Archive for the ‘drawing’ Category

 

Kids are visual creatures. They like to be entertained in every respect. As a child, I loved books with illustrations. When I morphed into reading chapter books as a young person I wanted the more complex stories, but I still wanted the imagery. I can remember really appreciating the authors who put ink illustrations in their chapter books. I have fond memories of poring over the minute squiggles and flourishes on the pages of Tove Jansson’s books.

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Last year, I prepared to release my first book, my novel, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta.’ The first book from The Chronicles of Aden Weaver. I realized there was no way the budget would stretch to illustrations, so I came up with an easy solution.

Here’s  a guide to creating your own pen and ink book illustrations:

Step One: Start with your characters.

First, you must have some form of cover art for your book which you have either paid for or otherwise have liberty to use. For my debut novel, I had the two main characters rendered artistically in digital form by my nephew.

I simply copied the character with a pencil.

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Second attempt on Aden, for b&w illustration0002I wanted to introduce a new face. I took a photo of a statue of a giant which I found in a 1970’s magazine and copied the basic outline.

*Hot Tip: I use an automatic pencil, as they have the super fine leads. You want to do all the early stages on tracing paper.

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I already had my protagonist, Aden Weaver, rendered in pencil from last year, but I needed to change his position for this book so I lifted him into the air. This gave me a new image to work with. As I pinned down the character’s positions, I switched from pencil to a fine permanent marker pen.

*Hot Tip: You’ll need to see every line. A fine nib is necessary. I use a Staedtler “Triplus fineliner.” Every line needs to be carefully but clearly distinct.

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Step Two: Create the background and foreground

For this image, I decided to use one of a few special backdrops. A dear friend, Lyall Gardiner, had gifted me four of his ink/colour pencil backdrops before he passed. In A3, they’re enormous, so I selected elements from one image, the moon and wispy clouds and some of the looming shapes and traced them onto a more compacted A4 page.

You could use whatever you have to hand, interesting segments of your kids’ artwork, pieces of your own from childhood, or you could go wild and cut segments of out-of-date magazine pictures to create a montage/mosaic effect, etc. Use your imagination.

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*Hot Tip: Take care not to tread on rights to intellectual property.

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Step Three: Combine and Trace

The next part is to employ your artistic eye with placement. Arrange your characters on the background in a way that fits the “story” you want to tell. The great thing about using tracing paper is you can flip the characters over. I decided to “tell the story” of the Oni looming. However, I needed to flip our hero to have him face the giant. To do this, I simply turned the paper over and re-defined all the lines with pen on the reverse of the paper!

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Step Four: Fill it in!

I took my taped-together tracing paper image and copied it onto thick art paper. I used permanent markers and filled in the picture. I thought in terms of light and shadow, silhouette, of how things look in the dark, not drawing to be realistic but to create pattern – effect through contrast. I left certain patches: one or two to be left white and at least a few to be painted black. They added impact.

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The resulting image will be one of the two illustration plates for inside ‘The Sasori Empire.’ On Facebook, I shared it with the caption, ‘The horned face of the Oni appeared in the trunk, even more hideous than before, and a head of bark grew.’

Step Five: Copyright!

Make sure to add your name the copyright symbol and the year somewhere on your picture.

With a bit of effort, anyone can create at least a couple of illustrations to go inside their own book. These simple pen and inks are relatively easy, quick, and they’re super fun to do. You have the satisfaction of having made it yourself.

Have you ever tried your hand at your own illustrations?

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Talk to you later

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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The Holy Grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it. ~ Banksy

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“Where There Is No Vision, the People Perish” ~ the Bible, Book of Proverbs

Last night, I went along to a speech contest, one of four which take place each year within Toastmasters. The Humorous and Table Topics Contest this year had within it a most thought-provoking question. The chair asked each contestant, “Is art essential to daily life?”

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Wow, what a great question. I thought about it all the way home.

