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Hand Lettering Tutorial. Inspirational typography for my collection

Hand lettering tutorial: Part 1

Fashion illustration - Elle Magazine cover. Editorial illustrations by Kayleen West

3 Habits For Great Art

“Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.”

~L. Drachman

1. The practice: Daily drawing.

Drawing something new every day is the most advantageous and time worthy habit I have! It helps my art in every way. Many people create and even publish art but can not all draw well. If you learn to draw you broaden your confidence to explore more. It is incredibly satisfying. I draw on an almost daily basis in my sketchbooks. The feature illustration was created with ink, the second with a biro, and third pencil, all drawn into a small A5 moleskin sketchbook.  My family TV time is usually my sketching and doodling time. They watch while I listen and draw.

Sketchbook montage. Daily drawing and doodling in my sketchbook journal.

Children in costume. Sketchbook illustration.

2. The inspirational: Observation

To stay motivated and inspired we can look at a lot of visuals often. I notice the details as an artist and appreciate creative projects all around. It doesn’t need to be paintings or drawings or other 2D art. Even unusual floral arrangements, fashion, or clever knitted items. There is creative stimulation everywhere if you look close enough. Learn to appreciate the visual world around you.

Stop and not only smell the roses but LOOK at them!

Note the colours, patterns and shapes in everything. You don’t need to be afraid of accidentally copying if you flood you mind with plenty of variety. Lots of imagery will fill you with many ideas. Ideas and you can pull together and make your own.

3. The Freedom: Permission.

Give yourself permission to play and experiment. We put too many restrictions on ourselves sometimes and creative restrictions can make good art suffer.

The more freedom to create the better the art because you discover more and end up creating much more than you ever imagined.

Try new materials, techniques and subjects and see what fun art can be. Let you imagination have as much freedom as you can and play! Spoil yourself with something new; a pen, new paper, craft supplies and explore!

Fashion illustration - shoes. Editorial illustrations by Kayleen West

Sweet Petite - Art Nouveau influenced illustration

Sketchbooks, Art Nouveua and Paris Indigo/Premiere Vision Print Show

There is no denying Europe is queen of decoration and I love decoration! I have always had a sweet spot for the elaborate, ornate and beautiful ancient artifacts of old. I didn’t realise until recently the appeal is all centered around pattern; simple objects combined in a flooded collection creating a visual explosion. A great example is Art Nouveau. As I look at styles of this area and those of Art Florentine and Art deco, it all accumulates into an inspiration that makes my heart pump that little bit faster.

This  week my evening downtime scribbles had a notable influence as this sweet little face fell onto the paper via my ink biro. I called this illustration, Sweet Petite

This is another inspired by this era:

Fabulous Fashion: Ink pen illustration in a sketchbook

Fabulous Fashion: Ink pen illustration in a sketchbook

Indigo/Premiere Vision Field Report

Earlier this month I posted on Supergraph to share a little insight on stall holders there. You can find the post here. This week my designer friend, Lidijia Paradinovic wrote an informative  report on Indigo/Premiere Vision print show in Paris.

It was interesting to note the preference of pattern buyers where drawn to the experience of feeling the pattern on fabric rather than when printed on paper. Additionally, the attraction to more traditional designs rather than trend orientated designs dominating the sales. You can read her report on Pattern Observer here.  Lidijia writes as she designs; decoratively. You can visit her website at Celandine Design.

How the humble sketch can become so much more

Okay, so I do get a little distracted today. I started doodling on a care package as a surprise for a stranger who is going through a tough time. It is nice to draw a little something on parcels. It wasn’t meant to be a masterpiece but I started thinking that it could be fleshed out into something. What started out as a quick play turned into my afternoons illustration.

This is the result.

A small care package doodle becomes a finished illustration. Blessed from a blessing.

A small care package doodle becomes a finished illustration. Blessed from a blessing.

Easy steps to zentangle? Doodling for fun.

This is how to draw something AWESOME – easy!

Have you noticed the flood of attractive patterned doodling popping up everywhere? It has been branded as tangles or zentangles. I guess in some places that is a better term than …well…doodle. Doodle here means…well…a boy’s thingy..you know.

I bet most of you have at one time or another doodled on a scrap piece of paper – most likely whilst on the phone. Have you ever looked at part of it and thought, ‘gee, this little bit here looks…good” ? Doodling can be taken to a new level and not by any great skill either. Anyone can doodle…or tangle.

After posting a tangles inked doodle I did for #INKtober and #illo52weeks,  a fellow artist asked me what was the best way to start with something like this. Fortunately I did take a progress photo. This is my advice for anyone wanting to create something like this. Start small. It is meant to be fun, easy and experimental.

Easy steps to zentangle? Doodling for fun.

  1. Begin with a simple shape or squiggles line. In this I drew one long squiggle with fish in mind as I drew. I overlapped shapes but didn’t lift the pen of the paper until I had the page covered in a squiggle.
  2. Additionally, you can begin by making as many variations of marks on paper as you can. Look at patterns and shapes of items around you and use them for inspiration.
  3. Use your reference sheet and begin filling in the shapes within your squiggle with a different design in each.
  4. After all sections are filled (you can leave some blank if you want – no rules) then look for places where you may want to clean up the line or thicken some in parts.

They are really only simple shapes like lines, circles, squares, triangles etc in various thicknesses collected together – nothing elaborate. This is why ANYONE can do this!

And that is all there is to it. There are plenty of books on the topic that can give you ideas but look around you and try simple shapes from your surroundings. You’ll find plenty when you start. And of course you can do this on any surface like I did on this art doll. There are endless ideas for covering surfaces with this approach. Feel free to post you creations inspired by this post. We would love to see them.

Children's illustration: Four little girls playing

Illustration – Little girls ready to play – children’s illustration

Illustration: Inktober in ink

Illustration for INKtober 2014. Little girls so out to play illustration. #inktober

Children’s Illustration: Four ready for play

Today’s illustration is an illustration of happy little girls playing.  As I slop around the house in my comfy clothes I frantically flick the white-tail spider out of my hair – it must have crawled in there at breakfast! Glamorous or pretty is the last thing I feel right now but  as I throw my little sketchbook under the scanner for the first time today, I can’t help but feel a sense of satisfaction. It is rewarding processing little sketches; the special little creations that come from nowhere and from no real quantity of time. It is the quick, non-committal doodling that can be the most delightfully satisfying.

In the illustration they are dressed far more prettier than I am right now! They are ready for a fun day out, complete with handbags, a spinning top and a flag! They’re ready to celebrate life as little girls should. Today I get to celebrate their creation and name them if I wish. Yesterday they where no way in my mind or on paper. Now they could be anything; a stand alone illustration, a pattern design, a book character – who knows? The illustration is too lovely not to do something with it.

INKtober sketch a day sure is filling up my little sketchbook with illustrations dedicated to ink. What fun! I found an old pen I forgotten I had too. I’ll have to play with that as well.

I hope you enjoyed meeting my little girls today. Do you want to see more ink illustration? My page dedicated to all the INKtober sketches so far can be found here: Inktober Illustration

Inktober was started by Jake Parker in 2009. You can see his archives from this year on the official website. All credit to him for this initiative. I have decided to keep my sketches pretty simple due to project commitments and alike but enjoy the stress-free simplicity of that. You will find Jake’s lovely illustrations here:

http://inktober.com/

INKtober 2014. An inked sketch each day for the month of October. Today it is a inked birds illustration. #inktober

Inktober Creative Advantage

Inktober is a creative challenge to create an inked drawing every day for the month of October.

We all know I am a sucker for illustration challenges so why should Inktober be any different?

While playing with creative friends on Facebook (so much fun!) an illustration member of the 52 week illustration challenge and Facebook buddy, Jacqui Peterson mentioned that another illustrator, Jody Pratt had started a community page for Inktober called INKtober 31. Nah I thought, I haven’t got time for that.

Fast forward 2 week and I am posting my 14th inked drawing today  and I am in love with ink!

INKtober 2014. A ink sketch each day for the month of October. Today it is a inked birds illustration. #inktober

INKtober 2014 –  An inked sketch each day for the month of October.

