Art in August #25 – Elsa from Frozen

My Elsa Watercolour

My Elsa Watercolour

I think this is probably my favourite Art in August piece so far. I have to say a thousand thank yous to Laptop on the Ironing Board for coming up with the Art in August challenge – it has given me an excuse to indulge in some of my favourite creative pastimes without guilt. It’s for the blog, so it’s working, right?

Drawing animated characters is something I have always enjoyed doing. I find it much easier to copy someone else’s drawing than come up with my own, and cartoons have a simplicity to them that give great results without spending hours on shading and detail.

My first attempts at copying animation, back in my teens, were when I became obsessed with drawing stills from the Watership Down movie. Back then, before the handy invention of the tablet, I had to pause the video and copy from the screen – occasionally tracing off the TV (in the days when they had glass screens and you could touch them) but more often sketching from the image and then redrawing in detail.

Pencil sketch

Pencil sketch

Animation was easier to copy then, as the originals were usually watercolours, in flat colour, rather than the modern CGI three-dimensional almost lifelike characters (well, apart from the scary-huge eyes and tiny chins!) The largest Disney drawings I have done are when I painted a four-foot Ariel and a three-foot flying Dumbo, together with Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, on the wall of a little girl’s bedroom. I always intended to do the same for my children, but our walls of crumbling plaster don’t really lend themselves. Besides, talk about setting a bad precedent!

Today, I was fortunate enough that the children were off trashing the playroom playing for an hour, so I was able to start the picture of Elsa I’ve been wanting to do for weeks.

As time is of a premium now I have children, I decided to use a tutorial by Mark Crilley for my drawing of Elsa. It meant I could follow step by step, focussing on things like the way the eyes tilt up and the sassy slant of the eyebrow.

After first watercolour

After first watercolour

The tutorial was brilliant, although Mark did much of his shading using coloured pencils. I’m not so good with pencils and finding any that weren’t full of broken lead proved challenging, so I used watercolour on pretty much all of it.

I’m a bit frustrated that I started too close to the top of the paper and couldn’t fit all the hair in, and the shading of the dress isn’t great because I couldn’t see it too clearly on the tutorial, but otherwise I am pleased.

I love Elsa, the “conceal, don’t feel” ice queen. They used to call me the ice maiden when I was younger – a combination of white-blonde hair and shyness that came across as arrogance – and I would give anything to have a hundredth of Elsa’s cool sass.

For now the picture will have to do!

Art in August #9 – Watercolour Dragon

Watercolour Dragon

Watercolour Dragon

I decided to introduce my daughter to the joys of watercolour painting today, using the proper kit rather than the cheap paints and brushes that come in kids’ kits.

We picked up a pad of heavy-weight grained paper after dropping little man at nursery, and I got out the hallowed box of expensive watercolour paints for the first time in five years.

I decided to have a go at drawing and painting a dragon, as that’s become a bit of a summer theme. I’m okay at copying things but I have no ability to draw things from my head, so I opted for a YouTube tutorial, seeing as that’s worked so well for the loom-bands.

I used this tutorial for the sketch – How to Draw a Dragon – Ten Minute Fast Doodle – and then made up the colours. I’m a bit rusty, and spent half the time watching my daughter like a hawk to make sure she didn’t leave my sable brush standing in the water pot (she did, frequently), but it was great fun.

Today reminded me of two things: 1) I love watercolours but need to practise more, and 2) detailed artwork and small children don’t really mix. I’m so precious about my paintings and my equipment and I’m like a two-year-old when it comes to sharing! One more thing to add to my ‘when the kids have left home’ list 😉

This post is part of the Art in August challenge from the Laptop on the Ironing Board blog.