Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mixed Media Face Painting

I am finding mixed media face painting with acrylic can be challenging because of the short drying time. I spent the better part of a month perfecting my drawing techniques. It's important for me to keep in mind that my painting deserves no less attention. How else will I learn what will work best for me right? I am determined to overcome!

good blending, could go darker in places

In my second and third painting attempts I thought I was using my extender but realized later I was using glazing medium instead. I found I could actually lift the paint layers beneath just by overworking an area with glazing medium. While this may have its uses, I found it difficult to reclaim the area after that had happened.

colored pencil used to add detail

I've read that acrylic painting actually has something called an awkward stage at which many beginners give up. I must admit that I too have felt the urge to give up but have pushed through. I keep hearing that little inner voice as it nags at me again whispering for the 800th time, "don't give up!"

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Painting the Face

My first attempt at painting the face was not as successful as I had hoped. Not only did I begin my collage underpainting upside down but I became so disenchanted with the painting process that I literally ripped the face from the page. I think I just gave up too soon. Was it fear? Perhaps.

I come from an oil painting background although it's been eons since I've used that medium. The reason I enjoyed oils was because they could be blended so nicely. Now I'm teaching myself how to use acrylic which dries so fast that I find blending is nearly impossible.
I tried painting the face again with more success. This time I used a retarder in the paint which allowed me to blend it the way I wanted to. After the paint dried (which took several hours), I covered the entire face with clear gesso. I then went back over some of the details with water pencil. This is a great first start and I'm very happy with it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

How to Play With Face Drawing

I'm having one hell of a good time with my face drawing. I'm learning so much just practicing and making small little changes here and there. Play around with size and placement. Subtle changes can make big differences in your faces sketch.

Do I look like I bite?
This face was drawn in a more freehand style. I first drew an oval and then gridded it off to get the features placed correctly. I then took this drawing into Photoshop and added some color to the eyes, mouth and hair jewel. The hairstyle is actually copied from a digital drawing done by Shwe Thiri Khit on Etsy.

Heirloom Girl ~ You are timeless
This next face drawing was created using the same grid I've been using with a few changes to get it to look more like the previous drawing. I made the nose smaller and brought it up a little higher. The lips are also smaller but placement in relation to the nose remained the same. What a difference!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Little Girl Drawing

The other day I did this quick little girl drawing as an exercise. The approach to drawing the face was simplified quite a bit over the sketches I've posted her in the last few weeks. I hope you like her.

You are pure love and perfect light
Some of you might recognize the style as similar to that of Monica Zuniga of Hands & Heart. If you are interested in drawing pretty girls, visit Hands & Heart on Ning. In the meantime, here's wishing you a peaceful and happy Sunday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Colored Pencil Drawing - Color Study

Okay so I got tired of drawing the face before doing my shading because it takes time to meticulously draw them only to ruin them with practice shading. I've thought about abandoning this technique but then I realized that the only reason I would be doing so is because I haven't practiced it enough to become the master I would like to be.

Keep trying, don't give up is what what that little voice inside keeps telling me so here are a few color studies. First, I am using hot pressed water color paper because I don't want a textured look to my faces like I get with cold pressed paper. Next, I began playing with colors.

In these exercises I lightly laid in my colors, one on top of the other and then burnished. I get a very different look depending on which colors are used, of course. In the square on the right below, I tried something different. I burnished with white first then laid in my colors and achieved a very smooth painterly look.
I like the peachy, creamy, sort of pinky look to my dolls so that's the look I'm going for. I did a quick little face sketch and used the dark peach, and cream all over the face before adding detail to the features. I burnished with white and repeated that process again only I added a little bit of pink.
I found that light, circular strokes for laying in color work best. Burnish with the same circular strokes for a more even, painterly look. After burnishing, darker colors can be laid in and be blended with the finger. I like that part. I plan to use some clear gesso to build my layers and add detail to the features. Doing these exercises will help me when I get ready to go to final and keeping notes makes a handy reference for future paintings.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Wishing all my friends in blog land a very happy Valentine's Day filled with l'amour.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Drawing with Colored Pencil

I have so far attempted 4 versions of face drawing with colored pencil and none of them have been taken to what I would consider a finished state but that's okay. The important thing is what I've learned so far. It pays to take my time and build my pencil color in layers. I am going for a peachy, porcelain like finish in warm tones and want my features to resemble something like my graphite drawings.  In the version below I was in too much of a hurry to get finished and added the pupils with black marker. Mistake!

