On Comics and Coming Full Circle.

Comic-style Landscape 3, Sept. 16, 2014Comic-style Landscape 2, Sept. 16, 2014Comic-style Landscape 1, Sept. 16, 2014

Ah, finally a good studio day! And I didn’t even get the paints out. Instead, I put my touchscreen laptop to good use and figured out how to use my Freshpaint program to digitally paint onto existing watercolours, just adding some comic-style outlining to them. I hadn’t been as happy with how finicky using a real brush to outline onto the paintings was, and I have been meaning to try out digital painting for a while.

I love how versatile doing the outlining on the computer is–I can un-do brushstrokes or colours, and I can do multiple versions from a single painting until I get what I want. I even have a “digital” paintbrush that I got specifically for touchscreens. I don’t know if it is much different from using a real paintbrush on the touchscreen (if that even works, I’ll admit I have not tried it), but the brush was on sale so I thought I would try it.

At first I thought that my interest in doing these comic-style watercolours had come from reading a lot more comics since we opened up our comic store, but the other day my husband pointed out that I was doing this back in University. How would I forget that? Maybe because it was met with disapproval at the time–I was doing acrylic portraits and then drawing back onto them and outlining with charcoal. I was told that drawing did not belong in a painting course, and I nearly failed the course because of it–and would have had it not been for the other instructors who defended me. Blah, I get stressed just thinking about it. It is interesting that 10 years later I am back to doing something similar, maybe I am finally continuing on with what I had actually started back then.

Even so, I have definitely been inspired by comic books. One of my biggest “Aha” moments came when I was reading about how the Saga series is illustrated by Fiona Staples. She does it all digitally and in layers and she is phenomenal. I tried to meet her at the Calgary Comic Expo this year, but the wait was so long; then I became too self-conscious about what I would say to her when I finally got there, so I chickened out. At the time I was also cos-playing as one of the main characters from Saga (Alana) which was only making me more nervous. Oh well, maybe next time I’ll catch her.

Kikwi Book Number 1(pages 1-9).

Page 1For this post I am going all the way back to February of this year. It’s funny how much my daughter’s skills have changed in just a few months. I forget how well she writes–back in February she was only using a few words in her drawings, and now she is writing whole pages. This was the first of the four Kikwi books she made. I had bought her one of those mini notebooks at Dollarama or somewhere, and she promptly filled it up with these very intricate comic-style stories about Kikwis (from The Legend of Zelda video game), along with some other mash-up references from anything she was into at the moment. The other main character she uses is actually Link (also from Legend of Zelda), but when she and my husband were playing the game he renamed Link “Lamesauce”, as Dads are apt to do, and the name stuck. So Lamesauce features heavily in her Kikwi stories.

There are 60 pages like the first page above, some with more panels and some with less, but all more or less following a storyline. I attempted to get Poppy to tell me what was happening in each panel, but we only got to page 19 and we were both pretty tired. So in Poppy’s own words, with only some minor clarification on my part, the story goes as follows:

Page 1 (pictured above) Panel 1 and 2 – Lamesauce leaves his room. Panel 3 – Two Kikwis and a Pony (a My Little Pony) sneak in. Panel 4 – An elder Kikwi and a little Kikwi bring Lamsauce a present. Panel 5 – A bunch of little Kikwis and an elder Kikwi bring Lamesauce presents. Panel 6 – Lamesauce catches some butterflies (just like in the video game).

And just for reference, this is a Kikwi: Kikwi_SS

Page 2 Page 2 Panel 1 – A Kikwi took the book from Lamesauce’s desk. Panel 2 – Four Kikwis get a giant book. Panel 3 – Seven Kikwi’s go down a vine. Panel 4 – One Kikwi lets go of the vine and takes a sailcloth landing (how Link lands in the game) into the water. Panel 5 – They all fall in the water all at the same time. Panel 6 – They swim underwater.

