Splatter Inky Illustrations in Adobe Fresco

My latest Skillshare class just launched and I’m so excited to be working again in Adobe Fresco.

For this class we’ll be creating digital inky splatter illustrations using Fresco’s Live Watercolor Brushes. They are seriously cool brushes and using them to create inky splatter illustrations has been such fun.

I have to thank you all for supporting all my classes. I know you’re going to love this inky class and the best part there is NO MESS!!

If you aren’t a current member of Skillshare… Follow the link to get 2 free months of Skillshare premium if you’re a new student!!

By becoming a Premium member, you’ll get access to ALL classes on that platform.

What is Skillshare?

Skillshare is an online learning community. When you join and become a premium member on Skillshare, you get instant access to thousands of classes…Including ALL of Mine!! You have access to theses unlimited classes as long as you’re a premium member! Membership is $15 a month or $99 a year, depending on your subscription plan

Using Color Swatches in Collage Journals

I hope you all had a chance to play with color last week and that you were able to discover which colors evoked emotions. Were you able to find a color palettes that spoke to you? What did you decide to create with your selected color palette?

During my color play the purples were calling to me. The mood I was in this week was a bit dark, but there were moments of hope and for me purple inspires me without being overly bright and cheery.

I decided to use the color swatches in my collage travel journal. I went through my ephemera stash to find things that I felt would work well with the color palette I had created.

Watch the video below to see my process.

Explore Your Favorite Color Palette

This week we’re continuing to explore colors and how colors affect our emotions. Your project will be to create color swatches and color mixing charts using watercolor paints.

Colors Swatches

Starting with the paints you currently have on hand. I want you to swatch out each color so you can get a true sense of the base colors you have. If you only have a limited palette of primary colors, that’s ok to start with. If you’ve got a couple of palettes or lots of miscellaneous paint tubes lying around, I want you to swatch those out, so you get a clear idea of what colors you are starting with.

Once the swatches have dried, I want you to select your favorite colors. The ones that the second you saw them; you felt a pull in your gut. The emotions these colors may have brought up could be happy and joyful or even a bit sad and lonely, but for whatever reason, they spoke to you. That’s the feeling I want you to focus on for the next step of this assignment.

Color swatch palettes are such fun to make. They are not only relaxing, but they are beautiful in their simplicity. 

These can be used as bookmarks, or even framed and hung on your walls. They can be added to art journals and collage journals. 

I have these little color palettes all over my office and I find them in old books all the time. 

Color Mixing Charts

This can be really fun to explore your current paints and all the amazing colors they can create. A very limited palette can create a plethora of beautiful colors, so don’t think you can do this step if you only have a couple of colors.

I’ve included a 6-color mixing chart for you to download and use as a template when creating your own color mixing charts.

Using a lightbox, or even a window to trace the chart onto the watercolor paper of your choice. I like to use Canson Cold Press Watercolor Paper in 140lb.

There are a few ways of creating color mixing charts, but for today I’m going to show you two different ways. 

Option 1: Same color selections on horizontal and vertical lines.

Once you have your chart traced onto your paper, paint the first vertical column with your selected colors. I like to use a deeper color in this color. In other words, use less water when picking up your paint. On the horizontal row, use the same six colors, but this time add a little more water to create mid-tone colors. Finally, add a light wash, by adding a lot more water to your paint selections and add those down the diagonal line.

Once your colors have dried add the names of your paint colors for future reference.

Now that the first lines are dry, let’s begin to color mix.

When color mixing, I use the deeper colors on the first vertical column, add in a smidge of the horizontal mid-tone color and mix together, then add the paint to the correct box. I work through the entire sheet this way.

Then when filling in the remaining colors, you’ll take the mid-tone colors from the horizontal line and add a smidge of the deeper tone from the vertical column and mix together, painting in the remaining boxes.

Option 2 Mixing different colors together

For this option, you’ll select 6 colors for the horizontal row and 6 colors for the vertical column. Working through the sheet the same way as option 1, but this time you’ll be mixing different colors together and creating new colors, rather than mixing the same colors with different tones.

Project

The final piece of this week’s project is to create something with your color palettes or color mixing. The options are unlimited so let your imagination run wild. I’m not going to give you a ton of direction on this one because I want to see what you come up with. 

My hope is you’ll share your projects with us. I’d love to see your palettes and what you created with them. Tag me so I can see everything using #monthlycreativeconversation 

Next week I’ll share the project (along with process video) I created using my selected colors. Have fun this week making swatches and color mixes. Turn on some music or your favorite Netflix show and let the colors play together. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

Color and Your Emotions

For 2020 I’ve decided to select a theme for each month and then focus on that.

This is how it’ll work.

Week 1: I’ll introduce the theme and write a post on that topic.