So to cut a long story slightly shorter, I have created this page in my sketchbook section to upload all my daily Inktober doodling. They are not meant to be masterpieces but some have potential for development. I am really glad I joined Inktober, as I get that bit more experimental drawing done and some have been good beginnings to work on later. This week I made a surface design from one of my Inktober pieces. I did as a card for my sister’s birthday. I also have a new surface design page so please check that out too! It is only new but it will grow rapidly so keep checking back.

Giraffes inked for Inktober 2014

Giraffes inked for Inktober 2014

I was pretty excited with the way it turned out. I am just trying to decide on the best background colour to go with. Now I have to pick a colour preference… 1,2,3 or 4?

Giraffe Sisters surface design. Because I have a sister I'll always have a friend. Pink cushion for girls.

Giraffe Sisters surface design. Because I have a sister I’ll always have a friend. Pink cushion for girls.

 

Update May 2015: I finished the challenge and have made inking part of my drawing lifestyle since!

A list of  Inktober related posts can be found here:
http://kayleenwest.com.au/portfolio/?s=inktober

Cloud nine. Engagement, wedding or Valentine day card illustration. #illo52weeks theme clouds. Dogs in love.

Drawings memories and making cards

It is nice to create cards for your loved ones. For a bit of fun (don’t laugh) I thought I would show you the birthday card I made my daughter from an old sketchbook image. The drawing is of my then little girl holding her favourite bunny toy. I sketched this portrait in 1996. This is one good reason to date your drawings. Old sketchbooks are like diaries and can preserve precious memories like this.
Sketchbook drawing from 1996 of my daughter. Old sketchbooks are like diaries.
There is something gorgeous about sepia art work. Maybe it is nostalgic of old photographs and history. Creating new history this week my eldest daughter (yes the one with the bunny) will be officially engaged to be married. I am refusing to feel old–okay!

I couldn’t resist using my cloud 9 illustration from of the #illo52weeks illustration challenges, clouds, for a card to congratulate the happy couple. It was drawn in my toned sketchbook so I printed it on photo paper. I then added some bling with some heart embellishments.

I am not sure weather I will colour this illustration any further. I quite like it as is. What do you think?

Cloud nine. Engagement, wedding or Valentine day card illustration. #illo52weeks theme clouds. Dogs in love.

Cloud nine. Engagement, wedding or Valentine day card illustration. #illo52weeks theme clouds.

Owl Costume: Childrens illustration

5 more illustrations for #illo52weeks

I am doing a post catch up with my illustrations for the 52 week illustration challenge. I have been consistent in my artwork but no time to blog piece by piece. Here are weeks 26 -30.

Children illustration 52 week challenge. Weeks 26 27 28 29 and 30. Clouds, snow, feather, plane and Sydney illustrations by Kayleen West

Children illustration 52 week challenge. Weeks 26 27 28 29 and 30. Clouds, snow, feather, plane and Sydney

  • clouds: Following my daughter’s engagement announcement, naturally I had to make this theme a congratulations card. Ah, cloud number 9 – my favourite cloud. Pencil on toned paper.
  • snow: (Watercolour) Australia/NZ Christmas card illustration. The Kiwi bird, Koala and Kookaburra.
  • feather: A combination contribution to Daily Doodle (Owly) Pencil on toned paper.
  • plane: Plane was drawn whilst waiting for my sleeping beauty roomies ay the SCBWI conference to wake. I had started the night before while we were chatting (okay laughing our heads off) I was too pumped to sleep past 5am and besides I couldn’t miss my week’s challenge! Thankfully you can draw in the dark on my new potable Wacom.
  • Sydney: While in Sydney last month, I was making a call home when dozens of BIG bats flew overhead. They are so HUGE! Creepy and cute at the same time. Meet Melba, Phantom, Pavlova and Picasso hanging around the Sydney Opera House – naturally. Sketched in my journal and coloured in Photoshop.

The next 2 will be a little surprising. I have begun a new adventure into surface design not realising it would be so exciting!

Daily Doodle Happy Hippo birthday card. Childrens illustration

I can’t stop drawing, drawing, drawing!

