No more wall space means time to dry the paintbrushes.

As I wrap up my learning project, I’m very happy with my progress. I’m also faced with a problem: What do I do with all of these paintings?

Since I learned to paint using technology, I figured that trying to get rid of the paintings through technological means would be the most logical route.

My first stop: Varage Sale. I have had 4 of my paintings posted for a few weeks now and have not had any luck. I have been “bumping” them every few days, which basically just means bumping them back up to the top of the categories so that they have a greater chance to sell. I am asking $40 each, which is probably a little overpriced, however, as the artist, I am most-likely the one who sees the most value in the paintings.


My plan now is to give it a little more time, and then I will branch out into the Etsy world. Etsy seems to be more geared toward artists and might increase my chances of selling. It is also not limited to the Regina area. The process for signing up for Etsy is fairly easy, however, I’ve been putting off the actual listing of the paintings, simply because they require a lot of details (dimensions, etc.). Also, if paintings sell, I will most-likely have to ship them, which is obviously not as easy as a face-to-face transaction that VarageSale offers.

This article gives a number of helpful tips for selling art of Etsy and will most-likely be my go-to resource once I begin my Etsy journey.

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Photo Credit: jennycastillo1 Flickr via Compfight cc

My final option is Ebay, which is very similar to Etsy, but is not specifically geared toward art (although it does have a “Collectibles and Art” category). The upside, however, is that it has been around much longer than Etsy and, I assume, reaches a larger number of people.

In closing, from materials, to original sketches, to the actual painting, and finally to selling, technology has allowed for every phase of this learning project to be executed from an informed standpoint. This project would have been much more daunting 50 years ago, but thanks to technology, the information I needed was easily accessible to me. I will continue to paint and am content to know that I have found a new lifelong hobby that I can always return to. The process is therapeutic, and is particularly beneficial after a long day of teaching. The impacts that we make on our students are not always evident or tangible, making it nice to be able to visibly see the completion of your own creative project.

Paint on, readers. Paint on.

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Itching for More

 

My goal this week: stepping up my background game.

I’ve chosen a Simpsons character this week that lends itself well to a detailed background. Itchy and Scratchy is a cartoon show within The Simpsons that parodies classic cartoons such as Wile-E-Coyote and the Road Runner. The catch is that the mouse is trying to catch the cat and most of the time, he succeeds.

This week, I painted Itchy (the mouse) and used the props from his plans to capture Scratchy. In Looney Tunes, you’d often see Acme products, whereas in The Simpsons, Itchy uses more realistic means.

To draw the TNT box that Itchy is coming out of, I used the following video:

This box was my own addition to the painting and was not included in my reference image. I also chose to include a wooden background. I used this YouTube video to help me with that pattern:

YouTube videos are always great for my original sketches. I often choose the shortest ones, however, as I sometimes feel that they are too slow. In an article with pictures, I can work at my own pace, whereas a YouTube video limits me to working at someone else’s pace. In the above videos, I found that I skipped ahead quite often.

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In terms of the actual painting, I have definitely found my groove in terms of the characters (colour, proportions, etc). I have also become quite fast. My first painting of Marge took me 3 and a half hours from start to finish and did not include a background. This one took me about 2 hours, background included. Little points of progress such as this definitely help to build my confidence and encourage me to continue taking more risks. The documentation of progress through blog posts has allowed me to visually see my progress, which allows me to see that I am not standing still. I am moving forward every week.

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Next week, I will be wrapping up my learning project by exploring various options for my artwork (other than cluttering the walls of my apartment). Stay “tooned!”

Painting over mistakes is like sweeping dirt under the rug. No one will know unless you want them to.

Having finished my third The Simpsons painting (Milhouse Van Houten), I definitely feel as though I’ve hit my stride/found my groove in terms of style. This is where I belong: painting the Simpsons, one character at a time.

This being said, however, even the smoothest of grooves contain a few bumps here and there. The final result is perhaps one of my best (stay tuned to later in the post), however, it wasn’t easy getting there. Normally when I draw my characters, it goes pretty flawlessly. This time was different.

