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

Wednesday WrapUp Pastel Moths


Each Wednesday check this blog for a strategy, process, or reflection for illustration with the iPad app ProCreate. This Wednesday Wrap Up , I share my process for creating a more 3D effect with texture and blend modes.


The inspiration for this came from an amazing art community subscription, Creative Journey, with Jennifer Nichols of Leila and Po Studio. Jennifer taught a class on creative, folk art moths:

I was working on another class by Jennifer [it’s on Skillshare too here [click] for Negative Painting, but the moths in our community by members really captured my interest. So I joined in.

Bug Fun

It took me a loooooong time to get this flat one done. I struggled with designs. The lessons were fantastic, but I struggled on my own– making up the designs on the moths, beetles, and bugs. My friends in the community shared such awesome bugs. Here are a few:

Mine just looked a mess– flat. messy. Then my friend, Ali Sale of Kouka Designs, added a not to me in the community. She just reminded me to “go with the flow” and try a brush with lots of texture. And she reminded me to “focus.”

And so I started going with the flow– my flow– and with a pastel brush set from Jennifer that spreads smoothly but with plenty of texture. I love the feel of the brush stroke and the resulting texture left on my illustration. You can get the brushes from her Soft Pastel class on Skillshare.

I focused on what was bothering me most about my designs, and then I realized it was the flatness of bugs. So I began to create a bit of dimension with a little trick I learned quite a while ago and from several different teachers. I added a clipping mask to the area I wanted to round out with dimension. I set the blend mode to “overlay.” On that layer with black and a pastel, textured brush, I added a stroke where shadows might be. On the same layer in white, I added a stroke where highlights might be. Then, I blurred, just two percent, and right before my eyes: a rounded body or leg or flower that pops with dimensional illusion! I went a bit overboard with this one– so much that some don’t see it as a moth, and some see it as metalic. But I do like it:


With the next one [top image], I improved on keeping the bug looking like a beetle. And I like the result. Here’s a video showing a replay of the process. Look for all the elements where I add black/white and then blur. You ‘ll see the dimensional effect at each point. I hope this helps you when you need a bit of “rounding out” of your illustration.

Try It!

Let me know if you try this or if you have another way to bring dimension to your art.

Thank you to Jennifer Nichols, Ali Sale, and the marvelous art community, Creative Journey. I think I would have given up without the support, lessons, and encouragement from fellow artists.

Again, I’d like to share the four main sources of connection that inspire me and give me hope every day. These four online spaces allow me to connect with others and share art, process, and creative options. They are positive, encouraging, and helpful to everyone. Though online and each a different experience, they are a sense of community with art friends.

I look forward to your sharing, and hope you decide to join some community that will bring you hope and inspiration to create art for the world. 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.

~ Sheri
~Reflect curiosity and wonder; Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness.

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