This is a fun art project that I do every year with my middle school students. However, it works great with all ages, including adults. If you are looking for a fun Fall art project or a Halloween art project, this will be perfect for you. You can make the animals as creepy as you want and leave it black and white or add color. Inspired by zentangle designs, this project explores pattern, texture and form.
Supplies: Pencil, scissors, drawing paper, black construction paper, fine tip Sharpie markers, glue stick, animal printout, ruler.
1. Select Printout: Find a large photograph of an animal. You can find it online or in a magazine, or just go photograph your cat. Then print your photograph in black and white on regular copy paper. Try to make sure the animal fills the page, in order to give you plenty of room for your patterns.
2. Graphite Transfer: Shade the back of your printout using a graphite pencil. Then place the printout (face up) on top of your drawing paper and trace the image. This will transfer the graphite to your drawing effectively duplicating the image, (See the slideshow above).
3. Stylize image: Now you need to stylize the image by adding in closed shapes that can later be filled with patterns. These shapes should work with the form of the animal, but they can also be random.
4.. Ink over your pencil outline: Now use a Sharpie pen to carefully ink over the pencil lines and shapes. Once the ink is dry, you should erase any remaining pencil marks in order to have a clean looking image.
5. Doodle in designs: Now begin to add patterns and textures using a Sharpie. Do not use pencil for this part. You can plan out and practice your designs on a separate sheet of paper. Caution: Work slow and use a ruler or circle template as needed. Be precise and neat.
6. Mistakes oh no! Mistakes happen, but try not to start over. You can turn a poor design into an effective one by adding additional lines and details. You can also use white-out to make corrections or paste additional drawing paper over the offending area. Also, remember that small mistakes will be absorbed and lost as the drawing fills in.
People will focus on the good areas, not the mistakes. Keep going and stay positive!
7. Finished! Cut out the picture and past it neatly onto a sheet of black construction paper. Make sure that all of the edges are neatly glued down. Use a white colored pencil to sign your name at the bottom.
Recently, I began journaling, but not in the traditional way. I am a visual person. I tend to learn best with visual cues, and as an artist, I am constantly working and using the visual language of design. So, when I decided to begin journaling, I did it in a visual way. I had the idea that I would write a book using watercolor paint as my words. In short, I adopted a style of using dashes and marks of watercolor to stand in for the words and sentences of a book. It's a creative and fun way to go about journaling.
To do this, I first mark out time each day to sit down at the table and paint. This is important to do or it just won't happen. I find, I must have some set schedule. However, it need not be a long time. I tell myself to sit for ten minutes and work. Often, that ten minutes will become thirty or even an hour, but I demand of myself at least those ten.
Next, I think back on my day and go over the feeling or mood that I carried from it. Was it a good day? What were some of the conversations that I had? What did I work on? What was one highlight and what was one lowlight. Then I begin to paint. I just let the feeling of the day come out.
If you are creating a visual journal of your own, don't feel that you need to paint abstractly, as I do. Just paint whatever you want and remember a journal is only for your eyes. No one else is going to judge you on your artwork. It's a private thing, so be kind to yourself.
Here are some examples from my first journal using this technique:
Recently, I took this crafty journaling idea further and began to leave space for actual notes, similar to a traditional journal.
Here is how I did it
1. I have given myself a rule that I must work at my journal for at least ten minutes a day. I often do more, but I must work for at least ten.
2. I rule in an area where I want to do a little painting in my journal. Remember, you can paint or draw whatever you are feeling. Don't think in terms of the picture being good or bad, just try to capture the spirit of the day. If it was a sad day, use slow lines and darker colors. If it was an energetic day, use more bright colors and daring lines. However you want to express the day is up to you. Just be creative and let it rip.
3. After painting, I rule in a few more lines and write about the day, or maybe about the painting I just made. I usually put the date in the top left corner and the day's temperature in the bottom right.
4. Don't worry about your handwriting or your spelling, etc. Just get your thoughts down.
5. I try to at least get one affirmation into each journal entry. No matter how bad the day, there must be something good to be thankful for.
For this entry, I had just come from a school seminar, where we had read and discussed "Those Cold Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden. The painting depicts my visual version of that poem, which discusses a cold house warmed slowly by a fire. The poem is a bit dark, so I tried to capture that tension as well.
Well that's it! It is a lot of fun to journal when you don't have to worry about writing too much and just explore the mood of the day with paint and color. Send me your own creative journal ideas. I would love to see them.
In the meantime, don't forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook.
Just look for Bruce Black Art.
I have been working on my website this weekend as well as doing some social media marketing to promote my new children's book, The Bright Star. Brian Mostoller is the author and I did the illustrations. You can find it online now at at Amazon.
Marla and I also went to Phoenix event, Junk in the Trunk today. That is a large, and amazing, antique event out in Scottsdale Arizona. you can find all sorts of unique items and vintage pieces that recall your childhood. However, after just looking up at the clock, I realized it is almost five o'clock! There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day. Anyway, here is a quick pic of what I have been working on in the studio.
I am so excited to announce the release my first children's book! The Bright Star is a lovely children's book written by my friend and fellow teacher, Brian Mostoller. He and I have collaborated, with Brian doing the writing and myself doing fourteen full sized watercolor illustrations for the book.
The story is about the how the Christmas star came to shine on the three wise men travelling to Bethlehem to see the new baby. In this this story, The Bright Star must use all of her energy to shine down in celebration of this momentous birth. The other stars are at first jealous of her seemingly boastful behavior, but eventually realize how noble and beautiful her cause is. This will make a terrific book to read during the holidays and help to teach young people about the story of the birth of Christ. This is truly a beautiful and uplifting story that is a fun read no matter what age you are or what religion you practice. Just check it out and see.
It has taken us about a year to realize this project and we are now so excited to have it released in time for the holidays. It can be found on Amazon right now and will soon be sold locally in Phoenix at the Changing Hands Book Store. Also, look for us at the Uptown Farmer's Market on Central, where we will soon be visiting artists. I will update this blog with the dates and times of our readings and book signings.
In the meantime, please grab the book off of Amazon and don't be afraid to write us a great review there as well.
Well, I did it. After a long hiatus from the studio, I managed to step back in and put some paint onto the paper. Why so long you may wonder. Well, me too. Like getting caught in a riptide, life seems to just pull me out to sea, rather than allowing me to find me feet on solid ground. Oh, don't get me wrong, my life is going great. I have a sixteen year old son who is driving, a lovely wife, and a great career teaching art. It is just that those things seem to carry me away from the studio. Being without a gallery or any true community to support my artwork, also seems to factor in. And yet, here I am. I made it back and am painting again. Hopefully, I will find my way in a little more often in the coming months.
Original Abstract Watercolor Sketch on handmade paper. 15" Long X 10" wide. 9/8/2019 by Bruce Black
Author: Bruce Black
Welcome to Life Reimagined! I am a professional artist and long time art teacher, Over twenty-two years teaching and still going! I have painted all my life and love to inspire others to reach their creative potential. I hope this blog brings you inspiration!