Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Artist's Corner A/V Club: Watercolor Lettering

Robot Tuesday's Artist's Corner is going techno!  Technological, that is.  I'm adding a new feature: The Artist's Corner A/V Club instructional videos.  My first one is a bit of an experiment, both in subject matter and video execution.  In other words, I hadn't done watercolor lettering before, and it was my first time making this type of video.  (Here's a link to it on YouTube.)

I didn't do a voiceover, so here are the basic instructions for doing watercolor lettering.

Step 1. Gather your supplies: a small piece of watercolor paper, a pencil (I prefer HB or harder when drawing something out for a painting), watercolor paints, a small round brush, water cup, paper towel.

Step 2. Write out the letter or word that you're going to be painting.  For the C, I did simple bubble lettering with a little flourish.  For my name and "Watercolor Lettering" (at the beginning of the video), I wrote it out in cursive, and then added lines to make a ribbon-like effect.

*Tip* When I do a watercolor painting, I don't like the pencil lines to show.  So, after I draw something out, I will take a kneaded eraser, roll it up into a snake (like you used to do as a kid with Play-doh) and carefully roll it over what I've drawn to lighten up all of the lines.

Step 3. Paint!  I did a wet-on-dry technique, where the paper wasn't wetted down before painting (more on that in another tutorial).  If you're just starting out it might be good to do some larger letters first until you get the hang of it, and then go to smaller.  Make sure your brush fits the size, too.  Small brush for small letter, etc.

The key with this is, as you did with your coloring books as a child, to stay inside the lines!  Take your time - in this case water marks (what happens when some of the paint dries before the rest) can be a good thing and can create a cool effect.

Choose your color palette beforehand and make sure the colors you choose are wet and ready to go before you start.  I chose an Alizarin Crimson (my favorite!), Cadmium Red, an orange (that I mixed), Dioxazine Violet, and a cool yellow for a little detail.  Let the colors mix as you paint!

Let me know how they turn out!  If you have questions, post them here or email me at katherinedownieartist(at)gmail(dot)com.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Six Impossible Things

"Only if you believe it is." - Mad Hatter
"Sometimes I believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Alice
"That is an excellent practice." - Hatter

After watching this movie recently, I got to thinking about impossible things.  In Wonderland, some of the impossible things Alice thinks of are things like: animals can talk, there is a cake that will make you shrink and a drink that will make you grow, and cats can disappear.  

I decided that for us, there are three different types of "impossible" things.  (There may be more, but this is what I came up with.)

1. The first kind are more like affirmations or a way to try to convince ourselves that something that seems impossible can actually happen.  Examples: "My hair will do what I want it to do today." "I can lose those last few pounds!"

2. The second type of impossible things are reminders of things that we've already accomplished (formerly in the type 1 category) that encourage us in the next seemingly impossible task that faces us.  Examples: "If I made it through that last blind date, I can certainly survive this one."  "I ran two miles yesterday, I can do it again today!"

3. The final sort are things that you just cannot believe are happening/have happened.  Examples: "New Kids on the Block did a reunion tour and I saw them!" (True...!)  "A man walked on the moon!"  (Hoax?)

Having finished grad school in December, I'm now faced with the daunting task!  Getting a job, finding my place in the world outside of being a student, and deciding where to live all seem like a Jabberwocky in front of me.

This is where Alice's practice comes in.  I try to remind myself of impossible things - things I've accomplished, affirmations, amazing facts, whatever it takes!  Here are a few of my Impossible Things:

1. I served a mission for my church for a year and a half in Thailand.  This included learning to read, write, and speak Thai and I was allowed to talk on the phone to my family only twice a year.

2. I survived grad school, and now I have a Bachelor's and a Master's degree, both in a field that I love.

3. Planes can fly.  (I know there are scientific explanations for this, but isn't it still CRAZY?!?)

4. I saw New Kids on the Block in concert last year. (Yes, I already mentioned this, but MAN, that was an awesome concert!)

5. I got a job the week I graduated with my Bachelor's degree, in my field!  (It can happen again, right?!)

When I think of these impossible things, much like when Alice was about to fight the Jabberwocky, I gain a little perspective and hope.  If these things are possible, then why not what I'm facing??  Finding a job in my field doesn't seem quite so much like a monster I can't defeat.  

So, as I face the monster of all the challenges that lay ahead, I quote Alice: