Kelsey Bass


Tom Petty Tribute Night - Take it Easy Baby

I did a little project for myself the last couples of days. I took a setting paint it and use it as a background while I illustrated everything in the space. Using a lot of the reference pics I took of the Tom Petty Tribute show I saw recently it was a great opportunity to explore color light on the set and people. I've known other artists to try this approach while doing life drawing, which I think is quite interesting! Maybe I'll do it too at some point. 

Zoo Day!
This sheep had a lot of kids petting / pestering her.

This sheep had a lot of kids petting / pestering her.

My friend Malte (work can be seen here) and I went to the Berlin Zoo today and drew for almost 6 hours today. It was fair weather, and very crowded, but we managed to get a ton of drawing in. I was very satisfied with a good number of my drawings this time. I'm giving major thanks to Mr. Aaron Blaise for his tips in this video about drawing a moose and if it's not in that video it's in one of his many other amazing ones! All of his tips are very helpful. Being able to quickly draw in the pose and the anatomy before getting into the details was very helpful. Since zoo animals tend to pace and have a set path. 

Beautiful rhino that we saw

Beautiful rhino that we saw

I took a photo for reference for a later time. Cool looking right?

I took a photo for reference for a later time. Cool looking right?

It was fun drawing at the zoo again! :)

Kelsey Bass
Schoolism Painting with Light and Color (Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo) Week 3

Yay! I managed to get the week 3 assignment done within a week! That's a Schoolism first for me :)
The assignment this week was to observe texture and how texture can be described in a neutral lighting set up. I'm fairly happy with my results, though it took longer than I was hoping for some of the images.

The pictures are ordered first to last compositions I worked on. I've really been soaking up the information they present in their class. I recommend it to anyone who wants to see more.

Kelsey Bass
Schoolism Painting with Light and Color Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi 1st Week

Ah I realized that I hadn't posted my first week assignments from my Schoolism Painting with Light and Color Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi class I've been taking. 

The goal with these 5 comps is to paint a still life that has diffuse lighting. This is lighting that isn't direct. I did not use my photo as my subject it is just used as reference for the viewer (you). It's not about getting everything correct as much as understanding how things are lighted in this lighting.

Left is my painting right is the photo I took while painting.

Kelsey Bass
Life Drawing

Last night I went to another figure drawing class that was just starting up. It was the same location as the last one I went to, but a different teacher. The model this time had some very elegant poses in the beginning when we started with 1 min poses, but as we were getting into longer posing they seemed to be slightly less inspired. 

The lighting also was not great and unfortunately took away from the delicate features our model had. I still appreciated the class and hope that with time it'll become better.

Schoolism Class Painting with Light and Color with Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo

I've just finished my second week on my second Schoolism class, Painting with Light and Color with Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo. It was hard finding the time to finish the second week, but I did it! 

It's very easy to want to do the studies from a photo, but I just need to study from actual moving lighting. Maybe later I'll use some photos to work from. All the photos were taken for reference after I completed the painting.

This was my first comp, I did a study of one of the desks in my studio. There was a time constraint since the person who works at that desk might have come in at any moment.

My second comp was a banana, I swear it was turning brown as I was working. This one was pretty simplistic. I think I could have ignored the detail in the background or painted it looser.

After a *ahem* few months break from this assignment I came back inspired to finally finish this week. This is my 3rd comp, I tried to approach this by not stressing over the details. 

4th comp, I revisited my kitchen counter from a previous comp I did in the 1st week. This is where I figured that I could group the values and lose some edges.

My last comp was a still life I set up. Glass is a beast material so I took the chance to have a few glasses and different material to study from. I think my three value study could have been darker but the grouping feels correct.

This class has been a good follow up to the Pictorial Composition Class I had with Nathan Fowkes. 

On to week 3!

Kelsey Bass
Life Drawing
My favorite drawing from last evening.

My favorite drawing from last evening.

On my mission to constantly improve my technique and art I'm determined to attend more life drawing classes. Berlin has quite a few offerings available, and last night I attended one, just a bus ride away from me. The class had a nice atmosphere, the organizer was good about directing the model, and the model was very friendly.

It's been a while since I've gone to a more traditional life drawing class. I went to a few when I first moved to Germany, but at that time I was living in Potsdam and traveling to Berlin from there was a bit of a headache. 

I've been attending Berlin Drink and Draw classes (which are great too) but I wonder if any are near me as well. 

