My art: Chibi Birth of Venus WIP

My art: Chibi Birth of Venus WIP

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I swear I posted my original sketch of my chibi Birth of Venus from at least two years ago, but I can’t find it. Oh well!

I am using the vector art program Inkscape to make this. I thought I’d try making the basic line art as vector and so far I am loving it. One of my most time-consuming tasks when painting digitally is just matching my own pencil lines with the paintbrush. With vector – and a high “smooth” setting – I can bust out these lines and then adjust them as needed.

Artist profile: Sara Tepes

Artist profile: Sara Tepes

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I came across Sara’s YouTube channel while looking for tutorials on the open-source digital art program Krita. Ms. Tepes is just eighteen but already has a large portfolio of excellently-done artworks in a variety of media, sells her artwork online, and posts YouTube videos every Sunday of speed-paints and product reviews. (Links below.)

In one of her recent videos, she mentioned she was going away to college to study graphic design, and I was like… really? Just keep on doing what you’re doing, girl! You don’t need to go to college, you have such a good thing going right now!

The good things:

  • her execution and technique – especially how she does greyscale first and layers over with color (like an oil painting)
  • her attention to detail
  • her dedication to posting videos
  • that she paints people of color
  • the variety of media she uses: digital, watercolor, graphite, markers
  • artists sharing their techniques
  • her Poirot Pinterest board ^_^

Below are my favorite artworks (click to see them larger), and below those are links for Ms. Tepes’s social media and shops. (I gave titles to some of these because they didn’t have titles.)

The Universe’s Veins
Moana
Pearls
Lilac
girl with Bohemian skirt
Blue Velvet
sketch
lady with bun
Little Red Riding Hood
model with flowers

Links for Sara Tepes:

Tarot Feature: International Icon Tarot

Tarot Feature: International Icon Tarot

I think the thing to keep in mind when doing tarot cards is always to let the tarot itself remain in control of the art. If the art style or the artist’s personality becomes the star of the show, with the tarot taking second place, the deck and its usefulness are compromised.

~Robin Ator

(crossposted at Ridley the Fool)

I really like Robin Ator’s International Icon Tarot, which is based on the classic Rider-Waite-Smith deck. Its simplified design and faceless figures make it more accessible and emphasize only the most important symbols of each card. For example, somehow I missed there are pomegranates behind the High Priestess – I never noticed them until I saw the card from this deck!

Rider-Waite-Smith on the right, International Icon on the left

Ator conceived of the idea to use the isotype style of figures while working on an ad campaign employing those figures. He had also been exploring how to draw the human body in the simplest way possible.

At first, he created the Major Arcana by hand, experimenting with cutting out shapes from painted paper and plastic before deciding to learn Adobe Illustrator to make them digitally. You can read more about his process in this interview at Tarot Garden.

The Fool

Robin Ator also made the cute Ator Tarot and the Prairie Tarot. His non-Tarot work includes character design for commercials and film. Please visit his website, Glow in the Dark Pictures, to see all of the tarot cards and his other artwork.

Below are my favorite cards from the International Icon Tarot:

The Lovers
The Hermit
The Star
3 of Cups
8 of Swords
5 of Wands
Knight of Wands
Ace of Pentacles
9 of Pentacles (look at the snail!)

 

My art: Spirit Portrait finished & on sale!

My art: Spirit Portrait finished & on sale!

I finished it! It took a while (10.5 hours over a month) but I’m really pleased. And I put it in my Redbubble store, so take a look!

My technique is to draw the line art digitally and add watercolor textures for color, but I was inspired by Sara Tepes (an upcoming Artist Profile) to add real photos for the sparkly stars. I went to Pixabay and Pexel to find royalty-free space photos.

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Centaurus A Ngc 5128

Using the free, open source program Krita, I increased the contrast of the galaxy photos and set the blend mode of the photo layers to multiply or screen, depending on the darkness or lightness I was going for. I’m definitely going to use this technique in the future, because using real stars is way easier than trying to make random sparkles with a brush – and looks better!

Artist profile: Hannah Alexander

Artist profile: Hannah Alexander

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This is crazy. I didn’t plan this at all. Today – today! – was Hannah Alexander’s first day as a self-employed artist! Hannah worked as a veterinary nurse but decided to leave her job because she didn’t like her place of employment, and because her Patreon has brought her about the same income as her job did.

Hannah Alexander designs fantastic costumes. I have never posted anything Disney, but I was so dazzled by her embellishments of the Disney princesses that I had to include them here. She’s also managed to impress me with her Alphonse Mucha style, and you know I am a harsh judge of anyone who takes after him. Cuz he’s the best.

