Sep 30, 2013

The Perfect Day

Here is the final sketch from my old sketchbook—transformed into a finished piece:

This piece was a lot of fun—I really wanted to play around with some ideas involving light, and this one just nailed it on the head for me.  It was also the perfect day, and I felt that this reflected that well.  My husband was at work, but he was coming home early and there is always some excitement and anticipation with days like that.
The weather was also had the feeling of crisp fall, but was still nice and warm.  I was sitting in my own favorite drawing nook with some chocolate milk (not yet cold enough for hot tea), a blanket and a recorded book playing in the background.

It was great.  The kind of day that swells in your chest and makes it seem like musicals could happen in real life—I mean, who doesn't want to break out in song on a day like this?

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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

Sep 27, 2013

A New Sketchbook

There is something in a new sketchbook that sends a thrill of delight through my chest.  The smell of new paper, the untainted apperience (free from the mistakes and frustration of the future), and the anticipation of a new journey at the end of your pencil... I love it.

I love it so much, that I follow the same pattern in each of my sketchbooks: I never, ever draw on the first page.  It is my pathetic attempt to keep the sketchbook pure and lovely—free from my failed attempts at creating a piece that is "cover-worthy".  I remember reasoning with myself when I was very young, that if my first drawing was worthy, then I would simply tare out the blank first page and tuck it into the back or I would copy it to the first page.

Unfortunately, my drawings have yet to fulfill the title of "worthy".  So all of my sketchbooks have a single blank page at the very front.  Many have been tainted during the life of the book, depending on the nature of my adventures.

Anyway, I began musing over these things as I completed my previous sketchbook and opened up a new one, skipping directly to the second page.

Here's the last piece from my old sketchbook—some play with a new idea... hopefully a finished piece soon!
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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

Sep 21, 2013

For This Child...

This is a project that I started about 2 years ago.  I was originally going to make it rather intense: drawn from a difficult angle, strong contrast, a large finished product.  Unfortunately, my other projects began to take over my life and I never got around to this one.  It is also a little too close to my previous show winner, and I didn't want to be too limited in my subject matter so early in my "career".

So I tucked the sketches away, only to stumble upon them again two months ago.  I was feeling ready to try again, but I also wanted to simplify the subject—at least for now.

So here it is! My first watercolor figure... that still looks like my colored pencil technique instead of painting.  Oh well, I still felt very brave and I'm satisfied overall with the result.  It's also nice to be trained as a graphic designer, because I can change the color of the shirt (original is pink) to fit the gender of the expected child.

Can be found at my etsy shop in even more colors!

Text is taken from 1 Samuel 1:27
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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

Sep 20, 2013

Fish: Gold & Betta

I switched to painting fish recently as I continue to experiment with the watercolors—trying to loosen up and allow the paint to do it's thing without having to control everything ;)
I started by working with the three goldfish below.  I worked from the bottom up, and you can see how my color pallet changed—the bottom fish is much more saturated than the other two.
Then just the other day I painted this betta fish—consciously trying to loosen up, though the fish itself is much more "tight" than I would have wanted originally.  But I'll let you be the judge—thoughts?

Find this on Society6

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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

Sep 19, 2013

I Love My Bird

Just a little shout out to my favorite bird in the nest.  I wouldn't be where I am today without the support (and critiques) from my talented husband.

Available on my Society6!

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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

Sep 18, 2013

Autumn Welcome

While my history reveals my reluctance towards the oncoming fall, it's hard not to catch the fire when the brisk air means apple cider and cozy sweaters!  My husband is also the head Cross Country coach at the school down the road, so it's hard not to get involved with the fall excitement!

To redeem myself from my previous seasonal blunder, I have drawn up a quick piece for Autumn:
I like the composition of this piece, though the technique is not my favorite... I'll have to try again I suppose!
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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

Sep 17, 2013

A Giveaway

If you would like a chance to get your hands on some of my work for FREE, then I suggest that you pop on over to "The Quiet Place" blog!  The lovely ladies over there asked to host a giveaway of my work.  I am very honored and excited to have the opportunity to work with them in this way—I can't wait to see who wins!
The winner of the giveaway will receive a set(5) of illustrated note cards with the design "Teatime For Bird" on the front (shown below).