color version #3
In the version below I spent more time but I could go further with the blending and it wouldn't hurt to apply some paint glazes and a little more pink and yellow ochre. I approached the shading in the same way I did with my graphite drawings, something I didn't do in the first 3 versions simply because I wanted to experiment. The features look good. The red-purple color used to outline the eyes and nose gave her a bruised look when I burnished so perhaps a warm brown would work better in the next version.

color version #4

I painted over her with clear gesso and lightly sanded after it dried then applied more pencil. The pencil does not seem to burnish as well after the gesso goes on but it sure does take that pencil quite nicely. It's good for going back over darker areas or adding texture. I shall keep practicing but I think I'm on the right track. Note to self, there's no better time than now, you can do it! Be fearless.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

How to Draw Pretty Faces

I have recently learned how to draw pretty faces with the help of artist Suzi Blu. So what is it that we humans find beautiful about the human face? I believe the answer lies in symmetry. Symmetry is comfortable, makes us feel safe, and has a calming effect. In one of her tutorials Suzi introduces a grid as a way to set up your drawing for symmetry and beauty, which has become the most invaluable tool in my face drawing arsenal.
previously posted - shown here for comparison
Different artists line the face up in different ways for different mediums but the concept is universally the same. The key is to figure out which method speaks the most to your inner artist and simply begin. While I can't offer you the grid here, you can visit how to draw for a quick tutorial on how to line up a face. In the meantime, I can tell you what I've learned from my pencil sketches.

graphite pencil eye study
Teaching myself how to draw eyes was challenging at first so I began doing some sketches of just eyes. It might be surprising to know that the eyes pictured above all have the same width from left to right and the irises all have the same diameter. How do I know this? I used a ruler and circle templates to help me out. What I varied in these examples was the height of the eye from top to bottom and the iris placement.

iris too small but still works - relaxed sexy eyes
Eye color made some difference as to the aesthetic quality as did slight variations in the placement of the fold of skin over the upper lid. A wider eye height from top to bottom gave me a more awake and younger look to my girls. The iris touches the bottom lid and the pupil is close to the upper lid giving her a more relaxed look.

youthful, alert - wider eye height
Narrower eye heights combined with lighter eye colors look mysterious, beautiful and a little more mature. For a sexy, sleepy look, place the fold of skin over the upper lid a little higher and do the same with the iris placement.

mysterious, sexy eyes - narrower eye height
My drawings have come a long way in two weeks as evidenced by the first drawing at the beginning of this post. While these are not the first face drawings I've done, they are the first drawings I've created using a grid with pupil placement in the center of the eye where it belongs. My advice if you want to draw pretty faces, set up your drawing right and practice, practice, practice.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Digital Collage Art

I don't often create digital collage art but felt compelled to share this piece. I needed a graphic to complete my new e-Bay listing template so I just started playing with backgrounds and other elements I had either already previously created or scanned.

e-Bay template Welcome graphic
The background is a collage of some Tim Holtz papers and Brenda Walton papers I had on hand. The colors were consistent with my color theme so away I went. I LOVE how this turned out. Not only is it beautiful but it gave me ideas for my mermaid background. It could not be more perfect.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Face of the Coraline Mermaid

1 week and 12 faces later, I've done it! I have finally drawn a face that is exactly what I want it to be and here she is. Perceptually, she doesn't look much different from the last two but there are some subtle differences. The pupil placement is more true to life in the center of the eye than off center even though the latter works in illustration. I narrowed the eye shape just a little and brought the bottom lid up. Lastly, her nose isn't quite so flared, a detail that was bugging me a bit in some of the other renditions.

The face of the Coraline Mermaid
I now find myself ready to progress to the next phase which will be to draw a color versions of the Coraline mermaid using colored pencil. This should not take me too long since most of the leg work was done with the graphite to get the composition and placement right without color getting in the way. I'm so excited! Follow this Kell Belle Studio mermaid journey and watch the evolution and transformation into my first significant mixed media paper sculpture with charm.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Art of the Mermaid

Pretty mermaid art begins with a pretty face. I have spent hours drawing faces and have discovered an emerging style that is quite uniquely mine. My mermaids all want to have big, almond shaped eyes, little button noses, full, pouty lips and flowing, art nouveau hair.

After drawing this first girl, inspiration has struck and my mermaid muse now has a name. She is called Coraline, named after the vibrantly colored great barrier reefs of the South Pacific. In dreams she whispers to me, great tales of her travels to Atlantis. So that is what this painting will be about.

These girls will make perfect mermaids. They have a little mystery to their look that is part of their charm. It is that mystery that will hypnotize you into staying awhile. Once you've been hypnotized by a mermaid, a little bit of your soul becomes forever mermaid. It means you have been invited to share their world and you may visit as often as you wish.