Week 2: I’ll send out an assignment. A fun project that will have you exploring the month’s topic. I’ll even share some fun color palettes and mood boards to get you inspired. We’ll even have a #hashtag to use so we can see what everyone is creating.

Week 3: I’ll share my own project. I’ll be sharing process videos and my own inspiration for the project.

Week 4: The final week will be a wrap-up on the month’s happenings. Things I’ve read, interesting things/articles I’ve found around the internet. I’ll share beach updates and found treasures. It’ll be a fun way to share all that’s happened.

Color and Your Emotions

Colors affect our emotions. There is no doubt about the impact color has on each of us. During my research on the subject, I found that the colors we typically think inspire certain emotions aren’t the same in each culture. White is typically thought of as peaceful, pure and innocent, but in Eastern cultures, however, white is linked to death and sadness…as it’s typically used in funerals and other mourning rituals.

One of the things I love about color is that it can affect us on such a personal level, truly giving a voice to emotions we may not even be able to express with words.

After we lost our baby boy and I was in bed recovering from all the surgeries and physical trauma words were not possible. I was in such pain physically and emotionally that I literally couldn’t find the words to express the pain, anger, fear and utter sadness I was feeling. However, through color, I was able to do so.

Art was my journey. Art and color allowed me to express emotions I couldn’t otherwise express. There were days that my color palette was muted or monochromatic because I couldn’t see color. The pain was so dark and thick I couldn’t see through it. Yet, there were days bright colors found their way to my palette and it felt freeing and refreshing to use such bold, bright colors.

I think one of my favorite kid’s movies is Inside Out because not only are they giving a voice to children’s emotions, but through color, they were able to provide a visual representation. I remember the first time I saw that movie, it made me cry. I had little kids at the time and I was thrilled Pixar had given a voice to their emotions.

This month our focus here in this space will be to use color to connect to your emotions. If you’re here you probably have a leaning toward artistic creativity, but if not, I want to assure you that art isn’t an exclusive club that only the gifted can access.

This month’s assignment will be released next week, so make sure to check back here or subscribe to the newsletter so you can get notified when it’s published.

Until then, I want you to think about color. Notice the colors in your home and how they make you feel. Do you feel peaceful or do you find yourself feeling agitated or irritable in a certain area of your space? Look at the art in your home or office that speak to you, what colors are included? What are your favorite items of clothing? What color are they? Do you veer toward the bright, loud colors or are you more into the pastel, soft colors? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

See you next week!

2020 Word for the Year

It’s been a few years since I picked a word to focus on for the year. After everything we’ve endured the last two years, the loss, the trauma and the grief, it felt like the time to pick a word again. When I first did it many years ago, we’d had a rough year with some serious health issues with our son, I was in a very fearful place and it took picking a word to really propel me out of that darkness.

I find myself in a similar place again. Feeling the weight of the difficulties we’ve had and needing very much to find a source of light.

My word for 2020 is Simplify.

For many this word would signify a shrinking and weeding out and there may be some of that for me, but really simplify means focusing my energy on the things that matter. It means taking this time with our 19 year old daughter (who may not be under our roof much longer) and our 17 year old son as they transition into adulthood. It means redefining my career and letting go of the “should do’s” and giving myself permission to speak my voice. Grief in many ways takes away your voice and this year, it’s my hope, I find mine again.

What about you? Have you picked a word for the year? I’d love to hear what it is and why you chose it.

Adobe Fresco – Illustrate with Layer Masks (New Skillshare Class)

I’m so excited about my new Skillshare class…Create Illustrations using Layer Masks in Adobe Fresco!!

Adobe came out with a new drawing app called Fresco. I wasn’t a big fan of the other drawing apps they had, but this one has a lot of pluses. I am a Procreate fan, so I was a bit skeptical when I first heard about Fresco.

You can download Fresco at no cost if you have an Adobe CC subscription. Otherwise, you can download and pay for the app monthly.

My favorite part of Fresco is their Live Brushes, that mimic actual watercolor and oil paint.

After playing with the software a ton I created some fun layer masks techniques that I use daily in my illustrations and decided to create a class sharing all those tips and tricks.

About the class

Learn to use layer masks to create illustrations in Adobe’s new drawing app Fresco.

I’ll be using the live oil brushes and layer masks to create 3 different illustrations. 

In lesson 1 we’ll create a background then add a line art illustration on top. Then we’ll use layer masks to block out a portion of the background.

Lesson 2 will show how to use the selection tool with layer mask to create a floral illustration.

Finally in Lesson 3 we’ll use the brush tool and layer mask to draw our illustration into the background.

By the end of this class you’ll be comfortable using layer masks when creating your illustrations.

So grab your iPad and let’s get started!

