Who is CB Studios?

Apr 10, 2018

 

CB Studios is one of Art Licensing’s most adored whimsical artists. Although trained in graphic design, she is now a full-time illustrator with a passion for drawing animals and fairies. Much of CB Studios' drawing experience comes from observation and exploration rather than formal education. From a young age, she regularly immersed herself in the classic works of Beatrix Potter and Margaret Mary Tempest, among others.

“They had a sweetness about them, which partly came through their soft execution. The stories were based around goodness and being together, and that was a world I wanted to be part of, which I found through drawing.”

Throughout her childhood, CB Studios' drawing skills brought considerable attention, convincing her that she wanted nothing more than to pursue a career in the arts. Although also somewhat interested in becoming a veterinarian, she ultimately decided that she would attend an art college rather than aim for a more traditional education experience.

After completing her foundation year at art school and working for a while in graphic design, CB Studios was greeted with an opportunity to create images for worldwide licensing purposes, including home décor, greetings, crafts, stationery, educational, needlecrafts, book illustrations and private commissions.

“It was my whimsical fairy and animal work which became not only the work I most enjoyed, but also proved to be my most commercially popular.”

CB Studios' love of animals – particularly cats and kittens – allows her to bring out the character and mood of her subjects through her work. Whilst striving for detail, in both her fairy and her animal work, CB Studios aims to create designs that encompass a sentimental, timeless and enchanting quality – and always with a touch of cute.

We recently reached out to CB Studios, to learn more about how Karen approaches her illustrations – and she was kind enough to provide a wonderful overview of her artistic process.

Ideas for paintings are frequent, and often just pop into my head at any time or situation. I will send these ideas either as a descriptive text, or a very rough thumbnail, to Syrena [AL Licensing Director]. As soon as an idea is chosen, I go straight into a full-size sketch.

 

I create the sketch by hand on 2 A4 (10 ins x 8 ins) sheets of thin paper, using a 5 x 7 format in either portrait or landscape. This is very detailed and neat, despite being just a sketch. It is vital that all of the painting’s content and details are seen at this stage, in order to establish the final result and achieve the best image to sell, and also because it is easier to make changes at this stage.

 

Any necessary amendments to the sketch are made through discussions with the team at AL and then I create a “colour rough” using the sketch. This is such a vital part of the process, as it can often highlight possible colour clashes we don’t want and also helps determine good colour balance across the scene.

 

 

Once any amendments on the colour rough are finalised, I then draw the scene out neatly and lightly, onto a good quality paper around 11 ins x 16 ins, using a lightbox and my rough sketch. I then “stretch” this sheet of paper onto a board. Stretching paper allows me to use wet media to do the painting, without the paper buckling and involves soaking the paper in water, taping it down onto a board and allowing it to dry overnight. Some artists draw on the paper after stretching, but I like the clean lines I get by drawing it prior to stretching.

 

 

If the paper dries with buckles – often because I haven’t taped it down fully and air has snuck in, then I have to re-draw the neat piece on a fresh sheet and stretch again. Fortunately, this rarely happens as I’ve got this part down to a tee now. The rest of the process is to simply paint the scene using watercolour and pencils, using as many bright and uplifting colours as possible.

Posted by: syrenam

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