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This is a follow-up to the blog which you can read here: Things To Know: Creating Human Characters of Color. The previous blog covered the numerous issues surrounding inclusion and diversity that are extremely important to be cognizant of (please read it if you have not yet done so). This blog will cover the nuts and bolts of depictions of non-white humans! Warning: this journal contains a LOT of images. 

This is an important topic because there are very, very few resources that will actually teach you about the differences that occur in the figure across race. All figure drawing measurements are based on the ideal European body type. This was not an accident, as the practice of phrenology (a pseudo science) declared that the most perfect specimen of humanity was the European body and all other iterations were deformities. Thankfully, we now know that to be a lie, but the bias in tutorials remains thus making it harder for artists who are struggling to properly depict people of color. 

#1. Skin

Digital Painting/Drawing Reference Links- SKIN: a chart - SUPPLEMENT IMGSKIN: a tutorial - Part 1SKIN: a tutorial - Part 2, How to paint dark skin characters tutorial packSkintone SwatchesSkintone Swatches IISkin Shades PalettesSkin Palette for MyPaint V2Color Theory Mini: Skin
Traditional Painting/Drawing Reference Links- Painting a PortraitCopic Skin Tone SwatchesMarker Tutorial Part II - ColouringColoring Skin (Color pencils tutorial)Watercolor Tutorial [Techniques + Flowers]Prismacolor Pencil Combinations I - RainbowPrismacolor Pencil Combinations 2: Warm ColorsPrismacolor Pencil Combinations 3: Cool Colors
Your skin is your largest organ. It holds all your guts in, it keeps germs out, and of course, it protects you from the sun! Skin color is one of the biggest indicators of racial background too! Scientists over time have sought to categorize skin tones based on all sorts of things (a lot of it racist :XD: ) however the Von Luschan chromatic scale and the Fitzpatrick scale are still being used to categorize skin tone. The Von Luschan chromatic scale was used to establish classifications by race based on geographical location. 

Very Pale –1-5| Pale – 6-10| Pale/Medium –11-15| Medium –16-20| Medium/Dark –21-25| Dark –26-30| Very Dark –30-36
By contrast, the Fitzpatrick scale is based on how the skin responds to UV light so it can be used to determine how well skin tans or burns in addition to categorizing skin tone by geographic location. Fun fact: because this method of typing is based on numerical values it has been used to make diversified skin tones for emojis.
In order to adequately understand how to whip up realistic and believable skin tones, you must first have some basic knowledge of color theory :D When dealing with skin we use words like "warm" or "cool" to describe the temperature of the color. So how can you know which are warm colors and which are cool colors on the color wheel? Warm tones are the colors that have reds and yellows in them, and cool tones are the colors that have blues and greens in them. 

Another thing to be aware of when adding color to skin is how color can "change" temperature when paired up with other colors. This is called simultaneous contrast. Simultaneous contrast is what happens when two colors interact with one another, and the effect is more striking when used with complimentary colors (complimentary colors are red & green, yellow & purple, blue & orange). 
The purple square is the same tone in each corner!
There is a generalized notion that darker skin tones are cooler in tone. While this can be the case in very rich bluish black skin tones, but light skin tones can be cool too! For example, "porcelain" is a very cool light skin tone. Interestingly enough, Brazilian designer Angelica Dass is currently working on a project to collect a massive library of human skin tones. She has connected the base tone from her photographs with Pantone color codes. You can check out the whole project here:
Pretty nifty stuff, I says!

#2. Hair

Digital Painting/Drawing Reference Links: Hair TutorialCurly Hair - Video TutorialJumbo Hair Palettes ChartCurly and Wavy Hair TutorialAsha's Hair Tutorial 3- CurlyCornrows tutorialBraid TutorialDrawing Ringlets 1Drawing Ringlets 2Drawing Ringlets 3Realism Tutorial+Painting anime hair...tutorial+
Traditional Painting/Drawing Reference Links: Tutorial: Drawing Ethnic HairShiny Hair TutorialCurls: One wayTutorial: How to draw hairHair tutorial 1 - Light hairHair tutorial 2 - Dark hairDrawing HairDrawing Blond Hair TutorialTutorial: Draw Hair : VER. 2.0Hair Tutorial
Hair is another indicator of racial or ethnic identity! Color, sheen, and texture are just as important as the way it is coifed. One common mistake that artists tend to fall into is making all hair straight and super shiny. Yes, healthy hair does have a bit of sheen to it, but not all hair is SUPER glossy and that is because of the hair texture. Hair texture is determined by the shape of the hair follicle. The hair follicle is the tissue that surrounds the root of the hair. 
In cultures around the world hair length, especially for women, is an indicator of beauty. In other cultures hair length can be linked to religion. For Sikh's hair length is connected to one's devotion to God, and it is considered a hate crime in the United States to cut a Sikh's hair for that reason. Hair, just like skin color, must be approached with a manner of respect. In the West hairstyles are simply accessories and customization, but for most of the world hair is a much deeper subject. 

Hairstyles & Headdresses

African Hair:
The African diaspora includes the following people groups:  peoples from AfricaAfrican AmericansAfro-CaribbeansBlack CanadiansAfro-South AmericanZanj, and Siddis.
All people of African descent have some curling or coiling in their hair natural hair texture. It's a common thought that this type of hair grows slowly, and that actually isn't quite true. While everyone's hair does indeed grow at differing rates (diet has a lot to do with it), African type hair tends to be very dry and brittle, prone to breaking easily so it is difficult to maintain or encourage new growth. Additionally, very tightly coiled hair appears to be much shorter than it actually is. Why do you see so many black people with straight hair then? There are two answers to that question: straightening with heatweaves or wigs & relaxers. You're probably familiar with wigs, but you may not be familiar with weaves. A weave is hair extensions that are woven into hair that has been braided tightly against the scalp. 
A relaxer is chemical treatment that permanently alters the physical structure of the hair follicle by straightening it. Relaxers tend to use caustic chemicals that can cause burns or allergic reactions so many people opt to have their hair straightened by a beautician. Because this process is permanent, roots must be touched up as they grow in.
Braids are a common hairstyle for people of Afro-Caribbean descent. Braiding protects hair from the elements and allows it to easily retain moisture. Braiding can be done in any pattern and with as little as one inch of hair. Cornrows (sometimes mistakenly called cornrolls...ugh) are a type of braiding that is done very close to the scalp resembling rows of crops. The term dates back to slavery. 
Images by artist Mickalene Thomas
Twists and locs are also a common hairstyle for the same reason as braids. Because of how tightly curled and coiled African hair tends to be it can tangle or loc up very easily. Contrary to popular belief neither hairstyle is dirty, smelly, or unkempt. 
Closely cropped or shaved styles are common in Western African nations and sub-Sahara Africa where the climate is very hot. Hair is cut short for utilitarian purposes, the main being to stay cool. 

Traditional hairstyles can vary by region and often consist of ornate braided patterns. 
Asian Hair:
Asia is an enormous continent consisting of more than just China, Korea, and Japan. In fact, most of the world's population lives in Asia. Many countries that are colloquially known as parts of the Middle East are also part of Asia. 
Asian hair has a very strong, coarse structure and for that reason it appears to grow faster than other hair types because there is less breakage, however because of this it can be resistant to some styling techniques. It also tends to be straight and less dense than European hair. Because Asian hair grows at an angle from the scalp, it is actually growing upward and very short cuts can look spiky. 
Layered cuts tend to be popular options to add volume to the hair.
K-pop inspired cuts and color are pretty trendy right now. Men's cuts are short on the sides and in longer layers on top, whereas women's styles can be quite varied and unique.  

Traditional hairstyles for weddings and special occasions are often dripping with beautiful jewelry and gems or traditional headdresses. These are not simply fashion accessories and should not be used outside of their intended uses.  
Sri Lankan

#3. Facial Features


Digital Painting/Drawing Resource Links: Massive Face TutorialSemi-realism nose - step by step, Everything Concerning LipsDrawing the Nose Video Tutorial, Exercise 24: Let's Draw a NoseHuman Nose- TUTORIAL,  Human Mouth- TUTORIAL, Age Progression of an Asian Eye, monolids, doublelids and hooded eyes, the all expansive 'asian' eye drawing guidei
Traditional Painting/Drawing Resource Links: Drawing reference : Asian eyesFace Patterns TutorialDrawing Mouths Tutorial Black People in Cartoon, Anime, and mangMANGA to REALISTIC PART ELEVEN Mouth TutorialTutorial: female lipsnose and lips - sketch tut

Nose and lip shape are another indicator of racial background. You've probably wondered from time to time why people of differing races have different nasal shapes, and the reason is adaptation! People of European descent have narrow noses because of the colder climates of the Northern Hemisphere. It's easier for the body to heat freezing air that has been inhaled through a narrower passage because it gets in contact with the mucous layer of the nose first. American craniofacial surgeon Dr. Stephen R. Marquardt created mathematical "Masks" to measure beauty. The Marquardt Beauty Mask is based on the golden ratio (which is based on the Fibonacci Sequence). Faces which fall into the bounds of these ratios are considered "beautiful." This mask can actually be very helpful to artists struggling with facial proportions. 
The Marquardt Beauty Mask frontal and lateral view. The stuff of nightmares. 
African: Lower lip 18 degrees wider from the corner of the mouth and extending to inferiorly to the labio-mental fold, Upper lip 18 degrees wider from the corner of the mouth and extending to the philtrum, Wider nose and nostrils (nasal ala and nares extend laterally) – such that the lateral aspect of the nostril (nare) is on the naso-labial fold, Eye brows in the brow zone superior to that of the Mask, Lateral border of the face slightly narrower than the Mask.
Asian: Medial epicanthic fold, Lateral epicanthic fold, Lateral border of the face significantly wider than the Mask, Eye brows slightly superior to that of the Mask with shorter tails, Slightly wider nose and nostrils (nasal ala and nares extend laterally), Superiorly positioned nasal columella creating a longer upper lip.
European: Slightly vertically thin upper and lower lips, Flat eyebrow (very little arch), Slightly wider nose, Lateral border of the face slightly wider than the Mask, (Narrow eyes, longer vertical chin, longer nose).
Composite images of "averages" have been created at and are rather interesting to review! Composite images taken of hundreds of people of varied nationalities make an average male or female face in this project. 

Average Filipino Male

Average Samoan Male

Average South African Female

#4. Mixed Race/Multi-Ethnic Individuals

I want to begin this section by first saying that there is a commodification of people who are mixed race based on their "exotic" looks and it is wrong. There are multiple outlets all over the internet declaring that multi-racial people are "more beautiful" amongst other things, including people going out of their way to conceive multi-racial children. Those sentiments are sickening. Not because people of multi-racial backgrounds are not beautiful, all people can be beautiful, but rather they are reduced to objects of desire based on how "different" they look.
"Mixed folks are great – GO US – but it’s simply not due to our genetic difference from the rest of humanity. We are not aliens; we are not dogs or other domesticated animals. We’re just another socially-defined group of people, and a force to be reckoned with – like the rest of our species." ChopTensils
About 8% of the Earth's population of humans is multi-racial. This means that these humans have ethnic and or racial backgrounds that differ in both parents. What features a person receives has a lot to do with dominant and recessive genes, and inheritance of skin color is an even more complex process because there are multiple genes involved. 

