there's a blooming corpse flower in my city!

And I'm not going to see it irl. 

  Uncle Fester by Jess Couture, made in Procreate with brushes from Bardot Brush

Uncle Fester by Jess Couture, made in Procreate with brushes from Bardot Brush

Don't get me wrong, I love seeing everyone's Instagram posts, and I do think the corpse flower (aka Amorphophallus titanum, ours is named Uncle Fester :) ) is beautiful. But I have a very sensitive schnoz and I'm not a fan of gagging or puking in public. 

Even though they say that he's not as stinky as most because he bloomed prematurely... still no. No fomo here. Yes it's rare, and yes I'm excited that my city has such a cool botanical moment to share... still no! I'm happy to enjoy it through the eyes of others from afar.

testing out more custom procreate brushes

I hope your day is as magical as this rainbow forest!

  This was painted in the Procreate app with the prismatic marker brushes by Lisa Bardot.

This was painted in the Procreate app with the prismatic marker brushes by Lisa Bardot.

These brushes are like magic. I don't really know what else to say about them. They remind me of the colour-changing markers my friends had and I wanted so badly when I was a kid. I never did get them but I would borrow them from my friends at school. I'm not used to working with such vibrant colours but I'm a fan! 

This marker set by Lisa Bardot of Bardot brushes comes with three sets of brushes; flat, authentic, and prismatic, as well as three recommended colour palettes. She also includes install instructions which I was grateful for. Well worth the $14 US price tag. 

You don't need this. Procreate comes with enough brushes to keep you busy for a really long time, I just really wanted them when I saw the way they worked on her Instagram demos. 

sketching on the train - finding time for art practice

Yesterday we took the Skytrain out to the suburbs to have dinner at Graham's parents' place. I packed my sketchbook in my purse on the off chance that I could get a seat and get some sketching done.

It was my lucky day! 

  From the sketchbook of Jess Couture

From the sketchbook of Jess Couture

I wasn't working on anything in particular. I have been wanting to incorporate some abstract whimsical trees into a piece, so I spent some time drawing trees I was seeing out the window. And after I got tired of that I sketched some elements from the patterns on women's clothes on the train. Lastly I drew that odd face representing the person who coughed for the whole 45 minute train ride. I feel bad about it now but all I could think on the train is that I'm probably breathing in those coughs. 

  From the sketchbook of Jess Couture

From the sketchbook of Jess Couture

  From the   sketchbook of Jess Couture

From the sketchbook of Jess Couture

I love odd the little fish, which was inspired by a lady's tote bag that was covered in fish. I feel inspired to incorporating these elements into upcoming patterns. Maybe not the coughing face though. 

This is proof that just carrying around a sketchbook helps you take advantage of the pockets of downtime we encounter in our days. 

testing out custom procreate brushes

For some reason the first thing I thought when I woke up was I need to draw balloon animals, like, right now! Well it was my second thought. My first thought was actually the same first thought I have every morning. Coffee please. 

While Graham made us our cups of hot, dark life liquid, I got to sketching these cuties from reference photos I pulled up on Pinterest. 

  Painted with gouache brushes by Lisa Bardot (all but the colour splashes in the background).

Painted with gouache brushes by Lisa Bardot (all but the colour splashes in the background).

I was really excited to test out the new custom Procreate brushes I grabbed from Lisa Bardot's Creative Market shop. I haven't really messed around with custom brushes too much yet, but I found her on Instagram and saw what results she was getting with the brushes she was making and I knew I needed to get two of her sets. The gouache brushes and the markers. I'll do another post about the markers after I have time to get used to them. But trust me, they are incredible. There's just a bit of a learning curve to learn how to get the best results from them. 

Here's a rough swatch test of the gouache brushes included in her kit. It's not pretty but it gives you an idea of the various textures you get. 

gouache-brush-swatches-lisa-bardot.jpg

These sets are incredibly affordable considering they all come with loads of brushes, and I imagine a lot of work goes into testing and perfecting them. I can't allow myself to browse anymore brushes for fear that I'll spend all of my money on them. :p 

my favourite feature of the recent procreate update

In case you didn't know, I use the Procreate app on my iPad Pro + Apple Pencil to make my art. I think I'm coming to terms with the fact that I've completely transitioned from traditional art, even though I haven't let go enough to get rid of all of my art supplies. 

