Episode 51

Hello, dears!

This week I have something a little different than my usual watercolor art for you today. 🙂 Quite different, in fact: in this post I shall give you guys a tutorial on how to make a cute owl with graphite and colored pencil shavings! 😀

But first, the inspiration behind the art:

Art Inspiration:

neat!

{via}

Pretty neat, isn’t it? I’ve seen things like this before and I think it’s a great idea, so I decided to make something like it myself! Let’s get started.

You will need the following:

  • paper or a canvas of some sort (I used an ATC)
  • sketching pencils or a normal pencil
  • a tortillon/blending stump or a tissue
  • a hand sharpener (NO WAIT I mean a pencil sharpener, but not an electric one XD)
  • colored pencils
  • liquid glue (I used Mod Podge but Elmer’s glue or Tacky Glue would also work)
  1. Begin by lightly sketching a rounded rectangle onto your paper. owl 1
  2. Sketch a wide “u” at the top of the rectangle to shape the owl’s “horns.” owl 2
  3. Fill out the horns, and add a small teardrop-shaped beak. owl 3
  4. Make the eyes. Don’t make either the iris or the pupils complete circles for a more realistic look. owl 4
  5. Start shading. I colored the pupils with my darkest pencil (soft ones in the “B” range work well), leaving a small highlight, and then shaded the iris darker at the top, gradually fading toward the bottom. Don’t worry too much about the rest of the facial details because we’ll fix them up in the next step… owl 5
  6. Now take your blending tool and soften everything but the eyes. As you can see, I made my owl quite soft and fluffy. You can keep yours more neat and trim if you wish. 🙂 After all smudging is complete, darken any areas that might need it. I also added a starburst of lines around the owl’s eyes for a cute detail. I suggest skipping to #8 at this point, if you want to learn from my mistakes. XD owl 7
  7. Now the fun part! If your sharpener is already full of colorful shavings, you can use those, but otherwise you’ll need to sharpen some bright colored pencils. Turn the pencil slowly and firmly to get a nice shaving. My pencils were already so sharp that it hardly worked to sharpen them again, so your feathers might look different (and better!) than mine. Glue them on from the bottom up, overlapping the shavings as you ascend the owl’s body. owl 8
  8. I really should have added the wings first because they were hard to color in without breaking off the shavings, but oh well. XD Now add two parallel curves on both sides for wings, and two little feet holding on to a branch. If you took my advice and skipped #7, go back and do it now. owl 10

And you’re done!

owl 11

Nothing very complicated or impressively realistic, but fun for different, I think. 🙂 I love how the colored shavings pop against the gray graphite, don’t you? Oh, and I covered my ATC with packing tape to protect the feathers once I was done, but you don’t have to if yours are glued down well enough.

What do you think? Did it turn out pretty cute? Have you ever used colored pencil shavings to make art or used an art supply in an unexpected way?

Oh yes, and if you make art inspired by this piece, we’d love to see it! Check out this page  to help us fill our art gallery. 😀

Thanks for reading, dears, and have a lovely day!

***Allison***

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Episode 31

erase artist's block

WOOHOO Art Lab is back! I’m so excited to show you guys the post for today: 20 simple art prompts to help you erase artist’s block. 😀

Alright. So I’m going to give you the art prompts, explain each one a bit, and show you some of the art I’ve made using the prompts. Quite a few of these work especially well for ATCs, but you can use your sketchbook, a canvas, whatever! Ready?

Go.

