Blue Kaftan

I got inspired by another artist called Karen O’Brien who also has a book out called  Imaginary Characters.  In it she illustrates and introduces interesting ways to paint, as the book states, imaginary characters.  Suits me perfectly because I too do loads of work using them as well.  Of course our styles are different but it’s always wonderful to collect ideas and adjust them to your taste.  Karen’s characters are mysterious, dreamy and soft.  Cute, kawaii and chibi characters is my thing.  Bold colours.  Typically no nose or mouth but hey the eyes tell 1000 words!

An example of Karen O’Brien’s work which inspired me

For this work, I decided to give my paint brushes a rest and focus on pastel sticks.  Grabbed some bright colours from my soft pastel box and randomly started filling the paper, whilst figuring what to do with it next.  Sprayed the paper with fixative so the colour could still adhere even when I work on top of it.   Gave the colour a bit of a boost by lightly brushing the pastel with some water.  I was also hoping to smooth out the streaks but to little avail.  That’s ok too!

The Background! In soft pastels.

Looking through Karen’s book, I was looking for ideas as to the next step.  Definitely wanted something dreamy yet vivid.  Plus something different.  My girls are typically standing upright so thought one that’s “floating” with the body sideways would be cool.

So I outlined and coloured away using my oil pastels.  The face was superimposed with a separate drawing on deli paper to make it stand out more.  To give it more opacity, I brushed a bit of gesso on the dress.  This enabled me to embellish further with some ink.  I also used some ink randomly around the painting to make it more interesting.

Blue Kaftan

At the beginning, I was not sure how this would all turn out but I must say it’s quite different from what I’ve been doing.  Still kawaii yet “more mature”.  And the dress!  Quite hippy chic.  First thing that comes to mind is a kaftan.  I should do more “fashionable” drawings like this more often….

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