Find Your Illustration Style in 6 Simple Experiments | Alanna Cartier | Skillshare

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Find Your Illustration Style in 6 Simple Experiments

teacher avatar Alanna Cartier, Artist, illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.



    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.

      Experiment One: Line


    • 7.

      Reflection One: Line


    • 8.

      Experiment Two: Shape


    • 9.

      Reflection Two: Shape


    • 10.

      Experiment Three: Space


    • 11.

      Reflection Three: Space


    • 12.

      Experiment Four: Value


    • 13.

      Reflection Four: Value


    • 14.

      Experiment Five: Colour


    • 15.

      Reflection Five: Colour


    • 16.

      Experiment Six: Texture


    • 17.

      Reflection Six: Texture


    • 18.



    • 19.

      Thank You


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About This Class

As a fledgeling artist or illustrator, the process to find your style can feel overwhelming, especially when you look at the work of established illustrators that feels like they must have been drawing that way since birth. The common advice that you just need to make a lot of art may leave you feeling like you are missing a piece of the puzzle. 

The truth is, there is no workaround to find your style. You’ve got to make art. But throughout this class, I’m going to show you my process to make work with intention. I’ll show you how I iterate and experiment to build a repertoire of motifs that feel like me, and how I reflect on my work to hone in on what I love, uncover my biases and direct me on where to focus next. With this process, you’ll be on the fast track to making illustrations that feel true to you.

We’ll get started by exploring What Style Is, and reviewing the Elements of Design. Then, we’ll jump into six bug-themed experiments I use that will give you concrete tools to develop your style quickly. Each experiment is based around one of the six elements of design:

  • Line
  • Shape
  • Space
  • Value
  • Colour and
  • Texture.

This is a multimedia class that is suitable for all skill levels. It can be completed with whatever supplies you have on hand. It’s not a class about making good art or even bad art. It’s just about making a lot of art and taking the time to reflect on and record what you see to push your style to new heights!

Your final project may include: 

  • Photos or scans of your experiments: Complete one, two, three or all six, it's totally up to you! 
  • Things you learned in your reflections or observed as you were experimenting, and what you may have discovered about your style!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Alanna Cartier

Artist, illustrator


I'm Alanna, artist and illustrator, collector of cookbooks, mother to one fat cat, and newly confident sewer. I spend a fair amount of time scrubbing gouache off of my upper arms, even though I have absolutely no idea how it got there. I believe that talent is a myth that stops us from pursuing the creative endeavours we are passionate about. I believe practice makes progress, and that perfection is imaginary (and boring to boot!). I am a big nerd for learning, which means that Skillshare is my home away from home. 

