Archive | July 2014

On vacation

Dear reader,

I will be offline for the next two and half weeks. I will spend my vacation this year by showing Berlin to my dear American friend Karen who will be coming to Berlin tomorrow. It might be that we not only wander through the streets of Berlin but also do a bit of art together. but there is nothing planned yet.

You are invited to browse through the archives of this blog, maybe you will discover something interesting and new.

Have a wonderful summer time!


Tree character

This painting is similar to this  marker painting here. It is based on the same pen and ink drawing, but when I did the marker painting I decided to cut off parts of the body. With this gouache painting I used a 17×24 sized watercolour paper and had more room for the body.

I didn’t trace my pen and ink sketch but drew it a second time, slightly changing the shape of the hands and the directions they are pointing to. As you can see as well there’s a big difference regarding the green of the leaves. My gouache set includes 2 shades of green – a leaf green and an emerald green. I used the emerald green, lightened with a bit of white. Some people say that greens are difficult to do, and they are right. Next time I’ll try to add some light ochre to the emerald, or even mix my greens out of blue and yellow!

Elf-prince – done in gouache

Elf Prince. Gouache on watercolour paper. July 2014

I’d already done this elf prince with markers, as you can see here. I wanted to find out how it could be done with gouache paints. I used the original pen and ink sketch as a reference for drawing the lines on the watercolour paper.

During the process of painting I found out that there is quite a learning curve regarding the amount of paint and water in order to get an opaque painting. In the end I used some of my markers to add a bit of orange to the red petals and to add a bit of olive green to the elf’s face. I also used a red marker to do the red part of his cloak. In the end I put some decoration on this part, this time with gouache again. So markers and gouache paint seem to go together very well.

Blue eyed Elf

Blue eyed elf. Gouache on canvas board. Ulla Hennig July 2014

I hadn’t touched my gouache paints for a long time. I had painted some abstract pieces with them, but then somehow lost my interest in them. This happened at a time when I had no idea about my style and what I wanted to paint.

Now I know more about what I want to do: tell stories with my art and /or tell stories and illustrate them. I have been doing some illustrations with coloured pencils and markers, or just with markers. But I had also watched a few videos about artists who used gouache paints for their illustrations.

So I thought why not grab those Gouache tubes and the canvas board I had bought half a year ago (or so) and have a go? I must say that I had a lot of fun doing the Blue eyed Elf. And I’m already working on a second illustration with Gouache paints…

Water-Elf, final version

Water elf. Markers on paper, July 2014

Here’s the final version of the water elf. Somehow during the process of painting I had the idea to add a bit of red to the painting and to mix it with the brown-grey colours of the stones. Doesn’t it look like the poor elf is shedding blood on the stones? Makes me want to write a story about it…

YouTube – a Source of Inspiration for Artists

I mentioned earlier that YouTube is a wonderful resource for art tutorials, especially regarding drawing and painting (traditional and digital). But during the last weeks I found out that it also can serve as an amazing source of inspiration.

I discovered Graeme Stevenson’s channel. He’s got a series going on called “Colour in your Life”. He lives in Australia and drives through his country on his bike, visiting artists. His videos on the one hand show the works of the artist(s) and on the other hand allow us to participate in their process of creating art.

I include one example here:

Water Elf – making progress

Water elf – still work in progress

Some days ago I bought my first Shin Han Touch marker. It’s got the colour name “Seaweed green”. I used it to paint the leaves on the head of the elf, and the leaves on his arms. You can get various shades of it when you use a blue marker first and then put the seaweed green on it, or you can even blend it with a lighter green.

While I was working on the elf I noticed that my “spectrum green” copic ciao was used up. Of course copic offers refill inks in all shades, but I will go and buy a Shin Han Marker to replace the copic ciao. Shin Han also has a “spectrum green” in their colour palette.

Yesterday my friend Claudia and I did the framing of my paintings for the Group Art Show on Saturday. I was again impressed of the difference a frame makes. I also realized how much art I have been doing for the last year, and how many mediums I had tried: acrylic paints, soft pastels, markers and coloured pencils. Of course I am still a bit anxious about showing my art pieces, but this time I definitely am more relaxed than last year. Indeed I am looking forward to Saturday!

Water Elf WIP

Water elf. work in progress. Markers on paper.

I decided to clean up the sketch I showed in my last post and use it for another marker painting. This time I want to focus on shades of blue, with a bit of a complementary orange or yellow in it.

Tomorrow will be framing time, so there will be no time for drawing and painting; hopefully I can work on this piece a bit before the soccer half final on Tuesday which will begin at 10pm local time.

Another plant character

Plant character. Sketch with ballpoint pen on a piece of scrap paper

I seem to be obsessed with plant or tree characters. This is a very rough and quick sketch, drawn with a ballpoint pen on a piece of scrap paper. I’d like to work on this rough sketch and create a clean drawing with it, which then could be used as lineart for another marker painting.

But I don’t know when I will do that – Saturday in a week will be the opening of the second group art show of my artist life. I still remember last year when it was the first time for me to participate in an art show. I was so excited when people stopped in front of my illustrations and even wanted to hear my thoughts about them! This year I know a bit what to expect, but I am still a bit nervous. …

Elf Prince – final version

Elf prince. Markers on very smooth paper. June 2014

I managed to put the finishing touches on this illustration on the weekend – between two soccer matches. I decided to show this piece together with this one at the group show on July 12. As the format of the paper is rather unusual (DIN A 5, which is half of a DIN A 4 sheet of paper), I had to look for some cardstock to put it on. Yesterday I took the bus to a quite famous art store here in Berlin (it is called “modulor”), had the two illustrations with me and selected some coloured sheets of cardstock paper.In addition to that I bought two DIN A 4 aluminium frames.

Next Monday me and my friend Claudia will  swap some of my paintings which are still framed and replace them by Illustrations I did the last year, and we will frame the two marker pieces. I am definitely looking forward to that undertaking!