Wedding Miracle

And for this week’s featured piece is drawing #3 out of 11 in my Jesus series:

Title: Wedding Miracle

Medium: Graphite on paper

Size: 18″ x 24″

When: Winter 2012

Time to complete: About 6 hours over a week

Thought process: This one was really hard for me. There isn’t that much detail in this story, so trying to figure out what it looked like was pretty stressful. This was Jesus’ first miracle (turning water into wine), so I wanted to make that the focus.

Problems I encountered: Everything? Trying to get a balance between the jars and background was really hard. I didn’t want to put a lot of design on the water jars and have it be super busy, but leaving them plain made the drawing look unfinished. I ended up just pushing the shadows bigger and darker to find that balance. Trying to fit all the jars into the composition without leaving a lot of empty space was also tricky.

Getting the water and wine to look liquid was hard, too!

Favorite part: Putting my signature on this as this was a really really stressful drawing and I was glad it was finished. Also hearing other people say they love it made me feel better about it.

Least favorite part: Everything else. I really don’t like this one, but not sure how I’d fix it or make it better. I hate not liking my work!

Product availability: Unavailable.

To see the other drawings in this series, click here.

In Case You Missed It…

On off chance you don’t follow me on Facebook or RV’s blog, we revealed a cover teaser of the upcoming book 1 in the children’s book series!

Here it is:

For a much better reveal, head over to RV’s blog post; trust me, his reveal post is much better! This is why he writes and I just draw 😉

Stay tuned for more teaser pics coming soon; I just got an updated draft of the book, so will be cranking out thumbnail sketches of each page over the next week or so!

Baptism

With the craziness of getting ready for my daughter’s birthday and all of us getting head colds, I completely forgot to put up last week’s featured piece!

Here it is, late but still great:

Title: Baptism

Medium: Graphite on paper

Size: 18″ x 24″

When: Winter 2012

Time to complete: About 10 hours over a week

Thought process: I really liked the imagery of the Holy Spirit coming down like a dove , and knew I had to incorporate that somehow. That was pretty much the starting point for this piece, and everything else just fell into place!

Problems I encountered: Getting Jesus’ hair to look wet and not like dreadlocks, getting the water to look water-ish, and getting the light rays to look light-ish and not like some big light fingers reaching down to grab Jesus 🙂

Favorite part: How soft the dove looks! I didn’t want it to stand out because it really wasn’t a dove coming down, but just the Holy Spirit coming down in a dove-like way. I think it turned out perfectly 🙂

Least favorite part: Either the fold on the back of Jesus’ tunic or the fact that there is no nice transition between Jesus and the water; it just looks like he’s been chopped off at the waist and put on top of the water. You should be able to see some of his tunic through the water at the surface, and I didn’t do that.

Fun tidbits:

– This is also one of the six drawings on display at our church 🙂

Product availability: Unavailable. I’m planning on making an assorted set of note cards from the Jesus drawings, and this one may get a spot in the set.

To see the other drawings in this series, click here.

Hollands Vault Mural Reveal!

This project has just been amazing. All the planning, designing, tweaking, more planning and designing, and waiting has all paid off, and I think all the work and wait was definitely worth it!

Before:

Time to complete: Approximately 32 hours over 8 working days in exactly one month’s time, but that’s just for me doing the actual mural. I think we started planning this about a year ago!

Primed, end of Day 1

Problems with this piece: Getting Jiminy Cricket’s face just right was hard! Also I’m not familiar at all with Eilonwy, so I really struggled with trying to get her likeness.

Favorite part: Seriously, I don’t know. I love how it looks now that it’s sealed; the characters just pop and all the colors are more vibrant. I love how both Merida and the Up house balloons turned out; both of those were two things I was most concerned about. Oh, and how excited the Hollands family was about each stage in the process!