If you're confused, you're doing it right. 
There are at least eight genes involved in the genetic inheritance of skin color. For example my dad, and this is the only way to help you understand in layman's terms XD, was the same color as Beyonce :XD: But I didn't inherit that trait in spite of having grandparents on both sides being that shade of brown. 

I was a super cute baby as you can see. 
When it comes to other features their last effects from generation to generation depends on their dominance.

You can probably figure out what you've inherited from your parents using this handy dandy chart!
Because of the complexities of skin color inheritance, skin color cannot be assumed for people who are multi-racial until they are born. Hair type and eye color are dominant genes so they are the most inherited traits. However in some cases, such as Rashida Jones's (as seen in the gif above), hair, nose width, and eye color were not inherited from her African American father, however her sister Kidada did inherit those traits. 

Some other famous peeps whom you may not know are multi-racial are...
Norah Jones, her father was world renowned Indian sitar composer Pandit Ravi Shankar. 
Slash, his mother was African American. 
Tom Morello, his father Stephen Ngethe Njoroge was the first Kenyan ambassador to the United States. 
Maya Rudolph, her mother was African American soul singer Minnie Riperton. 
Shakira, her father was Lebanese. 

In closing I hope that the images, information, and resources were helpful to your endeavors! Let me know if you have any additional questions down in the comments section!


It's been awhile since I've written anything exclusively for ArtistsHospital! Well over a year in fact. As a followup to my "Common Misconceptions" series* (links at the bottom of this journal) I decided to begin a new series titled "Things To Know." These blogs will cover topics that are not commonly addressed in tutorials or articles existing here on dA. The goal is to help you out by answering questions you've had but couldn't find answers to. That being said, I decided to begin this series with a doozy of a topic: race. Yes, it's the hottest topic on the table right now according to the media, but this topic has always been a topic of contempt (in the United States, that is). There have been no "good ole days when everyone got along" sadly, and because of this there is enduring misunderstanding revolving around what even constitutes as racist imagery. 

Let's be perfectly frank: the history of representation and depiction of non-white characters in visual and performing arts has been absolutely abysmal. And while it is getting better, the public's reaction to seeing non-white characters fulfilling roles initially has been equally disappointing...heck even Old Navy's most recent ad featuring an interracial family sparked all kinds of unreasonable hatred. Because of this many artists who are interested in having a diversified cast of characters in their work shy away in fears of inciting rage from both sides of the debate. My goal with this blog is to answer some frequently asked questions, present some historical evidence, and give you some reassurance as you move forward. 

I also want to point out that this blog is in no way meant to "bash" people who are white. It's purpose is to help you as an artist understand the current issues that are plaguing the visual and performing arts. I am of the thought that that education goes a long way. 

#1. Race and Ethnicity are not the same thing. 

This is a huge point of confusion for the average Joe out there, so let me break it down for ya! Race is a social construct that groups together based on distinct physical characteristics. Ethnicity on the other hand is a category of people who identify with each other based on common language, ancestral, social, cultural, or national experiences. You can be ethnically different than people belonging to your own race. For example, I'm black. But ethnically, I'm American. Another term you should be familiar with is diaspora. A diaspora is a scattered population whose origin lies within a smaller geographic locale. Slavery, wars, exploration, exile, and the search for autonomy has scattered a great many people groups throughout the Earth over time. To understand how diverse the human population on Earth is, check out this gif!

Rather interesting information, huh?

#2. Racist glasses. 

Sadly, this is how many people function on the daily. 
Here's the definition of racism in case you weren't already clear: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior. Did you know that it comes in different flavors? Did you also 'reverse racism' isn't one of them? The term reverse racism implies that it is nearly impossible for a non-white person to be racist. You haven't been on this Earth long enough if you think that malarky is true. What are the aforementioned 'flavors' of racism you ask?
  • Subtle racism (aka covert racism or microaggression)- this is your everyday racism. Being followed through stores, asked where you got "all that money," asked why you are in "this neighborhood," and negative connotations based on given or family names are examples of this. It's annoying enough to know which family members aren't welcome at Thanksgiving, but doesn't usually have enough punch to be taken seriously by people outside of the group. This type of racism is rooted in your garden variety prejudice. 
  • Internal racism (aka colorism)- this is racism that is carried out within a racial group. It can be based on skin color (light is good, dark is bad or vice versa) or ethnic disputes. This type of racism
  • Unintentional racism- this is racism performed without ill intent. It's most often carried out by people who have been spoon fed misinformation about racial groups and believe them to be true. For example the University of Virignia discovered that its white medical students believed that black patients feel less pain and that their skin is thicker than that of white patients (among a host of other untrue things). Ignorance isn't a great defense when you're in medical school. I mean, come on. 
  • Ethnocentrism (aka  the naive attempt to 'justify' why your culture is right and the others are barbaric savages)- this is the racism that has historically followed colonialism. Forced assimilation, mission schools, and Westernization (including governments) are examples of this. 
  • Intentional racism- this is the worst flavor in the racist jellybean jar. It doesn't need any explanation. 

#3. A cast belonging to the same racial group is not inherently racist...except when it clearly is. 

This needs to be shouted all over Tumblr. While it is indeed upsetting that people of color are not getting the amount of representation they need in the media, one cannot assume that the reason for that specific casting was indeed "racist." I once had an acquaintance try to explain to me that the Cee Lo Green music video for the song Forget You is racist because there were no white actors in it.

We no longer talk because of those types of lapses of his intelligence. 
Adaptations of films and productions that have been made originally featuring an all white cast now featuring a racially different cast is not racist. Examples of this are The Wiz, Creole Giselle, Steel Magnolias, Annie, and Cinderella. On that same note, there was controversy before Disney's Frozen came out because all the characters are spite of the story in the movie (and the tale it's based on) is situated in what is clearly Northern Europe. Tumblr and Twitter can be exceptionally frustrating places to hang out sometimes. For a thing to be racist it must first be based on the idea of superiorityThis is what has happened historically in the casting for films and productions for stories set in the Middle East or Asia. (The Mummy, Cleopatra, Gods of Egypt, Noah, 300, The Passion of the Christ, Prince of Persia...I really don't need to go on).
In response to accusations of whitewashing, Ridley Scott, director of Exodus: Gods and Kings is quoted saying: "I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such. I’m just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn’t even come up." Wanna know something ironic? The director of Gods of Egypt, a film containing not one Egyptian cast member, is Egyptian himself. Refer to the Cee Lo gif above for an applicable reaction image. 

The recent troubles with trying to make Scarlett Johansson look more Asian for the live action version of Ghost in the Shell and Tilda Swinton playing a Tibetan monk in the upcoming Doctor Strange is very alarming. The trouble isn't so much that white actors have "usurped" these roles from their original players, it is that the ethnicity of such characters is important to the fabric of the story and the characters. That is why the argument that Michael B. Jordan depicting Johnny Storm in the last trash version of The Fantastic Four (please Hollywood, for the love of God, STOP MAKING FANTASTIC FOUR MOVIES) was racist doesn't have any sense or truth to it. In short: If you've got characters who's ethnic or racial background is important to who they are do not change it. 
It makes me sad too, Finn.

#4. Know the stats. 

Note: The statistical breakdown of people groups I'll be sharing here is information that is unique to the United States only. There tends to be a bit of confusion in defining what a minority is. People who work with the public like to gleefully explain that the term minority is quickly going extinct, but I will humbly disagree. Yes, there is one ethnic group that is closing the gap with the majority in the United States, but that is the only group to do so. 

Mmmm, pie.

#5. Know the stereotypes (and avoid them like the plague). 

Seeing those numbers kind of justifies the lack of diversity we see in comics and movies, right? Well, not really. Hispanic and Latino people are second largest demographic in the US, yet only a minuscule 6% of speaking roles are fulfilled by that people group. More often than not non-white actors are cast in roles that reinforce stereotypes. Below is a listing of frequently recurring stereotypes in film. 

2 by Xadrea
1 by Xadrea
Not included here: Brainiac Perfectionist (Asian) and Master at Martial Arts (also Asian). Infographic Source.
These stereotypes are used in comics too, granted the history of comics is actually worse than film in that department. 

*Heavy sigh*

#6. The representation gap is actually a canyon. 

This year's Oscar's boycott wasn't simply an attempt to become more offended than we already are as a society (I am art and this deviant offends me...ok I'll stop). The proof of the lack of representation is in the pudding. 
These are all of the non-white Oscar winners in the history of the Oscars.
Yet, this does not end with the Oscars. 
Or the Academy Awards. 

#7. Create Responsibly.

That's a question I've been asked a couple of times and my answer hasn't changed: stay away from depictions of non-white characters that mock features of the face and body. For the sake of everyone's eyes and innocence I'll not post any images here but you can browse the Jim Crow Museum's collection here: Also, do not write about experiences that are not your own without doing the proper amount of research first. Remember that you are looking into those experiences as an outsider. No amount of compassion or empathy will equal a shared experience when it comes to ethnic and racial histories.
This is Rachel. Don't be like Rachel.  
Another example of this misstep is the Marvel comic Strange Fruit. The comic is about an alien who looks like a black man living in rural Mississippi in 1927 (Marvel: that couldn't possibly be wrong in any way!). It was also written by a white man (another red flag). The series has been heavily criticized for appropriation. Here is an excerpt from an essay written in response to the comic's issues.

"Marvel was not being conscientious of their approach to blackness — specifically, not being conscientious of the fact that they are happy to use the products of black culture to sell their comics but not let black people have a part in the creative process. It’s is their prerogative to make those choices, but it is also my prerogative to openly challenge them...
Of course, this metaphor clearly fails on some scores for this discussion — for example, everyone has a different definition of what it is to “drink responsibly.” Does drink responsibly mean don’t drink such that you get sick, don’t drink such that you don’t black out, or don’t drink such that you don’t hurt someone else? Carrying those questions forward to our original discussion — why do black people get to decide what it means to create responsibly in regards to anti-black racism? And the answer is: because it’s black people who pay the ultimate price.
In terms of Strange Fruit and similar works, it’s black people who suffer when white readers think that racism is only enacted a certain way. Those same white readers, after a lifetime of textbooks and films and shows that insist that racism is using the N-word and calling me “colored,” will leave their homes, go to their jobs, and think the reason they decided not to offer their black employee a raise was his perceived aggression in the workplace." Read More: Creating Responsibly: Comics Has A Race Problem 
The author's plea here is that you simply create responsibly. Do not be afraid to draw racially diverse characters! Doing so does not magically mean you're doing anything "wrong" (please...stay away from the offended side of Tumblr).
Here are some Do Nots when it comes to creating non-white characters: 
  • Do not rely on stereotypes.
  • Do not rely only upon observation or anecdotal evidence when portraying people groups outside of your own. 
  • Do not use racist cartoons as resource images. 
  • Do not guess when trying to draw characters of various racial groups. 
  • Do not become unnecessarily worried about immediately adding non-white characters to your stories/comics. 
And here are your Dos!

