Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Even though times are rough, there is so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Take a few minutes to stop and think of the things you are thankful for, even the little things. I bet there's more than you thought. As artists we have been given the gift of creating beauty and what a special gift that is! Be thankful for that privilege and use your abilities to their fullest.

I'm still working on my own version on "The Ant and the Cricket". Here's a very rough sketch of the ants feasting on the grain they gathered all summer. I thought it would be appropriate for today.

I'm very thankful for the artistic community I have around me, and how encouraging they all are. Thank you!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Preserving My Drawings

I have mentioned before that I have had problems preserving the color in my drawings. After a while (sometimes a few days, sometimes a few weeks) the color in the drawing starts to fade. Especially the dark colors. Sometimes it fades so much, it's really not even worth keeping the drawing because if looks nothing like it originally did. Of course, this is terrible! I can't let all my drawings "die" and have no original drawings to show. So I set out to find a solution. I'm still not sure if I have found it, but so far what I have discovered seems to be working very well (YAY!). So for the time being, I will stick with that.

It was a long journey of testing papers, colored pencils, fixatives, varnishes, and other such things to find out what worked best. The first thing I tried was new paper, because I thought the reason the color was fading was because the wax in the colored pencils didn't like the rough texture of the paper I was using (ColourFix Pastel Card) which feels kind of like sand paper. I tried some other textured papers, Arches Watercolor paper, Canson, but they just didn't have the same effect of popping the colors off the page as the Pastel Card. I also really liked that you could get colored Pastel Card so you can have a dark ground color and work from dark to light instead of the other way around.

After some research online I discovered that some of the fading was due to Wax Bloom. Wax bloom is a white haze that appears on colored pencil drawings, especially when heavily worked, as a layer of the wax medium rises to the surface. It tends to appear once the work has been sitting for a week or two. So after this discovery I decided I couldn't give up on Pastel Card because that probably wasn't the problem. It doesn't matter what kind of paper I used, it was a matter of finding the right fixative to stop the "blooming". So I moved on the trying different fixatives and sprays. I have tested fixatives before and chose Kylon Kamar Varnish, which satisfied me enough, but still didn't really preserve the color like I wanted. After talking to a fellow artist who uses the same Pastel Card as me, I was encouraged to try Blair Clear Matte Spray, which is more of a fixative (even though the can doesn't say it is a fixative). I bought it and tested it out and liked the results better than the Kamar Varnish (there was less glare on the paper). Eureka!!

SO...I have concluded that I will continue to use ColourFix Pastel Card, because I love the texture and how the colors just pop off the paper. I like the dark colored paper so when I add light colors or highlights they REALLY pop! But when I want to do a spot illustration, I will use white Pastel Card and use chalk pastel pencils to put down a ground color only in the areas of the drawing, leaving the area around the drawing white (to match the white of the page). For now, I am using Carb-Othello pastels only because I haven't searched for my favorite brand yet. After finishing a layer of pastel, I will "fix" it with a layer or two of Blair Clear Matte Spray. Then I will go in with my Prismacolored Pencils. Once the drawing is finished, I will fix it again with a layer or two of the Blair spray. Then, I will do a final coat of UV Resistant Clear Coating, which also helps with fading. VoilĂ !! Done, and ready to store with some Vellum paper over it to protect from dust and dirt.

It is very relieving to have found a artistic process from myself, especially after having to watch some of my drawings fade and die right before my eyes.

Here is a (spot) drawing I recently finished using my new process. And I am pleased to say that after 3 weeks, the colors are still just as vibrant as when I first drew it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Facebook Fan Page

So, I made a Fan Page on Facebook. I was trying to hold out on this for awhile since I JUST started a Twitter account, but somehow I woke up this morning, and I just started making a page! I don't think it will be too difficult to keep up, but it's really just one more thing to check and update. However, I know it is good and important for getting my name and work out there for people to see. Networking is a big part of an artist's responsibilities so I'm going to be a good little artist and do what I can. Become a fan and share with your friends!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Entering The World of Twitter

After resisting the push from so many of my friends, I finally gave in and got a Twitter Account. I guess it doesn't have to be such a bad thing. In fact, it can be a very good thing, if used properly. I intend to use it as a networking and promotional device and not something that will be a distraction. As long as I am careful not to play on it all day, thereby not getting any work done, it should be ok. Actually, I am hoping it will help me be more productive, so I will have something to "tweet" about, and I wont have to post things that really don't matter. So here we go on a new adventure of navigating through Twitter and learning to network with other artists!

Follow me on my Twitter page. Lauren Gallegos

You can also stay updated on this page by checking the sidebar panel regularly, or view my account and follow me by clicking on the link.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hands and a Frog

I have been thinking about style, and specifically, ways to improve mine. After some thought, feedback, and encouragement, I think I need to simplify and stylize things more, especially the way I draw people. I know that is a very broad statement!...Believe me, I wish it wasn't so broad! But I think it is necessary. It's going to take some experimenting and testing to figure out how it will look, but there's no time like the present to start! Here are some hands I did trying to simplify them but not be too cartoony.

I also did a frog just for fun, because I am really excited about "The Princess and the Frog" coming out in December! I am so glad Disney is doing another traditionally animated film. Oh, how I have missed them! I only hope they continue to make more. My fingers are crossed!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

SCBWI Illustrator's Day (Update)

This last Saturday was my first time attending Illustrator's Day and it was a great experience! So many talented artists were their displaying their portfolios and the speakers were informative, helpful, and fun. A lot of great tips were given on ways to promote yourself and be seen by publishers, so I took lots of notes! I was also able to have two portfolio reviews, one by Illustrator Adam McCauley, and one by Chad Beckerman, Art Director for Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books. I got some great feedback and constructive criticism to work with.

Then, to conclude the awesome day of meeting fun people and seeing great art, it was announced that I was one of the Judge's Choice winners for the portfolio contest! What an unexpected and pleasant surprise!! It certainly made my day!

See more photos on the Illustrator's Day Facebook Page

Here's another piece I did (the day before the conference!) that was included in my portfolio. It goes along with a Limerick by Edward Lear:

There was an old man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared!
Two owls and a hen,
Four larks and a wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

SCBWI Illustrator's Day

This Saturday is Illustrator's Day for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators!

The event will include speakers like Chad W. Beckerman: Art Director, Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books, Erika Howard: Art Representative, Shannon Associates, Adam McCauley: Illustrator, and Mary Peterson: Illustrator and Social Networker. It should be a great time to learn, network, and have fun!

I have also been putting together my portfolio for the portfolio contest and review. Three new pieces will be included in my portfolio. I still have one more to finish, but here is one of them for you to enjoy. I will let you all know how it goes!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Harvest Festival

I was recently asked to help make a game for a Harvest Festival. The game was Ping-Pong Toss with a circus theme. I used a vinyl table cloth and painted with acrylics. Then I glued on felt pieces so the velcro ball would stick. It was a fun project and I think the kids really enjoyed it. I know I did!