What is Skillshare?
Skillshare is an online learning community. When you join and become a premium member on Skillshare, you get instant access to thousands of classes…including ALL of mine! You have access to these unlimited classes as long as you’re a premium member!

Follow this link to get 2 free months of Skillshare premium if you’re a new student!

Illustrated Letter / Envelope

I truly believe letter writing is a lost art. Doesn’t everyone love to receive letters in the mail? So I’ve started creating illustrated envelopes that can be folded and mailed to my family and friends.

Materials you will need:

I pulled out all my Tombow products for this project.

  • Mixed Media or Watercolor Paper
  • Pencil
  • Tombow Dual Brush Pen
  • Water brush
  • Eraser
  • Scissors
  • White gel pens
  • Ruler
  • Washi tape or stickers
  • Blending Palette
  • Envelope Stencil (I use an old envelope…just unfold it and trace it)

Step 1

Trace the envelope stencil onto your paper and then cut it out. Fold your envelope so you know where your fold lines will be.

I’m going to be using my dual brush pens as watercolors today so I’m using mixed media paper. I love to use mixed media paper with dual brush pens, but you can also use watercolor or Bristol paper.

Step 2

Sketch your illustrations onto the inside of your envelope.

Step 3

Rub markers on the blending palette.

With the water brush I begin to add color like I do watercolor paint.

Step 4

You can write in text with pencils and then trace with pen…or you can write directly with pen. I like to start with pencil so I can reposition any text that isn’t fitting the way I want. Then I erase all the pencil lines.

Step 5

I like to add washi tape and stickers to close and seal my envelopes.

Getting Started with Digital Illustration – Suggested Resources

A couple of years ago I wanted to add digital illustration to my portfolio. I was working in mostly watercolor and ink, and using Photoshop to edit my work. I could navigate Photoshop well enough to do what I didn’t to, but it seems overwhelming.

I took a chance and purchased a cheap drawing tablet with stylus ($55) and began the long process of learning not only Photoshop but what my style of digital art would look like.

I would sketch everything with paper and pencil, scan it in and then use the drawing tablet to trace the lines of my sketch. There wasn’t much life to my drawings at that point, but I was still learning the whole “hand-eye coordination” thing.

I started reading books on Photoshop and watching tons of YouTube videos. I was totally overwhelmed and feared my digital art would never be as good as these amazing artists. But I never gave up!

Now, I work mostly digital and rarely bring out my paints and brushes. I have two setups now. My laptop has a “new” drawing tablet and stylus whebore I use Photoshop and Illustrator. On my Ipad Pro I use mostly Procreate, but I also am known to use Adobe Draw and Adobe Sketch.

If you are an Ipad user, I encourage you to get the Procreate App. It’s extremely user friendly and way less intimidating then Photoshop. But Photoshop is the big daddy software that I couldn’t live without. Both are amazing!!

If you are just getting started here are my suggestions for classes, books, magazines.

Resource Suggestions

Skillshare – has the best classes and for a very affordable monthly rate you can watch all the classes you want. The classes are short and teach some amazing tried and true techniques.

ImagineFX – is an amazing art magazine. It focuses mainly on digital art (for many softwares, not just Photoshop), although there are occasionally articles on painting and drawing techniques. This is my all time favorite!!

Digital Art Technique Manual for Illustrators and Artists – book

Any book by 3dTotalPublishing. I particularly like their Digital Painting Technique Volumes. They put one out each year and they are amazing. I also really like their Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting: Characters.

YouTube – this is a no-brainer! It’s truly unlimited access, so watch as many as you can. Watch videos by artists you wouldn’t normally follow. Watch videos painting things you would never want to paint yourself. If you are a sci-fi artist, watch children’s illustration videos. If you are a children’s illustrator, watch videos about portrait painting. Watch basic Photoshop tutorials. Seriously, you’ll have a full education if you just take the time to watch all that’s been put up there.

Last piece of advice…Enjoy yourself!!

1,000 Tangles, Patterns and Doodled Designs – New Book

1,000 Tangles, Patterns & Doodled Designs combines hundreds of tangling, illustration, and doodling patterns and designs into one all-encompassing guidebook. Filled with inspirational designs, patterns, borders, flourishes, doodles, tangles, and more, this creative resource explores hundreds of ideas for tangling and doodling enthusiasts to learn and model. From basic tangles to stylized letters and numbers, the variety of patterns and designs seems virtually endless. Throughout the book, practical tips and step-by-step lessons help artists perfect their skills, while blank templates can be copied or scanned to use over and over again. A nonstop compendium of doodling tips and tangling techniques, 1,000 Tangles, Patterns & Doodled Designs is a complete resource for doodling enthusiasts and a tangler’s dream come true.

Buy on Amazon