Art Tutorial: Mouth and Teeth

Thu May 12, 2016, 5:52 AM by Xadrea:iconxadrea:

Community Week
Hi guys! Learning to paint traditionally or digitally can be a challenge, but I want to help ease your burden a little bit by taking some of the edge off the learning curve! When painting the figure (that is, a human) digitally vs. traditionally the only thing that has changed is the medium. Let me say it again for the people in the back: the only thing that changes when you paint digitally versus traditionally is the medium.
One is noteasier than the other, there are pros and cons to both (and if you're about to say one is cheaper than the other I will laugh heartily at you, you dear dear child :XD: ). This tutorial is interchangeable for both mediums.
Now that that's out of the way, I will be discussing the mouth and teeth. Why only the mouth and teeth you ask? Well for starters we have symbolsfor both already. And while that is well and good, it is the left hemisphere of your brain telling you that it knows what a mouth looks like...yet what you draw does not look anything like what you're trying to do. Observation in it's truest form can help you break through common errors in execution of the mouth and teeth. Also, I'm gonna be completely honest, every single time I draw a mouth I end up grinning like an idiot.
And it's not nearly as adorable as Monkey D. Luffy's mug when I do it.
To begin your journey to painting better mouths and teeth the first thing you need is an understanding of anatomy.

Them Bones, Them Bones, Them Dry Bones

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 1.52.14 PM by Xadrea
From the book Drawing the Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis

The human skeleton is the foundation of your form. One thing you should be aware of before beginning to draw the head is that every person has bone structure under his/her skin. Your teeth, which are bones, also give your mouth and face alot of shape (if you have parents or grandparents who wear dentures you're probably well aware of this).

Another thing to be be aware of is how the fleshy parts of our skin lie over our skeletal frames. Sounds gross right? Yay! Our bodies are equal parts awesome and gross :XD: Even if you have thin lips the tissue that makes them plumper than other parts of your face extend well beyond your teeth. Check out this dental x-ray!

I'm slightly envious of those perfect pearls tbh.

Ethnic Differences In the Mouth

Ethnic differences are rarely discussed in anatomy tutorials which causes problems for artists who wish to render non European figures. Most proportion charts are made with European features in mind which closes the door to expansion of knowledge and that makes me sad! You should know how to draw a variety of types of ethnic features, not just the most popular archetype.
One of the most notable features in non-European features is the lips. That is not to say that all people of European descent have thin lips and not all people of African descent have luscious lips like Garnet.
So exquisite.

However these differences must be noted in order to depict your figures as naturally as possible. Note: don't be intimated about drawing people of different ethnicities. If you take care to note differences in features you are doing just fine!
Sneak Peak: Mouth and Teeth Tutorial by Xadrea
For a person of European descent, the lips generally do not meet the imaginary diagonal line that runs from the tip of the nose to the chin. For a person of African descent, the lips may touch or even go beyond this line and, the chin (jawbone) is less pronounced.
Sneak Peak: Mouth and Teeth Tutorial by Xadrea
The natural color and fullness of the lips also changes across ethnicities. While the flesh of the lips tends to be reddish in color, the more melanin a person has the darker their lips will appear to be. As mentioned before, the fullness of the lips is also an indicator of ethnicity. The upper lip tends to be thinner than the lower lip for those of European descent, whereas those of African descent tend to have full upper and lower lips. Also notice that the lower lip in both of my renderings there have highlights on them. That is because the lower lip sticks out from the mouth opening, whereas the upper lip curves up from the opening of the mouth. Under most light sources the upper lip is in some shadow. The tubercle (that is, the Cupid's bow) tends to catch some light and rims the upper lip in a nice highlight.

Your Lips Are 3-D

A common error in the depiction of lips is forgetting that they are three dimensional! Your lips no matter how thick or thin they are come away from your face! That means they are catching light and shadow from all over the place!
Sneak Peak: Mouth and Teeth Tutorial by Xadrea
Depending on the direction of your light source the lips will be highlighted or in shadow in different areas. Capturing areas of reflected light can make a huge difference in alerting the viewer of which direction your light source is coming from. In the example of strong overhead lighting the upper lip is being illuminated by the surrounding skin of the face. How, you ask? LIGHT BOUNCES, SON.
If you've never done this you haven't lived, my friend.
Another thing to take stock of is where the fleshy part of the lips ends. The juicy parts of your lips taper off before they meet the corners of your mouth. If they didn't you'd have a spectacularly difficult time cramming a whole pizza in there, let alone talking!


Showing teeth is an odd thing, they're bones we eat with :XD:. Most creatures on earth don't do it when they're being friendly, and even amongst humans there are plenty of cultures who view baring the teeth to be rude. However, for many of us in this neck of the woods, a toothy smile is warm and welcoming. When you do an open mouthed smile it's usually relaxed enough that not all your front teeth are showing (with the exceptions of Gary Busey or Goldie Hawn) but wide enough we do see your pearls.
Add Chip Skylark to the list too.
Remember when you depict teeth that the teeth are attached to the gingiva (gums), they don't just sit in your mouth. When trying to capture likeness of a person's smile being aware of whether or not any of their gums are showing is an important detail.
Sneak Peak: Mouth and Teeth Tutorial by Xadrea
One common mistake that occurs when people paint teeth is grabbing the white paint. Newsflash: teeth aren't titanium white, not really. And while the example I painted does indeed look white, it isn't :XD: White and black are very stark colors and should be used very sparingly at full strength. Discoball teeth are hard to get rid of in a nice painting, so always buff your white with a warm tone and build up to a brighter off white.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 9.04.54 PM by Xadrea
"That looks horrific, you can't paint." Me: I KNOW.

When you are painting teeth that are meant to look sparkly and fraesh, one trick for shadows and midtones is to avoid using darker greys, instead mix some light blues in there. This brightens up the palette and makes them look fresh and clean.
Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 3.15.48 PM by Xadrea
"My shiny teeth and m-" ok I'll stop.
Hopefully the info I imparted on you will corrupt, I mean shape your mind as an artist and you'll have continued success in your journey! As always feel free to chime in with your own tips or ask questions in the comments below!


Our Old Frenemy: The Human Brain

Wed May 11, 2016, 7:16 AM by Xadrea:iconxadrea:

Community Week
Our brains get in our ways sometimes when we draw. You'll get a spark of inspiration and suddenly it's gone. You might be so focused on one area that you completely overlook an obvious mistake. Or worst of all: you have a metric ton of ideas of stuff to draw at three o' clock in the morning (srsly, I hate that). Today I'll explain the scientific reasons your brain can sometimes work against you while you're trying to art and some exercises to beat that know it all brat into submission! 

Your Brain Is a Colossal Douchebag

Just look at it. Dancing. Mocking us. 
It is. The brain is an amazing organ, but it can be your absolute worst enemy when it comes to drawing, and not for the reasons you think. Here's one thing about drawing: everyone can do it. It's one of those skills that can absolutely be learned by everyone. The top reason people have convinced themselves that they "can't" do it is because they have become frustrated in not drawing what they want realistically. This is called crisis (no I did not make this up lol) and it occurs around the age of 11 or 12, around the age where you gain the magical ability to think abstractly! The brain is split into two hemispheres: the logical as a Vulcan left hemisphere, and the creative Dirty Hippy right hemisphere. The left hemisphere tends to be focused on details, the right hemisphere tends to see things as a whole. And until you are able to recognize a whole thing is made up of the sum of its parts (that is, the theory of gestalt) you will have trouble drawing realistically, especially objects you can see and name. 

Since our brains are experts at interpreting complex things simply to us, we develop a system of symbols that represent objects and ideas. Look at any child's drawing and you'll see universal motifs for the sun, people, trees, clouds, and so on. This is why many adult's drawings look like children did them, they never broke out of the symbol system. This system of symbols isn't necessarily wrong, it's just over simplified. Quick sidebar: children before the age of 11 should not be forced to try to draw things realistically. The way that small children draw is not wrong, do not try to 'correct' them. Young children are not developmentally ready to think abstractly and thus such direction is highly confusing to them. This is the number two reason many people learn to hate drawing. As a child someone (usually an adult being a jerk) stole their thunder.

The Hemispheres

Thanks to the trends in education (American education, that is) more focus has been put into exercising your logical left hemisphere, rather than your whole brain. Now, that's not to say that you can't favor one side of your brain over the other. And there's actually a fun little test you can take to find out which hemisphere you favor more here:  

Drawing taps into the creative right side of the brain, but you may find that your logical left hemisphere is always bein' Kanye. 
And your right hemisphere is Bill Hader. 
This happens often when we try to draw the human head and face. Yeezy, your left hemisphere, starts telling you that it already knows what an eye looks like and where it goes. It tries to label and organize when it shouldn't, just like Yeezy. When in truth it has absolutely no bearings on where that thing should be placed because it's not a solitary object. That's how we end up with this lil conundrum:  
Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 5.26.50 PM by Xadrea

A Common Mistake

One common mistake that occurs when people are learning to draw the head is chopping off the top of the skull. That is, thinking that the skull stops at the hairline. You've probably seen drawings where the head is flattened toward the top and the face takes up most of the head. That's your left hemisphere saying that the details of the face are super important and therefore the only thing it is paying attention to. 

The Blank1 by Xadrea
The top of the model's head has been "chopped off" to demonstrate this error.  Image courtesy of faestock 

When we see images with this mistake we immediately know that there are some issues within the artists's observation of the subject. One way for you to practice breaking out of this error is the following exercise:
  • sit in front of a mirror looking straight on
  • place a hand at your hairline
  • move your hand up to the crown of your head
  • your head is suddenly a lot larger than you originally thought huh?

I Draw Anime/Style X, Why Should I know How To Do This?

Excellent question my young padawan. Because teaching your brain how to work cohesively is important. Most of the things that I draw as an artist are not from observation, however I've learned to overcome the symbol system that we all have from learning how to draw things the way they look in reality. That does not mean you must translate that into all of your work, it simply means that your brain is getting the kick in the pants it deserves. Case in point, check out this self portrait. 

