Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

3D Paper Collage of Hand-Drawn Art

This week, let’s play with hand-drawn paper pieces and create 3D collage art.

3D paper collage by Paivi Eerola

My example is eight by eight inches (about 20 x 20 cm), so fairly small, but it has quite a lot of details. I used foam tape to add dimension to it, and the result is lovely. It brings embroidery or applique to my mind.

3D effects with foam tape. A closeup of hand-drawn collage art.

The idea of using foam tape between the layers is familiar to many from card-making, but I think the result is much more original when you use your own hand-drawn art.

Boxes of Joy – Shops Made by You for You

For years, I have been inspired by the idea of creating my own little paper shop. This shop is not about selling stuff for others but creative play where you are both a shop owner and its best customer. This picture is from 2016, when my shops were pretty simple and contained mostly paper sheets.

Playing with paper.
See the blog post from 2016: Painterly Collage in Rut Bryk’s style

But the longer I have been in business, the more demanding my customer has got. I have got requests from myself to draw doodles, embroidery imitations, animals, magical stuff, flowers, dolls, and the little shops that I call boxes of joy have increased year by year and course by course.

Working with hand-drawn paper pieces to create 3D paper collage.

Sometimes the things I have drawn feel too precious to put to use. For example, the roses that I made for Doll World.

Hand-drawn rose for collage art.

But the older the pieces get, the more I try to use them. And if something doesn’t “sell,” I can recolor it or add something to it so that I – my best customer – feel tempted to “buy” it.

Drawing on collage art.

I like this process of adding more to something that’s pretty full already!

Thick Paper Love

One of my favorite papers is thick and smooth watercolor paper. It is suitable for both painting and drawing, but I sometimes avoid it because the collage gets so bulky. But for 3D effects, thick paper is perfect. It’s sturdy and goes very well with foam tape. Another paper that I like is Bristol paper. It’s not so thick but very smooth and sturdy enough for 3D.

Making of a 3D paper collage. Hand-drawn pieces, scissors, foam tape.

The background of this 3D paper collage is hand-painted watercolor paper. The elements are hand-drawn on watercolor paper or Bristol paper mostly.

Colored Pencils for 3D Paper Collage

Back in 2016, I used acrylic paints a lot. But nowadays, they feel less tempting. Not only because they are messier than colored pencils or watercolors but also because they are too similar to oil paints that I use for canvas paintings. I want to separate play from the pieces that I sell.

Collage art in progress.

With play, I also want to grow my drawing skills. Colored pencils are great for that. They also go well together with watercolors. I have had a break with watercolors, but I hope to use them more this year.

3D paper collage of hand-drawn elements.

I like the many tones of green in this piece! I have colored many white parts with green to integrate the pieces better with the background.

Artist’s Life – Upcoming Projects

My playing time will get more limited soon because I will start a new series of oil paintings. I have been invited to a wonderful art history-related group exhibition that begins in August, and there is a smaller fantasy-related show in April. I will tell you more about these in the upcoming posts.

This spring is also full of art in other ways. I enjoy seeing all the lovely dolls from the participants of Doll World and other classes in my Bloom and Fly community. I hope to help you there as much as I can throughout the year. I am also participating in a Finnish artist coaching program to get to know the practices of the fine art world better. You have enabled my growth, and I hope that my growth will also benefit you. I hope that 2023 will be a good year of art for both of us.

The Joy of Drawing Paper Dolls

This week is about drawing paper dolls. At the same time, we celebrate the social nature of hand-drawn paper dolls.

For an artist, the difference between a doll and a human is that the doll opens the door to a fantasy. Thus, drawing paper dolls is very different from painting portraits. But if I have to pick from the two, I would say that paper dolls make you more of an artist.

Paper doll as a nature's spirit. A digital collage of hand-drawn art. By Päivi Eerola, Finland.
A digital collage of hand-drawn art.

