I’ve been working large lately on my 22×30 ink drawings so I thought for a change of pace I’d look at some small things. I’m going to pull four art cards out of my binder of art cards and take a look at them. Art cards are baseball card sized art (2.5×3.5 inches) and I’ve done a lot of them over the years. I keep them in nine card sleeves that are meant for trading cards so they are pretty easy to store and look through.

The first one I grabbed is art card number 936 that I drew on April 24, 2013. This looks like one of my spontaneous ink drawings. It’s drawn in just two colors: blue and black. When I first started getting back into markers in 2010 (I had used a lot of markers in my late 1980s college days) the first Copic marker I bought was a Tahitian Blue marker. It was a regular tipped marker and not a brush tip. All the other Copic markers I bought after that one were brush tipped so the first one never fit in with the rest of my markers. As a result it sat apart from them in the side tray of my drawing table.

I soon developed a drawing habit with this one marker. I’d draw art cards with it by first drawing spontaneously with it. No underdrawing with a pencil. I’d grab my blue marker and hit the paper with it. After I made a blue marker drawing I’d come in with a thin black ink pen and draw over the blue. The blue kind of acted as an underdrawing but it also added an element of shading to it. Also not every blue line has a corresponding black outline. In this drawing the moon and various stripes are all blue.

I like this combination of the two pens. Thick blue and thin black. Even when I draw multiple lines with the thin black I never make then solid to keep its thins intact. I don’t think this technique would scale up into a large drawing but I like it for a small one. I’ve done a bunch of art cards in this style.

The next art card that catches my eye is number 938 that was drawn on August 1, 2013. It’s on the same page as 936 so I didn’t have to go far to find it. You can see how I draw these cards sporadically as it’s only two numbers from 936 but was done four months later. I often draw them in bunches and there can be a lot of time in between bunches.

Art Card 938 uses a totally different technique form 936. This one wasn’t a spontaneous drawing so that means I drew it in pencil first. I had the drawing worked out before any markers came on the scene to finish it. This may have even been a larger finished drawing that I shrunk down and reused as an art card. I do that sometimes but often I just grab a pencil and start drawing on the card itself. This one could have even gone the other way and I liked the art card and so blew it up into a larger drawing.

I used a sign pen and Copic markers to finish this one. I refill the sign pen with black India ink and use that for my black line and then fill in the color with the Copic markers. I add a slight bit of shading to the color in the air and shirt with a dull purple marker. I also added texture to the drawing with rough vertical lines in the background and on her shirt. Overall I like the simplicity of this drawing. It has good lines, shapes, and colors and doesn’t get overly complicated.

For our third card I flipped a bunch of pages to get to Art Card 1042 drawn on March 19, 2014. We’re into the next year and a different drawing tool. This is one of my monster faces but it’s not in ink like they usually are but it’s drawn with a Wolf’s Carbon pencil. That’s not a pencil I use very often but I can remember buying them around this time to try them out. I thought I could draw dark things with them. It turned out that I could but at the same time I was developing my “Busted Brush” technique and the brush was a lot more versatile than the pencil.

This face is a good example of what I could do with the pencil. I could lay down a really dark area of graphite and pull some light areas out of it. With this monster face you just get hints of the edges of his form. That’s how I wanted it. He mostly fades into the shadows with his white teeth showing the most. The carbon pencil only worked for these small drawings though. It was tough making something bigger than this with it because it took so much work to draw in large areas of dark. That was much easier to do with ink so I ended up only making a few of theses carbon monster faces and lots of ink ones in big sizes.

For our final Art Card I skipped ahead to October 27, 2014 and card number 1180. This one is brightly colored and not simple in it’s imagery. It uses the same technique of the sign pen and the Copic markers but this one looks like it was drawn at this size in pencil first for this specific card. There is no chance this one was a repurposed drawing.

It’s a complex piece in that card is broken into three different backgrounds. There is a blue sky on top, a purple sky in the middle, and a black and red wall on the bottom. Plus there is a fourth background in the hat in the middle. The hat has its own figure in it and there is a part of a head on the bottom. A lot of different things are going on in such a small area.

Then there is all that color. The bright green hair balances with the blue skies nicely. The purple sky plays off the orange borders well. The yellow and neutrals in the center act like glue holding the whole piece together. The pink skin acts as our whitest white and shines out at us. In hindsight I’m amazed I was able to pull off such complexity in something so small.

So there you go. A look at four little pieces that make up a small part of this big old world of ours.