Fashion Watercolors by Sara Ligari

Fashion illustration is a specialized kind of art, different than what I’m used to doing. Negative space plays a huge role in drawing your eye around the drawing. The model needs to be attractive enough to show off the clothing without distracting from it. Sara Ligari mixes lush watercolor illustration with the world of fashion for pieces that instantly draw the eye.

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

I love her combination of vivid colors and flowing lineart! Most of the detail work in her pieces is dedicated to the outfits in question, but occasionally strays to other elements of the work like accessories and makeup. The careful watercolor splashes above her legs give the illusion of fur, contrasting nicely against the pen work of her lace top.

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

I love those shoes! Drawing shoes, and feet for that matter, has always been challenging for me. When I was younger I would draw people and cut their feet out all together, but now I know better. The detailing on the straps of her sandals is really lovely.

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

The way the above drawing is composed leads me to believe that it might not be fashion illustration, but rather an ad for a skincare or haircare product. Her greens are very vibrant and refreshing; maybe this was drawn for spa-related?

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

Her linework varies quite dramatically, leading me to believe that she works with calligraphy pens and brushes. This method takes a lot of patient but definitely pays off, helping the work to pop and giving it lots of character.

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

The majority of her work uses detailed outlines and contours to form the outfits and models who wear them. I especially like the way she details hair, very believable and flowing. Bodies aren’t fully detailed, with foundation shapes sometimes left in the final drawing. This gives depths to the bodies and faces but at the same time downplays them so they don’t draw away too much attention.

by Sara Ligari

by Sara Ligari

The above piece shows that her style is varied and not centered on pen contour drawings. The blending with watercolors here is expertly done, especially with the eye which is very lifelike. By using a few key paint strokes, she’s able to convey the detail in the hat without drawing 100% of it for us. This style sort of makes me think of what you would see if you glanced at someone on the street as they walked by; getting the main idea and colors of the outfit.

Happy Monday everyone! For the canadians among us, enjoy the rest of the long weekend!

Satin and Tennis Balls

Starting off the week with some real progress! I did an awesome afternoon stint of painting on Saturday after whittling away on this piece an hour or so a day for the prior week.

Models painting, in progress by Jess Lingley

Models painting, in progress by Jess Lingley

The ladies are are really starting to take shape! The skin looks pretty bad as I’ve only done one pass with color so far, but the dresses are looking better all the time. I’m especially pleased with the middle girl’s dress as it actually resembles a satin material (though it’s hard to tell from this cell phone photo, apologies). Painting shadows using complementary colors really helps make them pop, gives them depth. I fixed her shoe as well so the heel actually matches the toe. Once this dries, I’ll be going over the blue cloth parts some more with darker, richer hues and adding lighter hues to the pink at the bottom. I’ll also bring in some lighter skin tones on the girls and work on skin shadows/highlights. The eyes are really bugging me, but I don’t dare touch them until I’m happy with the skin, lest they become painted over.

Watercolor Fun

Watercolor Fun

Pop Art ideas

Pop Art ideas

After visiting the pop art exhibit downtown I decided to get a move-on towards a pop art piece of my own! I saw another painting, possibly during the road trip, that was a normal object made interesting through use of geometry and color. I’d like to combine these two ideas by painting a tennis ball in lots of psychedelic colors! My first thought would be to use acrylic since it dries quickly and easily provides thick bright pigments, but to make it more of a challenge, I’m going to do it with watercolors.

As you can see above, I don’t think I’ll have any trouble getting nice bright hues from them. This also gave me a chance to break out the water brushes I purchased on my trip. They require a light touch, but I like them a lot. They let you paint a larger area without having to dip your brush in water again and again, allowing for seamless blending. I’m still trying to iron out which color combinations I want to use, but I’m almost there. Then it’s onto a light but detailed graphite pencil drawing.

possible idea for wood panel

possible idea for wood panel

Yesterday morning I was struck with an idea for an original painting, so I sketched it out before I forgot it. This is a really rough drawing but I’m pleased with the composition and think it would be suitable for the wood panel I bought to paint on. I’ll need to do a more detailed drawing first though, especially where there are flowers and nature involved that I can’t just make up. Rather than drawing right on the wood and possibly dent it, I’d like to figure out how to transfer a graphite drawing on. I’ve heard it can be done with tracing paper…

So, three projects for me to work on! No excuse for slacking off now!

Naoko Takeuchi and Sailor Moon

I’ve mentioned Sailor Moon before on this blog, via an alternate look at her fashion and while discussing Ai Yazawa’s art & manga. Recently I decided to read the manga in full, as previously I’d only seen the anime (the american dub, at that). I enjoyed it much more than I thought possible and it brought back a lot of memories of my middle school and high school days.

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi, via MangaFox.me

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi, via MangaFox.me

I won’t elaborate too much on how it changed my style since I’ve done so in previous posts, but I distinctly remember the moment I first saw Sailor Moon (even the episode, the one where she was worried about her weight so she started dieting) and how much it changed me. I’d only been exposed to american comics up until that point which were fairly realistic in nature, sticking close to anatomic rules. Well… sticking close to the anatomy of the “ideal” man and women, at least.

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via Batezi)

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via Batezi)

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via OtakuPopBlog)

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via OtakuPopBlog)

The Sailor Moon manga took those rules and ran with them. The women have ridiculously long legs and full heads of flowing hair, never a piece out of place. Their eyes are huge and super reflective. They are all slender hour glass figures and even the children are elongated and wispy. All of this should be wrong, off balance and look terrible… but I don’t care. This manga takes the reader to a completely different universe chocked full of pretty soldiers fighting the forces of darkness. Ribbons, tiaras, skirts, wings, sparkles… the art is saturated with everything girly.

The story is typical of a shojo manga. A school girl obtains magical powers to save the universe with her friends and with the help of a mysteriously handsome boy. The plot doesn’t break the mold, but it doesn’t really need to. It’s fluff, plain and simple, and that’s okay with me. The manga spans 18 volumes, plus side stories, plus art books, so there is plenty to take in. It has recently started a reprint and is available pretty much anywhere you can find books.

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi

The art books are the real find. Fortunately, they’ve all been scanned and are freely available on the internet. Normally this would be frowned upon, but the books are out of print and are very rare; I tried to hunt them down on Ebay and found one selling for over a thousand dollars! I’d love to own them (maybe if I win the lottery, someday…) because they’re a true showcase to Naoko’s art. At first, I figured that she probably used simple pens and watercolor, but was surprised to discover that she enjoyed mixing media, employing markers, pastels, pasting designer tissue and even gluing beads into some pieces. Her washes of color are breath-taking.

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via MangaStyle.net)

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via MangaStyle.net)

I remember this image fondly; in grade 7 I wanted to experiment with watercolor painting and chose this image as a study. The art room in that school is still clear in my mind, as well as the feeling of putting color on a page for the first time (with watercolors, at least). That euphoria hasn’t changed at all. I still get that when I mark the page or canvas with that first stroke of color. To know that after all this time, I still enjoy art as much as I used to, if not more, is invigorating. This is so much more than a silly girl story for me. It’s a confirmation of my life as an artist.

After reading through this manga, I have an intense desire to start working with tones, watercolor and even spray. Maybe it’s time for me to do some new fanart for a series that’s been such a heavy inspiration in my art. Sailor Moon is the definitive shojo manga and simply cannot be overlooked.

Gypsy Tattoos

Gypsy Tattoos are currently very popular! I even started a watercolor project of an original, but it will need some major re-vamping, or I’ll have to start from scratch and get a clearer idea of where I want to go with it. There are so many things to consider with a gypsy tattoo.

One of the challenges with tattooing that a lot of people overlook is flow and placement. Even if you have a beautiful piece of work ready to go, where on the body is it going to sit? It’s quite a challenge to design a piece to flow correctly on the body, especially since everyone’s shapes are different.

What makes the gypsy/animal head such a great tattoo? Perhaps it’s the combination of textures: smooth skin versus fur or shiny hair versus sharp teeth. I like how the two faces are close together, human and animal. As an artist, drawing the face is one of the best parts. I love drawing eyes and creating expression from them.

