IF: Perspective

Here is my entry for Illustration Friday this week. Even the cutest, fluffiest creatures can be terrifying depending on your perspective!

I was a little ill this weekend, so I took the opportunity to rest up and get some more digital painting practice in.  It’s working for me so far and I’m pretty confident that I will be coloring most of my work this way in the future.  I also wanted to practice doing a little chick because my “Hatch” drawing is still in progress and I was curious to see how the chick would come out digitally.

Metal Menagerie Process

For my latest drawing, I decided to take a couple of pictures along the way so you could see it come to life.  I sketched this piece out in Col-Erase blue pencil.  This was the first time I’d used the blue pencil underneath and I really liked it – it saved me a lot of time and energy on erasing everything later since it was much easier to just remove the blue in Photoshop.  Once the drawing was finished I started in with my Tachikawa School-G Nib pen that I love so much these days.  Above you can see the initial outlines for everything.  You can see from the pencils that I had considered putting in a banner of some sort like an old carnival ad, but I decided to just work with the image itself.

At this point in the drawing is where I start to worry that I’m going to make a bad decision and ruin the whole thing!  I’m learning to trust my instincts (and asking Chris for his opinion every 5 minutes), but when I like a drawing that feeling always creeps up at some point.  As you can see I’ve started filling in everything with a base tone of cross-hatching.

And here is the finished piece.  The idea for it came from two of my recent drawings (here and here) and also from my newfound interest in both steampunk and old carnival/sideshow imagery.  It is now available as a print from Society6 – click here to go to my shop.  Shortly after it was posted on Society 6, this drawing was on their front page as a popular drawing for the day, so thank you to all who promoted it!

Rough Pup

Today was a snow day, so I took the opportunity to practice a few of the skills I’ve been learning in my digital painting class.  I was inspired by a weird pattern on our bathroom rug to draw this little pup and once I had drawn him in Photoshop I decided to add some texture.  I was going to give him a background, but didn’t want to just slap him on a wall or something so I decided to leave him alone.  I would love some real critiques even though it’s a very simple image.  As I’m learning I want to make sure I’m not making rookie mistakes that you professionals can spot a mile away!

Digital Painting #7

I no longer fear vector art or the PEN TOOL!  This lesson was created almost completely with the pen tool (and some added textures, obviously).  The pen tool used to intimidate me because every time I tried to use it I had unpredictable results and ended up frustrated.  Am I skilled enough to get the exact line that I’m aiming for every time?  No, but I can get it pretty close now.  As usual, Bobby was responsible for the basic drawing and design, but for the most part I created this image (with his direction) almost entirely from scratch.

Vector art is not something I ever expected to use.  In fact, until this lesson I was planning to use a more painterly style for my future, original digital paintings but now there may be more variety.

Digital Painting #1

Digital Painting #2

Digital Painting #3

Digital Painting #4

Digital Painting #5

Digital Painting #6

Digital Painting #6

This lesson was actually pretty brief.  There was much more listening and observing than in previous lessons.  This one focused on custom brushes – how to use them and how to build your own.  Bobby Chiu was responsible for the woman’s head and shoulders and I was responsible for putting in the hair.

I don’t know how often I will be creating my own brushes, but I love the ones he taught me how to create and it’s important to know all the possible features a brush can have.

For those of you who may be interested in the class, you can find this one and others over at Schoolism.  I highly recommend this one and I know they have a class to suit every need.

Digital Painting Lesson 1

Digital Painting Lesson 2

Digital Painting Lesson 3

Digital Painting Lesson 4

Digital Painting Lesson 5

Digital Painting Lesson 7

Steampunk Monkey

This is officially one of my new favorite drawings.  I’m calling it steampunk, but if I’m way off base with that, someone please let me know.  This is another drawing that came out of nowhere.  I was pleased with the way the different cross-hatching styles looked up against the stippling that I did on the monkey’s body.  The metal marabou I posted the other day and this piece represent a style that I plan to pursue pretty heavily.

My sketching pen of choice lately has been my Tachikawa School-G nib fountain pen.  At first it was a little inconsistent, but now that I’m using it regularly the ink has a great flow, the nib is nice and flexible and the ink dries pretty quickly. It’s perfect for drawing on the go.

Metal Marabou

A few nights ago, Chris and I were watching a nature show about some of the ugliest creatures on the planet.  Among the many ugly creatures was the Marabou stork.  They look like a cross between a vulture and a stork – only a few fuzzy hairs on their wrinkled, spotted heads and necks, long, awkward seeming legs, and a tendency to scavenge for a lot of their food.  When I saw one of them perched on one leg and hunched over I was inspired to create this drawing.

I’ve also recently developed an interest in steampunk art and design. I don’t know much about it, but I’ve seen some amazing sculpture and illustration work that has left me feeling a bit inspired.

Digital Painting #5

So far, this is the digital painting lesson I am the most excited to try out.  In this lesson, Bobby Chiu taught me how to use the smudge tool in Photoshop to turn a line drawing into a very painterly, dimensional piece.  He mentioned that this technique can be great if you are more of a drawer than a painter.  I do a lot more drawing than painting and I’m a bit out of practice when it comes to painting, so I thought that sounded pretty good!

Once again, Bobby provided the original drawing and I followed along with his work step-by-step.  After only a few minutes of using the smudge tool I was convinced that this was going to be a great way for me to work.  I can’t wait to try it out on some of my own drawings and then use some of the previous techniques to color the images.  Prepare to see lots of digital experiments in a couple of months!

If you’re interested in taking this class, head over to Schoolism where they have lots of classes and other illustration resources.

IF: Muddy

Here is my entry for this week’s Illustration Friday topic: Muddy.  I had intended for it to also be a Valentine’s Day image – the mud was supposed to look like a heart, but it didn’t quite turn out that way.

While I’m loving every minute of my digital painting class, I’m also feeling like I don’t have enough time to devote to my own drawing.  I’m doing lots of sketching and doodling, but I haven’t finished anything in a while.  I guess for now I just need to accept the fact that I don’t have the kind of drawing time I’d like to have.  I’m in the middle of a time-consuming class and I’m also putting the finishing touches on wedding plans for April!  It’s only mid-February and my goal of having my portfolio where I want it by the end of this year is still absolutely achievable.  Maybe for the next two months I need to focus more on having fun with my work and experimenting with new techniques and after the wedding I can focus more on portfolio pieces.

Journal 2/4/2010

Journal 2/4/2010

Last week I had some fun with my new Tachikawa School-G Nib fountain pen.  It’s a nice compromise between dip pens and fountain pens.  I’m still getting used to it and often forget that it’s fountain pen ink and needs to dry before I wipe my hand across the page!

The first drawing was totally random and straight from the pen. The elephant drawing was a little more planned out.  I really like the expression on his face and may develop his character further into something specifically for children.