Kids Play I

Practicing to keep things loose and fast, fast enough for the kids. 🤪 

I definitely had to come back to this one later. Next time I’ll work on trying to find the balance between detail and implied details. What are your secret tips for getting things down quickly?

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Nightcap

No time in the studio today but I desperately needed to start this small acrylic. Sadly, it’s already time for bed but it’s blocked and ready for more! Maybe even tomorrow ;)

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#acrlicpainting #landscapepainting #workinprogess #ontariolandscape #Georgianbay #homesickseries

Underpainting

Criminy, underpaintings are always ugly. Lol. But still exciting because the frantic inspiration starts to become visible.

This is what a mental health break looked like for me this afternoon. My husband recognized it, I am burning out. Not much better himself he demanded I walk away for a break.

The reference photo for this painting has been calling me for a long time now. I grabbed a canvas, an old canvas that was half started and slightly damaged and I globbed paint onto it covering the old and starting new.

The canvas drank the paint and I just kept layering it, not paying attention to the sloppy muddy colors. It’s an underpainting and today the act was more important than the result. At top volume, some great music, and 80 minutes later I think I’m ready again for the next round. Parenting is hard, sleep deprivation is hard but you know what’s not hard? Art. Art is restorative and exciting and compulsive. I was an artist loooooong before I was a mom and I was recently reminded ; that person matters too.

Thank you husband, for recognizing the moment and giving me the space for minor repairs to well being. ❤️

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Sketchbook Notes

Do you ever write notes to yourself in your sketchbook? 

Little words of encouragement go a long way, even if they are from myself.

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Put a bird on it.

Small bird study for a 3D project. It’s been impossible to work on this this week. I was hoping to fill this little accordion book. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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Charcoal Chickens

Little helper today with these charcoal chickens. 
Anyone else have helping hands in their studio... in their everything? 😂

Bruno’s Helmet

I’ve never been so worried about messing up a project as I was with this one. But guess what? It turned out okay!
So honored to do this custom painting for my friend and her son Bruno. Big brother and Dad also got in on the design which makes this extra special.
With just one night to work and a 7 month old of my own to take care of, the stakes were high and the sleep was minimal. But this is a project I feel lucky to have been asked to do.
I hope I have more opportunities for special projects like this one in the future. 

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Printables

Fairly soon I will be focusing on creative income and as such I am in the midst of creating a number of printables and reactivating my etsy shop. 

My first 'lyric' printable went up today and I'm pretty excited about doing more. I've got some brainstorming ahead of me and digital drawing - which I love. 

I'm also working on some tangible items that I am very excited to show you soon. 
Please be sure to have a look! 

Your Face

I want to photograph it. I want to draw it. I want to pixel it. I want to paint it. 
You have such an interesting face, it tells so many stories. 


 

A few quick portraits I did in September of some wonderfully talented and inspiring ladies I know on social media or in person. Each of these ladies rocks the profession they work in and make for some great personal role models. 

Inktober

Inktober has begun! I'm doing my best to keep up this year.  If you follow me on instagram (@myasharona) you'll see them update there first. If you're not sure what #inktober is, well give it a google. If you're an artist yourself, it's never too late to join in. Grab some ink and don't forget to hashtag so other artists can find your work. 

MOOCS - Art & Concepts

I've been taking an online course about Art & Concepts in Game Design (because I enjoy games and art) and after my first program I had two assignments geared towards demonstrating my understanding of the lessons.  As you can tell from the assignments I created, while simplistic in concept, I had lots of fun putting together the visuals. 

Assignment for week 1 and 2

Assignment for week 1 and 2

Assignment for Week 3 and 4

Assignment for Week 3 and 4

Sketching Every Day

I unpacked my tablet tonight and got my work station set up. Took it for a spin with a quick sketch while watching some Sliders. 
Kept it loose and quick. 



Channeling Creativity with SCBWI North Texas

One of the first organizations I connected with upon moving to Texas was the local chapter of the SCBWI - Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. In addition to regular newsletters, resources, information sharing, and local meetups, they offer some great opportunities to connect with other members. 

