Sunday, June 05, 2016
Here it is all finished. If you saw the last post where I was still in the drawing stage, you'll remember I had him with a pitchfork, flinging pancakes off the roof. Yeah - this is way better. Consider that a peek into the mind of an illustrator, somewhere in the middle of the 'brainstorming and tossing out all ideas' phase of putting together an illustration. You have to 'go there' and sit with things for a while. Sometimes they're weird ideas, sometimes they work, and sometimes you wake up the next day and go "whut?" and keep going.
So this is a style I used to do a long time ago, and for whatever reasons, started evolving into doing other kinds of art for children's books (and other things). I'm going to back to this, because its what I love to do. I consider this a kind of 'warm up' piece, feeling my way back to this. Its all colored pencils. And what I love about it, and is a kind of healthy breakthrough for me, is that its not perfect. You know, like my photo-realistic food illustrations. It was a relief to just have some fun with a piece for a change.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
I decided I need a nursery rhyme for my portfolio.
So I found a sort of obscure one - King Boggen.
"Little King Boggen he built a fine hall.
Pie-crust and pastry-crust, that was the wall;
The windows were made of black puddings and white.
And slated with pancakes, you ne'er saw the like!"
It has food, architecture, and is a children's book thing, which hits three of my sweet spots!
I found a couple of versions of the rhyme. One doesn't call him "Little" King Boggen, and there are other fiddly bits in the text that are different. But I decided to go with "Little", and make him a kid. I also toyed with the idea of making him a dog or other animal (well, it doesn't say the king is a person, does it?), but then stuck with the kid. I did like adding the dog though, and fell in love with the idea of the King being a chef, and the "fine hall" is a table-top size creation that they then enjoy eating.
So this was my first version.
An earlier incarnation . . .
And some revisions to the dog . . .
Then, after sitting on it for a day or so, decided it was too static and predictable.
So I sketched around a bit more, and came up with this ~
The Fine Hall is now a real building size, and everyone's moving around. I added the cat having a wash, and the bird making off with a pancake from the roof. The dog is leaping for a pancake (like a frisbee), and the King is just a weird little guy with a fancy pitchfork, picking pancakes and bits off the Hall and flinging them around. More fun, right? (and fyi, "black puddings and white" is blood sausage (black) and pork/oatmeal sausage (white), which will be the panes of the windows).
I have the dog just about exactly how I want him, and the cat needs a little refining.
But the King needs some work. Not sure exactly who he is - how old, is he jolly or bland or goofy, or what? And what exactly is his outfit? And let's get those legs just right . . .
And the hands - blimey. The top one holding the pitchfork is in probably the hardest position I could possibly create to draw. (Try holding a broom or something, and see how odd your arm/hand looks from this angle).
Still trying different things . . .
and that's where I've left it, for now.
Of course I googled this to see who else had already illustrated this, and found this 1915 image by Frederick Richardson (1862 - 1937) ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
And then, I'm also working on the next Drawings of Knitting coloring book.
This next one will be full of more 'normal' drawings of knitting (not so 'arty'), and will have Fair Isle designs to color.
I'm going to do a couple of Fair Isle versions of each design, then have one, or maybe two, "blank" versions (like the mittens below) so that people can make up their own designs if they want to.
So here are some mittens ~
And here is a very work-in-progress Turtleneck Sweater. This shows exactly how I create these drawings. I sketch out the basic shape and design, then lay in the rows of stitches, very roughly, with "V's" to show where each stitch goes, then I painstakingly draw each stitch with the black 'ink'. After that's done I'll erase out the background guidelines, and clean everything up. There are always "overdraws" and bits that haven't quite joined up right, that need touching up. Its very fiddly, and I have to take quite a few breaks.
Its Memorial Day weekend here in the States. Regular working people get a 3-day weekend. Not the rest of us though. I'll be doing more of this, and maybe some weed-pulling if its not too hot. I hope you all have a good holiday if you get to have one!
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Back to doing what I do best - cats in costumes, with colored pencils.
