Happy November! I hope everyone is doing alright out there. I’ve picked up a small part time job that takes up a small part of my day, but I still have lots of time to work on things. But I thought I’d show you something that I’ve been working on that I’ve wanted to do for a while.
That’s right, I’m rebranding Soft Peach!
I’ve had the cute white peach logo for two years now, and you can see it all around my website and on my comics. I really like it; I’m a big fan of simplistic logos and easy-to-read text. I didn’t major in graphic design, but I have an eye for certain graphic design details, and am inspired by clean, professional graphics.
I am also inspired by those “aesthetic” photos all over the internet, and I picked a few photos to inspire the feeling and color palate of the new look:
For this new look, I wanted to make it even cuter and peachy-er! My brand identity for Soft Peach is cute, girly, and cozy. I like flowers, petals, and soft gradients with gentle filters on top. Soft Peach Comics itself is supposed to be comics for stories that make you feel good.
So here’s the new look!!
I’ve designed a new logo and some banner images in various sizes. I plan on creating some patterns for backgrounds, and a couple products to list in my shop. The Soft Peach Set will be listed on Etsy soon, and that will include a phone wallpaper, desktop wallpaper, stickers, a print, and a keychain! Each item will be listed individually as well as all together. I’m super excited to list these, I’m in love with how they turned out!
Rebranding is fun to do. Most of the time it can be a nice refresher to a page or a business, and can be captivating to returning viewers to see something new for a change. I’ve done it a couple times for my art since being more active on social media. Also, it’s just fun to me!
Now that Inktober is over, I have launched some new products for the holiday season. The brand is called:
Love & Cozy!
I love how this turned out, and I really like the idea of being in love and cozy during the winter time, so I created these two characters who are in love, and they get cozy together. On my Etsy, there are stickers, a phone wallpaper, a print, and an original illustration, so please go check it out! This year I plan on buying all my Christmas presents from small businesses, so I suggest you try the same! And might I suggest going to Soft Peach Designs, a small business? 😉
I plan on creating and launching the new peach branded stuff soon as well. Please be on the lookout for that; it should be out either later this month, or early December.
I have some new year’s resolutions building up in me that I’d like to talk about in another blog post, so please be on the lookout for that! Other than that, stay safe and healthy out there. I’m gonna be trying my best to stay healthy and active during this holiday season, and I’m crossing my fingers that I won’t get sick!
Thank you for reading, and see you in the next post!
If you didn’t know, Inktober is a fun challenge that artists participate in where you draw one ink drawing everyday in the month of October. It had evolved greatly over the years, and artists have taken their own creative spin on it and come up with fun alternatives. One that has been very prominent this year is Blacktober, which I’m doing!
Blacktober is a celebration of black artists by showcasing their work by using this tag on social media. There is an official prompt list created on Twitter, but I created my own prompt list. This is my second time creating a prompt list for Inktober, and I really like this one! I am drawing some of my favorite female characters with beautiful dark skin.
So far I’ve done 20 drawings this month, and I haven’t missed a day! I’m really enjoying the process of drawing the sketch, and finishing it up with inks, Copic markers, and brush pens. My daily routine has been getting up early, finishing my piece, and posting it on social media.
If you want to see the drawings I’ve done for Blacktober, please check out the Blacktober 2020 Archive page on my site! I’ll be archiving the drawings there so after this month, you can see them all in one place. I am also posting everyday on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok!
I made a process video of a couple of Blacktober pieces. One of Cardcaptor Sakura, and the other one of Katara! These ones turned out great! If you want to see them, please click below…
This is my first time using the Premium Content function in this website. Let me know if you are able to access those process videos, and if it’s working well! I would like to add more things in there like more process vids, sneak peaks on upcoming projects, and more.
There’s only a week or so left of Blacktober, and I’m proud of myself for sticking to it so well! I’m really liking the pieces that are coming out of it, and I would like to choose my favorite ones, touch them up, and list them on my Etsy. I’m also liking how my Instagram feed is looking! So nice and consistent… 🙂
As for when Blacktober is over, I have some ideas on new content that I want to do, firstly, I would like to do my first Draw This in Your Style Challenge! If you don’t know what that is, it’s when an artist draws a character and their followers, fellow artists, draw the same character in their style! It’s a trend that started a few years ago, and I think it’s a really neat idea! I’m also working on some new products for my Etsy shop, mostly holiday-themed stickers and prints! And of course, I’ll be working on Chapter 3 of Jazz too.
I’m really looking forward to this holiday season. I have two jobs now, so I will most likely get busy around Christmas time, but I have lots of projects I’m working on that should be really fun! I have a good feeling about the end of the year going into 2021. This year was so strange, so I’m ready for some good energy!
