What's been happening this year: Update 4 of 6

Update #4: The Historical Heroines coloring book!

This was hands down one of the coolest projects I've ever been a part of. I couldn't be more grateful to have been chosen as the illustrator.

Crowd-funded and quickly labeled as a "Project We Love" on Kickstarter, this coloring book was conceived by the brilliant, eco-conscious and science-minded author Elizabeth Lorayne.

As explained from her site, "The Historical Heroines Coloring Book: Pioneering Women in Science from the 18th and 19th Centuries was born out of a desire to inspire and empower children, teens, and adults with coloring pages celebrating 31 women in science who followed their passions and let their brilliance and hard work speak for themselves — making significant impacts in our world."

For several months, I was fortunate to spend my days researching, drawing and painting these various STEM heroines. I read their histories, their personal letters, their eulogies. Because of this project, I now study bugs as they crawl by, I pay attention to the leaves and their growth patterns on my walks, and I look at the sky with much more curiosity. Elizabeth's desire to inspire worked!

I'll update my blog soon with some excerpts of the completed book, but here are a few of the sketches I made along the way...


Portrait of Mary Somerville, pencil, Copyright 2017 Kendra Shedenhelm

Portrait of Mary Somerville, pencil, Copyright 2017 Kendra Shedenhelm

Portrait of Alice Ball, pencil, Copyright 2017 Kendra Shedenhelm

Portrait of Alice Ball, pencil, Copyright 2017 Kendra Shedenhelm

Portrait study of a young Beatrix Potter, watercolor, Copyright 2017 Kendra Shedenhelm

Portrait study of a young Beatrix Potter, watercolor, Copyright 2017 Kendra Shedenhelm

Back to "When in doubt..."

In 2013, when I first started illustrating, I wrote a post titled, "When in doubt, cut it out," which emphasized how helpful cutting paper can be for shaping my characters. Since cleaning up my studio space a couple weeks ago, another perk for paper scraps would be free, no-pressure experimenting.

Although the difficult-to-cut corners, accidentally-torn details, and bends and warps of the paper can frustrate the heck out of me, these same problems liberate me. I've been treating it as a big Who Cares exercise. And, as the composition is whisked away by my cat jumping on my desk, I feel unattached and able to try something else.

Kendra Shedenhelm_Bird_Paper Cutout_Sketch
Kendra Shedenhelm_Horse_Paper Cutout_Sketch
Kendra Shedenhelm_Bird on a Branch_Paper Cutout_Sketch

Another submission to Mark Mitchell's Guest Group Critiques

If you're an illustrator (working or aspiring) and you haven't heard about Mark Mitchell's Guest Group Critiques, I highly recommend checking it out: http://guestgroupcritiques.com/

This month's assignment/critique is with children's literary agent and artist's rep Nicole Tugeau of Tugeau2 Illustration. You can check out her assignment here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QILCl_CU6Ow.

Nicole chose 15 of the approximately 50 submissions to critique on May 24th, and I'm very grateful that mine was one of them! Here's my submitted sketch below. Off to work on the final!

Hot Cocoa Sketch + Free Coloring Page

I sketched a collage of hot chocolates last night, and I'd love to see what people can do with it. Add a zentangle? Draw logos or pictures on the mugs? Color with 3 colors, or color with 10? 

Below is a preview of my sketch. If you'd like to download and print a hi-res version, you can find it here (available as a JPG and a PDF). Please find me on Instagram and post your final Hot Cocoa art for me to see!


Shoe design accepted by bucketfeet! (And another coloring page!)

I submitted my hi-top coloring page to bucketfeet.com, and it was accepted to go to the next round for product testing!

Because I'd actually drawn the art onto my shoe outline, I needed to re-create the design into 4:5 print-ready vector art. Below is my final reinterpretation, and I've also uploaded it here as a free, downloadable coloring page (PDF and JPG).

Enjoy, and don't forget to tag me on your colored piece on Instagram!

Birds, doodles, shoes and FREE coloring pages!

For a recent assignment, I drew my own shoe template. Now I can't stop drawing on it with my Artwin marker...

Here are a couple of my doodles. Feel free to download these images here, print them out and color them for yourself. I'd love to see what you come up with, so please find me on Instagram and post for me to see!

Loving my new Copic marker

I thought I'd forever be a Pigma Micron and Sharpie marker person, but I've found a new love: the Copic sketch marker. The brush side moves so smoothly on the paper that it feels like it's leading my sketches, and I've found myself drawing a lot more the past few days...

Sketching in the car, while waiting to pick up the kid at camp

Bird sketch, merely because I saw the Copic marker and I couldn't not pick it up

Floral sketch to warm up for summer school class

New floral sketches and drawings

I've been wanting more practice with textile designs lately, so I spent a chunk of time this week turning my recent floral sketches into patterns.

After scanning my ink drawings, I opened them in Illustrator and used the Live Trace function to turn them into vector art. I then brought all the vector elements into InDesign, mixing and matching one drawing with another, to assemble the designs. 

I scanned in pages from West Elm and Crate and Barrel, and I used InDesign's eyedropper tool to create swatches of colors from the images. Then I tested out various background colors for my patterns using these color combos.

Here are some of the final patterns, as mocked up in my Society6 shop:

More sketching for MATS Bootcamp

On Monday, we began our second assignment for Lilla Rogers online class, MATS Bootcamp. As I've mentioned in earlier posts, Lilla always starts with a "mini." The minis help us warm up, draw, paint and enjoy ourselves before we're given our actual assignment.

This month's mini is the scenic plate. She showed us several cool plates from her own collection, all with different kinds of scenes painted on them. Yesterday, I chose a plate with a pastoral landscape to sketch from, as well as one with a charming lord and lady courtship setting.

(I had some difficulty keeping my paper and pencil away from my new, extremely-playful-and-cuddly kitty, as you can see in the picture below.)

Sketching today

Yesterday, I went to the Met to see the Madame Cézanne exhibit. While I'd gone to view the paintings, it was Cézanne's sketches that I was most drawn to. I was once again reminded of how much I love swift and unfinished work. How a quick graphite sketch can capture more for me than a detailed portrait. I just love them.

This morning, I set out to sketch a bit myself. Here's one of today's drawings of my husband.