Art Journal for Veteran's Day

morethanwarHello Peoples!  Another week has passed here at The Artistic Biker, and I have uploaded another video on YouTube!  I REALLY enjoy making those videos almost as much as I like making the art journals.  This week, as you can see, I did a very “Americentric” tribute to veteran’s for the upcoming Veteran’s Day holiday.

Snapshot(0)I always start out by spreading gesso on the pages.  Not only does it prep the paper so that the watercolors and acrylics don’t destroy it, I LOVE the texture and the leathery feel it gives the paper.  I use a LOT of gesso on this and just about everything else I work with now.

Snapshot(1)Then I use my watercolor crayons to lay in the hues and overall lighting effects I want for the piece.  With the transparent acrylics I use, this saves a lot of shading at the other end of the piece.  By putting these colors down first, I can build layers on top of them and not have to worry about where the lighting is going to fall.

Photo0189I drove through the neighborhoods looking to take some reference photos.  I found several flags, but incredibly I chose a day that the wind was not blowing in Oklahoma.  I’m sure that is one of the signs of the Apocalypse.  Ultimately, I selected this shot for the “furling” it has.

Photo0182I also cruised over to the local recruiting office to get some photos of our service men and women in uniform.  I still feel a deep sense of pride when I greet the people serving our country today.  It brings back so many very emotional memories of when I served.  There is an aura of professionalism around most of them that you just can’t fake.  I got a few great pictures and chose the one on the right of this young man saluting the flag.

Snapshot(2)Using my reference photo, I sketched the flag onto the journal page with a blue watercolor pencil.  The pencil washes away with the acrylics and helps to add a shadow to the bottom of each seam of the flag.

Snapshot(3)I put the reference photo away and begin laying in the colors.  I won’t look back at the photo from here on out.  Photo realism is cool, but not really what I look for in my art.  By the time I get to this point, it’s all about how it makes me feel.

Snapshot(5)I printed the photo of the soldier on a transparency sheet and tried to do a gel medium transfer.  I’m pretty sure I used the wrong type of gel medium because it didn’t work out the way they demonstrate it in all the youtube videos out there.  However, it did transfer a NICE silhouette of the soldier’s salute.  I darkened the whole thing and then went back in with some highlights.  I left the back edge of the soldier transparent as it looks as though the colors of the flag are reflected light on his uniform.  Sometimes, the mistakes give you better results than perfect technique ever could.

Finally, I went around the edges with black acrylic paint and did a spatter effect with red, white, and blue paints.  If you have any questions, please feel free to post them here, or e-mail them to me and I will be happy to answer what I can.  So, without any further ado, here is this week’s WIP video:

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