One of the things I wished we did in this class was to show each other our work at the end. That way you can learn from one another or get inspired. That was the only large difference between the class I attended last night and the Drink and Draw's classes.

I'm always looking for more figure drawing classes to attend, and maybe, hopefully, there's one I could just walk to!

Until next time.

Drink and Draw Secret Society
Digital Render of one of the voluntary models.

Digital Render of one of the voluntary models.

I finally attended another Drink and Draw here in Berlin! This time I created a Goat skull mask. Below I've photo-documented my process, and I have to admit I really couldn't predict the result. I used all recycled materials, amazon boxes, masking tape, box padding... I used paint that I had around the apartment, but I decided to buy some gesso to use this time.

I'm really happy how it all came together, and it was wonderful wearing it to the Drink and Draw party. 

The Event

The Drink and Draw's party theme was Secret Society. I think I leaned more towards the occult, a lot of folks leaned towards masks and cloaks, and then a smaller amount of folks wore kinky clothes. It did, however, make everyone look a bit similar so sorry to those of you who I didn't recognize at first! 

I was hoping for some professional modeling at this event, but it mostly relied on the party goers to pose, which in turn made for some mixed results. Because the party was happening all around it was hard to focus on drawing. So I only had a few drawings out of the 5 hours I was there. This in no way is bad, because I did have fun chatting and meeting new people, but for those who solely came for drawing seemed to also have trouble.

At the beginning of the party, I was modeling, and boy, I forgot how hard it is to stay still! I think I managed anyway. I have a lot of respect for those pro models out there standing/sitting hours at a time.

Despite not having done a lot of drawing that night I thought these four images were somewhat successful. I really want to go weekly to some figure drawing classes again!

Until next time!

Marker Love

So it's been a bit, but now I have some time to post on my blog again! I've been posting most of my updates via 

Coming off the heels of working on environment assets for The Exiled and our game being released on Steam: I've been very busy working on my own projects. Some of which are already on Instagram and my website. 

I've been working on a lot of art using markers! I have many Prismacolor markers that I brought over with me from the USA. Since there isn't Prismacolor here in Germany, I found my new love, Stylefile brush marker! I started with two of their colors, CGO Cool Grey and 510 Sky Blue. I used them to rough out shapes that I'd sketch on top of, but now I've been using them more and more with the other colors I have. I went back to the art store and bought a try out set that included 6 markers, 306 Powder Pink, 672 Grass Green, 154 Canary Yellow, 350 Coral Pink, 454 Cerise, and 554 Napolean Blue. The more I used them with my Prismacolors the more I'd love to get more of them! Stylefile are cheaper than most alcohol based markers, and right now the only downside (I think) is that they can't be refilled (I think!). 

Also to add, I'm just stating my own opinion, I've bought all these markers myself.

Till next time!

Berlin's Drink and Draw Portrait Class (RedBubble sponsored)

Last night I attended the D+D portrait drawing class. I've been to life drawing classes before, but never a portrait one! It was a lively crowd of artists who attended and a pretty laid back atmosphere. The instructors we very helpful in their tips on how to draw faces. The models were fun to draw as well.

I'll have to admit I was struggling between wanting to draw cartoons / caricatures and trying to approach it as a realistic study. My internal struggle revealed. I'm going to show what I did last night, and some of what I wish I'd done.

I threw in some of the drawings I'm not particularly fond of too. If you look at the Whoopsie image you can see that was where I really wanted to caricaturize her face, but kept wanting to go back to realism, which made it weird in the end! I tried drawing a cartoon version of her really small so that maybe that would get me out of wanting to draw caricatures. Nothing wrong with caricatures, but I just wanted to pull myself out of my comfort zone.

I show some edits I made over a few of my drawings to make notes of what I should be aware of next time... Things I need to make note of, size ratio of facial features, taking the time to lightly sketch before committing to darker line work / shading, and take my time. The whole reason I attend these classes, workshops, and events is to improve my skills, so it's okay to mess up drawings, and badly might I add, as long as it means I'm learning and growing as an artist.

This experience was a great one and I hope to attend future events! For now I'll be following around my boyfriend and try drawing him while he's working haha.

Week 4 & 5 Schoolism Online and Last Week's Berlin Workshop!

Hey hey so as promised I'm catching up this week with the work I've completed when taking Nathan Fowkes' Pictorial Composition class on Schoolism. The fourth week was quite hard for me to complete, but I managed! I was quite happy with the results, but now looking back I see where I could make some of the compositions stronger. The 5th week was pretty much free for me to paint. Using what I had learned in the previous lessons I made a painting I was quite happy with. I'm on my 6th week now, but between working/finding work I still need to find the time to complete it. I am very happy with this class, and it has been a real good challenge.

