Lots of Love for the Giraffe

The other day I was thinking about all the animals I have drawn during the course of my illustration career. Over the years I have drawn animals from all different types of environments such as elephants, frigate birds, peacocks, lizards, monkeys, cardinals, zebras, and lots more. Many of the illustrations were painted in watercolor and gouache or pen and ink line art for various children’s publications, activity pages, games, and greeting cards.

I would have to say that one of my favorite animals to draw is a giraffe. Of course, everyone knows they have that very long neck, but I also like them because they are so tall and I think those long eyelashes give their faces so much character.

Here’s a couple of my giraffe illustrations I’ve done over the years. And, in a few weeks, you will see my next paper sculpture. Yep, you guessed it — a giraffe!

Giraffes

Double The Fun: Finished Peonies

These peonies were fun to create. The white peony has a beautiful center of different shades of brilliant yellow with a tinge of orange on the tips. The dark colored peony are a combination of purples, alizarin crimson and magentas, which are some of my favorite colors. I framed both in small, black shadowbox frames with a white mat. I think they would be nice hung together on a wall — perhaps filling up that empty little nook.

Happy Bunny Day

Happy Bunny Day paper sculpture by Melinda FabianThe first signs of spring are in my yard, not only robins, but also little baby bunny rabbits hopping all over. Mama bunny and her little ones can be seen eating the fresh green grasses that sprout up among my purple crocus, yellow daffodils and tulips. They are so cute, I just had to make a little three-dimensional paper sculpture of a bunny rabbit. I wanted to add a little humor to it, so I included the sign, “Please Keep Off the Grass.”

The entire picture is made from paper – even the little bunny’s fur. Then it is painted in watercolor and gouache.

Happy Bunny Day is available at Seaside Art Gallery in Nags Head, NC. It will be there from May 6 through June 3, 2017.

Have you checked out your local art gallery?

Colorful_ButterfliesIf you are looking for something fun to do in your local area, check out your local artist gallery. Attend one of the receptions and meet talented artists right in your own area.

These galleries rely on their community to help support their endeavors. Consider joining your local gallery and help support your fellow artists. Even if you don’t want to exhibit your art in the gallery, there are plenty of other ways you can participate in the group.

Many local art associations also bring in professional speakers to teach or demonstrate during their meetings. It is a way to get out of your studio and meet someone else that you automatically have something in common with, and even find a little inspiration.

My area has several small galleries, and I have been to several of the openings at different galleries. I look forward to checking out more of them in the upcoming months.

Shopping Spree!

DickBlick2Earlier this week I went on a fun shopping spree at Dick Blick, where I picked up some more art supplies. My winnings included a new cover for my drawing table, watercolor paints, brush, watercolor paper and a new sketch book. Now is a good time to clean off my messy desk, clean out my paint trays and put that brand new cover on my drawing table!

Watercolorist Glenn Blue

Sketches12S_Melinda_FabianI had the pleasure of listening to Pennsylvania watercolorist Glenn Blue as he discussed some of his drawing and painting techniques.Over the years, Blue has traveled throughout the world, including Venice, Rome and Salzburg, and took classes with many talented artists during his travels. Blue creates marvelous watercolor paintings that have a realistic quality. Creating atmosphere and capturing the scene in a way that only Blue can imagine – whether he is bringing in bright sunlight shining through the trees on a wintry morning or that misty, foggy scene in the city. Through his vision and imagination he creates beautiful, realistic, watercolors full of atmosphere.

One of the things Blue talked about was the importance of continuing to practice your drawing and sketching. He will sketch any object from cars to evergreen trees to people walking down the street, filling up sketch books. He also discussed the importance of creating shadows, lights and darks and a range of values as you are practicing your drawings. Continue reading

Finding Inspiration

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Zion Canyon

Getting out of the studio and seeing different scenery is a great way to find inspiration for new ideas for your next upcoming project.

Recently, I traveled to the southwestern U.S. to an area of the country I had never seen before. I visited Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah and the Hoover Dam, which is on the border of Nevada and Arizona.

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Lake Mead at Hoover Dam

Each location offered breathtaking views. The beautiful, rich, teal colors of the water of Lake Mead flowing through the rock canyon is a sight to see at Hoover Dam. The colors of the cliffs, the height and the very different types of rock formations that both Zion and Bryce have to offer are spectacular. It is so fascinating to see the different types of plants — tumble week, scruffy bushes and shrubs, evergreens, palm trees, and of course a variety of flowers.

There just isn’t anything like that on the east coast. The landscape is so different in that area of the country. Here on the east coast, we have the lush green mountains and the rolling hills. I think each state across the country has something interesting to offer in its landscape.

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Bryce Canyon

I hope you all have the opportunity to take some time out of your studio to get a different view — take the camera, get away for a little while, if only for the afternoon. You don’t have to travel across country to get motivated to paint something new. Visit your local parks or even your own back yard, and I am sure you will feel inspired and excited to once again get back to your studio to paint up a new superb masterpiece.

Sometimes just looking at the scenery around you from a new perspective — perhaps from ground level, an “ants perspective,” or an aerial view like a “birds perspective” — can be enough to entice your imagination for your next painting.

Happy Painting!

Daffodil Spring

The daffodils are the first flowers blooming in my yard this spring. They have inspired me to make a couple of paper sculpture daffodils and to paint a couple of different daffodil pictures in  various sizes. I am going to paint miniature daffodils and another painting of a larger, life-size daffodil flower painting. Stay tuned for the finished paper sculpture paintings.

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SCBWI Conference Time

Portfolio_SCBWI_M.FabianOn March 19–20 I attended my first Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators MD/DE/WV regional event in Buckeystown, Md.

Saturday morning began with the keynote speaker Betsy Bird, followed by the choice of five out of 15 total lectures to attend. Many of sessions were geared towards writers, such as “Composing the Query Letter” by Victoria Selvaggio, “Write to Inspire: Work for Hire” by Kara Laughlin, “Writing with Pictures: Considering the Pictures When Writing for Picture Books and Graphic Novels” by Traci Todd, and “Revising a Novel from the Author’s and Editor’s Perspectives” by Andrew Harwell and Nanci Turner Steveson. Continue reading