  1. Draw a colorful black and white animal. Because art is great for showing things you never see. Paint a colorful panda, zebra, penguin… skunk. Have fun. I made this ATC ages ago…DSCN8577
  2. Draw your favorite music. Put on your playlist and draw what you hear. What color is the song? Blue, yellow, black, pink? Is it a soft, wavy line or an angry spiky one? Draw three or five of your favorite songs stacked on top of each other and frame it.
  3. Paint a pretty background and write a word/quote on top. Super simple, super pretty. I like to use watercolor and black or white gel pen. Look up pretty fonts on Pinterest if you like. art 4
  4. Use a white gel pen to doodle on black paper. This is SO satisfying and fun! I did another (rather short) Art Lab post about it here.
  5. Draw a huge picture of a tiny thing, and vice versa. A crumb, a bug, a part of your fingerprint… fill the whole page and draw in lots of detail. On the other hand, how small can you draw an elephant that still looks like an elephant? I know cats aren’t exactly huge, but I did draw them tiny. art 5
  6. Pick three markers without looking and only use those for a drawing. If you watch art videos on YouTube, you may know this as the Three Marker Challenge. 🙂 Somehow only having limited colors seems to kickstarts your creativity.
  7. Draw a close-up of a tiny detail of something. The stitching on your jeans, your dog’s nose, the center of a flower… I’ll bet a collage of several close-ups would look really neat! Like those mystery pictures in the backs of magazines. It’s also fun to draw several close-up views of one object: your cat’s eye, paw, nose, ear, whiskers, and put them together.
  8. Paint something by not painting. Negative space is fun to play with. I think watercolor is especially neat for this technique. It works well to paint the whole page with water except the silhouette of what you’re drawing, then swirl on some paint. What do you know, another cat.art 3
  9. Draw your dream house and decorate it. Or your dream bedroom, or craft studio, or kitchen. Who knows, this drawing might come in handy when you get a chance to build it!
  10. Close your eyes and scribble. Turn it into a drawing. This is a super fun and simple prompt, which I also made a post about here.
  11. Draw a silhouette with a galaxy behind it. Actually draw the galaxy first, but you know. And guess what? I ALSO made posts about how to draw galaxies! What do you know. There’s one here and one here. Once you’ve made the galaxy, draw a silhouette of a wolf, a person, a tree – the possibilities are endless (maybe)! Or you could draw a galaxy silhouette.art 8
  12. Draw on something unusual. A leaf, a crumpled brown paper bag, yesterday’s newspaper, an old book page, etc.
  13. Use words instead of lines to draw. Draw yourself a story. Instead of drawing lines, write tiny words. Instead of coloring something in, color it in with different colors of words.
  14. Draw a picture of what nothing would look like if it was something. I… don’t even know if this is possible. If you do it, I WANT TO SEE IT!
  15. Draw what smiling and crying feels like. Don’t actually draw someone smiling or crying. Use colors and lines (and objects besides people or facial features) to convey the feeling.
  16. Fill up a page with different versions of the same thing. Draw a hedgehog twenty different ways. Draw ten different cats. Fifteen different trees. It’s fun. CPC 3 (1038x1280)
  17. Draw with a non-art supply. Try using coffee, makeup, dirt, nail polish, smashed berries, food coloring, or whatever else you can find.
  18. Cover a page in lines, circles, or patterns, and watercolor on top. Another super simple but super pretty prompt! Just keep in mind that if you draw with a pen, you’ll need to let the ink dry before watercoloring over it. art 2
  19. Paint yourself without using lines – only colors that describe you. Go for sort of an impressionistic style here I guess. Use blotches of color instead of smooth lines, just for interesting.
  20. Fill a page with watercolor swatches and doodle on top. SO FUN! I got this idea from Pinterest here. And this is mine:

art 1

That was fun! I hope these ideas inspired you, dears. Which one was your favorite? Would you like to see more art prompt posts like this?

If you drew something inspired by these prompts, I’d love to see it! Click here to see how to send in a picture of your art and help us fill our gallery over at the Art Lab blog.

Also, here’s an image especially made for pinning if you want to save this to Pinterest for future reference. 😉

art block pin

Thanks for reading, and have fun! 😀

***Allison***

Episode 30

Halloo, guys! I’m excited to present a simple tutorial for drawing faces! 😀 I’ve heard a lot of you say “I CANNOT draw people” or “faces are SO hard,” and you know what? I kinda agree. People can be really hard to draw. But you can do it! Today I’m going to show you an easy way to draw a face with just a pencil and paper, and then I’ll show you some different combinations you can use to get all sorts of interesting characters. 🙂

So. To begin, here’s how to draw an average, boring face without looking off a photo of a person. XD (I – and probably you too – can draw a better face when looking off of a picture, but sometimes you just want to make up something, right?)

Ahem.