Last weekend was the Schoolism Workshop in Berlin. I attended the second day where artists Jeff Turley, Sam Nielson, and Nathan Fowkes presented, and boy was that great. They presented lots of ways to approach your work, art, style, and gave the audience lots to think about. Heck even when we all gathered for the last meetup we were all sitting around with so much knowledge buzzing around in our brains that it made it hard to have a smooth conversation haha, at least that was how I was feeling! It was a joy to finally talk with these three artists, and I thanked Nathan Fowkes for his valuable class and knowledge that he shares.

Actually all the artists were great, I can't stop gushing. For those who did the whole weekend they had three more workshops than I did, and they said that those instructors were also very amazing. If you get a chance and Schoolism Workshop comes to your town I recommend going!

Here are some snapshots of the instructors:

Long time no Blog (Art dump)

Phew, okay it's been a while, and I'd like to rectify that with a blog post that sums up the rest of my November comics! Here we go:

I fortunately stuck to my schedule and got all of these done in November, but was very busy with my freelance jobs that I wasn't able to post them here. A little late on here isn't too bad right?

Notes: Uh hmm there's a few days missing and I have no idea where they went on my computer! I'll update if I find them.

Next up I'll be posting the work I've been doing for Nathan Fowkes' Schoolism class and a little blurb on last week's Schoolism Live Workshop in Berlin.


November Comics

So on the heels of Inktober I felt I should continue making small ink paintings / inkings in November. This time my plan is to work on one panel comics each day. I really enjoyed working in ink and wanted to learn more, and increase my skill using it. I also have been wanting to share mini stories and ideas without committing to a full comic strip.

It's fun to share little moments and experiences.

Some more personal than others.

I found that by the weekend I got pretty wiped out, not by doing these, but just creating client work in the meantime. So I'm sticking to posting these comics on the weekdays so I don't burn myself out. 



Inktober 2015 Final week

Inktober ended during all the Halloween festivities. I had accomplished my goal of creating an inked piece of work each day on the day that it needed to be completed. 

Now to reflect

This was my first time participating in Inktober, and I enjoyed the challenge of completing an inked piece every day. Some pieces were more successful than others. Some pieces I enjoyed while other pieces my audience enjoyed. It was great to explore all the ways I could approach each piece, and not having a tight focus helped me with this. 

Some troubles

Pentel Black ink brush

Pentel Black ink brush

I've never used a brush pen like this one before so I had some trouble learning how to dispense the ink.

As you can see the lines are not bold and solid (as intended). This of course could make for interesting texture, but had annoyed me through out most of the Inktober drawings. One moment it seemed like I fixed the problem the next the problem still persisted. By the end I figured out the problem.

First you need to squeeze this pen (brush side down) and hold it for a moment. The ink will finally come out.

Then you'll need (scrap paper) to brush the ink into the bristols.  

Sorry for the blurriness holding the camera and drawing is a challenge for me haha.

Sorry for the blurriness holding the camera and drawing is a challenge for me haha.

Finally you can make solid lines. 

To be honest I don't know if this is the best way to use this brush pen, but hey it worked and I'll still continue to learn how to use it.

Another trouble I had was sometimes having a scanner and sometimes only having my camera on my phone. The quality of the images fluctuated because of this. There was one week where I was too sick to come into my studio so most of the images were taken with my phone's camera. Next year if I decide on selling my work as prints I'll make sure the quality is excellent. 

Despite some troubles, I managed to get all 31 ink drawings done! 

So what's next?

I have an itching to do small inkings each day and try to continue the flow I've got going here. I know some of my art friends are thinking about doing more as well. 

What I plan on doing is creating one panel comics for each day of November. The comics will feature slice of life and dream themes. I think I can manage to do this. I know it's already November 2, but I'll just make up for it. As long as life and work are still in a good balance I think these can be done each day this month.


Inktober 2015Kelsey Bass
Halloween Spirit Unicorn costume
Angry Unicorn spirit

Angry Unicorn spirit

I'm so pumped for Halloween this year! I have a few parties I'm going to and I want to look spooky! Ever since I moved to Germany I've been seeing, slowly but surely, more Halloween costumes and decorations for sale. I think every year more and more folks are participating in it.

Halloween is one of my favorite Holidays and a holiday that I often miss celebrating in the US. It's fun to create costumes and watch scary movies, and get into the Halloween spirit. 

My favorite Halloween costume as a kid was this rad werewolf costume my mom made. The readymade was the werewolf mask. My mom had sewed me a hairy chest piece, made hairy clawed gloves and feet. I totally threw myself into the character, as most kids do. It's just magical.

My favorite costume, Werewolf!

My favorite costume, Werewolf!

Now when I'm deciding what to be for Halloween I want to make it myself. This year I wanted to be some sort of unicorn. I wasn't sure if I was going to make a mask or paint my face. Then I thought it would be cool to make a skeleton unicorn. I scoured online how-tos until I came across masks made out of cardboard. 

Cardboard is light and is easy to come by. We still had some of our moving boxes that I could use.

Here's my list of the tools/ materials: Hot glue gun, hot glue, masking tape, paint (acrylic), cardboard, box cutter, scissors, and sketched out plans.

Card board base

Card board base

First things first this thing has got to fit my head and be comfortable. I make a sort of helmet, then adjust the pieces around my eyes. It's important to still see. 

Getting the shape right...

Getting the shape right...

Second, is the bare bones of this mask. This step is important to make sure the shape is right and recognizable, because from here you will build up the mask. The mask will not look pretty at this point so don't worry too much about that.

Adding details in the face

Adding details in the face

Third, this is when it is important to figure out the details in the face, what parts stick out from the others. It was at this point where I could either stop (for a quick mask) or go forward. I wanted to go much further. (I sustained a few hot glue burns, and in this picture my fingers are in a glass of cold water.)

Adding masking tape.

Adding masking tape.

Fourthly (going beyond the point where I thought I'd stop). I used masking tape on my mask to smooth out the features to  be painted. I also added the horn. I made the horn with card board and masking tape. I glued it on well with the hot glue gun. I made a cut off horn, because this unicorn was killed for the horn. The thieves managed to cut half the horn off, which in turn with the magic left in the part of the horn allowed for the unicorn spirit to come back and haunt. Also I'd imagine this will be more party friendly ;).



Fifthly, the painting stage. I wanted to make this skull look realistic and unsettling. 

And this is what I ended up with. The back of the skull isn't detailed because it'll be coved, but if you'd want to make one yourself, and you'd want a back I'd suggest using masking tape and paper to cover up the back.

If you also live in Germany (or another place that doesn't celebrate Halloween) and you're uninspired by readymade costumes, or you simply can't find a costume you like. I really suggest checking out your nearest craft stores! They're virtually empty on Halloween.

I'm pretty happy with what I've made! Have a Happy Halloween! Be safe and have a lot of fun.

Inktober Week 2 2015

Inktober 4, 2015 Vampire robot sorting blood.

Inktober 5, 2015 Inked a dragon and used colors for this one. All inks ;)

Inktober 6, 2015 Under Tale fan art. 

Inktober 7, 2015 I needed to draw some unicorns.

Inktober 8, 2015 Mr. Hooded Crow gives some advice about coffee.

Inktober 9, 2015 Mother and baby bear.

Inktober 10, 2015 picking up an abandoned plant.

I'm still going strong this week! Now with over 10 ink drawings under my belt. I hope to do more color versions next week.

First Week of Inktober 2015

Inktober 1, 2015 My first piece ever for Inktober. I didn't want to think too hard or draw too hard because I don't want to run the chance of getting an Art block.

Finally I decided it was time to participate in this year's Inktober. For those of you who don't know Inktober was created by Jake Parker in 2009 as a way for him to improve his inking skills, and since then lots of artists have been participating. 

Here are the rules taken from the event page on Facebook if you'd also like to participate.

InkTober rules:

1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).

2) Post it on your blog (or tumblr, instagram, twitter, facebook, flickr, Pinterest or just pin it on your wall.)

3) Hashtag it with #inktober

4) Repeat

More info at

Inktober 2, 2015 I love Rats and Jack o' Lanterns. I use to have pets rats growing up, and they were amazing friendly pets. And I can't think about October without thinking about Pumpkins and Jack o' Lanterns.

Some folks have come up with themes or things they'd like to specifically work on when doing these ink drawings. I've decided to just explore working with ink and making work that just comes to my head. Being so  busy lately, I don't get to draw for myself or things that amuse me. When I've done all 31 days then next year I'll plan some theme I'd like to work under. 

