Category Archives: On my table

Met the spooky spool doll family!

It’s this time of the year again. I am in Halloween mode again and after the success I had with my paper clay art dolls (Thank you, they are almost sold out!!) I decided to make something else.

I found these wooden vintage thread spools I got from my grandmother and thrifty stores and set out to make a new set of Kokeshi art dolls.

I started out choosing the best spools, and then I glued wooden heads to them. I like how they look with their huge heads and their whimsical air.

Then, I sketch out who will they be with pencil and wait for the glue to dry.

And while they are drying, it’s time to try out different outfits! That’s a very fun part! Paper hats, vintage fabrics, crepe paper, tinsel and what not I find in the studio.

This year, I upped my game with them. Their faces are not only hand painted, but also carved out with fire. Each doll has a custom face I drew, burnt and painted to make each other very special.

Then, cones the painting. Following the lines I used to draw the faces, I paint each one them. very carefully with my fine brushes and artist’s paints, each doll has a very special personality.

Then, the dressing! Yay! Each doll has their own outfit designed according to their personality. Some are whimsical, some spooky, and all of them are made with lots of Love.

The final details, their paper hats. And now they are off to their official photoshoot before they are ready to be adopted.

Do you like them? I do! And looking how humble materials like vintage spool threads, wood spheres, little pompoms, paint and collage paper become art dolls makes me very happy.

Now, meet the entire family on my online gallery and art shop, danitaart.com

Happy Halloween!

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It’s all about Frida!

Danita handmade Kokeshi Art Doll Kawaii Frida Kahlo Diego Rivera

I was reorganizing the studio looking for materials to start making new art dolls, and then I found a box full of kokeshi doll bodies I forgot about. So, what did I do? Fridas!

I made a pair of super cute kokeshi dolls as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, the famous artistic couple. Frida is a source of inspiration for me, and since I recently visited their homes in Mexico city, a homage to them was in order.

The original set sold immediately, and I got requests for more sets of these adorable handmade kokeshi art dolls. So, here they are. I still have a few unpainted bodies to share with you.Danita Art Handmade Kokeshi Kawaii Art Dolls Frida Kahlo Diego RiveraLet’s go from unfinished bodies to a beautiful set of hand painted kokeshi art dolls, customized with your favorite colors to match your personality and decoration. What do you say? Will you get a set for you?

But I did not stop there… and I really don’t think I can make them any smaller than this.

In the box I found the original kokeshi bodies I found a few sets of tiny kokeshi doll bodies! I was on a roll and I took my finest brushes to make a few sets of micro Frida and Diego sets.

They measure just a little less than one inch tall (2.5cm), and they are adorable! If you like tiny things (I do!) you are going to love them… just see how huge a regular pencil looks next to them. It looks like I have a giant pencil laying around the studio.

The sets are only $35.00 each and I only have 4 of them. If you are interested, better head to my shop and choose your favorite!

Danita Art Frida Kahlo mixed media painting blue house pop surrealist

I also made a painting too! A commissioned Frida with a house in her hands.

I had this commission almost finished when I made the dolls, so it felt like cheating when I added it to the newsletter… but then she is so beautiful it’s hard to resist not sharing her, right?

She is available as a signed paper print and mounted wood blocks here.

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Hand painted watercolor art dolls by Danita

Since I was child I have been obsessed with dolls. Paper dolls that you could cut and then set and dress in a million ways. I would take old JC Penney catalogs an cut the dresses for my dolls.

Now that I am older (And supposedly, wiser… ) that obsession was going to wane so I could concentrate on adult things like making a living and paying taxes.

SEE THE COMPLETE PAPER DOLL COLLECTION

So, one day a few weeks ago, I took my pencil and proceeded to draw a face on one of my favorite watercolor papers. I had the intention to start a new painting. Honest.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. All those childhood memories came rushing back and I changed course. I was going to make a paper doll.

I laid out the initial drawings and sketches and decided they were going to be cut-out, dress-up dolls like the ones I used to play with when I was a child.

After the first inking, I was hooked. My family knew I was up to something, and when they saw me grinning after I walked out to the studio, they knew it was going to be one of those weeks.

One of those weeks when I disappear from reality and hide in my studio, and I do not talk to anyone. Or go out. Or eat. Or Sleep. I’m in one of my art attacks.

The dolls were all inked up and now it’s time to paint them. So I got my watercolors and started to paint each one of them. They are unique and each one has their personality, so they deserve to have unique and one of a kind outfits.

See what I mean? Alice in wonderland even has her own bottle of Drink Me, An Eat Me cookie and a white rabbit to hop along with her down the rabbit hole.

Then it’s time to cut each piece by hand, and then start assembling them. This is kind of delicate because I have to make sure that each piece fits as expected, and some adjustments are required. So you have to be careful with your scissors.