Anyway, I could probably write a whole blog post about that internal dialogue, but it's Saturday, and I don't want to get that deep today. 

Procreate released an update recently, I don't know the exact date, and it included a handful of really cool new features and tools. I haven't had a chance to play around with all of them yet, but I took some time this morning to test out the one I was most excited about; the symmetry feature. 

 

  Symmetry assist in action

Symmetry assist in action

One thing I noticed is that when you use brushes with texture or patchiness, like the pencils, you end up with a bit of distracting banding. It's most noticeable in the the pink watercolour flowers with the ruffled edges on the petals. This can be fixed by applying more pressure to reduce the instances of gaps in the line, but it's something you'll want to pay attention to. 

  Pink and red floral pattern by Jess Couture

Pink and red floral pattern by Jess Couture

This feature will be getting a lot of use in the future. It makes creating flowers and patterns so easy and fast! And I can see mandala artists finding this very useful. 

i did my first art collaboration!

Okay well, that's not exactly true. My best friend from middle school and I collaborated on a comic strip series called Laffu or something like that. I remember that it centred around two teen boys who were friends, and I can still picture the art... I kinda wish I still had those! 

  It all started with a colour (as usual). I knew I wanted the background of my piece to be the same colour as Frida's house in Mexico. So I found a photo in Google Images and used the eyedropper tool to sample the perfect blue.     I am not one to endorse smoking cigarettes, like AT ALL. Yuck. But the most iconic pictures that come to mind when I think of Frida, she's usually smoking!

It all started with a colour (as usual). I knew I wanted the background of my piece to be the same colour as Frida's house in Mexico. So I found a photo in Google Images and used the eyedropper tool to sample the perfect blue. 

I am not one to endorse smoking cigarettes, like AT ALL. Yuck. But the most iconic pictures that come to mind when I think of Frida, she's usually smoking!

But anyway, I don't think worked with anyone on anything since then. Then I happened to notice that Instagram was holding a DM for me. You know how if someone messages you but you're not following them it sorta puts it in a place that's not exactly visible? A week prior to this @ashthedoodler had reached out to me asking if I was interested in collaborating on something. 

I checked out her profile and she didn't seem like a scammer or a bot, and I loved her work! I immediately felt MORTIFIED noticing that she had sent the message at least a week prior to this. Damn you, Instagram! 

  One of the pattern options I sent to Ash. Marigolds are featured in Kahlo's art and are known as "the flower of the dead" in Mexico.

One of the pattern options I sent to Ash. Marigolds are featured in Kahlo's art and are known as "the flower of the dead" in Mexico.

I apologized profusely and we got to chatting about what we could do together. We decided to honour a woman who inspires us deeply and paved the way for us in the art world. Before even receiving her list of awesome suggestions, Frida Kahlo came to my mind right away. When I got her list and saw Frida's name on it, I said we had to do it! 

I'm so incredibly proud of how this came out. Our art styles really work well together, and I'm so happy Ash reached out. Please go check her out on Instagram @ashthedoodler, and her Etsy shop if you're interested in a custom portrait. 

  Portrait of Frida Kahlo - a collaboration between Ash Menardo and Jess Couture

Portrait of Frida Kahlo - a collaboration between Ash Menardo and Jess Couture

i have a portfolio!

Even after all of the anxiety in yesterday's post, I'm super happy with the way this turned out! It's not perfect, and it's not recognizably me yet, but I like it. I decided to just go through my work from the past year and choose my standout favourites that represent the type of work I want to be known for. It sounds really obvious now that I'm not freaking out about it.

  So much PINK! I guess that's one common thread in my work. :) 

So much PINK! I guess that's one common thread in my work. :) 

I'm looking forward to spending more time on it this weekend. I have a lot of art work to go through to decide what else to show here, I just did a quick scan on my phone to pick a few so I had something to show sooner rather than later. I'm just happy to have finally done this task I'd been putting off for so long! I feel more legit already!