Art Techniques, Artist Gems, Brushes In Action, Review, Thank You, WarmUps

Wednesday Wrap Up Mid Century Style


I’ve enjoyed providing each week a “Wednesday Warm Up,”— a day of usually quick drawing, inking, brushing as warm up to our serious art. I’ve been sharing a strategy to try each Wednesday using the iPad app ProCreate. I’ve decided to change it up a bit for a few Wednesday Wrap Up— a wrap up of my project tips for the past week or something I’ve learned that may also help others with the same #warmup4art hashtag.

Art Prompts

As my readers know, I illustrate daily art prompts with my  CLmooc friends. This month I’m choosing prompts from Lisa Bardot’s #makingarteveryday. Lisa provides tutorials on many different styles of art, which she shares in her long blog post 30 Art Styles to Try in Procreate. I loved her midcentury style article in which this  midcentury style tutorial helped me see the basics of this style. Lisa shared the Smashing Magazine article which provides the specifics of this 1950s/60s style; it’s a great read.

MidCentury Style


I loved learning this style because it’s an opportunity for another way to make quick art on the fly, or be more precise in the style: a choice. You’ll want to visit Lisa’s Pinterest Mid Century Illustration board for examples and then find your own own like I did. Here’s an example of a quick one– the prompt: smoothie


  • limited palette
  • simple shapes
    • for main elements
    • especially for background elements that highlight them
  • minimal shading
  • black outlines

Brushes Used: Lisa Bardot’s MidCentury Illustrators and Texture Maker sets

You’ll see I just created the glass, the smoothie within the glass and the strawberry accents. Highlighting them are the two triangular shapes and the bright star shapes. Then provide some depth with shading and some emphasis with black outline. Lisa’s midcentury brushes make it easy.

You’ll see the same simplicity in the sushi prompt replay:

Besides Lisa’s brushes, I also used a pattern brush in the background from Jennifer Nichols of Leila and Po. Note: She provides these brushes free in her Skillshare classes, and this set is in her MidCentury Illustration Skillshare class.

A Bit More Complex

One thing is true though: sometimes simplicity is complex, especially when trying to simply a more complicated thought. For instance, the prompt pizza. I wanted to include a table and the idea of a pizza place for a fun time.

So– ugh. A table, drinks, chairs, and pizza could get complicated. So I tried to think of basic symbols– the restaurant sign — pizza sign, specials, “eat at…” For the table, I simply created the typical tablecloth and let the black lines fill in the table. And of course, in the center, a pepperoni pizza slice.



Another prompt: pasta. The choices are endless here, but since the focus in January’s #makingarteveryday is “food,” I thought that a salad would fit, and this one could be considered a recipe because the amounts could vary with the what’s left in the refrigerator! I still tried to stick with the simplicity of the form– the stylized ingredients with some detail and shading. You’ll see my process: create the ingredients and then arrange them. You’ll also see how I tried to add a bit of “midcentury” abstractness in trying to provide accepts to each ingredient, but it was too much. So I reverted to a background shape, especially by browsing through Lisa’s Pinterest board and noticing this example in which the element is highlighted with a cutout in the background. So you’ll see how I ended up with that strategy.


And finally– another example for the prompt “cereal and milk.” This seemed like a lot of work for a doodle a day, so I again chose this midcentury style to simplify the elements. My favorite cereal– just the carton of milk, the cereal box, bits of cereal and strawberries– and for the supposedly heart-healthy little circles of oats: hearts. I could do that!

Really– it’s pretty basic, but the little shading and accents add enough to create the idea and message.


And just in case you think this set of Lisa’s MidCentury brushes is just for this style– I used them for the prompt “cheese” to create this display of bite-sized appetizers cubes. It’s a versatile set. [I always get the extended license, just in case I want to sell the prints.]

Try It

So, that wraps up this Wednesday Wrap Up. Prompts like those we find for CLmooc help inspire us to create art every day. And we develop our skills every day we choose to make art every day. I love this MidCentury style and hope you give it a try. You can use your favorite brushes to make it work. I think Studio Ink, Noise, Willow Charcoal, Blackburn, Dry Brush would create similar effects. There’s always the dots and grid for background.

Check out Lisa Bardot, Jennifer Nichols and Teela Cunningham [ Every Tuesday] for inspiration on their Instagram to discover their YouTube channels, courses, and websites. I thank them for sharing their knowledge and inspiration so that others can grow as artists.

I look forward to your sharing, and please continue to be a part of the  #warmup4art series to learn and enjoy our work together! See my sharing at IG @42Sheri and Twitter @42Sheri.

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