Monday, February 10, 2014

Still Drawing; Not Rich and Famous Yet

This elephant is taking FOREVER.  She's not quite done yet but we're getting there.

Instructor did "surprise life drawing" night - I wondered if he had naked people stashed away somewhere that he was going to spring on us.  But no.  Some people had talked about having trouble getting fabric draping drawn correctly, so he gave us a chance to practice.  He was even kind enough to model for us, although he did yell, "Oh my GOD, it's HIDEOUS!" when he saw my drawing… presumably he doesn't love seeing his likeness any more than I like seeing mine….or, it's a really bad drawing. 

These are the triplet bear cubs from the movie "Brave".  Some days the drawing goes well and some days, not so much.  I drew about three pages of stuff over the course of two days and this is the only drawing I'd even want to show you out of that batch.  Bleah.  

It occurred to me that I might want to learn to draw hair, since most people have some.  

Everything went well with this pic of Andre Braugher until I tried to a) draw his face and b) make his skin black.  Bah.

I reverted back to cartoon characters - this guy is cute AND has a little girl playmate that I plan to draw next. 

 I dug around and found all the different lead hardnesses to start this class, but I've found I use mainly two pencils: a 4H and a Palomino Blackwing.  And a lot of erasing, of course.

These are just the pics out of my sketchbook.  Next time, I'll show you a couple of my assignments.  One even has COLOUR!

Until then,
Love Shelley!

Sunday, February 2, 2014


So this happened.

You may not know this about me, but I have known deep in my heart for the past few years that I would give my left nut to meet Jenny (The Bloggess) Lawson.  Well guess who came to Winnipeg yesterday WHY YES IT WAS JENNY (THE BLOGGESS) LAWSON.

I love this woman.  She has written a gloriously bizarre book, and blogs about things I couldn't think up on my best day.  One of her cats is named Ferris Mewler.  The other is Hunter S. Thomcat.  She's incredibly enthusiastic about dressing up old taxidermied animals in tiny hats and clothes and false eyelashes and makeup and giving them funny names.  She asked Wil Wheaton to send her a picture of himself collating paper, and he did.  She surprised her husband with a giant steel chicken named Beyonce.  If this sounds spectacularly ridiculous, it's because it is.  The flip side is that she has a crippling anxiety problem, mixed in with other disagreeable health issues, and that she speaks openly and honestly about them on her blog.  You'd think this would be a downer, but it's just the opposite.  You may not believe me but if you read her you'll see.  She gives the rest of us hope, no matter what issues we may be dealing with.

I didn't want to spook her with my fangirl glee, but after I stood politely in front of her for a while doing a slightly agitated pee-pee dance, she was gracious enough to let me geek out and have a picture with her.

Please note that I did not try to a) kiss her on the lips or b) put her in my pocket and take her home to show my sister.
I believe I showed admirable restraint.

Knowing Jenny's appreciation for slightly dilapidated preserved animals, someone brought in a stuffed fox to help her feel more comfortable; after it was put it to a vote he was named Derrick, and then Jenny showed up and discreetly pointed out that Derrick was actually a girl.

She's so polite she's practically Canadian.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

So I'm taking this class...

I signed up for Childrens Book Illustration, a night class offered at the community college, and there is A LOT of homework.  Which is good, because it forces me to draw.  Want to see?  Good, let's go!

* * * * *

This was the first assignment I handed in.  We had to draw children in three different age ranges; and in three different states (standing, sitting, in motion).  I used reference photos from the internet, and the bottom two are in pencil, various lead hardnesses.  The flying kid was sketched out in pencil, and then I used a manga set of markers to shade him in.  Sorry about the demon eyes.  I got a little carried away with the marker.

Sketchbook - we're supposed to fill three pages in our sketchbook every week.  Doesn't sound like much, does it?  (ha.)

Again these are all from reference photos.  I wish I had the imagination to make up stuff like this on my own, but nope.  This was all done with a red Col-Erase pencil.  It's a pencil crayon but erasable.  Allegedly.  I was sitting on the couch and was too lazy to get up and look for an eraser, so I just scribbled harder to go over the parts I didn't like.

The cow went on some outgoing mail; I found her by doing a google image search for "cow" and she came up as "curious cow".  She was outlined in a Micron pen and then coloured in with Copic markers, kind of a quick-and-dirty job since I'm really not great with markers (YET).  Then I found a website that is all about character development, (visual, not like working hard and never telling a lie) and it's not in English, but there are a ton of great reference photos.  All the hamster drawings are in pencil.  I love this little guy.  From the website it looks like he's in the Disney movie "Bolt," which I haven't seen.  I figured I'd better start working on some kind of stuff that kids would like, since the final project is to illustrate a 16-page kids' book.  I'm sweating a little just thinking about it.  Then again, being challenged like this is sure to make me grow. Or have a nervous breakdown - one of those two things.