Carl is a hipster student in graduate school. He's pursuing a Master's Degree in Medieval Studies, while working as a barista and waiter to make ends meet. He also sings in a an a cappella choir, and enjoys making matchstick sculptures of fish and other marine creatures.
Here's a work in progress shot with the jacket and jeans part way done. I used all Prismacolor colored pencils on Strathmore Vellum Bristol for this. Its a perfect combo.
My arCATecture shop on Zazzle will have products available soon.
Sunday, February 28, 2016
I'm into fried potatoes all of a sudden for some reason.
(I mean to draw. I've always liked them to eat.)
Here are some potato wedges from KFC ~
And here are some curly fries from Jack in the Box ~
They're both 5" x 7", drawn with Caran d'ache Pablos on Strathmore 400 Bristol.
I have prints in 2 sizes, and the originals for sale in my etsy shop.
I'd like to do a couple more of these fried potato pieces - maybe some crinkle cut fries, and some regular straight ones. I also love Tater Tots. And then there are hash browns, "country potatoes", waffle fries, the list goes on. I just thought it would be fun to do a little series, and then people might like to get a couple of their favorites to frame up on the kitchen wall.
A fun thing I'm doing is saving the receipts from these 'french fry purchases' for taxes. I mean, they are reference material, right?
Saturday, February 13, 2016
I finally finished this gal. She was going to be my Christmas card last year, but I started her too late, then had some 'real work' deadlines and had to put her aside.
She is a Russian Baboushka. The traditional baboushka outfit is just a crazy mix of patterns and color, with seemingly no regard for what might go well together. Therein lies its charm. So I pushed that as far as I could and had a lot of fun. The black floral border is a Khokhloma pattern, which is also a Russian thing.
I could do this same 'look' digitally, and might if I decide to keep going with this kind of art because boy howdy this was fussy to do with pencils, and was s-l-o-w. I also had to burnish (press really hard) to get the colors saturated enough, and that does bad things to one's hand after a while. I wanted to have an original piece though, rather than just a digital file, so I kept going with it.
Here are a couple of details, so you can see that yes, it is in fact colored pencil ~
I will make cards and prints and put them in the arCATecture etsy shop soon, and maybe make some stuff on Zazzle too.
Saturday, January 09, 2016
Happy New Year to you! I hope yours is starting off nicely.
Mine started off with a bang! a few days in. One evening I had just turned off the computer (early) and was minding my own business, quietly knitting, and bang! something exploded or blew up in the back yard, and the most blinding bright light lit up the back window. I dashed out to see a raging fire in my flower bed by the back fence! and had absolutely no clue as to what was going on. I could tell it was an electrical fire (it was making "zzzzzt" noises and sizzling), but I was baffled (and panicked).
911 was called, firemen came, and we figured out the overhead power line had come down. How or why is still a mystery. The power company turned off the power - to the whole entire neighborhood - for hours, and men with big trucks came and climbed telephone poles to fix it all up.
Long story short, it was put right eventually and no one (or kitties) were hurt. A nice big rose bush is completely fried, as is part of my Japanese Maple. Some paving stones have holes burned into them, and fence boards are blackened, but all in all, we were very lucky. It remains a mystery as to what this was all supposed to accomplish!
In other news - I'm still coloring, and making drawings of knitting, and doing actual knitting.
This is a work in progress in colored pencil of my baboushka kitty. I started her in watercolor, then decided to go back to my pencils. She has a ways to go, but will be a riot of patterns and color when finished. I'm doing a lot of burnishing to get the colors really saturated on this one, as opposed to my softer look I do with other drawings.
Drawings of Knitting is now a shop on etsy . I'm still doing all the 'behind the scenes' set up duties and all for the shop, but hope to have some actual listings up in the next few days. I think I'll start with downloadable pdf files of coloring pages from my coloring book, then go from there. I have so many ideas for cool things to make with my drawings! I am in serious need of a clone, because I just can't do everything I have in my head. (I'm still trying to get arCATecture back in gear after its big debut, then sort of fizzle.)