Compared to a human, only a doll can be a creature of the imagination – for example, a plant and a spirit at the same time.

Dream Wardrobe

Only a doll can have a wardrobe where every piece is organized.

Drawing paper dolls. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Only a doll can get out of the box and go where ever the imagination takes her.

Drawing paper dolls and their clothing.

Only a doll can wear a butterfly as a wig and rose leaves as a bodice.

Flower fairies and beyond. Drawing paper dolls with colored pencils.

To be a fashion designer for a doll is the play we can’t resist.

Unspoken Secrets

Only a doll can hold the secrets that every artist has.

A hand-drawn paper doll.

Because isn’t it so that no matter how close we are, there are dreams that we can’t tell anybody? Dreams that would perhaps sound silly, too grand, or too selfish. Dreams that make you an artist.

True Friends

Only for a doll a true friend is easy to find.

Drawing paper dolls and their world.

With paper dolls, I examine the social aspect of an artist’s life – how we can feel less lonely when creating and how the result can be a bridge between all the art that we have created. And when we give or share a picture of a doll, it also invites other people to play and connect with themselves and others.

Doll World – Drawing Paper Dolls

Come to draw adorable dolls and their dresses with me!

Doll World - an online art class for drawing paper dolls and their clothing.

Doll World lasts from January to May. When you sign up, you will get the published lesson right away. >> Sign up Now!

Create a Chapter Cover for the New Year!

This week, we are creating a chapter cover for our art journals that marks the new year.

New chapter cover for the new year. From the colored pencil journal of the artist Päivi Eerola, Finland.

When I think about the new year, there are lots of uncertainties that first come to my mind. What will happen in the world, what will happen in my life, and what will happen in my art? I can only present educated guesses about the threats and possibilities. This kind of wondering makes me feel passive, and it’s not very uplifting, so I rather pick up my pencils and start drawing.

Draw a Chapter Cover for a Journal!

As I told you in the recent video blog post, I got the idea of making a chapter cover in the colored pencil journal, marking where the new year begins. So all I had to do was to add the numbers on the next spread and then color a bit on them and around them. This project was a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it!

Play with Numbers!

Just as the world is not only based on facts, the numbers are not just numbers either. Their shapes don’t entirely define them. The number “2” can be a kneeling woman with stockings and a skirt, or a flower that bends down – or both! The number “0” can be a mirror that not only reflects the surroundings but open ups a new scenery. Isn’t that what we want to see in the new year – not only experience the chronologically bypassing days but also make them take our minds to a new place? Stairs that are ahead can lead to nowhere or everywhere, and the fingers that hold a treasure can, at the same time, be the leaves of a plant.

Decorating numbers with colored pencils. Creating a spread for an art journal.

The way we can combine everyday life and fantasy creates joy and hope, and uncertainties feel not only exciting but necessary.

Numbers as Fashion Models

Every time I build a course, I learn something new myself too. But this time, with Doll World, I feel that there’s a lot that comes in the shape of a person.

Coloring a chapter cover for an art journal

When I am more familiar with drawing human figures, I seem to be better able to see those everywhere, for example, in numbers too. And it often seems to come to my mind that I can dress up a shape and, that way, make it more imaginative and fun.

Year of Art

The year 2022 has been a year of art for me. I acknowledge that eight recent years have been like that in one way or another when I have been a full-time artist. But this year, it felt like Art came out of the cellar and opened her heart. And when asking what to do next, she usually said: “Leave me alone,” but this year, the answer was softer, sending a question back to me: “Tell me what you want to see!” Art, who was an animal that used to escape and hide, became a pet, even a caressing spirit. She wanted to stick around and show how something little can grow to become enough – how I can be enough.

Art vs. Artist - Päivi Eerola, Finland

It all felt like a gift even if I had suffered for years by trying to tame Art’s spirit, trying to understand her, trying to stick around even if she would only live in a dark cellar. And now, when I play with the pencils, it doesn’t feel like I do that without her, but with her,
even if I am not painting.