This big momma is a work in progress.  I just got started on her last night.  I hope to finish her tonight, because I still have to complete two more sketchbook pages for Monday, PLUS my assignment.  Yikes.  Anyway, this is from a  reference photo from a National Geographic book I snagged at Value Village.  So far I've only used a 4H pencil and a Palomino Blackwing.  I  might add more values with different pencils, but I'm not very good at that yet.  Since I used to just cross my fingers and hope you could tell what it was supposed to be, I think I've made some progress.  HA!  (Oh, and if I haven't, it's an elephant.)

I have a LOT more work on the go for this class.   I'll post pics as I go along. I'm hoping to see some real improvement between now and the end of  March when it's over.  Critiques welcome - you might see something I don't, so let me have it.

Love Shelley!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dear Sarah...

 Would you believe that I have not one, not TWO, but THREE pen pals named Sarah?

Well believe it, baby.  Look:

This is for the first and closest Sarah.  She sent me the Most Amazing Package last time she wrote.  And this time I didn't have any treats to send her but I did use a plastic clamshell to at least make it interesting to receive.  I remembered to snap a pic of it JUST before I slipped it into the mailbox.  I wrapped the actual letter in some other paper to keep the mailman from being able to read it.  Since part of it was about the difficulty of getting a chicken to hold still so I could practice giving it stitches, I thought that was for the best.

Sarah Red?  Totally different personality.  Also fiercely intelligent, down to earth, and a ton of fun to talk to in letters.  This time I picked a clear plastic envelope and used some paper out of a notebook to give it a nice background.  And to keep the mailman from seeing what I wrote.  Since part of it was about French beauty pageants and taking purses into football games… wait.  That's not that bad!  Next time I might just let it intrigue the people whose hands it passes through.

Sarah in the UK is the newest and bravest Sarah.  She had to write me a letter and basically knew nothing about me, so she went out on a limb to tell me a little about herself in the hopes that we would get along and I would write back.  Mission accomplished!  She left out enough intriguing details that she tweaked my curiosity and I had to find out more.  MY letter is full of nosy questions.  This one actually went out this very morning.  Strangely, the mail to and from the UK is faster than to the US.  So I'm sure I'll be hearing from her soon.

That's all I have to show you for today.  I have to go find that chicken… talk to you soon!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Something creative that ISN'T mail!

Here's an ATC (artist trading card) I made yesterday... it's a car.

(I specified that because I can't remember what kind of car it is.  Old.  I don't know.)

Pretty simple supplies: a piece of Canson artist paper, a 0.05 Copic liner pen, and three colours of Inktense pencil.  

In hindsight, I should have used a heavier paper because the water did make it buckle a little.  But eh, learning experience.  

First I sketched it out lightly in pencil; then drew it out a little better with the liner pen.  I was working from a photo in a book.

Then I started adding layers of Inktense.  I love these pencils because they behave like watercolour pencils... until they dry.  Then the colour becomes permanent.  So you can layer over it and it doesn't move!  <>  I probably came back to it ten times over the course of the afternoon, waiting for it to dry, then adding more layers.  In between I was baking sugar cookies, so all in all, a pretty pleasant day.

I'm pretty happy with the finished product.  It looks REALLY good if you take a super-quick glance, and don't start at it too long and start to notice flaws.

Okay, that's all I've got for now.  Back later.

Love Shelley!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Mail!

Nah, we don't really get mail on Sundays.  Wouldn't that be AWESOME though?!

But.  Of course you can still send mail.  All you need is to know where a handy mailbox is; and have some free time to make something.  And some extra-loud music to drown out any fighting kids who may be nearby trying to drive you bonkers by fighting non-stop and calling each other names and wanting you to referee.*

Anyway, in the urgency to escape the madness in the kitchen, I suddenly remembered that you don't have to actually use REAL ENVELOPES to send mail - you can make a mail-containing-thing out of whatever you want.  Just tape it up good** so those little holes don't get stuck in one of the mail-sorting machines, and bob's your uncle***.

I have to go now.  There's a massive mess in the garage from the honey extraction we started yesterday.  And the bees found us, so there are about 800 of them buzzing around in the driveway, and they're frankly still kind of pissed that we robbed them yesterday.  So if you know a way to politely escort them back to their hive, I'd be happy to hear it.  My plan right now is to wait until they all go home at dark, then bring the empty frames back for them to clean up.  And I'll put up a 'No Loitering' sign in the driveway too.  That should fix the problem.

Ok bye.

Love Shelley!

*Your experience may vary.
**Yes, I know.
***No, I don't know what this means, either.  But I can't ALWAYS yell "ta-daaaah!"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fancy Nancy

This afternoon I got pretty sick of working, so I busted out the el cheapo pencil crayons at my desk, and what do you know - my muse decided to join me for a few minutes!  It probably helps that I'm deliriously tired and my guard is way down.  She's sneaky; she likes to wait until I've given up on her, then she blows back into my life like a bad boyfriend fresh out of jail.  That's probably the worst metaphor I've used yet on this blog, too, so you're welcome for that.

I have a second one in the works - completely different, yet exactly the same.  (Don't ask, I'm even confusing myself right now.)

Stay tuned.

Love Shelley!