I, for whatever reason, struggled with Milhouse’s proportions and erased and redrew at least 10 times. Each time I erased, my new lines were harder to see so I had to press more firmly with my pencil, creating darker and darker lines. Then when I erased those lines, I had to go even darker the next time. Long story short… I made a mess.

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Normally my sketch is just a bunch of dotted lines as you can see from my Squidward sketch.
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This week, I had to use actual lines. Compared to the Squidward above, these lines are much darker and harder to paint over.

My plan was to simply paint over the pencil lines over and over again until they went away. This would have been difficult considering the yellow I use is fairly light (I mix it with white). Luckily, I found the following video that seemed to save several layers of paint, a few hours of repainting, and the piece in general.

 

This site, as well as art-is-fun.com (which has become one of my go-to sites) also offered some great solutions. It was, however, much easier to watch the video on YouTube. The Internet has many articles that are super informative, but in this particular scenario, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

So here is my final product. You can see that this character is much more detailed compared to my previous characters. In particular, the glasses were quite complex. I also painted his entire body instead of just his head.

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Lastly, I’m quite proud of his facial expression and the background that enhances the character’s mood. I’ve found that my best work comes from bringing the characters to life, and this one in particular seems to portray a sense of emotion. I consider this a victory.

Paint Time with Finn and Jake

This week, I branched out into painting characters from a third television show: Adventure Time.

My goal this week was to really up the ante, step out of my comfort zone, push the envelope, and any other generic cliché that you can think of. Here are a few challenges I set out for myself:

  • Putting 2 characters on the same canvas instead of only one
  • Using the canvas landscape style, not portrait
  • Experimenting with different colours for these different characters (not just Simpsons yellow)
  • Using darker background colours (black) instead of softer, lighter tones
  • Working with 3D effects
  • Using water colour
  • Using black paint for important outlines and features instead of black marker
  • Not copying an image directly from my computer and taking more creative liberties
  • Incorporating a video into my blog post

For this Adventure Time piece, I first consulted the  YouTube video below to learn how to draw Finn and Jake. This site was also helpful with drawing Finn and his features.

With their sketches done, the painting was underway. Unlike my The Simpsons characters, I did not use the darker and lighter tones effect. I kept their colours solid, much like in the actual show (Adventure Time).

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In this picture above, you can see I used red water colour paints instead of acrylic. Like the name suggests, the water colour paints are much wetter and runnier than the acrylic. This made it more challenging to stay within the lines I had set out for myself. This type of paint also didn’t cover my pencil lines as well as the acrylic, so I had to go over it several times. This site was very helpful and had a lot of good tips for working with water colours.

As mentioned earlier, in addition to the water colour challenge, I attempted to use black paint for outlining the majority of the characters’ features. I used marker for the explosion effect in the background, simply because it lends itself well to the 3D effect I was going for, however, the rest is mostly done with a thin, stiff brush, black acrylic paint, and a steady hand.

Below you can see the characters with the background coloured in, the final product for this week, and finally, my updated collection to date. Again, I feel like I have made a lot of progress, but there are still many things that I would like to improve upon. Stay tuned to more of my blog posts on this page to see what I mean.

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I used darker colours for my background this time. I find it really makes the characters “pop”.
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My final product.

Next week, I make a return to what interests me the most and attempt to recreate an iconic character that I have been eyeing up since this project began. See you then.

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My updated collection. Still figuring out how I’m going to sign the latest piece. Please leave suggestions in the comments section below.

 

Mr. Ingola Paints Mr. Burns

For this next piece, I worked on incorporating a more elaborate background. Since Mr. Burns works at the nuclear power plant and is often seen polluting Springfield’s air, I included a billow of smoke. This is in addition to the dollar signs, which are a symbol of his wealth. I quite enjoyed painting a “villain” or antagonist this time around, as I could experiment with slightly darker colours. I am also very pleased with my incorporation of more background elements without taking away from the character as the actual focus of the painting.

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I used the sponge brush to create the smoke effect. In researching the sponge brush, however, I discovered that it is actually called a foam brush. According to heartlandpainters.com, one of the negatives of using the foam brush is that it leaves a ridge of paint on both sides of the paint stroke. I used this to my advantage as it created a texture within the smoke and gave the illusion that the smoke was thicker in some places.

