by Linda H. Clark
I frequently describe my artistic style as illustrative and whimsical. It has hints of realism in a colorful, creative and stylized manner. People tell me my art puts a smile on their face, and I love hearing that.
I am a color pencil portrait artist and have recently also been creating some fun still life pieces. However, this particular story is about some of my more whimsical work: my Sassy Selfies.
I have always loved drawing people. In college, I studied fashion illustration at Parsons School of Design, in New York City, and graphic design and illustration at The Colorado Institute of Art, in Denver. When my children were young, I used to enjoy creating sketches of them in imaginary settings.
As I raised my family, art took a back seat, but my love of drawing people never faded. I started drawing again in 2004 and soon after, discovered colored pencils and Ann Kullberg’s book Colored Pencil Portraits Step By Step. I was immediately hooked on color pencils and was fortunate to be able to take Ann’s Colored Pencil Portrait Workshop just a few months later. For the next 10+ years, I enjoyed designing fun, whimsical, colored pencil greeting cards of children, using old and new family photos. I also kept busy with portrait commissions.
A few years ago, at the suggestion from a friend, who had seen some of my more creative drawings, I developed some fun, whimsical portraits that I call “Sassy Selfies.” These stylized portraits, are a fun alternative to a traditional portrait and give me the freedom to use my graphic design and fashion illustration background.
A typical “Sassy Selfie” portrait combines various aspects of my clients’ personality. In this portrait of Ann Kullberg, I wanted the motif to reflect her cheerful and fun nature. I chose a reference photo (with her approval), and included many of her interests, including her granddaughter Evey, travel, cruises... and of course, color pencils.
Last fall, while I was a participating artist in an art and wine walk, I was people watching and taking photos of the crowd. I was suddenly struck with an inspiration to combine some of my photos from the 2016 CPSA Exhibition in Tacoma, WA, to create my own, fun, art gallery opening. In a sense, to create a fictional world using real people. I wanted a lot of people attending my imaginary gallery, so it took quite awhile for me to sketch everyone individually, and come up with a layout that I liked. I had hundreds of photos to choose from. I wanted to include my friends, but it was also important to have a balanced composition and to convey the party atmosphere during a gala art gallery opening.
I studied my photo references to find interesting faces and poses and had to determine where each person would be placed in the room and which direction they would be looking. This was best done by transferring my sketches to tracing paper, cutting each one out, and moving them around the page until it felt right.
There are 22 people included in this drawing. As I added color to each figure, I posted my work in progress photos in a few of the color pencil groups on Facebook. It was fun to read some of the comments as people began recognizing themselves and others. (By the way….that's me in the middle with glasses on and Ann Kullberg in orange in the forefront).
I had so much fun creating The Gallery that I wanted to create another fun, imaginary setting with a few of my color pencil art friends. For my most recent piece, shown below, I contacted a few art friends and asked permission to use photos of them at work and created my fictional color pencil workshop (yep, I'm in this one too… along with four talented friends Carolyn Chua, Barbara Dahlstedt, Rhonda Dicksion, and Judith Selcuk).
I have several ideas for a few more creative “Sassy Selfie” style drawings in real or imaginary places… so be aware: I may be drawing you sometime soon!
Note: All three of these pieces were completed with Prismacolor Premier color pencils and Micron Ink pens. I also used Derwent Inktense and Derwent Watercolor Pencils in The Gallery and Sassy Class.
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Linda now lives in the Pacific Northwest. She retired three years ago to spend more time with her grandsons, who are her constant source of fun and artistic inspiration. Linda is the creator and administrator of The Creative Color Place, a color pencil group on Facebook.
See more at www.facebook.com/happygrammwhimsy6