Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
Create DREAMY Skin Tones with Caran d'Ache Luminance Colored Pencils for Your Mixed Media Portraits!
Today I'm trying Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils for the first time to create a mixed media portrait ("Hot Dog Style"). I'm not normally a colored pencil artist because I prefer art supplies I can work quickly with, but YOU HAVE to SEE the DREAMY skin tone effects these colored pencils create - especially when burnished with a Derwent Drawing Pencil in Chinese White. SO glad I tried this idea on page four of my FREE HOT DOG SYSTEM packet from my talented artist friend, Sharon Holmberg!
Click the button below to download this FREE 32-page stack of ideas just filled with "Hot Dog System" tried and true mixed media art supply combinations created by myself and 20 of my artsy friends!
Today I'm trying some new colored pencils recommended to me from artist, Sharon Holmberg. Her favorite mixed media art supply combo is shared on page four of the FREE 32-Page Hot Dog Packet. Sharon loves to combine Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils with watercolor and a bit of collage for the mixed media faces she creates in her Strathmore Mixed Media Visual Journal.
Instead of drawing a girl's face from scratch today, I decided to save a little time, and cut out one of the female faces from the coloring pages packet in my Skin Tone Secrets book.
Before I start shading this face in, I need to swatch out my colored pencils so I know exactly what colors I'm working with.
Even though the swatch sheets in my coloring pages packet (you can download this for free if you buy my Skin Tone Secrets book), are from a book all about using alcohol markers- the swatch pages can be used for ANY art supply, and honestly, the shading patterns presented in this book can also be used with any art supply - as you'll see in today's video.
This is my "I -hate -my -life -right -now -and -my -hands -hurt -face." LOL. If you've been following me for a while, you likely already know I kinda despise colored pencils because they honestly just take too long for me and it's very detailed work, which I'm just not that into. I think I stuck it out for like 5-6 layers of face shading, and had to move on with my life. HA! That's just me.
If you have the patience for working with colored pencils- you do you!! I know they can create some absolutely gorgeous portraits, even from the little shading I did with them today!
The part that really makes Sharon's faces flawless (and something I tried today!) is "burnishing" - which basically means blending the skin tones shades and layers together to create a smooth, finished look. Sharon's favorite tool for this is a Derwent Drawing Pencil in Chinese White. Watch the video to see how beautiful this colored pencil blending technique and tool are in action!
I finished off my girl's face with alcohol markers in the lips, hair and eyebrows because I had to give up on the colored pencils. Even though colored pencils in general are NOT my favorite art supply, they seriously do create a dreamy look for skin tones so I'm super glad I tried it!
Next, I used a simple adhesive spray (shown above), to secure my mixed media face to a sheet of watercolor paper so I can watercolor a background around her. I used two watercolors by Daniel Smith to create my watercolor background: Ultramarine Turquoise and Sap Green.
After my watercolor background is fully dry, I cut some cute flowers out of scrapbook paper I had lying around and glued those down with matte medium ( another STAPLE in my mixed media art studio).
As you'll see in the video, I had a little mishap with my cut out flowers while my watercolor was still wet and it made a tiny drop of green watercolor land smack dab in the middle of my poor girl's nose! Not to worry- I'll show you exactly how to fix a watercolor painting mistake.
First I tried adding a little water on top of the spot to lift the color with a paper towel. That didn't work because this particular color is very staining. I decided to try white gouache because this is super opaque and I know will do exactly what I need it to do. Luckily the watercolor mistake I need to fix is located right on the nose of my portrait where a highlight would naturally go anyway- so it's all good! The gouache worked perfectly.
Since I was already using a bit of gouache on the nose of my colored pencil portrait, I decided to use more to tie the piece together by pulling a few streaks of white through her hair, to enhance her eye shine and make her lower lip pop. So fun!!
What I LOVE about this whole Hot Dog System, is that it encouraged me to reach out to other artists in my community to ask them about their favorite supplies and processes. If I hadn't done that, this exact project and video wouldn't even be happening!
So a huge thanks to Sharon Holmberg for sharing her secret, gorgeous process for shading adorable mixed media faces using only 4 art supplies! I totally love how this project has turned out.
SO stinkin' cute!!
Faber Castell Gelatos are a staple in my studio for creating gorgeous shading in the skin tones of my mixed media portraits. Recently I've heard a number of my students can't get gelatos in their part of the world, so I need to recommend a Faber Castell Gelaots alternative. In case you're one of these students, a beginner, or just curious about which gel crayons made it into today's mixed media art supply demo, this video is FOR YOU.
Before we get into the demo, I've got a super exciting announcement!
I'm hosting an online art class / online art workshop starting Monday, September 27th. We'll be creating the sassy mixed media portrait shown in the above photo over the course of a whole week!!
If you sign up BEFORE September 27th at this super special link, you can get 60% off. I REALLY hope you can join us!!
If we haven't met yet, I'm in total LOVE with gelatos by Faber Castell, and use them in almost all of my mixed media hamburger system projects- especially when shading faces of my mixed media portraits.
Gelatos glide beautifully over acrylic paint, and are super easy to blend with nothing more than your finger. If you've been hanging out with me for a while, you know I use them to shade the faces of my mixed media portraits instead of blending my skin tones from acrylic paints because it's MUCH faster & easier.
I was looking for 4 main product features from the alternative gel crayons I decided to test:
1. How easy they are to "dry blend" with your finger
2. What happens when a sealer like mod podge sweeps over them
3. Lightfast qualities (so your art won't fade over time)
I drew a number of small heads, painted each with a base acrylic skin tone paint, and let them dry. Then I noted which gel crayon was going to be used to shade each face to help me keep everything straight!
Once I pulled out all of the brands I planned to test, I immediately noticed just how many of them basically had the same packaging. It was a little ridiculous, especially with the gel crayons that were being marketed for kids. Some of them looked EXACTLY like the more expensive fine art gel crayons I had in my studio!
Click over to the video to see how they all compared!
I learned a lot during this demo, but here are a few quick observations:
While I was doing this test, I decided to also check a few of the Gelatos product lines out to see how they performed since I've heard people have had issues in the past with the metallic line. I tested Faber Castell Gelatos Metallic, Faber Castell Gelatos Iridescent, Faber Castell Gelatos Brights, and Faber Castell Gel Sticks (the craft/student/kids version of gelatos).
I honestly didn't have any issues with any of these and felt they all dry-blended about the same. The "brights" pack only has 1 light skin tone, so I don't really recommend this one for shading faces. There are some fun colors in the metallic and iridescent sets though!
Final thoughts: I was shocked at how well the products being marketed to kids worked! Definitely check out the demo so you can see for yourself how each brand dry blends, and reacts.
Want to learn MORE about how to use Faber Castell Gelatos gelatos for shading a face mixed media style?
Interested in learning more about my Hamburger System? CLICK HERE to binge watch the Hamburger System series on YouTube, and click here to check out the book (affiliate link) that resulted.
That's it from me today! I hope you enjoy my mixed media art supply video testing Faber Castell Gelatos alternatives!
Don't forget to sign up for my upcoming Art Deco Mixed Media Portrait Online Art Class!! Click this link BEFORE Sept.27th to save 60%!!
Thanks for hanging out with me today!! I hope to see you in class soon.
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Tombow Brush Pens are one of my all time FAVORITE art supplies. Lots of mixed media artists use them for making cards & brush lettering, but I use them to PAINT! In today's art supply demo, I'll show you why they're a MUST HAVE in my studio + the QUICK & EASY way I use them to create MAGICAL mixed media portraits. If you're a beginner in the world of mixed media art, or just curious about what tombows can do for you - today's video is a MUST SEE!!
Tombows are super popular with mixed media artists -especially card makers and stamping fanatics. People LOVE using them for brush letting and calligraphy type projects.
Tombow dual brush pens come with two nibs, one on each end. One is a brush nib and the other is a bullet nib. I really love the dual nib feature because it feels like I've got both a paintbrush AND a fineliner all in one product.
Tombows are also great because they're acid free and super watersoluble (which means they melt like watercolors if you add water to them).
Today I'm working in my large 11x14 strathmore watercolor journal. It's filled with 140 pound color press paper, which can REALLY take a beating from whatever art supplies I feel like throwing at it! As you can see - I don't just do watercolor in this journal. I use it for mixed media projects too because it's so sturdy! Here's a fun project I did a few months ago...