When you think the earliest examples of the cave art of our ancestors began to appear around 30,000 years ago, it makes you realize how deep this question really is. From that artistic moment in man’s history, we sought to express strong feelings through imagery. This proved a great intellectual breakthrough for our species.

In effect, man could ‘freeze’ part of his environment long enough for his powerful intelligence to think about it, to manipulate it, to understand it fully. ~ Readers Digest, The First Two Million Years.

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Art can show us who we are and who we want to be, and it can give us the metaphors and thematic connections that let us understand our world in a bigger, weirder, more resonant way. ~ Chuck Wendig

When you think that our primitive art led to teaching aids, toys and tools, you realize that art has played a quintessential part of our evolution. Therefore, the answer to the question could be, art is not only essential to life but life as we know it today would not have been possible without it.

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This morning, there was a new post out by Wendig, entitled, It Is Art That Will Help Us Survive http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2016/09/21/it-is-art-that-will-help-us-survive/

Wendig gave verdant life to some deep concerns people have these days about the future of everything. Yet, he leavens the doom and despair of “reality” with the message, ‘Spoiler warning: it’s art that will save us.’ In other words, he’s doing through his blog what art does for the observer.

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He likens the positive effect to being healthy for us: ‘The act of art as a probiotic boost to our emotional and spiritual immune systems. Art as rebellion, revelation, renewal.’ I like the idea of that, art as antioxidant! Thanks, Chuck. You, the man.

I’ve been an artist all my life, whether through art or the written word. About a year ago, a talented, creative friend asked, Does being able to draw have a purpose these days…it doesn’t seem to have any artistic or financial merit.

I replied: “My oil paintings will outlive me. I kind of like that. However, leaving legacies aside, a world without art and artists of all kinds I would not want to live in. Our purpose may not be expressed in the same clearly linear format of hours done/recompense given/living earned sort of thing as other people get to do. The arts are about much more than that. They’re about spiritual, emotional, mental, physical expression and transmutation and magical processes.

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‘The arts provide the rest of mankind with those most important of elusive experiences: hope, and inspiration, and aspiration and joy. They’re about the alchemy of being reminded to look up and remember the bigger picture.’

And as Wendig reminded us, ‘We learn who other people are through art — it’s not just our stories we need reflected, but everyone’s. Art maybe won’t create empathy out of whole cloth, but it can stir it, it can stoke it, like breath blown against cooling embers.’

Empathy is a vital asset in these explosive, uncertain times. Therefore art provides a vehicle for understanding one another.

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This is why in times gone by, the Ancient Maori, for instance, would greet a group from another tribe by stating who they were, who their kin were, and then by sitting and sharing stories (the “mihi”). In this way, they would create common ground with those they needed to ally with and trade with or whatever. Art greases the wheels of reciprocity and peace.

Therefore, you could say, art is essential to future life.

It was the wonderful writer, Terry Pratchett, who said, Before you can change the world, you have to be able to form a picture of the world being other than it appears. I think this is the essence of the argument right here. Yes, as Wendig says, art provides an escape, and this opens us to envision, to build new worlds, better, greater, more sustainable worlds.

Imagination, said Pratchett, not intelligence, made us human. It’s art, said Wendig, that will save us. It’s art, said Carol, that will preserve our species and our world.

Yes. Art is essential to life!

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Humans, in order to live effectively and happily, need a goal—a vision—to pursue. ~ Paul Rosenberg

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After rashly deciding to join in with writing pals, Teresa Robeson http://teresarobeson.wordpress.com/  and Catherine Johnson on the Selfie Art Day challenge five months ago, I now find myself part of a regular artistic quest to capture one’s own features. An elusive, multi-fold quest.

Teresa Robeson

My first thought when I faced the prospect of Selfie Art was ‘pastels.’ I imagined myself sweeping colour blocks all over the place. I brought out a lavish tray of pastels, and an old HB pencil and bitten-down eraser.

As always, I started with a faint pencil outline, a bare suggestion of features. This gave me a template to work on.