Inktober 3, 2015 I just let my hand take the wheel when inking this one. Pretty bizarre.

On Saturdays I'll post here all the ink drawings I've done during the week instead of one individual post per day. (Since I'm posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr daily)

If you're interested in participating do it!! You can still catch up!

The Dreaded Artist Block and How to Get Yourself Out of One

The face off by Kelsey Bass

So you’ve been very productive the last few days and you feel like your ideas are just spouting from your head. There are so many ideas… too many… that in an instant they’re gone. You try hard to come up with an idea for a new piece you want to work on and there’s nothing! For hours, days, and sometimes weeks it’ll take for you to get over this thing called an Artist Block. 

An Artist Block doesn’t only affect your ideas but also your ability to draw. It’s a painful state of mind and it feels like there’s no end in sight. It doesn’t matter if you’ve encountered one or multiple before, when you’re in the middle of an Art Block it’s the pits.

There are many ways an Art Block might start:

- When you look at amazing art and find yours not up to those standards 

- When you’ve got an overload of information

- When you’ve been very productive then suddenly it’s like a switch has been turned off 

- You need to complete work for a deadline

- When you’ve grown bored

- Or without any real explanation

I’m sure fellow artists can add to this list. Whatever the reason your Art Block has started it doesn’t matter you’re knee deep in it now!

So what to do? 

In college I had a great Professor who’d encourage us to draw through Art Blocks. It doesn’t matter if it looks like crap just draw, and it will all pass over like a bad dream. You are the one creating the block and it’s up to you to break through it. 

Here are some of my suggestions to power through an Artist Block. 

Draw through it

Like my professor said just draw through it. You keep your sketchbook for a reason it’s to unload ideas and just get the junk out. 

Stop treating your sketchbook like your portfolio!

Years back I’d constantly get art blocks because I drew in my sketchbooks for people who might want to look at it, and not for myself. When I finally threw that thinking out my artistic flow improved and it lessened the Art Blocks. 

Your best work should not be in your sketchbook knock it off! 

However if you want a sketchbook portfolio do so, but I suggest keeping another one to churn out bad ideas.

Change your environment

If you work from home or if you have studio sometimes sitting in the same place to work day after day can get stale. I suggest you get out and go do something different. While doing so you can be drawing or just observing it is up to you.

- I always love going to the Natural History Museum to draw the exhibits

- Some people might find going to an Art Museum helpful 

- Going to a cafe and surrounding yourself with other people might help lessen the Art Block

- Join a Meetup group or have a group of art friends to draw with during these times

- Take photographs of potential reference material

Work on your skills

Okay so real talk here, the best artists never stop learning. They are always hungry for ways to improve their art.

I used to think being talented excluded me from needing to learn, but guess what? That way of thinking is HARMFUL. So why not take this time to relearn or teach yourself something new?

Here’s a small list of what you can improve during your art block:

- Values

- B&W Rendering

- Color blending and harmony

- Figure drawing

- Composition

- Landscapes

- Characters

- Linework

- Lighting

Draw the opposite theme of what you’re drawing now

So you do a lot of horror artwork or you create heartwarming pieces of work, well try doing the opposite theme! This will not only help you out of your funk but will also help you to have a better range of themes that you work in. Who knows maybe you will find that you’re really good at something else?

Work in a different artistic media

Paint digitally all the time? Try:

- Watercolors

- Gouache

- Acrylic painting

- Sculpting

- Photography

- Oil painting

- Pen and ink

- Collage

- Hand lettering

Stop thinking so hard

You are in the middle of a very productive work week and you decide you want to create an “epic” piece of work, it has been on your mind all day and when you finally sit down and start to draw… your idea is not coming to the page. What the heck? 

My theory is whenever you want to create something so large in an idea sometimes you end up falling backwards. 

When this happens you should stop thinking so hard about what you want to draw and just start sketching to slowly build up to the idea. This takes practice, but in the end you won’t get stumped. If you are unable to draw this idea at the time write a note that describes what you would like to create or a rough sketch to keep for later.

Lastly you aren’t alone

We all go through Artist Blocks no matter what level of experience you have or age. I think it’s good to talk about it with other artists and get new ideas for how to work yourself out of a block. 

I wrote this list to be a good reference for you when you’re feeling stuck in an Art Block. Remember working through it is better than waiting for it to pass.


I plan to write more blog entries in the future that speak to artists. The purpose is to share ideas and resources to artists who are feeling stuck or need something to refer to.