I highly suggest if you're doing ANYTHING with watersoluble art supplies, you REALLY pay attention to the kind of paper you're using. I believe it's JUST AS IMPORTANT as your art supplies. In fact it IS one of your art supplies, and it totally makes a difference.
As you can see, I'm using a face drawing reference because that's usually how I work. I don't really use my references to try and copy exactly what the image looks like because I'm not super into realism.
I just think using a face photo reference while I draw inspires me to add details I may not have thought of from facial feature nuances to hairstyles, etc. I think a face drawing reference is also REALLY helpful to use as a face shading reference because it takes the guesswork out of deciding where to place shadows. You just look at your reference and BOOM. It tells you everything you need to know!
Now today's side profile drawing is one of the trickiest profile drawings to master- called the three quarter view portrait. If you need help with how to draw a 3/4 view profile - here is a playlist for your from my YouTube Drawing Channel to get you started.
I've also got a FREE cheatsheet to help you remember the basics of drawing three quarter view faces.
Simply click the button below and I'll send it straight to your inbox.
Before you start with face shading, I HIGHLY recommend you swatch out your art supplies- whatever you are coloring with because I've been surprised ONE too many times when the color comes out not quite looking like the marker cap or tube of paint, so this can be a real life saver!
Some artists may want to keep a swatch sheet on every color they own. There are some products I do that with (especially my watercolors!!), but most often I'm more into just scribbling a few strokes off to the side for whatever piece I'm currently working on.
When I'm shading a face with my tombow dual brush markers, I hold my marker on the side and use it similarly to a paintbrush (on the brush nib side) to lay down a big chunk of color like in the picture above.
Since my intention is to add water and use my paintbrush to move the color around, I'm deliberately loose with my shading here. I just throw some color down in my lightest shade and move on. I'm all about quick and easy and THIS TECHNIQUE is BOTH!!
As you'll notice in the video, I followed my lightest shade marker with a medium shade - using my photo reference as a guide to help me note darker shadows, and then switched to a dark shade to indicate the darkest shadows.
Simply adding a little water with your paintbrush will melt ALL the marker layers together to create BEAUTIFUL face shading on your drawing. Isn't this gorgeous???
When you're painting with tombows or any watersoluble marker - make sure each layer you do is completely dry before going back on top with your original supply because the fastest way to kill a marker is to put it into water.
NO markers "like" being added to a wet surface, so simply hit your piece up with a little hair dryer action before you go back in for another marker layer, and you'll be good to go.
Check out how sparsely I lay down swathes of three purple tombow shades (light, medium & dark) while drawing a hairstyle for this profile drawing. This is ALL the color I put down.
When I'm playing around with watersoluble media I often activate TWO of my marker layers with water, and then draw on top and leave that final layer UNACTIVATED - to make the details pop.
The only drawback I've found with tombows is they are not lightfast. Definitely keep that in mind if you're creating art to sell or gift. I don't actually recommend selling or gifting your originals because of this - but you could TOTALLY sell prints of them!!
I have found that tombows won't fade AS MUCH if your work is in an art journal because they'll be hidden from the sunlight.
When it's time to add some detail, I pull out my pentel pocket brush. This is my FAVORITE art supply for eyelash drawing (remember NOT to use this until the layers underneath are FULLY DRY).
This pocket brush nib is like a paintbrush- it's made of a group of hairs and doesn't perform like your typical marker. A tombow "brush" nib is basically foam that's been shaped to LOOK like a brush and feel like you're working with a paintbrush (but it provides a bit more control than the pocket brush).
If you need help with drawing eyelashes, click the button below and I'll send my EYELASHES CHEATSHEET straight to your inbox.
I've got a great eyelash drawing tutorial on my mixed media channel and another on my YouTube Drawing Channel to help you out if this is something you struggle with.
I hope you enjoy this mixed media tutorial and TRY tombows out for yourself!! They really are fantastic. The colors are unbelieveable and the markers themselves are really affordable. I think you'll love painting with them as much as I do!!
REMEMBER TODAY (APRIL 26th) is the KICKOFF of my FUN FAB FAIRIES WORKSHOP!!!
