Today’s post is part of a celebration for my friend, Carla. It is also a chance for you to WIN her new book, Imaginary Animals, just by posting a reply to today’s blog. Carla is giving away a signed copy to one of you. Just leave a comment below and I will pick a winner randomly on October 4. International entries welcome.
This is Carla Sonheim. She is an awesome artist, a kind, generous and fascinating person, a creative spirit, the author of the acclaimed book, Drawing Lab and, best of all, a friend of mine! I first introduced you to her back in January of 2011, which was before I’d actually met her and was just a student in her celebrated online class, The Art of Silliness. Because of her class, I started drawing again for the first time since I was a child. Because of her class, I started thinking about how drawing and art doesn’t always have to be this serious thing. Because of her class, the Cranky Birds were born!
So, then I asked her to come to our first Teaching Out Of The Box summer institute and she did! She even stayed at my house; it was terrific. She taught everyone how to be silly and spontaneous with their art, she played along with all the other presenters, we stayed up late talking about all kinds of stuff, we had dinner at Marhaba’s, one of my favorite restaurants in Lambertville, my kids loved her, my dogs loved her. I really, really wish she lived closer to me but she lives in Seattle, WA and I live in Flemington, NJ. It’s far. Boo.
But, another cool thing happened. She was working on a new book. (THIS BOOK RIGHT HERE!! Imaginary Animals!) And guess what? She asked me if the Cranky Birds could be in it! You know what I said? I said, hell yes!
And, the book is ready! Look at this picture… there’s a cranky bird, right there on the page! You can get it right this second! And, you know what? YOU SHOULD!
And, then, as if all of this wasn’t enough, Carla asked me if I would be a part of her book release celebration. It’s a two week blog hop with a whole bunch of us joining in on the party. I know you know what I said. I said, hell yes! Go to Carla’s Snowball Journal Blog to find out more, get new animal-related art tutorials, art giveaways, assignments and more chances to win this book!
The coolest part of this is I got to do a cranky bird just for today’s post. You could make your own cranky bird, you know. Here’s how you do it:
1. Make a crazy “blob” on a piece of paper (preferably watercolor paper) with watery watercolors. Fewer colors are better, one or two at the most. Don’t think about it turning into anything, especially a bird. Even better, have someone else make you a crazy blob. Carla made this one for me. She emailed it to me and I printed it out. (You could even make a blob with markers, crayons or pencils if you wanted to. Get blobby. And see what you can come up with!)
2. Look at the blob. Turn it all around, every which way. See if you can find the animal hiding in there somewhere. It’s there, trust me. Lots of times, I look for the eye first. Now, use a pencil and just loosely and sloppily, create the outlines of the creature.
3. With a thin black marker (I like a Sharpie) go over your pencil lines (but leave them, don’t erase them because they will be great mixed in with it all). Hold the pen in a loose way and let your lines be shaky and weird. Go over them more than once so they look sloppy and wiggly.
4. Use other media–markers, colored pencils, more paint, whatever!– to fill in spots, create patterns and textures, and create more color interest. I’m using Prismacolor markers and just making random marks. Don’t worry if you don’t like it yet. It is just getting started and the truth is that you really cannot make a mistake. It’s impossible. This is foolproof drawing, I tell you.
5. Add more lines and patterns with your black pen, with markers, with pencils, with anything. Start thinking about the personality of your creature and add lines and shapes that go with it. My bird is skeptical. And, of course, cranky.
So, there you are. A bird and a book. Wanna win a copy? Sure you do. It’s free and who doesn’t want something free? Leave a reply and maybe you will. Chances are that you probably actually won’t. I only have one copy to give away. But maybe it will be your super deluxe lucky day. Let’s just face it, though. probably not. Except for that one person, of course They will win. Just that one and no more. Because there is only one book to win. But you can always hope it’s you, I guess. Don’t count on it though. Or maybe do…. maybe you’re just the luckiest frickin’ person to read this blog today.
In case you were wondering, I traded Carla’s blob for a blob. She agreed to try her skills at a bird and here’s her Cranky Bird from the blob I gave to her. I think that she has truly captured the spirit of Cranky Birds and done it perfectly. But, you know, really, who cares? I don’t.
TRY THIS WEEK: Try a bird! Really! Try one! And, if you email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’ll post it over at Cranky Birds. I swear! (Seriously, do you know how hard it is to come up with this stuff all the time? SEND ME A BIRD!!)