Colourful Lego The Cat – 2 Mixed Media Projects

In this tutorial video, I am squeezing 2 mixed media projects, both inspired by Dina Wakley’s tutorial video Art Journal Animals available from North Light Shop.

This video uses very simple techniques – you don’t even need to know how to draw, promise! – to achieve amazing results. You can now make your own unique portrait of your beloved pet(s) and hang your creations on the wall with pride.

colourful lego 2

Watch it on Youtube or Vimeo (free download)

All you need to get started on either project are a photo of your pet or chosen animal in a size that will fit on your chosen substrate and printed on multi-purpose paper (so that it’s not too thick), a pen or pencil, and a sheet of carbon paper.
If you do not have any carbon paper you can trace on tracing paper instead.

I am creating these projects in an A5 spiral-bound mixed papers diary I created myself, using a variety of papers (white sketching paper, brown craft paper, black cardstock paper and smooth watercolour paper, all A4 size and cut in half), and bound using my Zutter Bind-It-All binder.

 

SUPPLIES USED FOR PROJECT 1

  • brown craft paper
  • a photo of my cat Lego printed on yellow paper (I had no white left!)
  • a sheet of carbon paper
  • a pencil
  • a black Sharpie pen
  • Gallery neon oil pastels
  • Faber Castell Pitt big pen in white
  • titanium white heavy body paint
  • a dark pink Crayola broad tip marker
  • pastel pencils in dark colours

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I am starting by placing my carbon paper on my page, and my photo on top. I am tracing my subject’s outlines with a pencil, pressing firmly to get a neat impression from the carbon paper (it was cheap and quite old – at least 20 years old! – so I’m not even sure it will still work).

I am going over my outline lines with and black Sharpie pen, and adding extra lines inside my cat’s head to create more colouring blocks.
Using my neon oil pastels and black Sharpie pen, I fill in the blocks with colour, ensuring I colour the eyes and nose with the colours they are in real life (even though my cat’s eye are not neon yellow! That would be very freaky!). I am using my white Pitt pen to colour the block underneath his mouth and add some highlights in his eyes. As the pen is not working particularly well on top of the black Sharpie, I will be using titanium white heavy body acrylic paint to create neater highlights in the eyes and on the top of his nose.

I am creating pattern on the suitcase in front of my cat (as it is patterned on the photo) and add some colours to the floor, the suitcase and the cardboard box my cat is in. For this, I am using pastel pencils as I want a very subtle touch of colour and do not want the surrounding to distract from my cat. He is the star of the show after all!

I am finally proceeding with the final touches by handwriting his name on top and adding a doodled heart as if it were part of his name. I am finishing by using a dark pink kids marker to colour in the heart and make it stand out. By adding a touch of colour on a different location to my main subject, I am creating repetition and bringing the whole piece together. His name and the heart are therefore part of the whole page and not just floating randomly to fill white space. They make sense.

I realised after finishing project 2 that I did not draw any whiskers on my cat for this project, but I decided not to as I really like him that way.

 

SUPPLIES USED FOR PROJECT 2

  • white smooth watercolour paper
  • the same photo of my cat Lego that I used for project 1
  • a sheet of carbon paper
  • Artiste craft acrylic paints in a variety of colours
  • Golden High Flow acrylic paint in Fluorescent Pink
  • Daler Rowney acrylic inks in fluorescent orange and green
  • paper towels to clean and dab excess paint/ink
  • a pink Crayola marker
  • spray bottle with clean water
  • a black pen
  • a black Sharpie pen
  • stencils (I am using the Positivity stencil)
  • cosmetic sponges
  • I’m using a cleaned ham plastic packaging for my palette
  • paint brushes
  • Liquitex Heavy Body acrylic paint in Titanium white
  • Liquitex gesso
  • Lyra graphite crayon
  • a waterbrush
  • a heatgun/hairdryer

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For this project, I am starting by creating a very heavy, crazy background, full of colours, patterns and extra vibrancy with the use of fluorescent colours.

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Once my background is ready and dry, I am placing my carbon paper on top of my page, then my photo, and start tracing the outlines of my pet – just like I did in project 1.
I am using a black Sharpie to make my lines more prominent.
At the top of my page, I am creating block letters to write my cat’s name, Lego.

I then block out all my background around my drawing and my letter, using a generous amount of heavy body titanium white acrylic paint. My first instinct was to grab the gesso, but it would not have blocked out my background as quickly.
Where I previously used my pink Crayola marker to make random marks, the white paint is mixing, giving a nice effect as the background will not be stark white.

Once my background is blocked out to my satisfaction, I am redrawing my outline lines to make them neater. I am also going over them with my graphite crayon and activate the graphite with my waterbrush to create some soft shadows – it is a nice and super easy way to create shadows and make the drawing come to life.
Going on my outlines also make my letter and my drawing pop out more naturally from my white/soft pink background.

 

At the end of these projects, I am ending up with a black and white photo of my cat on yellow paper, torn around the edges, and, I must say, I really like it and will want to do something with this. So watch out for version 3!