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About Deviant Artist Premium Member Karen Amanda HarrisFemale/United Kingdom Recent Activity
Deviant for 1 Year
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For my first journal entry, I thought I'd write a bit about my trademark style, which is inspired by the vibrancy of stained glass and the jagged geometry of mosaics - but is achieved with mere pen and paper.  I love combining the technique with my favourite themes from fantasy and mythology: dragons and snakes, great birds, mountains and lakes, warriors, goddesses and enchantresses.

This technique actually started out as a solution to a common problem: lack of space.  I badly wanted to paint, but was finding it increasingly hard to lay out all the equipment where I wanted it - plus there was the inevitable mess!  And then I hit upon the idea of fibre-tip pens.  Often regarded as just for children, this much-neglected medium can actually create beautifully intense colour combinations. They are also easily portable, and can be ready to use or packed away in a moment.  And so I began to experiment…

1) Materials

The materials are fairly simple.  My essential kit presently consists of the following:
• fibre-tip coloured pens;
• metallic markers;
• gold and silver gel pens;
• black pens of varying thickness;
• correction fluid;
• heavyweight watercolour paper;
• plus, of course, HB graphite pencil and eraser for the preparatory bit.

2) The basic technique…

• I begin by drawing the outlines and adding the jagged "tiles", all with an HB pencil.  (If these tiles are kept fairly small, the final picture becomes more vibrant and sophisticated.)  It's a good idea to plan the design in a sketchbook first: no point in wasting high-quality watercolour paper!  
• Then the really fun part starts: the colouring in.  For each distinct section of the painting (e.g. a creature's wings), I typically choose up to seven colours, which I first test to see how well they harmonise.  Once I am happy with the combination, I fill in that section, distributing the colours partly at random, but also according to my own preferences for whichever shade(s) should predominate.  I usually try to avoid having the exact same colour on adjacent tiles.  
• I then go over the outlines in black ink, with thin lines between tiles and thicker lines between sections.  
• Finally, I highlight the most important areas (e.g. the shape of a creature against the background) using correction fluid with a fine paintbrush and/or white gel pen.
• Et voila!  

Naturally, my technique has evolved over time.  I've found, for example, that the texture of watercolour paper combined with soft fibre-tip pens (as opposed to plain cartridge paper and cheap scratchy pens) creates an irresistible velvety richness, and I wholeheartedly recommend Letraset metallic markers for their soft glimmer - plus they're great for covering errors. 

There's a real pleasure in trying to find that elusive alchemy of colours out of the myriad possibilities.  In "Winged Enchantress", for example, I'm really happy with the way that the orange, pink and yellow work together to create the sun's rays.  But things can go wrong as well: I once thought it would be a great idea to use the seven colours of the rainbow in one section, aiming for an iridescent, prism-like effect.  It ended up garish, like a child's coloured bricks, and totally devoid of atmosphere.  Live and learn…

I really hope you enjoy the artwork here.  Please feel free to get in touch: I'm always delighted to get feedback!


Scarletfruit's Profile Picture
Karen Amanda Harris
United Kingdom
Hi! And welcome to my deviantart site.

Although I've been a bit of an artistic chameleon over the years, flitting shamelessly from one style to another, I've gradually developed my own signature technique - which I call "stained glass mosaic". This involves using different kinds of pen (fibre-tip, gel and metallic markers), outlined in black ink on watercolour paper, to simulate both the magical vibrancy of a stained glass window and the jagged geometry of mosaics. My inspirations lie predominantly in fantasy, mythology and the natural world.

I would totally recommend you experiment with this kind of art: it doesn't require a huge amount of space, is relatively mess-free (no wet paint involved!) ... and is also incredibly relaxing! After all, who didn't enjoy colouring in as a child? :)


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DominiqueDuong Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Student General Artist
Hey, it was nice meeting you at the workshop today :) I really like your work, it's so colourful and detailed, keep it up
Andecaya Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for joining :iconyour-best-art: I'm glad you are with us!
Please share your work and your favourites with us. We also accept tutorials and stock because this is what others help to create art!

You can find our rules here: [link]
Also you are maybe interested in our contests - have a look at the blog section for our contests

Maddie-Marie Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the fav! :)
Scarletfruit Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
You're welcome! Hope the creativity block is beginning to evaporate...
Maddie-Marie Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Actually it is :)
ProcerDeCrepusculum Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Welcome to DeviantArt! :la:


Scarletfruit Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012
Thanks, still trying to get it all started :)
ProcerDeCrepusculum Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You are most welcome! :D You seem to be setting up fast. :)

Scarletfruit Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012
Now I just need to get on as many forums as possible and start networking...
(1 Reply)
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