Author: Radostina

Draw this again challenge

I’ve been recently going through some old folders, trying to organize them, when I came across some old old drawings back from when I first started trying digital drawing and painting. Many times before I thought about going back and revisiting some of those old drawings with my current skill set, because there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your own improvement and growth. So that’s what I did! I redrew my oldest Photoshop digital painting in my style today, using all the knowledge that has been gathered through the years.

 

 

 

How to make an easy watercolor autumn decoration

Last week was the official start of autumn, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the art in my room: some hyacinth paintings I made back in the spring of 2015. I thought of changing them in accordance with the season many times, but who has the time for room decorations! Well, now I finally found some time and I want to show you how you can make some for yourself too.

I believe the little paintings I made for my room are really simple and anyone with the basic skills to handle watercolor, brush and pen can pull it off. For the purpose of making these decorations there’s no need for expensive art supplies either, but I am using the best quality supplies I have nevertheless. I guess I just love the feel of them more.

So if you like throwing some paint on paper this is for you! Even if you don’t go all the way and add the pen sketch on top of the watercolor basis, you’ll still have an awesome piece of abstract art to hang on your wall. Just ask this red- yellow blot that was sitting on my shelf for at least 3 years now!

 

 

Supplies

  • Canson watercolor paper 300 g/m2

  • Sonnet Watercolors | hanza yellow | orange | carmine | violet deep | ultramarine light

  • Guld-mår Watercolor Round brush #8

  • Uni Pin Fine liner 0.1

If you are curious to see how to make your own autumn decorations, just follow the instructions in the video bellow. And if you decide to try it don’t forget to share your results with me!

Have fun!

Cheap Art Supply Challenge

Using cheap art supplies is nothing new to me and I never thought of it as much of a challenge, but then I came across the “Cheap Art Supply Challenge” on You Tube where artist try to create a good piece using cheap markers, watercolors and what not.

As someone who didn’t take her art seriously for years and years, I never felt comfortable spending extra on good professional art supplies and always tried to make it work with what I had. I used to paint watercolors on printer paper, I’ve made digital pieces in MS Paint, using the mouse… and now I’m making YouTube videos on my smart phone. I grew up in a very frugal environment, in times when there was either nothing available to buy or we could not afford it. So I became quite good at doing the best I can with the materials I already have available. While I’m trying to get out of this mindset and allow myself to expand to more professional materials, I still sometimes have troubles purchasing something I’m not entirely sure I’ll use a lot.

When I picked up watercolors again (as an adult), I resisted buying quality supplies, before I could prove to myself that I’m really interested and that “it isn’t just a phase”. Now 3 years later I’m still not using the top quality supplies, because I don’t paint every day, I don’t offer any watercolor paintings for sale and it just doesn’t feel justified yet. That being said I have tried quality paints, paper and brushes and know for a fact that quality art supplies are worth it. Switching from “whatever I can get my hands on” to “the real deal” feels so amazing, it’s almost as if the materials are drawing by themselves and I don’t need to do a thing! So there’s the upside to using non- professional, low quality materials, when you finally make the switch drawing feels so effortless!

It doesn’t always work that way of course, sometimes you need to re-learn how the new materials behave and interact. I would however recommend it to anyone, especially to beginners and people who are not sure whether a new interest will stick: hold on the big investments, try the more affordable options first!

Now I am finally moving away from the “cheap stuff”, so I’m not too eager to go back to it, but I thought it might be fun to do a “Cheap Art Supply Challenge” anyway. I didn’t buy anything especially for the challenge, because I don’t like buying stuff I know for sure I’m not going to need. Using old supplies I already have, on the other hand, felt like a bit of a cheat, since I know them already. So I tried to be creative and to pick up pens and markers, that would not even be considered “art supplies”, but maybe “office supplies”.

Mechanical pencil

Mine came in a package of 3 at Tiger (a local low price store) for 10 dkk (1,34 € | 1,5$).

 

Staedtler marker

(brown)

Even cheaper! I got this one at a Startup Weekend event. Yay!

 

Talon Double Highlighters

(orange and green, yellow and purple, blue and pink)

10 dkk (1,34 € | 1,5$) at Normal (a local low price store).

 

Paper

(probably mixed media)

I’m fairly certain the paper I used is actually good quality, I got it from an art friend, who moved to a different country, so it was definitely “cheap” for me 🙂

 

Coffee

The one thing on the list that is absolutely 100% , not even a little bit an art supply. Well, I guess one can argue about that, since it has been used in the creation of more art then probably any other art supply 😀 As for the price, I wouldn’t know, got it from my mom.