You can STILL sign up to join me and the rest of the gang for an amazing week of fairy drawing lessons! CLICK HERE to REGISTER.
If you find this post well after the live portions of this workshop have ended, all you're missing out on are the daily giveaways and Facebook LIVES. The Fun Fab Fairies course is STILL available at Awesome Art School as a stand alone course for you to enjoy!!
❤️Did you know I've started a FUN new podcast with my Scottish, artsy bestie, Lucy, ALL ABOUT SCOTLAND & the mythical goodness I can't get enough of about this magical place?! YES - we talk about everything including ARE Fairies Real?! (You know I think they are!!)
The podcast is called 1 Scot, 1 Not! Check us out on YouTube and here's our podcast website!
❤️Want FREE, immediate access to my Fun Fab Drawing Club and/or Mixed Media Society plus discounts on all my art books, sneak peek at YouTube videos and new book content, behind-the-scenes fun and MORE? Join me over on Patreon today and get HUGE PERKS in return for a small monthly donation.
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Drawing eyelashes on mixed media portraits can feel super intimidating because it's probably one of the LAST things you add to your masterpiece! So many of my students ask how to paint eyelashes that look realistic and just what paintbrush or supplies work the best, because they know I've tested them ALL!! Before I demo my secret weapon, we need to talk for a hot minute about how to draw eyelashes step by step...
If you're just learning how to draw eyelashes, or if drawing eyelashes is something you feel you want to improve upon, you need my free HOW to DRAW EYELASHES Cheatsheet.
Simply click the button below, and I'll send it straight to your inbox!
The first thing to keep in mind when drawing eyelashes is DIRECTIONALITY. As you can see in my sketch below, I start by drawing a set of parentheses on the outer edges of both the top and bottom eyelids.
One of the first things to keep in mind when you're drawing eyelashes, is directionality. I think of eyelashes like parentheses, and curve my outtermost eyelash on either side accordingly.
The midpoint of your eye drawing is where the directionality of your individual eyelash lines will change. That midpoint lash will basically be a straight line, followed by consecutive lashes flicking out in opposite directions, like you can see below.
Once you fill your lashes in on the top lid, repeat the process you followed for the lash line on the bottom eyelid. The second important part of drawing GORGEOUS eyelashes has to do with the amount of pressure you apply with your pencil (or whatever you're drawing with!).
You begin each lash line with MORE pressure, then flick up and out according to whatever directionality each eyelash needs to go. Confused yet?! WATCH the VIDEO ;) It makes WAY more sense when you see it in action....
Once you have all the eyelashes drawn in for the top and bottom eyelids, it's time to take a second pass across each lid line, because as humans - we have TONS of eyelashes! And let's be real...you want the girl you're drawing to have fab lashes, right?! Let's glam her up!!
While you're adding in a second set of lashes on each lid line, be sure to vary the length of each line. This is how our eyelashes are in real life. If you look closely - they're all different lengths. Paying attention to that little detail will make the eyelashes you draw look even more realistic!
Did you grab your FREE How to Draw Eyelashes Cheatsheet yet? Make sure you click on that link, and I'll send it straight to your inbox. It's SUCH a helpful reference to keep on your art table.
Now... how do you put all take this amazing-ness into action for your MIXED MEDIA PORTRAITS?!
I'm so glad you asked!! Let me introduce you to my secret weapon!!
Before we continue, super quick announcement: All product links are Affiliate. I may earn a small commission if you choose to order through these links but by law there is never any additional cost to the consumer for doing so. I thank you for your support.
I'm in LOVE with the pentel pocket brush pen. Here's why...
First of all, I love this pen because it contains permanent ink. This is extremely important to me in mixed media work because I have lots of layering going on with sealants, etc. I NEED my ink at this point to be permanent. If I want to add a final sealant over the pretty eyelashes I've just drawn, I KNOW the ink I just laid down with the pentel pocket brush pen isn't going anywhere!
One of the cool things about this pen is the tip of it is actually like a very fine brush. That means it applies like a paintbrush! Lastly - it's just a beautifully crafted pen!!
I will give you a tiny warning about this pen though... it's super sensitive, and honestly takes a bit of practice to get a feel for it at first. You'll want to play around with it in your sketchbook before using it right out of the box on your latest mixed media canvas! Just draw a bunch of practice eyes in your sketchbook and see what kind of pressure and look you like best!