Tattoo artist Herb Auerbach @ California Electric Tattoo Parlour

Tattoo artist Herb Auerbach @ California Electric Tattoo Parlour (via FuckYeahTattoos)

In this the gypsy and wolf are almost seamless. The artwork flows beautifully from the eyes of the wolf through the fur, through her hair, down the dagger into the heart. The bright blush and long lower lashes draw attention to the gypsy’s half-closed, sorrowful eyes.

Tattoo by: Eric Kuiken at Guru Tattoo in San Diego, CA

Tattoo by: Eric Kuiken at Guru Tattoo in San Diego, CA (via TattooSnob)

I love Eric’s inclusion of other popular symbols in tattooing, mainly the roses and the hourglass. Though the gypsy may seem simple enough, every artist has a different idea of how she should look. There looks to be some inspiration from Native American culture here with the face paint and feathers.

Gypsies by Kim-Anh Nguyen

Gypsies by Kim-Anh Nguyen (via her blog on blogspot)

I’m a huge fan of Kim-Ahn’s work from her thick purposeful lines to her rich color work. She draws a lot of old-school and sailor style tattoos. She puts so much effort into every piece she does that it doesn’t really matter what she draws, I love it all. She also sells paintings and prints. Awesome and inspiring!

"A Whore in Wolf's Clothing" by Amy Victoria Savage, at Jayne Doe, Hornchurch, Essex, UK

"A Whore in Wolf's Clothing" by Amy Victoria Savage, at Jayne Doe, Hornchurch, Essex, UK (via Reddit)

This is a bit of a twist on the wolf-head trend that I really dig. It’s great to see artists draw inspiration from a trend and really make it their own.

Inspiration 23-01-12

I’m pleased to say that I succeeded in completing my “Assess Your Personality” painting on Saturday night! I can finally put away the bulky still life setup and not have to worry about rolling back into a wet painting from my chair. You can be sure there will be pictures once I’ve cleaned up my space and have some decent quality images to post. I’m going full-tilt into an illustration kick next! For now, though…

Paintings by Eric Zener

Paintings by Eric Zener

Perhaps it’s because I’m a water sign (Cancer) that I’m drawn to art involving water. Zener’s oil paintings are breath taking, almost photorealistic. His water series especially is beautiful to look at. So much care is taken to bring out each color and sharpen each detail. Each painting takes you to another place to experience what the subject experiences. He says his work “reflects our collective desire for transformation into something ideal”. I agree with this very much by looking at his series of works; the theme is definitely there. He’s especially talented at painting things in flow, whether it’s water or fabrics.

snakebitescars by Stephanie Pena

snakebitescars by Stephanie Pena

Typically I’m a fan of bright colors but these washed-out tones are really appealing in this illustration. I also really love the big thick lines and style reminiscent of old comic books. It looks like she’s had a lot of fun with the clothes on these characters. The whole thing is very lose, edgy and cool.

by Ken Garduno

by Ken Garduno

The line-work in this piece is at the other end of the spectrum from what I’m usually into, but different is good! The subject matter is a bit of a mystery but it’s got makings of a lot of great things. It’s a gypsy getting a piggy-back from a zombie with smoking hands… what more can I really say? This is one of those works that I don’t really understand why I like, but I really, really do.

by Cecilia Paredes

by Cecilia Paredes (via Trendland)

It may just look like a swatch of wallpaper, but look a little closer. Cool, ne? This artist paints these designs on herself to blend in with the background. This is a lovely combination of things I’ve been into lately; colorful illustrative art and awesome wallpaper designs.

Inspiration 16-01-12

Happy Monday everyone! It was really chilly over the weekend so I stayed inside and got into some art but I don’t have any photos to show off just yet. In the mean time, here are some illustrations I’ve been drooling over recently.

"La Marelle" piece by Elodie

"La Marelle" piece by Elodie

Elodie’s pieces are colorful and traditional. She plays with different methods of shading (hatching versus pointilism) and patterns. Detail-oriented with interesting color choices, her work is captivating. The background of this piece with gradients from red to yellow really bring out the blue of the girl’s dress. Loving the detail on the skirt and jewellery.

