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Little Red Riding Hood – 2

16 May

Another technique that I learned this month through my online illustration course is masking taping your characters.

We’re still onto Little Red Riding Hood, so I started with the wolf. I had an idea in my head of what pose he should be in, so there he was. The technique was much fun.

Then for the following 2 days I stared at my wolf, trying to figure out what to do with him next. So I added the ground.

And then the Little Red Riding Hood.

And then the shadows.

And then I decided I definitely like this illustration. It turned out really well πŸ™‚


Little Red Riding Hood

14 May

This month we are onto illustrating Little Red Riding Hood (with my online illustration class), and as always – we’re learning new techniques.

Here’s an attempt in an acrylic over oil pastel technique, where you cover the paper with oil pastel, then cover it over with acrylic – which, of course, won’t bind too well to oil – and then scratch the image out of the acrylic layer.

Very liberating as the results are not very predictable and you can’t be too precise with details and there’s no way you can fix anything that went wrong. Once you scratched the acrylic – you scratched it πŸ™‚

On being a mom

29 Apr

I have a newborn. My older son is still in daycare, but my newborn is making sure I am drained enough to stop painting. Well, almost.

Because while he’s draining me, he’s inspiring me, too – and sometimes I manage to put the ideas on paper.

This is how I felt trying to figure out how to get my baby to sleep at night (note the choice of words: “at”, as opposed to “through”):

I succeeded, as a matter of fact πŸ™‚

I drew this one below after my bathroom scale showed weight increase – after I lost so many pounds literally overnight. What has caused it? Chocolate craving. Which I cave in to late atΒ  night after my toddler is in bed. Cause, you know, chocolate is bed for his teeth. But now it’s bad for my figure!

I even managed to sketch my son while breastfeeding. No, I don’t have 8 arms like an Indian goddess, and no, I am not with cirque du soleil. But I managed this πŸ™‚

So there you go. Even sleep deprived, breastfeeding, and tired – I find some time for myself – and my passion!

uh-oh! baby’s stirring! gotta go πŸ™‚

Yupo paper experiments

15 Mar

For the online course I’m taking, we’re experimenting with yupo paper and water colours this month. Yupo is a synthetic, plasticky sort of paper that allows you to pretty much wipe off whatever you painted, allowing for looser, wilder experiments like wiping, stenciling, etc. And you can push the paint around endlessly, it never gets absorbed into paper.

We’re illustrating a French fairy tale this month – “Blondine, Bonne Biche and Beau Minon” (I hope I spelled it right) – but the focus is on experimenting and pushing your own limits, not on the actual illustration composition and such. Here are my first four trials.

A swan, surrounded by magical fairy-tale flora:

I started off by painting the swan and then decided to add the background colours, and then added the plants in pencil and micron pen. I pushed the paint around, erased it in certain places with a q-tip (like the flowers on the top left) and wiped the paint off around the swan’s head to make it pop a bit more.

Beau Minon, brooding:

The cat was waaaay too fluffy at first, so I erased it (but the marker lines remained… markers don’t wipe off quite as easily as watercolours and micron pens). Then I added the background and the grass.

Blondine, following the evil parrot in pursuit of the Rose.

At first, they were on white background which I disliked but didn’t know what to do. So I covered the background with paint blobs, “found” flowers in them and drew them with pencil – and then darkened the in-between with pencil. I also used stencils for the deer’s white spots and for Blondine’s flowers on her dress.

Blondine riding on the Tortoise:

I really wanted to use my magical flowers here. The tortoise just “appeared” in the colour blobs (hence it has 3 legs :))

I coloured Blondine with a marker.

Spot Illustrations for the “Princess Frog” Fairy Tale

3 Feb

I enrolled into a year-long online course with Carla Sonheim. Each month we will be illustrating a new book, and the first is a Russian fairy tale “The Princess Frog”. Being a Russian, I know this one very well, so at first it was somewhat hard to brush off the preconceived ideas of what the characters are “supposed” to look like.

