Dressin’ Up

One of the parts about the Candy Girls painting I recently finished, that I both loved and hated, was the detailing of the dresses they wear. Making fabric look like silk or cotton is challenging and involves techniques that I haven’t quite mastered yet.

The fashion images below display all kinds of fun details I’d like to include in illustrations or paintings in the future.

© J.Baxter 2009 (via for-redheads on tumblr)

© J.Baxter 2009 (via for-redheads on tumblr)

Where to begin with this one! First of all it’s got loads of pink, a beautiful vanity fan, a gorgeous chair, a cute model with curly hair… it’d be both fun and maddening to translate this to canvas. It’s fairly monotone in terms of palette but sometimes this is a good thing. Despite all of the detail in this image (look at that crazy wallpaper!), it’s not overwhelming because of the simple palette.

(via Wander World Wonderlust on tumblr)

(via Wander World Wonderlust on tumblr)

The multi-layered beaded necklace frames this model’s face beautifully. Additionally, the teal-white color really pops against her red hair. Her makeup (more pink!) helps to bring out her eyes and cheek bones. This would be an interesting photo to paint since the lighting is a bit more complex, coming from different sources and different colors.

(via fckyeah ANTM on tumblr)

(via fckyeah ANTM on tumblr)

Tattoos and texture! I’ll be honest… I haven’t had the pleasure of painting or drawing a person of color yet. It’s not that I’ve purposely chosen not to, I just haven’t made a specific effort to. It’s something I look forward to trying very soon, as I have so much fun with colors, and variety is the spice of life! Her rich lips and bouncy hair frame her face, with bold eyes and brows, spectacularly. Her dress really jumps, with shiny gold paired against layers of transparent silk.

(via localshop on tumblr)

(via localshop on tumblr)

Floral patterns on folded fabric is the hardest thing to master! It’s really a matter of drawing what you see, and not what you think you see, since the folded shapes don’t look much like flowers. The colored floral jumps off the black silk and is complemented nicely by her crown and earrings.

So far art school is going amazingly well, but more on that later. 😉

The Candy Girls of W Magazine (Korea)

It started with me seeing colorful fashion photography that immediately caught my eye and inspired me. Back in January I bought a huge (24″ x 36″) canvas with no project in mind, and it wasn’t until April that I began laying down the first sketch. Now, I’ve finally finished the most ambitious painting I’ve done to date! VOILA!

Candy Girls from W Korea by Jess Lingley

Candy Girls from W Korea by Jess Lingley, oils on 24″ x 36″ stretched canvas

I learned so much through the process of this painting along every step of the way. When sketching, don’t use pencil that’s too dark. When working on the under-painting, be careful to keep layers transparent and thin so there won’t be ridges of paint left over. Give yourself a break every half an hour or so to stretch or your back will hate you. If you’re stuck on something, sleep on it. The list goes on and on.

Throughout the painting, to help keep myself on track, I made lists of things left to do or things I needed to fix. As I finished those things and crossed them off the list, I could see how much progress I was making. I could have spent forever fixing things and trying to make them perfect; this painting is riddled with imperfections, but the point of this painting was not hyper-realism. In fact, the differences and imperfections are what help make the painting mine (as much as a painting studied from a photograph can be). I wanted to paint something huge, something colorful, something where I could learn more about skin tones, anatomy and fabrics. I wanted to challenge myself.

This painting felt like a “final project” in a lot of ways. I spent the past few years studying and preparing a portfolio to get into art school (first day is tomorrow!) and this is the culmination of all the self-discipline and things I taught myself. My favorite parts to work on were the faces and background fabrics, and the parts I like least were the hands and the dress in the middle.

With this painting now hanging in our living room and off my easel, I feel like I can go to school with a (mostly) clean slate.

Happy Labour Day!

Realistic Beauties Painting Roundup

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about traditional media painters as opposed to illustrators, so I’ve decided to give them some love, especially since I’m working on a piece of my own at the moment (that is VERY close to completion save a million little things left to fix). As much as I’m fascinated with the effects that digital painting has, there’s just something about putting a brush to canvas that excites me, completes me, something rich and organic that’s hard to reproduce.

