I’ve been working on a few ATCs (“artist trading cards” – pint-sized art swap cards) lately. I find they’re a great size for when I want to experiment with techniques and new illustrations without the pressure of a canvas. I’m getting such satisfaction from being able to turn my love of beautiful things into something I can actively engage in and create something of my own out of, whether it be a combination of colours I notice, the shape of a tree I see on a walk or lyrics from a much loved childhood song. Like most 80’s babies I loved the movie “The Labyrinth” beyond all reason and still do. I joyfully discovered David Bowie’s wider repertoire last week and re-discovered the music from The Labyrinth as well. The first two ATCs below are my homage to the “Magic Dance” song. I so wanted to give them both familiars and even sketched a painfully cute bat and suitably aloof and elegant black cat but alas there wasn’t quite space enough for them.
One of my favourite techniques from Kelly Rae Roberts’ book “Taking Flight” is using vintage sewing patterns. She uses them like collage papers which looks beautiful but here I used them to trace a drawing I had previously done and layer it on top of a background I had already painted. For some reason I have immense difficulty replicating even the simplest of my own drawings so I got very excited when it struck me that I could simply copy myself. The only problem is that whatever you trace your images onto obviously then becomes a part of the piece and can mask a lot of the background, which you might want to be visible even through the final layer of paint. Vintage sewing patters add a beautiful sepia tone to the painting and also lets the background design peek through slightly.