It was done in 1899 at age 19 by one of the most famous artists of the modern era (I'll let you know who in a moment). This artist worked in a highly stylized manner of drawing and painting, yet he fully understood what he was doing based on a solid grounding in studio training. Know who I'm talking about yet? Here's a self portrait he did in 1971 at age 90 . 

Pablo Picasso

Three Things To Do To Kick Your Habits

One of the biggest ways to break away from drawing symbols instead of what you see (you should be drawing from observation when you're learning how to draw), is to talk to yourself. All artists are muttering crazy people, didn't you notice?

This is me. 
Eyes don't look like footballs. Or almonds. Or ellipses.  So stop telling yourself that they do. Eyes are round, they are protected and covered by lids. The shape of the lids doesn't look anything like the aforementioned objects when they are truly observed. This goes for absolutely everything you have a symbol for. Instead, talk about which direction a shape is going. Does it curve or stay flat? Is it bumpy? Thicker on one side? Does it stop abruptly? You'll be surprised in what a difference this kind of talking will make!

The second thing you need to do ASAP is get yourself a cheat sheet. You need to know exactly where things go on a face. All the measurements of a human face (that is, proportions) skew slightly when you're drawing an actual person, that's why we all look different didn'tcha know? Below are the general measurements of a front facing face (hah). 

The Eyes
  • The eyes are located halfway down the face. If they are not in the right place the whole face is out of proportion.
 The Nose
  • The bridge and ball of the nose fall in the middle of the centerline. The base of the nose is halfway down from from the eyeline.
The Mouth
  • The opening for the mouth is halfway between the base of the nose and the chin. The corners of the mouth is the width of the middle of the eyes.
 The Ears
  • The space between the eyeline and the line the base of the nose is generally where the ears sit.

The final thing you need to do while you're practicing drawing is to listen to music without words. SAY WHAT?! You heard me. The language areas of your brain are located in Yeezy (your left hemisphere). You gotta shut him up while you're drawing. You may find that you have the ability to sing along to songs with words while you're drawing stuff you're good at drawing. This is because you already taught Yeezy to shut up while you're drawing that thing. Whenever you're trying to draw something new, put on music without lyrics. This will help your right brain focus a lot. This doesn't mean you need to listen to classical orchestral music, just anything without lyrics. Note: don't cheat and listen to kareoke versions of songs with words in them. Yeezy'll be a douche and sing 'em to himself. 

Bonus! I wrote a tutorial that accompanies this blog to getcha started drawing faces the way you always wanted!
 Human Anatomy Tutorial: The Head by Xadrea

Questions? Feel free to leave 'em in the comments section!


100 Days of Making...say waaaaah

Journal Entry: Fri Apr 29, 2016, 9:14 PM
So I've done 30 day challenges before, but this is probably the most ambitious daily project I've embarked on in a LOOOOONG while :XD: What am I on about? The 100 Day Project 'o course! It's almost 2 weeks in but there's plenty of time for you to participate if you wanna (deets are here: ) So what is this project you ask? Basically you decide what you wanna make and do it every single day until July 11, 2016 ^ ^ The organizer Elle Luna ( ) has also suggested that participants share their creations on instagram with the hashtag #100dayproject 

I like projects like these because it forces me to be creative for at least an hour every single day ^ ^ My own project is based on random musings, that is, whatever I first think of when I sit down with my tablet. Thus far it has been mostly fan art, and fan art I had been too intimidated to draw until now so I'd say that's a huge plus. Also I'm getting a little faster in my digital painting process which is also a plus to this project! There are plenty of days left if you guys are interested in hopping on the train too! (you don't have to post on instagram if you don't want btw XD) 

Yea or nay? Anybody in? Below are my entries for everyday (including this one) for a total of 11 days. 

1:100 by Xadrea2:100 by Xadrea3:100 by Xadrea4:100 by Xadrea

5:100 by Xadrea6:100 by Xadrea7:100 by Xadrea8:100 by Xadrea

9:100 by Xadrea10:100 by Xadrea11:100 by Xadrea

  • Listening to: Victorious-- Panic! At the Disco
  • Reading: nothing
  • Watching: you!!!
  • Playing: Runescape 3
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: Mountain Dew

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?! Moving and other newsy news

Journal Entry: Sun Mar 27, 2016, 2:59 PM
That's a real good question :XD: Actually I've been right here the whole time, just unreasonably busy XD I've been pre-student teaching for the last three months (my last day at the high school I'm putting in time is this Thursday) so that's really been cramping up my free time. On top of that I'm pre student teaching at two other area schools with two different classes in my program :faint: Both of those are coming to an end this week as well. Needless to say I've never been stretched quite this thin in a looooooong time lol. Also, I will be moving in May. Where to you ask? Why back to Ohio! Yes, the state everyone flees from, including myself. Why you ask? Well, a few reasons. I've been in school for nine years. I have two degrees now (bfa and mfa), and although I'm close to finishing a certificate I've decided it's in my best interest to take a break and move to an area that has more jobs in my field. Why quit when I'm so close to finishing my teaching certificate you ask? Because I'm tired of being broke dammit. Also I'm tired of being tired and sick. I've been sick for over a month now (just started feeling better this past week) and the reason I'm not getting better is because I haven't had time to rest. Additionally, I don't consider what I'm planning on doing failing in any way. I've put 1 year into this art ed program, and even if I end up having to start over whenever I finish it I didn't do it all for nothing. I've gained a lot in the last six months including new friends :meow: So, I'll be moving back to my mom's house (the mantra of every 20 something born in the late 80s these days amiright?) saving money and looking for a job in the NE Ohio area. I've got a few prospects already and an interview on Tuesday for a summer job as an art teacher woo. 

As you've probably noticed as your watchlist folder for me started coughing violently, I've made A LOT of art in between all my being busy :XD: I've finally gotten up to speed with uploading it to dA. I've been updating my instagram and fb page more frequently because the uploading process on both platforms is 40 times faster than dA's (not a complaint, just an observation). Queenie and Sanctuary are still coming along nicely and I'm glad that I've been able to get little tid bits done on both in spite of being too busy to eat regularly :XD: 

Anyways, I've been away too are you guys? What's new round these parts and with all of you?

  • Listening to: Car Underwater-- Armor for Sleep
  • Reading: nothing
  • Watching: you!!!
  • Playing: Runescape 3
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: water


Journal Entry: Mon Jan 11, 2016, 7:43 AM
Wanna start off by saying HAPPY NEW YEAR!! :boogie::dance::boogie::dance::boogie::dance::boogie::dance:

Ok, now that's out of our system, lemme explain the title of this journal: I'm reviving a comic my brother and I wrote over 15 years ago :D Why you ask? Well, it's been something that I've been wanting to do for a very long time but had neither the time, energy, or resources. I came to the conclusion about a month ago that I wasn't really waiting on anything in particular, and if I had put more effort into it I could have revived the comic years ago. Negativity against myself aside, it's actually a good thing that I'm working on it now as a more matured artist because I now have an increased ability to make what's in my head appear physically. The comic has had several titles, but the one we're going with is from the second draft of the story that we worked up about 12 years ago, Sanctuary. 

what's it about? *leans in closely*

Well, it's set in a dystopian futu- *oh real original Xadrea* Don't you sass me! Now, what was I saying? Oh yes, it's set in a dystopian future in which the Universe is being destroyed by a world eating sentient techno-virus. *again so original* Don't make me come over there! Anyways, the Earth is no more and no one quite remembers what happened to it. All that is known is that it was destroyed by the virus at some point centuries beforehand. Humankind survived by fleeing to a planet that was similar to Earth named Red Moon. However Red Moon was already inhabited by humanoid beings. Red Moon was much less heavily populated and oppressed under human invasion. *humans wreck everything amiright?* Uh, yes. Well, as a result naturally war broke out and nothing was accomplished. While that was happening Red Moon began dying as the virus that had destroyed Earth mysteriously appeared. With the virus killing hundreds of thousands of people on both sides, and Red Moon becoming increasingly unable to support life an alliance was made between Humankind and the natives of Red Moon. That's when the last city, Sanctuary, was built. 

I made a little intro vid for it ^ ^

  • Listening to: Monster -- Skillet
  • Reading: nothing
  • Watching: you!!!
  • Playing: Resident Evil 4
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: water
Long time no see patients! Today's blog will be discussing the nasty, horrible, no good, very bad enemy of all creatives: the dreaded art block. 

Even if you haven't seen all of The Matrix films (or like them for that matter) many of you are probably familiar with this iconic exchange from the first film: 
Boy: "Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth."
Neo: "What truth?"
Boy: "There is no spoon."
Neo: "There is no spoon?"
Boy: "Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself."
When it comes to creativity, we as artists are our own worst enemies. The greatest sabotage you can ever do to yourself as a creator is to place limits on your abilities before you even know what you can do. THAT, my friend, is precisely what Neo's problem was at the beginning of the Matrix series.

Wrenches In the Gears of Your Mind

Gears are Turning by pixelworlds
So what happens when you know without a shadow of a doubt you don't have the skills to tackle a project?

Know Thyself

Ok, heads up because I just can't seem to stop's yet another nugget I pulled out of the Matrix film (yeah, yeah bear with me, I actually do have a point to make here!) Besides fear, which can also be crippling, calculated and even sensible overthinking can send you careening over a cliff into stagnant territory. The maxim 'know thyself' is a Greek phrase that has several different uses in literature. One of it's meanings is simply to have an enlightened view and understanding of yourself, outside of your emotions and perceived limitations (Har har, that was also it's usage in The Matrix). It is the total understanding of your abilities, likes, dislikes, thought patterns, etc. Essentially, a state of being that is nearly impossible to master for we are merely human and our minds, though vast, are still housed in a finite body. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses takes time and a lot of courage no matter what you are facing in life. 
temet nosce/ know thyself

So am I telling you that you're doomed if you really can't do something? No young grasshopper, pay attention! Knowing that you don't yet have the ability to do something simply means you haven't learned that skill yet, it is not the end of the world or your path as an artist

The Difference Between Quitting and Failure 

If you're American it's probably been beat into your brain, through many years of schooling, that failure is the worst thing that can happen to you while you're learning how to do something. Those who fail are often stigmatized severely, and at times even ostracized for it. You've probably also heard nasty things about quitters, but there's two sides to every coin. Failing at something typically means one of two things: you put forth your best efforts and the process did not work, or you did not put forth your best efforts and the process did not work. Most often the former is the case which is why failure feels so very devastating. Here's the thing about failure though: either way you learned something. That's not always the case with quitting. People quit either because they realize that they are not fully committed/can't do something, or they think a task is too difficult and bail to avoid failing altogether. Never quit out of fear of failure. I repeat: failure is not the end. Do not be afraid to fail, because it means that you tried something new and you now know what not to do. 

