Welcome back to The Sweet Spot where we focus on all things Essential, Simple and Satisfying! And for me, Experimenting with my Approach to a sector of my Art has taken CENTER STAGE, which is very exciting for me. It’s so important to expand our Creative Horizons to see what we’re capable of! And have Loads of FUN in the process!
Anytime I’m working with the Dynamics of FASHION (which has been an interest of mine for decades!), I find it immediately engaging. In the past few posts, I’ve been sharing my exploration of combining fashion illustration and cartooning. You can view my Illustrative Sketches from my first post here, and Part 2 is here. And if you’re curious to see my sketches of a family member in dance ensembles, go here.
I am back with a new Fashion Illustrated Cartoon Sketch as I continue my exploration and experimentation with pen, watercolor markers and dynamic designs I’m drawn to, All while emphasizing my new-found skill in cartooning; not as a funny comic but as a way of illustrating day to day life, only with a focus on new wardrobe possibilities! Why not “try on” some new options for “size” visually? Sort of like using a virtual try on room only through illustration. Yes, it’s fun! ☺️
Ok, so, I’ve had the resourced image for this garment stashed in my drawer for Years. I finally pulled it out with combining the fashion illustration and cartoon approach and thought it would be fun and challenging. The black and white design drew me in immediately as well as the pose “in motion” in which the model was engaged.
My first decision was to replace the head with my cartoon version. The face was an Immediate challenge since I usually draw it like a portrait with it fully forward. This was almost a profile but not quite. But I managed to portray without too much a-do.
The arms positioning was a fun but challenging aspect of this dynamic posture. It reminded me of the finger position of this family member in ballet pose.
The garment itself self along with the dramatic creases based on the figure’s pose was fun to create (using varying grays and dynamic strokes to create the illusion of depth. The actual black design with white negative space was super fun to follow with my India ink Fabre Castell Pitt Artist Pens, then using my Tombow marker to fill the larger areas of black. Then there was the fringe along the edges, a combination of applying grays, carefully placed black marks, to emphasize the negative aspect of white. The whole process of seeing what works with my tools and their application is truly dynamic and fun for me. And seeing the result, even as just an experimental sketch (This is not final artwork), is truly Satisfying and motivates me to keep going and see what else would be Fun and Dynamic to try!
For this 3rd experiment with a Fashion Illustrated Cartoon, the drawing I rendered the first time was on a larger scale, filling the sketchbook page from side to side. The other two (linked above) were smaller in size. So I decided, for this one, to do two renderings instead of one, making the second closer in size to my typical illustrated cartoon I do each evening. So, yes, I drew the dress twice! It was fun the second time around, since the marks had already been created with the first drawing. I simply repeated the pattern I had already done for the second mini version, so it didn't take as long. I used the same approach with pens and markers for shading and depth. I was a bit more "sketchy" with the boots since this is not final artwork, just experimental.
This experiment, with both drawings, shows me where where I can improve as far as proper form of the figure goes. Not trying to be exact since this is a more sketch-like approach with cartooning in mind.
Since I have many years of experience with contour drawing of models in dynamic fashion (all the way back to the 1980’s-yes, I’m dating myself 😉), it’s easy to fall more toward realism as opposed to cartoon drawing. Perhaps it’s a little bit of both. 👀 (Maybe more cartoon-like with the second drawing, more like the size of my daily illustrated cartoon doodle.)
I’m enjoying this foray into these new combinations to see where it will take me. Using limits and, yet, expanding my horizons at the same time. It feels good. It satisfies. And it’s enabling me to grow as an artist in these areas that interest me, which is essential for my Creative Well Being.
So, how are you growing your Creative Horizons? Any curiosities you want to follow? Anything inspiring you to try something new? Share in the comments below so I can cheer you on!
Let’s create and discover those Sweet Spots together and see where it leads us; it just might make each of our worlds and the world overall a happier, more colorful and joyful place.
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.
Welcome back to The Sweet Spot where we focus on all things Essential, Simple and Satisfying!
I’m excited to have something new to share in my artsy world!
A little back story is in order, to give you some context to my new venture. Last year I decided I wanted to learn how to draw a cartoon of myself. After many months of practice, I began adding this cartoon to my evening doodle dressed in my daily wardrobe pick ( the doodle consists of a word drawn in large letters that summarizes my day’s experience with fun designs inside the letters). I draw one letter a bit wider to make space for my cartoon, and I illustrate what the word means for me.
I started doing this months ago (not sure how many!) and an idea came to my mind in the spring to try my hand at illustrating fashion not in my wardrobe by referencing an image from a magazine and use my cartoon as a starting place, so she would be wearing it!
Even at a young age, I’ve always been fascinated by fashion illustration. I used to look at newspapers back in the day in the ARTS section to find them and copy them as practice. Now, Drawing my own wardrobe each evening on my cartoon is a fun way to incorporate my fashion focus in a doable format that is fun, colorful and satisfying.
So, when the idea came to me to use my cartoon to draw fashion from magazines, I thought, why not try it? It could be fun and doable as well. So I did! Below you can see the image of my first attempt at fashion illustration mixed with my cartooning. I’m excited to expand my artsy experience to include more of what I love and to stretch my skill and have fun doing it!