If you want to follow along with my creative journey, subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on Instagram. If you post any projects from my classes please tag me, or use the hashtag #AlannaTeaches. It would just make my day!... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: I am Alanna. I'm an artist and illustrator living in Toronto, Canada. More than two years ago, I set out on a dream to become a freelance illustrator. My first and steepest hurdle was that elusive challenge in finding my style. It was overwhelming. Time and again, I take advice from established illustrators saying that the only way to find your style was to make a lot of art. They weren't wrong, but I was painting every day and my work just didn't feel like me, felt like there was something I was missing. The truth is, there's no work-around in finding your style. You've got to make art. But throughout this class, I'm going to show you my process to make art with intention. I'll show you how I iterate and experiment to build a repertoire of motifs that feel like me, and how I reflect on my work to hone in on what I love, uncover my biases, and direct me on where to focus max. With this process, you'll be on the fast track to making illustrations that feel true to you. We'll get started by exploring what style is, and reviewing the elements of design and how I apply them to my work. Then we'll jump into six experiments I use, that will give you concrete tools to develop your style quickly. Each experiment is based around one of the six elements of design. Line, shape, space, value, color, and texture. This is a multimedia class that will suit for all skill levels, and can be completed with whatever supplies you have on hand. It's not a class about making good art, bad art, it's just about making a lot of art and reflecting on your work. Make work that feels like you, let's get started. 2. Project: [MUSIC] In each experiment, we'll paint a specific bug six times, playing with the elements of design as well, medium tools and techniques as we hone in on my personal style. Whether you complete one, two, three or all six experiments, it's entirely up to you, but show off all that hard work in the private section. The best thing about sharing your work is that sometimes it can give you a new perspective. Someone may pinpoint an essential part of your style that you have never noticed because you've just been staring at it for too long. Skillshare is an amazing community of creative people and I gained so much from sharing my work them for feedback. I've included a few reference images for each experiment in the resource guide, which you'll find in the project panel. I can't wait to see your projects. Up next, we'll discuss the materials you need for this class. 3. Materials: This is a class about exploring what you have and what you love. There's absolutely not one thing that you have to purchase in order to begin. I've included a list of some of my favorite supplies and class resource guide found in the project tab. Feel free to check that out if you are looking for some new goodies to try, but otherwise, grab the art supplies you have and let's get ready to make a mess. The only thing I do recommend you have before we begin is a notebook, part paper or some index cards. The note app on your phone will also work in a pinch. I just want you to have somewhere to jot down on all your observations, reflections and questions that you uncover as you progress through the experiments. Keeping an art journal with observations on my work was absolutely the best thing I've ever done for my art and finding my style. By taking the time to stop and consider and write down what you are loving in your work, what is working and what's not. You'll be taking a huge leap forward. For me, taking notes about my work makes me fell freer to create because it makes the process of art making, just as important as that final finished piece. Just the act of writing things down makes me more intentional and reflective, which is the key to finding your style. Up next, we'll clarify what is style? 4. Style: When we're talking about style, for the purposes of this course, we're talking about the particular combination of elements that comes together to create a unique and recognizable personality across an artist's strata of body of work. These elements can include the artist's interpretation of the elements of design, as well as motifs materials, subject matter, tools and techniques that the artists uses in their work. But here's the trick. Your style doesn't have to be wholly unique. It doesn't matter if another artist uses similar colors or motifs to yours, because the particular way you combine all of these elements, is what will make your work stand out. The most effective way to find your style is to create a ton of art and then put it all together to find the patterns, the strange things you do that might seem wonky, the things that crop up again and again, the things you find beautiful and the things that you enjoy doing. By recognizing these patterns, we can lean into them and start to bring them into our work in a more intentional way. Up next, a brief overview of the Elements of Design. 5. Elements: Let's quickly go over the elements of design we'll be exploring in this class and the ways that they can be used within your style. I'm just going to give a brief overview. For a more detailed explanation of the elements and principles of design, check out Dylan M's class: Leveling Up Your Art Game, The Elements and Principles of Design. It's worth noting that there is no consensus on the number of elements of design. I've just chosen six as a jumping off point from which to explore. Each of the following experiments will focus on one of the following elements. A line is just two connected points. Lines can be straight, rewinding and organic. Lines can be used to create the outline of your piece or to create shadow, shading, and details within. The material to use will affect the personality of your lines in a lot of ways. Materials like ink, pens or paint will be strong, clear, whereas something like pencils or pastels will make a softer line with more texture. Some tools will create predictable lines, like ballpoint pen, which is great if you create a lot of work with details or you feel more comfortable knowing exactly where your lines will end up. Other tools like a tip pen or a brush pen are more unpredictable, it can make your work looser or more spontaneous. Somethings themselves are also more spontaneous. Whereas something like glass will create flat Map lines, watercolor or ink can have variations in tone depending on how they dry and how much water you've used. Shape, on the other hand, refers to any area of color, texture or a pattern. Shapes can be geometric or organic. Lines and shapes can work in concert, will be totally disconnected from each other. Some people say that when it comes to art, there are line people and shape people. You may already know if you've bee taught into one of these categories. You may not, or you may love them both. Who cares what some people say? Some mediums and tools may learn themselves smart working with shape and lines. Pen pestles, for example, make really terrible lines, but are a great way to add a soft layer of color for a beautiful texture shape. But you can also push these limits. I love filling in chips with a very fine pen to make a scribble texture. Even though a fine pen may not at first seem like a great tool to make larger filled-in chips. Space and negative space work together to give your image a sense of depth, and separate objects from what's around them. If you didn't have any negative space in your work, everything would just be piled on top of itself all willy nilly. Space allows you to create groupings of elements within your design. To make elements stand out from just to make things easier to read, then controlling your white space, you can also create a visual style, but it's all your own. Some artists use a lot of white space, which gives there work feeling of order or expansiveness. Using less white space can create a sense of chaos or windy. Value just describes the darkness or lightness of the color. Working in black and white is a great way to begin to understand value and ensure you set up enough contrast in your work. Though, contrast, everything will start to look rather same even when the colors may be different. You eye won't know what to focus on when you look at a painting or a piece of art. A piece with enough contrast, your eye will naturally be drawn to the areas where there is the most contrast. Beyond making sure you have that contrast can also play with value as an element of your style. Having a lot of contrast can create a bold graphic style that's high energy. Less contrasts will compete composition that's more serene. Color is a bit more complicated. There are tons of wonderful classes on Skill share about color theory. So I'm just going to give you a brief overview. Color is the easiest way to convey emotion in your work. Finding a color that you love isn't the quickest way to get your illustrations to feel more personal. There are three primary colors. By mixing them together, we get our secondary colors and then by mixing those colors and kind we can create all the lovely colors of the rainbow. Colors with white added are called tints. Colors with black added are called the shades. That's how color and value interact. Colors with primarily red undertones are considered warm. The colors were blue undertones are considered cool. You can create certain emotions in your work in the ways in which you play cool and warm colors. Cool colors can convey a number of things, including a feeling of calm or sadness, peace, tranquility. Warm colors, on the other hand, convey energy, joy, anger, among other emotions. You can also use the contrast between cool colors and warm colors to emphasize certain parts of your painting. Texture refers to the way things feel. Well, look as if they might feel if touched. It might seem to bananas to think about touch over a flat surface. But textures can create the more three-dimensional appearance and make your paintings more immersive. They are also the key to making any digital work you can see more polished and interesting. Textures can be chalky, buggy, shiny, metallic, woven, felty, or speckled. There are hundreds of different ways to create texture when using color: white space, collage, different mediums or techniques. The way you use texture will help to define your style. Up next, experiment one, Line. 6. Experiment One: Line: So it begins. I've sketched all my bugs and I'm ready to experiment. To start, it might be worth noting that I'm pretty sure that I'm a shape person. Starting off this experiment was very anxiety inducing for me. You may be able to tell as you watch this first experiment with line, just how uncomfortable and hesitant I am when I were planning exclusively. If you identify as a shape person, experiments with line might make you feel this way too. Or maybe you love lines and you're just a bit rusty and you're having a lot of resistance getting started. Set down your brush or your pencil or your pen, and take a deep breath. There are no stakes here. If you make something that's terrible, that is just as valuable, maybe even more valuable than making something good. We are trying to find out what works and what doesn't for us to express our own unique voice. You'll never be able to do that if you're afraid of making something bad. For me, the idea of sketching lines with a pen was too scary to bear. Slime painting in this exercise because that's where I feel most at home. Where do you feel most at home? Start there. The other thing I'm going to start off by telling you is that your inner critic has no place in these experiments. Making work with intention and reflecting on that work is incredibly valuable. But that reflection needs to happen after the art-making process has finished. After you've put down your brush, pen, pencil, got a snack, and relaxed. If you're trying to reflect on your work as you make it, it's going to affect your ability to experiment and take risks. You've got to approach the art-making process with abandon, and only afterwards do you sit down and calmly go all over the things that were working and things that aren't. Back to creating. I finished outlining my bug, making some weird choices for sure. I don't know why I align the antenna. They could have just been lines. But alas, I'm trying some hatchwork on the antenna, the legs. Who knows what else? I'm quite enjoying it on the little confined areas of space. This may be one of my biases than I'm uncovering as I'm working. But I obviously have a very shape-oriented way of working with line. I outlined the whole piece. A lot of people who are more comfortable with line probably wouldn't do that. They would just outline the pieces where there are shadows and shading hinting at the shape of the bug. Some people may tell you that it's wrong to outline the whole shape and it's a little bit amateurish or naive. But frankly, I kind of like it. I just wish the lines were a little bit stronger, maybe. That's something I'll keep in mind for the next iteration. I also decided to add little speckles to the eyes. I had considered doing crosshatched lines going in both directions to make it kind of like a screen door pattern. But I thought, maybe the dots could add more contrast to all the stripy patterns and hatching that I've done [inaudible] in this painting. Are dots take glued lines, who's to say? I'm also adding lines along the shell to hint that the shape of it as a three-dimensional object, which is why they're curved. One important thing to note as we work our way through these six experiments is that the elements are a jumping-off point. So if you're working online and you get this vault of inspiration that you want to have a disconnected shape and hit it, do that. See how it works out. It might be a fantastic or it might not work, and then you'll learn a ton. But you should never feel limited by these experiments. Just excited and pushed a little bit out beyond your comfort zone. Think of it like stretching. Okay, let's try this again. The best way to make your best possible art that feels most like you is to iterate, which means doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It doesn't make you crazy, it makes you an artist. Now that I am warmed up, I set aside my brush and I've picked up a dip pen. I am still using ink. I thought this might change in the quality of the lines a bit, giving a bit more personality and who knows what else. So far, just deeply uncomfortable. We'll show it goes. You'll notice most of the things that I've tried in this experiment are pretty similar to what I've done in the last one. I was mostly focusing on this new tool, the dip pen. That, thankfully, I managed not to dunk into the inkwell and splatter all over my hands in the paper and who knows what else. So that's a win. Otherwise, I'm not really feeling this. It's not bad. There's nothing wrong with it. But it just really doesn't feel like me. I don't know if it's the quality of the line or the color, but I'm definitely going to try something else in the next iteration. They say third time's the charm, and this time I've taken some of what I observed in the first two experiments to improve my process going forward. I've switched away from the black ink because it just wasn't working for me, and I've started using pencil crayons. It's a medium I'm very comfortable with. It's one of my favorites. I use it all the time. So this time I am planning to change things up a bit by trading in the hatch marks I'd been using previously for a more geometric line-based pattern. I'm also really digging this switch that I had made from black to gray. Because black's not a color I use a lot everyday in my art, it doesn't really feel like me. So when I was using ink, because I thought that's what I was supposed to use for lines, it ended up feeling like someone else's work, which is definitely not what I want. This is one of the things you can take note of as you're reflecting. The things that you bring to your work, that our assumptions about what art-making should be rather than what your art-making is. Man, I'm loving this switch from hatching to these lines, they look like a witch's pantyhose and I love it. I'm not a big user of pattern in general. My clothes don't have patterns. My art doesn't have that many patterns, it's something I'm working on, and this stripy pattern could be the tick. Just a quick glance at my page already tells me that I'm on the right track. I'm loving this third drawing so much more than the first two that didn't feel like me at all. That isn't to say I love this one. There are definitely some things I would change. Like those were the light bulbs I did. Why did I do that? Who's to say? But I'm definitely on the right track. Now we're on to the last drawing that we'll do together. The other two I'll do by myself, and then we'll move on to our reflection. In the spirit of this experiment, I've switched mediums again. I'm back with the brush, working with gouache this time, which you may already know is where I'm most comfortable. I thought trying some color out would be fun. So I grab the color I liked and I'm already really loving how much this feels personal to me. My plan is also to stick with the more graphic elements, like the stripes and dots instead of the hatching that I used in the first few experiments. I think with the flat gouache that I'm working with. It'll make the effect even more fun and graphic. I really like this, but here's the thing, this didn't come out of nowhere. This was built upon those previous three iterations that I already did. Now that we're almost finished this experiment, I am going to go off on my own and do more experiments to play with this style even more, to make it more my own. Afterward, we'll meet back here for our reflection. 7. Reflection One: Line: Now that we've finished the first experiment, it's time to reflect on our work. You can do this after each experiment and again at the end, once you'd have a bigger body of work that you find patterns in and reflect on. You can also use this on an ongoing basis to reflect all the work you've created to make yourself a stronger illustrator. Here are some questions you can consider as you reflect on your work. What choices did you make about your art-making before you even started? Type of paper you used, tools, the medium, besides scale, do you like those choices now, reflecting on them afterward, what would you change if you could? How do you feel about the colors you chose? Do they feel like you? Do you like them? Did you uncover any biases you may have about the art-making process? Did you find that those biases held you back? Did you enjoy working with the medium and tools that you chose for this experiment. Did you like the effects they created? Did you feel like you had enough knowledge to get the effect that you wanted from the medium or tools you're using? What did you enjoy doing most? What didn't you enjoy? What do you love the look of, and what really isn't working for you? Well, there are a few things I very clearly liked, the blush, that geometric pattern I've been using, the bright colors, especially that hot pink, which is not normally a color I would use a lot. What didn't I like, the ink and those roots, small eyes on my pencil ground bug, the deep pen. Some of these things are just things I'm not comfortable with, but also I don't like how they look and I don't think they suit me. I'm not going to focus my energy on learning how to improve my skills in those areas. If there's a skill that you loved the look of, but you just don't have the technical ability for that would be the place to focus your energy. Some biases I uncovered, we're first and foremost, that ridiculous bias, that to be true line art, I had to be working with ink. I was making myself hate line by listening to this should, like wash beetles are just as much line art and I loved painting them and while they aren't the same as my other work, I think they still feel like me, which the ink bugs never we're going to do. Another thing to note is that I love this beetle motif. I think I will use it again in my work in the future. Up next, let's experiment with shape. 8. Experiment Two: Shape: Welcome to experiment number 2. You're already one sixth of the way there. You've done so much work and you have learned so much about your style. Now, we're going to be focusing on shapes, painting lady bugs. I know lady bugs are also beetles, but there are different types of beetles, so we're just going to roll with it. I'm painting my whole body of my lady bug red. Working around all the spots that I sketched in advance. This may look really strange, I could just paint a whole base layer of it, but my idea is that I'm going to do all the black details in blue and I know that the blue paint that I have is a little bit translucent. I think that by outlining the areas and painting around them, I can get some of that translucency to come through where the spots are. I'm also using a teeny tiny little brush. This is something I do a lot. You may have noticed it before in my other classes, but I really like a lot of brush strokes in my work. I guess that's one of the choices I am making going in. I am using a small brush to get more brush tricks. If you want less brushstrokes, I'd suggest using a bigger brush since that would minimize the number of brushstrokes you can see in the finished piece. Also working with the more opaque medium would probably be a good choice as well. I tend to leave my gouache a little bit on the watery side because I like seeing brushstrokes and the texture of the paper through my paint. You'll notice I also move my sheet of paper around a lot as I work. This is just a technique to make sure I have the best angle so that I can do the most crisp, precise lines and that way I won't smudge all the edges of the things I'm trying to paint around. It's also a great way to ensure that you're always painting on the part of the page that's dry without your hands over top of the parts that are wet, risking smooshing. Gouache dries pretty quickly, but if you're working with a water medium, like water color, you may want to leave a bit more time so that you don't smear your hand through your paint, as I so often do. If you need to speed things up, I often use a cheap blow dryer I keep by my art desk to dry things so that I don't wreck them. Now I'm going to begin working on the traditionally black areas of my lady bug. Since in experiment one, I learned that I didn't really like working with a pure black pigment in my work, I'm trying out a deep blue in this one. The blue that I'm using has a little bit of translucency so hopefully it'll have a bit of depth. As I'm painting, you'll notice that I left some white space in between the two halves of this lady bug shell as I was painting. I thought it might be a nice way to add some dimension and some contrast to make it a little bit more interesting. I'm also planning to leave some white space, willy-nilly around the dots on the ladybug to see if that will also add contrast and interest. One thing I'm noticing already is that these colors really are working for me. I think it's the red. I think the red is just too red. A little bit garish, as my husband would say. I normally work with a mixture of deep tool tones like that blue and pastels. This bright red doesn't really feel like home to me. So far, leaving white space around the dots isn't something I'm sure about, but I'm going to keep at it because sometimes when you're halfway through making a pattern or finishing a piece, you can't really tell if what you're doing is good or if it's wrong. I'm going to just see it through and see how it works out. Another iteration, I'm doing something that's a bit outside my comfort zone this time. I used to work in watercolor a lot, but lately I've been working in gouache. Watercolor just didn't quite feel like me, but I am going to give it another try because sometimes we make assumptions about our work, and move forward as if they are true, and we don't really confirm if they're true. I'm already loving this color, let's see how everything else goes. Well, I like this shocking amount. I love the colors I've used. I love all of the depth and texture that you get with watercolor. Even after a false start with those dots on dots, I like the ladybug spots, now that I fixed them. I'm just going to add some fine liner now because I think the edges will need a bit more definition. But overall, I don't hate this. I guess the question to ask myself is, now is there a way to incorporate this or elements of what I like in this more into my style which is more flat color and pastels? Or does it matter if I like this? Not everything you love has to be part of your style. Now onto the third iteration. I'm back working with gouache. I thought by putting it side-by-side with the watercolor, I may find new ways to incorporate that watercolor style that I actually do quite like into my style that I currently use, which is more gouache-based. I'm using a pastel color this time because it feels a little bit more like me. I'm painting over the whole area, not leaving the spots empty like I did the first time with gouache. My plan is to use texture this time to make the shapes, instead of just color like I have in the previous two experiments. You'll remember from our discussion of the elements of design, that shape can be any area of color, texture, or a pattern. But what I'm finding so far is that my preference when I go to, when I'm not thinking about it, to do is to make shape an area of color. I think that's probably a lot of people's default setting. Even in the last iteration where I tried to use a series of dots to make the ladybugs spots, I ended up second-guessing myself and painting over it. So this time I'm going to hold firm. That may be the one thing that no one talks about when you're trying to push yourself out of your comfort zone. It takes a steady hand. Sometimes you'll get halfway through and your discomfort will push you back into what you know. You'll paint over the thing that you are trying and you'll just play it safe instead. It takes a lot of courage to just keep pushing through even when you feel like you're making something that's probably not great, because you'll never know if it's good until you let yourself finish it. On this bug, I decided to add little pinchers because lady bugs do have those. You can see them in the reference photos. So we'll see how I like them in the end. Gouache color makes so much of a difference though, doesn't it? I am not doing altogether that much different to my very first ladybug, but already this is feeling more right to me. You'll notice that I've switched around the little spots on each ladybug. I was using the reference images that I included for everyone in the resource guide. I noticed that not all the little white spots are the same. To be honest, I didn't even realize ladybugs had those little white spots on their shoulders before I looked really intently at the reference image. So sometimes the best way to start off to upset your biases and give yourself a chance at doing something out of the box is to just really focus on your subject, to figure out what things you've overlooked. Because your brain has this idea of what a ladybug is and it doesn't always match up with real life. Your brain cuts things out, so it's easy to categorize every single thing that you see in this world in your head. But that means that often when we're painting from our imaginations, or painting something that we assume we know how to paint, we're guessing what we're supposed to be painting. I think it's an old art school project. This idea of drawing a bicycle from memory. Doing that or drawing anything from memory can sometimes demonstrate to you how much you don't know and how much we forget to use our eyes when we're drawing. So by focusing on the reference images or whatever subject you're painting, you can really hone in on what's actually there in front of you. I've started painting the spots. I decided to do them stripy. I also decided to add an outline, something about that pale pink about the white paper just wasn't sitting right with me. I think it needed more contrast. Nearly finished, I think. But sometimes what happens is you finish your painting, you're at a place where you think it's done, and you take a step back and look at it and realize there's just a little something you need to tweak. In this case, I realized that I didn't love just the stripy pattern, I wanted to make it more of a hatching pattern. So I went over it all again just to add that little final touch. I think it works. I think it needed just a little bit more contrast and I'm happy with the final result. Of the three ladybugs I've painted so far, this one feels most like me. Ladybug number 4, I'm dreading even showing you this because it didn't go well, but I'm very proud of myself because I did a lot of good things here. First off, I started thinking outside the box. I looked at my first three ladybugs and thought to myself, "Ladybugs are round, do they have to be round?" So I decided to make a square ladybug. I'm not saying it went well, but I did try it. I'm leaving white space for the square dots on this ladybug. I'm hoping to paint them in with that same blue again and have the light shine through. I made a choice when I started out this painting that I wanted the square to be a funky organic square rather than a perfect square. So I didn't sketch it out with a ruler and already that's starting to bug me I really wish I had done that. I also decided to make his little shoulders square, his head square. I'm going to give him little square feet too. I really went all in on this plan. But see how it goes like Gauss. Well, I'm trying to salvage it but I just don't think I'm ever going to get to a point where I love this. I love some things about it. I love the translucency of the blue. I love the pink and blue together, but overall, this one just isn't for me. I'm going to go and work on my own final two iterations and then we'll reflect together. 9. Reflection Two: Shape: Welcome to the reflection for experiment number 2. If you need a refresher on how to reflect on your work, you can check out the video for reflection 1 line, or you can check out the class resource guide where there are tons of detailed questions you can use to guide yourself through your reflections. Let's start with what I liked. I liked the pencil crayon, especially the way I used it in the last iteration. I don't often use pencil crayon on its own. I use it on top of squash. I think I'd forgotten how much I like the texture just by itself. I also love the bugs that weren't quite red. I liked using blue instead of black. I really like the watercolor, but I'm not sure it feels like me. Organic shapes, small brushes and brush strokes. Things I didn't like. That stupid square bugs, dots in the dots. Even though I loved the idea that pink, which I used for the square bug, which is crazy because I didn't hate it on my beetle. Maybe it just doesn't really right for me. What biases did I uncover? Well, the first and foremost one is that, lady bugs have to be round. The thing that I learned most of all is that sometimes biases, don't have to be upset. I tried doing something new and out of the box and I didn't love it and that's okay. Some biases just aren't holding you back. They're just there in the background of your art-making. They're totally neutral. I did love this motif and I'll probably use it again in my work at some point. Up next, we'll experiment with space and negative space. 10. Experiment Three: Space: Welcome to experiment number 3, we are nearly at the halfway mark already and in this experiment we're focusing on space or more importantly, negative space. I am mixing it up a bit here. Not that you can really tell. This is actually watercolor, not Gouache, apparently I have some colors that I really like. I'm planning to use just one color and then to play with negative space in places like the eyes, his little bug hands, the wings, and who knows where else? I'm using a teeny tiny little brush again. I thought it worked well to give a lot of brushstrokes because flies are fuzzy and I want him to look fuzzy. Anyway, negative space is a tricky thing to work with if you've never done it before. One thing I recommend if you're not comfortable working with negative space, is to just use cut paper. It's a great way to really get a handle on what space and what's negative space, because everything you cut away, that's the negative space. I also find it way less intimidating because it feels like I'm in kindergarten again, cutting out hearts for my Valentine's Day Basket. It's completely freeing. That's the place that I always try to get to with my art-making that plays for. It feels like I'm a kid and I'm just doing whatever tickles my fancy without any expectation of praise or any expectation of success. When you get to that place of childlike wonder at your art-making, you don't even care about success anymore. It's not even a consideration because you're successful when you make art. At this point, I've started to outline the wings. I'm not planning to fill them in with anything else other than the little bug veins. Is that what the wings are? Are they tiny bones? Who's to say, I have no idea. I'm also trying to keep my paint really wet so that you see a lot of the watercolor texture. If there's any spot I find that's translucent or lighter than I want it to be. I go over it after with a little bit more paint and make it darker. Looking at this bug and reflecting on the work that I've done prior to this throughout the class, I'm realizing that I had one fundamental assumption that I've already totally dis-proven because I thought I wasn't a blue person. I thought I didn't use blue. I thought I used a warm colors only guys. But I was so very wrong. I use so much blue, sometimes when we're making art, we have this story in our head that we tell ourselves that doesn't actually reflect reality. We tell ourselves that we'd like detailed work when that makes our backs hurt and we don't enjoy doing it or we tell ourselves that we don't like the color blue because it doesn't feel like us but then every single time we pick up a tube of paint, we grab the blue paint. When you get into an endless cycle of making art, sometimes we don't take the time to look at our work and recognize these patterns. Speaking of patterns, I've started adding the veins or whatever they're called, to the bug's wings at this point and I'm really loving the translucency of watercolor here. That's one thing you don't get as much with Gouache. There's still something missing. I think I'm going to start messing around with some pencil crayon, which is my go-to, I know. But I'm adding this dark blue to add more depth and texture and I can scribble around with it. I think it'll make the painting overall look a lot more loose and fun. I'm just going to take a moment to erase the underlying sketch that I have here. Because I'm realizing now that I'm using a pencil crayon, it may be harder to erase that later without accidentally smudging my actual work. If you're planning to do more painting, make sure you get rid of all of the eraser bits. Otherwise, they'll dry in your paint and make your life miserable. You can remove them later if you're digitizing by using the heal tool in Photoshop. But it's really just easier not to get them stuck in your paint in the first place. I'm going to add more white space now to create texture on the fly's body with a pasta pen. These are a magic pen. It's acrylic paints, I guess in this fancy little tube and they work really well. I always found gel pens to be pretty inconsistent. They would start and stop and it would be hard to get them going when I was trying to do work. But the pasta pen don't have any of those issues. I added a crisscross pattern to the bugs eyes and I am loving it. I'm just adding more detail to his wings now with a lighter blue pencil crayon. I think we're nearly done. For this second iteration, I've taken a leap way out of my comfort zone. I've used a little bit of masking fluid for word art. I use at the beginning of each month on Instagram. But this is something I've never tried before. Let's see what happens. [MUSIC]. This isn't looking any better now than retrieving this masking fluid, and frankly, I'm not super experienced with masking fluid, but I can tell that this masking fluid I have is not great. It's leaving my paper stained yellow. It's incredibly hard to remove. I have to use this eraser, otherwise, it really rips up the page. If you're going to use masking fluid, I would suggest don't use this Daniel Smith brand, get something else that is a little bit less horrible. I'm going to see if I can salvage this with some pencil crayon. Will see you what I can do. Well, at least that square ladybug isn't the worst thing I've painted now because that was bad. Let's see what I can do now, playing with gloss again, my plan is to make a painting with as little white space as possible. I am planning to cover the whole area in paint. The last time I left the wings totally open and free, which gave them a real sense of airiness. This time I'm going to use a pale blue. I'm also using a darker slate gray for the fly's body. My plan is to use a spooky red color for the eyes because I saw that was the case in a lot of the reference. This may be a good time to discuss reference photos when you're working to find your style, the absolute best way to do that is working from life. But the reality is there are just some things that you can't paint from life, like a fly, for instance, those little buggers are going to fly away every time, probably even before you get pen to paper. In those cases, the best thing to use are reference photos, they are pretty accurate representations of things from life. You want to make sure that you're working from reference photos in such a way that means that you're not copying. You're not stealing that other artist's work or their composition or the details of how they've created their piece of art. What you're trying to do is just nail down all the details of how to create that specific thing. In this case, a fly. I would never advise you to use another illustration as the basis for your art. The problem with that is, is that you're seeing that particular thing through someone else's eyes, which makes it really hard to make something that's unique to you. That isn't to say you shouldn't look to the work of other artists and illustrators on an ongoing basis. Looking at the work of other artists and illustrators is a great way to train our eye and get ideas of things to try, but you don't want to see the world through their eyes. You want to see the world through your eyes, that's how you make work that feels like you. Back to my painting. I'm nearly at the point where I've got all the little details of that slight blue color filled in. Now I am going to add some texture. Of course, I'm reaching for pencil crayons, what else would you expect? There's something going on here that's pretty easy to see from the video but was much harder for me to recognize as I was creating. There is something crazy going on with this bug's wings. For some reason, I decided to put his legs coming from behind him. But his wings are in-between his legs and his body. I don't think that's how it works. Luckily, I'm working with gloss, so this is something I can easily fix afterward by painting over it in such a way that you can't tell. But you may find as you're creating that sometimes this happens to you too. You're so very in the moment that you just miss some details. This is why it's really valuable to do work like this, to iterate and experiment and try the same things over and over again. That way when you're in a situation where you're illustrating or making art under pressure that you have to deliver to a client, then you won't have to worry about making little mistakes like this, because the motifs that you love will already be firmly ingrained in your catalog of all of the motifs that you know and love so that you can produce them on-demand in a consistent way that feels like you and doesn't have any of these weird details out of place. I've also started using some white gel pen in order to create a little bit more texture on the body, a little bit of highlight for his fuzzy fly frame, it's a little bit scratchier than using pascal pens. I thought it would make an even fuzzier texture. Now we're on to the last fly we'll do together. The next two, I'll go off and do on my own before we do our reflection. I'm using a china marker, which is a type of resist medium. It's waxy. Any water-based medium that you put on top of it is just going to slide right off, leaving white areas. Unlike masking fluid, you can't paint over the areas that you've used china marker on, they're always going to just stay white, which is not necessarily bad, just is something you need to plan for. I've used them for all of the inner veins on my wing. I'm also using watercolor here. I'm trying to incorporate more pastelly watercolor tone. Let's see how it goes. Well, I think this one might be one of my favorites. I don't know, I'm actually really liking a lot of these flies. They're all very different, but they all are things that I've enjoyed doing and things that I like the look of except for that fly that shall not be named obviously. One thing that I'm really loving about this fly is the way in which the texture came from that use of negative space with the watercolor. I'm just adding a few final details now. I'm just going to go off and paint my final two flies no and then we'll meet back up for our reflection. 