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Art Start! May 7, 2007

Posted by Mitchell in Art.

Okee dokee, I’ve started some of the preliminary work on the Queen Elzbth Project, (QEP).  I’ve decided to blog the whole process so non-arty people can get a better idea of how the process works.  Well, how MY process works at any rate.  My new camera will sure help this out.  I’ll likely blow through the rest of my memory allocation too, but that’s ok. 

This is gonna be a little long so a bunch of stuff below the fold:

First up – let’s take a look at where the magic happens!  Here’s one of my bedrooms given over to my studio:

Magical Mystery Tour


There’s a closet just to the right of this picture.  It’s stuffed with luggage.  My main storage area is that cedar chest I recently aquired from my parents. 

Let’s see what’s on the drawing board.  Below you’ll see some queens from two decks of playing cards, a book of Mucha art postcards, an engineer’s scale, drawing paper for the rough draft, some watercolor paper and tape.  Oh, and that’s a scotch and soda in the top left (Dewar’s).

Drafting Table

Decks of cards generally come in “Bridge” or “Poker” sizes.  The bridge sized ones are slenderer.  I’m going to go with whichever size scales up easiest, and that would be the poker sized ones.  The rough draft will be 11 x 15.4 which is the largest size I can get on my drawing pad.  The final version in watercolor will be somewhat larger.  How much larger I haven’t decided yet. 

Let’s take a closer look at what I’ve got so far.

Our Story So Far…

Not much, but HEY it’s a start!  I did some online research about playing cards and their history over the weekend.  Interesting stuff.  I won’t get into a lot of that here, but I did find out that the modern cards we use today descend from a French design.  Originally, the face cards were full-figured ones, the reversable ones came later.  It’s the full design I intend to do here.  I’ve been studying the queens from the two decks I had, and then bought another deck yesterday.  I wanted to see what design characteristics are standard across different manufacturers and which ones are different.  One standard is that the Queen of Hearts is facing to her right.  Another is that she holds a flower in her left hand.  The precise type of flower doesn’t seem to matter.  In one deck she’s holding a rose – I’ll use that one.  One issue I have is the placement of the major heart.  I would have thought that it’s a standardized item.  It is not.  Most of the cards that I have regardless of suite place the major insignia in the right corner (as in my draft above).  One deck made a specific change for the Queen of hearts and put hers on the left side.  The deck I recently picked up puts all the face-card major suit insignia on the left side.  While this isn’t a major detail, it isn’t minor either, as its placement will have some influence in the overall design.

That’s it for now, folks.  Next I’ll flesh out the general pose of the Queen and consider costume choices.  I’ll also make a tracing of the major heart and consider the alternate positioning.


1. Pupster - May 8, 2007

Scotch is the fuel for the inspiration machine. Very nice.

2. Elzbth - May 8, 2007


3. Mrs. Peel - May 8, 2007


4. S. Weasel - May 9, 2007

Oh, neat. I appreciate you doing this. I always enjoy checking out technique. Half finished masters paintings are the best; you can see how they did stuff.

I’ve been meaning to post some simple tutorials, at least for Photoshop sort of stuff. It’s hard work, though, and I’m lazy.

5. geoff - May 10, 2007

Finally got a check in the mail.

6. kevlarchick - May 10, 2007

You should be on MTV Cribs. What a pleasure palace!

7. S. Weasel - May 12, 2007

Heh. You’ll like this — check this guy out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkgEUUYcQUM&mode=related&search= He does neat alien landscapes using cans of spray paint and pie plates and magazine pages. More at http://www.spacepaintings.com.

8. Enas Yorl - May 13, 2007

There’s a guy here in Las Vegas who does those too – you can see him work downtown at the Fremont Street Experience. He uses the same techniques with the magazine pages. They’re not very expensive either $30 – $50 from what I saw.

9. Anchovy Ennui - May 13, 2007

There’s several down on the island of Cozumel, Mexico in the market square every night (except Sunday). They do these paintings in about 15 minutes and will create-to-order on the spot. Being a scuba-diving hotspot, most of the scenes are underwater panoramas and such.

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