The Three Daughters of Mara by Emily Burns

The Three Daughters of Mara by Emily Burns

If a hyper-realist approach is taken with painting, the composition becomes so much more important because simple still lifes that are rendered realistically may fall flat for some people. With the oil painting above, it’s almost impossible not to look at it. The pinup model with an animal’s head is intriguing, especially set against this backdrop set with the addition of the pixelated effect. Beautiful Decay has an article on Emily that explains the various aspects of her works, including objection of females and its progress over history as well as many other things that I can’t explain as eloquently as she does. She’s found a way to bring seemingly completely unrelated elements together in a striking way.

Shadow of a Doubt by Gina Higgins

Shadow of a Doubt by Gina Higgins

The attention paid to the creases of fabric flowing over her curves is painstaking. I love how she’s laying against a wash of colors with dramatic stripes of shadow playing over her face. The blending here is really well done for an acrylic piece. The color palette is romantic and pale, almost relaxing, but the ominous shadow over her tells a different story.

The Passage by Markus Akesson

The Passage by Markus Akesson

I can’t get over the expertly painted reflections in this beautiful scene. The pool bar on the right goes from industrial straight, dissolving into beautiful swirls of color in the water. The further down our eye travels in the painting, the more wavy and distorted our subject gets. I can’t help but wonder what she’s thinking about as she sinks back in the water.

Autel by Till Rabus

Autel by Till Rabus

This painting is another example of hyper realistic techniques paired with interesting compositions, this one a lot more creepy than what I’ve posted above. The colors drew me into this piece initially, but my questions about how this composition came to be kept me around to look at the artist’s other works. The bright colors in the dismantled toys and CDs stand out against the cool palette of the forest background. It looks like some kind of alter, or maybe a trap? It’s funny how these objects on their own look perfectly normal, but put together in this context look super creepy. Really nice work here.

I’m hoping that taking advanced art courses will teach me technique as well as composition. I’ve had fun painting still lifes so far but would really like to take it up a notch and find out how to give them depth and emotion.

Surreal Dreaming & a Glimpse of the Future

Whether it’s through the mashing up of texture or through beautiful photo composition, fashion continues to inspire me on a level far beyond what I can wear. Now when I look at clothing, I’m not only thinking of how it would look on me, but how it would feel to draw and paint. Who would wear this outfit? What would he/she be doing in it?

Vogue Korea June 2012 (via Trendland)

Vogue Korea June 2012 (via Trendland)

The oranges and blues give this composition a surreal feeling. The model’s dreamy expression and silvery outfit reflect this as well, coupled with the strange netting covering everything, and the bubbles. It’s like she’s in that state of sleep where she’s still slightly awake, but just fading off into dream land. The netting actually helps draw all these different elements together, where otherwise they might just look cluttered.

Abbey Kee Kershaw photographed by Tom Munro (via Localshop)

Abbey Kee Kershaw photographed by Tom Munro (via Localshop)

Rather than her outfit, this model’s pose caught my eye first. It’s a pose of strength and defiance, like she’s standing up to something. With a black and white photo, the viewer’s eyes will be drawn to tiny details, without color to distract them, which is perfect for this stringy dress. The dress itself is pretty, but the accessories and hairstyle of this model really make it edgy.

dolce gabbana 2006 (via Monsieur J)

dolce gabbana 2006 (via Monsieur J)

The element that makes a piece of art, design, outfit or dress stand out to me the most is contrasting and lining different textures next to each other. It’s hard to explain why this appeals to me so much; perhaps it’s because to do it successfully, you have to be very careful to include one similar element or color in each piece for them to work in harmony. In the gorgeous dress above, we have flowers and sheer ruffles divided by a lace-like ribbon. This works for me because the colors on either side are nice together, and having the black between them really gives the combination a clean-cut look.

Flaire September 2012 (via WanderWorldLust)

Flaire September 2012 (via WanderWorldLust)

So futuristic! Seeing each generation’s version of what futuristic should look like is hilarious and inspiring. Lately it seems to be about mirror-like or reflective surfaces, like the girls’ glasses above. The background is really blown out to draw attention to them, and the pure white has a very clean and modern feel to it as well. Their simple bowl-type haircuts against their layers of clothes and accessories provide an interesting comparison of styles. I like how even though the background looks kind of dated, their fashion screams bleeding-edge.

As the weeks continue before school starts, I find myself settling into the blogger lifestyle pretty happily. 🙂 I’ll have to keep this in mind when I start to make serious decisions about my career down the road.

