Kawaii Frida

Here is another painting I created whilst following Ady Almanza’s FB tutorial! A new doll is introduced in the form of a Mexican painter called Frida Kahlo known for her self-portraits. One of her famous works is apparently the “Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird” from 1940 in which she has a monkey and a cat rested on each side of her shoulder. As Ady is from Mexico too, I think it’s so sweet that she’s introduced a fellow compatriot as inspiration.

Self-portrait of Frida Kahlo
(Photo credit: frida kahlo.org)

Sketching and Outline

The video begins with a brief introduction about Frida followed by a thorough instruction as to preparing a pencil sketch first using aquarelle pencil. Once happy with it, the sketch was to be traced over with permanent black ink. I merely used my black Molotow acrylic marker. Although Ady warned us to be careful not to smudge the ink, what do I do? Smudge it of course! It’s the area on Frida’s left ear. Gesso may have helped but as we see later, it doesn’t work with watercolor pens so I discovered a brilliant solution! Read on…

Making the Outline!

Painting Away!

So here comes the exciting part, colouring the drawing! I substituted some of what Ady uses either because I didn’t have them or preferred an alternative method. Her ideas are more a blueprint for our inspiration from which we improvise our own ways and create our own style.

  • Ady colours the hair, cat and monkey with the same black marker as what she outlined the drawing. It’s my personal taste but I prefer not to use black except for outlining as I find it too harsh. Instead, I filled in those areas with Payne’s Grey acrylic ink for a softer effect.
  • Ecoline ink markers, along with water brush pens, were used in the tutorial. Unfortunately I don’t have an extensive collection of colours in that brand and hence substituted them with my set of Kuretake ZIG Clean Colors watercolor markers also used together with a water brush pen.
Alternative methods

Further Details

And don’t the animals look so cute? The cat is so kawaii and looking mischievous. Although the monkey looks more like a bear, I wasn’t going to stress about it. It’s the cuteness that counts. The thorn necklace seems somehow turned into a pearl necklace, but never mind! And meanwhile:

  • Since the Payne’s Grey ink for Frida’s hair was dry, I cut out some small flower shapes on some origami paper using a craft punch and glued them in random places. One was further added on the area where I had previously smudged the ink to cover up the mistake.
  • I continued using the Kuretake brush pens where Ady used Ecoline markers, ie the bird and the outfit.
  • Normally I paint the background first but for the sake of following the tutorial, I left it to this stage. A bright jungle theme was created using some light green acrylic ink rather than markers since I didn’t want to run them out. Leaves were added using the Kuretake brush pens and then adding more with fluorescent yellow acrylic markers.
  • Finally, the pearls were painted in with some iridescent ink, Shimmering Green, which looks more cream but goes well with the green background.
More Painting,

Finishing it Up

I painted the whites of the eyes with a white acrylic marker and the cat’s whiskers with gel pen. In the end, I felt my Frida deserved a bit of glamour and thus I squeezed in some glitter glue on the butterflies in her hair and the edge of the hummingbird. Oh and the mouth. I thought I’d challenge myself and add one, but then discovered that it is really not like me. Still I’m glad I managed to go beyond my comfort zone so left it there with a light pencil. And now!!!

I’m really happy about this painting as it’s something different and yet adapted to my “kawaii” style. One of the wonderful things about following a tutorial by other artists is that you get inspiration, gain more experience and learn a lot. Moreover, it makes you go beyond your comfort zone and lets you discover more. I will definitely be following more of these especially as we now have more spare time during the quarantine. Let’s do it!

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.