Page 3Page 3 Panel 1 – Lamesauce dropped his sword! Panel 2 – Then he threw off his green hat and green-like jacket (she was very specific about the “green-like jacket”). Panel 3 – The Lumpy Pumpkin (a place in the game). Panel 4 – A bunch of pumpkins and the pumpkin field of The Lumpy Pumpkin. Panel 5 – All the main Ponies find Lamesauce’s green hat and green-like jacket. Panel 6 – Both Unicorn Ponies do a spell to be able to hold the purple blanket.

Page 4Page 4 Panel 1 – The elder Kikwi and a little Kikwi find a globe that shows a burning eye (from Lord of the Rings)! Panel 2 – The elder Kikwi is trying to think what book to read next (because he is on the last page). Panel 3 – One of the little Kikwis  brings out the book saying “Yes yes” but the elder Kikwi says “No!”. Panel 4 – He reads the first page of “The King Who Tickled the Moon” (one of Poppy’s home reading books from school). Panel 5 – All the Kikwis say “We” because they want to read the book but the elder says no. Panel 6 – He’s like “Umm these Kikwis are too crazy!”. Panel 7 – Then they all say “Wii” because they want to play Boom Blox (a Wii game). Panel 8 – The elder Kikwi says “Yes.” and he puts the book away.

Page 5Page 5 Panel 1 – Lamesauce picks up a Kikwi, ready to read a story. Panel 2 – The Kikwi starts reading a story by saying “We.” Panel 3 – The Kikwi reads more by saying “We go.” Panel 4 – The Kikwi reading says “It’s me.” because the Kikwi who is reading is the Kikwi waving the sailcloth around and around. Panel 5 – Then he is showing a picture of Kikwis on a bus. Panel 6 – A Kikwi raising a phone and a Kikwi raising a book. Panel 7 – Kikwis pouring seeds. Panel 8 – Kikwis pouring more seeds.

Page 6Page 6 Panel 1 – Then the seeds pouring slows down. Panel 2 – The book is showing you how to love other Kikwis. Panel 3 – Then it’s showing a lucky heart envelope. Panel 4 – It talks more about the heart envelopes. Panel 5 – Then it’s telling Tutu (one of the Kikwis) to go to the ponies. Panel 6 – A Kikwi shouts “It’s The End!” (of the Kikwi Yearbook). Panel 8 – A Kikwi catches a heart ladybug.

Page 7Page 7 Panel 1 – A Kikwi watches her crystal ball, holding her bug net. Panel 2 – A bunch of Kikwis go dancing while one holds a book. Panel 3 – Then a Kikwi sees the vine jumping. Panel 4 – A bunch of Kikwis go “We’ll hang onto the vine with you.” Panel 5 – They all go down the vine and two let go and take a sailcloth landing into the water. Panel 6 – They all fall into the water at once. Panel 7 – The elder Kikwi went searching for all his little Kikwis. Page 8 – All the Kikwis meet Lamesauce under water.

Page 8Page 8 Panel 1 – A puff of pink turns into Spike (from My Little Pony). Panel 2 – Spike tells the Kikwis about the best My Little Ponies. Panel 3 and 4 – A heart turns into Sweetie Belle. Panel 5 and 6 – A puff of pink turns into Princess Luna.

Page 9Page 9 Panel 1 – A Kikwi thinks about Lamesauce. Panel 2 – Then she thinks of dowsing for Lamesauce. Panel 3 – She started dowsing and it said Lamesauce was underground digging for Rupies. Panel 4 – Then Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Applejack came up but that was wrong! Panel 5 – Then a minion (from Despicable Me) disguised as Lamesauce came up. Panel 6 – The Kikwi thought it was the real Lamesauce. She didn’t notice the minion pin. Panel 7 – It pulled off it’s disguise and looked like a minion. Panel 8 – Then she was like “Urgh!” and she said “No more wrong things!”


So that seemed like a good spot to end off. I just love how she can portray emotions and express actions with her simple little Kikwi drawings. I don’t think I could do it. Especially just sitting down and drawing out of my head.



Pop and Puppycat!

