We're back again with another Art Attack! If you're new to the series, this is where I share my drawings and the process behind them. A behind-the-scenes look at my artwork, if you will. This is not to say that I'm very good at art, or that I'm a professional in any way. In fact this is the opposite, and serves as a reminder to how I first started, and lets me track my progress too!
So last week, I shared a piece I did for one of my friends, Averyn, who inspired me to try a new black and white minimalist style, which I really loved!
Since I did a piece for her, it only felt right to do one for my other friend too, since the three of us hang out together quite a lot. And I didn't want her to feel left out. So I set to work thinking of some ideas for her.
And the first thing that came to mind was a Stardew Valley-themed portrait! It's kinda similar to what I drew for Sean and I for our wedding day, but of course it'll be of my friend instead.
You can check out the process behind the above piece here btw.
But just to refresh if you're not familiar with the game, Stardew Valley is a charming indie farming simulator RPG, where you take the role of a character who, to get away from the hustle of an office job, takes over their deceased grandfather's dilapidated farm in a place known as Stardew Valley.
Anyway, in the game, when you talk to the NPCs, a dialogue box with a portrait of that character comes up that looks something like this:
So my plan was to basically draw a portrait for my friend, Kai! It's actually pretty relevant for her since she is a farmer irl! She owns an insect farm right here in Singapore (the first of its kind!) and when we started playing Stardew multiplayer together we used to joke that she would spend all day farming irl and all night farming in Stardew Valley.
Both of us are really obsessed with Stardew Valley so I thought this would be fun for us; me drawing it and she receiving it, of course.
For the pose I wanted her to be carrying her cat in her arms because she's also really obsessed with cats. And I also thought of drawing a chicken on her head because the chickens in Stardew are really cute, and she has an actual chicken on her farm too!
This was sorta the pose I was gonna reference, but this wasn't her chicken.
This was the chicken on her farm, adorably named Popeye!
I basically scoured her instagram for photos to reference and eventually I got the ones I needed. But if you've read my art posts before you'll know I have a huge difficulty drawing people. I wanted it to look like the Stardew style as close as possible, so I tried to find some pictures I could reference. And these were some of the ones I found:
Elliee's style is so cute and pretty! It actually reminded me of the new Disney movies a couple of TV shows. I really liked her drawings; of course the challenge was not only emulating her style but also emulating it to actual watercolour since hers were all digital.
I also found another really helpful artist named Robert Dejesus who actually draws people from their selfies! Since it was essentially what I was gonna do, it was immensely helpful seeing how he converted actual photos into drawings.
Anyway, after a ton of research, I finally set out to sketching!
This was my first draft:
Drawing the face:
And I was initially thinking the cat could pose something like this:
But then his body would be too fat so I changed it:
And I thought this sketch looked pretty good, until I outlined it..
Her face was a little out of shape and her eyes weren't symmetrical, among other things. So regrettably, I had to redraw it.
I thought this one looked a lot better. Other than maybe her hand being too small. But I tried so many times and it just looked weird the bigger I tried to draw it so I just left it.
This was what it looked like outlined! And this is basically what I had in mind for the background. Sorta like how we joked about her farming all day and all night.
Time to get to painting!
I was using a new watercolour set and I was really nervous since I didn't know how it would look like on this paper. I did a couple swatches but still. I kinda freaked out at the orangey-brown colour of the chicken and was hoping I could make it work somehow.
Eventually I got this!
Then later I realised I should colour in her eyes, so here's the final piece!
I made a couple mistakes here and there due to smudging, unfortunately. And this paper that I was using isn't very watercolour-friendly since it's not that absorbent but I think overall it looks pretty good! Especially for a first time trying this style. I remember being pretty satisfied when I was done.
I used the same exact measurements for this (using my plate) that I did for Averyn's piece so I knew this one would fit exactly in the IKEA frame as well; perfect for a gift! And I was so excited to finally give it to Kai herself! She was absolutely blown away! I was so happy that she loved it!
She was so excited and I was so glad! They're actually one of the first friends I've ever given my art to (I've only given Sean and my siblings my art before this), so I was kinda nervous that they wouldn't like it. Or that they'd just say they like it when they actually didn't. But I could tell Kai was really genuine in her reaction. She was so happy she took to sharing it on instagram right away!
She even said I got Popeye's colours exactly right! At the time I've only ever seen her chicken in photos so it was literally a happy accident. But I was just so happy that they both liked their presents! I was so excited to give it to them when I finished them but then lockdown happened, and I got injured which delayed things even more. So it was just a huge relief to finally hand it to them.
Sorry for the long post! This was quite a process, but I hope you enjoyed it!
Thanks so much for reading!
To find out more about me, check out my intro post here!