For this illustration, I simply started with drawing the head like I do with my doodle cartoon each evening. Then it was a matter of sketching the outline of the fashion piece in black marker (I use Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens in India ink). Once I had the garment drawn with as much detail as possible, I then filled it with color! I used a combination of Winsor Newton watercolor markers, Tombow markers and Pitt Pens as mentioned for detail. I love layering colors, which helps give the illusion of depth, transparency, and texture (oh, how I adore texture!!).
I wasn’t overly concerned with being anatomically correct with the figure itself; I just sketched my best and had fun. I’m super pleased with how this first attempt came out and plan to do more. It was fun getting in the zone with my illustrative focus on fashion, which never seems to get old, even as I get older!
I love it when I get ideas for trying something new to expand my artistic horizons, especially when they align with my overall goals as an artist, this case being illustration, combined with cartooning, fashion, and layering color and adding detail. It’s essentially a win-win-win!
What is Essential for you right now that brings Satisfaction and keeping it Simple at the same time? I encourage to pursue what you’re curious about and follow your JOY.
You’re welcome to share below in the comments what’s working for you to express yourself in a way only you can. Because your voice matters!
Wishing YOU All the Sweetness!
All images copyrighted to Dawn Herring 2021
Welcome back to Keeping It Sweet co-hosted by Dawn and Carrie where we focus on All Things Essential, Simple and Satisfying!
For this episode, we focus on Seasons of Creativity, whether it spring or summer or we're changing things up based on our curiosity! Join us for some fun and laughter (and for some beginning piano playing by Dawn!) and leave a comment about what season of creativity you're enjoying!
Here at The Sweet Spot, my desire is to share with you how I keep it sweet with various activities in my life and why they work for me. For today’s post, I’d like to talk about experimenting and why that has been an important aspect to my life as an artist and creative (and any other area of life, really!)
In the video above, I started with the mockingbird song but my main topic upon reflecting on my weekend activities, I shared about several experiments I undertook or am undertaking at the moment with my watercolor practice.
My first foray into watercolor began with a new art journal practice I initiated back is 2011, almost a decade ago! It was the perfect place to try my hand at, what was for me, a new medium, one that fascinated me and that I had great attraction to for many years.
One of my experiments after playing with it for a while was to determine if I could create an image with dots of color. I really enjoying using the stippling method with watercolor and thought how interesting it would be to try my hand as an actual painting on watercolor paper. I chose one of my favorite nature based subjects: the Mockingbird (which you can hear in the background on the above video as mentioned!).
So I found a good reference photo and tried my hand at it. I was quite surprised that despite the transparency, with many layers of colored dots, starting with the lightest hues and working my way to darker ones, that I was able to produce my desired result, which you can see below.
I was quite surprised and delighted with this experiment and wondered what else I should try rendering in the same fashion. When I chose to experiment with this approach, it broadened my knowledge and gave me opportunity to try something new and stretch myself as an artist. It also helped build my confidence with this new medium of watercolor, which I loved from the moment I played with it.
Another experiment which I indulged in earlier this year was to try my hand at doing a floral in watercolor. Now, I will admit, that I’m not much into florals, especially of the Still Life variety, with the vase approach, etc. I find those types of florals too static to be of interest to me (though there are many artists out there who do lovely work with that type of subject matter!)
No, I decided to go through my stash of saved images and found one from a calendar of a larger than life Rose, very close up shot in a garden. Now, that’s more to my liking. So off I went to discover the process of painting from light to dark, working my way around the rose each time I had a session. Most of those sessions were about an hour long.
It is such a satisfying process to see the progress of an image coming into form, one layer of watercolor at a time. Once the main layers were down, it got even more intense as I added textures and depth with the colors I mixed and applied with my paintbrush.
This was my first floral and I was very glad for the size of the image I chose that made it more focused on larger form and detail rather than a bunch of flowers together. It just worked for me.
Once that watercolor was finished (see below), I was pleased with the outcome of my experiment. It was so worth trying something new!
(Part of the reason I chose a floral was a suggestion from hubby; and I’m glad I went with it.)
My most recent experiment was a return to something I painted when I first started playing with watercolor. I found an image of slices of orange in a magazine and decided to try my hand as painting one slice from that image. I enjoyed the process immensely. And so this year, I decided to return to food as a subject and found an image from another magazine more recent of grapefruit halves, a very dynamic composition positing the virtues of grapefruit in all their juicy glory.
So I adapted the composition and decided on three grapefruits, one white grapefruit half and two red grapefruits halves.
My goal with this experiment was to capture the “Juiciness” of the flesh and the dimpled surface of the rind, hoping to create an image that looked good enough to eat!
So far I’ve completed one and will be starting another shortly. (Unless I decide to add more layers later; you never know!)
I am so enjoying this process of experimentation with watercolor, from different approaches to applying the color to different subject matter that I’ve never tried before or want to return to.
It really is about listening to my Curiosity and giving space to my creative indulgences, really having Permission to make that time to do something that is truly Satisfying, which is one of my prerequisites for what I consider to be a Sweet Spot in my life. The more I engage is those Sweet Spots, the Sweeter my life becomes.
My questions for you: do you ever get a hankering to experiment with something? Have you chosen to indulge your curiosity and try something new? Do you do something just because you want to experience something you’ve never tried before? Do you remember doing something that you want to try again?
Leave a comment below with your Experimental story. I’d love to hear how it went or how it’s going now. How has it been Sweet for you?
Here’s to Experimenting and listening to what our hearts are telling us so we can Keep It Sweet every day!
(Images are copyrighted to Dawn Herring, 2020)
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.