In this series, Awesome Artists, we talk to our favorite artists to get insight on how they draw, and get their tips for creating. We spoke to Allison Langton, who shared her watercolor techniques with painting plants, and Tim Miller, who gave us a peek into his process for creating the picture book, Snappsy the Alligator. Today we welcome back one of our friends, Colleen Kong-Savage, who was our very first guest for 3 & 1/2 Questions.
Meet Awesome Artist Colleen Kong
I’m so excited for Colleen as this is her debut as a picture book illustrator. Above is the cover of The Turtle Ship by Helena Ku Rhee, illustrated by Colleen Kong-Savage. Colleen uses a technique called collage – doodling with paper. We’re so excited to share Colleen’s process in drawing with scissors and paper.
The Turtle Ship is a story about a poor boy named Sun-sin who dreams of traveling the world. One day a contest is announced that the winner of best ship design would get to sail with the royal navy. Sun-sin’s idea for a ship is inspired by his best friend, a turtle called Gobugi (which means “turtle” in Korean).
Colleen is going to share with us one of the most difficult scenes she worked on for the book, as seen below.
KCD: Hi Colleen. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your work with us! Can you tell us a little bit about this scene from the book?
CKS: For this scene, I wanted show the Gyeongbokgung Palace, which was the grandest of all the palaces built in the Joseon Dynasty, the period in which Sunsin lived. So I did a sketch to show the art director how I planned to illustrate this scene. It was rough, messy, and fast because the purpose of the sketch was to show the Art Director my idea.
The Art Director said, “We like the expressions of people wondering why a kid is there with a turtle. It’s cute the way you have him holding the turtle on his head. We suggest backing out in space so we can see many more of the “hundreds of people.” Right now it looks like there are only six other people.”
Note that Colleen shows a sketch before starting a final drawing. The above is the first one she showed, and she does a few more before it gets approved to proceed to final draft.
Before doing a drawing, see how many ways you can sketch the drawing. Trying different viewpoints or changing something about the subject or try different ideas.
KCD: How did you react to the Art Director’s feedback?
CKS: I don’t know if you ever noticed — drawing people is not easy, not even for a professional artist. But the Art Director was right, I hadn’t drawn very many people, so I sketched some more.
“How’s this?” I asked the Art Director.
She said, “This is a little better with a few more people added, but we still don’t get a sense of hundreds, and nobody has a replica of a battleship.”
Argh! Drawing a crowd is a lot of work! You have to make up many different faces, and many different bodies doing different activities, wearing different clothes, in different positions from the viewer’s point of view. Plus as a collage artist I was imagining all the like tiny bits of paper I’d be cutting out in the final illustration. And oh yeah, I had forgotten about the replicas.
“How about this?” I asked the Art Director. “Is this enough people and battleships? And do you like how you can see Sun-sin’s face now? I want people to see that he’s excited to be here.”
Thankfully, the Art Director said, “YES!”
KCD: How do you start drawing with paper?
CKS: I make many copies of this drawing. I use most of them to help me cut out all the individual shapes from the papers I want to use. With the help of a light table I trace facial expressions. And I always keep one copy of the master drawing whole.
This copy is my template and it helps me figure out where to put the pieces.
As I put the pieces in place I glue them to each other—not onto the template. I will glue the crowd to another background when it’s complete.
This is what the back of a whole crowd of people look like.
Phew! I bet it took a long time to complete pasting all the people and their details. Here is the completed scene again. Thanks for sharing your process with us, Colleen!
Every professional illustrator sketches ideas first before doing a final piece of art. The final art takes a long time, so it’s important to work out all the details first, and that way, you’ll make all your mistakes in the early draft and not the final art.
Next time when you want to create something, try sketching out a few ideas first. See how many ways you can approach the drawing, trying it in different way each time. Good luck!
Colleen Kong-Savage is an illustrator, artist, and graphic designer. Her picture book debut, The Turtle Ship is published by Shen’s Books, a multicultural children’s book publisher based in California. Shen’s Books aims to emphasize “cultural diversity and tolerance, with a focus on introducing children to the cultures of Asia.”
Ron Pippin of Outside Voice, an art network for families based in Austin, suggested a weekly drawing exercise. So we’re introducing a new doodle theme each week for our Weekly Doodle Challenge. (Scroll down for the challenges).
Full disclosure: I found that I wasn’t able to keep this up every week, so below are ideas I’ve collected as well.
Come draw with us!
Just draw and share with the subject tag on social media. We’ll share your work here or on twitter or Instagram with the #weeklydoodle #kidcandoodle hashtags. PS. All ages welcome!
July – August : Potter Week Drawing Prompts with Taryn Knight
Potter Week is perfect for Harry Potter fans! Drawing starts the last week of July, with a different prompt each week. The list is below imagines what it might be like to be at Hogwarts, and is spearheaded by Taryn Knight.
Inktober is a yearly October doodle challenge created by Jake Parker that is popular on social media. You can use any ink, and you don’t even have to go by the prompts if you don’t want to. The thing is to do it daily.
This was the one I did for October 1st posted on instagram:
We had to share this awesome idea from artist Clym Evernden. All you need is a sheet of paper and your favorite drawing pens or pencils. Fold your sheet 8 times, as Clym shows in the video, and draw as you open the page.
