The first post or so on Patreon are public to give curious folk a look into what we're doing. This time I posted images in stages and I thought that I would share them here on the blog. I'm drawing my social media icon.
Rough linework... It doesn't exactly match up in size, but oh well. Drawing faces can be scary because when you add the lines and creases, it can seemingly add 30 years to the face! lol
Choosing lines I want to stick with by tracing over them a little harder...
Using a paper blending tool to add a flat middle tone. My blender has some weird edges so it looks really splotchy. I used the kneaded eraser to pull back out the highlights on the edges.
Hatched out all the darks and for fun, added a sparkly green background with the coliro colours!
I kind of like this format of taking progress photos, and I'm sure it takes some mystery out of the process which might actually be helpful too. Maybe I will switch to this format permanently? At least throughout the portrait month, it will be good.
Follow this portrait sketch series on Patreon!
This month on Patreon, we're doing some people-sketching! In high school, people is pretty much ALL I ever drew. Well, anime-type people anyway. I guess I got sick of it. Or I was overwhelmed by the ethics of drawing someone's likeness and then sharing it. Or I got tired of being asked "so who is this?" or "What show is this from?" It can be a very complicated issue.
The purpose of this adventure is study and practice. At the very least, I plan to sketch a lot of hands and feet, anyway. If you need an excuse to finally sit down with a pencil and try mastering some fussy body parts, do join us!
Last week was so intense and this week is a very slow week. This week, I do find it difficult to imagine myself out of work. When I imagine myself having my dream lifestyle, I imagine myself as being another person entirely! I do miss human contact when I'm at home.
The motivation is very low this week. I procrastinated so much on my crow painting that I planned to do for AIMAE (a show which is "gift" themed). A few suggested reasons:
- it's too typically "me", and maybe I am getting bored of me
- because of the clientele, there is extra pressure to create something that is traditionally "good" art or maybe it will flow into the Edgy, Youthful, Trendy scene, neither of which I fit comfortably into. Plus, there are so many fees, that I would have to spend an extra long time on this piece so that after the deductions, it would even be worth it.
But that's done. And I have a personal painting started for the cat cubesat series (for which I really need a better name!). There are so many possibilities for the cubesat, that despite my lack of motivation, I am definitely still swimming with ideas.
Is this how my "low tide" of art motivation going to be from now on? Because I'm feeling pretty lucky in that regard. I remember blogging like this just a few years ago when an art crash would have me sitting around making no art for WEEKS! For months, maybe.
Having hard personal deadlines, and working in different "series" and themes (whether it's specific projects, or styles, or media or even different types of hobbies)... it's quite transformative and you should try it.
The major downside to giving someone else complete control over your schedule in exchange for minimum wage, is that sometimes bad decisions happen behind closed doors, and no one thinks to ask if you are okay with working a 6-day weekend.
So I've been just GONE for a week, sleep deprived and can't remember what I was doing before all of that. Also, just under a week is an awful lot of time for me, as I have 3 video deadlines every week, a calendar of submission deadlines to keep track of, and nevermind personal stuff!
Well I survived and I'm back! My original plan was just to worry about video editing and patreon sketches on worknights, but wow, that's just not productive enough for six days. Usually it's about three, so slowing down is okay. I didn't get as much sketching done though, as the sleepiness compounds every day. My bad!
Today is a day off, finally! And it is refreshing to be Down to Work. No time to procrastinate today, I was at the desk by 9am! It's halfway through the month and I need a real-time patreon video to go up! I don't have a video finished for youtube tomorrow, either! I need some artwork to send to a couple of upcoming juried shows. I just got a commission request last night that is going to have to be Suddenly Prioritized. It's a busy day, but I'm LOVING it. Now if only I could do it full time... hmmm....
Also, I might not be unemployed this spring after all. It's a stretch, and not a very wise one, but it would be nice to take one thing off my plate at the moment.
The weather has been suddenly warm this weekend and I haven't gotten around to cleaning up the balcony yet - aaah! What an inconvenient time to have such an unpredictable work schedule. I haven't even started to file taxes yet!
