where I thought it was needed. I used Rust-Oleum high performance enamel spray paint in safety yellow.

Continue reading “adventures in spray paint”

odd thomas talks to elvis; i screen print him

I’m reading Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz and loving it. Odd is a pretty normal guy–he works as a line cook, hangs out with his girlfriend, and can speak to the dead. Not that they talk back. But they do show him things, and he helps them when he can. Odd tries to use this gift to help the dead and the living, and in the first novel of the series he attempt to stop a huge tragedy from occurring in his town. I don’t know if he succeeds–I haven’t finished the book yet. But I’m having a great time getting there.

Odd is ghost friends with Elvis, who seems to make his own rules in death, as he did in life. Normally Odd’s interactions with spirits are people who died in his town. He doesn’t know of any ghost travelers–except Elvis, who has taken a liking to Pico Mundo even though there’s no evidence he visited when he was alive. He hangs out often, sometimes dancing, sometimes watching, and sometimes crying, but never singing (ghosts don’t talk, or sing, I suppose).

I’d like to think that Elvis and Odd are sort of friends, at least the kind of friends that spirits who don’t speak and living people who eat and breathe and yell can be. So I made a tribute to Elvis, and to Odd.

I recently took a class on screen printing and really enjoyed it. It’s fun, and once you start making prints it’s pretty addicting. (But be careful, otherwise you’ll have 30 copies of Elvis and nothing to do with them.) I still have an empty space on my wall, and I’ve been longing to fill it with another handmade artwork. And my family gave me a screen printing kit for Christmas, with ink and a screen and everything! The stars aligned.

I started with the idea of an image of Elvis singing and dancing. I found some images I liked, but I wasn’t sure how to get those images onto my larger canvas that would fill up the empty space on my wall. I’m ok at drawing, but drawing his entire body, hips swiveling, was a little advanced for my first at-home project and the first time I was using my new tools. So I simplified my idea and started sketching.

elvis sketches for screen printing

Once I had some elements I liked, I drew them on a larger scale on freezer paper, which is what I made my stencil from. I cut out the shapes, and then attached my stencil to my screen.

screen printing red ink

And then started! The first attempt was the worst.

first attempt at elvis screen printing

But that’s probably normal, right? The next few came out great! I like the imperfections and I love the color. These will go great on my wall.

elvis prints in red

family art project

I went home for the holidays, along with my siblings, their significant others, and their kids. My dad told us this week that we had a few projects to do before we could leave town. It would be like summer camp, he said. But for Christmas.

Christmas Camp started with family breakfasts where we learned to make southern biscuits and a book club meeting (more on that later). But one of the coolest things we did all week was a water color blob inspired art project.

art project wall

We started with a wall filled with paintings of blobs of color. My dad made them for us, he said, so that we could use ink to draw on the painting whatever image we saw in the blobs–kind of like spotting images in clouds. He had some examples.

art project sample

We each had to complete one drawing and put it back on the wall before the week ended. Well, we got a little carried away. One was just not enough. Soon we ran out of blobs and starting making more.

making more blobs

We used water colors, added some salt for texture, or used a straw to blow the paint for streaks of color–anything was fair game to get colors twisted and turned in juuuust the right way.

We had so much fun. It was so interesting to see what our family came up with, and everyone from grandkids to grandparents all participated. Here are some of my favorites. Don’t forget to sign your masterpiece!

art project water color 1

 

art project water color 3

 

art project water color 4

 

art project water color 5

 

art project water color 6

 

art project water color 7

 

art project water color 9

Here’s our wall when we were finished!

art project wall

pick-me-up

I, like the rest of the nation, need a pick-me-up. After days of off-and-on tears, and off-and-on news, knowing we can do nothing to ease the always-on pain of the families who have lost someone, I did my best this weekend to stay busy and keep my mind occupied.

So I rearranged my room. (And almost got stuck under my headboard.)

bedroom

Here it is when you walk in. To the right, you’ll see my shoes and my picture frame jewelry holder.

shoes and jewelry

And to the left, you’ll see my repurposed screens. They used to divide my old studio. Now, I think they’ll show off pictures and mail from friends. Jewels, of Oven Lovin, has a similar greeting card garland as part of her Christmas decorations.

picture screens

#fatcat enjoyed my new room.

fatcatQuite a bit.

I also recently filled the space above my tv.

living room raes days

Want to see it closer?

paintings raes days

My dad has painted on and off for many years, and he let me take home some of his paintings. And I snuck in one my mom painted, too. I’d also like to fill the spaces on the bottom left and right, but I’m not sure with what. Maybe a new painting that hasn’t been made yet.

I’ve done a lot of crafting this weekend, to keep my hands busy. I also painted my nails.

essie a cut aboveIt’s Essie’s A Cut Above. I like it because it reminds me of champagne, and I’m excited to see my friends over New Year’s.

I hope you’re excited to see your family and friends over the holidays as well. And I hope we all hug each other a little tighter.

Thinking of you, and thinking of Newtown.