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Pencil … Pen … Marker … Go!

Today I thought it would be fun to share something I really enjoy doing – line drawing illustrations – and how you can use a single drawing for multiple things.  Everyone has his or her own way of going about drawing, but for me I almost always draw something from my mind that I’d like to see come to life on paper.  There are times where I’ll challenge myself to draw something I see in a book or magazine but for the most part, making the illustration is just one part of the storyline in my thoughts.

For this drawing, I used some of my favorite go-to tools – Faber-Castell graphite pencils, COPIC Multiliner pens, and COPIC Sketch markers.  The inking pens are pigment-based and great to use because they’re water and COPIC marker proof, meaning you can ink first and then overlay color without worrying about smearing the black ink.  This also is important when using watercolors over your illustrations.

Meet Sophie!

Usually, I’ll give drawn figures a name!  Allow me today to introduce you to Sophie!  I initially drew Sophie for a thank you card, but also have used her in other ways.  More about this below.  For the girls I draw, I like to do a basic clothing design so it can be customized in different ways – with colors, embellishments, and sometimes fabrics.  Sophie’s basic dress can be detailed in multiple ways. 

You’ll also note the hibiscus and tulip flowers I drew to accompany her.  The great thing about this kind of illustration is it’s easily and cleanly scanned, due to the simple lines and only black ink on a white background.  By scanning your illustrations, you can turn them into vector graphics so they can be resized for different uses.

Sophie’s initial debut for the thank you card was set on a digitally downloaded background (blue and white stripes and flowers).  The choices are endless for backgrounds!  I was able to digitally move the flowers as scanned elements where I wanted them – in this case, I wanted Sophie to hold the hibiscus flower, and by having a digital scan of my hand-drawn artwork, I was able to size it exactly to fit her arms and body size. 

After Sophie was placed onto the blue and white background, I set about choosing her colors.  As you’ll see in the photos, I sampled different COPIC markers until I found the colors I wanted and made a color key in case I want to repeat the combination in a future project.

As mentioned earlier, the ability to customize Sophie’s dress is fun!  For the thank you card, I “dressed” her in blue and red through stripes added to her dress and colored the tulips and hibiscus in coordinating hues.  I made stripes in her hair so I could break it up with two brown colors – much like the highlighted dimension we ladies like to have in our hair.  Everything is hand-colored with the COPIC Sketch markers.

Finishing a drawing, at least for me, usually involves a black ink pen or a white gel marker to make tiny accent dots.  There’s something about this part I find so enjoyable, but you must be careful not to go overboard enjoying it too much, which I’ve certainly done!  Lastly, for the thank you card, I attached tiny, crystal, 3D flowers to the bodice of Sophie’s dress and just above the “Thank You!” sentiment.  Rounded corners (always!) were made, and the card front affixed to a 5” x 7” blank, watercolor-paper card.

Sophie Reimagined!

Now, let’s take Sophie to a different place!  Here I made two Sophies (from the original drawing) and gave them coordinating but different colored dresses.  This time instead of having them hold the hibiscus and stand among short tulips, I wanted tall flowers the height of the girls, and I was able to scale up these from the drawing’s vector scan.

Playful backdrops of pink and green fabrics were stretched across standard, wood-framed, 8” x 8” canvases, and a cloth ribbon placed around the sides was secured with small brass pins used in upholstery.  Embellishments are green, glass flowers, and one Sophie’s fabric with ladybugs is complemented by little 3D ladybugs found in my crafting “treasures” (see the tulips).  The pictures are finished with small, raised words I chose – the lighter-haired Sophie’s say “Dance. Sing. Amaze.”, and the darker-haired Sophie’s are “Sweet. Spirited. Soul.” 

The pictures can stand on easels (as shown in the photograph) or hang on the wall from a slot on the wood back.

Paper dolls were precious to me as a child, and I have never stopped loving them!  I guess these are my adult version that you create first in your mind and then with your hands.  I daresay Sophie won’t be the only such girl to appear in these blog posts as there are quite a few of them (as there are rabbits – many, many drawn bunnies wearing little outfits – just wait until we get to Easter 2022!).

What kinds of artistic things do you like to create in your mind and then turn into something tangible?  What’s your version of a Sophie?  Please share with a comment below!

November 15, 2021
November 17, 2021



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