Hello friends, and welcome back to The Sweet Spot, where we focus on all things Essential, Simple and Satisfying!
I'm excited to share more ARTSY related stuff since I've been doing a LOT of Experimenting. For me, experimenting gives me space to follow my curiosity, expand my horizons and try new things that interest me. Following the Question: Would I like to try that? is hugely motivating, especially if the answer is yes!
In this post, I plan to share with you my most recent venturing into what I'm calling my illustrated cartoon journey.
But a little recent history first: Back in 2020, I learn how to draw myself as a cartoon and do so each evening in my illustrated cartoon doodle, which you can check out here.
Then I decided to try my hand at doing a cartoon style portrait of each of my daughters, which you can view here.
Then I decided to try my hand at combining myself in cartoon with fashion illustration of garments not in my own wardrobe which I did here and here.
I have been having so much fun with all this cartoon illustrating! It's definitely been a Sweet Spot for me for sure!
Then just a bit ago, I pulled out a small photo album filled with photos of my two nieces, daughters to my one and only older sis. (Permission given by her to share the drawings of one of her daughters below. :))
I started to peruse them and decided to try my hand at drawing an illustrated cartoon version of my younger niece who is a dancer, and has been taking tap and ballet since she was young and still going strong in high school.
I consider all the drawings below as sketched experiments, not final artwork. I use permanent India ink pen when drawing the contour as well as the color for the details. I also used some watercolor markers for the hair. Since ink is not erasable, there are lines that I had to adjust/correct, so these are by not means perfect. But so fun!!
I decided to start with the youngest image with her dressed in a tap dance costume with stripes and polka dots, which I thought was the cutest! I really enjoyed the whole process of drawing the details of the garment and accessories as well as rendering her face as accurately as possible without going into too much detail; after all, it's considered a illustrated cartoon version.
For the above image of her in floral with gold background with black lace detail, I took the same approach. I used India ink and some watercolor markers to render this older image of my niece. My goal was to do several of her based on age, from younger to older.
In the above image with my niece in a green flapper style dress, I went a big larger with her face, so this is almost a portraiture in illustrated cartoon style. By this third experiment, I was getting more comfortable with the skin highlights and using the right lightness of grey for shadow purposes.
With the two above drawings of my niece in her most recent ballet assemble, we jumped a few years in time! I was so impressed with the beauty of her form, I decided to do two cartoon illustrated renditions of her ballet images. The first was more close up for more detail and the 2nd was so I could include the whole figure. They look similar in size side by side, but the first one is larger than the second one. It was good experience to experiment with both sizes and working with the details in both. I would say my biggest challenge was rendering the hands with such dramatic positioning of the fingers. In addition to the India ink and watercolor markers/pens, I also added some oil pastel in lavender, pink and purples since I didn't have proper paler colors in my markers for this rendering. I simply sketched the tulle portion of her ballet skirt with pale grey.
This entire experience was invaluable to me of rendering another family member in this illustrated cartoon approach! Each drawing teaches me something new. Plus with the repetition of drawing the same face, I build muscle memory, so each time it gets a little easier.
One of my future goals is to eventually draw the figures and faces without a black outline. I have yet to try this with my evening doodle cartoon, so I'm thinking that may be the best place to start. But, we'll see.
I've seen some portraiture approaches with just flat marker color, starting with a light base, adding a medium base for more definition with parts of the face, then a darker base for even more shadow work for depth and dimension; then using pen for all the fine details. I haven't tried that approach just yet, but am looking forward to the open possibility!
Experimenting is prime for me right now as I make my way in the illustration and cartooning world with which I'm having so. much. fun. As always, I'll keep you up to date with my latest ventures so you can follow along with me.
Art is one of my most Essential Activities that brings me Simple Pleasure and Deep Satisfaction.
What is most Essential, Simple and Satisfying for you right now? Drop and comment and do share! I'd love to hear from you!
Let's Keep It Sweet together and make this world a better, happier (and saner) place.
Wishing you ALL the SWEETNESS. <3
P.S. All drawings are Copyrighted to Dawn Herring, 2021.
Hi. I'm Dawn Herring. Here at The Sweet Spot I love writing about how I'm keeping it sweet with music, song writing, cartooning, doodling, watercolor painting, movie watching and book reading. My goal is to share what feels really sweet to me and why. Perhaps it will inspire you to do the same.