Elementary School Visiting Illustrator

School-Visit-Elementary-Kids-Illustrator-Michelle-Kondrich

On Friday I made my first appearance as a visiting Illustrator to a local elementary school. A friend of mine from college is a teacher nearby and asked me to come speak to the 4th and 5th graders about being an Illustrator and how I come up with my ideas.

I was terrified! I had never taught anyone anything and have never felt all that comfortable going on about myself, but it actually went pretty well. The kids were very receptive and had lots of questions, including questions about how much I get paid, which was amusing – and difficult to answer.

Several of the kids were eager to show me their drawings after we finished a little exercise and lots of them wanted my autograph, which was so cute. A couple of kids even gave me their drawings.

Despite the fact that I was really nervous about the whole thing, I would definitely do more school visits. Now that I’ve got one under my belt I’ll know just how to prepare and just the right questions to ask to keep the kids really engaged.

If you are interested in having me visit your school, please get in touch. I don’t really have money to travel so if you are nearby or if you have a budget for visits I’m more than happy to talk to you about one.

Above is a quick little ink wash drawing I did about the experience.

 

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Eddie Izzard Inspired Watercolor Experiment

Skipping-Rope-Girls-Boxer-Kids-Jumping-Watercolor-Painting

This weekend’s watercolor experiment was inspired by the wonderful and hilarious Eddie Izzard. As part of his Glorious show he did a bit where he mentions that the only people who skip rope are little girls and huge f*&k-off boxers. If you haven’t seen his stand-up, have a look at the video below. He is one of my favorite comedians.

 

I had intended to do the background on this piece with just grey ink washes, but I decided to leave this as an experiment with a limited palette, color and value. I love the way the background girl’s clothing came out. Working with highlights and shadows in watercolor on faces is extremely challenging and will take a lot of practice. Also, I think I need better paper, but for now this is good for experimentation.

Sumo Mandarins: The Best Fruit on Earth

Sumo-Mandarins-Orange-Michelle-Kondrich-Illustration

If you’ve been to your local grocery store and seen Sumo Mandarins and you haven’t tried them – go get some NOW. These are the most amazing fruit I have ever eaten. They are super sweet and if you juiced it and added sparkling water it would taste JUST like orange soda – without all the crap that’s in orange soda.

Anyway, they were my inspiration for another little watercolor experiment. I sit around at home just looking for excuses to keep working with the paints. If I would be a little more patient they would probably come out even better, but I tend to try adding more color before the previous color is sufficiently dry.

Watercolor Painting Test – The Stoop

Watercolor-Painting-Stoop-Illustration-Michelle-Kondrich

 

My new Winsor & Newton watercolor set arrived yesterday and I couldn’t wait to start playing around with it. Keep in mind, I’ve never really worked with watercolors before.

I learned a lot just from this quick little drawing. I laid the paint down prior to doing the inking due to my complete lack of confidence in the waterproof qualities of my ink and next time I will be shooting for a much more dynamic line. I think fewer colors and less saturation will be the way to go. It’s easy to give everything the same value at first so I want to keep the heavy saturation to the more important parts of the image.

I would also like to try combining black ink washes with color – maybe a mostly black and white image with a few hints of color.

Anyone have any tips for me based on this?

The House Fire, New Ink Wash Painting

House-Fire-Ink-Wash-Painting-Michelle-Kondrich

More ink wash painting this week. This time I decided to avoid linework and shoot for something more sketchy and loose. It’s a difficult for me to do because I tend to overwork things. This was really fun to see come to life in slow layers of grey and I think it was quite effective for the flames of the house fire.

My watercolors should be here Monday and then some color should start popping up.

Drawing Experiments

Cheers-Cartoon-Watercolor-Michelle-Kondrich

 

Couch-Wine-Nip/Tuck-Michelle-Kondrich

 

Over the last 6 months or so I’ve been struggling to find an illustration technique that feels more natural for me. Drawing has always been my favorite part but the process of coloring with Photoshop is something I have to work very hard to get right.

I’ve been a fan of dip pens for a long time, but lately I’ve had some trouble with them on Bristol. Maybe I have cheap ink and maybe I need better paper, but I just wasn’t getting the results I was looking for. After looking at Dan Berry’s work, I decided to try my dip pen on some watercolor paper and above are the results. Clearly my ink is either not as waterproof as it claims to be or I didn’t wait long enough for it to be fully dry, but I was so excited about the results. It was so much more fun!

I need to practice a lot more with ink wash and I need to use some higher quality brushes, but I really feel like I’m on to something. I’ve also ordered a small Winsor & Newton watercolor pocket set so I can slowly start incorporating light color washes into the work.

I’m pumped to try bigger and more involved illustrations this way!

Cheers!

How to Do All Those Things You’ve Been Planning to Do

This post should probably be titled “Do As I Say, Not As I Do.” I’m writing it as much for my own benefit as for yours.

It’s also going to be a bit of tough love – for both of us.

If you’re anything like me, and probably the majority of artists, you have a long list of projects you want to get to at some point. Many of us have another list of things titled “Someday” or “To Try.” I know I do.

We’re artists. We’re hard-wired to want to master every technique and keep too many plates spinning at once.

It’s not a bad thing. It’s what moves us forward and keeps us excited.

And I’ve figured out how to get to all of those things I’ve been meaning to try.

Quit planning it and JUST DO IT.

Stop letting other things get in your way. There are a million excuses to be made for why you can’t get to something yet, and some of them are most definitely valid, but if it’s really important to you you will find a way.

It’s like dating. If someone says, “I just don’t have time for a real relationship right now,” it means, “I don’t have time for a relationship with you.” If they were serious about wanting to date you, they would make the time.

The same goes for artistic pursuits.

As I mentioned above, I need this advice as much as anyone. And it’s advice that my friends and even my husband have given me in the past. Now I’m finally ready to act on it.

Sorry if that was harsh. You (I) needed to hear it.