Nothing Matters, We Are The Sweetest Mistakes by Fumi Mini Nakamura

Nothing Matters, We Are The Sweetest Mistakes by Fumi Mini Nakamura

Nakamura’s work is along the same vain as Elodie’s while being very different. This piece in particular caught my eye because there is so much to take in and try to understand. It’s composition is tattoo-like in nature and would be too cluttered if it weren’t for the carefully placed negative spaces. I think for work like this, a lot of planning is required to make it come together successfully.

Candy Elk Dreamer by Gerrel Saunders

Candy Elk Dreamer by Gerrel Saunders

The vibrant trippy colors grabbed me immediately with this piece. I love the mix of macabre and candy. The clean and crispy look of digital work (whether in Photoshop or Illustrator) is very appealing. I particularly love the way the feathers are laid out here.

Pure Morning by carissa rose

Pure Morning by carissa rose

I was turned onto this artist from a local shop downtown, Pretty Little Freak Boutique, who sell her prints! I love tattoo-style drawings of people with tattoos… does that make me weird? Her watercolor and ink combination is lovely and the blanket is especially beautifully colored. I love the detail in the patterns, backgrounds and environments that she puts into her work. I should really look into getting a print to hang in my studio.

Until next time, stay warm!

Wrap-Up of Watercolor Painting and Figure Drawing Studio

Watercolor painting turned out to be a lot more fun than I thought it would. I figured there would be a lot of boring landscape painting with dull, transparent colors. I’m so glad I was wrong! Watercolors can be so vibrant and are so versatile. The most important thing I learned about watercolors was to work extremely light (with lots of water), even when I wanted vibrant colors. Colors can be layered continously over each other to create some beautiful effects, but only with a little paint at a time. When paint is applied to thickly/darkly it’s very hard to pick up off the page.

I understand what place this medium has for me. It allows for blending that would be more difficult with acrylics or copics while drying faster than oils. It’s good for smaller works like tattoo art or for situations where you don’t want to worry about cleaning up afterwards. Rinsing your brushes with water is enough, here. I’m looking forward to mixing this with other mediums as well, like colored pencils.

Watercolor Painting 1

Watercolor Painting 1

Here’s where I stand with the first painting from class. I’m going to be honest; I really don’t like it. Painting the eyelids was a mistake. I wanted to make her look less like a child but now she just looks… well, stoned. I’m unsure of whether or not I’m going to continue with this. If I do, I’m not opposed to doing some really drastic/crazy stuff with it.

Watercolor Flowers

Watercolor Flowers

Once I got sick of working on the previous piece, I decided to follow the rest of the class and paint from a photo. This one is quite fun but I keep reminding myself to be patient with it and work in very light layers to achieve those beautiful colors in the flower petals. I think I’m going to give this to one of my grandmothers for the holidays and paint something else for the other one. I may bring some white acrylic into this for highlights once it’s done, I haven’t decided yet.

This class started out more structured with discussion of the color wheel, shading techniques and color theory and then turned into a more studio-type environment where we’d bring in our own projects and ask for help/critique. We were given the essentials needed in order to use the medium and told to have fun with it. I’m happy with this class and feel like it’s opened a lot of doors for me I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Onto the Figure Drawing Sessions! These studio sessions were not intructor-lead. We were simply given a nude model and had 2 1/2 hours to draw him or her in different poses, ranging from 60 seconds to 30 minutes in length. Despite the lack of instruction I learned a lot just from drawing the human form regularly. I learned to expect certain curves and became more familiar with proportions. I think that, even in seven weeks, improvement is visible comparing drawings from the first few weeks to the last few. Here’s some of the work I did:

Nude 1 by Jess Lingley

Nude 1 by Jess Lingley

Nude 2 by Jess Lingley

Nude 2 by Jess Lingley

Nude 3 by Jess Lingley

Nude 3 by Jess Lingley

Nude 4 by Jess Lingley

Nude 4 by Jess Lingley

Nude 5 by Jess Lingley

Nude 5 by Jess Lingley

Nude 6 by Jess Lingley

Nude 6 by Jess Lingley

As you can see I experimented with quite a few different mediums. My favorite by far are copic markers. Pencil felt a bit restricting here as I was trying to describe depth and shadows. Maybe if I had more experience with pencil rendering I might have had a better time of it, but for most of these classes I only used it for the quick gesture drawings. I played a little with charcoal and pastels but they are messy and I don’t have enough control over them, yet. Watercolors were much more fun but weren’t drying fast enough for me to layer shadows onto which leaves the copics. I was able to show muscle structure and shade effortlessly with them. I really enjoyed playing around with different color combinations as well, rather than sticking to flesh tones.