Scribble, scribble, scribble. I carry my sketchbook everywhere and now I have my baby Cintiq in my lap TV time means more drawing time. My family like to wind down with the TV and I like o draw. Why the influx of extra drawing? Well….apart from working on the sketch stage of an awesome new book, I have added Daily Doodle to my routine more. I don’t participate every day, but pick a few to challenge myself .Here is a catch up on some of my Daily Doodle drawing…

Drawing is the key ingredient to a strong portfolio. The more you draw the stronger your work will be. The best illustrators draw exceptionally well. A sketchbook can be your best friend. When I see illustrators with piles of sketchbooks I almost need a bucket to drool in! I regret not drawing in my own sketchbooks more often but now I do a lot; illustrating at church my notes (I remember the message a lot better this way), sketching whenever it is not anti-social, early before the kids wake, when my husband is training – any time I can.

This year I know my work has advanced because of the amount of drawing I’m doing. I have always had the skill to copy and draw but imaginative drawing is another ball game all together. My imaginative drawing has strengthened as a result of the challenge themes. Just like writing challenges or other goals you commit to, you end up far more productive when faced and focused on a regular challenge.

This week I found a quiet cafe/restaurant with a sitting area where I can work away from my studio. A get away like this was needed to get me out of the studio and my desk. I intend to meet with others ans scribble in the near future and encourage others to start drawing more. It is SO MUCH FUN!

How often are you drawing? Maybe do a little today?

Children's illustration. Tortoise and the hare. Rockets - Let's get the party started. Toned sketchbook

I Think I Am In Love

I am in sketchbook heaven right now. I have wanted a toned sketchbook for a very long time and finally ordered a few from overseas. My American friends, you have all the goodies – It isn’t fair! I would love better access to some of the home-wares and art supplies you have. I found someone who would delivered here and a cheaper than the ones I have seen in art shops.

Children's illustration. Tortoise and the hare. Rockets - Let's get the party started. Toned sketchbook

Children’s illustration. Tortoise and the hare. Rockets – Let’s get the party started. Toned sketchbook

This is the first drawing in my new sketchbook. I love this paper! It isn’t that thick but is smooth and grey lead is easily removed repeatedly. The sepia and white pencils look great. It is a great base to colour digitally too. It will be difficult to go back to white paper for sketching now I have been spoiled. I can see why so many illustrators and animators use toned paper.

Here you will find a coloured one I did for a get well soon card illustration, and for #illo52weeks dots.

I have been having a lot of fun creatively this month. I launched a fun and educational video on creative drawing, Eye and Imagination, which evolved from the #illo52 week theme “eye”.

I have been dabbling in the Daily Doodle drawing challenge in my TV down time and produced a colouring page download.

Work is consistent. I am in the middle of the sketching stage for a ABC picture book for Xist Publishing; my newest project.

Along with the author Victoria Lane, I will be launching a picture book, Celia and Nonna with Ford Street at the SCBWI Sydney Conference and in Melbourne at end of August.

Celia and Nonna,. Picture book by Victoria Lane and Kayleen West

Celia and Nonna,. Picture book by Victoria Lane and Kayleen West

I have some work in progress images from Celia and Nonna. I will share something soon and talk about how a the book was put together.

 

The Sketchbook Project touring.

Sketchbook Project YouTube Video

Now, I finally have the hang of uploading video to YouTube, you can have a sneaky peak into a little sketchbook that took a little tour around the world via The Sketchbook Project. I filmed my sketchbook from The Sketchbook Project in 2012 when painting its cover. You can see all the pages in the video too. I came a cross the file this week and thought “It is time to upload this!”


I got to hold it and look through my little sketchbook one more time late last year when the library traveled to Melbourne Australia. I know it is sentimental of me but there is something adoptive about a sketchbook and I NEVER part with them or tear pages from them. This was a big deal for me. A single piece of art (no problem) but a set like this was a reluctant gift. The motivation was the fact I could appreciate the thrill of a traveling exhibition like this. I know I like to pour over other people’s sketch journals.

It now resides in the Brooklyn library’s permanent collection.

The Sketchbook Project touring.

The Sketchbook Project visit. Melbourne National Gallery cafe with my daugter and a little street art going up as we drive past an alley in Melbourne. Me with my little sketchbook for one last hold.

A little visitors tip: When visiting the mobile library, there is a lot of queuing involved. I was a little frustrated so share the sketchbooks with some others on the table. If you borrow and share you’ll see much more in the time you have. If you are a bit selective, I would suggest you look up who’s sketchbooks you want to view prior.