over the past few months, i examined the idea of home: an environment that evokes a sense of warmth and companionship. in this examination, i challenged myself to create illustrations that follow the format of a children’s book, reflect different decades, and show some sort of interior scene. now that i finished this illustration series, feel free to compare the final paintings with their initial sketches!
i am an artist, and i am in quarantine.
my calendar is a guesstimate, and that’s okay. the future is uncertain—was always uncertain—and that’s okay. i muddle through periods of motivation and periods of discouragement. this, too, is okay.
today, i’ll continue working on the artwork shown. most importantly, i’ll contact some friends and family.
what will i do tomorrow? i’ll find out when i get there.
about the artwork
- dino stationary
- for a set of greeting cards, i am designing a theme of dinosaurs and flora. now that i sketched my linework and value studies, i am testing color palettes on my drawings.
- promenading possums
- i finally passed from the color study and sketching stages. (yay!) over the next week, i’ll continue to post updates on the final painting of my possums: clementine and juniper. to view these updates, visit my instagram, @annalise_barber.
- watercolor & gouache still life
- over the past week, i experimented with gouache and colorful paper. (it was quite challenging!) next week, i’ll concentrate on adding watercolor pencils to my work.
thank you for reading, and stay safe!
a friendly autumn breeze jostles the banners of forest-land farmers’ market. below these flapping banners, delilah the dog barks about her onions, finnick the fish promotes his greens, and kara the caterpillar sings about her newly jarred jams. on top of rich brown mulch, underneath a chirping sky, all of forest-land gathers within the farmers’ market.
all the while, papa owl hops along from vendor to vendor. he scouts for a scrumptious dinner for his four owlets: scooter, scribble, squirt, and splinter. stay close, papa owl advises the owlets. (a market would be a terrible place to get lost in!)
as the family of owls browse each stand, papa owl questions which produce to gather for dinner. should he purchase the radishes? perhaps the peaches? before papa owl can decide…SWOOSH! scooter zooms into the air and flies away from papa owl. scooter’s spotted something—or someone—and is on a mission to catch it!
my process for the illustration
after jotting down a basic perspective grid, i composed papa owl and his owlets on top of the gird. then, i placed them within a collection of farmers’ market stands and animal vendors.
whenever i felt that i “ran out of things to add,” i brainstormed another element of narrative: a rouge kite, a lost coin, a language of bird scratches, etc.
after receiving feedback from my peers and instructor, i edited a few things within my linework:
- i replaced the clawed foot with a radish basket.
- i adjusted the eyes of scribble, the front owlet.
- i added more drapery folds to the market stands.
- i included more leaves within the peach basket.
- i gave scooter, the running owl, a wrap-around bandage. (he’s a little rascal, so he gets into many dangerous skirmishes.)
- i drew paws for the dog vendor.
- color study
to determine the color palette of the final illustration, i practiced painting with an autumnal color palette.
- final illustration
moving onward to the final illustration, i adjusted the opacity of select lines. i colored the image with the impressionist-like brushes of Kyle T. Webster. (these brushes were found within the latest update of Adobe Photoshop.)
- moving illustration (gif)
once i completed the illustration, i decided to add a bit of movement; working frame-by-frame, i blinked the owls’ eyes, wiggled the worm’s tail, and floated bubbles within the fish vendor’s water helmet.
to view the latest updates of my characters, visit my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annalise_barber/
i wouldn’t call myself a woodswoman. (let’s face it: mosquitoes are a killjoy.) nevertheless, i adore nature. i observe blossoms as they stretch from the ground. i relish the smell of fresh dirt. i listen to the cadence of rain against leaves.
springtime is the overture of nature, and i miss the company of sunlight and trees.
it is disappointing to be quarantined during this delightful season. however, it is important to keep our friends, family, and communities safe.
even so, i have great news: we can still go on walks! if you live in Ohio, you are allowed to go on outdoor walks for exercise.* over these past few weeks, i found that a fifteen-minute walk—or even longer!—greatly relieves my stress. in the middle of this crisis, i felt encouraged by the chipper attitude of my neighborhood birds and squirrels. although walks are by no means a cure-all for this pandemic, sunshine can serve as a reminder:
there is beauty and consistency in the midst of this chaos.
reflecting upon nature, i’ve begun my next project, a watercolor painting of two promenading possums. (i’m unsure of their names, so feel free to send suggestions in the comments!) over this next week, i will start painting on my 1.5’ x 2’ paper. the scale of this painting daunts me. so, as you can imagine, i’ll probably take some walks.
* i am not a doctor. if you were instructed to avoid the outdoors by a medical professional, please listen to them!
for more information about the coronavirus in Ohio, visit:
walk photography provided by my roommate and good pal, Mariana Floria.
looking for a hobby? sure, this might not challenge for you. so let me clarify:
find a hobby outside of your profession.
if you’re a vocational artist, you participate in this field because you love art. and, yes, that’s fantastic! however, the monetizing of your passion can deter you. (when you toil over your artwork all day, it’s not much of a “break” to sit down and draw.)
if you relate to any of this sentiment,
then i suggest for you to try my challenge!
surprisingly, swing dancing became my preferred hobby.
i never expected to view a room of strangers as inviting or even enjoyable. as an introvert, i expected to find the most entertainment at home, alone. however, i found that swing dancing encapsulates the lovely qualities of visual art; while swinging, i improvise and jazz up my mistakes. i collaborate with other dancers to create a movement to music. i embody the melody of a song. when i swing dance, i remember why i’m an artist, and i remember how to have fun as an artist.
as silly as it sounds, a hobby can enliven your job as an artist. therefore, i reiterate the best advice that i received from art school: find a hobby.
nine black women who creatively changed America
- Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
- Marian Anderson
- Billie Holiday
- Toni Morrison
- Maya Angelou
- Zora Neale Hurston
- visual artists
- Amy Sherald
- Edmonia Lewis
- Kara Walker
let’s time travel
do you remember visiting the post office as a kid? after the line of package-senders, after the brick walls, after the monotonous ticking of the clock, you reached the glass counter. underneath the glass, there were rows and rows of stickers. (well, actually, they were postage stamps.)
for any kid, postage stamps are the gems of mail. in this project, i aim to create stamps with people who are downright cool! specifically, i focus on black female artists. why? because we remember history through art. i want to thank the women who made my history.
let’s celebrate black history, and let’s celebrate it every month!
catch a glimpse of my process:
a few years ago, a dear friend gifted me with a poem for my birthday. not art supplies, not quirky jewelry, not anything expected—instead, she collaged words into an illustration of friendship and joy. although i rarely see her, i untuck this poem occasionally from my desk. i replay the words to remind myself that words matter. love matters. encouragement matters.
today, in the midst of this pandemic, i’ll read this poem before i fall asleep, for words can give us hope.
i don’t have a poem for you, but i do have a list of songs. whenever i listen to the lyrics of these artists, i feel a little more cheerful. i hope that you will too.
- Coffee by beabadoobee
- Everybody Gets a Kitten by Jeremy Messersmith
- We’re Going to Be Friends by The White Stripes
- Best Part by Daniel Caesar featuring H.E.R.
- Stay High by Brittany Howard
- Library Magic by The Head and the Heart
- As by Stevie Wonder
- 65th & Ingleside by Chance the Rapper
- September by Earth, Wind & Fire
- Good as Hell by Lizzo