Guys, Patreon has given me LIFE! The notion of receiving pledges from (relative) strangers in the trust that I will release enough *stuff* to make the pledge worth it is a terrifying one. Especially for someone with bad self esteem, generally. There is a new pressure for excellence on Patreon, that isn't present on youtube. Filming and editing videos for youtube is very one-sided, and it's easy to fall into a routine and not worry if I'm having an "off" week because the content is free so there is no guilt about it. Apart from the regulars, it can feel like putting my art out into a void of sorts. There are nearly 5000 subscribers - 4800 of them who don't watch any videos (??), and 195 of them who do watch but don't interact. I love it, but it's very mysterious.
I'm so glad I decided to do a monthly theme, as it's easy to keep everything sorted between "what is public" and "what belongs to patrons". Revealing a few things here and there is important to entice more people to come around, and will be a slower process for me than most. Regardless, just having a few people in the beginning sketch and share (!) has been a real delight. It's no longer "one-sided", and I hope more people will join in soon just so I can see what all of you are up to! I've sold so many sketchbooks and always wondered what could be going on inside of them, wherever they are.
My friend once told me she had a random vision of me being a teacher, and have I ever thought about it? Not really. I never envied my teachers. But the more I interact with Patreon, the more I step into a teacher role. Or at least a host of some art study group.
While I haven't sat and sketched as frequently as I'd like, I can already see and am surprised that this Patreon sketchbook is going to be my favourite sketchbook of all time. And as of this end of February, it seems like only a small handful of people will get to see it.
Things I have posted in January:
- Photos from the patreon sketchbook
- A few photo references that patrons may use without worrying about copyright
- Scavenger hunt list (for sketching outdoors)
- Art prompt
- Slow video for people who want to see my process in real time
- Printable downloads for anyone who wants to decorate their sketchbooks
- Poll for patrons to vote on the next monthly theme
- Sketches mounted on stiff matboard to mail to some patrons
- A small original painting available to one patron
And I still plan to add a few short video clips of watercolour techniques, or whatever else I can think of.
Don't miss out! Participate here: https://www.patreon.com/yellowmelle
I haven't been around on the blog much lately! Between youtube deadlines, I've been nervously working on my new Patreon page!
If you don't know what Patreon is, it's a reliable website where people can pledge a little money toward their favourite creative people. Creative people do a lot of unpaid labour, especially in the beginning, and sometimes you want to appreciate them in a monetary way, but can't shell out enough for a piece of art, or an online class, or a music album. Patreon lets you commit as little as $1 a month, for as many (or few) months as you want.
In exchange, you receive small rewards for your patronage, so it is very much like a subscription!
On my page, I am motivating myself to do more sketching! My hope is that we can get together as a little private art club - sharing each others' sketches, interacting more... I love posting videos on youtube, but the real rewarding part is the part where I get to meet like-minded people. It's hard to find close, artistic friends!
It's also hard to carve out good time for all of this extra stuff. I would love to be able to do this full-time someday.
Please consider joining us! There will be slow videos, mailings, art prompts and scavenger hunts in the mix!
Oh my gee... This is one of those sets that I once daydreamed about but decided against because it's such a lot of money for such little tubes of paint, and who really NEEDS 24 colours anyway?? I've usually been a "primaries + black/white" kind of person, because there are other fun things to spend dollars on. And then I needed some blues because the one I had was a little sad. Then I needed some green because I got tired of mixing greens. And then some brown because I got tired of mixing browns from scratch. And now, after a boxing week sale, here we are.
I've swatched every colour (including ones I already had), and while I did already own a bunch of these, I'm just as happy to have a backup supply. The cadmium red was a bit separated so the swatch looks a bit like blood. Creepy! I've always loved magenta, but I'm suddenly digging that scarlet with the almost fluorescent pink tone.
I think I bought the manganese blue first, hoping for a primary. But it's really hard to rewet after it's dried, and just isn't that strong, you know? Not much better luck with the cobalt blue, my second purchase. Ultramarine was a free gift and was a huge improvement. The 24 set came with cerulean and phthalo, the latter being simply goorrgeeouuuss! My search for the cleanest, most "primary" blue made me pass over what might be the prettiest one so far. Mistakes aren't inexpensive, let me tell you.
When I first tried cobalt teal I was really put off by its opacity. It's like mixing colours with milk, which sent me on the blue goose chase in the first place. It did serve me very well as an interesting shade colour when I was painting plant collages. Seems like an odd choice, but it just pops! Now I like it. Green gold has to be one of the most intense colours I've ever used. It's like drinking apple juice but for your eyeballs.
