Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Artistic Process: Amy A. Rudberg's Illustration Technique

I'm working on illustrations for a new book about animals and their special powers. For this series, I usually come up with an idea and then do some research on images and decide on composite drawings. I use a pencil to draw the illustration on watercolor paper and then ink the drawing. After the drawing is complete, I staple the watercolor paper to a board for support, stapling at 1" intervals all around the perimeter. I apply watercolors and gouache (a highly pigmented watercolor) with small brushes. When I'm done with the painting, I re-ink the illustration, remove the staples, and store the painting in an acid-free box.

The following is a step-by-step painting from drawing to final re-inking, which took 11 hours to complete.

Materials for this project:
- Derwent 2B pencil
- Faber-Castelli PITT artist brush pen
- Pigma Micron 05 pen
- Gel pens, black and silver
- Maskque pen
- Pencil eraser and mask eraser
- No. 6, 1/4" flat shader brush
- 3 mm / 1/8" flat brush
- 00 round brush
- Winsor-Newton watercolors and gouache
- Arches 12" x 16", 140-lb cold press watercolor paper

Follow the Leader

Draw and ink the figures and horizon line.

Put a mask over the figures to work on the background.
The mask will cover what you don't want to paint.

Add specks on the beach with black and silver
gel pens. Paint the ocean with Pthalo Blue
gouache and dry with hair dryer.

Paint the ocean with Cerulean Blue gouache
and dry.

With a spray bottle filled with water,
spray away the paint in the ocean, and dry.

Paint dark waves with Primary Blue gouache
and dry. The white is the paper showing through.

Paint the beach with Light Gray, dry, and
then paint with Titanium White watercolor.

Dry the beach with textured paper towel
and then paint sparingly with Perylene
Maroon and Primary Blue gouache, and dry.

Spray out paint on the beach and then
add specks with black gel pen, and dry.

Paint waves on the shore with
Titanium White watercolor, and dry.

Completed beach and ocean.

Paint shadows using Tint watercolor.

Remove the mask on the figures with an eraser.

Paint the crab using Winsor Yellow, Cadmium
Yellow, Golden Yellow, Cadmium Orange, and
Cadmium Red watercolors; Cadmium Orange
gouache; and Tint watercolor for shadows.
Dry between each color.

Paint the robots with Perylene Maroon, Cadmium
Orange, and Yellow Ochre gouache; Tint
watercolor; and highlight with silver gel pen.
Dry between each color.

Re-inked crab

Re-inked Robot 1

Re-inked Robot 2

Re-inked Robot 3

Finished painting

Photo Credit: All photos by Amy A. Rudberg, unless otherwise indicated.

The Printmaking Process: Ceramic Printmaking with Eric Jensen

I visited Eric Jensen in his studio in Irving Park recently. As one of the original founders of Lillstreet Art Center, Eric taught at Lillstreet for 15 years and also at Evanston Art Center for nearly 10 years. Sharing studio space with Ed Hinkley (with whom I have studied for the past 2 years), Eric currently sells his ceramic art wholesale to retailers and small business owners. With an MFA in ceramics and more than 20 years of professional experience, Eric continues to experiment and learn how to "perfect" his creative techniques. He demonstrated his version of printing on ceramics.

Creating a Printed Vessel

Mix stoneware and porcelain together until the clay
is smooth and has an even consistency.

Final mixed stoneware and porcelain slab

Transfer a photographic image onto a silkscreen with
a removable frame. (The color of the dried emulsion
is red in this photo. The white areas are where the
"ink" will go through.)

Prepare a silkscreen: In a darkroom, put photo
emulsion on 140 mesh screen on a removable frame
and then dry the screen. Using a bright light
source and glass, expose the screen to a high
contrast b&w photocopied image on acetate. The
light will harden only the exposed white image
areas on the screen and will not affect the dark
areas. When you wash the screen after exposure,
just the dark image areas will wash away, and this
is where the "ink" will go through the screen.
Dry the screen and remove the frame.)

Roll out a porcelain slab about 1/16" thick and the
size of the screened image.

Prepare colored porcelain slip with black mason
stain added by pushing the mixture through a 100-
mesh screen to get out large particles. Put the
screen on the porcelain slab, wet it a little, and
then paint the mixture on the screen with a brush.

Lift the screen off the porcelain slab.

Screenprinted porcelain

After drying the screenprinted porcelain, put it on top
of the previously mixed porcelain / stoneware slab.

Put newspaper on top and press down on the surface
with a small squeegee.

Screenprinted porcelain attached to porcelain /
stoneware slab.

Stretch the clay lifting and throwing it down until the
entire slab is about 1/4" thick (do this about 4 times).

Cut the slab in half to create the main sides of the

Use the porcelain / stoneware slab to create two
smaller sides and a bottom for the vessel. Start
to attach the sides of the vessel, which is now
lying horizontally on its side.

Insert mailing bubbles inside of the vessel to
provide support and attach the second screen
printed side.

Move the vessel to a horizontal position.

The vessel was dried, fired in a kiln to harden it,
glazed and then fired again at a high temperature.
The feet were attached after the final firing.

Second screenprinted vessel drying on a shelf

Second screenprinted vessel in its finished state

For more information about Eric and his art, visit

Photo Credit: All photos by Amy A. Rudberg, unless otherwise indicated.