Artwork for a T-Shirt

In my senior year of high school, I joined an extracurricular club which helped young ladies make plans and goals for this significant academic year, as well as plan for the future outside of high school. For the Senior Women’s club, I created some t-shirt artwork for the club. It was my way of contributing my creative energy.

Artwork on a T-shirt

This is one of my favorite pieces from my teenagehood. Revisiting this with my adult eyes, I admire the level of imagination and drawing skill I had at that age. This illustration was created in the 1990s, and the figures represent the fashion of the time. Plaid fabrics. Baggy jeans and chunky shoes. Short, pleated skirts. Bell-bottomed or flared pants. Variations of the pixie cut hairstyle. It’s all there in the illustration!

I am currently improving on my drawing skills, and it is my vision to recreate this illustration in a different style. My inspirations for character design are artists such Dawud Anyabwile, Adam Warren, Jamie Hewlett, and the Hernandez Brothers.

i’ve got the jazz: – Poetry, Typography, and Watercolor Penciling, Set to an Acid-Jazzy Tune

In the first half of 2017, I am continuing to learn how to edit video with applications Adobe Premiere and After Effects. One of my latest creative works is this one-minute video named, “i’ve got the jazz.”

I was inspired to create this piece as I worked on a recent design project. As I examined the cover images of jazz music albums, the rhythms of hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest also bounced through my head. During my morning walks, words for the poetry of this project formed over a handful of days. I soon combined what was in my heart, my creative mind, and my knowledge of digital art tools to create what you see above. This was a very fun project for me. The details of creative tools are listed below:

Camera: iPhone 6
Graphics Editor: Photoshop
Video Editor: Premiere
Motion Graphics/Visual Effects: After Effects
Poetry lettering: Copic marker
Illustration of hand-lettering made with layers of watercolor pencils
Music: “Panacea” by Greyboy. Used via permission by Ubiquity Recordings, Inc.

Priming Canvases for Acrylic Painting: A Video

Early in 2017, I used, an online education service, to learn how to use Adobe Premiere Pro. Learning about this video-editing application adds to my arsenal of creative tools. I also created the soundtrack to accentuate the video. Below is my first attempt.

This video demonstrates a process of preparing canvases for painting with acrylics. All of the paintings on this site are on canvases prepared in this manner. Even though the video above is only a minute long, I spent a most of a day applying gesso, a type of primer that artistic painters use. The footage was shot with an iPhone 6, mounted onto a shortened tripod. I spent many hours trimming video clips, getting the essence of what I wanted to portray in 60 seconds. In the process, I also learned how to speed up and slow down the video, as well as edit the colors with the powerful Lumetri Color panel. With all of this editing work, I have a new respect for professional videographers! If I keep this up and want to get serious about it, I may upgrade to a more advanced type of video camera, as well as get advice from my friends who practice cinematography.

Speaking of which, major props goes out to cinematographer Matt Johnson. I searched for the best export options for my video, and I discovered the tutorials section of his blog. He details the best parameters to create high quality video for various social media platforms. I specifically looked for parameters to export for Instagram, and eventually found one for YouTube. These details also work well for Vimeo, Facebook, and Twitter.

By the way, if you have a card for a public library in the United States, you may also be able to access for free. That’s how I was able to make this magic happen. Check your local library.

Locations of the video posted above:

A Set of Color Mixing Charts

In late 2016, I was inspired by a watercolorist to paint a set of color mixing charts, based on the acrylics I have in my collection. Using a technique from acrylic painter Karen Ilari, I created 17 panels in the span of a month. This process helped me move beyond my expectations beyond what I know of basic color theory in regards to the color wheel. The most significant effect I learned in this exercise is how my colors work together. Most of us know that “yellow and blue make green,” but what about Yellow Oxide and Cerulean Blue? Or even, “Cadmium Yellow and Pthalo Blue?” The shade of green that appears depends on the values of the mixed colors, as well as their intensities. For my artistically nerdy self, these ideas are fascinating to me. The more I learn about how colors “work,” the more I can efficiently mix on my palette and not waste so much paint.

A handful of my friends have seen these mixing charts in real life, and have stated and asked, “they’re pretty, but how do you use them?” or, “what am I looking at?”

In the example below, the first horizontal row is the color of paint straight from the jar or tube. Cadmium Yellow Light, Alizarin Crimson, and Cobalt Blue are a few swatches here. This row is painted in the same sequence in all of my charts.

The first vertical row of these charts contains the base color; Cadmium Red Medium is the base here.

The secondary horizontal row is an equal mix of a color from the first row, and the base color from the first vertical row. From there, I tinted those mixes with levels of white, then shaded with levels of black. One palette has about 124 swatches of mixed colors.

A few of the things I’ve learned:

  • A pure black color is very powerful–you only need a tiny amount! It can actually muddy other colors. Payne’s Grey (which is deceivingly black in its container), can be a much better alternative.
  • Quinacridone Gold is a new discovery for me, and is turning out to be a favorite. I may be able to create some beautiful skin tones with this color.
  • Cobalt Blue and Ultramarine Blue are very identical in hue, with slight differences when mixing with other colors. I wonder if I need to still keep both in my collection.

Hope you learned something new, and thanks for reading!


Painting Goal Accomplished!

Posing with mini-paintings
Posing near 36 of the 50 mini paintings I’ve created throughout 2016.

I Maaaaade it!

As my home is now surrounded with more of my artwork, I am feeling a delighted sense of accomplishment. I did meet my goal of completing 50 paintings by December 31st, 2016, and there are more paintings to come. Throughout this year, I became more proficient with color values, blending, creating form, abstraction, and building up layers. A nice side effect of these painting processes is a stronger desire to get more skilled in sketching/drawing and creating compositions, which will be necessary to begin my future paintings.

Pile of Candy
A sweet, 50th painting.

Recently, I had a conversation with another painter about creating color swatches for color mixing. I am already knowledgeable about color theory, but it would be helpful to see how each of my collection of acrylics will mix with each other. Artist Karen Ilari’s “Color Cards” video is very helpful.

Stay tuned to future artwork in my online portfolio!