Even if you don't win the giveaway, these note cards (along with other designs) are still available to you through my ETSY shop!  But, let's be honest... it's still way more fun to get things for free—so head on over to "The Quiet Place" and enter for your chance to win!
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Sep 16, 2013

Another'n for The Books

Another book illustration—this one is called "The Book Fort" in my own mind.

Again, I intended to write some of my favorite book titles on the spines, but just haven't found the time to get to it.  It's not my best piece, so it's hard to motivate myself to set aside time to add small details like that. 
Maybe I will give it away to a friend and write the names of his/her favorite books instead.  Gifts tend to motivate me a little more!
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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

Sep 13, 2013

Spring Flowers in the Fall

I should feel more ready for the fall, but I don't... it's not that I don't like fall, but I am still sorry to see the warmth and more delicate loveliness leave for a while.

Anyway! I caught my husband painting a mini masterpiece last night and I just couldn't let him have all the fun!  Out came the paints, and this little piece was born.  I was absolutely exhausted, so a simple piece was all I could handle, but it was a fun little hurrah before I traveled to the land of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

"Three Poppies"

On a side note, I have been hearing about Society6 for the past couple of months and I finally decided to try it out today.  That being said, I posted these little poppies there for you to see.  You can purchase a print or you can even get an iPod/iPhone case with this print on it!

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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

Sep 11, 2013

From the Library

Below is one of my smaller paintings, done out of amusement and continued adjustment to the media that I now love.  School is starting and my mind is turned towards books and how much I would love to be reading in my favorite lazy boy chair.  (the down side of moving out, I only get that big blue hug when I go and visit my parents)

"Story Time"

I intend to add the titles of some of my favorite classics to the spines of the books, but until then this is how the little Te-a-te shall remain, for I am finding myself rather busy at this point.

Considering this piece as an addition to my etsy shop.  Any takers?

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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

Sep 9, 2013

Vintage Bicycle

Earlier this week I was asked by a friend to illustrate a vintage bicycle for him.  I was feeling up to a challenge and this little bike provided just that.  Since I have been working largely with animals over the past few months, moving back to a more technical subject presented it's own difficulties!  The last time I created a bike piece was during my undergrad and was entirely a graphic piece.  (Find it here)

After a number of sketches, I settled upon this shape and eventually converted the piece to ink.  Here is what I shared with my instagram followers at that time:

Then comes the paint!

My wonderful husband gifted to me his new travel set of watercolors and I am in love with them!  I was using crayola before (not knocking the brand, by the way, just excited to be beyond my first stage of watercolor "training") and I'm very happy to have more variety and quality at my finger tips.

After some adjustment to the new pallet, I worked on the bike and the background (inspired from a recent trip to beautiful Italy!)

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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

Nerdy Bunnies

Here is a piece that I have toyed around with for a little bit now—an adorable little bunny with over sized glasses on.  I'll add some of my sketches for the piece once I locate them, though this piece had very little sketching before the first application, and I think that it was largely due to the musing that I dedicated to it before I finally put pencil to paper.
Here is my first version, done in prismacolor colored pencils:
Unfortunately, my haste in creating the bundle of fur without fore-thought shows through in this piece.  Also, the little ended up looking more fearful than I originally intended—I was intending more of a surprised look, the kind that might happen when magnifying glasses are suddenly slipped onto one's nose.  I did not lose hope and after some time had passed I created another piece that reflects a spirit of the mischievousness, which I love:

I'm also lovin' the green in those specks.
But in the end, it's the viewer who gets the final say.  So... what do you think, my dear viewer?