An unexpected doodle prompt comes from Paperchase, a popular stationery chain in the United Kingdom full of gorgeous illustrated goodies. Draw a literal picture of king prawns, king crab, hammerhead shark, or cat fish, like in this shop window.
David Zinn creates whimsical street art with chalk and his imagination. See if you can doodle outside using some of your surroundings as inspiration. Can a crack in the sidewalk or patch of grassy weeds become part of your drawing?
Have you guys heard about the $3,700 Doodle Theory Contest? To enter, download and doodle some squiggles like these below. See all the details and download the squiggles here. Deadline is August 10, 2016.
Love this Less is More idea from Frédéric Forest: Describe something with fewer than 10 lines. Can you do it?
I love Sarah’s “blind contour” portrait (drawing while looking at your reference and NOT your hand/paper):
Health coach and mother of two boys, Ceren Arik-Begen has an easy doodle puppet that I had to share with you.
Take a letter or A4 sized sheet of paper, fold it in half and then half again, so that you have four strips. Open the sheet, and re-fold in the two ends so that they meet in the middle. On these two panels, draw something with a mouth that would open where the two ends meet.
(Here’s two fishies)
Then open it, and draw the “inside” of the mouth. When you’re finished, refold and animate your puppet character by gently opening and closing the mouth.
Thanks for sharing these lovely drawings and gorgeous idea with us Ceren!
Designer, illustrator, and doodle bomber Steph Dillon gave us some pointers for creating a doodle bomb: Find a photograph of your favorite landscape or urban setting and fill the empty spaces with a structure, objects, and/or characters to create your own unique scene. You can use markers on printed pieces or draw digitally in your favorite photo editing app.
Penny Neville-Lee is back again with a Weekly Doodle Challenge worthy of Mother’s Day (next Sunday, May 8, 2016 in the USA). Collaborate with your kids! Here, Penny colored in her son’s drawing:
psst . . . Make sure to subscribe to kidcandoodle (above) for an exclusive doodle download created by Claudi Kessels!
Multi-talented Melani Grube gave us this week’s doodle prompt based on her own wonderfully wet paintings. See if you can transform these paint splotches into your own doodle.
Here’s Melani’s doodle:
This week’s guest is none other than the inspiration for Weekly Doodle Challenge — Ron Pippin himself! Ron is currently working on an upcoming Creative Arts Show for kids called ARTtv and we can’t wait to see it! His suggestion, co-drawing, comes from Outside Voice’s popular blog Explore Art. To play, you need a partner, paper, and pens or pencils.
The younger person should go first, making a line on a page.
Then each person takes turns doodling and adding to the same drawing, collaborating.
Our guest this week is one of my favorite artists of all time, Henri Matisse. I am especially fond of his paper cut-outs. Matisse first used cut paper to design his painting commissions, but when he became ill in his 60s, it became his preferred medium.
Doodle an animal using only cut paper (refer to The Snail, 1953, above).
When kid can doodle debuted on twitter, Lucy Monkman was one of our first followers. Lucy’s doodle challenge is just in time for Easter/Spring. Lucy favors simple shapes in her work, and she suggested using these egg shapes to doodle chicks, bunnies, or lambs:
Here’s Lucy’s doodles:
Shari Mallinson is not only a darn-good doodler, but a frequent contributor and friend to KCD. Shari invites you to collaborate with her by downloading and finishing this doodle:
Esther says: What will you draw on yours? You can draw with your scissors too. Try cutting other kinds of lines instead of the straight ones for your pop-up eyes and mouth. But be sure to leave enough space for your fold. That’s your hinge that keeps it from falling apart.
Our doodle guest this week is Colour Collective, a weekly challenge to make art featuring a different hue, initiated by Penny Neville-Lee, “illustrator and all round good egg.” To join in, this week’s color is Moss.
Here’s Penny’s gorgeous entry. Follow her on twitter.
Colleen Kong Savage, our first guest on 3 1/2 Questions, has our doodle prompt this week: Take an ink pad (or a little bit of paint) make a thumbprint with your finger. Add details.
Hey Kids! This week’s guest is Tom Nash, the wordsmith behind Tut and Groan “a wordplay webcomic by someone who can’t draw.” Not long ago our own Little Dude was a guest on Tom’s toon, and we’re tickled that Tom has treated us to two prompts: Draw a pie in the sky or add to the following doodle:
Our guest this week is Pinch Punch Post, aka social media darling Thea Baker, suggesting a theme to doodle each month. Contributors are invited to share their drawings on twitter or Facebook at the beginning of the month. Kids can join too by tagging doodles with #pinchpunchpostjunior. March 1st theme is a butterfly.
The Big Draw is the world’s biggest drawing festival (Oct 1-31, 2015). Since this year’s theme is “Every drawing tells a story,” I thought it would be fun to do an exquisite corpse story, so I coaxed many of my talented friends into playing!
This is a variation on the Exquisite Corpse game, created by Surrealists, where “each participant would draw an image on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal their contribution, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.” In this version, you can see the participants’ entries as they evolve.