Until Friday!

The Cool & Sexy Illustrations of Babs Tarr

Babs Tarr’s style is a funky mix of fashion and cartoons, with lots of sharp lines and curves to bring her subjects to life. I love how animated her figures are and all the bright color she uses, along with line-work and splotches of texture that look traditional, even though most of her work is digital.

toothpick by Babs Tarr

toothpick by Babs Tarr

The limited color palette in this image helps draw attention to the figure, grey/green among the pink and blue. Tarr’s grasp of anatomy is excellent, allowing her figures to almost strut across the frame. I love how many little details she includes, like the girl above chewing away on a toothpick, the script tattoo on her arm and the tooth through her ear lobe.

RAD Girl by Babs Tarr

RAD Girl by Babs Tarr

This screams 80’s and rather than being cheesy, it really pops! Unlike the first drawing, this one doesn’t any thick black outlines, allowing the neon colors to really show through and sort of burn your eyes the way neons did back then. The pink cheetah-skin skateboard with bright green wheels is just hilarious! She uses white in subtle ways to brighten the area around the subject, through the cheetah pattern and finger prints.

July 4th 2012 Outfit by Babs Tarr

July 4th 2012 Outfit by Babs Tarr

The chunky brush textures here remind me of a pastel or pencil crayon drawing, though this is digital. It becomes obvious pretty quickly that Tarr puts a lot of effort into the fashion aspect of her work. In fact, in the above drawing of her very own outfit from the 4th of July, she lists off each piece of clothing and and where you can buy them, on her deviantart page! I thought this a really nice touch and love that she shares her style with everyone.

Spy Girl by Babs Tarr

Spy Girl by Babs Tarr

This gets me excited for the new James Bond movie coming in November! Tarr’s subjects are beautiful and flowing but she’s also able to create breath-taking and narrative backgrounds. I struggle with making my subjects really fit into the background, but here the flow is effortless. I love the way the bright pink explosion lays a pink light on everything. I’ll be honest, I just love that there’s a bright pink explosion.

At the Moma by Babs Tarr

At the Moma by Babs Tarr

Though she does a lot of illustration and more cartoon-y work, she has a background in oil painting techniques as well. The above is an oil self-portrait, from a photograph her sister took of her at the MoMa in NYC. I particularly like the way she painted the windows in the buildings across the street. Her shapes are well blended and shaded in a very life-like manner.

The Noise by Babs Tarr

The Noise by Babs Tarr

The symmetry of the subjects here is really cool. This work is another one of her oil paintings. The clouds are vibrant and flow in such a way to draw your focus around the two subjects. The girls’ black clothing really stands out against the richness of the colors in the sky and clouds. It’s impressive that she painted the individual bits of zipper in the jackets, and links in the chains they’re wearing. The texture in the jeans is very nice as well. Her deviantart page for this drawing mentions that the shoes are inspired by Alexander McQueen.

Rolling Bulls by Babs Tarr

Rolling Bulls by Babs Tarr

Drawings on their own are one thing, but making the illustrations appropriately spaced for text and information is another skill all together. The figures above flow in such a way to draw your eyes to the text at the bottom. I love the sketchy-feel of this piece.

To be a successful illustrator, I think you have to have the fundamentals of art down: be awesome with a pencil, know your lighting, be comfortable with anatomy and know how to make a great composition. She has all of these skills in spades and it really shows. Great work, Babs!

Ideas for Black Clothing in your Wardrobe

I have a lot of black in my wardrobe and used to get teased a lot about it in school (goth jokes, funeral jokes, etc) but there are tons of ways to wear black. It’s extremely versatile; of course it’s formal and can be worn at serious occasions, but it can also be paired with pops of color or with white for a party outfit. And, band tees with jeans never go out of style! (You heard me!)

frank ocean sweet life outfit (via College Fashion)

frank ocean sweet life outfit (via College Fashion)

College Fashion is a website I stumbled on to while looking for fun things to add to my closet for school this fall. They list all kinds of sales, create outfits based on trends, interview fashionable people on campus and loads more. They’re totally worth a visit! I love the 3/4 length leather jacket above paired with the heels, with a touch of silver to top it off. Studded-collared shirts are starting to trend, but I’m still undecided on them. Regardless, you could pair the jacket with a lighter (or brighter) tank or dress to tone down the black.