On May 30th I attended a workshop hosted by the SCBWI and presented by local illustrator AG Ford.  

My synopsis  of the day has been posted on the SCBWI North Texas blog and I'd love for you to take a look. 
http://northtexas.scbwi.org/category/blog/

You'll find my SCBWI profile page here: https://www.scbwi.org/members-public/sharon-ross1

And finally, while I didn't take many photos that day I did manage to take a snap (meaning low quality photos with my camera phone) of my workspace, and demo piece progress for the day. 

I had a lot of fun talking and conversing with other illustrators and AG's workshop was a great source of inspiration and re-ignition. I look forward to the next SCBWI event that I am able to attend. 

Initial Sketch

Initial Sketch

Workshop workspace

Workshop workspace

Work in Progress after the day's end. 

Work in Progress after the day's end. 

Block Print

Today I thought I'd experiment a little with block prints. It's a very tactile and fun way to think about positive and negative space, consider simplicity and complexity, and ultimately (if you do it correctly) have a way to reproduce a single image in multiplication. 

I started by opening illustrator and making a nice simple design that I could print onto paper, tshirt, or wherever. I made sure that the design was roughly the same size as the carving block I had. 

Because my design had lettering in it, it was important to reverse the image so that the final print would read correctly. 

After finishing the design I printed it and then cut it to size. I applied a layer of charcoal to the back of the print out and then drew over the design with a pen so that the charcoal would transfer to the carving block. 

With the design successfully transferred, the negative space was carved away.  

Ink was then applied block. The block was carefully placed on the paper and even pressure was applied to the back. 
Once lifted from the surface of the material, in this case paper, the print was done!  

I had fun with this exercise and would love to do something a little more complicated next time. 

I'm not real sure what to do with this block but I'm sure I'll think of something. 

Let's make a T-Shirt

Recently I had the chance to work with my SIL Becky to come up with a TShirt to mark her participation in the Walk To End Lupus in NYC on Saturday May 2nd. 
While lupus related nonsense has forced her to sit this one out (THANKS OBAMA), the shirt was still a blast to work on and I hope we get the chance to work on a new one for next year. 

If you're in the mood to donate, please do so at http://lupus.donorpages.com/NewYorkWalk2015/RebeccaBalfe/

So firstly we came up with a few different approaches for the image. Did we want to do something illustrative, graphic, did we want to go unique design, playoff cultural icons, and other brainstorming like that. 
We started with these four concepts.  Immediately "Rosie the Riveter" was chosen  and developed. 

Some things we then had to work out included details like "hair up or down, wavy or straight, colour or not, etc. 

We were constantly visualizing what the final product might look like on a tshirt.  Details added and taken away, fonts changed, pops of colour on a B&W design. We also looked into various printing options. 

The final illustration was Black & White & Purple to be printed on a white T-Shirt. Once I have a picture of the shirt in action I will be sure to share it here.  But there you have it; the iterations of the 2015 Team Becky Tee. 

Gestures!

It's been quite some time since I've done gesture drawing as a practice. Oh how quickly the quickness fades away. Thankfully an artist from a sketchbook group I follow on FB suggested checking out The Croquis Cafe on youtube. This handy little tool has allowed me to practice gesture drawing even with no access to a live model. 
I've had to work smaller than I am used to in order to accommodate things like a sketchbook instead of a newsprint pad, a desk instead of and easel and so on, but the practice is just as important and the observational skills are coming back slowly. 
This is going to help in some planned urban sketching too. 

 

Some 2 minute and one 5 minute gestures  using   The Croquis Cafe  for model reference.

Some 2 minute and one 5 minute gestures  using  The Croquis Cafe for model reference.

Practice, practice, practice.

A little bit of practice in observation. Simplifying and picking out the shapes and shadows is an exercise that I do not spend nearly enough time doing. 
SO here's a couple of entries into my sketchbook with watercolour and ink+watercolour. 
I'm hoping to get out and do a little bit of urban sketching in the next week or so and want to brush up a little before then. These aren't quick enough for that but at least are helping me remember the exercise. I look forward to doing more.