I'm really glad Downton Abbey is back and look forward to 9:00 Sunday evenings. Its the only night I can manage to be sitting down ready to go on time for a show! I'm always finishing up working or doing 'one more thing' and then finally sit down in time to get the last 5 minutes of Charlie Rose (and always on a night when he's had someone really good on).
Lots of ideas for things for this year, as usual. I should do an inventory of supplies and do a good sorting out of stuff. I will probably do a 'good enough' attempt. Does anyone ever really do that properly? Really?
Well I've prattled on about not much for long enough. Just thought I'd check in and wish you well for the new year. We're having RAIN, real honest to goodness, almost too much now, RAIN, so I think our drought may finally be over. I hope that's a sign of good things to come for us all.
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Christmas is upon us! I wanted to do a little update before I check out for a bit.
We've had some nice rain, which is so badly needed here, but last week one storm was accompanied by some super wind, which pulled over one of my gates and a bit of fence. No real harm was done, thankfully, and its all fixed now, but it was just one more thing in an already busy time of year that wasn't really needed. My curious kitty Phyllo came out to help me inspect the damage (while all the other cats stayed in where it was nice and warm and dry and not windy). I can always count on my little buddy here to help me out, especially if its anything going on outside.
Recently I finished a horse portrait for an old friend. She's my original roommate from college, and her husband commissioned me to do a drawing of her special horse for an anniversary present. I kept saying "I don't do horse portraits!" but then I relented, and did it, and she was really happy with it. It s all done with colored pencils. Corey is such a sweet looking horse, and he was a pleasure to draw.
So I guess now I 'do' do horse portraits, if you're interested. I've always done house portraits, and special food pieces, but will have to work out my prices for animal portraits and do a page on my website.
In the last post I was talking about my Drawings of Knitting coloring book. Its doing pretty well, and I'm excited! Thank you! everyone who's bought a copy. I hope people like it, because I'd like to do more in a series.
And now comes the lame part of this post. I had this special Christmas art all worked out and planned to have it done to make cards and all, but is it finished? Noooooo.
She's a Russian baboushka kitty, all decked out for the holiday.
|© Paula Pertile|
I'll finish her up and just post it late I guess. This is what I get for putting off doing my Christmas art until the last minute. When will I learn? WILL I ever learn?
So I hope you have a really nice Christmas (or Festivus, or whatever else you might be celebrating), with warm cozy beds and yummy food and and good health and happiness.
See you next year!!
Monday, November 16, 2015
Hello! Its been waaaaay too long, gosh. Time flies when you're slaving away on something, doesn't it?
I've been working on something I'm pretty excited about.
I finally finished, and here it is:
My new Drawings of Knitting coloring book!
I did all the drawings, and created the book using Amazon's CreateSpace self-publishing tool.
This has been a LOT of work, but also a lot of fun. But a lot of work.
Its a "Sampler" because the 20 drawings are of a little bit of everything: plaid, paisley, a quilt, some food, Fair Isle patterns, a sweater, and other things. (I'd like to do a series, with each book having a separate theme. Eventually.)
I've been drawing knitting in different ways for a while now, and have made cards, fabric, all kinds of buyable things on Zazzle, original drawings, etc. Some were done realistically with colored pencils, some were more stylized and digital. I had a vague idea about making a cohesive sort of collection or licensable 'program' out of "drawings of knitting", but left that simmering on a back burner while I went off to work on other things.
Then, recently, when the whole 'adult coloring book' thing became so huge and that Secret Garden lady sold millions of copies of hers, I thought well hey! As an illustrator, I should do one too, and OMG I KNOW I'LL DO ONE OF DRAWINGS OF KNITTING NO ONE'S DONE THAT!
So long story short, I did it. My first challenge was to figure out how to interpret knitting as a drawing that could be colored. I had a plain page of knitting, but then what? Should I do it like a 'color by number'? But putting little tiny numbers in each stitch would have looked weird. Then I came up with the idea of doing a pattern with greys, which could be colored over. Like so:
So that worked OK. But then my brain took off and I started to get some ideas about drawing other things to look like they were made of knitting. My head exploded a little when I realized all the possibilities. And then I started to work on some of them.