I would recommend Life Drawing to any artist looking to improve, regardless of your level. Becoming familiar with the human figure lends itself in all different forms of art. It’s one of the most beautiful and difficult things to draw and master; no one person is the same as the next. Each night was a different challenge for me; some nights I felt I was doing great and others I really had to push through. Over all I’m very satisfied with how they went and now have a huge portfolio of work to look back on (there are at least 7 times as many photos as what I’ve shown here).

I’m really looking forward to checking out some more classes in the new year! I think I will go in a different direction though to try and expand my horizons. I have always wanted to learn how to sew…

Progress 05-12-11

Sunday proved to be a great day for painting! Here’s some progress on the oil painting I started last week:

Assessing Your Personality (progress) - Jess Lingley

Assessing Your Personality (progress) - Jess Lingley

The books have been fully blocked out and I’ve added highlights and shadows. I started doing some of the lettering and quickly realized how difficult it’s going to be. With the whole painting wet, there’s nowhere for me to rest the side of my hand to keep it steady, so I’m having to try and do it freehand. I don’t have a brush small enough to do some of the text so I’m not sure how that’s going to work out. I found myself wanting to give up on it frequently but managed to push through it and don’t feel so bad about it now. Looking forward to having free evenings this week to work away on it.

I also started painting some xmas cards! I wasn’t going to do it this year as I thought it’d be too much work, but I got started and was surprised at how fun it was! Being able to start and complete a new piece in a few hours is exhilarating. I don’t think I’ll have much problem doing at least a dozen of these. Now, since I’ll be giving them out to family (some of which read this blog, I hope, WINK WINK) I really shouldn’t be posting any progress shots…

… but what kind of a post would this be without pictures? Here are some teasers:

Xmas Card Teaser 1

Xmas Card Teaser 1

Xmas Card Teaser 2

Xmas Card Teaser 2

It seems I’m pretty terrible at posting on Fridays. I’m working on a post regarding my last watercolor and figure-drawing classes and will try and have it up Wednesday in an effort to avoid that sneaky lazy Friday feeling.

Inspiration 17-11-11

My weekend may have been productive but my week sure hasn’t been. It feels like I’m in the midst of a great big artistic slump. I know the only way to get through it is to just push on, so here are some things that have caught my eye over the past little while that will hopefully get the wheels turning in my brain.

watercolor painting by Z.L. Feng

watercolor painting by Z.L. Feng (via The Luxury Spot)

This vivid watercolor landscape caught my eye immediately. The colors are striking and the detail is amazing for watercolor. Landscapes are a bit of a weak spot for me, so seeing beautiful works like this encourage me to keep at it. I love the combination of blending and splattering. The reflection in the water is especially well done.

Soey Milk does "Re-imagine Childhood"

Soey Milk does "Re-imagine Childhood" (via Booooooom)

This piece is from a show at Subtext Gallery in California called Home Room. The artists in the show take drawings done while they were children and recreate them in their current “style”. What a great way to see how far they’ve come! Even if you can’t make it there for the show (I certainly can’t, a bit far away for me) they’ve featured the artists and their works in a PDF available here! The work is amazing, take a look!

