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I know that at the end of my last post I mentioned that I was going to watch the latest tutorial video that the artist Ady Almanza had uploaded. Except she didn’t. For the first few weeks she uploaded the newest tutorial on Saturdays so when I finished writing the last post, I honestly thought that I would see a new tutorial. I kept on checking the Internet through early Saturday night until I gave up. I waited until Sunday to search some more thinking that she must be late but there was no new tutorial uploaded on the following day either.
But then I remembered that the children’s board book I’m using in this project has more pages than the one that Ady Almanza uses in her video series. I deviated from the lessons a bit when I did full two-page spreads instead of the one page per project that are shown in each video. Despite that, I knew that at some point I was going to have to come up with original projects unrelated to the video tutorials if I wanted to fill the book but I thought that I would start considering that after the final tutorial is posted online. Since she seemed to have skipped a week, I decided to take advantage of the downtime and fill two pages of the book with original artwork unrelated to the video tutorial.
Since the project is known as “Doll Dreams,” I decided to focus on dolls for my original art. I picked two American Girl dolls as models. The blonde doll is Julie Albright and the black-haired doll is Ivy Ling. They are best friends who are depicted as growing up in the 1970’s. I blogged about them quite a bit when I read and reviewed all of the Julie Albright books as part of a project I did last summer. So I thought it was quite appropriate to have them make an appearance in this summer’s project.
Here are a couple of photos of the dolls. The blonde is Julie Albright and the black-haired doll is Ivy Ling.
Here’s the original pages of the children’s board book before I started work on it.
Here are the same pages after I finished.
For this go-round I decided to do the pages all in acrylic paint. That’s because both dolls are supposed to represent the 1970’s and that was a time of bright clothes and bright graphics and acrylic paint tends to be very bright as a medium (compared to watercolor and oil paint). Besides it was nice to be able to stick to one medium for a change (although I did the initial outline of the dolls using a waterproof black marker) and it is a medium that I am very familiar with. It was basically a relaxing low-stress project.
I painted the dolls wearing their original 1970’s style Meet outfits, although I simplified Ivy’s shirt pattern a bit because it would’ve gotten a bit monotonous painting all those tiny green flowers that are located in each square (if you want to see what the shirt looks like in real life, see the above photo of the Ivy Ling doll wearing it). Plus I have other things that I need to focus on in my life so I really don’t have the time to do a photo-realistic painting (which is very time-consuming).
Here is how I came up with the background. Relying on what I remembered from my childhood, graphics in the 1970’s started with multi-colored psychedelic images (a holdover from the mid to late 1960’s) until around 1975-1976 when it gave way to red, white, and blue (due in large part to the American Bicentennial in 1976) then it segued over to disco, complete with mirror balls, polyester clothes, and glitter—lots and lots of glitter. Since I wanted the background to reflect the 1970’s theme, I decided on a design that incorporated the elements of the decade. I went with a basic rainbow pattern (although I reversed the order of the colors so it’s more like a secondary rainbow pattern). That reflected the colorful psychedelic graphics from the early 1970’s. Then I painted a layer of glitter glue over each of the color segments, which is a subtle homage to the glitter of the disco era.
Once I finished painting and everything dried, I finished the project by painting two layers of varnish on top.
Basically I had a great time creating this piece. Hopefully there will be a new tutorial uploaded online but if there isn’t one, I’ll just wing it again next time since I still have more extra pages to fill.
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