About 50 years ago my mom married my stepdad. Which meant Mom, me and my two older brothers moved into Dad’s house with him and my two older stepsisters.
Seven people . . . in a four bedroom house.
If you’ve never been in a stepfamily, you might not know about the . . . um, sensitive dynamics involved at the beginning of the blending.
Let’s just say, my sisters each needed their own room. My brothers shared a room and Mom and Dad had the master.
Which left little ol’ me. The youngest, with no bedroom.
Before you feel sorry for the six-year-old me, Mom and Dad came up with what I thought was a brilliant solution – they put a tiny trailer right outside of their bedroom.
Talk about the perfect place to play house!
Truth be told, I don’t remember too much about having a trailer for a bedroom. What I do recall is when our oldest sister went away to college the next year, my brother called dibs on the trailer. But that was okay with me because Mom redecorated my bedroom for my 7th birthday present.
I asked Mom the other day whatever happened to that little trailer and she couldn’t remember. We both agreed that we wished we still had it since vintage trailers are enjoying huge popularity right now.
Is that why I painted this little camper? Yes . . . and no. Actually, I saw one on Pinterest a while back, thought it was cute, and drew one. That’s all. I thought I could make a few products for people who enjoy RVing.
And a printable for you guys.
I have links to the downloads at the bottom of the post, but first I wanted to show you some of the steps I go thru for a watercolor like this.
I start with a sketch, of course.
No, that’s wrong. I actually start by gathering loads of visual references. Google makes it so easy now.
When I started painting in the ’90’s, I was a magazine ripper. I had binder after binder of cataloged photos. When I’d paint a mural at someone’s house, their wall would be covered with magazine photos, held up with blue painter’s tape. Now I just keep folders on my computer. Much, much easier.
When it comes to sketching, there are lots of techniques and methods out there. (I think YouTube has quite a few.) I don’t know any, however. I pretty much eyeball everything. Good erasers are a must!
For drawings like this vintage camper, I sketch in pencil pretty lightly until I’m satisfied that everything is in proper relation to everything else. Then I’ll grab a ruler to draw the straight lines. When the pencil sketch looks about right, I go over the pencil markings with a black marker, usually a Prisma .03. I don’t use a ruler with the marker, however, because if the ruler isn’t lined up perfectly, the whole drawing is shot. That’s happened a couple of times.
I’d rather freehand the lines and have a few bumps here and there. It also adds to the ‘charm’ of a freehand illustration. There are so many great digital artists now, and I love their work, but there’s something pleasingly ‘organic’ to a handdrawn or handpainted piece. At least, I think so.
Another drawing tip I have is to turn the paper (or canvas) upside down and all around while sketching, both with pencil and the marker. This is particularly helpful for curves and circles. Although another reason to turn the sketch upside down is you’ll see imperfections more clearly and, therefore, can fix them.
Try turning your paper upside down the next time you draw something. You’ll be surprised at what you see!
Finally, after everything is inked in – and it has dried (!) – I erase all of the pencil markings. That’s important before the painting starts otherwise you’ll get some graphite smeared into the paint.
With the sketch inked in, it’s time to lay down the colors. Since I’m new to watercolors, bear with me if you’re a watercolorist because I don’t really have any idea what I’m doing. Although I am having a lot of fun with them!
I still need a lot of practice with highlighting and shading but for simple illustrations like this camper, I just add layers of color until I get the depth I want. If you haven’t painted with watercolors since . . . well, since you were a kid, then you ought to give them a whirl again. It’s a great medium and the results are beautiful without a huge time investment, for the most part.
Sometimes I’ll leave the painting right there and call it finished, just with the initial inked sketch and color over it.
But going back over everything with a marker again helps sharpen the details, I think.
Either way, you wind up with a cute little painting that you can turn into a fun printable.
Click the above photo or here to download this 8 x 10 printable.
Click the above photo or here to download this 8 x 10 printable.
Or you can download this camper and add your own text with PicMonkey or any other photo editing program.