Least favorite part: Finishing it. It was so much fun, and I’m sorry to see it done (even though it’s really exciting seeing about a year’s worth of designing and planning pay off!). But as for the actual mural, I think that there are parts I’m not as satisfied with, but I really think it turned out well.

Fun tidbits:

– There was no green paint actually used on this mural. I’m sure I just confused everyone! But I was silly and when I was buying supplies, there was no big thing of green paint. By the time I went to look at smaller green paints, I had forgotten all about my need for green. I had to hand mix all the greens!

– Mike Wazowski is the only character that did not change his pose or placement on the mural. Cheryl wanted him on the mural, and thought it’d be fun to cover him up, just like he’s always covered up on a commercial or magazine cover in Monsters, Inc. 

– Merida and Lightning McQueen are the two characters which inspired me to make a scene for the mural instead of having the characters just float around. The Flying Carpet with Alice and Eilonwy having a picnic using Mrs. Potts and Chip idea sealed the deal 🙂

– Getting this mural started was tricky; as with the other mural I did for their theater room, the first couple days I tried to get over to work had to be cancelled due to a snow storm!

– This may not be the last you see of this mural! There’s still some space for future Disney characters to get featured 🙂

– I totally cheated when doing the “Disney Vault 264” sign on the mural! I made a template, traced it, and then filled in the background color. To get the inside shapes, I just cut them out of the template and used it as a stencil!

– This was the biggest project Cheryl and I have worked together on. I’ve done various little projects for her, and then the two murals for the family. She is one of the most creative people I know, and I just get to come along and make her dreams a reality!

Characters included, with their movies:

Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio

The house with balloons from Up

Rapunzel and Pascal from Tangled

The Three Fairies from Sleeping Beauty

Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University

Woody and Bullseye from the Toy Story movies

Merida from Brave

Lightning McQueen from the Cars movies

Alice from Alice in Wonderland

Eilonwy and Gurgi from The Black Cauldron

Mrs. Potts and Chip from Beauty and the Beast

The Flying Carpet from Aladdin

Pongo and Perdita from 101 Dalmations

And finally, the big reveal….

Missed an update post? Click here to see them all!

What is your favorite part of the mural? Which Disney characters would you have included?

Hollands Vault Mural, Part 5

The mural is finished!

I spent about 6 hours working on it today; most of the work had me crouched down pretty low or even laying on the floor 🙂 I will be heading back next week to finish erasing pencil marks and then seal it. I think my youngest will miss this project; he loves getting to watch movies in their theater room!

Before doing the final reveal, here are some more progress images. Today I…

painted a rock wall while laying on the floor…

added a couple cute doggies…

blocked in a couple pretty ladies…

finished a Wonderful girl (I’m sorry the pic is blurry)…

 

and a princess…

 

and a cowboy…

 

and added some fun details that I’ll share in the full reveal next week!

 To see the other progress updates, click here.

I can’t wait to reveal the entire mural next week! What is your favorite part so far?

Nativity

Three years ago my pastor and I collaborated on a project. During Lent, he was going to be going through various stories about Jesus’ life and asked if I would be interested in doing a drawing to go along with each sermon. I jumped at the chance to draw again, and I believe that this project was the start of me turning my art hobby into a business.

As Lent is quickly approaching, I thought it would be perfect timing to do a behind the scenes look at each piece. As there are more drawings than weeks of Lent (some weekends two drawings released), I’m starting a little bit early.

This week’s piece is the first in the series:

Title: Nativity

Medium: Graphite on paper

Size: 18″ x 24″

When: Winter 2012

Time to complete: About 10 hours over a week

Thought process: Pastor Dale would give me the scriptures he was preaching out of, and then I got to choose what to put in the drawing from that story. It was a lot of fun going in and studying the stories and bringing them to life visually. I knew I wanted to do Jesus in the manger, and then filled characters in around that.

Problems I encountered: This was the largest drawing I had done in years, and hadn’t really drawn in general for quite awhile. It took me a little bit to remember how to do everything, so it was slow going at first.

