Drawing Faces

As part of my efforts of drawing people and illustrating characters, I’ve been practicing drawing faces in a few different ways. I’m not going for portraits or realistic renderings, just fun characters.

I adore how this page turned out! I used a photo reference of faces from Ukraine and gave each person a little frame.

This page started out as watercolor blobs and I added facial features with colored pencils. It feels silly which is fun because some of the faces are based on photos of people in my day-job office. Shhh! I also started a page of color swatches for skin, hair, highlights and accents for reference.

You know my motto, practice, practice, practice! Keep checking back for more progress and experimentation.

Characters with Pets

I’m having fun continuing to practice, practice, practice drawing people and illustrating characters. Lately, I’ve been adding a little buddy to each of my characters, which just adds that little extra sparkle to a character’s personality and the sketchbook page.

I am also really loving working with colored pencils these days. Most of my illustrations over the years have been graphite, ink and watercolor, so it feels like trying this medium is really expanding my illustration skills.

Character Development

I came up with a new illustration project that it would be fun to draw ancestors on my family tree so I’ve been practicing drawing people using the weekly photo prompt provided by @housecatillustration.

I’ve also been practicing using colored pencils which has been a nice break from my usual watercolor illustrations.

When I first noticed the character drawing prompt photos on Instagram, I was intimidated and apprehensive to try. Now I have become obsessed with drawing people and characters!

The Prompt was Celestial

The latest art prompt I worked on was celestial. This prompt really resonated with me because I go outside every night the skies are clear to look at the moon and stars. I’ve been on a mission lately to learn more constellations.

I had a lot of fun dreaming up illustrations with a celestial theme, from the sweet stargazing animals above to the steampunk-framed vignettes below.

I had to experiment with some hand-lettering and a “wreath” of planets, stars and celestial icons floating around the sayings.

Of course, I always adore painting the beautiful planet Earth, dreamy planets and moon phases, which are a fun way to play with watercolors and lots of water to see the cool blooms emerge.

I am working on a new prompt for my next series of illustrations, but I plan to continue with the celestial illustrations since the ideas keep flowing.

2021 Recap

I went through my photo library from 2021 to find the good moments, and there were a lot considering it was another tough year.

My first illustrated children’s picture book was published! It was a lot of fun work, drawing and painting the scenes, designing the layout, ordering the books, designing stickers and fun marketing materials and promoting it. I’m already halfway through illustrating our second book.

I filled up a lot of sketchbooks and made a lot of art. If I had to pick just a few of my favorite illustrations from this past year, I would choose these top nine:

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Looking back through my sketchbook art, I always wish I made more art!

I took a lot of pictures of the birds in my backyard and the squirrel shenanigans. If I had to pick some of my favorite nature photography of backyard critters and birds from this past year (with a couple from my trip to Florida in March), I would choose these top nine:

I am so grateful I got to travel to Naples, Florida before the world shutdown. I also got to spend time at my parents’ lake house on Lake Michigan in Door County and go on a few adventures close to home. If I had to pick some of my favorite adventures from this past year, I would choose these top nine:

The year 2021 was another tough year so I’m happy to have found so many good moments that made me happy. Cheers to 2022!

Christmas Preparations

For our Christmas celebration, I created a lovely set of place cards to help decorate and personalize our tablescape, similar to the set I made for the Thanksgiving holiday.

I created a set of wreath greeting cards a few years ago as an experiment. Illustrating wreaths always seems to be a trendy thing so I wanted to try it.

I love how they turned out so I used them as inspiration to create matching place cards.

I’m on a roll so I’m going to try these for our New Year’s Eve festivities, even though we stay home, make appetizers and watch movies. Check back to see how those turn out.

I think it would be so fun to sell custom name tags like this as a little side gig. Would you order a set for your family gathering?

If you celebrate Christmas, cheers and enjoy your time with family, good food and a little break from work.

December Art Prompts

There were so many wonderful art and illustration prompts circulating in December. I’m excited to share the new illustrations I created in my sketchbook for the #Advent_Challenge2021, many of which were inspired by my own December daily doodle project.

Traipsing through the snow

Christmas Robin

Candlelight

Visiting a Christmas Market

Rooftops

Cabin in the Woods

Christmas Star

I love how these turned out so I’m excited to do something fun with them.

It’s the most wonderful time of year!

Bookstore Reading

We had a wonderful time at the Rare Vision Books’ Christmas in the Depot Town Event in Genesee Depot on Saturday December 11.

We joined fellow Wisconsin authors and illustrators for a Christmas event at Rare Vision Books for reading from our newest books. Deb was so wonderful at reading from our first picture book!

We also enjoyed the wonderful Christmas vibe while patrons waited to meet Santa.

We have a limited edition set available which includes an adorable Roxy the Fox plushie and our new book.

It’s always a treat to meet other local authors and share tips and experiences. We had a jolly time!

December Sketchbook Art

I started a new plan this year to create seasonal art by setting up a new sketchbook each month, brainstorming a theme, color palette, surface pattern, greeting card to hand-letter and character sketches and vignettes for little stories. I’m a very in-the-moment kind of person so I’m hoping this will help me establish seasonal art I can promote over the next year, in advance of the season to allow time for publishing and manufacturing.

I painted this pattern in my December sketchbook for a wrapping paper or greeting card design.

I also hand-lettered a greeting card design in two different sizes, a square shape and a rectangular shape.

Next up I’m working on a few woodland animal character sketches for little story vignettes.

One of my favorite things to do is simply draw an animal or scene with a pencil but I also love painting, so I’m excited to see these little illustrations come to live with watercolor!

It’s the most wonderful time of year!