Drawing a Real Live Fairy: The Luna Moth

Art

Animal imagery is by far my favorite subject matter for drawing, especially that which can inspire a sense of magic. One particular species that has captured my attention over the years is the luna moth.

If you’ve ever seen one #IRL then you will¬†understand my fascination. For those of you who haven’t, then what you have to understand is that seeing a luna moth is like seeing a real live fairy. Even in the pitch black of night, they positively glow, emitting a soft light as they fly through the air. Truly, you’ve never seen anything like it.

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My comparing luna moths to fairies stretches back to my undergraduate years, during which I time I created a piece that commented on the role science has played in the demise of myth. The piece (seen below) features a repeat silkscreen pattern of a luna moth, meant to mimic a butterfly board, with a 3D soft-sculpture fairy pinned to the center. The fairy, which symbolizes the death of myth and magic in the modern world, is adorned with a luna moth printed on his chest.

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I recently revisited the luna moth, in a cheerier, simpler piece, and was excited to tackle the variety of greens found in their wings with my Prismacolor pencils. I surprised myself, finishing this drawing rather quickly, all the while immensely enjoying blending the colors together with the blending tool. Although wing symmetry proved to be a bit daunting at first, the beautiful things about nature is that it’s rarely ever perfect!

Check out the finished drawing below:

The Fox and the Hare

Art

So I started this project a while ago, back when the big snowstorm hit the Northeast in March. As I watched the snow come pouring down by the foot, I turned my artistic eye to the future of spring and warm weather, and landed upon the idea of another fox-inspired piece, this time in my current media of choice: colored pencil.

As long as I can remember, the fox has always been one of my favorite animals. In fact, at a young age I used to beg my parents to buy me a fox costume similar the one worn by one of the lost boys in Disney’s “Peter Pan!”

The drawing you see now is the result of a combination of this fox-love and an image that inspired me on Pinterest.

Andy laughs every time I show him this drawing, reminding me that foxes and lagomorphs don’t play well together, and pointing out that the photograph I found was probably featuring a predator sleeping with its prey. Despite this bit of scientific fact, I wanted my drawing to display the opposite, providing viewers with a sense of tranquility.

Looking upon this piece, I wanted people to believe that these two creatures could be curled up together in the forest, not as diner and dinner, but as unlikely friends.

I can only hope that the radial symmetry, texture and color palette of this drawing have had this desired effect. I know that this piece certainly helped me through a storm (literally) and it might even find its way into my office space at work.

We have a release date for “Frozen 2!”

Art, Pop Culture

For the first time in forever…we have news regarding “Frozen 2!” In case you missed it, Disney announced the film’s release date on Twitter this Tuesday.

Yep, you read it right Рwe still have over two years of waiting before the sequel hits theaters! While that seems like a ridiculously long time to wait, we know that the end product will be totally worth it.

In the meantime, here’s some “Frozen” fan art to tide you over:

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Celebrating the DVD Release of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Art

The magic is back: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them releases on DVD today! The last four months have certainly dragged Рbut we all know that it was well worth the wait.

Even though¬†I know you’re very busy, out frantically shopping for your copy and consequently watching the film overandoverandover again, I’d like to take a minute and share with you my latest Beasts piece.

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We all remember Dougal the Demiguise right? The crazy, kind of scary but also incredibly cute creature that can turn invisible and see the future? If not, here’s a quick memory jogger:

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He’s also the first Beast alluded to in the film, as our first look at Newt Scamander shows him speaking¬†to Dougal through his magical case:

This sketch was one of the first I completed upon receiving my Prismacolor pencil set and I was having a lot of fun combining grey and purple tones.

I’m liken to think it has character ‚Äď very much like the character as a matter of fact!

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But that’s enough about me – get the popcorn going, it’s time to re-watch this film!

Talking about Rococo, Tea Cups and “Beauty and the Beast”

Art, Pop Culture

“Beauty and the Beast”¬†releases in theaters today and dear God I couldn’t be more excited! Although I may not be able to make it to the theater¬†for a few more days, I’d like to celebrate this happy day with my latest art piece, a colored pencil drawing inspired by the Rococo art period, a movement that is very much visible¬†in “Beauty and the Beast.”