Getting Mary’s hands (back left) still aren’t quite right, but they’re better than they had been.

Favorite part: The mouse, for sure! When I was figuring out what to put in the picture, it made me think that this really isn’t as clean and pristine of a barn as we are so used to seeing in books and movies. I wanted to convey that somehow, so I included the little mouse under the manger.

Least favorite part: Definitely Mary’s hands.

Fun tidbits:

– Baby Jesus is actually modeled after a picture of my daughter taken the day after she was born!

– This is one of the six drawings from the series on permanent display at church.

Product availability: This is available as a print, and will also be available as note cards around Christmas!

Q&A: Special Orders

***This was first posted on my website, http://www.backtothedrawingboardart.com on December 31, 2014. We are in the process of getting this blog and the website blog synced, so please bear with us as we get the bugs worked out!

Hey everyone! I’m kicking off a new series today, answering some of the many questions I’m asked on a regular basis. Today’s topic is special orders…

What is the difference between a special order and a commission? Aren’t they the same thing?

A special order would be when someone likes one of my pieces, but would like it either in a different size or as a different product. For example, at the art show, someone loved my Nativity print and asked if they could get it as note cards. Another person asked if they could get my Cardinal print as gift tags. These may turn into regular products eventually, but for right now they’re just requests. A commission is when you have an idea in mind that you’d like drawn/painted, and then commission me to make it into a piece of art. Commissions are the next Q&A topic, so look for more specific answers on those in the next week or two 🙂

Does it cost any extra for a special order?

There is no additional fee for a special order. You only pay for the cost of the product!

How do I request a special order?

Email me at shawnaapps@gmail.com or message me on Facebook at any time!

Can anything be made into another product?

At this time, no. There are a couple prints that aren’t working very well as note cards. However, I’m working on on editing them so they transfer over nicely, and hope to eventually have any piece be available as any product that I currently stock.

Thank you to everyone who’ve been asking questions; it’s helping me to fine tune and make things easier and better for you!

Do you have any questions for me? Upcoming topics include commissions and new upcoming products!

Wyoming Library Mural Reveal!

Drum roll please!

Here she is:

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The main mural
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The Wyoming mural

Medium: Mixed media; primarily acrylic paint, but there is some marker and colored pencil.

Size: The main mural is 64 square feet and the Wyoming mural is 20 square feet.

When: July and August 2014

Purpose: To brighten up the library and to promote my art.

Time to complete: Preparing the wall was about 10 hours. Painting the mural was between 30-35 hours.

Thought process: Once I had the library board’s approval for doing this mural and which wall they wanted it on, I began browsing the internet to see what other libraries had done for murals. I knew I wanted something with books and various characters, but couldn’t exactly use licensed characters due to copyright infringement. One mural I saw had various sections, and dividing two of the sections was this really cool swirly design. It made me think of book pages flipping, which is how the big book part of the mural came to be.

Originally I had four sections of the mural: children’s books, nonfiction, and classics, but the fourth section was blank and I couldn’t think of anything else to go in there. Nothing seemed right, so I changed the design to the three sections that you see today.

Also, in the first concept design for the children’s section, I had a lamp post in there for the Chronicles of Narnia. I was afraid that people may confuse that with the gaslights in the Wyoming village (we’re known for our gaslights, which have been retrofitted for electricity). I sadly had to take that part out, but when I was measuring the wall for dimensions, the librarian said I could use the little patch of wall next to the big wall if I wanted. I mentioned the gaslight to her, and then all these other ideas started popping into my head: what about an owl as our library is part of the OWWL system? Oh, and the AppleUmpkin festival every September! We’re known for that! I have to include that somehow! And that’s how the Wyoming mural was born 🙂 I was afraid that no one would make the connections between the apples and pumpkins or even the owl, but when I took the kids in this morning for story hour and to finish touch ups, there was a group of people admiring the mural who knew what everything stood for right away 🙂

In the children’s section, we have the fox and gingerbread man from The Gingerbread Man, Humpty Dumpty, a caterpillar referring to The Hungry Caterpillar, a hidden garden door for The Secret Garden, a tree house for The Magic Treehouse series, the beanstalk and castle in the clouds for Jack and the Beanstalk, Mary Poppins sitting in the clouds, and Peter Pan with the Darling children.

