So now I’ve finally finished my next masterpiece from my weekly art class with Sugawara-sensei at Atelier Manabu. Seeing that I do a lot of still life work, I thought I’d add a little cuteness this time and grab a Hello Kitty plush. I’m a huge fan of Hello Kitty as you gathered as well as an avid collector of anything Hello Kitty! So I borrowed one of sensei’s props, a small cute pink rubber ducky. She now has a new friend, how sweet!
Getting Her Face Right
First outline the subjects in 2B pencil. Getting the proportion especially Kitty’s face was most important and a challenge indeed. Her features consists of just nose and eyes and so must be simple to draw, right? Wrong! You need to firstly see that it’s vertically symmetrical. Then match the size of the eyes with the nose and take into account the distance between them. And oh also the placement of the whiskers too. And size and distance between the ears. Don’t forget the ribbon too! Not too big and not too small. Once you figure it all out, it’s not too bad. But just a millimetre off then it doesn’t look like Hello Kitty anymore. After you’re done with the face, you need to check out the proportion of her (big) head with the rest of her. Then give her some dimension by drawing her round enough. So it was important to get it right in the first place.
I considered doing pastels again at the beginning but after discussing with Sugawara-sensei, we came to the conclusion that watercolour (aquarelle) would be the best bet. Here I used a huge sheet of paper and worked with an easel. I also thought about using my set of Gansai Japanese watercolours but was advised that given the size of the painting, it would be better to use the ordinary stuff. So I grabbed my set of Winsor Newton Cotman pans. Apparently this is the “Rolls Royce” of watercolours used by professionals and I can understand why! The colour saturation is strong and the pigments are of superior quality. You don’t need much to make the shades so vibrant. First I painted the background a purple wash as it blended well with Hello Kitty’s red and blue outfit and matches the pink rubber duckie.
Colour Kitty Pretty!
It took a few Friday’s to complete this painting. Perhaps about four lessons? I preferred to take my time over it till I was happy than to rush. It was cool how I was able to remember to apply the colour theory and blending techniques automatically. For instance, adding some red on the blue to create shadows and vice versa. Or use purple. For her face, I didn’t make it entirely white. Mixed in a tad of grey and for the shading, blended some purple to reflect the background. For the duck, I made it a bright pink shade and applying the above principles used blue or purple for shadows. I finally added the shadows on the ground by adding in a complementary shade of yellow and even a bit of green.
The final touch was adding the small polka dots on her overalls! To make the dots evenly spaced, I was advised to draw graphic lines as illustrated above with a pastel pencil so I can erase them later. I made sure I made her torso and legs curved to reflect roundness. Then I dotted the intersections carefully with Titanium White acrylic marker. Amazing how the white pops out! I even made the dots a bit uneven on the sides to reflect the wrinkled clothing as she is sitting. And based on the whiteness of the dots, I added more colours on the pink duck and the eyes of both Kitty and duck to match the colour intensity. And here it is!!
It’s my first time to draw something kawaii on a more serious scale. My instructor Sugawara-sensei told me at the beginning that this is so “my piece” and I should have a lot of fun working on it. And I did! In fact I always have fun whatever I challenge to paint. But I know what he means. This one was different because I’m painting something that best suits my character and what I love most. Last weekend, I went to get this painting framed and due to pick it up next week. I can’t wait to get it back and am so excited to have it up on my wall at home!