That’s about all for this post! Please be on the lookout for new content from me!
This is something that I thought I wouldn’t say. It’s looking like “Jazz” is making a comeback!
If you don’t know what “Jazz” is, it’s my first ever chaptered comic I started back in college. It’s the story of an active, headstrong girl named Jazz who discovers she has magical powers and fights demons at her high school. I made 2 chapters so far; “Warm Ups” and “High Kicks“. They were both an introduction into Jazz’s world. Once I finished these chapters, I had moved on to working on chapter 3.
I discuss more of what happened in this post, but the long and the short of it was that due to moving around and work, I spent too much time away from the project, and I had grown apart from it. I wasn’t liking how it was looking, and I had to make a ton of revisions to make the chapter work for me.
Now that I spent my summer and fall at home, I rediscovered a love for the story while cleaning out my art closet and looking through the script again. It made me want to work on the story more and more as I thought about it over the next couple of days. So after doing some revisions, I’m glad to say that “Chapter 3: Interception” is coming soon!
A few things to unpack with the cover: First off, Jazz is holding what looks like a different weapon, and she’s in a football field at night. Wonder what it could mean…?
Before my long hiatus, I created the cover of “Interception” and one more illustration. I had started making the pages, but I will be scrapping those pages and starting anew. Interception will actually be in 2 parts! The first creating the setup for the story, and the second part with more action and even a surprise! I won’t spoil anything right now, but I think you’ll like it.
Here’s a quick summary of “Jazz Chapter 3: Interception“:
“Homecoming has hit Peachstone High, and Jazz is looking forward to spending time with her friends at the Homecoming game. That is, if there is a game to go to! There’s another demon lurking around the football field, and it’s taken over Jazz’s new friend. After a surprise at the pep rally, will Jazz be able to overcome this demon and enjoy the last Homecoming game of her high school career?”
I’m hoping to be finished with this chapter by, let’s say, the end of May 2021. I’m giving myself a lot of time to work on it since I’m not sure what my working life will be like. I’ll do my best to update you on my progress, as always. If you would like to see those updates, I have an instagram for my comics called @soft_peach_comics. There’s a lot of Jazz content there, so please go and refresh yourself with Jazz’s story!
I’ve been having a lot of fun doing my #blacktober prompt this year. It’s been going strong, and have done a complete sketch everyday so far! Hopefully this post won’t jinx my progress.
For this post I’d like to talk about the different supplies I use to make my traditional art. I love experimenting with my art, and have accumulated tons of supplies to use. I’ll let you know my favorites, and show you ones I use the most.
I went over the art techniques I use in this post, so this post will be a nice add-on!
I made a Tiktok a while ago showing off my supplies, but let’s look at them in more detail, shall we?
Everything I talk about today will be linked if you would like to shop 🙂
I love using mixed media sketchbooks. My favorites are the Strathmore Mixed Media sketchbook and the Canson Mixed Media sketchbook. The paper in this sketchbook is pretty thick, and depending on the type of paper you like, you can get the kind with more or less “tooth”, or a more grainy texture. The “toothy” textures take pencil and watercolor very well, and the smooth texture takes marker and ink very well. The Canson sketchbook I use the most frequently is a mixture of these textures, so I use many different types of supplies with this! The Strathmore sketchbook has a more smooth texture, so I’ve been using one for my Blacktober prompts. I tend to get the 9×12 size, but both sketchbooks come in a ton of different sizes.
A couple weeks ago, I bought a bulk these two sketchbooks, so I wouldn’t run out for a long time. I love these sketchbooks!
For illustrations and comic making, I like to use Bristol Board. The specific kind I use is the Strathmore 300 series Bristol Pad in the Vellum texture. This is a great surface for making comics because the Vellum surface is great for taking ink and markers of all types. I also use these for making illustrations too, especially for marker-based illustrations. I sometimes use gouache and watercolor on this surface, but the paint still takes the paper well enough. Just make sure you tape your paper down! These bristol boards come in many types of textures and sizes. I generally use the 11×14 size. I like to draw big, so I need a lot of room!
I also like to work on Illustration Board. The type I’ve been using is the Strathmore 500 series Illustration Board for Wet Media. This is a pretty good board for taking many different types of mixed medias. I don’t use illustration board all that much, but when I do, my artwork always looks more professional! I generally buy the 15×22 size and cut it into 4 equal pieces, making each piece around 7.5×11. It’s the perfect size for making cute little illustrations.
Some other types of paper I use is basic copy paper for printing designs for stickers, and photo paper for making art prints. I use the Canon Pro Luster paper, but I’d like to experiment with more photo paper for my prints in the future. I have to be careful though, cause it can get expensive!
Here’s a more in depth look of the supplies I use for stickers. Like I said, I use normal printer paper to print my designs on, and I use the Xtron sticker maker for making the actual sticker. I have an older design, but there’s a big and small machine, which are both really easy to use. I use to use sticker paper to print my stickers on and cut them from there, but I found it was harder to peel the stickers off, so I now use my Xtron.
My goal is to save funds to buy a Cricut Maker. These machines can make nice, high quality stickers. They’re pretty expensive though, so I will work hard to gather the funds for one! A Cricut Maker is definitely going in my Studio Picnic co-working space; one of each color for everyone to use!
Some of my favorite markers are the Koi Brush Pens. I love these because they come in tons of different colors, have a brush tip for making details, can be blended, and are affordable! I’ve been using them a lot during Blacktober; they can add color to any piece easily! Check out my Blacktober Archive page to see how I’ve used them.
Copic Sketch Markers are amazingly good tools. Like the Koi pens, they can add beautiful color to any piece, but can also be great for blending and adding a more rendered look to your work. They’re very expensive, so I only have a few; the 12 pack of basic colors, and a skin tone pack. I’ve been using the skin tone pack for my recent pieces, and it looks great! I would recommend these if you have some cash; like I said, they’re very expensive. Maybe someday I can afford one of the 72 packs…someday…
If you want to try these markers out, I suggest only buying the colors you need for the piece you’re working on, since you can buy individual colors.
Inking is probably my favorite thing to do in art. I love seeing a piece come together with the use of black ink. I honestly don’t stray too far with my inking supplies, so here’s what I use:
I love love love Sakura Pigma Micron Pens! These ink pens are smooth on every surface, and I use a lot of different sizes. For comic making, I can use them to get really detailed ink drawings that look great when I scan them into the computer. I also love to create different hatching techniques for extra details. These pens come in lots of different sizes, but my favorite ones are .5, .1, and .005. The smallest size is super great for very tiny, intricate details, and .1 is usually my go-to.
One of my new favorite ink pens is the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. It’s a brush pen that produces a beautiful line that can range from super thick to very thin and detailed. I use it for filling in black areas, or making interesting line art. I don’t know how I was making art without it!
When I’m in a painting mood, I like to mainly use water based paints like watercolor and gouache. These paints work well with most of the paper I use, and I generally build up thin layers of paint to then layer colored pencils, or even inks on top. I’m not super big into painting like I was in art school, so I use paints pretty sparingly in my art these days.
For watercolor, I use the Winsor & Newton brand. These come in a tube, which I prefer over the pan sets. I use a plastic palate to hold the watercolors, and add a few drops of water to the paint when I want to use it! If you go to your local art supply store, there’s a lot of different supplies like palates, water cups, and more to get.
I use gouache from time to time. I don’t have the best brand of gouache, so I would recommend to you the Winsor & Newton brand of gouache as well. Mainly because that’s the brand I’ll be switching to! I just bought a cheap brand from Michaels because I wanted to try out the medium back in art school. I honestly don’t use gouache as much lately, but it’s a good paint medium to try out! It’s like a mix of watercolor and acrylic.
As for brushes, I don’t really have a brand I stick to, but I tend to stick to smaller brushes for painting. Mostly because I paint small areas. I would check out Blick’s website on their selection of brushes! Stick with the synthetic brushes though.
For the longest time, I used mechanical pencils to draw. While they are good to draw with, I found the kind I was using smudged too much, and as a left handed person, this was bad. I switched to harder pencil, General Kimberly’s pencils to be exact. I use the 2H hardness, and it’s been very good for sketching and planning. The graphite is hard enough so it doesn’t smudge, and can even be layered with a softer pencil to darken the drawing!
To keep the pencil drawing in tact, I like to use spray fixative to keep it from smudging. I use this brand. This is so my pencil sketches can be better preserved in a sketchbook. Hey, a full pencil sketchbook for sale may be a good idea, what do you think?
Anyways, graphite pencils are great, but let’s move on to colored pencils! I wanted to use the expensive Prismacolor colored pencils, but I found a more affordable brand by Blick. I bought the 48 pack of varied colors on an impulse buy. They add a nice layer of texture over a watercolor painting. Now that I have more colors to work with, I can play around more with this mixed media technique!
The supplies above are what I mainly use, but there are many other supplies than come in handy.
Masking fluid being one of them. Its main function is to cover parts of a painting that you don’t want watercolor to touch. It then peels off afterwards. I used it for that red Sailor Moon piece up above.
Higgin’s India Ink comes in handy if I have a big black area I want to cover, or if I feel like doing some ink wash painting. I haven’t done an ink wash painting in a long time, but I enjoy them a lot, so maybe I’ll do one after Blacktober? I’ve also used india ink and a special brush to make interesting hair textures. I’m really interested in using colored ink for paintings, but colored ink can get expensive.