Oh, and a spot illustration is an illustration that doesn’t stand on its own, occupying a full page – but rather is usually tacked in a corner of a page or something.

And I got sooooo inspired! I got six already!

“The youngest, the brave Tsarevitch Ivan, had the ill luck to send his arrow into the midst of a swamp, where it was caught by a croaking frog.”

“How can I marry a frog?” complained the son. “Never mind,” replied his father, “you have to marry the frog, for such is evidently your destiny.”

“The Tsarevitch Ivan returned home. There was no smile on his face, and cloudy was his brow, more cloudy than before. “C-R-O-A-K! C-R-O-A-K! Tsarevitch, my dear husband, why so sad? Hast thou heard anything unpleasant at the palace?”


“Vassilissa, when she came back, searched for the skin, and when she could not find it her beautiful face grew sad and her bright eyes filled with tears.”


“But the man continued, gently: “But I pity thee and want to help thee. Here is a magic ball. In whatever direction this ball rolls, follow without fear.”

Illustrating a poetry book

31 Jan

Here are sketches for a poetry book. Haven’t decided yet on the technique, so they’re all quite different…








I found my creativity!

17 Jan

I started this blog a year ago as part of my New Year’s resolution to re-discover my creativity. Looking back at 2013, I think I’ve succeeded! See for yourself.

For a while in the beginning of the year, I was a part of a 365 group – a sketch a day. Mostly, I sketched fellow passengers in the streetcar on the way to/from work, but there are other sketches, too. In any case, I love figure-drawing the most, I think.

For a few Fridays, I participated in the Illustration Friday project (and am considering doing so again this year). The way it works there, every Friday a new topic is chosen – and everyone submits their illustrations on the topic. So fun!

Here’s “Myth”:

Myth: Medusa Gorgona

And this is “Wool”:


I also participated in 7-week long art-journal project , where each week there were fun tasks like blowing watercolours onto a page through a straw, using collage techniques, etc.

Collage: I Can’t Sea

Collage: Unicycle

I took a 3-month long illustration class in a local college. There were plenty of interesting tasks, but the course-long project was the creation of three illustrations under one topic. Mine was “Infertility”:

Infertility: Discovery

Infertility: Depression


Infertility: Breaking Out

I went to the best college in terms of art education in Toronto for an illustration course – theirs was much, much better. I created red and white wine labels:

Red Wine label: “Her Highness Malbec”

White Wine Label: His Excellency Riesling


I created an illustration based on newspaper headline “How Obama Can Use Pressure to Bring Peace”

How Obama Can Use Pressure to Bring Peace

I also created an illustration about the scandalous Mayor of Toronto Rob Ford and an American Tourist (random pairing):

Rob Ford and an American Tourist

And these all were created in 3 weeks! It was an intense course with only 4 classes!

I also attended a couple of art parties, where you get together with friends, drink wine – and paint. One had almost now instruction, other was pretty good with instruction. Both were acrylic-based.

I drew an illustration to support the local daycare (which the city was trying to close):

I made an effort to “understand” watercolours:

Quebec-City in Winter

My Copy of an Illustration from a Children’s Book “Snow”

Somewhere in Iceland

I started keeping a travelogue in my sketchbook. Los Angeles:

Swimming Pool in the Infamous Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Breakfast at the Hotel’s Diner

Diner in Los Angeles

Here are a few spreads from my Newfoundland, Canada trip:

View from Our Porch. Flatrock, Newfoundland, Canada

Three Ladies in the Cafeteria of the Rooms Museum in St. Johns, Newfoundland

Sloped Streets of St. John, Newfoundland

And here are a few spreads from our family vacation in Mexico:

Mexico: Mezcal Copy from a Photograph in a Picture Book about Mexico

Mexico: La Hacienda, Volkswagen Bug, Sunny Square


Mexico: people stranded in a cafe on a rainy day

Mexico: Beach Bag

I illustrated a book about Real Estate. here’s one of the illustrations:

And there you have it. My 2013 in a nutshell.

I am planning to keep on going with my reunion with creativity in 2014 – hopefully I will have more to be proud of a year from now!