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 All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

Sep 6, 2013

The Vintage Vibe

Here are some of my recent pieces that include a prop.  A vintage prop to be exact!
My first was this little vintage phone with darling little bird—I received such great feedback from this piece that I ended up converting it into a note card set and selling it from my etsy shop.  Below are photos of the original illustration, Prismacolor pencils on pastel paper, and the modified cover of my note cards:

Available for purchase HERE

After my switch to watercolor and the continued experiments that I was conducting, I decided to try for another vintage piece.  This one features a vintage camera and another curious feathered creature:
So, which do you prefer?
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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

Sep 5, 2013

Learning to Watercolor

Until recently, I was not very interested in watercolors—or painting at all for that matter!  I loved colored pencils and that was my happy place!  I still love colored pencils, but I am very excited about the progress that I have recently made with the help of my loving (and amazingly talented) husband.  Though he usually works with oil paints, he was still willing to give me a hand with these watercolors.
Pairing my new-found love for watercolors with my structured ink contours and my love for the feathered friend, I am really excited to present some of my recent work:

More to come!
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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch.  Do not use without permission

Sep 4, 2013

Colored Pencil Birds

Here are some more examples of my colored pencil bird illustrations from this past summer.  Some of them were commissioned, others were the work of imagination and the desire to draw again.  Thankfully, my husband and I had already planned to spend a significant amount of time resting this year after the chaotic year that many people call "First Year of Marriage".  It was great, don't read into that too much—however after the move, the employment switches and adjustments to married life, we were both looking forward to working on our art and spending some time at home!

Available for sale here

 This piece above is from my own introduction to painting, and you can see that it was difficult for me to switch from my beloved pencils to the less predictable media we call "watercolor".  Oddly enough, I eventually switched to watercolor as my current addiction (though I am still loyal to my pencils).
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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

Sep 3, 2013

Teatime Is For The Birds

Still going through some minor history in order to make this blog more complete, bare with me!

Listed below are some of the pieces that began my journey towards an illustration focus.  While illustration has always been my dream (we have videos from when I was as young as 7 years old, stating that I was going to be an artist, though my parents had their doubts), graphic arts are more practical in this day in age, when even illustrative work seems to air on the side of the vector.  While I have done work like this as well, I prefer by far to work directly with pencil to paper (though I often add some photo editing to fix mistakes)

It was the end of the school year and I was in desperate need of a break from teaching (I'm a part time elementary art teacher and freelance designer) and from the graphic work that I had been swarmed with.  I found the sketch for the drawing below and decided to pull out my prismacolor pencils.
Here is the result:

I was in heaven, and very seriously addicted for the remainder of the month and onto the summer, which lead to the tea-themed illustrations below, along with many commissioned bird pieces before I eventually switched to watercolor at the beginning of August.

The original piece shown at the top ("Teatime For Bird") can be found in my etsy shop, both in print form and as a note card set! For custom commissions, feel free to contact me by clicking the small mail icon on the right hand side of the blog.
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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

Sep 2, 2013

Botanical Illustrations—National Floral Show '13

In January of this year I spent the majority of my time in bed (thanks to the many germ-y elementary students that I surround myself with) or with these botanical illustrations.

These illustrations were designed to mimic the 1700s style of illustrations for a display about John Bartram and his work with the northeastern native plants.  This display was put on by the Williamson Free School and their main marketing client contacted me about the illustrations.  While the work was difficult (mostly because of the short deadline and the sickies), I really enjoyed getting to draw again—before this my freelance work was largely digital graphics, though now I am asked to illustrate more frequently, which is great :)

Below are a few of the illustrations that I did for the event:

Franklina Flower
Fothergilla Flower

Representation of the work of
Carolus Linnaeus
Biological Pest Management
18th century map
 It was also cool to research the event that the illustrations were displayed—the National Floral Show in Philadelphia.  This is the largest flower show in America and my work was seen by about 300,000 people!  Talk about exciting!  Not only that, but the exhibit that I was a part of won 5 awards—including the Special Achievement Award, for a unique feature or design element.  Read more about that here.
Below is an image from the specific exhibit that my work was in (you can see my drawings on the posters in the back!!!).
"Stole" photo from here
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All Items are (c) Katrina Crouch. Do not use without permission

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