This is definitely something that I want to try. I’ve done similar works in the past but only re-drew something from a few years back. Going back to kindergarten or grade one would be really interesting. Back around grade three I created a super heroine and shortly after met some friends who created their own with me. Following this, we all began drawing and writing stories together, which went on for years. I have such fond memories of those days. I think I have a box of these old drawings in my closet and will look through them soon.

by Arturo Elena

by Arturo Elena

Some crazy, surreal COPIC marker work by Arturo Elena, found on the COPIC marker blog. I can’t even fathom how he was able to render that hair on the dogs! When used properly, COPICs can produce some really impressive realism. I’m not quite there yet and anticipate it will take me years. There’s a very fine balance needed to blend colors seamlessly without completely saturating the page in ink, ruining it. Seeing work of this calibre done with markers is extremely encouraging and inspiring. The COPIC blog shows a lot of other great talent as well and posts tutorials from time to time. If you’re trying to learn the ropes of COPICs, or any other art markers for that matter, these tutorials are very helpful.

by Ana Elisa Egreja

by Ana Elisa Egreja (via Trendland)

Colorful realist paintings: they always seem to catch my eye. Maybe because I appreciate the rendering, maybe because I’m curious how one would come up with concepts like these. Maybe it’s not worth explaining and just about enjoying. These paintings of animals in human settings are fun and wonderful to look upon, my favorite being the one above.

I have no work to report on of my own right now and just spent this week’s watercolor class trying to put more detail in my autumn-themed-tattoo-gypsy-thing. I’d really like to have another piece to work on for next class and may actually, ~gasp~, take a photo in to work off of. One of the other things I’d like to do this weekend is go through my sketchbooks and upload some rough drawings and in-progress works. Once I’ve uploaded them I will of course post about them here!

Here’s hoping everyone has a good autumn weekend. I think it’s going to start getting really cold from here on out…

Progress 09-11-11

At my watercolors class last night I asked for advice on how to continue my autumn-themed painting. More specifically, I asked how to mimic the texture of fur in watercolor. Like everything else with this medium it requires patience and many, many layers. I have a long way to go with this one but look forward to having something a bit mindless to work away on. My bear is looking furrier already!

Bear Skin Progress

Bear Skin Progress

Despite seemingly catching every single sickness that has been going around and losing many of my evenings and weekends, I have finally finished painting the foo dog end tables! Forgive the horrible cell phone photos here, I will update them later when I have my DSLR and better light handy.

Female Foo Dog End Table finished!

Female Foo Dog End Table finished!

Pair of Foo Dog Tables

Pair of Foo Dog Tables

I like the female foo dog table so much I almost don’t want to give it away. I think it really shows that I knew what I was doing more with that table, but they both still look great together. As for number of hours spent on this project I really have no idea. When you factor in the research I did to be able to draw these creatures confidently, and the color experimentation, and the copic illustrations, sanding down the tables, gessoing the tables and getting on with painting them I’d wager there are 30 hours or more in these.

This project brought me a lot of enjoyment and as much as I try to get away from emotional attachment to my works, with these I feel proud. When I was younger and just getting into drawing and inking illustrations I put a lot of pressure on myself; I was afraid that if I messed up whatever I was working on I’d never be able to do something that good again. I think a lot of beginner artists feel this way and it seriously impedes progress. It took me a really long time to get over myself, so to speak, and let go of that. Right now, all of my drawings and paintings are stepping stones. If I mess up, so what? I’ll paint over it, erase it, draw right on top of it until I get it right and if I hate what I’m working on, I’ll finish it and move on. I don’t expect everything I create to be awesome, but unless I keep working at it I will never get any better.

These tables were a great project. They allowed me sort of get a feel for how professional graphic artists work: planning, research, drafts, etc. When I first started out I became quickly frustrated because I have little experience drawing animals. It took me numerous sketches to start to understand proportions and get a feel for them. This was made even more difficult because almost every artist has a different way of drawing a foo dog or chinese lion but after hours of practice and scribbling I came up with illustrations I was happy with. By the time I was ready to paint on the tables I had a clear vision of what I wanted and painted confidently.

I like the idea of having art on furniture; even if there’s no room left on the walls it will have a practical place in the home. This kind of thing is absolutely something I would do again! Once yard-saling season rolls around again, I’m there! I may go a bit smaller in terms of an object (perhaps a jewelry box?) but then again, painting large is so much more fun and satisfying in the end.

This weekend I’d like to hash out another still life, this time something mechanical in nature. Having another long weekend ahead should give me lots of time. Perhaps I’ll even revisit my poor neglected Close-study…