So take a look at my favorites below and be sure to make Hannah Alexander’s first week of self-employment a great one by contributing to her Patreon and buying art from her Redbubble store! (Click to see bigger at her deviantArt account.)

Part of Your World
Jasmine from Art Nouveau Costume Designs V
Suki (work in progress detail from a Patreon-only artwork)
Tiana from Art Nouveau Costume Designs VII
Princess Mononoke
Mulan from Art Nouveau Costume Designs I
Determination (Merida)
Smart Daddies
Meg from Art Nouveau Costume Designs V
detail from Innocence (Snow White)

Links for Hannah Alexander:

My art: Spirit userpic WIP

My art: Spirit userpic WIP

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I’m working on a new user picture. I may make a series of similar images based on the five elements – if I do so, this one would be called “Spirit” because it has violet tones.

Artist profile: Maria Sibylla Merian

Artist profile: Maria Sibylla Merian

Remember the insects and plants Shin Saimdang painted in Korea? Around a hundred years later, in Germany, lived another excellent woman painter of insect and botanical life, Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717).

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Unlike many scientists of the day, Merian drew and painted from live bugs, some of which she raised herself. From a young age, she was fascinated by the then-unknown process of how caterpillars become butterflies. She learned the skills of an artist alongside the male students of her stepfather, a painter, in his studio. He left Merian and her mother when the girl was twelve, however, so Merian then started drawing insects and presumably sold her artworks to have an income.

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At sixteen or eighteen, she married one of her stepfather’s former students, Johann Andreas Graff. Both their children, Johanna Helena Herolt and Dorothea Maria Graff, grew up to be artists who studied the world of plants and insects like their mother.

In 1675, the couple and their first baby were living in Nuremburg. Merian had her first collected work, volume I of The New Book of Flowers, published that year by her husband’s press. She intended this volume, and the two that followed it, to be a reference for craftspeople when they painted, embroidered, and carved floral decorations. Virtually all surviving copies of these books are damaged from heavy use. She also trained young women to embroider during her time in Nuremberg.

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Merian’s second published work was the two-volume Der Raupen wunderbarer Verwandlung (The Wondrous Transformation of Caterpillars), in which she painted and described in words each stage of metamorphosis of moths and butterflies. She included the plants upon which the insects feasted and made their cocoons – a far more holistic presentation of the process than other scientists of her time, who just showed the insects alone. It was also far more accurate, as scientists believed that insects “spontaneously generated” from inert material like rotten fruit and meat.

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In the 1680s, Merian took her two daughters and mother to live in the Labadist religious community and refused to return to her husband. He eventually gave up trying to get her back, but she soon tired of the strict rules and joyless life of the Labadists and took her family to Amersterdam.

In this metropolis, she formed a studio with her daughters to produce and sell scientific and decorative paintings, made business connections, and trained apprentices, including super-famous still-life painter Rachel Ruysch.

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When she was fifty-two, Merian and her youngest daughter Dorthea trekked to the Dutch colony of Suriname in South America to document the insect life there. Among the many life forms Merian encountered was a goliath bird-eating spider, the largest tarantula in the world. Although it rarely eats birds, it is named “bird-eating” because her iconic engraving depicts it eating a hummingbird.

Merian intended to stay in Suriname for five years, but she  returned to Amsterdam after only two to recover from a tropical sickness – something she intensely regretted. She had owned slaves in Suriname, and took back with her an indigenous woman who helped with the details of Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (The Metamorphosis of the Insects of Suriname), Merian’s most famous book.

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Part of the reason why this book is her most famous is because it was published in Latin – Latin being the scientific language of the day. Its images are reproduced from Merian’s vibrant, minutely-detailed watercolors. I found a life-size, full-color English and Dutch edition, based on the original 1705 printing held by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands) available to buy. (Click on the link to see the videos – I love the last one by Emmy Storm that animates the bugs!)

Merian continued to paint and publish until her death in 1717 at age 69. Her work was widely known and praised, and it is said that Tsar Peter the Great bought her watercolors the day of her funeral. The German poet Goethe was enamored of how she struck the perfect balance “between art and science, between nature observation and artistic intention.”

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Her daughters continued her legacy and their own scientific-artistic careers: Johanna Helena had joined her merchant husband to live in Suriname in 1711, and Dorothea Maria moved to St. Petersburg in 1718 to paint specimens from the Tsar’s collection; the Russian Academy of Sciences hired her to give museum tours, their first female employee.

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I would like to note that Merian’s work has been attacked over the centuries for being scientifically inaccurate, but the vast majority of mistakes were actually errors added to subsequent editions of her work after her death. Additionally, in several cases, what appeared to be mistakes were later proven correct: these include the sphinx moth’s split tongue, tarantulas eating birds, and ants crawling over each other to form bridges.

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Links for Maria Sibylla Merian: