Beetles & Lines
I used various pens and two small paintbrushes that I already hand on hand for the beetles. I'm pretty comfortable using pen for lines, though prefer a mid-size pen or a brush pen. I like painting, but get tense when doing lots of line work with a brush--I need to explore this aversion a bit more... I think it's because I'm more wobbly and get critical about the lack of precision. I didn't give too much consideration to color for this experiment, though if I had, I might've preferred a different color than the green watercolor. I was most comfortable (and am happiest with the results of) the three beetles on the bottom.
Ladybugs & Shape
I'd intended to do each ladybug with a different shape focus. I actually like the light shade of the middle top bug, which surprised me, but I don't like the shape since it reminds me of a tick. Ick! But the real surprise here was the three bugs on the bottom that I'd intended to add a lot more detail to. I painted in their basic shapes... and then fell in love with their simplicity. I feel like as a series, it's still clear what they are, even without spots or legs. These days, I find I enjoy working with limited palettes, and the simple red and black were my favorite, although I do like the red and blue bug. Hmmm... I wonder how I'd feel about the bottom three ladybugs if I replicated them using blue instead.
Flies & Negative space
My favorite flies are the top middle, and bottom right. I like their simplicity (the top one, being just and outline, and the bottom being basic black and white). I used (surprise, surprise) water color and pens for these, too. I like the idea of the bottom middle bug, but would like to get some posca pens to try it again--my uniball just didn't cut it. I went with a limited color palette because I thought I'd find it easier to focus on changing up the space if I wasn't also worrying about which colors to use, and I think I was right. One of my struggles though (which came up again with butterflies) is that when I'm drawing or painting something I haven't really done before, I get too fixed on making it accurate--I'm not familiar enough with the structure and proportions to comfortably play around with them, and so my art gets a little tighter and less free.
Butterflies & Value
I had a hard time with these for a few reasons. I was not looking at any pictures when I drew out the initial shapes of the butterflies, and several ended up quite awkward looking because their wings are angled or attached wrong. Also, I was afraid that I was getting to tight and detailed, so I went into experiment mode, resulting in the three bottom butterflies, which I'd like to toss in the garbage except for the top wings of left one and middle one, and the texture of the bottom wings on the left one. You win some, you lose some! At least they've given me ideas for future butterflies. What I found overall, was that I prefer a lot of contrast in value. I also like a combination of organic (like the wet on wet spots of the red butterfly) with more structured lines and spots. And, although I feel ok about using the pencil crayons, I definitely prefer the paint and pen combo. After I'd finished them, I was curious about the value differences so looked at a black and white picture. The lack of contrast in value might also be part of why I'm not overly fond of the bottom three butterflies.
EDIT: I went back to play with butterflies and this happened. It feels so much more like me, and it wasn't such a struggle to produce <3
Dragonflies & Color
Much like the butterflies, these were a struggle! However, I am more content with the process this time around, knowing that after I let these experiments gel a little bit, I might be able to come back around and make a dragonfly that feels like me. My favorite three are the yellow and purple one, the green and purple one, and the green and black one. I love the way the dark and light purples and pink blend together, and I like the contrast with the yellow, as well as the more subtle transition to green. What I like about the green and black dragonfly is its contrast and its simplicity--I didn't over think it and try to get too fancy (even though getting fancy can be fun sometimes!). I like the bright cheerfulness of the bottom right dragonfly, but it's color combo just doesn't feel like me at the moment. For all of these I stuck with watercolors and pens, because they're my happy combo right now, but in the future, I think I'd like to experiment with gouache for dragonflies so I could have light, yet opaque, wings.
Bees & Texture
(will upload when finished)