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Because makeup is also art! 💀

I love to play with makeup, especially at holidays and events where I get to do extra fabulous or cool things with it! Makeup is a means to express yourself, in the same way you can do with your clothes and hairstyle. Enhancing, decorating or just having fun, regardless what for it's an art form I both enjoy and get inspired by (hence I follow many makeup artists on ig) but it's been so long since I had the time to practice much with it. I'll have even less time from now on, I believe. So, thanks to halloween for giving me a reason to, I guess.

Did you dress up for this years halloween? If so, as what?

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I've been crazy unactive here for a little while, mostly because as I've mentioned, I've been moving. But during this time, the wonderful thing that is halloween happened. 

About a week before that, I went to Emma's place and we carved some pumpkins (Which I've not done since I was like 10 and therefore had forgotten my skills or techniques with it!). Here's how they all turned out, after we put candles in them so Emma could snap a few cool photos!

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Tracing sometimes, only doing it for practice is all fine. Some find it very helpful when it comes to learning to draw things for the first time. But, I'll talk a little about the issues of sticking with tracing, and relying entirely on it to do art.

So, I know LOTS of artists who can do amazing art, by tracing. By putting a photo behind their drawing, and draw over the same lines, their art looks realistic. But when they try to draw on freehand without a photo, they only manage to draw stick figures. Because they've relied so much on photos instead of practicing drawing on freehand, the anatomy turns wonky, they can only draw from specific angles, and the finished drawings look so different from their traced art that most wouldn't believe it's made by the same artist. One artist can have multiple art styles, but inconsistency in skill level on the other hand, isn't a great thing to show in a portfolio or gallery. People will know some is traced, and many consider it cheating.

Also, a hard and perhaps uncomfortable thing, at least if you plan to go from hobby artist to proffessional. You can't work with art if you trace. Or, at least it's very unlikely. An artist who can only trace but not do freehand art, will not be accepted to any agencies, bureaus or most art schools, they're also unlikely to be hired as freelancers. The art schools/teachers and agencies I've been to have all been very much against tracing. This mainly because of two reasons: Tracing from photos or other art, depending on where they're from, can be considered plagiarism, which is an extremely serious issue that no school or company wants to be accused of or sued from. And, when working as an illustrator for instance, you will often get so specific requests that it'll be impossible to do by tracing. You won't find a photo of "a bear falling on it's nose while chasing a rabbit on a bicycle, seen from above" to trace, you need to use your imagination and freehand skills.

Again, tracing for practice is one thing! But relying on it, and ONLY doing traced art because you lack confidence in your own skills, is another.

As an artist, it's natural to sometimes feel stuck or uncomfortable with your art. All artists eventually experience art blocks or times where they doubt their art and skill. The best thing to do to overcome it, is either taking a little break, or keep practicing, over and over and over. Because it's with practice we improve. But it's easy to "solve" this problem right away by tracing, because the art looks great when doing that! But, remember there are no "cheats" or shortcuts when it comes to art. It's a temporary fix, because after a month or so of tracing, when going back to freehand your art will likely still look the same as before (when you had the art block).

Also, it's in freehand drawing you develop your own unique art style. Each person has their own art style. Even people who never do art, would have their own art styles if they tried. How you put your lines, which features you exaggerate, which colours you use, which angles you draw from, what motif's you choose, are very individual choices, that is based on your personality and personal preferences. Your art style is your trademark, and it's important to work with it and let it grow.

Yes. It might take years of practice to get at the art level you dream of. But artists that have struggled, worked hard and spent time on their drawings, developing their own style, will always amaze and inspire me more than traced such. Your art, is a part of you. Regardless of your level or style. Be proud of that. And, I know that with practice, you'll get as good as you want to be some day, even better in fact!✨

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While updating my portfolio I realized I've not posted much here recently! So here's first a little summary and then some tips and tricks, some which I've already mentioned on this blog, but that I can't stress enough.

Here's "Thorns", a painting with which I ment to show you a little sneak peek of how I actually work! Here, you can see the traditional sketch next to the finished picture!

- How I work -

I sketch traditionally, usually with charcoal, graphite or watercolour. Then I scan it, and add colours & details digitally.

I've been drawing my entire life, or for as long as I've been able to hold a pencil. I've been drawing digitally since 2007 (when I was 12-13 years old).

- Tips for improving -

Maybe you've been trying over and over and feel like you don't improve, what if you're just working with the "wrong" tools? What tools and techniques works best for your art is something only you can figure out, it's very individual. And, you can only really do so by trying a lot of different mediums. Watercolour, gouache, acrylics, digital, airbrushing, charcoal, ink, crayons, pencils? On white paper, brown paper, with/without backgrounds, on a canvas? Try all you can, and dare to experiment!

Learn from real life but don't rely too heavily on reference. I don't like to use photos as reference as that just makes the pictures flat. I promise, it WILL show in your final artwork, if you heavily based it on a photo. I instead occasionally do live studies and croquis with real, living models, and I bring my sketchbook with me everywhere. To cities to sketch buildings and people, to the stable and sketch the horses while they walk in the pasture/meadow to practice sketching quickly etc! I've also bought mini manequinns. You know, thoe tiny wooden people whos legs, arms and body you can rearrange. Did you know there are other such shaped as hands, horses and stuff too? They're super useful when it comes to poses.