If you're struggling to control the pentel pocket brush, use a black pitt pen marker in a brush nib that feels more secure for you.
After today's little eyelash lesson, I'll take you straight over to put this into practice on one of my mixed media hamburger system girls! This particular piece is from a couple of years ago- before I discovered my fav little pocket brush. Watch as I add these lashes in real time - using directionality, pressure, and varying my lash lengths. This cute little pen is also awesome for touching up eyebrows for a little added drama.
Come on over to YouTube and practice your eyelash drawing with me!!
If you're a member of either the Fun Fab Drawing Club or Mixed Media Society (YAY!! I'm so happy you're here!!!), the Eyelashes Cheatsheet is already in your membership guide!!
I hope today's free drawing lesson helps you create mixed media lashes you are PROUD OF!! See ya next week ;)
I've been IN LOVE with Bryn Nguyen's mixed media portraits since she started posting them in my Facebook Group about 6 months ago! I'm so excited she agreed to do an art journal flip through with us & talk about how she creates these beauties with tombow markers on sheet music!
If you're into sheet music art, or have been looking for fresh mixed media art journal inspiration, altered book ideas, & new ways to sketch or paint mixed media faces - today's video has your name on it!!
Bryn shared that she started this altered book / art journal in a book of violin sheet music she bought at Goodwill for 99 cents!!! I LOVE doing this kind of thing too! It's so pretty to see the music notes peek through your art work. If you haven't tried it yet - you have to!!
Bryn has created a gorgeous style that's all her own and SO unique... you just have to come see for yourself!
While we chatted, she explained that she started this altered book back in March - when we all started hanging at home because of covid. She said she typically begins each page with a thin layer of gesso over the sheet music, then sketches her portraits in using a reference photo.
Bryn uses a combo of painting and shading techniques using tombow markers, copics, micron fineliners, posca pens, india ink, and polychromos to create her beauties, and said each of her mixed media portraits takes a couple of hours to complete.
Just LOOK at this insane masterpiece!!!!!
Bryn was an art minor in college and shared that she's constantly taking art classes, and that's how her style has evolved over time. She said she took a number of face courses a while back that weren't clicking. Then she stumbled onto my Fun Fab Faces books over on Amazon and did my #100FunFabFaces challenge last year. She even did ALL 100 faces!!!! Not many hung in there for the long haul like Bryn. I'm so proud of her, and her dedication shows in her work!!
Bryn also credits Toni Burt (LOVE HER! Everything she does is magical!) for helping her develop a looser style in her work. In addition to Toni, she loves James Burke (ME TOO! Totally "stalk" him and his gorgeous work!).
I'm super lucky to have Bryn as a long time member of BOTH The Fun Fab Drawing Club AND Mixed Media Society. I have to share a quick look at one of the pieces she did in The Fun Fab Drawing Club earlier this year...
FYI - if you're interested in either of my clubs - Bryn has some GREAT ADVICE if you're someone (like us!) who loves BOTH drawing and mixed media, so stay tuned for her thoughts if you've been on the fence yourself!
After you watch Bryn's flip through, make sure you head over to Awesome Art School to sign up for my TWO SUPER FUN challenges beginning on Monday, September 21st!! Here are the links ....
✅ CLICK HERE to SIGN UP for my MIXED MEDIA CHALLENGE
✅ CLICK HERE to SIGN UP for my DRAWING CHALLENGE
Each challenge is going to run for 5 days and kicks off open enrollment for The Fun Fab Drawing Club & Mixed Media Society! SOOOOOO .... if you've been waiting for these clubs to open up - your wait is almost over!!
We're having a blast and hope you come join us!!!!
See ya next week!
"Karen is flipping hilarious and she's very real...I like the way she teaches in a way that really gives you confidence, whether you're a beginner or advanced there's always something new to learn!"
- Elizabeth W.
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Karen, you are absolutely fabulous! You make me feel like I can draw anything. I have recently retired and finally have the time to do some of the art that I have loved since I was in school. I am really at the beginning of my art journey and I hope to learn as much as I can. Thank you for all you do.