Here’s one of the dolls with all her pieces put together, ready to be assembled. It’s not fun to see dismembered dolls all over my studio tables, and then I have to make sure I did not miss a limb!

Some magic and lots of work and sleepless nights, they are ready for the world! Each doll is articulated and can be posed any way you want.

I even had a piece of wood painted with chalkboard paint so I could play with them! They are a lot of fun! You can draw whatever scenario you want on the chalkboard, and then have lots of lots of adventures with them.

I also made stop motion animations with them, because why not?

She’s ready for adoption! #available #danita #danitaart #paperdoll #artdoll #paperartdoll #watercolor #ink

A post shared by Danita Art (@danitaart) on

With these dolls, you can create your own happy place. It brought me so many memories from when I was a child and your world is safe and everything is possible.

You can start a collection with them, and if you are a responsible person and not a big kid like me, you may want to preserve them in a beautiful frame.

They will look great on a wall too! Just make sure you get them out of the glass from time to time so you can play with them… There is no fun in being a doll if no one is going to play with you!

You can visit the complete collection on my website, there is a special collection dedicated to them right here.

SEE THE COMPLETE PAPER DOLL COLLECTION

Thanks for staying with me! Don’t forget to share and comment your thoughts, I would love to hear your opinion on them!

Product review: Derwent Inktense color pencils

 

Derwent Inktense Color Pencil Product Review by Danita Art

They say that the UPS truck is the adult version of the ice cream truck. And you know what? They are right!

Today the truck arrived and left a package on my doorstep that I have been waiting for a long time. Want to see what it is?
It’s a huge box of Derwent inktense color pencils. Yay!

Danita reviews derwent inktense 72 pencil color box tin

The first time I heard about them, someone recommended them to me as an alternative of the wonderful Stabilo art pencil, my weapon of choice for all my pencil artwork and drawings in my studio, but they did not do what I wanted them to do at the time so I put the Inktense I got aside and continued working.

But now that I have been experimenting with watercolors and a new illustration style, I read about the wonders they can do so I gave the ones I got another go. And you know what? I loved them! I loved them so much that I ordered five, and then I ordered a tin of 24 and now I ordered a box of 72 and I wish they sold boxes with more colors.

Danita unbox and test of Derwent Inktense 72 color pencil artist grade box

What makes them so special that I changed my mind and I love them so much?

Well, they are not like ordinary watercolor pencils, they are heavily pigmented and produce solid color layers. Their secret is that when you add water, they do not release watercolor pigment, instead, they release ink, and it becomes permanent when it dries, so it opens the possibility of working with layers that remain when you paint over them, giving you a range of creative choices that are impossible to reproduce when you use plain watercolor. Once they dry, it’s done and will remain bright and undisturbed and will not mute or muddle when you add pigment over them.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErOrWGaSZ_Q[/embedyt]

I experimented and I found that the only way to mute the colors is to control the amount of water you use when you lay your initial layer, and it’s very important to keep them wet as you work with your painting, and you must make sure not to add too little water, because if you did not dissolve all the pigment, it will activate once again when you add water and your next color and will mix. It happened to me while I started to work with them. It can be a blessing or a curse, and will puzzle you when you use them for the first time.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C48CdxIiQhk[/embedyt]

There are several ways to work with them. You can touch a wet brush to the tip of the color and then use it as a regular watercolor over your paper for a permanent wash or an under painting. You can also use them as regular pencils and then fade the lines with a clean brush as you spread the color on the paper. And if you are daring, you can dip the tip on water and then draw with them as the water dries on the paper.

Danita tests derwent inktense color pencils

Each technique will give you a very different result, and a wide range of possibilities that you will be able to incorporate as you get familiar with them.

I tested how they mix with each other too and I used the different watercolor techniques for the sake of science… and fun!

Dry on dry, dry on wet, wet on wet and mixed separately on a metallic palette yield different results, all of them beautiful and fun to do.

A review of derwent inktense color pencils by Danita Art

No matte what technique you use, you can always pick up the excess and cleanup using a very absorbing paper towel to pick up the water and try to erase the color or reduce the intensity.

Color sample tips of Derwent inktense color pencils

One of the secrets to use the derwent inktense color pencils that you need to be very aware of is that what you see on the tips is not always what you get, so I will advise you to create a sample color chart for each color so you know how they look when they are wet, and how they dry and with how much intensity and value each color renders.

Danita uses derwent inktense color pencils to create a color chart

Start with a strip of watercolor paper and write down the number and name of each pencil in the order they are in the box, and make the commitment to keep the box tidy in order to be able to reuse your chart.

Danita reviews derwent inktense color pencils in a color sample chart

Take each color and draw a few lines with a fading intensity towards one side of the paper, so you get nice gradient chart for each color. Then the fun begins!

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6Trhhir3UQ[/embedyt]

Apply the same amount of water to each line and create the intensity gradient to see how transparent the color becomes, and keep on doing it for each color on your set. Be. Be careful not to mix each color with the next,  Because you want each color to be try to the intensity, hue and value in your chart. The end result is a very beautiful color chart you will keep as a reference as you work with them in your artwork.

Derwent Inktense color sample chart by Danita Art

All in all, these color pencils are now a permanent part of my arsenal of art weapons whenever I have one of my art attacks. They are way above what I was working with before with watercolor pencils and I can definitively recommend them to use as the main focus of you art, or as accents like I use them when I create the faces and big, beautiful eyes of my handmade art dolls.

 

A new doll is being born

Danita Art Doll handmade Alice in wonderland handcrafted big eyes doll toy

Remember how I lately I have been obsessed with Alice in wonderland? The last product from that obsession is this beautiful Alice doll!

Let me share with you how she began and the steps I followed to let her come to life in my art studio in the course of a week.

Danita legs from an original handmade art doll

I started out with her legs this time. Not my usual way, but for some reason I had striped socks in mind and that’s how started.

Danita Doll Original head handmade big gray eyes handpainted

Then, I sculpted the head using paper clay, then I painted her big expressive gray eyes using my favorite mixed media techniques.

Danita doll art work in progress, showing her handmade skills on her art creations

Then, I worked on her underwear. Totally handmade, I cut the fabric with my own patters and sew everything to perfection using hand and machine techniques. Once I am happy with one piece of clothing, she can wear it!

Danita WIP Work in progress art doll

See what I mean? Here she is in progress as she now has her beautiful head and her hand painted legs attached to a torso. Excuse the mess behind! I like to have everything at hand and sometimes I do runs to my favorite stores to find the perfect fabric or accessory.

Danita handmade doll art Alice in wonderland WIP work in progressThat’s where I found the perfect accessory for her neck collar. Some lace applications over her striped blouse that I made from a fabric scrap I collected from a thrifty store and she is looking great!

Danita Alice wonderland handcrafted handmade art doll work in progress WIP

Now she has arms I decorated with lacy sleeves for her blouse. At this stage, I really did not know who she was going to be, but I already knew she was going to be a beautiful handmade girl.

Danita doll art handmade work in progress WIP hand crafted blue skirt

I had a great idea next… A blue skirt with soft flowing fabric! Yes! that is what she was going to wear over her super cute underwear. She is finally taking form, but still there’s a very important detail missing.

Blonde Hair Curly Danita art handcrafted doll toy Alice in Wonderland

The hair! I started rummaging in the collection of materials I keep for my handmade dolls, and then I came across this beautiful curly blond hair. Once I saw it I immediately knew who she was going to be… Alice in wonderland!!

Alice in wonderland Danita handmade art doll WIP work in progress finally completed

And once I knew who she was going to be, I knew what to do with her. she was going to wear a big black bow on her hair, and she was going to have the “Drink me” bottle in her hands.

Artful Blurry Bokeh Danita Doll Alice in Wonderland in a Garden with clovers and red toadstools

All that was left was to take her official photos. The white clovers on my garden are blooming now, so it was the perfect setting for her! And she was ready!

Would you like to see more pictures of her and maybe adopt Alice so she can go live with you? Head out to my official online art gallery at danitaart.com and see the rest of the photos and her adoption page, and don’t forget to let me know what do you think of her her in the comments section 🙂

 

First day of Spring brought new friends to Danita Art!

Beautiful handmade Kokeshi Wooden Dolls are made by Danita to celebrate Spring and the coming of Easter with this little cute bunny rabbit figurines. Perfect for your Easter egg hunts!

You know I am always looking for excuses to create little wood kokeshi dolls collections! They are perfect because I love working on projects at the time and I rarely revisit them once they are done. So, these collection are perfect for me because I can make a collection while keeping them fresh and exclusive, and it’s always such a thrill to work with them. I love to make each one individually unique, with it’s own personality.

And today that it’s the first day of Spring, I decided to create a pack of wild Easter kokeshi bunny rabbit dolls, and they have made my shop their home while they are waiting to be adopted. don’t worry, they may be wild but they can easily be tamed with love and candy bribes. They are already taking over my heart, and I am sure each one of them will steal your heart too.

But you may wonder, where do they come from? And how are they made?If you’d like to see how they are done, follow me down the rabbit hole to find out how they are made 🙂

Everything starts with wooden peg doll blanks and some modeling clay to start sculpting the ears. Make sure you make little fluffy bunny tails too!