The Secret Garden door is hiding behind the fox :)
The Secret Garden door is hiding behind the fox 🙂

In the nonfiction section we have a dinosaur, the Titanic, the Eiffel tower, a NASA space shuttle, a toucan, and a biplane.

 

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In the classics section, there is Sherlock Holmes, a deserted island for Treasure Island, Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, or any of the many classics that have a deserted island), Gandalf riding an eagle from The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings books, a hot air balloon from Around the World in 80 Days, Moby Dick, and a windmill from Don Quixote.

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Problems I encountered: The original design called for a wall wider than it was tall; there were more characters in each section as I could make the book bigger, but unfortunately the wall is a square. I had to go back to the drawing board and rework the design.

Another problem was getting enough light into the space. The overhead light isn’t reliable, so I ended up having to bring in my own light and move it around as needed.

Overall, I’m really happy with how little difficulties I had. For a piece this size, a lot could have gone wrong, especially as I worked a lot while patrons were coming in and out of the library. It was pretty smooth sailing!

Fun tidbits: I am in need of a new tiny tiny tiny paintbrush, so all the tiny lines (on the biplane, the fox’s whiskers, the ropes on the hot air balloon) are all done in colored pencil. The caterpillar’s eyes are done in paint and permanent marker!

Favorite part: Everyone’s excitement about the piece! I’ve had people almost in tears seeing their favorite characters on the wall, I’ve had kids jumping up and down excited about the dinosaur and space shuttle, and one library patron almost begged me to do murals around the rest of the library. Everyone loves it, and just seeing people get excited about these characters from their books is exactly what I was looking for.

Least favorite part: There are some parts that I wish turned out better, but I don’t think there’s any part I really hate. I do wish the pumpkins and grass weren’t so flat looking, but I spent over an hour trying to fix them with no success.

Questions:

Where is Jack? You have the beanstalk and castle, but no Jack!

I think I’ve lost count as to how many times I was asked this question! I honestly didn’t feel like the mural needed Jack for viewers to understand what the beanstalk and castle were from. However, because I’ve been asked so much, Jack is inside the castle, hiding from the giant 🙂

Did you design this yourself, or are you copying someone else’s idea/art/mural?

I did design this myself. Most of the murals/designs online are characters all interacting together or coming up out of a single closed or open book, almost like a genie coming out of his magic lamp, but from what I can tell, this take on the characters in a book is unique 🙂

Anything else?

I did not include all the pictures of each individual character here. The post would have been too long. I will be posting a link later to my Facebook album where the more in depth pictures will be 🙂

And we can’t forget the before and after shots!

Mural area, before
Big wall, before

 

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Big wall, after!
Small wall
Wyoming mural wall before
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Wyoming mural wall after

 

What would you have included in the mural? What do you think of the before and after shots?

Throwback Thursday: Flower Garden Mural

This week’s throwback is a piece that a lot of people loved and remember…and unfortunately my computer has eaten the finished picture! Once I find it again, I’ll post it right here. For now, here’s an almost finished picture of it:

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This is the completed back row; in front went daisies, daffodils, and johnny jump ups. The hummingbird went in above the two purpley-blue irises.

Title: Mom’s Flower Garden

Medium: Acrylic paint on wall

Size: About 4 feet wide and 3 feet high, maybe a little bit bigger than that.

When: Summer 2003

Purpose and History: At that time, I was in my summer vacation between freshman and sophomore years of college. I’d only had one art class under my belt, and it was just my Intro to Art class. My boyfriend’s mom didn’t have a window over her kitchen sink, and she always wanted to look at flowers while washing her dishes. I was commissioned to do a flower garden mural on the wall above the sink that summer!

