Why the Women Warriors Project Has Been Turbulent

women warriors hua mu lan
Hua Mu Lan

The Women Warriors Project was something I started a little over a year ago.

It began as a blog where I made illustrations featuring warrior women recorded in history, from Queen Padmini to Nzinga Mbandi.

I did this to not only build up a portfolio of artwork, but to give something to others that I didn’t have when I grew up: an illustrated history of women heroes.

Well, I drew up some heroes and put them up on Tumblr… Continue reading “Why the Women Warriors Project Has Been Turbulent”

Watercolor 101: Tips and Techniques.

goddess watercolor painting
“The Goddess,” a watercolor painting I finished a while ago.

So yesterday I covered Watercolor tools and What those tools are for. If you haven’t read that yet, read it first, then come back here.

Today, I’m going to talk about how you use those tools, and share some tips I’ve picked up over the years.

The first trick to watercolor painting is deceptively simple:

Have a sketch ready.

It helps to have a foundation for your watercolor work, so sketch your subject first in pencil. NOT INKS. Many inks will smear when they come in contact with water.

The second trick is for mixing colors. Depending on whether you use cakes, tubes, or pencils, your blending techniques will vary.

With cakes, have scrap paper handy to mix on the side. That way you don’t mix on the cakes themselves.

To mix tube colors, the best surface to use is either a palette or palette paper. This will help the tube paint last longer while you work, as well, since tube paints can dry out quickly. Also, use only tiny amounts of tube paint. The pigments are strong but they dry out quickly unless you add water frequently.

With watercolor pencils, try different types of hatching and cross hatching techniques from drawing. This will give your paintings an interesting texture and provides an easy way to layer colors.

The third trick for watercolor is diluting your colors to either a) make them more transparent, or b) make them easier to blend.

Do you remember in my post “Watercolor 101: Tools,” how I said you need two containers of water? One is used to rinse out your brushes. You use the second container to dilute your colors.

So load up your brush with color, then if you need to dilute it, dip it in that second container.

The fourth trick is actually going to be a bunch of tricks. These tricks will help you get different effects in your painting.

Use these following tools to get these effects:

Sponges, which blot or absorb color. This makes painting trees, clouds, and porous surfaces easier.

Salt, to absorb the color and create rocky surfaces.

Toothbrushes, to flick color on the surface. You load up the toothbrush with color, then you brush the bristles with your thumb close to the surface. This is an easy way to make stars and sand and other grainy textures.

Rubbing alcohol, to lift up the color in splotches.

Try out other tools and see what kinds of textures you get from them!

Those are just some basics techniques to get you started.

But I understand you may have some more questions, like…

“Does it matter what brand of paint I use?”

It’s entirely up to you what brand you use. There are tons out there, and there are even some brands that make student-grade paints. Student-grade paints have lighter pigment and are cheaper than brands like Windsor & Newton. They’re good, affordable alternatives.

“I heard about Masking Fluid. What is it and how do you use it?”

Masking Fluid is a special fluid you paint onto a painting surface so color won’t paint onto it. It acts as a mask (get it?).

The way you use it is you lay down the masking fluid on the areas you don’t want paint to touch. Then you paint like normal, amd when you’re done, you just rub it off.

Have more questions? Be sure to look at this handy reference from Wet Canvas. If you still have questions, leave a comment below and I will answer to the best of my ability.

Thank you for reading! And I will see you tomorrow.

Status Update On Some Works in Progress

When last I wrote, I talked about comics projects in progress. Before that, I wrote about paintings and other art projects in progress.

I got a chance to work on some of the latter ones recently, and I wanted to give you an update on how they’re turning out!

First, the painting.

painting work in progress

I wanted to fix the skin because it was coming out too dark for any of the shading techniques I wanted to use. This, so far, is closer to what I intend the final product to look like.

The dress is giving me a few problems. Pthalo Green is a stupid pigment to work with, especially when combined with Brilliant Blue. The Pthalo pigments always give me the most trouble. But I love the color the two combined makes, so I’ll just do the best with what I have.

I also need to fix her left shoulder because it’s off kilter.

Second, the colored pencil drawing.

roxie colored pencil art work in progress

Oh god the nose needs fixed now that I’m looking at it again.

I’m starting to add the darker tones now, to make the colors pop. I still want to push the colors and make them as vibrant as possible, and also have the shadows be something NOT black or muddy. So far I think this is working fairly well.

I just need to fix that nose. And a few other things. But mostly the nose.

There’s also a brand new project I want to do that I’m starting today.

It involves these canvases…


And at least half of a box full of old sketches. A lot of these date back to my high school days (oh god they look awful compared to now).

I intend on taking these sketches and a whole lot of Mod Podge to make collages on these canvases. I’ll post pictures as I work on them.

I might add on top of the collages once the old sketches are pasted on. Maybe I’ll paint some color into the sketches? Maybe I’ll draw on top of them? I haven’t decided yet. I’ll let it come to me as I work on it.

Also, I’m eternally grateful that my day job gives me discounts at the craft store. Not only that, but the Michael’s in my town is having a “3 for the price of 1” canvas sale (that’s why I got three canvases, as pictured above). Horray discounts!

So what personal projects are you working on? Let me know in the comments below! And also let me know in the comments what you think of these current works in progress.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow!