Kawaii Countdown to 2023!

After a few days off further organizing the house between Christmas and now, it’s great to get my creative mojo back. And how time flies as we’re nearly the end of the year, and before we know it, it’s going to be 2023! And yesterday was the first day being able to draw again so thought I’d take it easy and just do some art journaling. How about a year-end theme then as we bid goodbye to the Year of the Tiger 2022 and welcome the Year of the Rabbit 2023? Great, because as you’ve gathered from my past paintings, I love bunnies!

Pencil Drawing

You may be wondering, the animal zodiac is from China, but Chinese New Years is not till 21 January! Aren’t I a bit too early? Although the animal zodiac is indeed from China, we have also adopted it in my native country, Japan. The only thing is, our New Year is based on the solar calendar and not the lunar which means we celebrate it on 1 January. And now… I began with a pencil sketch on a two page spread of my Strathmore sketchbook. Having not drawn for a few days, I was afraid I was a bit too rusty to spontaneously scribble away with a pen in case I mess up haha. So here goes…

Background Painting

Once I was happy with the sketch, the background was filled in first with acrylic ink. I went for Dale and Rowney’s turquoise (which looks more like blue but that’s fine) and Sellenier’s permanent green. With my black Faber Castell’s Pitt Artist Pen, I carefully traced over the captions. Tiger bids farewell and till 2034 since the next Year of the Tiger will fall on that year. We then welcome our little bunny who wishes us a good 2023. And there we are in the background, me and boyfriend, cheering on!

Further Developments

I decided to experiment with various mediums for this rather than stick to acrylic. Tigers were firstly painted in with Derwent’s Inktense in a combination of yellow, tan and orange with a wet brush and once dry, the stripes were doodled on with light brown colored pencil. And now the rabbits! Rather than just leave the white area blank, I filled them in with Daley Rowney’s iridescent red-white acrylic ink, and once dry, colored the pink areas with fluorescent pink colored pencil. Eyes were then done with silver gel pen. Finally, I began coloring us: Faces in Caran d’ache Neocolor II followed by the hair with some Faber Castell’s markers. So far so good!

Finishing Touches

Continuing on! Once I also used black Faber Castell’s pen for the bottom captions to match the top, I proceeded in getting the caption background colored. The tiger’s side was painted in pastel pink watercolor, whilst the rabbit’s in yellow-orange with Jane Davenport’s pastel range of watercolor pans. Our outfits were then filled in with acrylic markers as were the exclamation marks. Furthermore, the eyes for all the characters were enhanced with a variety of of metallic and glitter gel pens. I initially considered adding some Hello Kitty stickers to fill in the background gaps, but decided I wanted to avoid clutter and let the tiger and bunny stand out more. Thus some flower stamp with Ranger’s Distress Oxide scattered about the grass, followed by dots on the sky with white acrylic marker. Now that’s better!

And so concludes one of my last paintings for 2022! Happy with the result, although it’s “just” a simple art journal work. Nevertheless, a great way to play around with various mediums again and see how they work together. And next will be another kawaii painting, this time of more rabbits! I’m afraid we’ll need to say goodbye to our little friend Tiger for now but definitely in future she will appear in my drawings from time to time even before 2034. And now for a kawaii countdown… make the most of 2022 and all the best for 2023!

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