11. Reflection Three: Space: Welcome to our third reflection. Here, we're reflecting on our negative space flies. We'll start with what I liked and shockingly, there's a lot, I really wasn't expecting to have this much fun with flies. I love the blue. I loved using pen to create negative space or just leaving areas to create negative space that looked like texture. I loved working with the China marker. I love my final fly. That's a really bold graphic design in gray. I also surprisingly love that third fly where I messed up the wings and fixed it. That texture of the gouache on top of the dark gray gouache where you can see the body through is really working for me and I might intentionally use that later. The things I do not like obviously that horrible masking fluid fly that didn't go well, I was not a fan of that. I also tried one with sepia instead of black, and I really didn't like that effect. The sepia sits just as weirdly with me as blacked it. I'm not going to try that again in the future. One thing I also noticed is that my bias in this case is a bias against water color. I've done several experiments now in watercolor. Two during this experiment and I just enjoy it. I don't know if that means I need to try and find ways to incorporate it into my style. Or I need to try and find ways to incorporate it as a hobby if I don't think that it suits my style. But either way, I think I need to give watercolor another chance. One other bias I noticed as I am looking at these final finished experiments, is that I had a real drive to work in a realistic manner when it came to these flies think it was because I was uncomfortable painting them. But going forward, if I include fliers as a motif in my work, I'm almost definitely just going to draw them as a dot with little wings and I didn't paint them that wave once here. Sometimes our desire to see important or like we know what we're doing gets in the way of our style. There's nothing wrong with painting things or drawing things in a simple way that is part of a style too. Up next, we're going to experiment with value by painting butterflies. 12. Experiment Four: Value: Welcome to experiment number 4. This is the absolute very first butterfly I have ever painted in my entire life. For a long time, I felt intimidated by them. They look super scary to paint and to be honest, they're pretty girly and that was never really my style. But already at this point in the experiment, looking at what I've painted and sitting nearby process, I can tell you I am about to paint about a 1000 butterflies. I am really enjoying this. I have three different colors of blue that I've started with: light blue, a dark blue, and a medium blue but already I found that I didn't quite have enough colors, so I had to add black to my dark blue there to get enough contrast so that it would be differentiated from the butterfly's body. Since butterflies aren't a motif I use very often, I don't really feel comfortable winging it. In this case, I'm taking pretty closely to the reference photos so that I know what a butterfly looks like. By painting realistic butterflies a couple of times it'll get me that capacity to freestyle in the future because I'll know what works and what doesn't on a butterfly's wings. I'll know what makes sense logically and then I can play with that. I can break those rules, but I'll know what the rules are. Pablo Picasso has a quote and I love it. It's one of my favorite quotes. It's, "Learn the rules like a pro so that you can break them like an artist." I'm using a white gel pen here to add details to the wings, little dots and stripes. Normally I would use my posca pen, but I want what the gel pen has to offer in this situation because it's a little bit lighter, it's more fine that my posca pen. I think it's working really well. I'm also going to use this white gel pen to add things and highlights to the body of the bug and to its wings. One thing I found very helpful as I was working my way through making this class, was being able to see my work from a different perspective. For me, that was because my Care mac projects all the images onto my iPad so I can see what I'm painting as I'm filming, but I've seen recommendations of putting a mirror next to you and you paint or just taking your time in the middle of your painting and stepping away and coming back. Because often when we're in the middle of the painting, we can't really see what we're doing. We're so focused on details. Taking the time to step away and see what's working and what isn't is really helpful. I remember I was taking an art class last summer and I was hating my painting. I was ready to walk out of the class. I hated my painting so much. It just felt like a waste of time to work on it. People would come over and say that my painting was good and I thought they were liars. It wasn't until I walked away to change my paint model and came back that I realized that it actually it wasn't bad, it wasn't a bad painting at all. It was actually fully on track and going exactly where I wanted it to. But I needed that time, that breath, that space to walk away and to come back with fresh eyes to see my painting for what it really was. Make sure to give yourself that time to see your painting or drawing or whatever art you create for what it really is. Whether that's setting it aside overnight and coming back to it the next morning or just setting its side long enough to go grab a glass of water because we all need to drink more water. I'm sticking with Gouache this time, but I'm going to try a more geometric pattern on this next butterfly. I'm working in warm brown-y tones. I'll see how I like that as well. Well, I definitely don't like this as much as my first butterfly. I don't think the pattern translated quite as well. It seems a bit too hard and harsh. I'm trying to add some details from my Posca pens to maybe pull it all together. We'll find out. When Posca pens fail, I guess that's the limit to reach for some pencil crayon. Let's see if I can make it work with this. The one advantage I find working on something that you feel just isn't quite right, is that you reach a point where you can't mess it up. If you already hate it, then you might as well try and experiment with some new things and see what you can make work, and maybe it'll still end up terrible. But you haven't lost study thing then. You already didn't like the painting beforehand. Maybe you'll find some magic ingredient that can pull it all together. In this case, I don't think it's going to happen. I mean, there are some things that I really like. The little spots on the wings have some fantastic texture in them. You can't see it as well from far back, but I quite like it. That being said, I still feel that this butterfly just doesn't look quite flighty enough to me. But that's okay because I'm going to take all of the things I noticed from working on this butterfly and bring it into my next iteration. I know that in my last experiment, I didn't like the yellow tone browns. I'm trying some pinky tone browns this time, tweaking it just a little bit, still playing with value only using these tones of color, nothing too fancy. I'm also focusing on using lighter colors, because the last one seemed too heavy to me. I thought by focusing on lighter values, I could make it seem lighter and more ethereal, which is really what I'm going for with this butterfly. It's also just, in general, a good idea to start with your lightest colors and work to dark. When you start with a darker color, it's very hard to build up enough layers of paint to bring it back down to be lighter if you've decided you want it to be lighter. But if you start light, you can gradually build up those darker areas of color tweaking as you go. This brown that I'm using for the butterfly's body is the exact same brown that I used in the last experiment. For some reason in the last experiment I didn't love it, but right now in this moment, I am very into it. Now, I'm adding some lines with that pinky ready brownie color. I don't know what possessed me, but they're coming out very loose and I am loving it. I love how they trail off the edge of the butterfly, I love how they're a little bit unpredictable. It's funny because I didn't quite feel like the pencil crayon lines were me when I was using them in the first line experiment. But now that I'm using this pencil crayon to create lines on top of the gouache, I'm really liking it and it really loosens me out. Maybe this is something I can put in my toolbox to use in the future. I'm also really proud of myself. When I use pencil crayons, I use them really intuitively. I just grab whatever color is nearest my hand that I think might work. I don't really swatch them out very much. In this case, I have nailed it. This color is the perfect variation in tone between the dark brown and pink. By layering areas of color with the pencil crayon on top of the gouache, I'm creating variations in value as well. Considering I'm only using two different color, pencil crayon, and two different colors of gouache, I'm getting a lot of different colors based on how I'm layering the pigments. Using the darker brown pencil crayon around the body and using it in a lighter way to create flat areas of color. I think next, I'm going to try an even darker butterfly to recover after that first failed experiment with a dark butterfly. I think maybe if I focus on using just our colors with areas of contrast, it'll make it stand out. Well, this attempt definitely went better. I used a dark paint but I left it watery so you can see a lot of the texture from my brushstrokes. I'm using the Posca pen to add details to the edges. I use the plain pencil crayon that I learned and are in our shape experiment for the body of our ladybug, and frankly, everything about this is working for me. I'm going to go and complete the last two butterflies on my own and then we'll be back here together for eye reflection. 