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An Art Manikin Review

Here’s a fun thing to do: an Art Manikin Review!

What is an Art Manikin? Well it is a tool meant to help one learn to draw the human figure. An Art Manikin with respect to the spelling is different than a regular mannequin. An Art Manikin is a small human figure originally made of wood; whereas a mannequin is a full sized figure meant to display clothing in a store. Now that we have the correct terminology, let’s have an art manikin review!

I have several art manikins but I’ve never used them to help me learn to draw the human figure. I am of the opinion that one should learn from life, so that is what I did. I took life drawing classes with models that would pose in the nude. It was great! At first it was a little intimidating, but once I got over the initial shock and looked upon the models as an art form, all was good.

So why do I have this collection of art manikins when they just sit on my shelf collecting dust?

studio shelf
Art Manikins

I don’t know why I purchased these art manikins! The first one I acquired was the tall wooden one on the left. I bought it from Blick.com many years ago. The small wooden art manikin, I have no idea where it came from. Maybe I bought it because I thought it was cute.

Wooden art manikin

These wooden manikins are totally worthless in my opinion. The face jumps out at me as the first thing wrong since no human head is that elongated. Secondly is the pelvis area, why is that indented? And lastly the feet are too big. Also the hands are useless for learning to draw a hand. They don’t make a pose very easily and tend to fall over a lot, which is very annoying!

Art Manikins Alistair and Cordelia

This is Alistair and Cordelia, the Art Manikins you’ve seen in my previous posts, as the snobby art critics who like to critique my work. Instead of sitting on the shelf collecting dust, I thought I’d put them to use as the studio mascots.

I bought these art manikins at Blick.com a long time ago, because I thought they were very cool. I never used them to draw with but they’ve been a part of my studio ever since. Sadly, Blick doesn’t sell them anymore and I was quite upset to find this out when Cordelia’s arm broke last week! I was posing her for a picture and her arm just fell apart at the elbow. Luckily I had already taken the photo. My husband was able to glue her back together and now she’s good as new!

I think these are the best art manikins I’ve ever seen. Their proportions are correct and they pose quite easily. I put them on doll stands because their main draw back is they don’t stand up on their own. Cordelia arrived with no hair, so I gave her a full mane of red curly hair. I think I’m going to paint in their eyes, because they have no eyes just a blank stare, with no pupils, hence the sunglasses. It’s kind of creepy.

One day I got the idea to see if Barbie and Ken clothes would fit them and they do! It’s just too much fun. So now they are dressed to the nines and I find myself perusing the kids toy aisle for more clothes.

Alistair and Cordelia look at a new art work

These art manikins are called BYIA Body Kun Dolls and are TOTALLY worthless! I bought them when it looked like Cordelia was going to be armless last week. I thought they were as large as Alistair and Cordelia, but they are tiny, only 6″ tall. One needs glasses to see them for drawing with! I guess I didn’t read the description well enough before ordering. Oh well.

They are no bigger than my small wood manikin and are so ugly! They feel awful to the touch and their heads are too small for their bodies. The plastic stands they came with are a joke as they are hard to maneuver. It’s difficult to get the plastic tube into the hole in the back of the manikins. Their joints don’t move easily and the expression on the male’s face is one of anger. Kind of weird.

I was so disappointed upon opening the package. I would not recommend buying these manikins unless you want to waste your money. I didn’t save the packaging or I would have retuned them. So now I’m just going to give them to my grandson. He will have more fun playing with them than I will ever have any use for them. I don’t even want them on my studio shelf!

So thats my Art Manikin review. I hope this helps a bit if you are looking to purchase an art manikin. But truly, you’d be better off drawing from life. You don’t have to draw someone in the nude to get practice. Ask a friend or family member to pose for you and have the model change the pose every 15 minutes. Learn to draw the gesture of the person then later you can add details. Use a large newsprint pad and some vine charcoal so you can easily add shading.

Thanks for stopping by! I’ll be posting my latest pastel landscape in a few days. Until then, Much love! ~Rhonda

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Learning new techniques

Learning new techniques, whether it be art or anything else, is something I thoroughly enjoy. I’ve had an app on my Ipad called Procreate for about a year, and have never delved into using it. Last month I came across a blog post in which the author made a little animation, and I wondered if he had created it in Procreate. Sure enough, his next blog post was to advertise his class on how to use Procreate.

What is Procreate?

Procreate is a powerful illustration program in which one can create animations and vibrant illustrations. I decided it was high time I learn how to use the program since I paid for it. I clicked on the help button in the program and it took me to YouTube, where I found a lot of instructional videos. So for the past few months in my spare time, I’ve been learning new techniques in how to create animations and illustrations.

