Monday, October 03, 2016

Fall Gourd


My homage to Fall. Someone on FB suggested I call this one "Squans". (Get it? squash + swans) I love that!
This was drawn with Prismacolor pencils on Bristol vellum.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In other news, I was featured on the colorindaily website for my drawings of knitting. Its a nice little blurb about me and my kitties and drawings. I appreciate the attention, so thank you Nadia!



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And in other other news, of a more personal nature, I'm starting to face the music about my elderly Mom. She's been in failing health, and is teetering on the edge of needing to be placed in care of some kind. She's been falling (with no serious injuries by some miracle - yet), and is a tough little lady, but at some point you have to come in and make some hard decisions. So I'm anticipating being caught up with that in the coming months, and not looking forward to it. My art production will certainly be down, but I will soldier on and do my best to keep up with things. I really want to get my next coloring book finished, and of course will manage whatever actual work comes in, but I most likely won't have all the Christmas cards and other new art I've been planning, done in time for the holidays. Sometimes "life" just gets the upper hand.

I AM happy that its Fall though! It means wearing socks again, and putting the down comforter back on the bed. We don't really have Fall Foliage happening here much, but the change in the weather and anticipation of the holidays is always welcome. The kitties are more snuggly that usual as well, which is the best. 



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Knitting Gift Tags

Fall just arrived, so of course that means I'm in panic mode about Christmas. !
I finally managed to get the first set of gift tags into the Drawings of Knitting etsy shop, which are all pretty Christmas-y. I'll be adding some sets, and some other non-Christmas colored ones (Navy Blue and Gold) in the coming days.


















These are all instant downloads, which means you'll receive a jpg and pdf file of the art, which you then print out yourself. You can print as many as you like or need! 
I may do some note cards, too, we'll see. 

I bought some cool gourds yesterday to draw, for you know, FALL, but am not sure I'll have the time. We're having another heat wave, so it doesn't feel very Fall-ish yet. I'm looking forward to feeling that cool nip in the air, and being able to wear socks and sweaters again. Soon!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Colonial Family


I just finished this one. An American Colonial family is gathered together to listen to the Father read a letter from a loved one far away. Its all done with Prismacolor colored pencils, one black Verithin pencil for a few details, and the clone stamp in Photoshop to pick out a few pencil crumbs that ended up where they shouldn't. I'm pretty happy with this, and figured out some technique things that have been bugging me. 

Here are a few close ups:





Yes, I love doing woodgrain. That rug was fun, too.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

SCBWI Draw This! - ROYAL



This month's SCBWI Draw This! prompt was ROYAL. I've never participated in this before, not sure why. They usually send out the new prompt on the first of the month, but this month it didn't arrive until the 15th, I'm sure because of the SCBWI LA conference. So that left way less time than usual to get the art done. I love all things "royal", so felt compelled to draw a little something.

This is another one done with a black Polychromo colored pencil. That's all.

Notice that the crown has one jewel missing.
I think there's a story here waiting to be told. . .

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Wrapping Presents


I used three black Polychromo pencils on this one. Almost - two are total stubs, and one has a little life left in it, barely. This was a lot of fun to do! Its all colored pencil - no digital at all. All I did at the end was use Photoshop to clean up around the outside edge (erase the paper texture), and a weird blob that's on my scanner that I always have to clean up on everything I scan (sigh). This stayed remarkably clean, otherwise. I resisted the urge to 'nudge' a few values here and there, because I figured I'd end up redoing the whole thing once I got started. That's the good and bad of being able to fuss with things digitally - you can go on forever. No, I decided this was done, and left it alone. Onto the next one!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Purrs for Peace Party Candidates


Tom and Catrina are the Purrs for Peace Party candidates. They believe every kitty should have a warm place to sleep, nice treats, and that catnip should be legal. They're getting my vote, for sure!

OK but seriously. These guys were fun to do. Even if you don't follow politics, unless you're living under a rock, you know what a crazy election campaign season we're having here in the States. At this point I kind of think a couple of cool cats wouldn't be a half bad choice, given our current options.

Tom and Catina were drawn by hand with colored pencils, then I added the whiskers with Photoshop.

I'm still working on the drawings of knitting Christmas tags and whatnot that I promised in the last post. Too many irons in the fire!


Sunday, July 24, 2016

More drawings of knitting

I've been busy making a lot of drawings of knitting lately, for various projects.
People are commissioning me to do custom coloring pages to promote their knitting sites and projects, which has been a lot of fun.
Here are two I did for verypink. They are both free downloadable pdfs on the site, to go with a knitting pattern for the cowl, and the boot cuffs. Staci has a youtube channel with videos for these pages and the projects they were done for. Check it out!






This is a snippet of another custom coloring page I just finished for another client that will be for kids to color. 





 I'm also working on getting some Christmasy things in my Drawings of Knitting shop on etsy. These are both gift tags, which are downloadable pdfs (or jpgs) that you can just print and cut out yourself. You can make as many as you want! I'm moving at kind of a snail's pace at the moment, just trying to do too many things at once, work-wise, but hope to have these in the shop in the next week or so. I have lots of other ideas for cool holiday crafty things (stockings!), and am working on those too. If you have any ideas or suggestions about things you'd like to see in the shop, please let me know.





I really love doing these drawings, but they do take forever. I'm getting a little faster, and am getting smarter about using Photoshop tools to change the colors of things, or cut and paste. But still, most of it is very fussy and fiddly and s-l-o-w. 

I'm still working on the next coloring book that will be fair isle designs, and argyle.


That's it for now. Back to 'knitting'! 

Sunday, June 05, 2016

King Boggen



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

A king and a coloring book - Works in progress

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

Carl the Hipster Student Cat

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

Wedges and Fries

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

Baboushka Kitty


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

New year

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


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

Drawings of Knitting Coloring Book


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. 

But I digress.

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).