Failure is an enormous portion of being an artist, and I believe that far too many young artists are so crippled by the idea of failing that they end up stagnant. They only stick to what "works" and then wonder why they aren't seeing any progress. It's because you gotta come out of that box little kitten! Trust me, failure doesn't feel very nice at first but after awhile you welcome it. It took me the better part of 2 1/2 years to develop the current painting process I have because of massive amounts of failure. I kept trying things until I got what I wanted out of the media I was using and the images I was creating. To be blunt: you fell on your rear end as an infant multiple times, expect to repeat the process

There Is No Spoon (for real) 

The culprit of all art blocks is the artist. Not a lack of materials. Not a lack of time. Not a lack of energies. And please, don't think I have no personal understanding of those three things. I'm working on my third degree and am underemployed :XD: When you're in a rut, the only thing (truly) in your way is you. There's no spoon. It doesn't exist. What is your spoon? Grab that thing by the handle and bend the sh!t out of it. You're the creator. You're in control. You've got this


Helpful Art Block smashing articles and tips:…
Art Block Banisher
Do you find yourself staring like a zombie at a blank piece of paper on your desk? Do you whip your pencil in a circle to draw a head, erase it, draw it again, and still find yourself dissatisfied and uninspired? Do you long to draw your characters in some crazy or adorable situation but lack the ability to come up with an idea?
Never fear! The Art Block Banisher is here!
This is a list of possible scenarios you can evilly dump your favorite characters into, whether they belong to you or someone else. So think about a few favorite characters, pull out a pencil and paper, and let's go!
Cooking Who can cook what, and how well? How many fire extinguishers will be necessary? Try drawing a full-out scene or just little doodles.
Age: What did your characters look like when they were little? How did/would they interact? What about when they're older? Try drawing them as grown-ups or (gasp) geezers. (Here's a great tutorial on faces at differen
     Expanding the comfort-zone by FOERVRAENGD


Journal Entry: Fri Dec 4, 2015, 11:42 AM
Good question my muffin kittens, where have been for the last few months :XD:

Weeeeell in July of this year I decided to go back to school (yes, after getting my Master's degree) to get a k-12 art education certification. Not gonna lie, this program is kicking my complete ass. I really want to get my teaching cert, but the state of Michigan has a supremely difficult state teaching exam that I have little chance of passing :XD: That being said, I'll still end up with a degree/certification if I can't pass it, just not a full teacher cert. So I'll be qualified to teach...just not in schools. I know, it doesn't make sense :XD: Yes, technically the job I have now is teaching :lol: I teach art lessons to kids and adults in the continuing ed courses at KCAD and I'm qualified to be a professor (but as I mentioned months earlier, those jobs are few and far between :XD: ) I've got about a week left in the semester before the holidays and it can't be over soon enough :XD: Anywho a couple other things have happened in the last couple 'o months. 

I had a boyfriend. Say wat Xadrea, you did not breathe a word of this on dA. Note the operative word had. I met the guy back in June and we were together up until 2 weeks ago. Long time yus (if you can call 6 months a long time), but to be entirely honest there were a lot of things that I let slide because I liked him a lot. So, why didn't you say anything about him beforehand? Eh, I 'spoze I was being cautiously optimistic from the get and it worked out well when we broke up. Please, no condolences. I do not miss him. (also there a couple of you who already know about this and we talked about it at length, so you guise can just ignore this section :XD:

As far as art goes, I'm about to assault you all with a large upload of many things from the last couple 'o months that I neglected to upload to dA because I get lazy sometimes okay? 

So what's new with all of you?

  • Listening to: Favorite Record- Fall Out Boy
  • Reading: Nothing currently
  • Watching: you!!!
  • Playing: Runescape 3
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: water


Journal Entry: Tue Sep 1, 2015, 9:01 AM
I was tagged by simpleCOMICS Astrikos and woohooligan so it behooves me to actually do the thing :XD:

1) How long have you been on DeviantArt?
7 years! I've been deviously deviant since Jan 21, 2008 

2) What does your username mean?
My username was actually picked out for me by my brother 4 years prior to me joining dA when I was setting up a Runescape account. Ten years later I still play Runescape (make fun of me all you want, I love that game), and I am still Xadrea :D

3) Describe yourself in three words.
Short. A cupcake. Kitties. 

4) Are you left or right handed?
Righty tighty. 

5) What was your first deviation? 
 Kimono by Xadrea OOF

6) What is your favourite type of art to create? 
Mixed media watercolors weeeeeeeeeeee

7) If you could instantly master a different art style, what would it be? 
Printmaking yo. Printmakers are AWESOME. 

8) What was your first favourite? 
Rainbows in Space: a wallpaper by evil-goma

9) What type of art do you tend to favourite the most? 
Can't really say, my faves folders are essentially a catch all of massively different artworks!

10) Who is your all-time favourite deviant artist? 
But if I absolutely had to pinpoint one deviant that I have admired from the beginning it is without question loish

11) If you could meet anyone on DeviantArt in person, who would it be? 
In no particular order: 
FlashyFashionFraud fr33z3dry scenefag TheCreativeJenn namenotrequired simpleCOMICS AngelMiyoko woohooligan hankinstein ArcNeoMasato TimberClipse Moonbeam13 and many more that I cannot get my brain to squirt out for the time being...but they shall be added in due course!

12) How has a fellow deviant impacted your life?
Oh, most of the people in the above list have impacted my life for the better with their limitless enthusiasm, encouragement, and overall big heartedness! 

13) What are your preferred tools to create art?
My watercolor pan, a flat brush, and a spray bottle full of water!

14) What is the most inspirational place for you to create art?
Typically anywhere that I can concentrate for a decent amount of time. That place can be anywhere as long as I can concentrate for at least 30 minutes without interruption.

15) What is your favourite DeviantArt memory?
:iconwinningisforlosers: mang. I met almost all my dA budsies through WIFL and I have Jason ( simpleCOMICS ) to thank for that!

  • Listening to: Jet Pack Blues-- Fall Out Boy
  • Reading: Nothing currently
  • Watching: you!!!
  • Playing: Runescape 3
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: nothing

So that happened + MAS

Journal Entry: Wed Aug 5, 2015, 9:59 AM
Remember when I said I was gonna be around dA more? Yeah, that obviously wasn't true since I've missed yet ANOTHER entire month of being round these parts of the interwebz :XD: I've been a tad busy this summer, plus I decided to get a k-12 teaching certificate (bleh, moar school). So I'll be starting on that in a couple weeks when the fall semester begins. In the mean time I've been teaching with my college's continuing studies program and it's been going pretty well. I've got another class lined up in two weeks time and a few more coming this fall, so I'm pumped for that (and of course I'm happy for the monies, as yours truly still doesn't have steady employment :XD:

A week ago I was visited by Midwest Artist Studios Project to discuss my work, talk about how I make it, and of course get some fun pics :D I'll be working with them over the course of the 2015/2016 school year to develop an art curriculum for high school students around the midwest. 

LOOK AT MY FAYSE, I'm pretending like I know some things and that I am qualified to teach them to other people :XD:. Also, the Kingdom Hearts artwork in the background was made by none other than TheCreativeJenn (aka Jenniferraye, aka Jenn) , the schweet brain print? Made by scenefag (aka Baylen, aka Bee) 
Untitled by Xadrea

Img 6680 (1) by Xadrea

moar art by TheCreativeJenn in ze background. Oh and hay, there's my master's degree diploma (most expensive piece of paper I'll ever own @.@) 

Untitled by Xadrea
A close up shot of one of my artz

Untitled by Xadrea
They asked me to make a thing while they were filming me, so I made a watercolor thing :XD: 

All images copyright of the Midwest Artist Studios Project and used with their permission.

  • Listening to: The End of All Things--Panic! At the Disco
  • Reading: Nothing currently
  • Watching: you!!!
  • Playing: Runescape 3
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: nothing

Help my Artist page hit 100 likes!

Journal Entry: Mon Jun 8, 2015, 3:12 PM
Hi peeps! I'm honing in on 100 likes for my artist page on FB and I need your help :D (note: this is NOT me asking you to help me out with a pageview/like whoring type deal. This is me continuing to market & promote myself as an independent artist) I CANNOT get clients without promotion (and neither can you for that matter :lol: ).

That being said, if you have social media links send them my way! I love helping promote my artist friends! I will list mine below for your convenience: 

Screenshot 2015-06-08 18.02.58 by Xadrea…

Screenshot 2015-06-08 18.03.12 by

Screenshot 2015-06-08 18.03.36 by

Screenshot 2015-06-08 18.04.00 by

Shoot me your social media links in the comments and I will like/follow and then share :) 

  • Listening to: The End of All Things--Panic! At the Disco
  • Reading: Nothing currently
  • Watching: you!!!
  • Playing: Runescape 3
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: nothing

$10 Prints Now Available! US Shipping only

Journal Entry: Sat Jun 6, 2015, 1:53 PM
heeeeey friendsies :D I finally figured out a decent platform for my online store and it was under my nose the entire time. (naturally :XD:) I have a square reader (it's a credit card reader that connects into the headphone jack of your smart phone) but it never occurred to me that you can also set up a totally free online store as well. You can't customize the actual e-store layout, but I consider that a good thing since I really suck at coding :XD: here's the link to my store:…

So anyways, the store is now live! here's a schweet screenshot of a product page: Screenshot 2015-06-06 15.13.12 by Xadrea

check it out, spread the word, and order a print!

  • Listening to: Titanium (cover)- Postmodern Jukebox ft. Von Smith
  • Reading: A Step From Heaven--An Na
  • Watching: you!!!
  • Playing: Runescape 3
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: nothing

Official Commission and Pricing Information

Journal Entry: Tue Jun 2, 2015, 12:16 PM
Hello, hello! This journal is serving as my new improved pricing guide! The prices listed in this guide are base prices. That means if you contact me about purchasing work, I will refer to this chart and the final price will directly reflect it. Read on for payment information, conditions, and other spiffy details!

The Chart

Pricing Chart by Xadrea

Payment Policies

All prices are listed in USD, I will not convert them for you.

:bulletgreen:In the purchase of non-commission artwork (that is, existing artwork), I require 100% payment up front. The artwork will not be shipped until the payment is completed. (I will furnish a contract form that will need to be signed and returned to me before any transactions occur)

:bulletgreen:In the purchase of commissioned artwork, 75% of the agreed upon price payment is due up front. I will not begin work until the payment has been completed.The remaining 25% of the full payment is due when the piece is 50% complete. (I will furnish a contract form that will need to be signed and returned to me before any transactions occur) 

:bulletgreen:I accept Paypal (or personal check, but Paypal is MUCH more secure). My paypal address is:


:bulletgreen: All sales are final. This includes commissions. No refunds of any kind will be made (this includes the 75% up front commission fee). 

:bulletgreen: All prices are listed as is. Discounts will only be made during promotions, there will be no haggling. 

:bulletgreen: I reserve the right to add shipping and/or framing to the final cost. 