Technique: Drawing Faces

Step One:

Sketch out an upside-down egg shape for the face and two short curved lines below for a neck. A grid like this is nice if you need help with the placement of the features (like I do). Just draw a vertical line down the middle of the face and a horizontal one between a half and a third down the face. You can see that my sketch is far from perfect, but that’s okay. We’ll touch it up as we go.

face 1 (853x1280)

Step Two:

Using the grid, draw two oval or almond-shaped eyes. (You can add more grid lines if you like, but you don’t need to.) Eyes are usually smaller than you think, at least in my case. I drew these a bit too big. Getting them symmetrical is hard, but you know what? In reality, no one’s eyes are perfectly symmetrical – look in the mirror!

face 2 (953x1280)

 

Step Three:

One common mistake made when drawing eyes is to draw the iris as a whole circle. Unless you are surprised or unusually pop-eyed, you won’t be able to see the whole iris. So make your circle go off the eyeball, like this:

face 3 (1280x853)

Step Four:

Draw a tiny circle towards one side for the highlight, and a bigger, filled-in circle (or dot) for the pupil. Also draw a curved line above and below each eye for the eyelids.

face 4 (1280x853)

Step Five:

Draw the eyelashes. This can be pretty tricky, and I think I drew too many eyelashes here. From far away, you can only see a few individual spikes of eyelashes, not a whole fringe. (Again, look in the mirror if you need help.)

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Step Six:

Heh heh, this would usually be where you color in the irises, but I kind of forgot about it until step ten. XD You can skip to there now if you’d like or just do it later.

Anyway, now we need the nose. Draw two curved lines (kind of like you did with the neck) for the bridge of the nose, and two parentheses-like curved lines below it. How far apart you make them determines how big the nose is, as well as how far down on the face you put them.

face 6 (1280x853)

Step Seven:

Curve your parentheses around a bit more to look like “C’s” facing each other. Then connect the bottoms with a wide curve or “U.”

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Step Eight:

For the top of the lips, make a flattened “M” shape, which I think looks kind of like a flying bird. 🙂

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Step Nine:

Connect the two ends of the “M” with a long curve. You can make it almost flat or very arched depending on how full you want the lips to be. Draw a line in the middle that echoes the curves of the top lip line.

face 9 (1280x853)

Step Ten:

Now I remembered to color in the eyes. XD A simple way to do this is to color a dark line around the outside of the iris and fill it in with lighter pencil. Make sure to darken especially the top of the iris to make it look more realistic.

face 11 (1280x853)

Step Eleven:

Now for the hair, which I am pretty terrible at. XD Oh well, you can tell it’s hair at least.

Using the face shape sketch you did at the very beginning, curve the hair around the head like so. (I decided to make the head a little shorter than I had originally sketched.) For this hairstyle, I kind of drew two elongated teardrop or comma shapes that meet at the middle line of the face grid.

Also now is the time to define the face shape at the jaw and chin. You kind of just have to play around with this part and experiment. A more round, curved jawline will look like a younger face, and a sharper, more angular jawline will look older or more masculine.

face 12 (1195x1280)

Step Twelve:

Start shading the hair. WAIT, DON’T PANIC BECAUSE I SAID SHADING. This is very simple. Draw darker, closer together lines beside the neck and at the top of the head, and lighter, farther apart lines for the rest of the hair. Don’t draw many lines at all at the top sides of the head, which will make the hair look more shiny and highlighted. Leave a little gap where the two sides of the hair meet for a part. Or just look at the picture and figure it out for yourself. XD

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Step Thirteen:

Finish shading the hair. Also *facepalm* I almost forgot the eyebrows. XD Oh well, you can add those sooner or later, it doesn’t really matter. But you should add them or the face will look kind of weird and blank. Eyebrows are simple: just draw a bunch or really short, slightly curved lines. Or you can draw just a single curved line for an even simpler, less realistic version.

Lastly, erase any grid lines and smudges, add shading around the face and under the neck if you want to (you don’t have to), and you’re done! Ta-da!

To tell the truth, this isn’t my best portrait. The face is too round, the eyes are too big… but that’s alright. This is what you have to do – if it doesn’t turn out good the first time, do it a second… and a third, and a fourth. 🙂

face 16 (916x1280)

Now since you know how to put everything together, here are some ways to change up the facial features. It’s so fun to try different combinations!

Here’s another Art Lab post I did on how to draw eyes: Episode 23.

faces 1 (1280x1277)faces 2 (1280x853)faces 3 (1280x1087)faces 4 (1280x1048)faces 5 (1280x1033)

faces 6 (909x1280)

Have fun mixing and matching! Also before you go, I wanted to show you a colored pencil face drawing I did off of different pictures. You can tell I do a lot better when I look off of something. XD

Which little cutie is your favorite?

girls drawing (1024x377).jpg

Well, I hope you found this tutorial helpful! Would you like me to do another face tutorial, like maybe how to do colored pencil portraits or profile portraits or an easier or harder version? What do you want to learn how to draw? Maybe I can do the next Art Lab from one of your suggestions!

