In February, I had the great pleasure to work with The Writer’s Chronicle for a second time. I created a cover illustration for an article titled “The Master Craftsman” which was about Henry James and how he crafted The Portrait of a Lady. As you can see, I chose to depict James as a literal craftsman, carving the novel out of wood.
The second illustration accompanied an article titled “Three Quick Studies of the Image” and discussed the role of the image in poetry. This was particularly challenging given the abstract nature of trying to illustrate “the image.” I decided to explore a concept using ancient stone carvings and hieroglyphs as they related to language and communication.
The folks at The Writer’s Chronicle are always so great to work with and they have typically given me a lot of freedom with the illustrations. And this issue was especially well-timed because it came out during the annual AWP Conference & Book Fair so hopefully a few extra eyes were on the issue.
You can see the cover and interior illustrations I did for them in 2013 here.
A quick little painting of lovebirds that I did for my husband for our 2nd anniversary yesterday.
Available as a print at Society6.
Yesterday I finished another new watercolor illustration. This is a personal piece titled ‘Submerged.’ Prints of the piece can be found here and the original painting is also for sale in my shop. I may be rearranging my Etsy shop or starting a Big Cartel shop for all of my original paintings very soon.
I’ll stop gushing about watercolor in every post now, I promise. But I do love it!
This week I finished my first real illustration with watercolors. It was commissioned by Tofugu.com for the banner of a new site they will be launching soon – WaniKani.com.
Below is a scan of the full painting – which is also for sale (if you’re interested shoot me an email). The half-crab half-alligator creature was envisioned by the client and they specifically requested a kaiju-style monster battle. Beyond that, I was given free reign to have fun – which I did.
Below is a larger, cropped image which is how it will appear on the site. I’ll try to grab a screenshot when it goes live. You can see some process images of the illustration in my previous blog post. It is also available as a print here.
If you like this style and you’re interested in a commission, get in touch!
This weekend’s watercolor experiment was inspired by the wonderful and hilarious Eddie Izzard. As part of his Glorious show he did a bit where he mentions that the only people who skip rope are little girls and huge f*&k-off boxers. If you haven’t seen his stand-up, have a look at the video below. He is one of my favorite comedians.
I had intended to do the background on this piece with just grey ink washes, but I decided to leave this as an experiment with a limited palette, color and value. I love the way the background girl’s clothing came out. Working with highlights and shadows in watercolor on faces is extremely challenging and will take a lot of practice. Also, I think I need better paper, but for now this is good for experimentation.
If you’ve been to your local grocery store and seen Sumo Mandarins and you haven’t tried them – go get some NOW. These are the most amazing fruit I have ever eaten. They are super sweet and if you juiced it and added sparkling water it would taste JUST like orange soda – without all the crap that’s in orange soda.
Anyway, they were my inspiration for another little watercolor experiment. I sit around at home just looking for excuses to keep working with the paints. If I would be a little more patient they would probably come out even better, but I tend to try adding more color before the previous color is sufficiently dry.
My new Winsor & Newton watercolor set arrived yesterday and I couldn’t wait to start playing around with it. Keep in mind, I’ve never really worked with watercolors before.
I learned a lot just from this quick little drawing. I laid the paint down prior to doing the inking due to my complete lack of confidence in the waterproof qualities of my ink and next time I will be shooting for a much more dynamic line. I think fewer colors and less saturation will be the way to go. It’s easy to give everything the same value at first so I want to keep the heavy saturation to the more important parts of the image.
I would also like to try combining black ink washes with color – maybe a mostly black and white image with a few hints of color.
Anyone have any tips for me based on this?
Over the last 6 months or so I’ve been struggling to find an illustration technique that feels more natural for me. Drawing has always been my favorite part but the process of coloring with Photoshop is something I have to work very hard to get right.
I’ve been a fan of dip pens for a long time, but lately I’ve had some trouble with them on Bristol. Maybe I have cheap ink and maybe I need better paper, but I just wasn’t getting the results I was looking for. After looking at Dan Berry’s work, I decided to try my dip pen on some watercolor paper and above are the results. Clearly my ink is either not as waterproof as it claims to be or I didn’t wait long enough for it to be fully dry, but I was so excited about the results. It was so much more fun!
I need to practice a lot more with ink wash and I need to use some higher quality brushes, but I really feel like I’m on to something. I’ve also ordered a small Winsor & Newton watercolor pocket set so I can slowly start incorporating light color washes into the work.
I’m pumped to try bigger and more involved illustrations this way!