I do use white ink for adding extra white shines and spots to my art.
Another technical thing is using painter’s tape for creating boarders for paintings. I use painter’s tape all the time, and I love it because it’s very sticky, but gentle on my illustration boards.
Sometimes I use glitter in my art too! I haven’t done it very much, but the idea is to take normal glue and shake the glitter on spots.
I also experimented with using doilies! The idea is to take the lacy parts of a doily and add that patterned texture to the background of a piece. I don’t have a successful piece with this effect, but I’ll show you what I was inspired by:
That’s all for this big, art supply post! I hope it helped anyone out there looking to get some new inspiration.
Just know that it doesn’t take hundreds of dollars to get a stellar collection of art supplies. I’ve had most of my supplies for years now. I went to an art school, and was able to accumulate a ton of supplies. When I was in high school, I was fine with my little sketchbook, pencil, and ballpoint pen. Heck, I drew in a lined notebook for most of my high school career! If you have a pencil and paper, you can draw, and the special fancy supplies will come later. Sometimes friends and family can be very generous and gift you supplies, or you can find people selling supplies on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. Like with your art, you can get creative with your hunt for good art supplies.
What’s going on everyone? It’s October, and I am thinking about adding some Autumn related decorations to my house. I already got some pumpkins and plants as décor, but I can always use more!
Anyways, I wanted to make a post about the things I have for my PC. If you didn’t know already, I finally upgraded from my small MacBook pro that I used in college to a nice, reliable desktop computer that I built myself back in February. Since then, I have been using it pretty heavily, and I have added some extras that I thought would be interesting to share.
Here’s a list of tech stuff I purchased for my $1,000 PC!
First off, the main components of my PC are the processor, motherboard, graphics card, ram, and hard drives. They all fit snuggly in my large standing case. Here are the specifics:
The employees at my local Micro Center were very helpful in choosing the parts for me based on my needs, and I purchased all my pieces in the store and built the PC that night. It was really fun and surprisingly easier than I thought! I also got my monitor from Micro Center too, which is a 27″ Acermonitor. The monitor was the most expensive part to the whole build. I actually went slightly over budget, but the pieces I got are definitely worth it. If you’re looking to build a PC and you’re not sure where to start, I highly suggest watching some YouTube videos on the subject! Like I said in this post, I watched a lot of Paul’s Hardware for this.
Some other main pieces of the build were a mouse and keyboard, which I bought as a combo for $10, which makes it the cheapest part of the build! I didn’t need a super fancy keyboard and mouse anyways, so I went cheap on that. I still have the same mouse, but I did get my keyboard replaced with a Hyper X mechanical keyboard that was given to me.
Like I said before, I bought my 27″ monitor that day, but I originally wanted a dual monitor set up. To mimic this for the time being, I use my television as a second monitor. I have my desk and TV very close to each other so that an HDMI cord can reach. It’s mostly used when I want to watch videos and work at the same time (like right now!). Eventually I’d like to upgrade my monitor set up by getting anArtist’s Display 15.6 Pro by XP Pen. This way, I could have 2 monitors, and the second monitor can double as a drawing tablet!
Speaking of art-related things, I have some software and gadgets I use for making art. First is my Wacom Tablet that I have from college. I have the Intuos Pro Small version, and I like it. It’s my only product that I use wirelessly, but I would definitely like to upgrade this soon. I was spoiled back in college with Cintiques, and now I really want to get that again.
I have a printer as well. It’s the Canon MP250 that I purchased for $30 from someone I know from college. All I needed to buy was the cords, and it was ready to go!
This printer also doubles as a scanner, which is nice. I use the scanner a lot when I ink drawings and color them digitally. I plan on updating this printer eventually because I would like to have higher quality prints and scans to work with. It’s the reason why I don’t have too many prints in my Etsy shop; the print quality isn’t to my standards. It’s a good starter printer though, and I would most likely sell it to another artist in need when I upgrade.
I had to install software for this scanner in order to use it with this PC, so keep that in mind.
For audio/video purposes, I have many add-ons. I bought my speakers from Amazon, and they work very well! They hook in with USB, and look nice side by side with my monitor in the middle. For headphones, I really wanted to get a big upgrade, so I made an impulse buy and purchased the Razer Rose Quartz headphones. The buy was totally worth it, cause I LOVE these headphones! I didn’t get the version with the light up kitty ears (what was I thinking??), however, these headphones work very well for me.
Maybe someday I’ll get the kitty ears ones, but for now I’m very happy with these. Oh, and also! These headphones come with a built-in microphone! I use it a lot when I’m talking over discord with my friends. They could tell a big improvement with my sound quality, so that’s great too.