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Then, I started firming up the outlines. I made my first attempts at getting the lines right, especially with the eyes. They were a big concern.

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I refined the features with pencil and added more detail.

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I took a photo of myself, to get a better handle on the line of the brim of my hat. I adjusted details. It was only at that point, I realized I’d completely forgotten the pastels. It was too by then to go back.

Without more ado, here’s my Selfie Art portrait, number six.

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If you decide to join in on the challenge, make sure you swing by Teresa Robeson’s wordpress blog at http://teresarobeson.wordpress.com/ and tell her about it. She’ll include your links on her regularly updated list. Include the hashtag on your post: #SelfieDay. Have fun.

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“The role of the artist is the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.” ~ James Baldwin

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After rashly deciding to join in with writing pals, Teresa Robeson, and Catherine Johnson, on the Selfie Art Day challenge five months ago, I now find myself part of a regular artistic quest to capture one’s own features. An elusive, multi-fold quest.

After a few experimental shots at different kinds of selfie art portrait with the last few posts, I decided to take a leaf out of Teresa Robeson’s book this time, and pare it back to minimal lines done in pencil.

This whole portrait was done with an HB pencil.

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I like to snatch the main outlines first. I find I always underestimate how big my hair is and make it too close to the head. But, nevertheless, I’m happy if the placement of the facial features and general shapes seem to be in the right places.

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Next, I like to make all the main lines more firm and distinct, so I don’t lose them.

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I’ve messed up the eyes a number of times, and I usually leave them till last. This portrait, I decided to do the eyes first, figuring perhaps I’d be fresher. More able to get the lines right. And to me it’s a definite improvement.

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Here’s my Selfie Art portrait, number five. What do you think?

If you decide to join in on the challenge, make sure you swing by Teresa Robeson’s wordpress blog and tell her about it. She’ll include your links on her regularly updated list. Include the hashtag on your post: #SelfieDay. Have fun!

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Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That or a kick-arse red lipstick. ~ Gwyneth Paltrow

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#SelfieArt Day4

Posted: June 25, 2016 in art, drawing, Selfie Art Day!
Tags: ,

Oh, SelfieArt Day, how you taunt me! You sound so simple, and yet, you are not. You say, come and play, and then, you turn into hard slog. It is hard to draw yourself!!!

But, in the interests of not-giving-up-ingness, I will continue to try.

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This time, I went for the sepia look, in charcoal. I used Derwent pencils for the initial outline.

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I used Mont Marte “Coloured CHARCOAL” pencils in Burnt Sienna.

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Sanguine. And Sepia charcoal.

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So you don’t look exactly like me, who cares?

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To add drama, and draw the eye away from silly little things like resemblance, I painted the background in black.

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Then, I added a thin line of copper metallic paint around the border. There’s still no getting away from the niggly lack of resemblance thing. Stupid SelfieDay! Never mind. I may not have won the race, but at least I competed, right?

If you decide to join in on the challenge, make sure you swing by Teresa Robeson’s wordpress blog and tell her about it. She’ll include your links on her regularly updated list. Include the hashtags on your post: #SelfieDay and #Doodlewash Day! Have fun.

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Faces can lie, but not necks. – Henry Cecil

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Teresa Robeson

After rashly deciding to join in with writing pals, Teresa Robeson, and Catherine Johnson, on the Selfie Art Day challenge a few months ago, I now find myself part of a regular artistic quest to capture one’s own features. An elusive, multi-fold quest.

So far, my attempts at Selfie Art have stimulated all sorts of self-discovery. I’ve felt confronted by my own sense of self image, and self worth. The process has also brought me up against my own need to control things, a.k.a. perfectionism.

The first month I participated, I blogged an in-depth pencil sketch. I didn’t like it.

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The second time, I submitted a pencil outline of my face. I didn’t like it.

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My attempt at a self-portrait for May’s #SelfieArt Day is in triumphant #doodlewash for the first time! That’s the good news.

The bad news is that it doesn’t look a bit like me.