I was really excited about the neutrals. They are the colours that I always need but always figured buying them was a "waste". The van dyke is just absolutely beautiful, like some particularly luxurious leather.... thing... I don't know fashion. Payne's grey is right up there as well. It's just so DARK, but makes such a pretty, blue grey when diluted. This set came with a tube of white, which I always scoffed at because the point of watercolour is transparency and glowing paper and all that. But look at the little lines on the grey swatches... they're pretty charming. I'm sure I will eat my words.
It seems like I tend to work by themes! Usually, I will be randomly inspired by a thing, and then I will milk that thing all week if I have to. This week, it seems to be cube satellites. How cute!
I didn't film these ACEOs. They are supplementary to a similar painting that I'm doing this week, because there are just too many possibilities for designs to just choose any old one and then move on! Each card features a neat little satellite, and it's hard not to give them names and personalities as you would a pet... The backgrounds resemble chunks of maps of different cities. See if you can locate them!
Here's a sketchbook peek into this week's progress. I've posted the finished ACEOs into the shop already, and the first video is done and scheduled to go up on thursday! Subscribe, if you're into that sort of thing and you haven't already.
Before 2017 ended, I maaayy have ordered a bunch of new paint, which means I'm back to searching for an appropriate palette for them. As usual, I prefer the smaller "travel type" palettes which can be hard to come by empty. Local stores typically don't carry that sort of thing. But then I noticed that people have been making little travel palettes by cutting holes in polymer clay sheets and putting them in little altoids tins.
And THEN, I fell in love with this ceramic palette, which was not only unavailable, but was also a large and open type of palette that I didn't want. Since polymer clay can be used by anyone to make anything, it didn't take long to come up with a plan.
I already had the perfect tin for it. I bought this $11 set of crayons many years ago but never really enjoyed using them. But the tin they came in was the perfect compact size, a very interesting (almost square) shape, and had a very solid fitting lid. Plus, it's metal, which means I can build my clay creation directly inside of it and throw the whole thing into the oven when ready.
While the nautilus shape I fell in love with is pretty common, it felt weird to take an idea so directly... so I decided to sit down and fill a page with ideas anyway, just in case something better came along. In the end, I still went with nautilus as it felt the right level of "challenging, yet realistic" and was what I really wanted.
It took a long time to build up this shape using clay strips (on a bottom flat layer of clay). Polymer clay sticks to itself so nicely. It's much easier than working with real clay - it doesn't dry out while you're working with it, it doesn't become "overworked" and mushy, it doesn't need to be kneaded forever, you don't need to fire it in a kiln, and you don't have to worry about it exploding in the oven. Kids can use this stuff.
Here is my first attempted palette, after it's been baked. I glued on a tiny piece of broken pottery in the "center" of the spiral. If this was a plastic palette, I probably would have built it outside the box, but just the right size to glue it into the box after it's baked. Next challenge! Heh. Each ridge is much more solid than I was expecting, so I am pretty optimistic about how well this will work after I get the paints!
I glued on a laser print of my artwork to the lid of the tin, and coated that with acrylic gel medium to protect it. Now it's a pretty, and extremely personalized paint tin. It's pretty heavy, actually. Polymer clay is not very lightweight! I am very excited, not just to use it, but to make more palettes to try out more design options! You know, for fun.
I filmed the entire process itself. You can watch me make this palette on youtube!
It happened again. Another handsome insect was found wedged deep inside of a head of romaine lettuce. I don't know how far these lettuces travel, or how long they spend in refrigeration before they are shuttled off and sold, but somehow, the trapped insects just roll with it.
This time it is a beautiful Painted Lady butterfly! It has quite a bit of wing damage and I am very surprised that she is alive and standing. I can't tell how many legs are still working.
I'm having difficulty with deciding what to do with it. I usually prefer to set bugs free once everyone is ready. Thing is, it's mid December, it's 4*C and it's raining - not butterfly weather! I haven't seen her successfully fly yet, either. She seems interested in the orange slices.
Once reaching the butterfly stage, these ladies only have a lifespan of about two weeks. Who knows how long Gary has been a butterfly? How long was she wedged in the lettuce? Where did that lettuce grow? How far did it travel? Is Gary male or female? Were any eggs laid? What is this bug's life story??
Hello! I'm Melissa, and here you'll find some behind-the-scenes footage of an artful life. Won't you join me?