Back in 2015, I made a couple YouTube videos, and wanted to take it further, so I bought a Blue Snowball microphone. I still have it today, and I use it from time to time. It’s a pretty decent mic, however it takes up a lot of space, and I don’t have much of that on my little Ikeadesk. I have been thinking about getting into YouTube again, so who knows? Maybe I’ll use my Blue Snowball more.
I have a webcamthat I got off of Amazon as well. I haven’t used it as much because I just purchased it, but I do plan on using it for discord and possibly YouTube and Twitch as well.
Lastly, I have a gaming controller that I bought specifically for my PC. Like the speakers, it plugs in via USB, and is a pretty good controller. I’m not a big fan of playing games with mouse and keyboard, as I grew up with consoles, so I feel more comfortable with a controller in my hand. Unless I’m playing the Sims of course.
Next, I’ll list the software I use with my PC. As you can see, I mostly use my PC for art, gaming, and creating content.
Steam (playing games like EDF, Sonic, Oddworld, etc)
Epic Games (for playing GTA V)
Origin (Sims 2 & 4 launcher)
Discord (connecting with friends and streaming)
Adobe Creative Cloud (I mostly use Photoshop and InDesign to create art and layout comics)
AMCap (Webcam Software)
Canon MP Software (for scanning)
Audacity (any audio needs)
OBS (recording and streaming)
iTunes (Apple Music) (am I the only person that uses Apple Music??)
That’s about it for this post! I hope you found it useful if you’re looking to upgrade your computer setup. I love my PC, and I don’t know how I survived on my small, 13″ MacBook Pro for so long! Also, while I did buy the main components of my PC all together, a lot of the smaller stuff I had already, was given to me, or I got secondhand. It’s all about collecting and saving your money to get what you want for your PC, and it doesn’t have to be perfect right away. I would love to add many new upgrades and gadgets when I’m able, so in the future, I can show you all the sweet new upgrades as they come in!
There will be another blog post very soon about the supplies I use for art, so please look forward to that!
One more thing!! If you are interested in exclusive content from me, I am going to start creating premium content for you! If you are able to, press the pretty button below to subscribe for the exclusive content that I will be adding! I’m still working through what I want to show you there, but it will be behind the scenes looks on projects I’m working on that I wouldn’t show publicly, some art, and maybe even some video content! If that’s something you’re interested in, please let me know, and consider subscribing to that! For now I just have one payment plan of $5/month, and under that, I would like to have at least 2 exclusive posts per month. Eventually if it takes off, I’d like to add more plans, so please stay tuned!
How is everyone? It’s officially fall now, and spooky season is upon us. Sticking with the theme this year with quarantine, my Halloween costume is essentially pajamas. I plan on being Boo from “Monster’s Inc”. If you remember that cute character, she basically wears a long pajama shirt and leggings, so that works for me! If there are any parties during Halloween, I will be the most comfy person there, mask included of course.
On to the topic at hand. If you’re an artist online, you may have heard of “Inktober”, which was started by Jake Parker a while ago. Basically you create an ink drawing everyday for the month of October and post it online. It’s a really fun challenge, and if you’re unfamiliar with using inks, or drawing traditionally, it’s a nice way to practice your skills. I’ve participated every year since 2016, and while I’ve only completed the challenge fully once, I still made some really nice drawings in my sketchbook from Inktober. I even made a zine of my drawings back in 2017!
This year, I want to go all out. I’m stuck at home unemployed, and I have more time to dedicate to making some nice ink drawings. Last year I was so busy with my job that I was only able to make 4 drawings spaced out across the 4 weeks of October. So this year, I went ahead and made myself a prompt list!
There’s been a lot of political and social restlessness this year. Along with a global pandemic, this year has been rough for pretty much everyone. Art is a release for me, so for this prompt list, I wanted to put the focus on the beauty of the black woman. Most of these characters I’ve listed aren’t POC or black, but I want to draw them that way for this challenge. I have also sprinkled some of my own characters in the mix too! If you choose to use my prompt list, you can create your own characters! That’s the beauty of creation right there.
I’ll try my best to create really strong ink drawings this year. I always enjoy the process of making a piece and posting it online, especially everyday, and I really like the sense of community around these monthly challenges.
Like it says on the prompt list, this challenge is for fun, and if you use this prompt list, feel free to pick and choose what you wanna do. If you wanna do a drawing every other day, or once a week, do what makes you comfortable! If you’re able to do do this challenge with me, I’d love to see some of your drawings. Please use the hashtag #allablacktober2020 on your posts, I’d love to see what you all come up with!
