Eileen McKenna Art & Design

Watercolor Art | Creative Inspiration to help you be creative on a regular basis


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Beach Heart

Beach Heart paintingPainting this beach heart was as peaceful and relaxing as sitting on the beach itself. Before I sat down to paint I was looking through my work for something to post on Valentine’s Day. I usually don’t post things from my archives – not that there is anything wrong with that. It just sometimes feels disjointed from what I’ve been working on.

With Valentine’s Day and hearts on my mind, I sat down to paint and thought of a beach scene in the shape of a heart. I think practicing, and working out a process for painting the beach, was a great help in painting the heart from start to finish in one sitting. Ah the sense of accomplishment!

Have a happy Valentine’s Day!

14 tips on painting waves in watercolor

 


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Drawing “cute” illustrations

happyvalentinesday
A while back, I worked hard to learn about illustrating in a “children’s book style.” I really studied up on it. (See below for the links to the posts I wrote on my progress.) This week I wanted to do a cutesy illustration of a boy with a box of chocolates and a little girl. I first bought a box of chocolates – we all need a little chocolate, right? Then I had my ten year old, pose with the chocolates under his arm and then as the opposite figure. I didn’t want the illustration to be realistic, but I figured having some reference photos would be helpful.

I went straight to my watercolor paper (taped down on a board), and drew with pencil. I didn’t like it at all. My son looked more like a man than a boy, and there was nothing cutesy about the illustration.

sketch1cd

I remembered how drawing something over and over, can really help me arrive at the results I want. So, the next day I pulled out my sketch book and did several versions of the little couple. I remembered the things I learned from observing children’s book illustrators:

  • exaggerate features – like big eyes or wacky teeth
  • color palette – stick to 3 colors
  • kids – small bodies, big heads
  • outline

Following this advice, I made the heads bigger and rounder, and the bodies smaller. The illustrations definitely looked cuter.
cutedoodles

I went back to my watercolor paper, erased the original illustration, and started over, following the style from my sketchbook.
sketch2cd

I thought a heart behind them would really emphasize the theme, so I painted a pink heart and a red background. Then I used my pen to create the ink outlines, using the pencil lines as a guide. I waited a bit, so I was sure the ink was dry, and erased all the pencil. I thought about the color palette I wanted. Instead of using blue from the tube, I added pink to it, to mute it, and make it work better with the pinks and reds.

I’m happy with the results, especially compared to my original illustration.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Lots of love from New York! And if you are also in the Northeast – stay warm!
Eileen

Other posts I’ve written about children’s book illustration style:


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14 Days of Valentine’s Day Art

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Last year I got into the spirit of Valentine’s Day and created art every day, for 14 days, within that theme. I posted my creations on Instagram. It was a great learning experience, as I learned to dig deeper into a theme – once the obvious ideas were out of the way. I really fell in love with Instagram and it’s power to motivate me.

My display of last year’s “Valentine’s Day” work:
valentinesdaymantle

Currently I’m working on a 100 day project. I’m painting the beach. So this year’s Valentine’s Day art looks like this:

Beach Heart painting

Learn more about my beach heart here.

19 Books for Creatives


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Valentine’s Day Mantle

valentinesdaymantle
I’ve been having fun the last couple of weeks creating art with Valentine’s Day in mind. I challenged myself to post my creations on Instagram for 14 days in a row. If you’ve been following, let me know which one you liked the best.

It’s been great, working within the same theme – coming up with different ideas and using different mediums. I’ve used watercolor, watercolor and ink, scanned doodles from my sketchbook and painted them in Photoshop, created a pattern, and a linocut. One more to go! Hmmmm.

My daughter’s art teacher gives them one word and they can execute it anyway they’d like. I love seeing her creations. It must be fun to be in the class and see how other people interpret the word. Their words have included – bounce, sticky, and bump. For “bump” my daughter drew a pregnant woman (focus on the bump) with a crib in the background. I thought it was very creative. Maybe I can sneak into the class!

I’m planning on another themed Instagram challenge – March 1 – 17th. The theme is St. Patrick’s Day (of course). Join me in the fun by including #mcrstpatricksday in your Instagram post. Join me for a day or all 17. It will be fun!

Have a happy Valentine’s Day!