 

Daler Rowney round brush 4

Ok, this one is actual watercolor brush, because I couldn’t find anything that’s not a brush, but can be used as a brush. It was too big and my coffee was too watery to have a good control anyway, hope that makes it ok 🙂

Coffee Flower Girl

I was pretty sure I’ll nail this illustration, because what can go wrong? Well everything! I haven’t used most of these together and even though I made a quick test in the beginning, it didn’t stop me from messing up. As I actually expected the paper didn’t take the water al that well, but it was still working out pretty fine. It all went fairly well until I decided to go for a second layer of coffee to make the color deeper. That’s when I found out all my markers are neither water proof, nor resistent and they bled all over the place. I saved it as best I could, but the illustration is still a bit of a fail. It was still fun to draw and I learned from it. It makes me wonder what can I do now that I am aware of the reaction, probably all kinds of cool effects that I should go back and experiment with!

 

 

Do you sometimes use cheap art supplies or not even art supplies? What have you experimented with and what have you discovered? Share with me some cool ideas in the comments 😉

Fave fun!

Traditional art, new art supplies and video making

A week ago I started my Art History Challenge and it has been a really interesting and fun experience so far, but I think it will be best to talk about it after it is completed and I have the 30 illustrationsin front of me. Even thought the challenge is focused on producing digital illustration, I’m getting more and more interested in expanding my “traditional media horisonts”, something which only 5 years ago seemed like it will never happen.

After discovering the digital world and vector illustration I almost entirely withdrew from everything traditional, well except pencil and paper for doodling. All my finished pieces that I’d dare show to the world were made on the computer. I got terrified by the imperfection of traditional work and too addicted to the clean sleek look of vector graphics. It felt like there’s no way to hide or fix my mistakes, so I just avoided facing them by only working digitally. What I didn’t realize was, mistakes were still there. No computer program can hide gaps in knowledge of proportions, anatomy or perspective, even though it can make it much easier to fix or gloss over, once they are noticed.

As a self thought, I was always aware of the gaps in my knowledge and always stived to fill them whenever I found the time and means to do so. And one day I realized that part of it would be going “back to the basics”, back to the traditional media. It started gradually from pencil on paper, through pen on paper to rediscovering watercolors. I had signed up for a drawing basics class and one day before Christmas when only me and 2 others showed up for the class the teacher decided that we should do something different for a change and as a reward for our loyalty to his class. He introduced us to one of the coolest techniques I know of today: ink and watercolor (the class was focused only on pencil and pen techniques). It was pure magic and a love from a first sight! Next semester I signed up for an extra class in aquarelle basics and had some amazing time. Since then I’ve been developing my traditional skills, even at times (in 2015) was more focused on them and did nearly no digital work (except clients projects of course).

Today I can safely say I’m no longer scared of traditional media. There are materials like pastels or acrylic that I haven’t touched since I was a child and to be honest have no interest in going back to. I admit I should probably give them a try and be curious about all new things, but they just don’t excite me at all. At least I can say with clear conscious it’s just my lack of interest that’s stopping me from trying and not at all fear! There is however a medium from my childhood I’ve been dying to go back to: markers!

First time I heard about Copic Markers was during my Graphic design education, this was also the first time I got to try them. Unfortunately I only got to play with bunch of them (mostly grey scale ones) during class and since they were owned by the school, the teacher took them back in the end of the class. We were told that they are “the deal” and “a super cool tool for designers”. Back then my thoughts must have been something along the lines of “meh! why not just use a permanent marker”. I also remember being told they require special paper and a bunch of other special things… and on top of it all they cost a fortune, so I really didn’t think it was worth all the hurdle and dismissed it all as another pointless trend. [Kind of how I feel about Apple products, please don’t kill me with stones!]

A long time have passed since and in the last year or so I’ve been re-evaluating my feelings towards Copics. I’m not saying they are as amazing as everyone says, as I’ve never owned one, but I’ve come to the point where I wish I did, so so badly! The only thing stopping me is how expensive they actually are and I’m not sure I want to invest so much in something that I might end up not liking and not using. I am a person who evaluates almost every purchase quite critically and only buy things I have at least 85% certainty I’d use on at least a weekly basis.

Truth be told I have already reached the level of certainty I need, but every time I go to the store and am faced with the price, I stop and go back to evaluating. I’ve been also looking into more affordable alternatives, but so far I either didn’t see these as that much more affordable, or hated the feel of them when trying them in the shop.

So when last week I was at my art store again, looking for inspiration and drooling over the Copics, I’ve decided I’ll get some markers with brush tips to try them and if I use them often enough, I’ll finally get some Copics. To challenge creativity and save money I’ve only allowed myself 5 colors. What I ended up getting was actually colored brush pens rather then markers, but I’d say it’s close enough. They are by Faber- Castell and the color palette I selected for myself is: Light skin (114), Ice blue (148), Indanthrene blue (247), Dark chrome yellow (109) and Scarlet red (118). I also got two in black, because one can always use a black brush pen and Inktober is coming!