Danita paints by hand all her amazing kokeshi dolls to make each one of them unique and beautiful.

Once you are ready, you need to pick up a nice set of colors for them. Since I work with my kokeshi dolls as a collection, I like to choose a consistent palette of colors. You can use simple craft paints for the initial base and then with some of my favorite paints from Golden and Liquitex for a beautiful, high quality look.

See what I mean about picking a consistent color palette? They are very colorful, but each one of them is going to have a distinctive personality based on how I sculpted their ears and the colors I chose for them.

Now it’s time to start adding details and working on their faces. I used a polka dot pattern for their bunny suits because I thought they looked too plain and after I was done, I attached their bunny rabbit cotton tails with crafting glue.

The fun part begins! I get to draw their faces with my favorite stablio pencils and some of my mixed media secret sauce to give them that vintage look that I love so much. I like them to look like if they have been living hiding on my garden for a long time and I just discovered my new friends.

Now, they are getting ready to choose their outfits with silk ribbons they helped dye by hand here in the studio and they will be wearing them proudly when they go back to the Danita forest to dwell and have lots of fun.

And then, after they chose their scarves and I tied them in a neat bow, they are more than ready and eager to hop out to the forest for their final photo shoot so they can be adopted.

They are very shy…. So it took some time to convince them to come out of hiding in the clover fields of my mini backyard forest.

But they warmed up and once they realized the camera was not going to do anything to them except making them look gorgeous, they played along nicely.

Here they are! Enjoying a beautiful afternoon and going about their bunny rabbit business while I enjoyed their antics.

Now it’s time to choose your favorite and adopt one (Or all!) of them. They are a little wild and shy, but you can tame them with love and some candy, and they will be super happy to live with you.

 

Alice in wonderland, or the evolution of an Artist

I have a new, very different series of paintings that I just finished about Alice in Wonderland, and you can enjoy the whole series on my online gallery, danitaart.com. But before you go there, I’d like to share with you the story behind the new series, and I invite to read on before you see them. I promise you it will be worth it.

I’m always in motion, always trying to learn something new or do something different, but for some reason, my art started to become static. I was being content with it because it was in the comfort zone, people like it and I can get by by being an artist. There’s food on my plate, I have a roof to live in and my kids are fed and go to school. So, things were fine.

Except for one tiny little detail. They were not.

There was this stirring on my soul, asking me, no, begging for change, and it was growing louder and louder by the minute. I realized I could not pretend it was not there any more. My changing nature was calling me.

I knew a change was coming, so I started preparing myself for it. I started hoarding my art supplies and my sketchbooks, and I spent my days furiously sketching and practicing for my new adventure while I struggled to find what my soul was trying tell me it wanted to do next.

It’s not always easy to obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul, and it’s very strange to realize there are things inside you that you did not know they were there, sleeping and waiting to be awakened.

And then, there’s the fear of rejection. My anxious mind will always play tricks on me, giving me thousand scenarios on why I should not go on, that it’s better to stay in known territory than moving along and threading in uncharted waters. What if no one likes it? What if your followers abandon you because you tried something different? What if you are booed at and you will never be an artist again and you will never be able to paint and you will end up living on a wet cardboard box on a backstreet alley until you die, old and forgotten?

And I said NO to that voice. I won’t die alone and forgotten on a cardboard box in an alley. I said NO, My followers will not abandon me. I said NO, they will like it. And if they don’t there will come the ones who do. They will understand the necessity I have for change, for movement in my life. I have been standing still for too long and I refuse to continue doing that.

And armed with that new found determination and my weapons of choice, I set out on a new adventure, and Alice in Wonderland was the perfect vehicle to find a new path. Like Alice, I set out to a place where anything is possible, and together we wayfared on a new world of colors, new faces and new techniques.

One of the strangest things I discovered is how a medium you know so well suddenly can become daunting and menacing when you want to do something different to what you’ve done before. Things that are familiar to you no longer feel safe, because you are now doing things that will test your head, and your mind, and your brain, too. I felt like Alice in front of the Red Queen, demanded to explain what I was attempting to, and why.

But I kept walking on Wonderland, one step at a time, one painting at a time. Loving the journey, loving the process, the learning and the joy of seeing my ideas come to fruition at last.

You can see all the effort and love I poured into my new work, the faces are different, more alive than ever, and the pieces themselves are darker in color but still dreamy. It’s funny because when I started I ran away from earth tone like the plague, and now here I am with dreamy, old style illustrations.

I called this an evolution in the beginning, but as I’m was done with the last painting of the series, I realized this was not an evolution. It was a revolution, a change so drastic and strong that after it things will not be the same.

Alice found the mad hatter and the rabbit in the end, and on my story, she decides to stay in Wonderland and start a new story there. Just like I will.