What’s going on everyone? It’s starting to get a little cooler here in the mid-west, and the leaves are very slightly starting to change colors. I have been diligent the past few weeks; I’ve been busy working on new products for my Etsy shop, Soft Peach Designs, and I’ve been doing my best to workout as much as I can, and eat as clean as I’m able. Is anyone else trying their best to be productive right now? It feels like it’s really hard to stay sane in the current political climate. But that’s a whole other story!
In this blog post, I wanted to talk a little more in detail about my mixed media processes. I love to do both traditional and digital art, and I tend to flip back and forth between the two mediums. I do feel more comfortable working traditionally however, and I came up with three different mixed media methods that I like to incorporate into my art. Maybe you can find some new ideas with these methods!
Here we go!
Bristol board or mixed media sketch pad
Watercolor or gouache paint
Colored pencils in a variety of colors
White ink, white gel pens, white markers, or white acrylic paint
I start off with a wash of flat colors with the paint. I like to use a water based paint like watercolor or gouache so that the colors are light and can be layered easily. I like to add more saturation to places to add value, and water down the paint for lighter places. With watercolor, your piece can stand out if you keep some spots of your painting blank without water or paint; it makes it the brightest place of your painting and makes an easy highlight. I like to do this with eye whites.
Next is the colored pencils. Once I lay a couple layers of flat paint, I go in with colored pencil and render out the details. This step takes a little longer because I like to use this step to darken the piece and give the piece some texture. I also like to use colors that are similar to the paint to add the texture, but I sometime use adjacent colors to add some variety to the piece.
The third step is to go in with ink to define specific parts of the piece. This step can be optional if you want to, but I like harsh, black lines in my work, so I use this to define things like facial features, clothing, and more. I really like using micron pens for this, and tend to use thinner pens around .2 or even .005 for a very thin line. If my piece has some black areas, sometimes I’ll bust out the india ink and some brushes and paint in those spots, or I’ll use my brush pens, whichever I’m feeling that day. Another thing I like to do is hatching marks. If you’ve ever studied the arts, you might have studied different hatching techniques to use, and my favorite ones to use are quick short lines to place in shadowy areas. In the pieces above you can see where I used them. Inking in general is my favorite step in any art process; there’s something about a harsh, black line that I’ve always loved.
The final step is also optional. If you want some extra shine or sparkle, consider using some white! There are tons of supplies out there, but my favorites are using white ink, or white acrylic paint. I find that the markers I’ve used aren’t strong enough to produce an opaque enough white for me, so I have to use the inks. When I use this, it’s generally for eye shines, sparkles, or shiny spots on clothing. This step can really enhance a piece. Sometimes I like to put white spots on top of my black lines, and it gives it a cute, girly feel. I picked this up from some of my favorite Sailor Moon and CLAMP artworks.
Bristol board or mixed media sketch pad
Colored Markers (I recommend Koi brush pens and Prismacolor, Copic sketch markers or Posca markers)
White ink or white acrylic
This technique is a fun one. I like to use this one for faster sketches because I can get a full colored sketch quickly with no mess with getting out paints and brushes. This is very much a more stylized method with not much heavy rendering, so there’s not much back and forth blending. This method is the one I use at conventions when I do commissions!
To start off, I make a pencil sketch to lay everything out. When it’s looking good, I like to go in with the ink pens first. I do this because I like to map out where exactly I want the markers to go. When it comes to paint, it’s alright that I go outside the sketch sometimes, but with markers, I like my colors to be very clean. I think this makes the piece look more professional and makes it look like a lot of time went into it. I spend some time with the inks and depending on the style I’m going for, I’ll thicken some lines or keep them very thin.
Next I go in with the markers. Usually I mix and match all my markers; I have some copic markers in various skin colors that I’ll use, and I use the Koi brush pens for colors too. I love love love the Koi brush pens! They come in a bunch of colors, and are very good for laying out flat colors. If I’m looking to add some value, the Copic markers do a good job at that. I apply more pressure to the marker to darker spots to add that value. I also add value in the previous step with the inks by using hatching techniques as well.
An optional final step is again going in with some white ink, acrylic, or markers. With this method, I’d probably use white markers for my highlights, but I usually skip this step. It’s there if you would like it though!
Materials Needed: Whatever you want! But here’s what I generally use:
Gouache or Watercolor Paint
White Ink, or Markers
A Creative Mind & Patience!
This technique is very freeform. Anything goes! This is for when an idea pops into my head, or I want to try something new with the materials I have. Instead of going step by step, I will instead explain how I did each piece above:
Goldfish piece– This idea was one of the ones that just popped into my head, and I had to create it. I made this piece on illustration board. After my initial sketch, I laid a wash of light blue gouache over the whole board, then I picked out the areas where I wanted it to be lighter, and laid out the main shapes like the hair, the goldfish, and other details. I then went in with some colored pencils and added some texture to some areas and rendered the goldfish, making them very saturated. A lot of experimenting went in with the hatching. I used paint, markers, and colored pencils with the hatching, layering some parts and lining some parts with ink and others with colored pencil. I just let my creativity take control and didn’t think about it too much. My last step was the white wavy lines. I believe I used a white posca marker. I love this piece, and it’s one of my favorite pieces I’ve made.
