Eileen McKenna Art & Design

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


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InkTober … so far

InkTober front porch sketch
InkTober has begun. Here’s today’s sketch inspired by a beautiful front porch design by Ginny of @maplecreekmarket.

Here’s a recent sketch of montauk daisies.
InkTober sketch of Montauk Daisies

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Click here to view my collection of watercolor and acrylic seascapes.


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Ready for InkTober?!

Favorite sketchbook and gel pen for Intober | #intober2017

Participating in InkTober is such a motivating experience! I’ve even had the pleasure – by sheer coincidence – of meeting Jake Parker, the creator of InkTober at Comic Con in NYC.

I’m ready! I got a fresh new sketchbook – my favorite kind – the Canson Multimedia. Last year as the end of InkTober drew near, I began adding watercolor to my ink sketches. I couldn’t help it! The Canson sketchbook pages are nice and thick, making them perfect for watercolor. And they are bright white too, which I love. I also have a pack of my favorite pens – the Uniball signo (bold 207). This pen is a gel pen and feels very smooth when drawing with it.

I usually don’t follow the official prompts, but here are the Inktober prompts if you’d like to follow them.

My past Inktober sketches:

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You never know where a 31 day challenge will take you. I’ll probably draw several Halloween themed things because ’tis the season. One year I drew the inside of a witch’s house and then added another floor the next day! I just came across Mab’s Drawlloween Club list, which I might use for inspiration.

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more about the newsletter here.

My new ebook takes you step by step through the process for introducing regular creativity into your life, finding inspiration, and exploring mediums. Learn more about Creative Exploration: A Six Week Process for Introducing Regular Creativity into your Life by clicking here.

Creative Exploration book -

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You never really know how a drawing will turn out

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As you put your pen to the page to make that first mark, you never really know how things will turn out. At least I don’t know. Sure I have a vision in my head, but that doesn’t mean it will turn out that way.

Personally, I don’t really plan much, I get an idea and just dive in and see what happens. If I’m drawing in ink – which I’m doing a lot this month for InkTober – I rarely do a pencil sketch first. Unless the drawing involves a face or body, then I will do some planning in pencil to get things looking “right.”

I was really pressed for time with this “little guy in the leaves.” The inspiration photo was one of my youngest son probably 8 or 9 years ago. I used pencil first to plan things a little – because you can’t erase ink. I was pleasantly surprised with the results in such a short time.

This drawing experience was the opposite of yesterday’s! I was drawing in the car during my older son’s practice. I first focused in on a nearby car. Within a minute or two of drawing the car, it drove off! Without the car there I had a hard time finishing that part. I drew the car in front of me, but my pen started running out, probably because I was drawing upright on the steering wheel. I ended up focusing on drawing the chain link fence. Like I said, you never know what the result will be when you start drawing!

See all my InkTober blog posts:


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Inktober

halloweenink
I’m participating in InkTober this year. Jake Parker created InkTober in 2009 “as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.” Learn more and see the official InkTober prompts here. It starts Saturday, October 1st!

There is something about fall and Halloween that really inspires me – as you can see from last year’s sketchbook above. For me, InkTober is just some extra motivation. I’m back in a creating groove, which makes me really happy. Anyone else participating? 🙂


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Summer = Swim Team

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I can’t believe summer is just weeks away. School is ending, and summer swim team will be starting! If you’ve been following for a while, you know I find a lot of inspiration at the pool. Here’s a recap:

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Looking back and looking forward on my creative resolution

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When I first made “my creative resolution” just before the start of 2014, my mission statement was: “Hoping to draw, paint, and create my way through 2014.”

I just wanted to be creative. I didn’t even know what I’d be working on. My interests were a varied list of painting, working with recycled materials, refinishing furniture, decorating my mantle, etc. The real goal was to be creative on a regular basis, and finish projects. I had a terrible habit of never finishing things. I made great progress in 2014, my interests became more focused on drawing and painting, and I finished almost everything I started, including some old projects.

At the start of 2015, my mission statement was: Continuing my creative journey into 2015.”

I knew I had come so far, and I wanted to keep growing, and learning. I wasn’t giving up. I had a long lists of goals, although this list, wasn’t as varied as the year before.