Thanks for reading, dears, and have fun drawing!

***Allison***

Episode 25

Guys, guys, guys, look! It’s the 25th Art Lab post! WOOP WOOP! And today I’m doing something a little different, to celebrate. Okay, not really to celebrate – it’s mostly because I wanted to, but we can say it’s to celebrate, right? 😛 Ahem. As I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, today I’m just going to post some pictures of some of my recent art rather than using someone else’s art as inspiration. I’m always inspired when I look through bloggers’ art posts, so I hope this post inspires you to sit down and start drawing! 😀

First up I have a few ATCs. (If you don’t know what Arist Trading Cards are, I highly recommend you click here to find out! They’re so much fun!) Some of these are recent and some are not so recent.

YAY doughnuts! Yummy. I really like this one. 🙂

art (21) (1280x853)

I did these watercolor cherries from a tutorial on Pinterest. They turned out great – if you don’t look at the cherries on the tutorial, that is. XD

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I love this quote/verse thingy, and have a canvas with these words on my bed.

art (23) (1280x853)

We learned about geraniums in Nature Study, so I decided to draw one on an ATC.

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I made this ATC ages ago, but I still love it. 🙂

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This is the first page (besides the title page) in my new sketchbook. Eh, could be better, but it least it’s welcoming. XD

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It’s a rainbow lion! It didn’t turn out quite like I had hoped, but I still like it.

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I liked drawing the lion’s eyes so much that I did another one on a separate page.

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Ahhhh, I love this one! I wish our roosters looked this pretty. 😛 I actually just finished this today with my new Prismacolor colored pencil set. It took me several days to draw this, but I’m very pleased with how it turned out! (And in case you’re wondering, I did look off of a photo.)

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This is another of my absolute favorites! On my birthday I decided I wanted to draw a fox. I had a picture in my mind, and what do you know – I got it down on paper and it actually looked good! XD I didn’t copy anything but I did look off of some photos and drawings for reference. She’s such a cute wittle thing, don’t you agree?

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I drew this for my horse-loving friends, and for those of you who requested a horse drawing. Here you go, girls!

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Here’s another ATC which I drew a long time ago. I think it’s so funny but neat. XD

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Another mandala ATC…

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I drew this for art class because my art teacher wanted me to experiment with an art medium I’d never used before. I was like, “Um… I can’t really think of any art supplies that I have at home but have never used.” XD Finally we came up with artist’s pastels! It was fun to experiment, but I don’t especially like how easily they smudge.

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My little sister thinks this picture is so weird. XD
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And this one too. 😛 Well they’re kind of SUPPOSED to be weird, so…

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I haven’t finished this one yet and probably won’t for a long time, but I wanted to show you guys how it looks so far. I had the idea to make a collage of barcodes, and I think it’s looking really neat! I’m only using the ones off of receipts, so it’s going to take a while to collect enough to cover the whole page. Heh heh.

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A random Sharpie doodle…

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I love how this one turned out. I’m kind of proud that I could get the highlights to look fairly realistic because I usually have trouble with them. 😛

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Just in case you were wondering, my little sister LOVES this one. XD

We were playing around with charcoal in Art Class, and this is what my practice page turned out like:

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Here’s my actual drawing made with charcoal:

art (3) (1280x853)

And last but not least, one of my very favorite favorites, a picture I drew of Bethany from a photo Loren’s gorgeous post. I just LOVE how it turned out! The background was inspired by a super good teenage artist named Sydney Nielsen that I follow on Instagram. She also has a YouTube channel here. You should check it out – she’s really amazing!

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Are you inspired yet? XD I hope so! Which was your favorite piece of art from this post?

Also, I wondered if you have any drawing requests for me! I’m not guaranteeing I’ll draw whatever you ask, but I’d sure love to hear your suggestions and I’ll definitely try some of them!

Thanks for reading, dears, and have a lovely day (or night). ♄

***Allison***

Episode 23

I am so excited to show you guys this episode of Art Lab! As you may know, I absolutely love drawing and photographing eyes, so I thought this would be a fun post to do. 🙂

Art Prompt:

The inspiration for today is this amazing tutorial (also shown below). The end result seriously looks like a photo, doesn’t it?