Pop and Puppycat comic coverIt has been a long time since I posted anything of my daughter’s. Since I last posted any art of hers, she has been busy making books. She started doing a lot of comic-style stories with panels, but her newest book (not this one) is going more into text-based stories. One day I will post one of her first books which she called her “Kikwi Books”. She made four of them and Titled them Kikwi Book 1, Kiwi Book 2, Kikwi Book 3, and Kikwi Book 4 and they are a mash-up of influences from My Little Pony, Legend of Zelda, and Lord of the Rings. Though they each have 60 pages and there is a whole lot of information on each page so I haven’t decided the best way to showcase those. For now here is “Pop and Puppycat” (her shortest book so far) which she did based on the comic “Bee and Puppycat” by Natasha Allegri–a new favourite of hers.

Bee and Puppycat by Natasha AllegriWe have been talking about creating art and copying art and how when you are learning to be an artist you often start by copying and imitating other artists that you like until you find your own style, although you can still be influenced by them and their work. Poppy has really latched onto this idea and is prolifically copying anything she loves but always changing things just a bit so she isn’t directly copying it. I think it’s pretty incredible for someone who isn’t even in grade one yet!


A Perfect Day Part Two.

This image is from the same day as last weeks painting. I was envisioning it as the second page (or first page) to go with that one. It’s interesting that this week I was doing all the collages with thinner borders and I think I might prefer that, so I redid the one from last week with a thinner border (see below). I am still having trouble narrowing down which I think is the best collage — I think adding text to the images would help to rule some of them out…or maybe it would just mean that I would have double the possibilities for layout options that I have now…

Here is three other versions that I like, as well as the original painting.

A Perfect Day.

This was at the opening reception for an art show I was in. It was a gorgeous summer day and my daughter was just running and running through fields having the time of her life.

I am more and more seeing the collages of these watercolours as page layouts and stories. For this one I moved into making collages that look more like two page spreads in a graphic novel, and I was thinking about things like where the text would go, if I had text for it. It would be neat to work on each painting as if it were a complete page — as it is they don’t feel quite done yet. I made too many collages of this one and had to pull my husband in for feedback. These are his four top picks:

I am spending a lot of time in my studio lately working, thinking, playing…as it should be :)

Oh the Possibilities are endless! But a Woman’s Got to Sleep!

Back to the backyard — a now very well documented view — where we finally have beautiful fall colours! While I was painting this one a storm came up and there aren’t nearly as many leaves on the trees now so I am very glad I chose to paint the yard when I did. After uploading the photo of this one I started playing around with cropping. I think I spent three times as long playing with it as I did painting it. Here is a few of my favourite crops :)

Once again I was thinking about comics and how much room there is to play with the images and cropping and layout… it is endless! I have a whole folder on my desk top right now just with images from this painting. And then I got into making the crops into photo collages (like the one below) and now my head is spinning with all the things I could do! But I am exhausted so that is all for now :)

SHAZZAM! Comic Book Scotch!

Thought I’d try a watercolour still life in the same comic book style as my self-portrait from last week. I did it the same way with a pencil and sharpie sketch first which I then lightly traced onto watercolour paper. Then I did the watercolour layer and the final outline in with a fine brush and black watercolour. I think the variance in line weight was better in the portrait, but I guess that would be something to work on.

KAPOW! Comic Book Dayna!

I’m reading a lot of comics lately. Decided to try something comic-bookish with my watercolour this week. It seems like a natural progression. For this I first did a sketch of myself in the mirror and outlined it with a sharpie. Then because it was on such thick sketchbook paper I decided to scan it and do a printout of it so I could trace it lightly onto watercolour paper. Then I did the watercolour of myself, in the mirror again, and lastly I outlined it with black watercolour paint and a very fine brush. It was fun. The eyes aren’t quite right–to look like me that is, they do look very comic bookish. And for some reason I always get the bottom half of my face right but not the top, so there the bottom half is me, the top half not so much. But all together it’s a nice comic book style Dayna :)