Sailor Moon Redraw– This piece dates back to my childhood. I’ve always wanted to recreate the piece created by Naoko Takeuchi with the scouts posed like this, but I could never get it right. Now that I’ve been through art school and a couple years of working on art professionally, it was finally time! I used Bristol board for this, and went in with a very hard pencil, H3 I believe. I drew very lightly, thinking back to Miss Takeuchi’s very soft style where she mostly used pencils for her finished pieces. I actually tried to scan this in and finish it digitally, but it didn’t look good at all, so I decided to go in with watercolor paint. I used tracing paper to redraw the whole thing with my thinnest ink pen to catch any mistakes, which I fixed with my super hard pencil and eraser. Something about this composition made it really hard to get the anatomy correct. The fact that they were holding hands made it harder. Anyways, after I fixed the errors, I went in with a softer pencil to darken the lines. I didn’t use ink on this piece surprisingly; the pencil made the whole thing really soft and pretty. The watercolor step was long and tedious, but I managed to finish, and added finishing touches with white acrylic paint and darker paint with the tiniest brush ever. It was truly the most time-consuming piece of this year, and I’m surprised that I was able to do it.
Magical Girl OC’s– This piece was supposed to be more of a portfolio piece, but I wasn’t a big fan of how it turned out. It is mostly an acrylic piece with ink pens on top. It was done on Bristol board, and inked first. I then laid a wash of acrylic paint over the whole thing, then rendered the whole thing with watered down acrylic. I don’t know if I’m not too good working with acrylic, but the colors look so dull and not saturated enough for my liking, but I layered the paint so that it looked pretty opaque. I then added ink pens on top. While this piece turned out the way it was, I’d like to try out this technique again someday when I get some more colors. Also I’d like to try on a different surface like canvas board or even cardboard!
These are most of my mixed media techniques that I love to do when I work traditionally! Tell me what you think about them, or if you have any ideas or techniques you like to use! Catch you on the next post! <3 -Allison
I have lots of new items listed in my Etsy shop, Soft Peach Designs!
These are some of the original pieces I listed for sale. I really like them a lot, so it’s hard to part with them! But I think they’re deserving of a new home.
I’ve also listed some prints that I have been saving for conventions this year, but since they were all cancelled, time to list them! These are some of my favorite pieces I’ve made over the last two years or so, and I want to make more like it for you!
I really enjoy working on my Etsy shop; I like to see what people gravitate towards, and see what kinds of things other artists are selling on their shops. At first I wanted to just focus on digital downloads, but I think it’s more fun to do physical orders. I can personalize each one, and I can write handwritten notes of thanks to my buyers! If you want to see my shop, please look up Soft Peach Designs on Etsy, or click this link! –> RIGHT HERE! It would really mean a lot if you were to purchase something; anything helps, since right now art is my only income at the moment. But if you can’t support, please share my shop with a friend!
That’s about it for now; honestly I haven’t been in the mood to write, so much of my focus has gone to drawing and creating. We have also been in lots of talk and conversation about my business ideas. I was recently inspired by my boyfriend and his words of encouragement. So if you’re interested in what my business idea is, please check out this blog post and this one. I go more in depth with the original ideas I had.
I hope everyone that’s in school right now is doing okay. I feel for you all who are starting school in this new, strange way, so I’m sending you all good vibes! Good luck!!
Is everyone working hard on their art goals? I don’t blame you if you are making slow progress; it’s been a strange year. I said before that I feel both lucky and unlucky right now; I have lots of time to work on my website, art, and business ideas, but I’m doing it all because I lost my job back in March. It’s unfortunate that that happened, but I feel for those who are on the front lines working in hospitals and in grocery stores. I see you, and I appreciate you!
Drawing Difficult Subjects
For this blog post, I would like to talk about something that lots of artists struggle with, which is drawing difficult subjects. When you’re unsure how to draw something, it can get frustrating after a while. Even after 4 years of art school, I struggle with getting my drawings right! But I’ve come up with some ideas that might help you if you’re stuck on a piece, or suffering through art block. Read on for more details!
Using free figure drawing websites.