Mural in progress!
Mural in progress!

Time to complete: I stayed at their house for about a week; I think it took about 40 or so hours of painting. I think it would have gone quicker if I knew what I was doing, but I hadn’t taken any painting classes yet, so I didn’t know how to paint properly.

Problems I encountered: Not knowing some painting tips and tricks for mixing colors, painting quickly, or even shading properly was a challenge. Also, leaning over a counter was awkward at times.

Fun tidbits: The hummingbird was not part of the original design. I thought the space above the flowers was looking empty, and I knew my boyfriend’s mom loved hummingbirds, so I put that in as a surprise for her 🙂

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My boyfriend’s mom is now my mother-in-law, hence the title saying Mom 😀

Looking at these pictures is like a blast from the past in many ways: the cupboards and counters are different colors now, the cups are no longer hanging from the cupboard, and the light has changed as well! The look of the mural changed with the changes of the kitchen; I’m sad I don’t have a picture of it after they redid their kitchen.

Favorite part: I loved how bright the mural made the kitchen! Just those pops of color was a big impact.

Least favorite part: How flat each flower looked. I didn’t mix the colors, with the exception of the irises. Flowers should have more colors in them, and if I were to repaint the garden, the colors would be the first thing I would change!

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Here you can see how flat the gladioli looked (upper left), and the daisies and daffodils at the bottom.

Anything else?

This mural is no longer around. When the counter top was replaced, the wall was damaged. Although my father-in-law tried to fix it, the wall ended up needing to be fully repaired in such a way that the mural had to come down 😦

The awesome and amazing news about that is that this month I will be painting a brand new mural for them! It’s going to take up the entire space from before, plus go all the way to the wall (not pictured). It’s going to be over 18 square feet (much smaller than the library mural), but it’s going to be awesome. Look for those pictures and posts soon!

 

What would you paint over your kitchen sink?

Wyoming Library Mural, Part 2

If you’re new to this project, Part 1 can be viewed here 🙂

 

Once we had the furniture moved to other parts of the library, it was time to take the shelf down. I needed my husband for that project, and let’s just say it wasn’t easy. We basically destroyed part of the shelf and a good couple chunks of the wall (unintentionally!) because in order to take the shelf off the wall, you had to dismantle the shelf brackets. We didn’t know that, so we basically had to pry and eventually rip the brackets off the wall, and as they were lag bolted in, huge holes were made in the wall. I knew it would be a pain to patch, but we found some awesome self-stick drywall patches at Home Depot that worked amazingly!

The wall all patched up!

I’m crazy, and love to patch walls. I like taking things that look awful and make them look pretty again. However, the whole sanding the patches are not my favorite. I always think they’re smooth like the wall, but they aren’t. Thankfully, the parts that aren’t super smooth are going to be covered with various parts of the mural and it won’t be super easy to see them (or at least I can hope!).

Priming the wall was super easy, and painting was pretty uneventful. However, it’s important when you go to paint a wall that you remember to bring your roller covers. If you happen to forget them, you’ll have to go back home, search for them, find them where they fell off and behind table where they were supposed to be, and then drive back to the library, wasting a good 30 minutes of painting time. Also, it was humid that day, so the paint was taking forever to dry between coats.

One coat of primer on!
One coat of primer on!

Problems I’m encountering:

The lighting doesn’t exactly work very well in the entryway of the library. The overhead light will be on for about 15 minutes, and then it’ll shut off for 15. It makes seeing what I’m sanding, painting, or drawing pretty difficult. Thankfully there’s a floor lamp that I can move over to help, and I’ll be bringing in another lamp when I go to paint.

One coat of paint done, one to go…

I don’t know about you, but so far I think the change in the entryway is huge! I love how big the space feels. Now I just hope this mural turns out as well as I hope it will!

 

What do you think of the progress so far?