Except maybe for the hair. I did notice I hadn’t quite captured my likeness when I started, however, I assumed it’d come right in the end. Only it didn’t! It was too late to go back; I’d already committed the time slot allowed. Here again, I met face-to-face with my perfectionist streak which made me just want to toss the portrait in the bin.

Thankfully, I did not throw my portrait away. I made myself stick with it.

I decided to like it anyway.

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I had to say to myself in no uncertain terms, “It may not be perfect but I accept this portrait.”

This then became a sort of personal mantra, “I accept my imperfections.”

With that in mind, I decided to carry on and finish my “imperfect” portrait as it was, and see it through to the end. Thus, the transformative process of Selfie Art unerringly continued.

These are the pics I took documenting my progress:

I began with a pencil outline of my face.

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I added the first layer of flesh-tinted wash.

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Then I darkened the lines with an ink pen.

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I added shading to the face with warm flesh tones, and a wash for the shirt with Rose Pink gouache paint.

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I used black watercolour for the hair.

While my resulting portrait does not look like me, it does look like a gal who might be fairly interesting!

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If you decide to join in on the challenge, make sure you swing by Teresa Robeson’s wordpress blog and tell her about it. She’ll include your links on her regularly updated list.

Include the hashtags on your post: #SelfieDay and #Doodleawash Day! Have fun.

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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If your world doesn’t allow you to dream, move to one where you can. ~ Billy Idol

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Selfie-Art Day!

Posted: April 26, 2016 in art, drawing, Selfie Art Day!
Tags: ,

Hi, guys,

Sorry I’m late for Selfie-Art Day!

April 25th is DNA Day, and Teresa Robeson of One Good Thing has challenged WordPress artists to celebrate their DNA on the 25th of every month with a self portrait.

I decided to take a leaf out of Teresa’s book, and attempt simplifying my approach. Instead of spending half the day and applying a gazillion scratch marks with a pencil, I opted for minimalism.

This is so not my style! But, I enjoyed the challenge.

Here we go, my Selfie-Art for April, in HB pencil.

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Why not join us next month?

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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There is not cosmetic for beauty like happiness. ~ Lady Blessington

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A few weeks ago, I took part in a blog event, invited by friend, author and illustrator, Teresa Robeson, to show a retrospective of my art. In the process, I discovered old school projects. I was astonished to see the leaps I had taken in the presentation and effort that went into my projects over a number of years at school. The revelation gave some insight like a bird’s eye view on my younger years. I saw how I am who I am and how I am today because of striving to earn the approval of my father.

Take a moment to think about it, how did your father shape your life as a creative person?

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Growing up, I learned to work hard to win dad’s praise. On my school assignments I put in enormous effort, seeking to receive a pat on the back. Will he say, well done? I’d wonder. Dad would say, “There’s a spelling mistake.”

The praise flows from my father now that I’m grown. He’s a wonderful man. When I was growing up however, he felt his role was to teach, therefore, he had to point out whatever was incorrect so that I would learn.

And, I did! Sometimes, when I’d worked really hard on a piece and dad found flaws, I was disappointed, yes. But, it only served to fuel the desire to work longer to get to that “well done” moment. I used each failure in a positive way, to spur me to try harder on the next project.

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I began to think more deeply about answering the questions on school assignments. I began to pay more attention to my artwork and upgrading the layout.

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Each project gained an A grade from my teacher, but dad would always find a flaw, no matter how small. I started writing original thoughts, and working harder on the illustrations. My school work and grades improved.

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Every beautiful essay I showed my father was picked apart. He didn’t mean to be unkind. Dad would have been wounded if he’d known how much it humbled me.

Nevertheless, each homework assignment, I put in more effort. I was learning major lessons in concentration.

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The last project I did at junior school, before I moved on, and past the need to show my father everything I produced, was a book review.