I thought I'd share a little about how I did these drawings, in case you're interested.
It all starts with some doodles with a pencil and paper.
These are the basic building blocks of drawing knit and purl stitches. If you knit, you'll recognize these. If not, I'll explain. The knit stitches (on the left) are what your basic knitted things look like - sweaters, socks, hats, etc. The reverse side of this stitch (or, the inside of those sweaters, socks and hats) probably looks like the drawing on the right. Those are purl stitches. Most of all knitting, even all the really fancy stuff, is done with some combination or variation of these two stitches. You can twist them and overlap them and reverse them and do all sorts of crazy things, which is why knitting is so fun.
Here is one of the drawings from the book. Its called "Fancy Paisley".
Below is my rough pencil-on-paper drawing of the idea. I wanted to make a nice balance of knit and purl stitches, and have it still look like paisley. I'm not sure you could actually knit this (well, someone could - not sure I'm that good), but the fun of doing this with pencil and paper is that I can 'cheat', if you will, and add in stitches, or half stitches, where you normally wouldn't put them if you were really knitting with yarn and needles. I can also change the scale willy nilly, and have some crazy things going on.
After I get enough of the idea down on paper, I scan it into the computer. The one below is how it looks after I've redrawn it with my pen stylus and my Wacom tablet, using Photoshop. Its exactly like drawing it by hand with pen and ink on paper, only I'm using a 'computer pen' and drawing on a tablet, and the 'ink' is digital. So when I say its all hand drawn, it really is hand drawn. Its not some computer program where I push a button and "make knitting". I sit there for hours and hours and hours until my hand gets cramped and my eyes start to blur, drawing and erasing and re-drawing until I get it the way I want it.
THEN. As if that wasn't enough. I re-trace the whole thing to clean it up and make the final copy. The re-tracing goes a little faster, but its still one stitch at a time.
Here are some enlarged little bits of each one so you can get an idea of how the drawing changes from one stage to the next.
These are some other pieces from the book:
"Under the Microscope"
"Slice of Pie"
(The piece before this in the book is of the whole pie.
I know - how weird! but kind of cool, right?)
This one is "Tartan Plaid".
Here's a step-by-step of another one - "Autumn Leaves and Pumpkins"
Again, it starts with a sketch. I did this one on the computer, saving me a step of having to scan a pencil drawing.
I did the leaves like this, separate, so I could repeat them in the drawing. That's where the computer comes in handy. Yes, they're all hand drawn, but I was able to take each one and copy it, then flip it or turn it upside down or something to make an interesting picture.
And here is that interesting picture. It was fun putting this one together. I liked making the 'vine' on the one pumpkin look like a piece of yarn.
And re-drawn and all cleaned up, and with a border.
Each piece has a title on the facing page, like this:
I put blank pages in between the art pages to protect against 'bleed', in case markers or other wet media are used to color with. I already know the paper that CreateSpace uses for their books is not as thick as what you would ideally use for a coloring book, but its OK. What's great about doing the book this way is that its a 'print on demand' book, meaning each one gets printed every time someone orders one. If I had these done at a regular printer, I'd have an inventory of already-printed books piled up in my studio. This way is a much better way to get started!
For every drawing you see in the book, there are others that were left unfinished on the cutting room floor, so to speak. Ideas that were cool, but need a little more work to make "work" as a coloring book page. Lots of super complicated Celtic knot designs, some florals, other weird food ideas, etc. Hopefully they will see the light of day in future books!
But for now, I'm just really happy to have this first book DONE, and actually published. Of course I'm obsessing over everything I think needs improvement for the next one(s), and am worrying over what kind of reviews the book will get (assuming people will actually buy it in the first place, let alone leave a review!). I'm hoping that in the sea of adult coloring books out there now, my little effort will find an audience. It might be a very specific and narrow audience, but I think that there are people with my same love of knitted things that will find it entertaining.
