Today I'm sharing another "Inspired By" project, where I choose an artist with a style radically different than my own and make artwork inspired by them. My first artist was Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. This time, I'm inspired by Deb Weiers. Deb is best known for her "Wonky Faces." I first learned about her on the ArtStacks blog, where my friend Sharon Fritchman is a designer.
These are the three pieces I made.
Just like I did with Julie's artwork, I studied a bunch of Deb's paintings to help me define her style. These qualities stood out to me:
- asymmetric, oversized, elongated facial features
- heavy eyelids and under-eye lines
- unexpected colors used for skin tones
- details emphasized imprecisely (thin, controlled scribbles) with black and white
- a hand-lettered short phrase or word
- tiny circle embellishments
- strips of black and white horizontal stripes
- solid, usually dark, backgrounds
Then I tried to figure out her process and what media Deb used. It's not always easy to tell how artwork was made or even what materials the artist used. I enjoy the detective process, looking for hints in the pieces that reveal what came first, or what one material has to be based on how it interacts with another.
With my research complete, I decided to make three pieces. I started with light pencil sketches, focusing on the facial features. Then I covered those with paint, adding and mixing colors until I felt like I had a good base that mimicked Deb's work. When the paint was dry, I used Scribe-All pencils (affiliate link) to add details and then do the lettering. Here is a side-by-side of each my pieces, before and after using the pencils. They make a huge difference.
I'm really happy with how my pieces turned out. They look NOTHING like something I would have made, yet I do see myself in them when I compare them to Deb's. I go back and forth on which is my favorite - either 'Peace' or 'help yourself first.' I made 'Patience is a Virtue' first and it's my least favorite of the three by far.
If you have a recommendation for an artist whose style I should try, I'd love to hear suggestions!