I produced my review of, ‘A Commune on the Pearl River Delta,’ in a round format, with tissue paper glued in between each page. There were in all a dozen round pages with words and images, crafted in dense colour pencil and pen. It begins with the “tour guide,” Mr. John Know-it-all, introducing himself to the reader, and then, John leads the way through the review as if through the Pearl River Delta itself.

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It was a work of art. A triumph. The first time I ever got A++ What did my father say when I presented it to him? “China is spelt with a capital C.”

When my son was born, thirteen years ago, my parents came to meet their grandchild. I recall my father shaking my husband’s hand. Dad said, “Welcome to fatherhood!” It was such a poignant, sweet moment, like a passing of the baton, and a reassurance that the path ahead was worth walking. Dad has cherished his role as father. He was so happy for us to be starting a journey together as a family.

The Wateow, from 'The Colour Secret,' late teens

When I think back on my own childhood with my father, I could look at his withholding of praise as a negative. No, I don’t see it that way at all. I look at what it produced. By the time I started at high school, I was a creative ideas machine. I could crank out essays and artwork at the drop of a hat. I was always willing to put in the extra work. I’m still like that today. I believe my ability for perseverance came from my childhood strivings, therefore are directly attributable to my father’s influence.

Take a moment to think about it, how do the qualities which define you today relate directly to your father? It’s wonderful when you start to identify them.

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They say that we get the parents we need. They also say there are no mistakes. It makes sense to think that by viewing what we’ve been given in each of our unique circumstances, as being exactly the springboard we needed in our lives, that we enable ourselves to move forward to better things.

This week, my youngest son said to me confidently, “We get 25% from our fathers and 75% from our mothers.” Cute but wrong. We get DNA 50/50 from our parents. Our fathers are just as important as our mothers, and just as influential. How we use the paternal influence as we go forward, however, is up to us.

What do you think has been your father’s greatest influence on you? His legacy?

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Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“When a child is born, a father is born.”― Frederick Buechner

“What we think, we become.” – Buddha

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‘Paul Klee once described an artist as being like a tree, drawing the minerals of experience from its roots – things known, observed, read, intuited, and felt – and slowly processing them into new leaves.’  ~ Shaun Tan

This concept still resonates. I love the idea of this organic process, of transforming the “stuff” of our lives into beauty, whether that be art or prose or song.

This week, on her excellent blog, One Good Thing, Author and illustrator, Teresa Robeson, put out this resounding challenge. Anyone else up for Selfie Art Day on the 25th?

Teresa Robeson

Normally, every time my creative friends have put out these sorts of calls to action on the art front, my first thought has been, no. I’m a writer. I have to focus on the words. This time, I thought, why not?

I don’t know whether it’s menopause or turning fifty, but I seem to find myself saying “Why not?” more often in the last couple of years than I ever have done before in my life.

That being said, selfie art has always intimidated me. There, I’ve told you! This is the problem with being a perfectionist. With selfie art, I want the image to look like me. I feel if it doesn’t resemble me then it’s rubbish.

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I decided to throw caution to the wind and apply myself. I started with getting the basic features and shape of the face and line of the neck with HB pencil.

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Then, I started on shading in the dark areas with 8B pencil.

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I built up the layering with 4B pencil as well, feathering the edges of the shading. I purposefully added more than I needed, thinking I wanted substance.

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Then I used an eraser to rub away the areas where the light strikes the ‘high points’ of the face.

The eyes were not quite straight and I did my best to straighten them, yet, in the end, I had to say, ‘you know what, they’re not perfect. That’s okay.’ Again, one could meditate on that for days!

At that point, I used some watercolour paint. I added white highlights to the cheekbones, chin, nose, and hair. I used black to deepen the shading.

I cannot tell you how many times I nearly threw this sketch away. I had to get over my negative thinking. The transformative journey of creating art is multi-fold; it entails looking outward and inward, and it acts as a mirror for how we feel about ourselves. Despite the part of myself that yammered in the background, it doesn’t look like you, I continued with my piece of art for Selfie Art Day!