:bulletgreen: I reserve the right to refuse a commission or project. 

:bulletgreen: I am NOT an art restorer. I will not 'touch up' old paintings. 

:bulletgreen: I will NOT paint or draw over an existing artwork. 

:bulletgreen: I will NOT 'send free sketches'  or do 'tests' for commission work. The commission payment policy applies before any work begins.  Feel free to peruse my gallery or portfolio site if you need examples of work. 

:bulletgreen: I do not do 'fan art' commissions. 

:bulletgreen: I will NOT give you the rights to any artwork I have made, nor can you seek to own them without my consent (that is legally impossible). 

:bulletgreen: I reserve the right to modify this price chart without notice. 

:bulletgreen: I reserve the right to modify, remove, or add information to my conditions without notice. 

  • Listening to: Titanium (cover)- Postmodern Jukebox ft. Von Smith
  • Reading: A Step From Heaven--An Na
  • Watching: you!!!
  • Playing: Runescape 3
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: nothing

That post grad life lol

Journal Entry: Thu May 28, 2015, 9:30 AM
Hai people ^ ^ long time no see (seems like every time I write a journal that's what I have to open with :XD:) Anyways, yus, as you've seen with my previous journal I finally graduated with my MFA :dance: And naturally, once again, I'm back in the SERIOUS job hunt. Thus far I will be teaching a three week class this summer, but that is all that is on the horizons as I shoot out hundreds of applications :XD: It defintely does say something about the current state of things that someone of my education level is having such a difficult time finding steady work (and I'm not even talking about in my field even :lol:) I'm trying to stay positive about it, but this rodeo is getting old :| 

On a lighter note, I published my first book! Well it's a coloring book titled The Wildest Dreams :XD:

Screenshot 2015-05-28 11.57.53 by Xadrea

It is available on CreateSpace right here:  so spread the word! I'm going to be selling hard copies I printed myself at the local artist's market this upcoming Friday (hopefully I can get rid of most of my stuff because I could really use the munny :XD:

Well what're you waiting for?! SHARE THAT LINK!

  • Listening to: Titanium (cover)- Postmodern Jukebox ft. Von Smith
  • Reading: A Step From Heaven--An Na
  • Watching: you!!!
  • Playing: Runescape 3
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: nothing


Journal Entry: Thu May 28, 2015, 8:32 AM
After three years of LOTS of blood, sweat, and tears I am the happy owner of a Master's Degree of Fine Arts: Painting 

*cue flailing, stifled sobs, and glitter* BTW: this is a gloating journal, newsie journal is coming up after this one :XD:

Screenshot 2015-05-28 11.17.20 by Xadrea

Screenshot 2015-05-28 11.16.33 by Xadrea

2015-05-09 19.07.29 by Xadrea

2015-05-09 19.09.38 by Xadrea

  • Listening to: Titanium (cover)- Postmodern Jukebox ft. Von Smith
  • Reading: A Step From Heaven--An Na
  • Watching: you!!!
  • Playing: Runescape 3
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: nothing

The Other and Otherness

Mon May 11, 2015, 1:10 PM

Otherness can be defined as anything or anyone who is not part of the dominant culture, or the person that they dominance is about. Artists are in collusion with the dominant culture and the rest of the people in the lower culture. Until we reach the Romantic period, there is not a lot of political or cultural dissent in art. This is because art was mainly focused on the patrons who purchased the pieces. The lower classes, rough, unpredictable, violent, excessive, threats to the established order. Facial appearance, body posture, stasis or movement, individuality and details (or lack thereof), paleness vs. tan pigmentation.

Class & Gender.

Portinari272 by Xadrea
Pre-enlightenment there was not many artworks that reference individuality. Difference was less noted in art because there was more social isolation simply because of the lack of technologies that would have allowed for diversity. All experiences had to be made through first hand contact. The industrial revolution helped break these boundaries and open the cultures of the world to each of them. Art was part of the small and high elite classes. It could not be viewed, much less enjoyed, by lower class individuals. There were not only marked differences that happened in this artwork, but also a perceived danger. The Portinari Altarpiece by Hugo van der Goes shows a difference in social class between the shepherds and the Holy Family.

Adriaen Brouwer 004 by Xadrea
The signs of realism show not difference, but also social or even moral decay. The lower classes are more likely to age, to have evidence of scaring and wounds, illness, and to have open mouths. The audience reads lower class people as a form of illness. Physical disability is a symbol of moral decay. An “over display” of emotion is also seen as an Other. 

Pan and Syrinx (England) by Xadrea
The male sexuality was usually kept at bay by the Aristotelian ideal of balance.  Wholeness of man, of humans in general, was very important at that time. Pan & Syrinx is a good example of Greek Mythology, but it represents a resistance to the male gaze (assault). Throughout art history we find many images of women of power. There are many images of women who are in control of their bodies, their minds, and of their sexuality. It was easier to present a nude “character” of a woman, than an actual woman. The wives and lovers of the politicians at Versailles ran the court and were more savvy business practitioners than their husbands. Women of financial means had the freedom to indulge in education and society. The French Revolution, Napoleon’s laws, and the Industrial Revolution stunted this freedom and in many ways completely snatched it away. The woman’s economical contribution was removed with the creation of factories. Then began the two realms that could never cross, the home and society. Women were meant to remain in the home, men were meant to go out in the world.

Fernand Khnopff Sphinx Caresses by Xadrea
For the ancient Greeks, the male body was best. Females and female bodies were considered abhorrent. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the female body was also considered evil and corrupt because of Eve. Eve was often shown as corrupt, diseased, or seductress. Also, having been made second and having been made from physical means, males (Adam) are considered purer full of intellect. The male is seen as a closed, self-contained body. In contrast the female is seen as fluid, uncontrolled, and messy. Ancient medical beliefs implied that women were corrupted and deformed men. Whether or not women had souls was a serious debate up until the mid 19th century. Women were thought of as demonic and corrupt, insatiable in desire, and filthy in physicality. Pregnancy was considered one of many grotesque and "unnatural" occurrences in the female body. The fact that women's bodies are now understood by science and medicine is a somewhat new convention.

Edvard-munch-woman-ii by Xadrea
Many male artists also thought of women as the bringers of death, the carriers of disease, and the dressers of the dead. Edvard Munch noted woman as the “deathly figure.” He always used a woman as the human figure in the three stages of life. She begins as a youth, graduates to an odalisque (standing) and then as a hag bringing death. There is a mystical haunting in each of these images in which the figure is dangerous. Munch is reflecting the story of Adam and Even in The First Kiss. The tree in this painting divides the two of them, and the shadow looms over each of them.  Munch’s mother and sister died. Two of his other sisters became psychologically ill. He chose unsuitable female partners himself and came to the conclusion that women were hellish diseased succubus like creatures. 
C208245a53b9fb4dcc76136d277ab1ec by Xadrea
By the 19th century European women were considered objects to be desired and "pure" in comparison to the other racial groups now being discovered throughout the Asian and African continents.. The reclining female is weak, ill, and overcome by worry. This had much to do with the romanticization of illnesses such as Tuberculosis (it was thought to strike young intellectuals). 

Tanoux-1887namouna-xl by Xadrea
The female body was was eroticized and exoticized with the expansion of European trade to the continent of Asia. The mystique and fantasies of these lands occurred in the 19
th century during the height of English colonialism. Aggressive sexuality and comparison to animals are pulled into these images (the corrupt and demonic image). These women often gaze out at the viewer that is aggressive. There is openness to the body language, inviting and almost friendly. Many times the odalisque is alone, but other times she is accompanied by more women like her. In addition to orientalism, we see slavery Orientalized. There was a cultural acceptance and fascination with the female slave. This happens in another world, not “ours.” These paintings were not abolitionist or in favor of ending slavery, they romanticized it.

Race & Ethnicity. 

Phrenology and Physiognomy maps the body as “different,” foreign, and potentially dangerous. Phrenology maps bumps on the skull to show the potential for a person to be a deviant vs virtuous. With medical technology there was a sudden interest in “diagnosing” people’s behavior. Physiognomy scrutinized the visible body to diagnose deviancy. Johann Casper Lavater was the first to use the term physiognomy in the 18
th century. Samuel R. Wells published a book titled “How to read character with a descriptive craft.” Dr. G. Duchenne made “scientific” studies in which he shocked the faces of people to show the differences of facial emotions. Late 19th century. The reasoning for these studies was for a rationale to continue literally destroying non western culture.
Large by Xadrea

The idea of the other was embraced by other artists during the late 1980s. David Hammons drew upon the vernacular to make his artwork. He said, “I spend 85% of my time on the street, looking, listening, and gathering.” His pieces that are made from found objects speak of his otherness as a black male in society as a whole. The racial issues that still exist were being used as a point of reference for black artists. The word spade is a derogatory term for a black man; the use of chains refers to slavery, bondage. The materials are crude and not meant for anything outside of hard outdoor labor. Spade with Chains also references African Masks. Through a period between 1978 and 1990 Hammons made elephant dung sculptures. The sculptures, once dried, were painted with the colors of the African liberation flag (black, red, and green). In Western culture, elephant dung is abject and repulsive, however in other cultures specifically African cultures, elephant dung is used as fuel and building material. There is also a reference to the memory of an elephant, the elephant in the room, the ivory trade, etc. Elephants are also very human like creatures, with strong family dynamics and similar grieving process. Free Nelson Mandela references a barbershop, and prison cells. He did a series of works called Higher Goals that are totem poles that have basketball hoops attached at the very top. The poles are adorned with beer and pop bottle tops that appear to be very beautiful from far away. Whose Ice is Colder (1990) references a conflict that occurred in Hammons’s neighborhood. There were three rival stores, one owned by a black family, one owned by a Korean family, and one owned by a Yemeni family.

Piper Cornered 1988 by Xadrea
Adrian Piper also addressed the idea of black identity. Piper is a woman who looked at her essence as a black woman and the conflicts and overwhelming complexities of being of mixed race. She writes that she never felt comfortable in white culture because she is accused of being too black, she never felt comfortable in black culture because she was accused of being too white. She wanted to look at ways the way the self is presented in culture. She wanted to explore this tension of racism from both sides of the argument. Piper’s piece Cornered consists of television set, copies of her parent’s birth certificate an overturned table and several chairs. Piper recites an essay in which she explains her reasoning for speaking about her ethnicities.