Things are turning to Winter here a bit, finally, with some rain and wind and the heater going. Hope its warm and toasty wherever you are. Don't forget to bundle up when you go online to buy my book! (sorry, had to get one more plug in there).
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
OK, so its finally Fall. Yay! And it actually rained today. Double Yay!!!
I've been super busy working on this secret project that I'm tired of keeping a secret but have to for a little bit more until I'm finally really done. I thought I'd be done by Oct. 1st, but it looks like I need a couple more weeks. When I'm finally finished you'll be sick of seeing it and hearing about it. But for now, I'm still staying mum.
The drawing of autumn above was a fun little diversion. I wanted it to look like yarn, and did it all digital, start to finish. I've done these yarn drawings before with colored pencils, but what happens is they're hard to clean up after they're scanned because of all the little 'hairs'. Its too hard to try and erase out the paper texture when you have to go around all those fine little bits. So I had a go at it with my digital colored pencil.
Then I did this one. Its a little softer, and fuzzier.
I work in layers in Photoshop with my special colored pencil texture brush, building up the color just as I would if I were using 'real' colored pencils. It takes a bit of fiddling to get the setting just right - opacity, scale, hardness, etc., but in the end it gets there.
Here's the top layer with just the fuzzy bits. Fun, huh?
I've also been doing some knitting, taking custom orders. It feels like knitting weather finally, and I enjoy sitting with my cats and working on a piece with a cup of fresh hot coffee.
The stores are all bursting with pumpkin flavored everything, and its a little overwhelming. I did find a nice pumpkin ginger spice cake at Trader Joe's which is lovely, but I shy away from most of the stuff like pumpkin lattes and potato chips and beer (OK, I don't know about those last two, but I'm sure someone, somewhere has done them). I'm looking forward to a really good pumpkin pie before the season is over. Then we're on to mince meat! But that's another story.
Monday, September 07, 2015
I'm so excited that my Fried Egg on Sourdough Toast drawing has been selected to be in the Strokes of Genius 8: Exploring Textures book!
You can see the list of all the winners to be included in the book, here.
The Strokes of Genius books are compilations of contemporary drawings, with a theme. They are competitions sponsored by The Artist's Network, and the books are published by North Light Books. I've always drooled over the winning pieces, and this year I decided to enter. The book comes out in 2016, and you know I will be blogging and tweeting it all over the place when it does!
So this kind of marks a 'year of entering stuff'. I decided to enter some of my colored pencil drawings in a few shows, just to see what would happen. I did a rough tally of how it worked out financially, and have to say I'm fairly pleased. I entered 3 pieces in 4 shows (some were entered in more than one). The pieces were accepted into all the shows but one (an online show). Two won $$ awards. So after tallying up all the entry fees and framing costs, I just about broke even, thanks to the awards. The only cost that put me over the top was shipping to the CPSA show in Atlanta, and the cost of the shipping box. So all in all, considering I was doing this in in a rather casual way (not entering in every single 'important' show there is, and only showing 3 pieces), I feel pretty happy with the results!
I started a 'new year' of entering by entering this year's UArt Open show with my BLT piece, but it didn't get accepted. Last year I had two pieces in their show, and won an award! So you just never know. I know people who've entered a piece in CPSA and not been accepted, then enter the same piece the next year and win an award. So this entering shows thing is not for the feint of heart. It can really bruise your ego to not 'get in', let alone not win anything. Then there's the money part. You really have to be serious about this 'fine art' thing to do it properly and be successful. You also have to be very organized about what you're entering, and keep track of which pieces will need to be shipped to where if they get accepted, and how long they'll be 'tied up' in that show, which will make them unavailable for another show, etc.
I haven't decided yet if I will pursue this whole 'show' thing more, or not. Right now I'm super immersed (obsessed) with a project that I'm excited about, and its taking up ALL of my time. But I'm having fun, and can't wait until I can share it! Hopefully in about a month? If all goes well.
Its Labor Day here today. I will be 'laboring', although I think the point is that we take a day off. I'm happy though to be working on something I love, so it doesn't really feel like work. Maybe I'll take a day off from housework in honor of the day - guilt-free!