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I love the Klee quote about turning experiences into new leaves. I feel it is true for me, not just with my small attempts at sketching or painting, but with my writing, my speech giving, and also with raising my children. All the things I produce in my life are the new leaves. And the better I feel about myself as I grow and develop personally, the more unique and expressive the art.

What new leaves are you producing? Did you participate in Selfie Art Day? If so, leave your URL and I’ll tweet your posts.

Look! New leaves!

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My Selfie Art. Ta da!

#SelfieArtDay

Yvette K. Carol

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“Be not afraid of going slowly. Be afraid only of standing still.” — Chinese proverb

“If you can see yourself as an artist, and you can see that your life is your own creation, then why not create the most beautiful story for yourself?”― Miguel Ruiz

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Have you heard of the Art of Positive Reinforcement? Rewarding the behaviour you want in children with your attention, in order to encourage more of the good behaviour. According to aish.com, ‘Warm fuzzies, also known in the 1960s as “positive strokes,” is something that parents who want to raise emotionally healthy children cannot do without.’

I’m here to report: warm fuzzies make adults feel good and ‘emotionally healthy’ too. 

We can give warm fuzzies to others by being generous with supporting others, and we can give them to ourselves through practising self-appreciation.

This week, a dear friend, author and illustrator, Teresa Robeson posted a terrific piece on her blog called Decades of Progress.

‘Kim Zarins shared a post on Facebook of a well-known illustrator’s art as a child versus a piece he did recently, contrasting the improvements in his craft. I thought that was a fun thing to do.’

Me, too. I like the whole concept behind this post idea and it seems to me that this could be a good way of giving ourselves as artists, warm fuzzy material. First, we get the positive reinforcement from other people, our friends and peers who see the post.

Through the images on her blog, Teresa demonstrated how her artwork had evolved over the years. We all said, wow, your artwork is awesome.

Then, Teresa also got to bear witness to her own growth.

So, second, there is the fuzzy warmth inside of saying to ourselves, ‘Wow, your art has changed and improved.’

Teresa Robeson

A visual retrospective is a nice way to chart our progress. It creates positive reinforcement of ourselves. Warm Self Fuzzies.

This morning, I went back through the archives and scanned my artwork, which I’ve faithfully kept from the age of five. This is about taking stock.

So with this is mind, here are a few examples to show the evolution of my art…

Family portrait, age 5

Family portrait, Age 5

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Character portrait, Age 8

I loved drawing pictures at school. As a lot of writers do when they’re little, I made my own books. The above drawing of Roma is from my book, The Spring Fairies.

The Wateow, from 'The Colour Secret,' late teens

Character Study, colour pencil, late teens.

This picture is from ‘The Colour Secret.’ ‘The WaTEOW,” or Woman-at-the-end-of-the-world. It marked my first attempt at an early chapter book series, The Great Adventures of Splat the Wonder Dog.

MaryThought, pencil sketch, age 27

Teddy bear portrait, pencil sketch, age 20

I enjoyed art and I continued to sketch in pencil as a hobby after I left school.

 

Self-portrait, pencil sketch, age 25

Self-portrait, pencil, age 25

In my spare time, side-by-side with writing, and raising boys, I always did some sort of drawing and art.

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Character Portrait, ‘Free Wally!” age 29

When I was in my twenties, I started writing and illustrating picture books, experimenting with painting using gouache on simple watercolour washes. I took one of my picture book manuscripts, ‘Free Wally!’ to show a friend, Liz Sutherland, an artist and art teacher. Liz said, “They’re good. But you should learn oil portraiture, because you need to learn how to be bold.”

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Oil portrait, of my youngest son, Nathaniel, age 40

I studied oil painting with Liz for the next three or four years, through two pregnancies, when I could hardly reach the easel for my enormous stomach. By the time I finished my last oil portrait class, I had learned how to be BOLD!

Nice one. Retrospective done. Warm fuzzies abound!

How do you give yourself and others warm fuzzies? How have you kept a record of your creative evolution?

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Keep Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” ~ Henry Miller

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