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While incredibly happy with the stylistic advantages of the foam brush, the cleanup afterward was not the best. Unfortunately, the foam absorbs a lot of paint and, compared to the standard brush head, requires a lot more work to get the paint out (in my experience, anyway). I developed a technique of letting the foam brush soak in the water, and then ringing it out like a regular hand sponge. This seemed to work.

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I had originally wanted to use a silver colour for the smoke, however, the acrylic paint that I had purchased at Dollarama was very hard and would not come out of the bottle. It was unusable. For this reason, I had to mix black and white together to make my own sort of grey. This disappointed me, as I had initially envisioned a more metallic silver. My disappointment lead me to doing a bit of research.

This site offered many great solutions for thinning hardened acrylic paint, including a product called the “Acrylic Flow Improver.” I also read a great WikiHow that offered solutions that could be reached by using simple household products. Chipping the paint out with the end of your paintbrush and then grinding it up and adding water to it seemed to work for me, however, my painting was already finished at this point. I also noted that doing this to the acrylic paint turned it into more of a water colour, which gave me a great challenge for my next painting: using water colours. Stay tuned.

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My first three attempts at becoming a fan art artist. I challenged myself by going a little bit bigger with the canvas size each time. 

Growing up means realizing you have become a Squidward

Before starting my Squidward painting, there are a few things I would like to improve upon:

  • On my Marge painting, the darker tones and lighter tones both changed when the paint dried, making them not as noticeable. I will be incorporating bolder colours this time around.
  • I’d like to put something in the background, behind the actual character.
  • I’d like to use a different style of brush, particularly the sponge brush (since Squidward is a SPONGEbob character).

The following video helped me with my initial sketches:

I used a lot of the same process for Squidward as I did with Marge, however, when I got to the background, I used the sponge brush to create a more textured and “underwater” effect. I also checked out Squidward’s colour palette on Colour Lovers.

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Following this, I researched how to paint bubbles from drawingteachers.com. This helped me with the look of the bubbles, as I didn’t know how to make ordinary circles look like bubbles. I am quite happy with the result.

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The final product

Not a bad improvement, if I do say so myself. Eventually, I’d like to be able to create more realistic bubbles like the ones featured in the video below:

Next challenge for myself: Mr. Burns from The Simpsons.

Disclaimer: Despite really enjoying drawing, I have never actually painted seriously before. I am loving how it adds a whole new dimension to my drawings/brings them to life.

Blank Canvas No More

I pulled up my chosen picture of Marge Simpson on my Macbook Pro and began mixing my colours. I had already sketched her figure onto the canvas, so now it was time to fill her in. I started with her yellow skin, the tone of which I was able to find online (see my last blog post).

As I looked at her picture online, I took note of lighter and darker tones, particularly in her hair. When I mixed my colours, I had one light, one medium, and one darker tone. On the right side of her body, I used the dark tones. On the left, I used the lighter tones. It created a really cool effect. I did this with her green dress, her yellow skin, and her blue hair. She was composed of just those three colours, plus her red/orange necklace.

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While using the brushes, some of the bristles were very hard and coarse, while others were soft and thin. I had no clue when to use which brush, so I simply Googled it. I was brought to art-is-fun.com, which outlined the different types of brushes and what they are used for. It was very helpful, particularly in realizing that I had really “cheaped out” when buying my supplies. It was very clear to me that I did not have the appropriate brushes. But I kept on painting anyway. It was too late in the game.

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After I had finished colouring her in, I gave her a pink background colour, which is a colour quite commonly used on The Simpsons. I then took out my thick Sharpie marker and began to trace out her eyes, her dress, her hand. As I did this, she began to “pop” – she started looking like a real cartoon character. I’d love to say this idea came to me from research, however, while I was in Dollarama, I saw the biggest Sharpie I had ever seen in my life and stopped to look at it. When I did, I thought it would be perfect for my project, rather than unsteadily tracing Marge out with black paint (which was my original game plan). I was more confident with the marker. Perhaps in other blog posts, I will teach myself how to successfully outline with black paint instead. Time will tell.

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All in all, I am happy with my final product and am actually very excited to continue working on my style and technique. I’d also like to incorporate a more complex background to accompany my chosen character. Next week’s challenge: Squidward Tentacles from Spongebob Squarepants.