13. Reflection Four: Value: Hello, and welcome to reflection number 4. As always, if you need a refresher on how to do all your reflection, checkout the first reflection video for experiment number 1 or the class resource guide, where there's a whole list of questions. Let's start with what I liked. I just loved butterflies. It's a shocker to me, but they are super fun to paint. I also loved working in monotone, working loose pencil crayon with or without wash underneath. What I didn't love. My bigger Posca pen, it left me a big splotch on my dark butterfly there, which I don't really love. Normally, I use the smaller size, and I think I'll stick with that in the future. I also didn't love the more geometric pattern, but there's really not much else. I loved working on these butterflies. When it comes to bias, my bias was butterflies themselves. I had this idea in my head of what butterflies were to paint. I thought they would be hard and they were too girly, or at least so I thought. In two years of painting, I hadn't painted a butterfly even once. Now, I'm wondering what other thing are my judgy pants stopping me from trying to paint. I'm going to look for even more tips that I've written off for various reasons. Up next, we'll experiment with color. 14. Experiment Five: Colour: Hello and welcome to experiment number 5, where we're playing with color. This time, I decided to start off with a really warm pallet. I feel like I played it pretty safe color wise in my last experiment, even though I loved most of the colors I used. So this time I'm going to try and do things that are a little bit more out of my comfort zone. I don't use a lot of bright colors, I think we discussed that in the second experiment on shape, so this time I'm going to try and make something flay-me toned that suits me. In most of the value experiments I used gouache with a little bit of hint of pen, and pencil crayon, and other bits and bobs. This time, I'm starting off with the pencil crayon to try something different. Although I am still going to add some gouache, this time instead of putting the gouache first and then adding pencil crayon on top, I've done the pencil crayon first, and I'm adding gouache on top. I'm using the gouache for a lot of the dark details, because I'm finding that the work doesn't really have as much contrast as I'd like, especially because I'm working on this really toothy paper that lets a lot of the white of the paper shine through when you're working with pencil crayon. If I was working on a smoother paper, I might find that there was more contrast, or if I was just using more pressure on the pencil crayon, but that's not the effect I'd like right now. When I worked with the butterflies, I had a lot of concern about making them look like there was supposed to look. I could actually tell as soon as I start on these dragonflies that I actually don't have a lot of concern for that apparently. I'm working in a really abstract way, just using the shape of the bug to play around with color, and texture, and details without much concern for what it really looks like. Your style can include both of these aspects. A naive, or abstract, or wonky way of working and something that's more realistic, you don't need to choose just one. Sometimes mixing the two things together can make your work feel more dynamic and interesting, and sometimes when you work on something in a really abstract way and put it next to something that's really detailed, it's a great way to draw focus to that detailed, realistic depiction of a thing. One thing to always consider while you're painting is that the thing that you put the most detail and time into, it's probably going to be the thing that draws the most attention, because you've worked it the most. It's going to have this crisp clarity that the rest of the space around it may not have. So if there's something you want to bring the eye to, that's the place to spend your time. If there's something that you don't want people to notice, maybe you messed up align, that's a place where you shouldn't fuss as much because you'll draw attention to it. I've nearly finished the wings and I'm just realizing that I want the body of this dragonfly to stand out a bit more. So I'm adding an extra layer of gouache on top because it's got a lot darker color. I used a mixture of a wine red color and a darker, deep magenta color, to give the painting a lot of light and to draw the focus up toward the wings and the top of the body. Now I'm just adding a few final details in pencil crayon. For this next dragonfly, I'm jumping way out of my comfort zone. I have these Copic markers, I use them a lot for my doodle journal that I keep, but I have never used them on actual art. But I'm trying to do a cool toned dragonfly here and I thought that these might be just the ticket. I think I might add some water color as well. Let's see how that turns out. I am trying a lot of different things here. I am trying a kind of [inaudible] bright color scheme. I'm trying a really geometric body for my dragonfly. I'm trying that pale pink background, which I'm not sure will work, already I'm kind of questioning it, but I guess we'll see. I'm going to add a ton of detail to the wings because I really want them to be a focal point. I'm going to add a bunch of layers that they look like all the little veins on a real dragonflies wings. The wings are also where I'm going to most directly play around with the color scheme that I've chosen. Because I'm using that split complementary color scheme, I want to use a bunch of blue-green, yellow, green, and red. I'm going to layer these colors and alternate them to make the wings seem iridescent. I'm also going to play with value using lighter tones of the greens to make a real shimmery effect. We'll see if it works or if it doesn't work. I'm snack completely sold on this working, but I'm more than willing to try and fail. When you're looking at these dragonflies I've painted so far, one thing I noticed anyway is how much in that very first dragonfly, the contrast on the body really draws your eye there. The wings are only something you appreciate after the fact. This dragonfly I'm working on right now is the opposite. Even though there's a lot going on in the body, lots of color, lots of shapes, that bright red pop of color at the tip of the wings is what's drawing my eye right away. Red will almost definitely do this any single time you're using it. It is a high intensity color. Neons will do this as well, bright yellows, bright pinks. Anytime you're thinking of color and that's the thing to keep in mind, the intensity is going to draw focus. When there's not an intense color present, it's going to be contrast as the next thing that's going to bring your viewers eye where you want it to be. You want to make sure you have the most contrast where you want people to look. Now, back to my painting. It's hard to tell because all of my colors are off-screen, but I'm varying several different colors as I do these tiny details on the wings. I've done the top and bottom rose and red. I've added some rows of dark green and I'm adding rows of light green and slow. Once I finish that, I'm going to go back in and add a very pale blue-green as well. Even when you can't see all these tiny details at a glance, they all work together to create a cohesive look for your image. I've started adding tiny dots to this dragonfly's body and immediately I'm really not a fan. I thought the tiny dots would compliment the details on the wings, but they're just fighting with those details. I'm probably going to paint over it. I think I'll paint over it. Sometimes you'll make a choice in your painting like this and you'll immediately go, oh no, what have I done? If you're working in the right medium, you could just restart. You can see I really that already painted over them. First layer, I'm going to paint over it many more layers so that all hints of by mistake will be erased from this world. If you're working in a different medium like watercolor, you may need to do a little bit more work to get rid of few mistakes like that. Depending on what type of pen you used, you can sometimes just wet it and it'll come right up. Sometimes you may need to adapt and find a way that make that goofy choice you made work for you. Working in teeny tiny detail like this is not for everyone and it's not the only way to do things or the right way to do things. For me I find when I work in tiny detail like this for a while, it really starts to hurt my back. I'm a paintbrush and pencil clincher. My whole body gets tense, so I have to take breaks every so often so that I don't damage myself permanently. This is also something to keep in mind as you try and find what your style is. If there's something that makes you deeply uncomfortable in your body as you do it, it may not be for you or it may not be something that you can do all the time. I love doing tiny details, but I know that they take a toll on me. So I try and pace it out and spend a lot more time when I'm art-making, doing big, bold, crazy, loose things so that I can keep making art. Sometimes our brains get in the way when we're doing art making. In this case, my brain had a very specific idea of what those dragonfly would look like. I had a plan and I didn't stop to look at the piece in front of me. I just follow the plan and ended up overworking it. Now I'm going to go off and finish my last two dragonflies, and then we'll meet back here to reflect. 15. Reflection Five: Colour: Hello and welcome to reflection number five on color. This one is probably the most varied looking experiment I've done so far. Let's start with what I liked. I really loved that last geometric dragonfly that I did. The colors, the style. It really hearkens back to those first line beetles that I did and loved. I also love that fifth dragonfly, soft green, the browns. It felt like the fourth one but with more experience. I also love the small detailed shapes on the wings of my third dragonfly. I also love the colors. I'm just not sure that they're me. They feel a little bit too out there. Things I didn't love, that fourth dragonfly. Also, most of the colors to be honest, I think because this exercise was about color, I pushed myself way out beyond my comfort zone and a lot of the things that I tried didn't stick and that's fine. Now I know that the deep rich colors I use for most of the experiments just aren't me. What are my biases here? Well, I think first and foremost, my biggest bias was expressed in that fourth dragonfly, I started it with so much hubris, totally sure it was going to be stunning with a very clear plan in my head. But I didn't listen to my artistic self as I was painting. I just powered through, and the end result isn't great. It actually involves a lot of things that I use in my day-to-day style, like those leaves and those colors. But the way that they're combined isn't me and frankly isn't good. Sometimes our ideas of what we should be making get in the way of what we could be making. That's what happened here. Up next, were going to experiment with texture. 