If you are having trouble drawing human figures, or having a more confident hand, try looking at some figure drawing websites! My favorite one is this one called Line of Action. With this, you can set up your drawing session with different settings. You can change the models you see based on clothing, gender, and time intervals. It’s very good for warming up as well! One of my favorite classes in art school was called Cafe Sketch, where the first half of class was using these websites, and the other half we went to different locations in the city and drew real people. That class forced me to draw constantly, so I was able to build up my confidence with drawing more fluid and quicker. Since I focused on comics in school, it really helped me finish my pages faster too! I highly suggest you check it out, and set the time for 30 seconds or a minute to really test your skills with drawing quickly. It’s a good exercise! I filled up two sketchbooks in that class.
Setting up still life sets in your room
Do you want to get better at rendering or painting? Try setting up a still life! These are fun to make with random items in your house, and you can have fun getting creative with the set up and composition. In my watercolor class, we would paint still lives all the time. For our final we made a collective still life that we all painted together. It was fun! I suggest looking up some still life paintings that you like for inspiration. You can even take a walk to the park and take pictures of nature and paint that too! The possibilities are endless. Still lives are a good way to practice your rendering because you can set up the lighting and color compositions how you want, and as an artist you can control the piece in a way that looks appealing, like adding more highlights or shadows, etc.
Use reference! It’s your friend!
Reference is very important. It was a big part of our creative process in art school. Our teachers wanted us to use reference for everything, and they could tell when we didn’t use reference in our pieces. It’s important to use reference in your pieces because it helps you to be more accurate in your subject matter. Our imagination is powerful, but it’s not worth it to make it up sometimes! There are tons of ways to gather your reference; Google is your best friend, but so is taking the photo yourself! If you’re struggling with drawing hands, do the pose with your own hand and snap a photo. It’s way more convenient than trying to make it up. Are you wanting to have some interesting lighting in your piece? Take a look at some artists that have captured what you’re looking for, and try to replicate it in your own way. Reference is essential!
I have to say, reference at the end of the day, is a tool, much like your pencil or tablet. I wouldn’t recommend trying to copy your reference exactly as you see it. As an artist, you can take what you see in your reference photos, and apply it to your art. This is key especially if you are using someone else’s art or photo as reference. You don’t want to get called out! Just look at the photo above. The artist was able to take the pose, coloring and lighting to create this piece of “Black Lady” or evil Sailor Chibi Moon, and altered it to make it her own. Looking at the side by side of this is really inspiring to me because it shows you can use reference in everything you see! And it’s not exactly the same either; she took her own creative spin on the colors, character, and outfit, and pulled the piece together. I love this!
Practice Drawing Your Weaknesses
If you’re like me and actively avoid drawing subject matter that you’re bad at, challenge yourself to draw that thing more! For me, my weaknesses are backgrounds, feet, and male-presenting characters. I’ve done drawings of all three of these things, but I still could use some practice with them. When I worked on “Jazz”, I struggled with the backgrounds. I in retrospect, I should have taken more references for many of the backgrounds, and altered my layouts to further place Jazz into her environment. However, I would have never known that if I didn’t draw it! The same with you; if you struggle to draw perspective, for example, I suggest really taking the time to study perspective and draw it as much as you can. If you can, try looking up YouTube videos, or signing up for a Skillshareaccount. Both of these things can really help your art blossom!
On my current comic project, I am struggling with drawing the male character, Teo. If you know my art, I almost exclusively draw female characters. Whenever we work on this project together, I try to draw Teo as much as I can. When we start drawing the actual pages, I will be very strict on myself to gather as much reference I can on anything I am unsure of. We both want this comic to look good!
Keep an Inspiration Folder
My last piece of advice is to keep a folder of inspiration that you look at from time to time, either on your computer or otherwise. Back when I was on Tumblr, I followed a lot of artists on there and would save photos and art that would inspire me onto my computer. I still have a lot of the same photos I saved way back in 2013! I sorted them by watercolor pieces, certain artists or games, and I look at them whenever I need a boost of inspiration. Nowadays, I haven’t saved any photos lately, mostly because I bookmark them on my social media accounts, but it’s generally the same idea! If you do this, you may discover new artists that inspire you and motivate you to try something new!
Above are a few pieces from my inspiration folder. They were selected at random, but they kind of show a couple things that inspire my own art.
As an artist, you are able to pick out certain things in nature, other art pieces or otherwise, and find inspiration in them. Even the most mundane things can be inspiring, and sometimes you can even have visions come to you in dreams! One of my favorite pieces came to me in a daydream, and the moment I saw it, I had to make it real.
That’s about it for this post! I hope these tips help you in you own artistic journey. Some days it feels like I can’t draw a thing, so I go back to my fundamentals, take a break, or look at something inspirational. It’s all a balance, so don’t feel discouraged when it feels like you’re going backwards! It takes time to learn & grow <3
Be sure to check the links below, and I’ll see you in the next post!