Ever since I’ve been painting, my goal has been for people to use my art. Sure, if you want to hang it on a wall, that’s great too. But I always wanted my paintings to be on everyday items. Now, with sites like Zazzle, that’s possible!
So far I’ve made this little Happy Camper mug . . .
And this throw pillow.
I need to get busy and make some more products but balancing everything I want to do has been a bit challenging. I finally wrote every single task down, then split them all up into the days of the week. I typed up a nice, neat schedule, put it into a sheet protector and have it right next to my computer.
Have I been following my nice neat schedule? Um . . . for the most part. I think I kinda underestimated how much time things take me though. Like, I thought I’d do four or five DIY projects this weekend . . . just paint them and take photos . . . then gradually write blog posts for each one.
I actually finished painting one project with four more about halfway painted. sigh.
Oh well, that’s okay. Tomorrow’s Monday and I have another pet to paint, products to make, clip art to design and aerobics to teach.
I’m a happy camper. Yes, I am.
Do you like retro and vintage stuff? What’s one of your favorite things from the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s?
thank-you a nice printable & I enjoyed reading all about how it came to be Colleen — love the cushion great idea ! Lyn x
Mel Swope says
So cute my dear! Have a great book on organizing and getting things done, and it is a fun read. It is called “sink reflections” and is great for those of us with more interests than time and the attention span of a butterfly! Hope you are doing great.
Laura Strack says
Love the mug and pillow! Are you going to add your pet sketches and paintings to them? That might make for some happy pet owners.
How sweet! This sure brings back memories! My parents had a little trailer very similar to this at our summer place on Hood Canal. Thanks for the printable, Colleen!
Love the idea of a pillow!
Pamela @ FlowerPatchFarmhouse.com says
Sounds like we are on the same schedule and have the same lack of time. I, too, misjudge how long things should take me to accomplish them. I love the little trailer. My mom and dad also had a little 70’s trailer that I borrowed when my kids were little and we loved that thing. Nothing fancy but it made going camping with small children much easier on me and we had so much fun. Cute idea for an extra bedroom.
I have been wanting to get to paint for just myself, I have a lot of custom orders to complete yet, which makes me have to paint when I would rather be doing something else. I love to paint but sometimes I don’t want to HAVE to, I am sure you know what I mean.
Chrissi Vergoglini says
Thank you for the darling picture-will put it on my Trailer Dreams bulletin board!
You are a very talented artist!
Suzanne W says
This is so cute – I love it! Great process explanation also.
Love this printable! Thank you! Can’t decide if I want in the living room gallery wall or daughters room; maybe both lol! Please create more printables like this!!
This is such a fun piece! Thank you for sharing.
Thank you so much!
I have died and gone to heaven!!!!! Thank you so so much for your camper printable and the vintage Pyrex printable!!!!!! The buttermilk print is one of the two that I collect!!!!!
Just kidding…I keep getting an error message with this one, but the Pyrex one is amazing nonetheless!
Peggy Higginbotham says
My HOUSE was built in 1950 and when I bought it the stove , I believe, was original! It’s still there..a nice Roper gas range! Works perfectly too and looks great! My little dining table is a mid century teak table and the chairs are mid century Johnson chair company. My bedroom is a Harmony House set. I know there are people who really like the green and gold from that era but I’m not terribly fond of it. I did get new linoleum and removed the 1970 carpeting to reveal the hardwood floors. Still want to get new countertops as the green marbled laminate isn’t doing it for me!
The Free links do not work. Is it possible to still get the file for the Camper? So cute. Thank you!
I don’t know what is wrong but I keep getting an error message when I try to click “Click the above photo or here to download this 8 x 10 printable”. I keep getting the error message “That didn’t work for some reason” when it try’s to open in the DropBox site! I have DropBox and get other files from it but for some reason I can not get yours. Do you have this where you can just put it in a PDF file for me to download. Please, I truly want this because my husband and I have a camper and would like to paint and put it on our wall in the camper! Thank you for your help, just hope your response in a day or two because will be going camping VERY soon!