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.

ūü¶čSaturday #sketching. #theperpetualcreator

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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.

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.)

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.

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.

Drawing Thanksgiving Dinner

Art

Happy Thanksgiving! Tomorrow marks the unofficial end of the fall season and the kickoff to Christmas. As per my usual style, I find myself once again treating food as a drawing subject as opposed to a meal.

Unlike the egg and ice cream drawings I shared this summer, today’s artwork is of the healthier variety: butternut squash. After having grown this vegetable in my garden this year, I was inspired to represent it in colored pencil.

The subtle but vastly different colors of the squash made it simultaneously a challenge and a delight to render, resulting in a simple but happy fall piece.

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P.S. You may remember my most recent Thanksgiving recipe posts (home made applesauce and pumpkin roll), but be sure to also check out my butternut squash recipe from earlier this season. Made in the slow cooker, this simply-made vegetable is a Thanksgiving staple.

Happy Holidays!