Things I want to try in 2015:

  1. Linocut
  2. Lettering
  3. Online workshops
  4. Painting on dark paper
  5. Doodling
  6. Video
  7. Patterns
  8. Maps
  9. Digital Brushes
  10. Watercolor Parties

Most of these items, I tried at least once. Some, like designing patterns (surface design), I adopted as a monthly goal. See all my 2015 patterns here.

My mission statement for 2016 is more of a declaration of me: “Painting, Illustration, Surface Design, and Animation.”

I want to continue painting, working on my illustration style, and designing surface patterns. And I want to learn and grow in the area of animation. See my recent post on exploring animation here.

It’s important to look at where you’ve been, and plan on where you want to go. These two years have been amazing for me. I’ve grown so much on this creative journey. I’ve met amazing friends. It has made me feel happy and fulfilled, and I’m excited about what 2016 will bring. 🙂


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Writing a checklist to help you achieve your Creative Goals

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I’ve learned so much since starting my creative resolution in 2014. About how important setting a goal is. But, not only do we have to set a goal, we need to outline the tasks that will get us there.

My 2014 creative resolution, or goal, was very simply to “be creative.” Early on I wrote (and adapted as I went on) a “weekly checklist” or a set of tasks that would help me achieve my goal. They were:

My 2014 Weekly Checklist:

  • 3 pencil sketches – “5 minute sketches”
  • 1 watercolor
  • 1 acrylic
  • illustration (children’s book illustration style)

As the year went on I added things like “figure drawing” to my list, and, as I focusted more on watercolor, acrylic painting moved to my monthly list.

My 2014 Monthly Checklist:

  • learn a new technique (from a video, book, etc.)
  • 1 acrylic painting
  • “other” project (furniture, wood, etc.)

My 2015 creative resolution or goal was to “continue my creative journey.” Right from the start of 2015 I wrote a list of things I have always wanted to try. Some of these things were one time “tries,” while others I incorporated into my checklist (see the last three items).

My 2015 Checklist:

  • Try one thing from “the list” each month
  • Create almost daily (and post on Instagram)
  • Paint with watercolor at least once a week
  • Doodle with ink almost daily
  • Design a pattern a month
  • Practice hand lettering at least once a month

As the new year gets closer and closer, I’m excited to set a new goal, a new creative resolution. I’ve grown so much, I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings! 🙂

 


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How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop {Feathers my pattern for September.}

featherspattern1d
Here is my pattern design for September. As you may have seen, I’ve been drawing and painting feathers all month, so it’s seemed appropriate to turn them into a pattern. I pieced this pattern together from my sketchbook (see below). I wanted this pattern to be much tighter than ones I’ve designed so far this year. This tighter pattern, required more playing and arranging in Photoshop becauses once I thought the pattern was “set” and I tried repeating it, things would overlap and I’d have to readjust and try repeating it again.
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If you know Photoshop and want to try creating a pattern, I’ve included my steps below.

Creating a pattern in Photoshop:

  1. Scan artwork
  2. In Photoshop: separate each element of your design into different layers
  3. Within your artboard, create the area for your “repeat” using guides. (translation: use guides to create a box within your artboard. You can expand the canvas size before this step.)
  4. Arrange your elements. They can go over the guides.
  5. On a separate layer outline the guides to make a box.
  6. Create a group with the box and element layers – call it “original”
  7. Duplicate the “original” group. Drag to the right so the left edge of the box touches the right guide
  8. Duplicate the group again. Drag to the left so the right edge of the box touches the left guide
  9. Select the three groups and duplicate them. Drag the 3 duplicate layers up, so the bottom of the boxes touch the top guide
  10. Duplicate the three groups again. Drag them down, so the top of the boxes touch the bottom guide
  11. If any adjustments need to be made – delete all but your “original” group, make the adjustments and repeat steps 7-10
  12. When you are happy with your repeating pattern, hide all the layers with the box outline.
  13. Crop to the guides to create your “repeat.”

 

Below, you can see my boxes. The center box is where I have my guides (which are not visible).
featherspatternboxes

Slight variations on my feather pattern.
No distress in the background. 
featherspattern1

Distress shows yellow.
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Which one do you like best? 🙂

Copyright 2015 Eileen McKenna. All rights reserved.