Happy New Year Everyone! 2017 was a rough year, but I am full of hope that 2018 will be better – and I am ready to work hard to make it happen.  Like the last couple years, I want to start off this year with a self portrait.

Last year’s self portrait was not my best work; I was trying to push myself to do digital color. Pushing yourself into your comfort zone isn’t a bad thing, but to be honest I just don’t enjoy working in digital. I didn’t put enough time and effort into it, and it shows.

This year I wanted to do a portrait I would enjoy, in a style that I enjoy, and take the time to do it well. I still wanted to do something different from previous years, so I decided to do a full length portrait instead of a bust. I also knew that I wanted to do art nouveau, one of my favorite styles, and with copic markers, one of my favorite mediums. But, I wanted to do a background in a combination of watercolor and colored pencil – mediums I’m not particularly well versed in.

I started with a simple pencil sketch, like with all drawings. In the original sketch I had a column to sit on, but decided to remove it when I started doing the inks and just be seated on the mysterious floating filigree and flora instead.

I’ve always felt like my sketches are more lively than my inks, but this is a rare case where I feel like the inks are actually pretty good on their own. I used more of a clean line (deadline) style for this piece, and inked it with technical pens (copic multiliner SP) instead of dip pen.

The foreground figure and filigree bits were colored with copic markers and a little bit of highlighting/fixing with white gel pen. For the background, I wanted to do something reminiscent of the backgrounds from the movie The Last Unicorn, which has very beautiful stylised backgrounds. I highly recommend giving it a watch for the animation, which is a unique blend of east and west, and the amazingly cheesy theme song. I love the movie, but it’s definitely a product of its time. I’ve been wanting to do a Last Unicorn fanart for a while but haven’t had the time to sit down and do it so I figured I’d use this self portrait as an opportunity to experiment a little.

I started with a blue and purple watercolor wash. My watercolors weren’t particularly good, but I refined them a bit by going over them with marker and colored pencil. The lighter blue leaves are acryllic paint, since I was having a hard time getting my cheapy colored pencil to go over the watercolor. I’ve got a fabulous set of nice colored pencils now, so I think this might be easier in the future.

The white details in the clouds and flowers are white gel pen, and while I don’t think they are 100% successful in this drawing, I feel like I can really do something interesting with white gel pen and cloud patterns in the future.

Although I don’t think this is necessarily my best piece of art ever, I do feel like this year’s self portrait was a good effort and learning experience. I was actually really sick at the time I completed this piece, and while it might have turned out better if I’d waited until I was well, I think that pushing myself a little to work even when I wasn’t feeling 100% wasn’t a bad move. It made me slow down and really take my time on this piece, consider what I was doing, and not rush through anything.

Don’t worry, I wasn’t pushing myself too hard – actually, working on art a little at a time when I am sick helps me feel better. I’ve learned to be gentle with myself during times of stress; stress can be good, it can be motivating, but it can also lead to burn out. To tell the truth, it’s less of a lesson fully learned and more of a lesson I need reminding of semi-regularly. That’s why I’m so thankful to have a wonderful husband and support system that help keep me from going completely crazy!

Anyhoo, that is all I’ve got for this week. I hope you check back again next week for my art, crafts, or cookery!