Walk before you run. Draw before you paint.

As I open up the brushes and paints, I suddenly feel like a kid again, sitting on a miniature version of a chair and awkwardly holding a paintbrush that I clench with my balled up fist. I blink and am brought back to reality – as an immersion teacher, I teach visual arts. And this will undoubtedly benefit my students one day. However, if teaching has taught me anything, it’s that scaffolding is essential in the learning process.

Before actually painting, I decided I would draw first. I have always enjoyed drawing and cartooning, but I had underestimated how hard the simple characters were to recreate in pencil, which intimidated me when I tried to imagine how I would do it with paints.

Being that May is the month for mothers, I decided I would start with one of the most iconic cartoon mothers: Marge Simpson. The following YouTube videos offered me the basics of drawing her basic features and I practiced for a few hours (while watching old The Simpsons episodes) before actually touching my paint.

After exploring Marge’s figure and features, I started researching her colour. I wanted to get her yellow skin tone and blue hair just right. I consulted a few websites, but ColourLovers was particularly helpful. I knew her colours had to be exact to her character’s on the show, or else my version simply wouldn’t look like her.

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Plans for my first painting: A portrait of Marge Simpson.
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Actual photo of Marge Simpson, probably not too impressed with my rudimentary drawings of her.             Photo Credit: messiole Flickr via Compfight cc

With Marge’s shape down, and her colour mentally mixed, I knew that I would soon start painting. The scent of Elmer’s Glue and glitter suddenly filled my nostrils. I was in Kindergarten again.

Forever Young

I unfortunately never grew out of certain things as a kid, one of which being the whole “not liking vegetables phase”. To this day, I grimace at the sight of an onion in my spaghetti or a tomato on my burger. I also still enjoy Saturday morning cartoons. This is partly why I get along so well with my students in grades 5 and 6.

As an avid t.v. enthusiast, I’ve often wanted to create fan art (specifically paintings) inspired by my favourite cartoon characters. As part of this Learning Project for ECMP 355, I will be doing just that. I will attempt to delve into the world of fan art and will be creating a number of pieces inspired by The Simpsons, Spongebob, Adventuretime, etc. The idea came from a number of fan art Instagram accounts that I follow, including: idrawhomer and thesimpsonstattoo.

In addition, when I was completing my Undergrad in Education at the University of Ottawa, I had a custom painting done in the Byward Market. It features two of my favourite characters (Harvey Spectre and Donna Paulson) from one of my favourite television shows: Suits. It currently hangs in my apartment, that I share with my fiancée, and whispers to me every day, “Jordan, you could do something like this if you put your mind to it”. Well today I am putting my mind to it.

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Painting done by artist Cinema in the Byward Market, Ottawa.

I will be using all forms of technology to acquire the skills and techniques that come with painting. And you, as one of my readers, will hopefully notice an improvement in my style/technique from week to week.

From its roots, this project is based out of technology, as the shows that inspire the paintings originally play on television, one of the most influential technological inventions of our time. Today, I moreso access these shows online. Through the Internet, the shows I enjoy and the art I hope to create will meet to help me learn a new skill.

To start the project, and to begin my education in painting, I have consulted a number of different websites as to what types of paint supplies to purchase. Being a first time painter, I originally had no clue what to purchase, or even where to purchase my supplies. The following article was helpful: Top 5 Brands of Acrylic Paint for Fine Art and Craft Painting, however, did not fit with my budget/teacher’s salary.

I eventually ended up at the paint section of the Michael’s website, assessing the cost of supplies and checking out what they had to offer in terms of canvases, paints, and brushes. I also downloaded the Michael’s app, which is super easy to use and offers coupons that are up to 50% off! From the app, you can also browse products, see their weekly ads, etc. Their pages are also grouped based on “Projects” which made it really easy for my research. The “General Crafts” section under “Projects” had all I needed – but I will be sure to check out the “Teacher Section” soon.

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In the end, I spent $83 and landed on a combination of supplies from Michael’s and Dollarama (can’t resist a good deal). Stay tuned as I figure out what to do with all of these newly acquired tools that I’m told will create art for me. À bientôt.