Artwork Images 631 236123 Resize Glenn-ligon-i-fee by Xadrea
Some of Glenn Ligon's earliest works reference runaway slave posters from the 19th century. He asked friends to write physical description of himself and put together wanted posters of himself. Runaways also reference the slave trade. This work also investigates how we view an individual’s appearance. Different situations require different language, language is flexible and language requires different meanings. Ligon is most noted for language taken from other people’s poetry or novels. Often times he uses work from African American authors such as Langston Hughes. The works are stenciled onto canvases and they slowly blur away toward the bottom of the images. The works have a similar quality of Andy Warhol’s copies of prints. Language cannot be opaque or totally coded. The language is eventually being covered up and blurred out over time, the same thing which happens to ethnic identity over time in America. He also talks about in the contemporary period that we cannot see the difference between literature and fine art. Ligon is connecting to the notion that art can also be very much entrenched in idea. His pieces become increasingly blacker and blacker, suggesting that there are things that we need to see and consider but they are immediately concealed by preconceived notions about skin color.

Doubling & What It Means to Be Human.

Meeting the other in the mirror is fascinating and horrific. To be uncanny is to be reminded of death. Surrealists would suggest that people would not like going to funeral homes because they would project themselves on to the dead person. DeChirico and the mannequin- the mannequin as double, as replacement for the self. In high art, specifically in fine art the mannequin is repulsive and alluring. The mannequin is the ideal body (of the time, that is). The fears of humanity are projected onto the double (this is why so many people are terrified of clowns and dolls). Any way that the body is presented in society, it is done so as an idealized representation of a real human. Even models on a runway are idealized representations of the human body. 

721012bd40b7eb377948076f3a85eccd by Xadrea
The Surrealist Exhibition of 1938 featured the mannequin as the uncanny double. This was a collaborative installation of eight or nine artists (all surrealists). What they hoped to do was create an alternative Paris. The exhibition took place on two levels, the first level mimicked stores and roads in Paris. The lower level represented the dreamlike subconscious level. The point of the exhibition was to get people to experience surrealism rather than just looking at it. The exhibition also addressed issues of urban capitalism and consumerism. This exhibition displayed the darker side of urban consumption. The surrealists also wanted to display the darker side of relationships (male to female specifically). The monetary value of people was also questioned heavily in this exhibition. There were about 25-30 mannequins in this show. The mannequin is called the double self or the uncanny self (un-real, destructive, weird, nightmarish). As consumers become more and more clever in sucking up products, their identity becomes lost. There was a theme of confinement throughout all the mannequins, but also the female mannequins were left mostly naked except for obvious entrapments such as nets and cages. The lower level was also considered the realm of the feminine; it was made to feel womb-like with organic flooring and braziers going in random places. The entire exhibition was dark, and the people going had to take flashlights. A recording of maniacal crazed laughter played in the basement as well.

Claude Cahun Selfportrait by Xadrea
Claude Cahun (Lucy Schwob) was part of the surrealists and the Dadaists. Her father was Jewish and her mother was sent to a mental sanitorium when Claude was a child. Cahun was an anorexic who used restriction of diet to manipulate her body. One of her step sisters became her lover and helped her shoot her images. Cahun felt that anorexia could make herself less womanly and fleshy. She photographed herself as her father and was fascinated by mirrors. She shaved her head and presented herself as androgynous in her photography.

Portrait-of-rose-selavy-1921 by Xadrea
The uncanny overlap and doubling of the self was attractive to many artists. Marcel Duchamp’s character Rrose Selavy was the female alter ego that satisfied his wanting to be both male and female. 
Rose was a nickname for the name Ruth (a Jewish name) and a lot of women who worked in the fashion industry as seamstresses were called Roses. These women were viewed as slightly dangerous because they had jobs and they were also seeking better jobs (a liberated independent woman). By doubling the r’s in the alter ego’s name, the pronunciation is more guttural and it sounds like “eros” (sex). Paired with Selavy “c’est la vie” (that’s life) the name means Sex-that’s life! Duchamp published and created artwork under this female alter ego. Duchamp developed a perfume under this identity called Belle Haleine (helaine meant breath). The bottle read “eu du voilette” which was a play on the old-fashioned rose and violet water perfume.

tumblr n5mtlsgXNW1tsptulo2 500 by Xadrea

Mark Quinn’s Self is created out of 9 pints of the artist’s own blood (frozen into a mold made of his own head). Though very compelling, is not a true double because it is part of him. He questions what does it mean to be a body, what is keeping it intact? Is it a thing in which other things reside? 


Performance-Artist-James-Lunas-Take-a-Picture-with by Xadrea
James Luna has a Mexican father and a Native American mother and often times his works play on those distinctions in his works. Half-Indian/Half-Mexican is set up like a mugshot revealing both halves of Luna’s ethnicity. He wants to address what truth and purity are in race and ethnicity. What is authenticity? Why do people want to be Indian? He writes that the number of people claiming to be of Native American origins had raised between the 1970s to the 1990s. Artifact Piece was displayed in a natural history museum. The piece was a performance featuring Luna himself as an attack on the practices of museums and how they set up displays for Native American culture as though they are dinosaurs and frozen in time. Native culture is still continuing today, but researchers and historians ignore it. Luna considers himself a social education activist. Take a Picture with a Real Indian was another performance piece in which Luna presents himself as three types of indian, the noble brave, the reservation indian, and a normal view of himself. So which is the real indian?


“In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.” 
― Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle 


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Mortality in Abject Art

Mon May 11, 2015, 11:54 AM

Contemporary artist Chris Burden passed away just a few days ago, and as we reflect on his influential (and often controversial) career as an artist I'd like to include other artists for a broader perspective of Burden's use of abjection in his work. As defined by Julia Kristeva in the Powers of Horror, the abject is not simply defined by the abhorrence of bodily fluids or excrement, but a lack of order and control. Anything which deviates from the established norm. Death is certainly the most abject that we as humans must face, but the very idea of death, the realization of one’s mortality, is even more frightening. The spilling of bodily fluids and disease are two of the most obvious displays of abjection from a living body, and this is seen in the works of Chris Burden, Otto Dix, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

Chris Burden

burden-Doorway-to-Heaven-1973 by Xadrea
"It’s about trying to frame something. And draw attention to it and say, “Here’s the beauty in this. I’m going to put a frame around it, and I think this is beautiful.” That’s what artists do. It’s really a pointing activity." - Chris Burden

Burden used his body to make his early artwork. He did acts of violence upon himself and acts of endurance. In Kunst Kick Burden had someone kick him down the stairs. Burden had a friend shoot him through the arm in Shoot (the actual shot was meant to graze him, but his friend missed and the bullet was lodged in Burden's arm). After 1964, violence became more and more commonplace on television because of the video and photographic coverage of the conflict in both Vietnam and violent racial tension in the US. In Transfixed (1974) Burden had his hands nailed to a Volkswagon Beetle, it was rolled out to a driveway, had photos taken, then released. In Through the Night Softy (1973) Burden had his hands tied behind his back and wore nothing but a bathing suit crawling across 50 ft. of broken glass. Burden, rightly, feared that the American public was becoming desensitized to images of violence. 

It is important to remember that the aforementioned pieces are simply a sampling of Burden's work throughout his entire career. A sampling of his large body of work can be viewed here:…

Otto Dix

Dix-skat-players-1920 by Xadrea
Painting is the effort to produce order; order in yourself. There is much chaos in me, much chaos in our time." - Otto Dix

Otto Dix’s work depicted combat soldiers who had survived WWII but had returned to society horrifically maimed. Beyond the maiming, which in itself is an abject thought, these veterans were each outfitted with mechanical prosthetics. The bodies of these men which were already violated were manipulated to even more grotesque proportions with metal jaws, leg that stuck out at awkward angles, and missing appendages (sometimes even cut off at the torso). These depictions of maimed soldiers were meant to make a social and political statement about the treatment of wounded soldiers.

370132 by Xadrea

Often there is “glory” in either living through war completely unscathed or never returning alive. Society would rather not accept a gruesomely maimed man, regardless of the fact he sacrificed so much to defend those very people. These paintings also objected to the practice of redeploying terribly injured troops up to three times after suffering severe injuries.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Felix-baci by Xadrea

In a way...this refusal to make a static form, a monolithic sculpture, in favor of a disappearing, changing, unstable, and fragile form was an attempt on my part to rehearse my fears of having Ross disappear day by day right in front of my eyes. —Felix Gonzalez-Torres

By contrast, Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ piece A Corner of Baci spoke of the profound loss of his partner Ross to AIDS (a virtual death sentence in the 1980s). This piece handles several abject ideas. The very first being love between two gay men. The second is the notion of coming into close contact with a gay man and accepting something from him (in this case a chocolate kiss, which is “baci…” a double entendre). Third, and the nail in coffin, is AIDS. Combined together, all three were a massively frightening monster to 1980s America. HIV and AIDS were widely believed to be a “homosexual disease” at that time. Additionally, anything having to do with anyone LGTBQ was taboo and highly suspect if not outright feared because so many people were dying shortly after diagnosis. Viewers are invited to take and eat as many of the Baci as they like. The chocolates were Ross’ favorite candy, but also represents the wasting of his body as the candies are removed from the exhibit and consumed. Exactly 42 lbs. of chocolate completes the installation, the weight of Ross at his death.

What counter-balances this piece so excellently is the fact that it is portrayed as a loving memorial, and not a grotesque and loathsome reminder of death. This piece is completely non-threatening in this way, and made wholly accessible to everyone. This is supremely important to its themes. Everyone will experience loss (if not the death of a loved one), and to a degree love as well. This piece demonstrates the obvious sameness and humanity of the couple in the adversity of a rejecting culture and destructive disease.

All three artist's effectively tapped into social and political problems of their times by addressing their subjects from the ultimate abject thought: mortality. 


Resin Casting

Thu Apr 30, 2015, 3:00 PM by Xadrea:iconxadrea:

Artist's Toolbox Week

Using resin in your artwork

Hey guys! I’ve been wanting to write a tutorial on resin casting/pouring for a bit now (and I promise one is in the works!), but in the meanwhile, I think it would be good to explain what epoxy resin is, safety concerns, and of course, how AWESOME it is!

I started using epoxy resin in my paintings almost two years ago after being introduced to the resin paintings of Bruce Riley during ArtPrize 2013. I was initially drawn to finding a way to achieve visual depth on a 2 dimensional surface. Now, of course it is more than possible to depict spatial depth by using perspective, but my paintings aren’t trying to depict a realistic sense of perspective. Rather, I wanted to find a way to layer color and patterns in a shallow space and doing so without overwhelming the image. The only way to achieve that would to be somehow work in multiple layers, and thus resin was the answer! Most recently, I’ve started casting bracelets with my left over resin and I plan on casting even more stuffs as time goes on!

What is this stuff?

So, what is this epoxy resin that I speak of? Epoxy resins are a pre-polymer, which is science for “mixed with the right stuff, this thing’s molecules will link up and get larger and denser.” And that means harder. Most commercial resins are a two-part mix, one part being the resin; the other part is the hardener. The resin requires the hardener in order to harden up. It can be used to protect surfaces, as a glue, or even to cast objects in molds. 2015-02-06 16.17.08 by Xadrea

Is it toxic?