Rebecca Minkoff Pre-Fall 2012-Inspired Outfit 1 (via College Fashion)

Rebecca Minkoff Pre-Fall 2012-Inspired Outfit 1 (via College Fashion)

I love those pants! With darker pants you could wear a lighter jacket and accessorize in colors with a purse, earrings, belt or shoes. Those leopard flats are definitely cute but personally, I’d prefer something with a bit of a heel. I think wedges would work well here. If you’ve got some neon accessories left over from the neon craze earlier this year, you can still use them here!

Vogue China (via Fashion Gone Rogue)

Vogue China (via Fashion Gone Rogue)

This is a bit more stylish than practical, but the sports jacket/dress on the left is super sexy and fun! If the cut is a bit low, you could always wear a nice tank underneath or dress it up with a fun scarf. It could also be worn with some leggings and boots in the chillier weather.

anne sofie madsen (via Trendland)

anne sofie madsen (via Trendland)

The dress on the right is a beautiful matte black with gorgeous long sleeves and some texture at the bottom to spice it up. Paired with booties and some layered necklaces, this would be great for a day on the town or in class. A thick brown or tan belt would look great with this as well.

Old Skool Glam (via Super Shardom)

Old Skool Glam (via Super Shardom)

Pink is my favorite color to pair with black. Something about contrasting cute and fluffy with macabre always gets my attention. Flowers and floral patterns/colors look great on black, as shown above in this chic vintage gown. It looks a bit like evening wear, but with a tank underneath or a wrap over top it could easily be worn out during the day.

So don’t be afraid of black clothing, even in the summer! Black tops, bottoms or dresses are a great way to rock colored accessories and shoes that you might not normally get to show off with a more neutral or bright-colored look. Have fun with it!

Pretty In Pink

Sorry I didn’t get this up on Saturday! I’m afraid I can make no promises about timing of posts over the next two weeks. We’re moving on the 27th and have a lot to do before then, so I’ll try and make posts when I can.

One of the great things about fashion is that it has so many different aspects, from practical to artistic. I like to observe trends and keep up with style, but at the same time I love to see completely out-there looks that you’d never find in a store window, bordering on costume. These outfits are the fashion-version of paintings to me.

via acceptable (on tumblr)

via acceptable (on tumblr)

Anything involving strong colors and flowers pulls me in immediately. I’m a big fan of fantasy books and movies and love observing all the different takes on that kind of fashion. The veil over her head adds an interesting texture to the mix and throws the colors into a beautiful chaos. The ambiguity of our subject makes it more interesting still.

via BeforeYouKillUsAll

via BeforeYouKillUsAll

The nose to ear chain here is really intriguing. Paired with the suit, it really stands out. I love how his eyebrows have been reshaped with pink makeup. The palette in this photo is fairly minimalistic, sticking mainly to pink, white and brown, bringing unity to all the different elements of his style.

via localshop (on tumblr)

via localshop (on tumblr)

There are a lot of different textures happening here: silky, furry, smooth, floral, beaded… it’s hard to tell where she ends and the clothing begins. It’s kind of hard to tell what’s going on in this picture, but that makes me want to examine it all the more. There’s a subtle gradient of purple to pink from the bottom up, emphasizing her fur shrug/collar. All the elements of this photo exist in a delicate balance, the composition guiding your eye around in a loop to take it all in.

via Trendland

via Trendland

This model’s larger-than-life hair gives her the appearance of a doll which is definitely what her clothing reminds me of. I wish her expression was more playful, though. The pink and green really work well together; I wouldn’t think much of the belt and the dress apart, but together they make sense.

Atelier Versace Fall 2012 | Paris Haute Couture via FashionGoneRogue

Atelier Versace Fall 2012 | Paris Haute Couture via FashionGoneRogue

Her sandals are gorgeous! I love shoes that have lots of straps, even if they aren’t necessarily practical. There are a lot of contrasting patterns in the design of this dress. I really like the ribbing of the corset against the huge flowing panels of fabric. Layers of floating fabric and patterns give the illusion that she’s floating down the runway.

T-minus one week until I leave work, and two weeks until we move! Here’s hoping I can keep my sanity throughout this adventure. Weeeeeeee!