Art journal love: creating a new chapter cover between pages.

When we spend time together with Art and together as artists too, every year is different. We don’t stay the same, but our foundation becomes more similar. And the older we get, the more we inspire each other, and our art is like a group of fairies that gently fly around us. At least, that’s what I hope for the upcoming year.

A chapter cover for the new year. This divides the pages in the art journal.

Time will tell how this journal continues!

Doll World – Join Us!

Come to draw adorable dolls and their dresses with me!

Doll World - an online art class  for drawing and coloring dressed-up human figures.

Doll World begins on Jan 1st. >> Sign up Now!

Let’s Draw a Winter Angel

This week, we draw a winter angel step by step!

Winter Angel by Päivi Eerola of Pepny and Parakeet. Colored pencil art.

The angel begins with a simple outline sketch. The hands and feet are hidden behind the dress, so it’s easy! The skirt is big so that you can treat it as a blank canvas for winter scenery.

Step 1 – Make an Outline Sketch

Pick an A4-size or US letter-size paper and a regular pencil.

Draw a horizontal center line and then another line that divides the upper part in half.

Place a head right above the upper line and draw a simple body and a long hem.

Sketches for a winter angel.
Click to see the picture bigger!

Add a circle for the halo behind the head, some marks for facial features, wings, and curves to divide the upper body into two parts.

Sketching a winter angel with a pencil.

Erase the sketched lines so that you can see them only vaguely. Compare the wings in the picture above with the next picture. After erasing, the pencil sketch is visible only barely.

Step 2 – Add Foundational Ideas

Change to colored pencils. Start with the face and color lightly. Get connected with the character that you are drawing. Add some skin tone and hair. You can also draw facial features, but do it with a light hand, aiming for a connection rather than perfection at this stage.

Drawing a winter angel - Step 2 - Add Foundational Ideas

With neutral colors, add ideas for a winter feel. I draw fur on the top part of the dress and then sky and trees on the skirt.

Step 3 – Color Beyond the Outlines

Get more creative by breaking the outlines. Think about the air that rises from the cold and circulates around the dress. Imagine winds, polar lights, and layers of snow, but also immaterial things: thoughts and feelings and their liveliness.

Drawing a winter angel - Step 3 - Color Beyond the Outlines

You can now use more colors but keep the coloring light and progress gradually layer by layer.

Step 4 – Add Details by Coloring

Go through the angel many times and add more details and shadows at every go.

Drawing a winter angel - Step 4 - Add Details by Coloring

The more details you add, the more your imagination grows. For example, the wings can have decorative motifs.

Drawing a winter angel - Step 4 - Add Details by Coloring

Make the angel more interesting by adding more asymmetry.

Drawing a winter angel - Step 4 - Add Details by Coloring

Draw elements like ice so that it’s placed differently on the two sides of the angel.

Step 5 – Cut Out and Finish

Cut the angel out of the paper and make final adjustments, especially near the cut-out edges. Now it’s also the time to make final adjustments to the facial features.

Drawing a winter angel - Step 5 - Cut Out and Finish

I added more decoration and cut a notch to the halo so that it’s like a glamorous hat.

Drawing a winter angel - Step 5 - Cut Out and Finish

Step 6 – Play with the Winter Angel!

Combine other items with the doll, and enjoy making the settings! I like to pull out stuff from my boxes of hand-drawn elements – boxes of joy, as I call them!

A small Christmas girl in colored pencils. By Päivi Eerola, Finland.

I drew this little Christmas Girl one evening when I was too tired to do anything else. I think it looks lovely with the winter angel!

Christmas girl and winter angel. Handdrawn figures by Päivi Eerola.

Doll World – Sign Up Now!

Come to draw more dolls and other beautiful items for your box of joy!

Doll World - an online class for learning to draw human figures and their clothing.

Doll World begins on January 1st, 2023. Watch the video and sign up here!

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