16. Experiment Six: Texture: Just like that we're on our very last experiment guys. I can't believe it. Here we're playing with texture and drawing bumblebees. So far, all I've done is put down a layer of watercolor in gray and the yellow. I also tried adding some loose pigment. I have gold pigment hanging around. I sprinkled some of that onto my brush and dunked it into parts of my yellow watercolor. Not sure how well it went. I'm just outlining the feet and the wings now. I'm going to try that, keep them pretty free of texture. I'm trying to go maximum texture on the bee's body. I want it to look like you coded in pollen and very fuzzy. That's going to include a lot of different layers of different mediums in order to build up the texture that I want. It may be worth noting that I really love textures. So this is an experiment in which I'm trying to push myself even further than I would normally go. I am using materials I don't normally use, and I'm trying techniques I haven't tried before. Like in this case, that pigment, it's been sitting on my desk for over a year, and you guys finally inspired me to try it. I don't think it's terrible. It's giving the bee a delightful shimmer. You may have noticed earlier how my watercolor pooled when my yellow was still wet. I've just incorporated that into a shadow under the bee's wing. Now, I'm going to start using some gel pens to out even more texture. I had a gold gel pen. I'm going to add some pencil crowns in the wings to differentiate them from the bee's body, and then I'm going to go over again with a scribble effect in white gel pen. By layering this texture upon texture, it's going to create so much more detail to the finished painting, even if you can't see it on camera. I've layered that gray water color under pencil crayon, under white gel pen, and I actually put more pencil crayon on top. There are a lot of layers of texture. Then in the yellow areas, I've layered gold speckles, gold pigment, yellow paint, gold gel pen, so when you look closely at the painting, there's so much to see. I think I'm nearly done. On to our next iteration, I am going to try using a blue instead of black in this case, the bee that I'm looking at right now has mostly yellow shoulders and a black body, and I'm hoping that the dark blue will translate. Let's see how it goes. Well, I think this blue isn't really quite translating as black. I think I'm going to try something even more adventurous. I have these fancy crayons that I've never quite use. I think I'm going to try and layer them on top and see if the blue will shine through to add some texture. To be perfectly honest, these crayons freak me out a bit. They are water soluble. I'm always afraid I'm going to smear them all over. That being said, I really love the look of this lighter yellow on top of that deep rich ocher I was using, and adding the black on top of the blue is making it have really beautiful blue undertones. These crayons work just like regular crayons that you remember from grade school. Except that if you add water to them, they'll actually work a lot more like a watercolor I think. That's my understanding. I'm just going to add some lines in pencil crayon to the wings because I want the lines to be more fine than I could get with crayon. I'm trying to be very careful with my smudgy hands so that I don't smear the crayon. I'm planning to use a spray fixative after I finish so that I can stack this with the other projects. You'll want to make sure you only use a light layer, because as you're about to see, I did not do that, and I wrecked my butt next to it a little bit. Just proceed with caution. Here we are at iteration number 3 of our bumblebees. Time and again, throughout the course of these experiments, I've remarked upon how much I love the texture of pencil crayon, one its all its own. This time I'm leaning into it. My plan is to use this warm gray and a bright yellow for the hole bee. I'm not going to use any paint at all. One thing I advise, if you like working with pencil crayons, but you have smudgy hands like I do, is that it might be worthwhile to get a scrap piece of paper and just keep it under the part of your hand that's going to be touching the paper. I didn't do that here. I was just trying to be careful, but it is a trick I use sometimes because I have a tendency to be very heavy handed. Man. I'm loving this yellow. It may be my favorite of the three I've painted so far. Now, I'm going to use a variety of different grays and blacks in order to build up color for the bees, darker stripes. You may notice as you watch me work with pencil crayon, that I'm trying to keep my strokes all in the same direction, because in this case the bee is fuzzy. I want the stroke of the pencil crayon to mimic the shape of his fuzzy bee body, and the free texture of his shoulders. If I wanted something to have a faulty texture, I would use a round, circular stroke. If I wanted something to have a really gritty haphazard texture, I would use strokes in all to varying directions. I'm also using a pretty light hand. I could get a much deeper layer of pigment if I worked darker, but I like this soft way of using pencil crayon. I'm nearly done with this bee now, I'm just finishing up a few final bits and bobs, passing here and there. Now we're on the very last bee that will paint together. I'm using pencil crayon again. I really like the texture of it, but this time I'm trying something I've tried only a few times so far, but I think it'll work well for this bee. I want to make this bee, pencil crayon texture with ink, leaving a lot of white space like I did in the fly experiment. Then at the very end I'm going to speckle along in a layer of ink, we'll see how it goes. Now the messy bit, I'm going spot a little bit of ink on the painting and see how it looks. Toothbrush is the best tool for a too little spotters, just what I wanted, and then I go over it a few times. I'm also realizing now that this may be what masking footer is for. You could maybe make a barrier around your fly so that the dots only end up on him. Better well. I'm going to go off now and finish my last two bees and then we'll come back and meet up for our very last reflection. 17. Reflection Six: Texture: Oh my goodness, we're already at our very last reflection together. It feels surreal. I've gone through so much with you guys. Let's get right to the chase. The things I loved in this experiment, I loved the luscious texture of that first bug, especially the white gel pen I used. I loved the crayon. I loved working with pencil crayon again of course, and I loved replacing the black with brown on that lovely, luscious bee I did after we left each other. Things I don't love, all the messy splutters of ink and the mess I made when I was spraying that fixative to protect my crayon, I should have just left it be. I'm also not a big fan of the ink. I think this is the time where I have to decide it's just not working with us. Ink and I are calling it quits for real forever. The biases I uncovered as I was working through this experiment were that textured is too messy. Every single bee did was scribbly or scratchy or very heavily textured in some way. But flat is a texture too or glossy or any other things that just aren't scribbles and lines and scratchiness. That's the thing I'm going to pay attention to my work going forward to see if I can vary it a little bit more than I did here. In terms of motifs, I'm going to be honest here, I didn't really love painting bees. If I were going to use bees as a motif in my work, I think I'd have to iterate a lot more to get something that feels even more like me because these still are falling a little bit flat. But that's okay because I found a lot of motifs throughout the course of this class that would work for me, that I feel very comfortable recreating. Up next, we'll talk about continuing to experiment. 18. Continuing: As we finish our final experiment, parents say goodbye. I want to you take a moment to shout from the rooftops that this is not the end. As an illustrator for artists you were embarking on an ongoing journey to find your style, push your style and reinvent yourself. These six experiments are just the first steps on a lifelong path of learning, experimenting, reflecting that will make you a stronger artist. My hope is that you can come back to these experiments like a cozy, more like it. Whenever you need a question to help you get out of your comfort zone. I know that throughout the course of filming this class, I uncovered roughly a dozen things, I want to try and for bringing to my style. Handful skills I want to focus on, to push myself forward, new motives to include in my work and so much more. If this class, as long as spark within you, you can also check out the Resource Guide included in the project tab, spy suggestions for other sculpture classes to continue learning and experimenting. Each recommendation is based around one of the elements of design we've covered in this class and spam from the tons of different mediums. 19. Thank You: Thank you so very much for spending some time experimenting with me. It can certainly feel uncomfortable when you were on the hunt to find your style. Sometimes every single thing you paint just feels like it's coming out of the voice of someone else. But I can absolutely guarantee that if you could just keep experimenting and keep creating, one day you'll look down at your work and feel like no one else in the world, but you could have made what's sitting down there on your page. To here about my classes as soon as they're published, follow me here on Skillshare. To follow my illustration journey, or just hang out and chat about art, you can find me on Instagram. If you post any part of your project on Instagram, I'd also love it if you tagged me @alannacartierillustration or use the #alannateaches. Seeing student work is one of the best parts of teaching on Skillshare. If you just want to hear what's new with me, then sign up for my newsletter at Thank you again so much. You are amazing and I can't wait to see the beautiful things you create.