Illustrator and Daughter collaboration for a fun family project
My name is Mica Angela Hendricks. I'm a graphic artist for MWR and a freelance illustrator. Several months ago, a blog post I did about allowing my daughter to illustrate with me went viral online, and has added a fun element to my own artwork.
For years, I labored under the idea that to be a "fine artist" you had to use "fine art" supplies. But try as I might graphite never fit well on me, and my paintings in plain acrylic just always felt like they were missing something.
One of my favorite things has always been drawing in a sketchbook. I've drawn since I was younger, and always had a sketchbook in my hand. Sketchbooks were portable and easy to carry. And for sheer practicality (pencils smudge too much for me), I have always loved drawing in ballpoint pen. Yes, plain ol' ballpoint pen.
My daughter loves the story of Frida Kahlo. Her aunt & uncle sent her a Frida shirt and she has a children's book on Frida. She loved that Frida was an artist like her. It may not be the "finest" of processes, but I'll walk you through how my daughter and I doodled a Frida portrait together:
I always start the process by sketching a portrait in ballpoint pen. It's my favorite medium for sketching. I like working on natural-colored (tan) paper; it seems to add more depth to the shading.
Next, I let our daughter add on to the piece. This (as I described in my blog post) is always one of the most frustrating but wonderful parts. Allowing a kid to add on to something you've created can be quite intimidating. What if she messes it up? What if she scribbles it? To help not stress too much, I don't add TOO much to my initial drawing. Just the basics, so if she decides to get too crazy with the doodle and I can't make sense of it, I didn't invest too much time into it. Bust mostly, she is pretty good about being excited to make it a fun and beautiful piece.
I usually go back and add a little detail when she's done.
When we first started our collaborative doodles, I used a variety of plain Sharpie markers or colored scrap-booking markers on top of the ballpoint pen sketch, but when Jerry's sent me the Prismacolor Premier Brush Tip set of 200 markers, I was in color heaven.
I start by adding a base layer of color. The ballpoint pen reacts in a strange way, usually, and gets a purplish tint, but tends up blending it a little better later in the process.
There are SO many different subtle shades in the Prismacolor market set that you can blend the colors smoothly, and they allow for a lot of error and play. There's even a colorless blending marker to help with the edging. Having such a wide amount of shades and tints in the markers allows for wonderful color options in the project, and the brush tips are so much like painting with a paintbrush. They're amazingly fun to work with, and very forgiving. You don't have to be so delicate with the colors, and can always blend another color on top to give it another dimension. I also like to keep a scrap piece of paper next to my drawing to do a quick color swatch, to make sure the color is what I'm looking for.
After I lay the basic color blocking out in Prismacolor Premier markers, I like to add highlights in acrylic. It just gives it an extra dimension, and really builds up the shape.
And here is the final collaborative piece by my 4-year old daughter and me-"Frida with Paintbrushes."
Overall, aside from the foundation layer of ballpoint pen, Prismacolor Premier Brush Tip markers are by far one of my favorite mediums to work with. I love the feel of "painting" with them, and the variety of colors make them amazingly fun to use....Now, if I could just keep my daughter away from them...
For more information on Mica Angela Hendricks, check out her website at www.busymockingbird.com and stay tuned for more information on this intriguing artist coming soon on The Splatter.