Another item of art supply I’ve been after has been the Prisma color pencils. I want to try them so bad, but none of my local art supply stores seem to have them, so instead I got a Stabilo pen, half red and half blue, I just love sketching in color!

I’ve been pretty happy with this fairly experimental for me purchase… well two of the brush pens are a bit lighter than I thought they were (the Light skin and Ice Blue), but I did try them at the store, so it was my own mistake. They remind me how clumsy I am with a brush pen and how much I need to practice, but I’m having a lot of fun playing around. Which brings me to my other current love and newly found pasion: video making, which deserves (and will get) a post of its own soon!

 

I wanted to make a video trying out my new art supplies, but at the same time I didn’t want to make just another basic process video. I want to create videos, which tell a story. I must admit this is rather ambitious desire when all you have to work with is the video recorder on your phone and absolutely no knowledge in video making, both production and post production- wise. I’m not a person who’s good at systematically learning the theoretical basis of a subject. If I’m ever to learn anything I must have a problem, so that learning happens in the process of solving that problem. Oh and that problem must excite me so much it won’t let me sleep at night! This is why I have my challenging visions of where I want my videos to be and I’ll either figure out how to make them come true by producing one crappy video every week until they start getting better (and will then continue to produce good videos…) or I’ll find out it was just a phase and I didn’t actually care for video production at all! Video making has been on my mind for quite a long time though, so I kind of believe (and secretly hope) that the first scenario will come true, but there’s only one way to find out!

Enough blabbering! Hope you’ll enjoy my first attempt at a story- telling video and my (I think) third attempt to draw with my new brush pens!

 

30 Days Drawing Challenge: A Road Trip Through Art History

Lately I’ve been looking into ways to motivate myself to create personal pieces on a more regular schedule. It all kept coming back to doing a (at least) 30 days drawing challenge. Inktober is coming, but I don’t want to wait a month, I want to start already now! So I was looking into various existing challenges online and while they all seemed fun enough nothing really spoke to me. It became clear that if I’m to make this work I’ll have to find an exciting topic myself.  Somehow in the process of searching for inspiration an idea popped up in my head: I will create my own interpretations of classical paintings. My goal is to come up with 30 (for a start) digital (vector) pieces, in which I’ll be trying to keep to the following “rules”:

  • Keep to a minimal (maximum 6 colours) colour palette
  • Keep to a flat vector style with outlines
  • Keep the visual style as consistent as possible (another one of those “time-to-define-my-personal-style-already” things)
  • Keep as close to the original as the style allows, but deviations are still ok, it is also ok to chose to work only from a segment of the original piece
  • Any piece of art since the beginning of time till around mid- XX century is fine, as well as any place of origin of the artwork
  • There’s no list of art pieces prepared upfront (I want to keep this open and feel free to approach any piece that may catch my interest, although there are quite a few I’m pretty sure will make it in the chosen 30)

I’ll probably make up more rules as I go, but for now it is all pretty wide open. I only know that I want to explore a wide variety of art pieces from all corners of art history, but my goal is to interpret them in “my own style”, while at the same time keeping a feel of the original, but making all my interpretations consistent with each other and visually connected as a part of the same series. Oh, and let’s face it, these will probably be dominated by portraits of pretty girls, because that’s usually what I revert to when left to my own devices.

So what am I trying to achieve?

  • Have fun
  • Explore “my style”
  • Become more consistent in “my style”
  • Draw every day
  • Post new art every day
  • Refresh my art history knowledge
  • Explore and study different artists, periods and places
  • Practice
  • … and more?

For my first piece in the series I chose a painting I didn’t even know the name of ( I didn’t know the name of the artist neither), but have always loved. After some research I found out the painting is called “Magdalene with the Smoking Flame” by Georges de La Tour. I love the mystical atmosphere, the lighting and the way the girl is staring in the flame, reminds me of my own fascination with fire. Making the piece was a lot of fun and definitely a great start in the series. Let’s see what the next 30 days brings!

…Now that I think about it this might also have a little something to do with my enjoyment of this painting!

Also check out my process painting for this piece:

 

 

Follow my progress:

Sketches: on Instagram

Finished pieces: on Tumblr | Deviantart ? maybe…

Process videos: on YouTube (I won’t be recording all of them, though!)

Watercolor Speedpaint Illustration

I did not manage to get a lot of painting done while in Barcelona, so now I am catching up at home using photo references. I wanted to start by drawing a cathedral or Arc de Triomf, or the Museum of Art, or some other fancy building, but even though these are impressive what I find stuck in my mind are the narrow streets of the old town, the tiny balconies almost hidden in hanging curtains of greenery, the water fountains, the palms, the other plants I’ve never seen, the blue water of the Mediterranean, the rocks of Montserrat  …  So these were the things I mostly wanted to draw.

