Sunday, December 23, 2012

Unto Us a Child is Born

This is a 20" by 26" chalkboard commission that I recently completed. Its really easy to make your own chalkboard with a quick trip to the hardware store. All you need is 8th or 16th inch masonite hardboard (cut to size) and a can of Rustoleum chalkboard spray. Make sure you spray your chalkboard in a well ventilated area.
I mask the edges with masking tape so that I can draw clean edges and so that afterward I have room to handle the piece without smearing it. I use Nupastels for full fledged illustrations, but if you are making a simple board for messages and lists you can use normal school chalk.
Since becoming a watercolor artist my approach to beginning an illustration has changed. Now I draw the entire image (like I would with pen) and then add the color (like I would add watercolor.) I make my lines with black and then go over all the lines with bright dark blue. I also use the bright dark blue for all my under shading. This ties the piece together nicely. When I complete a piece I have it framed behind glass with a little space between the board and glass. I have not found a fixitive that I like. I find that they dull the colors and make the illustration look grainy. 
This was a fun piece to do. I enjoyed giving Joseph, Mary and Jesus beautiful dark skin and brown eyes. I feel like I always see Bible accounts illustrated with white looking people. But, Jesus is from the middle east, so I wanted to be accurate.
Here is a look at the process:

O Holy Night,
the stars are brightly shinning!
It is the night, 
of our dear Savior's birth. 
Long lay the world, in sin and error pining,
'til He appeared and the soul felt it's worth. 
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices!
For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn!


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