Malawi - 84 color pieces of art!

I recently finished up a series of drawings for schoolbooks in Malawi. An awesome project, and one that let me learn a lot about a country I did not know much about! But they were monster deadlines - there was basically 6 months of work due - in 2 months. Yep, 2 months. There were a few weeks there where all I did was draw and sleep (more of the former than the latter). But now that it's finished, I'm really happy I did it! It feels like a real accomplishment, and for a worthwhile project as well. 84 drawings - and that's not counting the 40 or so other drawings done in the same time period for other clients as well.

Here's one of them - fish swimming in Lake Malawi. I'll be posting more of these in the mear future!


Preteen Pirate

This came about during a semi-private painting class I was teaching. One of the kids had two bits of news - one, that she got braces, and two, that she and her family were going on a cruise to the Caribbean. I commented that she was going to go sailing like a pirate, when her friend said "Pirates don't wear braces." I called Nonsense! and said that all you'd have to do is add braces to the skull on the Jolly Roger.

So while they painted their assignment, I painted this.

In part, it was just because I loved the idea. But also, I finished this in a half an hour, while walking around and critiquing their work. I made it part of the lesson - all the kids in the class were getting too particular, and trying to make just one spot perfect. I wanted to show them that they needed to loosen up and paint more freely. Always time to clean things up later, just get paint on canvas. Besides, it was an acrylic paint class, the more you mess up early, the more layers you have, and the final result looks richer in the end.

And here is the pre-teen pirate herself, posing with the painting:


Last Art Class!

For the last art class before summer, I decided to let them make their own summer blockbuster poster - about themselves! And, of course, I had to do a sketch to show them what it could look like. And I got to get in a dig at the phrase "Based on a true story" that movies use. So all of this is sooooo true. Really.

I may have to take this to final at some point. Hard to resist helicopter sharks.


Random Nonsense

My daughter had a friend over, and they decided to do some drawings. Her friend asked me how to draw penguins, and this came out. I felt like drawing a walrus, but I know, from researching for my Lunch Note Project, that penguins don't live where walruses (walrusi?) do. So I decided to make my penguins very, very lost.

Also, I realized that people always draw walruses sitting on ice. I figured it was about time one of them questioned the wisdom of it, as opposed to sitting on, say, a couch.


The Onion King

This was just one of those random things that came up in conversation. And then it just screamed out to be drawn.


My Next Painting (in progress)

Got a Red Riding Hood theme going on here, but I'm enjoying it.

Just like the last painting, this one will be in full color. But to start, I wanted to unify it by painting in all the shadow color as an underpainting. And I liked it so much, I decided to take a picture of it.

If I hadn't done the first one in full color I'd have been tempted to just leave this as is. So glad it wasn't the first one!


My First Painting of This Year

Not too long ago I finally got to see the movie Frida. Aside from being a really good movie, it also reminded me that I actually like to paint. Digital's fun and all, but it's nice to get all up in there with actual paint. I liked painting in the sketchbook too - I'll move to canvas sooner or later, but it was good to just paint something for the fun of it. The paper even held up well too, surprisingly.


My Last Drawing of Last Year

For the last class before Christmas break, I decided to teach cartooning, with action and expression. And what better way to start kids on it than gingerbread men - they have emoji-like faces, they have stick-figure like bodies to help learn motion, and, best of all, they're edible. Not the drawing kind - the ones that my wife made to give to the class after they finished drawing. So the first half of the class was pen-and-ink, the second half was cookies-and-icing.

They asked if every class could end that way.


Art Class - Thanksgiving Still Life

I decided to do a Thanksgiving still-life - in sepia, if they were up for it. So I had to go out and buy a bunch of vegetables that I don't normally eat (translate: know how to cook). Thankfully my wife could make something out of it all after the class - the big vegetable on the bottom left ended up in turkey soup.

Oddly enough, the younger class had better luck with this than the older class. They just took what they saw and ran with it. The older class was trying to draw it as accurately as possible, so very few of them finished the drawing. I don't really fault them for that - it's not like they didn't finish because they weren't trying, it's more that that were trying too hard - but I do want to see if they can loosen up in future classes.

From the younger class:

I actually liked that this was off center. There's a nice compositional balance to it all compacted in the bottom corner.

And this one I loved. She just took the basic idea of what was there and ran with it. The basket handle is huge, and it works really well. And why not add a rainbow, I ask you. It's practically a Thanksgiving wonderland she's drawn here. Great way to pump up a still life!


Art Class - Color Mixing

It looks like this should be called "Art Class - Leaves," but the leaves were just the excuse to follow up on my color mixing class. I limited the colors they could use to yellow, magenta, cyan, and white. They did really well on it - in fact, I taught this before the pumpkin painting class, which is probably how they were able to get a whole painting done in an hour! This class took two sessions to complete (these posts are slightly out of order, but I wanted to put up my Jack O'Lantern pic before it got too far from Hallowe'en).

Since it was color theory, I had initially planned to have them paint the same leaf in complementary colors, like I did as well. But after two classes on just one leaf, they were ready to move on, and the pumpkin paintings were a lot more fun. But I like my purple leaf for it's own sake, so I'm glad I painted it as well.