My Creative Resolution – Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design


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InkTober days 9-12

InkToberAfter a few days spent in the car visiting colleges, this is what I came home and drew. The way there on Sunday was nice with lots of pretty fall foliage. The way home pouring rain. 😦

Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners
I’m cheating a bit, using this extra painting with ink from last week. Forgive me but using it helps me catch up with my InkTober drawings. For any watercolor beginners out there, I share my steps in creating this easy painting in this post. It covers a few watercolor techniques.

Run InkTober
For day 11 I followed the InkTober prompt “run.” This was my third attempt and for this one I started with pencil. When drawing figures I have to “work it out” and adjust the lines, so pencil comes in handy.

InkTober shatter #inktober

The day 12 prompt was “shatter.” This is what came to mind. 😂 I’m all caught up!

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Prints of my watercolor beach paintings are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!
The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints

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InkTober days 5-8

It’s interesting to see what everyone chooses to draw for InkTober, how they interpret the same prompts (if they use the prompts), and even how we all struggle to draw every day.

Long Beach, NY boardwalk #inktober
On day 5 the prompt was “long.” Having grown up in Long Beach I knew immediately what I wanted to draw. I did a quick sketch of the boardwalk and thought, “Is this too sloppy to post?” Of course the point is to post the good with the bad. Funny enough, my husband commented, “Can I have that?”

Farmers Market sketches
On day 6 I drew early morning with my coffee – some sketches for a “farmers market” print pattern. I swore I would draw later and this wasn’t my InkTober sketch, but in the end I never got back to it.

Shy #inktober
I loved the day 7 prompt of “shy.” I had a picture in my mind of a little girl holding her mom’s leg. Her favorite stuffed animal held tightly. I found an image similar to my vision online to use as reference.

Crooked teeth #inktober
Day 8 – crooked. Not a particularly attractive drawing. But this was what came to mind!

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

Prints of my watercolor beach paintings are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!
The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints


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InkTober days 1-4

InkTober day 1 leaves
I was all excited for InkTober, and then I procrastinated the first day. Most of the InkTober prompts are verbs which I find hard. I used a prompt from doodlewash.com – leaves. Of course it was dark as I searched for leaves in the yard!

InkTober day 2 apples
Day 2 I used a prompt from both InkTober – divided, and doodlewash – apples. But I wasn’t thrilled with my results. It’s kind of a “which comes first?” question. If I start in watercolor, I build up the layers and then add a little ink. If I start in ink, I use a lot of ink details and then add a little watercolor.

InkTober day 3 seagull
Day 3 I didn’t follow any prompts and drew a seagull.

InkTober Day 4 scarecrow
Day 4 the new scarecrow on the porch was calling to me.

I’m getting into the groove. If you want to see my InkTober posts day by day follow me on Instagram @eileenmckenna.🙂

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Creative prompts Advent Calendar

img_1014I’ve been on a roll the last 2 months creating everyday. In October I participated in InkTober, drawing in ink in my sketchbook. By the end of October I was adding watercolor to my sketches. This month I followed the World Watercolor Group’s November prompts which were all food. I was so happy to be back working in watercolor. Other than fruit, I don’t really paint food so it was out of my comfort zone. I appreciated the push because other than my pathetic brussel sprouts, I was really happy with many of my paintings.

For December, I’m getting into the spirit of Christmas! I created this prompt list for myself, but welcome anyone who wants to join in! All mediums are welcome! Let me know if you do and tag your work #adventmcr so I can see. I’m on Instagram too @eileenmckenna.

I’ve done holiday countdowns before – Valentine’s Day (twice) and St. Patrick’s Day. The challenge with those was always what to paint. This time I’ve created a prompt list to follow. I’m a little nervous about committing to creating everyday in the busiest month of the year, but I know overall I won’t regret it. In both October and November challenging myself has led to some pieces I’m really proud of.

My watercolor cherry pie

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A fall ink illustration

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InkTober recap

Participating in InkTober was a great motivator. I got into the habit of working daily which was great. I didn’t follow the prompts but worked on what inspired me. I held off on adding Watercolor to my ink sketches, but towards the end I gave in. And purely by chance I got to meet the creator of InkTober Jake Parker!

I felt so good about doing all 31 days that this month I’m following the World Watercolor Group’s prompts. I’m glad to be back using Watercolor. Of course I’m still adding in some ink too!

Here are my favorites:

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Happy Halloween!

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I remember when the kids were so little, I worried they would wobble off the porch when someone opened the door for them. After 15 years of trick or treating, this was the first year that even the youngest didn’t need me to tag along. Not only did I stay home, but it was my oldest who gave out the candy.

Today is the final day of InkTober. I’m very proud of my consecutive 31 days of drawing in ink. The challenge really helped motivate me. All 31 drawings are posted on my Instagram @eileenmckenna.


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I Recall Central Park in Fall

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Flipping through a magazine looking for something to draw, I came across a couple strolling with their dog. I drew them, added a tree, and had to pull out my watercolors and add some leaves.

That illustration reminded me of walking with my husband through Central Park in New York City. Having just watched “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” the lyrics “I recall Central Park in Fall” were in my head while I searched for an image of a couple in Central Park. I found a Getty Images photo to use as reference. It’s the lamppost that makes it Central Park.

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I’m always amazed how one idea or spark of inspiration can lead you down a path. Actually this was the topic of one of my early posts: The paths our art projects take us on:

“It’s funny, how a project can start us on a path. A path similar to the branches of a tree. The path may be fairly straight – projects similar to one another. Or the path may be twisty – each project taking a unique turn. The path can be long – each project sparking the idea for the next one. Or the path may be short – as we experiment with something that doesn’t work out or fails to inspire us any longer.
We follow a path until it ends. Until we have reached the end of that train of thought. At that point, we forge a new path, based on something different that inspires us. But each path we take, is related to the others, just like the branches of a tree.”


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Overlay designs to create a new design and a pattern

montaukdaisypatternwm
I recently came across a watercolor painting I did in pinks, blues and yellows. At the time I was trying to paint abstractly. The other day for my InkTober challenge I drew Montauk daisies, which are in bloom in the yard. I immediately thought of that watercolor and thought it would be cool to overlay the daisies over it.

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I did something a little different with this pattern. I set up the watercolor painting so the edges don’t fall in the same place as the edges of the ink drawing. (They fall in the center.)

I’m happy to be designing patterns again and remembering how to have the background line up differently was a small victory for me! Last time I was working with a pattern I was struggling with having it be organic and actually lining up when it repeated.

If you’d like to learn more here is a post on how to create a pattern. Let me know if you’d like more info on the subject. 🙂

Here is the design on repeat:

montaukdaisypatternrepeatwm


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Which witch inspires you?

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When I was little I loved Hazel the witch on Bugs Bunny. Every time she flew off, she’d leave behind her bobby pins floating in the air.

Every October since starting my creative resolution, I’ve been inspired by Halloween – drawing haunted houses among other things. This year I seem to to be drawn to witches.

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Using a model from a catalog as reference, I drew this witch strolling down her path.

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Then I created the inside of a witch’s house (the first illustration in this post). That illustration had a mind of its own. On the following day, instead of creating a new illustration for InkTober, I added a new floor to the witch’s house. And I may not be done. Don’t you think it needs some rats scurrying around in the attic? 😂


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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: