Thursday, 20 August 2015

Female Portraits

How about making an exercise from painting female characters with watercolors? Yaaay!
To be honest watercolors aren't the easiest technique of making portraits. Drawing realistic people requires a very high level of accuracy, while watercolor technique is quite often perceived as series of "controlled accidents". When I googled "watercolor portraits", the vast major of searching results presented a very painterly style - sort of unfinished faces with colorful splashes around them. But the good news is that there were also a few extremely accurate artworks! 

This exercise was made in a way I usually paint buildings. The only difference was that this time I decided to follow strictly photo references (most of my buildings are painted totally from imagination). Special thanks to stock models: and !

The first step is a pencil sketch. The more accurate it is, the easier it will be to paint over it with watercolors. Tool: a mechanical pencil (0.5 mm, lead hardness H) - it should prevent from smearing. Luckily I chose yellowish paper, so the coffee stain is almost invisible :) 

To achieve a skin color I mixed yellow and red in different proportions along with adding different amount of water to it. For shadows I was also adding a little bit of violet. This brush appeared to be very useful. I used it for the whole work (except the background and some clothes):

Just as in case of drawing buildings, I used a thin waterproof pen (size XS) for making contours. Metal details were highlighted with a white opaque marker. I was using it for the first time so I had no idea what kind of results should I expect. For me it's like a very thin corrector (0.7 mm):

During such exercises you probably won't have an opportunity to fully express your creativity or move into the world of imagination, but hopefully it will improve your attention to details, proportions and light. Strongly recommended from time to time!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The Best Tips

Sometimes I'm interviewed (oh, it sounds so nobly) by magazines, e-zines and/or curious students. Almost always a question like "The Best Tip/3 Tips/5Tips for Aspiring Artists" appears.
Here are some tips which were especially valuable for me. I'm not sure if they're truly revealing, but here they are anyway:

1. "Everything you do proves who you are"
These were words of a professor from my faculty, which really stuck in my memory. At first glance it can seem obvious, but acting according this rule is extremely important (especially in the Internet Age). The way you contact with people interested in your works, the way you comment other artists' works, the photos you submit to various social media, blog entries you write - all it shows if you are trustworthy, diligent, meticulous, respectful towards others etc.  

2. Beginnings are usually hard, so be patient 
and do not lose your enthusiasm. During studies I was told that after 2 years of an everyday drawing, the results begin to become bearable. After 5 years you can call yourself a professional. After 10 years you have a chance to become a master (supposedly).  

3. No excuses!  
Have fun with your artistic activity but... if you treat drawing/painting/designing seriously, you should be a severe reviewer of your works. Being over-enthusiastic about your achievements can only prevent you from being better. Compare your works with pieces made by your idols and strive to achieve their level (even if your gradma and mates tell you that your drawing is REALLY GREAT, it may be not enough...yet).

4. Expand your "comfort zone"
It's very good to have a specified specialization, but try to deal with various themes. Illustrations usually consist of many elements (people, animals, interiors, exteriors, machines etc.). Besides, when you don't face new challenges, you don't get new impulses and, in consequence, you stop to develop yourself.

5. Don't work for free just to expand your portfolio 
Personal works are much better for this purpose and you won't feel "used" after all. At the very beginning of my career I had a few profit-share "works". Not only there were no profits, but also these illustrations weren't revealing my real potential, which (hopefully) can be seen in personal works.  

6. Pay attention to the right work-life balance 
Being a freelancer can be very time consuming. It doesn't only mean doing commissioned jobs. It means searching for commissions, preparing your portfolio, writing blog post, tweets, facebook posts, developing your artistic skills, trying to fix something to eat (even if you haven't bought anything for a week) etc. 
The good news is that initially it's surprisingly easy to work 16 hours per day/ 7 days a week! The bad news is that it actually may cause a physical exhaustion and professional burnout... and your friends will totally forget about you. When you see that your eyes weaned themselves from sunlight and your neighbours doesn't know who you are, it may be the right time to take a break.

With this being said, I think I'll make a few more sketches...

Wednesday, 17 June 2015


“Don’t ever get old. (...) The only thing to hope for is that you get so senile that you think you’re twenty years old again. That would be fun to relive.” 
Camilla Läckberg, "The Ice Princess"

I guess that all my personal works have one common denominator. Namely, they present solitary realms, environments frozen in stillness, as if life was on hold.

In the past painting such places was a kind of autotherapy or  an escape from reality. Materializing thoughts on paper made my inner world more "real", though the results were still quite ephemeral. 

Lately I decided to make something new with these environments by giving them some life. Just like here:

Bored with this introduction? In short: I made animations based on my previous paintings.

1. - a full-length version (almost 3 minutes!) tells a story about a brave, tireless voyager who is traveling the world and looking for an inspiration (she is in the top left corner of this post actually).

2.  - a shortened version is a little bit more serious presentation of my works (a kind of an animated portfolio with a quite atmospheric music).


I don't want to promise that I'll be posting videos regularly, but any support, comments and subscriptions to my Vimeo channel ( will be very very welcome and appreciated.