Initially, I was going to be announcing my Kickstarter for my Cat Skull Enamel Pins in this blog and doing the whole spiel for it, but something crazy kinda happened.
It kinda got funded in 25 hours. Crazy, huh?
My intention was that I just wanted to get at least funded so that's what I set my goal for. One enamel pin out of 3. I've never made them before, I'm a small artist, I doubt anyone will want them. So you can imagine my surprise when people started backing the project and not only that, doing the higher dollar reward tiers.
And poof, it got funded. So now we're going onto the stretch goals to get the pink and maybe the gold/black pins funded. We've got 26 days to go and I'm still nervous and excited and worried I'm annoying everyone.
So here's my small pitch before we move on to the actual post: If you want the purple pin, congrats because it's a guaranteed product and you can pledge to get it cheaper than what it will be on Etsy later. If you want the pink or gold one, please help me get to those stretch goals! We're at $408 out of $600 for Pink and need to hit $850 for the gold. You pledge now and when the Project is over, then you pay. I also have stickers and prints available and an exclusive Thank you art card goes out with all orders :) Please and thank you!
Done with me pitching!
"from the ashes" Art Process
This Thursday I'll be participating in an event at the Museum of Texas Tech! I was invited to showcase a piece themed around fertility, nature, and creation. I wanted to do something new and hadn't done my old portrait painting style in a while so I figured why not. So let me take you through the step by steps! (because I remembered to take pictures this time)
This was my initial rough sketch while I tried to get an idea of what I wanted to do. The main element keywords were woman, skull mask, flowers, pink. So this came out of that. I wanted it to be light in color and nature to play off the giant skull.
I used tracing paper to figure out all the elements separately. I drew the girl and then I drew the skull 20 different times because why did I do this angle and there were no reference pictures for that exact angle and oh my god I'm an idiot I literally have like 10 different real skulls I can use as my own reference.
Welcome to my life.
Then I combined them on a separate tracing paper sheet.
I switched the skull from a bird to a canine (coyote to be exact because I own one) because I felt like there was a bit more aggressiveness and harshness to the canine skull. Bird skulls are very elegant but can be creepy. I use them in my Bird Lady series because they mirror the image of a Plague Doctor's mask so well. I didn't want this to be creepy but I did want a primal element to the image to balance with the light flowers and hair and elongation of the neck.
Next I cut my watercolor paper to the size I wanted, measured out a border, and transferred the image from tracing paper to watercolor paper using our light table. Once I got a majority of it down solid, I went in and filled out the flowers, tattoos, and a lot of the details. This image is in black and white so what you don't know is I traced this entirely in my usual red grading pencil.
I don't like using pencil to outline before watercoloring because it can blend in too much and I loose my outline. I planned on using pinks throughout the whole piece so using red would help keep the tone and I wouldn't have to worry about it blending in. Red is pretty resilient.
The initial background flat color with the watercolor and ink. I wanted it choppy and muddled but it's gonna get a few layers to color balance later.
I started shading in the lady and coloring in the hair. Here you can also see I added white ink to the background to tone down the color so the focus is on the woman. Fun fact: I'm bad at watercoloring any skin tones and prefer to do black and white ladies because I'm weird and bad at color theory. I'm working on it, but I'm awful at picking more than 3 colors to go together well.
I used Indian ink to lightly shade the skull and her body, layering it gently for the flower tattoos so they aren't too dark. Black tattoos are never true black because of the healing process and I didn't want it too pop too much.
The skull also got a brown wash to show that it's bone and seperate it from her skin.
I outlined the hair in red pen and the rest of her and the skull in a black micron pen, also adding more ink layers to the skull. I used metallic inks to wash the flowers lightly and then went in and outlined and filled in the steps and leaves with a gold paint pen. I've been dying to use it in a piece and the highlight is to die for. I wanted to differentiate between the death aspect and the life aspect with the gold.
At this point, it's late at night and I think it's done, but then show Rony and he critiques it because that's what art couples do. Critiques were that the snout needed to be darker to match the eye socket, the right of her face is too flat and needs more dimension and the flowers need to be cleaned up. I huff and get irritated because I've been working too long and I was sooooooo close and get back to trying to fix things.
I fixed the angle on her face (added where her ear might be), deepened the shadows, added more hair shadows, darkened the snout, and cleaned up the flowers. Rony had suggested adding black outlines to the flowers and I nixed that because I didn't want black on them. Sometimes, you hold your ground. I peeled off the masking tape, cursed because it peeled some paper, but then remember that's why you put the tape on the borders because it's gonna get chopped off later.
And I'm done!
I love how this piece came out and miss doing the semi-realistic creepy portraits so I'll have to do more some time. I need to get this framed for showcasing but after that I'm going to try and get it scanned so I can make prints. Big pieces are hard to scan unless you have a giant scanner, which I don't.
But it'll be available for sale. Thanks for reading this step by step! All in all, this was about an 6 hour piece (breaks and pauses not included) but I think it came out pretty good.
Again, check out the Kickstarter if you wanna help a little artist! Comment below if there's anything you want to see! MerMay is coming up fast so expect me to complain about that ;) Until next time!