Is it dangerous? Yes and no. While resin isn’t toxic, you can’t bathe in it, eat it, or huff it :XD: In it’s liquid state resin can irritate your skin and give off smelly odors. In it’s hardened state it’s no longer hazardous, unless you decide you’d like to sand/file it because you’d be getting plastic dust in the air (and potentially in your lungs).  There, there, I’m not trying to scare you so get out from under your desk! I’m just giving you the rundown! In my opinion, working with resin in your artwork is no more dangerous than working with oil paint (some of which are toxic).  All art making materials can be dangerous in the right situation, so it’s important to know how to handle them to avoid accidents and health issues down the road.

How do you use it?

I’m pretty good at eyeballing my measurements of the two-part mix, but if you’re just starting off it would be in your best interest to use mini measuring cups. If you don’t measure both parts equally your resin will never fully harden, rather it will stay tacky and unusable. You’ll also need a well-ventilated work area and a level surface. Resin cures in warm environments best, so working in a drafty studio or your garage on a cold day isn’t optimal. I use a silicone mat to protect my table from any drips that might happen, but old paper can do the trick as well. Protect your workstation because resin is permanent. Ok, well that’s not entirely true…it can be melted with other chemicals, but trust me, you don’t want to have to do that. Lastly, if you have a heat gun or blow dryer, bring it along! Both can help you get air bubbles out after you pour it onto whatever surface or mold you’re working with.
2015-02-06 16.16.24 by Xadrea

After you combine the two equal parts of resin, mix them until the liquid is smooth looking. Try to do so smoothly so you don’t get a ton of bubbles. Large ones will pop on their own but the teeny ones will try to stick around and you probably don’t want them. Pay attention to the time. Typically, you’ve got a 30 minute working time before the resin begins to stiffen up, but if your workspace is toasty that time frame will shrink faster. Try to spend no more than 10 minutes mixing. Before you pour your resin, make certain that your surface is oil free, hair free, and level. Since I pour my resin on a surface with no raised edges, I use masking tape to give it a border to run up to. I didn’t do this in the past and I had resin dripping and running everywhere! After I’ve poured my resin, I like to spread it evenly with a painting knife or wooden stirring stick to ensure equal coverage.

What is Cure time?

The cure time for your resin greatly depends on the brand you buy. I’ve found with the kinds I buy 36 hours is the general cure time. If you’re planning on making jewelry (like the bracelets I’ve been making) you’ll really need to pay attention to the cure time because you will be pouring the resin in layers. If you do three layers, you probably shouldn’t even think about popping your piece out of its mold for 3 or 4 days after the final pour.

Where do you get resin?

Where I get almost everything, Amazon!:XD: I have yet to find reasonably priced resins from art suppliers, so I have been and will continue purchasing my resins from Amazon. EasyCast is the most reliable brand I’ve used, no yellowing, good cure time, and low odor (in fact it really doesn’t smell at all). Around $70 will get you 1 gallon of resin. When purchasing, remember that you are buying two parts, so a 16-ounce kit equals 8 ounces of resin and 8 ounces of hardener.

Practice makes perfect!

I played around with resins for about 5 months before I actually began using them in my paintings and had maaaaaany errors in that time. Like any art process, it’s important to remember that failure is part of learning and mastering the skill. With time, you’ll have success and a beautiful finished artwork :D


Consider this journal your watercolor primer! Listed in the sections below are the materials that will help you get well on your way with watercolor! I've included links to my watercolor tutorial series and other helpful watercolor tutorials around dA,  as well as some "assignments" if you would like some ideas to get you started :D

Additives, Pigments, Brushes, & Materials Shopping List

Screenshot 2015-04-25 21.45.43 by Xadrea

    1.     Table Salt. You can get some really interesting textures from using salt in your wet watercolor. The resulting texture can be altered by the size of the salt crystals. Table salt will most often give you very stippled texture, and sea salt will have a softer result. However, table salt can do both depending on the amount of water and salt you use, so it is a cheap staple to keep in your tackle box.

    2.     Rubber Cement. This is not the official masking fluid of watercolor (which is called Frisket), but it is a much cheaper alternative that works just the same.

    3.     Gum Arabic. Gum Arabic is an ingredient in watercolor pigments. If it is used as an additive, it will make your paint dry very shiny and slightly more opaque. 

    4.     Rubbing Alcohol. Also known as Isopropyl Alcohol, can be used to create unique textures. Water-based wet media (ink, watercolor, and acrylic) repels alcohol because their molecules cannot fully mix (similar reactions occur in oil and water).  This affect works best with Isopropyl Alcohol that is 91% or higher alcohol by volume. 

My Watercolor Tools by KelliRoos

Royal & Langnickle, M. Graham, Reeves, or Windsor & Newton are suitable (and affordable) brands of tube and cake watercolors. Do not purchase white or black watercolor.  Also, only purchase one tube of each color. The tubes will appear small, but what is inside will last you for years to come. Below is a list of the minimum number of pigments you could get started with:

    ·       Cadmium Red
    ·       Alizarin Crimson
    ·       Burnt Sienna
    ·       Payne’s Gray
    ·       Ultramarine Blue
    ·       Phthalo Blue
    ·       Cadmium Yellow
    ·       Lemon Yellow
    ·       Yellow Ocre


There is be no need to purchase expensive, or “fancy” brushes or brush sets for the purpose of watercolor (though such things do exist). Your most expensive brushes will be the wide 1 and 2 in flats, all others can be simple “all media” or acrylic synthetic bristle brushes. Please refer to the list below when purchasing brush sets:

    ·       1 inch flat brush (one)
    ·       2 inch flat brush (one)
    ·       ½ inch flat brush (one)
    ·       ¾ inch flat brush (one)
    ·       Angled flat of any size
    ·       Round brushes, sizes 0-10 (one of each)

Additional Materials

    ·       Two containers with lids for water (NO GLASS JARS)
    ·       Spray bottle
    ·       HB pencil and sharpener
    ·       Paper towels (these can be reused)
    ·       X-acto knife and cutting surface (self healing mat
    ·       Scissors
    ·       Metal ruler (12” or longer)
    ·       Crayons or candles
    ·       Plastic eraser
    ·       Synthetic sponge cut into chunks
    ·       Watercolor 10-24 pan palette that includes a lid
    ·       Gel medium, Mod Podge, or PVC glue
    ·       Masking tape (NOT PAINTER’S TAPE)
    ·       30 in x 40 in Masonite board
    ·       Binder clips
    ·       Binder or folder
    ·       Drinking straws
    ·       Viewfinder
    ·       Shish-kabob skewers
    ·       Q-tips


Screenshot 2015-04-25 21.57.51 by Xadrea

 The paper used in watercolor work is highly important. It’s very different than other artist’s paper because it is specifically made to get wet. There are three (3) types of paper when it comes to watercolor paper: Hot Pressed, Cold Pressed, and Rough. These papers can be both machine and hand made. Bear in mind, machine made papers will often times have an artificial texture “stamped” into the surface. Hand made papers are generally more expensive. Watercolor papers contain more sizing (that is the stuff that holds the paper pulp together) than regular papers and is much more dense than regular drawing papers. Stretching the paper (that is, saturating it while it is taped to a board and allowing it to dry overnight) may be necessary to avoid buckling if you do not want to tape your paper down. 

In addition to the paper types of, there are also different weights (thickness): 90lb, 140lb, 260lb, and 300lb. These weights are not indicative of the actual weight of the sheets, but instead the weight of the paper ream. A higher weight means a thicker paper. Heavier weight papers are useful to beginners because they are more forgiving in surface and require little or no stretching.

    1.      Hot Pressed Paper. This watercolor paper is very smooth and has almost no tooth (raised texture) to its surface. Since this paper has a very smooth surface it’s ideal for very tight intricate work or illustration. Pigment will also dry more quickly.

    2.      Cold Pressed Paper. This is the most common type you will find in art and craft supply stores. The surface is lightly textured and paint dries with subtle irregularities (watermarking affects).

    3.      Rough Pressed Paper. This watercolor paper is the most heavily textured of the three.  You can achieve the most watermarking effects from the watercolor alone because it will catch and pool in the indentations of the paper’s surface. 

Do not use regular drawing papers to paint on. You will get untold amounts of rippling and buckling in your paper for the afore mentioned reasons. Faber-Castell, Fabriano, Strathmore, and Canson watercolor papers are trustworthy and affordable brands to purchase. Printmaking papers (which are similar to watercolor papers) such as American Masters, Stonehenge, and Reeves BFK can also be used.

1 Month of Watercolor Assignments

Screenshot 2015-04-25 22.42.07 by Xadrea
#1 Swatch Chart:
Learning how to achieve a wide range of tonal variations in watercolor is essential. For this assignment you will be creating a swatch chart of at least three columns in six variations of color on a sheet of watercolor paper. Columns should be taped off to create clean edges. The color family may be of your own choosing or full spectrum.

Screenshot 2015-04-25 22.42.14 by Xadrea
#2 Two-Color Flat Wash Still Life: 
The flat wash is one of the basic techniques of watercolor painting. For this assignment you will create a still life of 4 dissimilarly colored objects in a shoebox. You will be rendering objects using only a single layer of flat washes. 
Screenshot 2015-04-25 22.42.21 by Xadrea
#3 Patterns Using Resists and Brush Control: 
Areas of white space (or negative space) can be achieved through masking and brush control. For this assignment you will create a pattern of your own choosing.

Screenshot 2015-04-25 22.42.27 by Xadrea
#4 Full Color Still Life with Texture Ground:
Beginning with a texture ground of your choice, you will in this assignment create a still life of 5 dissimilarly colored objects in a shoebox.  


Watercolor Tutorial: Wet on Dry by Xadrea Watercolor Tutorial Series: Masking by Xadrea Watercolor Tutorial: How to Mix Watercolor by Xadrea Watercolor Tutorial: Salt Glaze by Xadrea Watercolor Tutorial: Skin by Xadrea Watercolor Tutorial Series: Bleeding by Xadrea Watercolor Tutorial: Hair part 1 by Xadrea Watercolor Tutorial: Hair part 2 by Xadrea Watercolor Tutorial Series: Lifting by Xadrea Art Tutorial: Watercolors Prt1 by Xadrea Art Tutorial: Watercolors Prt2 by Xadrea Watercolor Stretching Tutorial by blix-it Watercolor Tutorial by Loonaki Watercolor Tutorial by Claparo-Sans Watercolor Stretching Tutorial by MisttheWarrior  Watercolor Masking Tutorial by Lithe-Fider Watercolor Effects by CyprinusFox Practical Colors Tutorial by KelliRoos Watercolor Tutorial by Taiyo85

Extra Reading Material

Limber Up Your Imagination

Watercolor Lessons and Exercises

Watercolor Tips & Techniques


Use Your Computer to Paint Better Watercolors