Learning new techniques in illustration Happy Sheep

 


Happy Sheep is one animation I’ve created using Procreate. I know sheep can’t wag the tails they don’t have, but a little humor is a good thing! This sheep is happy she found some green grass to eat.

Animations are my favorite to draw, but I’ve also been delving into just plain illustrations. I joined Lisa Bardot in her Make Art Everday community and created a few drawings during her buildings week. If you join, she sends out weekly drawing prompts and has a Facebook group to post work. I’m not on Facebook and just draw for my own purposes.

 


Here are a few of my illustrations:

 

Produce Stand Illustration The Produce Stand


 

 

Learning new techniques

Chicken Noodle Soup House


 

 

Cafe Illustration The Corner Cafe

 


The above illustration of the Corner Cafe was done before I learned how to add text. As I was drawing it, I thought, “Geez, it sure would be nice to be able to add text to a drawing!” A few days later I watched a video on how to add text. Typical me, always a day late and a dollar short. Oh well.

Lastly, here is a drawing of a strawberry donut I may turn into some kind of animation. I’m thinking sprinkles falling onto the donut would be fun!

Donut with strawberry icing illustration


I have a lot of learning to do and quite a bit of practice using Procreate, but I’m enjoying the journey! It’s another set of tools in my toolkit to express my creativity! Until next time, much love ~ Rhonda

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How to Make a #Sketchbook Kit

I often take a sketchbook kit with me when going on plein air adventures just in case the weather makes it difficult to set up and paint in oils. My sketchbook also gives me the opportunity to play around with compositions and color palettes before committing oil to canvas.

Using a sketchbook first, helps to lessen the anxiety and it gets the creative juices flowing. Here’s a list of basic supplies that pack easily into a small bag or carrying case:


1. A mechanical pencil, extra lead, a kneaded eraser and a triangle. I prefer a 0.5 lead as it’s not as dark as a 0.9 and can easily be erased. The triangle helps me to orient lines to the edge of the sketchbook page.

2. Fountain pens of various nib sizes filled with waterproof black ink and extra ink cartridges. The Platinum brand fountain pens are great because they don’t dry out. The same for the pocket sized Kaweco as it has a cap that twists closed. The ink flows freely on both brands and never splotches or skips. I love these pens!

3. A watercolor palette with professional grade watercolors and a sponge or rag to blot the brush on. I will often use a small collapsible cup for my water, but forgot to add it to the photo.

4. A pocket sized Kolinski watercolor brush in two sizes.

5. If you prefer, you can save the hassle of needing to find water for a cup by using water filled brushes. They come in various sizes and are very handy. The only drawback is they are not as precise as a Kolinski watercolor brush, so I’ll often use them just for laying in washes.

6. A sketchbook that has paper meant for water media. There are numerous sizes and paper choices on the market, so you may have to experiment until you find one you like best. I’m still on the hunt for the “perfect” sketchbook. In fact, I made the open one out of my favorite heavy weight mixed media paper, so I can use if for just a pencil drawing, an ink drawing or combined with watercolor.

7. And lastly, something to carry your gear in. This could be a zippered pouch, like mine, or a small bag, backpack or whatever you like to carry. Make sure it can get wet though, in case your water brushes should leak. A good safety measure is to put your wet media supplies into a baggie. I don’t worry about leakage because my zippered pouch is plastic.


Some artists like to carry a tripod with a watercolor easel and paint on a surface. I typically just lay my sketchbook in my lap when sketching, or hold it in my hand, thus eliminating the need for extra gear. My entire watercolor kit fits nicely into my oil painting plein air bag. Often times I take my kit with me when bike riding and the entire kit fits nicely into my bike bag. If you minimize your gear down to the very basics you are more likely to bring your kit with you on outings and find more opportunities to sketch.

I used to sketch daily awhile back, but have gotten away from the practice in the last year. Life just seemed to get in the way, but this year I’m hoping to get back into the habit of daily sketching. My favorite thing to do in the summer, is sit out on the deck in the morning with a cup of coffee, listen to the birds, and sketch.

I hope this inspires you to go sketch and enjoy! Keep me posted on your adventures as I love to see what everyone else is up to.

~ Rhonda

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New Daisy painting ~

The Daisies are in full bloom! They grow wild and the other day I picked a vase full as my subject for a new painting. I read somewhere that if you put an aspirin and a tsp. of sugar in the water it keeps the flowers longer. So I did and took the arrangement into the studio. I worked out my color palette and laid in the background color on my panel, with the plan to begin painting the next morning.

Guess what? The aspirin killed the flowers! I came into the studio the next morning to find all the flowers keeled over. Bad information! I had to go in search of fresh flowers and luckily was able to find some as they are starting to end their life cycle. I made a sketch and transferred it over to my panel and now all is good! That’s if nothing else weird happens over night!

More to come as I progress.