Read up on anatomy too. Knowledge of proper anatomy is incredibly important, even if you do very stylistic or cartoony art. An animal or person who's legs looks wonky or who's bodyparts looks placed weirdly on the body, will look odd to people no matter your artstyle. Books on anatomy are easy to come by. There are also lots of free online courses, and videos that can help you in your studies!

Allow feedback! But, mostly from the right people. Do you have an art teacher, or maybe someone in your family who's a good artist? Let them look at your art and give you constructive feedback. Many people deny all "negative" feedback, and refuse to change details that people point out but maybe, at least trying and testing out the things people mention, might help you improve.

Let it take time. I'm 23. Again, I've been drawing digitally for 10 years, but before that I sketched with graphite and charcoal almost every day. Basically since the day I first could hold a pencil. A teacher I had used to say "If you haven't been drawing seriously since you were 8, then it won't matter if you're 20, 38, 52 or 90 years old. Your drawing will still look like that of an 8 year old!". And, it's true. I don't believe in such things as "talent". Art is a skill you can practice, and you'll only improve by doinf so over and over and over, more and more, again and again. You will likely not be an expert in just a few days, or weeks. Maybe it'll take years, until you get at the level you aim for. Me? I'm still far from as good as I wish I was, so I keep drawing and keep pushing myself to do better!

- Important! -

I believe two of the most important keys to make expressive and lively art are:

1. Understand that what you're drawing is actually a 3D shape, an "object" with many sides, not just a flat image on a paper. If you sketch from a flat photo, it's likely your drawing becomes flat too. You sculpt the thing, animal, person or whatever you're drawing, with contrasts, using shadows and light from different directions.

2. Exaggerate. Especially if you draw animals. Most animals body languages and facial expressions are discrete. To a non-trained eye, it can be hard to tell a happy from an unhappy animal, so exaggerate features that tell the mood (for instance, bigger nostrils on scared or curious animals, position of the ears, white showing in the eyes when frightened etc).

- And finally -

Feel free to ask me questions! I'm currently trying to figure out a way to do video tutorials to help you guys too. I've previously posted a few tutorial things on Amino, DeviantArt and more 😅 I miight add links to them here later, if you would wish that. Until next time!
[IMG=W7P]

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Sooo remember the spontaneous trip I and Emma took to Tromsø? I went on another last week, this time to Geiranger, Norway, with my boyfriend 💖 We took the car and slept there when we didn't stay at a hotel, and everything was amazing.

I've missed doing more photography, I rarely find reasons too now that I don't do it for school, and don't really have anywhere to post it. But I'll try to get back to it I think.

Oh and yes I've added some pink in my hair!

Oh and this one btw, @deets.art on instagram decided to do a speedpaint of!

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Sorry for little to no blog posts this week, I don't find much time for it right now because, well. I'm moving!

I've packed down most of what I own in storage boxes and, I'm not entirely sure when I'll have them back in place actually. Meaning that I'm not sure how often I'll be able to do digital art and such in the up omkng so bear with me, I'll have to post a bit of older works and non-art related instead! I hope you'll patiently survive the wait.

On another note, here's a little childrens book illustration practice that I did make this week!

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Since I've been asked about what tools, brushes etc that I use for my digital paintings and other stuff I do, here's a little summary sort of.

Programs:
My most used program is Adobe Photoshop, in which I do most of my digital art. I got my first version of photoshop in 2007, so after 10 years with different versions I've become very comfortable with it. I've tried other programs for digital art, like GIMP, Paint tool Sai and Krita but still stick to Photoshop so far. I've also done simple gif's in photoshop, but use Flash or After Effects for animations. I occasionally make vector graphics and some illustrations in Adobe Illustrator. When combining text and images or making presentations, I do PDF's in InDesign (rather than powerpoint and such). During the few occasions where I want to work with 3D, I prefer to do so in Autodesk Mudbox for proper sculpts, or SketchUp for very simple things and shapes. I edit videos in Adobe Premiere.

Digital tools:
The Photoshop brushes I mainly use for digital art are slight variations of the standard brushes, I've just modified them so that pen pressure affects both colour flow and thickness of basically all brushes. Since I often mix traditional and digital art I sometimes keep the paper texture,m from the scan and sometimes let the original watercolour/ink/charcoal sketch show through. For special textures like fabric and skin I like LoranDeSore's brush pack which you can download for free here; https://lorandesore.deviantart.com/art/LoranDeSore-Brushset-ver4-628807140

Physical tools:
I use a Wacom Bamboo pen tablet, with quite sensitive pen pressure. I use a scanner, since I often sketch traditionally before finishing an artwork digitally. When photographing a finished, printed product, or doing photography over all I of course want high quality photos. I use a Nikon D7000 camera, which can both take photos and film.

Also, because I use this ^ self portrait as profile pic on many sites, and recently dyed my hair again I figured I should update this one, again haha. This one was all done in photoshop, unlike many of my works that are first sketched traditionally.