That’s why I started with a quick watercolor painting of a small balcony and a window covered in lush foliage. I started by throwing some paint on the paper, then I gave it time to dry and drew all the details in pen on top of it. After that I added more color and defined the plants a little more. It was a fun quick and loose illustration for my watercolor journal and I recorded the process for a timelapse video, which you can see here:

 

My trip to Barcelona

I can’t believe I came back from vacation already 2 weeks ago! Part of me still refuses to return to cold and gloomy Copenhagen after sunny lovely Barcelona! Great adventures were had and memories were made. I’m even having thoughts about moving over there sooner or later. Probably no other city has resonate with me so strong ever before…

I planned to do a lot of drawing while there, but I didn’t manage to squeeze much of that in between other adventures, so I’ll have to draw it from pictures (and memory).

A new exciting quest I’ve set on is learning to edit videos, but for that to work I need some footage to edit. I do not have a proper camera, which can take videos, but I do have my phone and I believe it’s a good point to start. So I decided to use my Barcelona trip as a video material source. While there I took a lot of short clips to later put together in a video. Many of those clips are quite unusable due to quality problems (like, how about wiping that lens once in a while ?!), but there were still enough to choose from. There is a lot to learn and there were many mistakes I made while creating my first video, many of them I decided to leave as this video edit took me long enough already, but there’s also plenty I learned and I’m left wanting more! Now instead of me going on and on about how amazing Barcelona is and how you need to head over there right now, you can just watch my modest video and hopefully get some of that vibe through it <3

I hope you will enjoy it and feel fee to let me know what you think!

 

My travel drawing kit

Since I’m soon leaving for a vacation to Barcelona, so I thought I’d quickly share my travel drawing kit with you. It is quite small, but absolutely enough for sketching on the go!

Sketch-48

1. A tiny watercolor set that I made myself, using a tin box of mints and pans of my current favorite colors to paint with. They are all mixed up, collected from here and there and I have no clue which brands they are, but certainly nothing too fancy, the quality is not too bad though. The colors I’ve selected are: turquoise blue, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, red light, carmine, raw siena, burnt siena, lemon yellow and orange yellow.

2. A small makeup bag with a pattern of colorful water drops on it, quite fitting for a watercolor drawing kit, I thought!

3. Moleskine Art Plus Watercolor album

4. Thin long fine spray bottle filled with water

5. Large water brush

6. Small water brush

7. Pigma Micron 05 ink pen | I might add one thinner to the mix just in case!

8. Schneider Maxx permanent marker | Not sure I actually need it.

9. White jell pen

10. Eraser pen like thingie

11. Faber Castell 2B pencil

12. Derwent watercolor pencil Cobalt blue 31

13. Derwent watercolor pencil May Green 48

14. Derwent watercolor pencil Sepia 53

15. Random orange watercolor pencil | I like drawing an initial sketch in watercolor pencil, so no pencil marks are visible in the final piece. I usually use colors close to the colors of the object, so they blend nicely, but to be honest my green and orange pencils are a bit random and not so useful. I carry them around anyway, most of the time they actually serve to hold my hair up in a bun 🙂

16. Sharpener

17. Bunch of clips

18. Tissue paper pack

Aaaand onwards to adventure!

 

What is in your drawing travel kit?

Origins of the Cyrillic alphabet | Infographics

The 24th of May is a national holiday in Bulgaria. It is the day of St. Cyril and St Methodius, who created the Glagolitic alphabet back in the 9th century. On the basis of that alphabet the Cyrillic emerged, which is one of the most widespread alphabets in the world today. Bulgarians have a special soft spot for this “weird” alphabet as it was created and popularized on the territory of medieval Bulgaria under tsar Simeon the Great. Needless to say we still use it and (at least some of us) get a kick out of watching foreigners struggle with it!

As I am living abroad, I’d be often asked why we use the “Russian letters” and I’d get slightly annoyed. I’m not at all “national- minded” and have none of that “we-are-the-most-amazing-nation-in-the-world-and-we’ve-invented-everything-that-matters” mindset, which I very much dislike, but it still bothers me when people call the Cyrillic the “Russian alphabet”. I’d correct them, but usually people just take it as sort of national vanity. I don’t want to minimize the role Russia played in preserving and modernizing the Cyrillic while we were… otherwise historically occupied (this line turned out kind of pun-y), but I’m quite tired for Bulgaria to be seen as an extension of Russia.

So for a very long time I wanted to make an infographics, which explains the origins of the Cyrillic, but kept postponing, forgetting and generally speaking not doing it. I remembered again few days ago and decided it is just the right time to do it. I had to cut off a lot of the ideas I had initially and to simplify quite a lot in order to make it in time for the 24th of May, but I am happy I made it happen! I might revisit it in the future, but for now here it is: a very brief history of the Cyrillic alphabet!

 

Origins of the Cyrilic Alphabet Infographics-01