The reflection is what I have trouble with...:

AHHHH, I love it! Mine looks more like a drawing and less like a photo, but I’m still quite pleased with how it turned out. 😀

DSC_0627 (800x533).jpg

It was sooo much fun to draw! Today I’m going to show you a few tips and tricks I’ve learned from this and other tutorials and help you avoid some common mistakes. Now I am NOT saying I don’t make mistakes, because I do, and plenty of ’em! When you make a mistake you can’t fix, sometimes you just have to figure out what went wrong and start over. I know you’ve heard this about 2 billion times in your life, but seriously: if you want to get good at something, art included, just keep practicing! Sometimes you have to fail once or several times before you succeed.

Mistake #1: Eyelashes

Eyelashes can be incredibly hard to draw, am I right? They give me a lot of trouble sometimes. But here are some things to keep in mind that might help.

  • Most people’s eyelashes are not perfectly straight and thick like American Girl Doll eyelashes. It’s a sad fact of life, my friends. (Actually, maybe not so sad – that would be kind of creepy. XD ) Look in the mirror: eyelashes cross over each other and are often bunched together in little clusters.eye 11 (1280x853)
  • Lashes aren’t as thick and dark at the top as at the bottom. Press your pencil down hard when you start at the base of the eyelash and not as much as you curve the line upwards.
  • Peoples’ bottom set of eyelashes can actually be pretty long (or not, depending on the person). Draw them lighter and more sparsely than the top set. And again, they aren’t perfectly straight and thick. I think eyelashes in the bottom set cross over each other especially much. (Look at the “Art Inspiration” at the beginning of this post for an example.)

Mistake #2: The White of the Eye

Often people leave the white of the eye just that – blank white. But the truth is, your eyelid and eyelashes cast shadows on it, so it’s not perfectly white. Shade and smudge around the inner edges of your eye to make it really pop.

eye 12 (1280x853)

Now that you know what to avoid, I wanted to do a little tutorial for you guys. I already showed you the super amazing, super realistic tutorial for the art inspiration, but it was a bit hard to follow, wasn’t it? This tutorial should be easier to follow, even if it’s not as amazing. 😉

Step 1: Draw the shape of the eye. It’s a rounded almond shape, wider or thinner depending on the person. Don’t forget to add a rounded triangle thingy for the tear duct.

1

Step 2: Draw the iris, pupil, and highlight. (I just did a simple circle highlight for this tutorial.) Don’t draw the iris as a complete circle because you can’t see the whole iris in real life unless you’re opening your eye really wide. Sketch out the pupil until you find a satisfactory size – a too-small pupil can end up looking kind of weird.

Now add a curved line for the eyelid on top and another curved line at the bottom.

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Step 3: Every person’s iris is different, but for this tutorial I went with sort of a starburst pattern. It’s okay if it isn’t perfect because it’s not always perfect in real life! Add a bunch of irregular dark lines coming out from the pupil.

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Step 4: Color in the pupil the darkest you can and try to pull out the dark pigment into those lines surrounding it.

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Step 5: Ooh, this is an exciting step! Finish the iris by adding more dark, inward pointing lines around the outside of the iris. Shade the top of the iris darker – remember those shadows! I smudged the pencil a bit in the middle of the iris where the starburst was to blend everything together.

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Step 6: Woohoo, looking good! See what a difference those shadows make? Shade the top of the eye, the corners of the eye, and the tear duct. Smudge the pencil with your fingers to smooth out the shading.

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Step 7: Add the eyelashes, and ta-daa! For extra credit and realism, you can shade the skin around the eye too, which I didn’t show here. (Note: Oops, the eyelashes didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. I think I should have made them darker, longer, but not as close together. Remember what I was saying about making mistakes? Heh heh. XD Oh well, better luck next time!)

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And there you have it! I hope this post was helpful to all you wonderful artists out there. 🙂 Do you have any tips for drawing eyes to share with me and the other readers?

Happy drawing! 😀

***Allison***

P. S. If you want to see another fun tutorial for drawing eyes, be sure to check out Anika’s post here! Her tutorial is super easy to follow (unlike mine maybe, heh heh) and shows you how to draw pretty, colorful eyes with pen and watercolors. I especially love all the expressions she did with the eyes at the end. XD 😀