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People love to be able to relate to things. They tend to feel more connected to art and artists, if they feel like they understand the art, and the artist's thoughts behind it. Maybe you wish to bond with other artists via mutual interests, and discussing their artwork with them is a great way of doing so. But don't assume you understand what an art piece means, don't try too hard to interpret your own feelings in someone elses art, or claim to know what the artists original thoughts when making it were. Also, don't assume people's drawings are fanart of things you like.

So, I'll explain.
Say I've spent hours on creating a painting, of a unique, new character I've come up with which I feel happy about. It feels personal to me, my artstyle, and I for once feel great about my art and ideas. Then I go online and post it, or publish it in a paper, maybe hang it at a gallery, then someone sees my art and comments "OMG IS IT THE CHARACTER BLABLA FROM BLABLA THEY'RE MY FAVOURITE I LOVE IT". No. No it's not. At all. It wasn't intended to in any way. I've never seen the show/movie/game you compared my art to, and the character doesn't look like it anywhere besides oh, they have similar haircuts, and it's surely not unique for that character. But now, I as an artist likely son't feel as good about my drawing anymore. "If people mistake my unique artwork, for fanart, I guess I'm not so creative at all." Is not an uncommon thought.

This happens A lot especially it the digital world of artists. Let me give you some recent examples I've been met with:
- I made a videogame character concept, a marine, mermaid-like creature with fangs and swords as arms/hands. Because one of it's 6 colour variations happened to be yellow with dark purple hair, someone instantly asked if it's fanart of Fluttershy from My Little Pony, a show that I've never watched or liked and have literally no connection to mermaids or fighter games. Why would you make that assumption.
- Almost every time I draw a horse, someone asks if it's fanart from Spirit. Horses are pretty common animals, in fact there's estimated to be about 58 million of them on earth. A bunch of them happens to have to same colours as those featured in the Disney movie. That doesn't make it fanart.
- I painted a bunch of serpents/dragons in lots of different varieties, and immediately one person asked if it's "that character with 7 snake heads" from some show. No. They're just a bunch of dragons, nothing implies that they're connected, belongs to any show or is a reference to something. And that's that.


And, such assumptions are pretty harmless, yes.
But again. Many artists struggle with their self esteem. There's a lot of competition in the different art fields, and having new, creative, unique ideas is really important for artists to stick out among the crowd. Most strive to be innovative, and do art that prooves they "think outside the box". Hence, many artists feel bummed out when this happens. Maybe it's an original character of theirs which they've spent a lot of time and thought on, maybe they're really happy with the concept of this unique drawing, perhaps it's their best work so far. Maybe you happen to want to want to bond with them over some mutual interest, and therefore interpret it in what they do and/or ask if their painting somehow relates to something you like.

But, I believe you shouldn't assume things. If an artist wants to describe their work, they likely will with a proper description. Others find their art to speak for itself, and a few does enjoy having people guess and interpret things in it. Maybe, in most of these cases, you don't need ask. Some artists don't want to explain their art. Som state clear that it's fanart or inspired by something specific. A lot of the time it's not the case, and it's both awkward to have to clearify it (with a "uh no, actually not..."), and annoying for the artist because it can make the painting feel terrible and uncreative afterwards.

Like I said, most artists specify clearly if it's fanart, or it shows very obviously that it's heavily inspired by something (maybe they've included a logo, quote, or specific item that hints at it). Many artists do fanart and are super happy to bond with you over it and have it recognized as such! The point of this post is, don't assume things, about art. It's not only about fanart.

Many artists put their own feelings into their paintings. Maybe they're going through a rough time, and they express it and their thoughts on it through their art. I do this a lot. And often I leave those paintings without explanations. Some tend to go "OH I sense there's a story in this painting, I believe blabla is happening and it means blablabla...". Please. Don't do that. Again, I know people work that way. People love, to feel like they relate and understand things. But, you see how this can be a bit problematic and even disrespectful in such situations? Art doesn't need to be explained. Go to any art gallery, people can only guess what the artist ment with it. You can guess and ponder. But don't assume, and don't claim to know it. Be respectful towards other artists. Always.

Thank you.

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I've totally forgotten to mention here, the art interview I did with Jessie Justine De Leon last year!
You can read it here: https://steendeleon.com/2016/09/04/i-l-1-art-talk-julia-lundgren/

In it, you can read a little about how I started my art journey, how a regular art process works for me, the importance of horses in my life and art, my experience with art school and more!

.... Well, if you want to keep reading, head over to the actual post.
​You can read the full interview here: https://steendeleon.com/2016/09/04/i-l-1-art-talk-julia-lundgren/

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So, not art related at all. But related to the one thing I'll always love more than art. The horses are my biggest motivation, it's to be able to spend more time with them I work as much ad I do. It's on horseback where I both relax, and find inspiration for most ideas. You might have noticed from time to time, that I do a lot of equine related art as well, and I'll definitely keep doing so because it keeps me happy.

Today we went on a 4 hour ride with both horses! We stopped for coffee halfway, and Eldur was such a good boy all ride!

Cons of having sensitive skin is ending up looking like this after riding..

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