Still taking my weekly Friday afternoon classes with the Japanese community in Amsterdam, although it’s been sporadic since I’ve been busy with work. Since mid-April, I have been working on a cute painting, another still life, this time on a character called Donutella. It’s a cute little figure from the Tokidoki series designed by an Italian illustrator living in L.A, and Donutella is my favourite. This is also my first time using acrylic for in this class, as I have already done pencil sketches, pastels and lots of watercolours.
Using a huge piece of paper, I began sketching from still-life. In this class, we tend to aim for a more realistic perspective such as symmetry, proportion and proper light and shade. I don’t normally focus on those aspects in my own work but it’s good practice from a theory perspective. Combining anime-type illustration with realistic techniques is also interesting. For this piece, it took me a few lessons till I was happy with the sketch.
Our instructor, Sugawara-sensei, suggested using some modelling paste in the background to make the piece more interesting. Whilst I normally use modelling paste to enhance textures of subjects or parts of subjects (like hair or flowers), using it in the background gave a whole different perspective. I quite liked that idea! With a palette knife, I spread some randomly in the background and let it all dry before adding paint on top.
For this piece, I just used acrylic paint (mixed with semi-gloss medium) and later on, markers. I have to say painting over a huge area covered with modeling paste was quite a task, given how bumpy the surface is. It took the entire lesson and a half, but in the end, I got there! As the cloth on which Donutella stood on was a magenta pink, I thought making the background a bright lemon yellow would be an idea. Quite summery. Colouring Donutella in was the funnest part, I have to admit. For the pearls, I used some iridescent white shade.
I used a series of acrylic markers for Donutella’s sprinkles. Once again, shading and adding shadows proved to be another challenge for me. Which colours to mix? In the end, the best was to combine grey with pink to reflect the colour of the magenta scarf. And adding a bit of pink to the pearls and some gold as well to give them more sparkle. It took a good few lessons to complete this piece, and now I’m happy with the result!
Going to this art class is definitely a diversion to my usual style but I would like to improve and work on my light and shade techniques more. At the same time, I’m also attending abstract art classes on Tuesday evenings which is altogether a different approach. It’s always a good idea to continue attending them so you could master both and discover what suits you best. The art classes are also a great way to socialise which is why I enjoy them so much!