First thing is first: what is Rococo? Having been an art major in college, I took my fair share of art history courses and would be more than happy to fill you in.

While most of us have at least heard of movements¬†such as Impressionism (You know, the blurry French paintings? Monet?) or Cubism (think Picasso) ¬†the term Rococo isn’t quite as mainstream.

An art period that unfolded in late 18th century France, Rococo strongly concentrated on light and very much intricate detail. You may be familiar with this piece, “The Swing” by Jean-Honor√© Fragonard:

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Well, at least you’ve probably seen it here:

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(Needless to say, Rococo is a wee bit flirtatious).

If not, perhaps you’ve seen my personal favorite of the period “The Embarkation for Cythera” by¬†Jean-Antoine Watteau.

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Either way, you get the picture.

Rococo. It’s light, its airy, it’s pink-hued and it’s intricately detailed. It’s also a style which I’m very much reminded of as I eagerly await the release of ¬†Disney’s live-action”Beauty and the Beast.”

Debate among Disney-enthusiasts has not yet revealed a conclusive answer as to whether or not the fairy tale is meant to be set in the Baroque or Rococo time period. Either way, we know it’s French and it’s beautiful, and maybe that’s all we really need to know.

All of which brings me back to main point, which is to share with you my latest drawing, inspired by “Beauty and the Beast”¬†aesthetics.

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Although they’re no Mrs. Pots and Chip, these tea cups stand up in their own right (literally and metaphorically speaking).

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Inspired by an image I came across on Pinterest, I loved blocking in the variety of colors with Prismacolor pencils.

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The smooth texture was later achieved by blending the pigments together with a blending pencil.

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Hopefully you find this drawing inspiring – I know you’re just excited about tonight’s movie release as I am – and stay tuned for future “Beauty and the Beast” inspired artwork!

(Something tells me there is going to be a lot of it.)

Embroidering Elsa’s Coronation Dress

Art

Those of your who follow me on Instagram received a subtle preview to the piece that I am featuring¬†today.¬†Although we’ve seen a few 70 degree days over the past couple of weeks, Upstate New York is witnessing a resurgence of winter, with this weekend being particularly frigid, heralding sub-zero temperatures. With bone chilling winds blustering outside, what better time to share my latest Frozen-inspired piece?

This winter, when I was feeling particularly tired post-Christmas, I was looking for a simple, quick project to keep my hands busy as I recovered from the holidays and put more serious thought into what my next piece would be.

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Thinking about textiles and re-representing them in textile art, I decided to do an embroidery piece based on Elsa’s coronation dress from Disney’s Frozen (because, let’s face it, we all know I love that movie and it is great inspiration for winter).

The design and color palette of her dress is simple, refined and very-much Scandinavian, and the design found on the bodice embodies those traits. I wanted my simple embroidery piece to be much the same.


When starting this embroidery, I didn’t have any fabric on hand that was the same color as Elsa’s dress. No matter! I wanted to make the piece mine after all. Instead of using the dark turquoise color, I landed on a light blue before free-hand drawing the design on with a ballpoint pen.

After that, it was a matter of filling the piece in with corresponding colors.

Feminine with allusions to both winter and spring, I’m hoping this is the last cold-weather inspired artwork that I will be sharing for a while!

Sketch for Inspiration, Not Perfection

Art

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time drawing with and talking about Prismacolor Premier pencils. While I’ve already shown you my latest hedgehog drawing, today I’m featuring a 45 minute sketch that actually pre-dated the hog.

I titled the piece “Expelling Evil” and, admittedly,¬†it is way outside my usual subject matter and artistic vibe. It all started¬†with a¬†silhouette of a woman’s face, before then transitioning into experimenting with the wide range of colors featured in the pencil set. (Hence the purple-blue hair and bright red lips.)

I’m sharing this drawing not because it is one of my greatest works, but because it is a sketch in the purest sense of the word. While drawing, I reached a point where¬†I gave up thinking about the piece and instead let my hand just draw.

As an artist, it is so, so, SO important to avoid getting caught up in your own mind. To do so would be to become crippled with over-thinking and not allow for your artistic instincts to reveal new perspectives of your creative mind.

Even if a drawing doesn’t turn out quite how you imagined it, there is so much value to be gained from trying new things. Much more value than if you were to draw the same thing over and over agin perfectly.

So get out there and drawing something new. Draw something ugly. Draw to discover a new side of yourself and to re-discover your inspiration.

Fantastic Beasts Embroidery

Art

This week’s post was delayed due to a last-minute business trip across the country (more on that later). In the meantime, I’d like to share with you an insight to my newest fiber art piece.

I recently drew a pen sketch of the Niffler from Fantastic Beasts but couldn’t resist further exploring the imagery of this animal, depicting it in freestyle embroidery. The creature’s furry coat is proving to be a lot of fun, as I’ve been using different variations of grey and brown cotton to produce the platypus-mole aesthetic.

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Stay tuned for the finished product!

Hedgehog-Cupcake Drawing

Art

Those of you who know me, know that I was SUPER excited to receive a set of Prismacolor Premiere pencils from Andy this Christmas. Having already owned a small set of Prismacolor’s scholar grade pencils, I was eager to test the quality and capabilities of the company’s¬†professional product.

(Plus, it was really past time I owned a set, given how much I use colored pencils in my work).

The piece I’m featuring today depicts a hedgehog residing in a cupcake wrapper and was inspired by a painting I did freshman year of college, titled “Bittersweet.” Said painting has been well received over the years and informally noted as being one of my most-loved¬†artistic ventures.

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“Bittersweet,” 2012

Although my first hog is sitting in an ice cream cone, viewers often mistake the creature for a makeshift cupcake. This time, I decided to give the people what they want, putting the little critter within a cupcake wrapper.

As this latest hedgehog-inspired artwork is one of the more complete pieces I’ve done with my new pencils, I can definitely say that the Premiere pencils are better than the Scholar grade hands-down. Aside from providing¬†a much wider physical array of colors, the actual pigments of the Premier pencils blend exquisitely, allowing for greater range still.

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Furthering the product’s capabilities, I invested in a set of blending pencils post-Christmas to complete my set and can easily say they were well worth the $7.00 I paid on Amazon. If you’re going to invest in the pencils, invest in a set of blenders.

I’d also recommend the Prismacolor brand sharpener, though truth be told, opening said sharpener to empty the shavings is anything but intuitive (you have to pull the top as hard as you can, by the way).

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So while this post is titled after one of my latest drawings, it’s really about my thoughts so far regarding this much sought-after pencil set. Conclusion? If you’re an artist or just enjoy using colored pencils, then this is the product for you.

Expensive? Yes. An artistic commitment? Yes. Life changing? For a third time, yes.

Snowman Embroidery

Art, DIY

This winter, I set about making my first snowman-inspired embroidery, inspired by the idea of making my grandmother a homemade gift.

Growing up, like most children, I was quite the expert in homemade gifts, constantly gifting my family members with the crafts and artwork I labored over in school and during my free time.

I’m happy to say my craftsmanship has improved quite a bit over the last 15+ years or so, but my desire to give homemade gifts has remained the same. Knowing that my grandmother would appreciate a handmade gift the most, I set about creating this embroidery for her in late November.

 

The process started out much the same as my other pieces, beginning with some google research (imagery inspiration is so important) and moving on to a pen sketch on fabric. When designing this piece, I knew I didn’t want to go too big (I was working on a limited time frame) but I also knew that it had to be big enough to make for a substantial gift. Not to mention a larger piece allows for more intricate details.

Another design decision that had to be made was whether or not I wanted to embroider snow falling in the background. While French knot snowflakes would have furthered the piece’s sense of whimsy, I ultimately decided against them, not wanting to distract from the main element and focus (the snowman). With the design being so clean, I decided against the clutter of snowfall.

 

After filling in all of the colors and patterns, I framed the piece and tied a festive blue ribbon onto the fastening, allowing the artwork to be easily hung. Although the snowman in the drawing is wearing Christmas colors, I designed him with the intention of being left out all winter, knowing that my grandparents would want to enjoy him all season, as opposed to only one month during the year.

While I’m in no hurry to embroider another snowman any time soon, I’m happy to report that the gift went over extraordinarily well! Having been the person who first got me hooked on embroidery, I know my grandmother was able to appreciate¬†the time and effort put into each and every one of the¬†countless stitches.