Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Live Model Drawing Session

My local CPSA district chapter (219) had our monthly meeting this past Saturday and we had a special treat! The meeting theme was portraits and one of our members brought in a live model so we could all sit and draw together. It's been a long time since I've worked from a live model - I love my photo references, but it was fun. I really enjoyed the pure drawing time. I wish I had spent some time doing quick gestural sketches, but since we were focusing on portrait, and the model wasn't moving or trying different poses, it didn't really make sense to do them.

So, here's our lovely model, her name was Nafshiyah:

I started with a warm-up sketch in graphite:

And then I decided to try my colored pencils… which is a little tough given that colored pencil doesn't really erase - it's more of commitment:

This is a little test I threw together in photoshop - an overlay of my second drawing and my reference photo. Looks pretty good! I impressed myself!! But I can see I've made the eyes too large, plus low and to the right (set back on face) - which led to a displaced ear (also too low and set back), but it appears to be approximately the right size. Which is funny because one of the members walking through the session commented that she thought it might be too small. ;)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Work: Sticker Sunday - "Spring Buds & Leaves"

In keeping with the new spring season, here's another spring theme sticker sheet I recently completed. This one is pretty straight forward. I used several light and yellow-greens to convey the "new-ness" message of the theme. I had a lot of fun researching all the strange looking buds as well.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Work: Sticker Sunday - "Spring Rainbows"

Hey, tomorrow is Spring! In honor of this new season, and the end of a cold & dreary winter (not to mention exceptionally snowy in some parts of the US) I present one of the more fun sticker sheets I illustrated recently. As usual, the theme was given to me in title only, with no more to go on than that - it was basically left up to my own interpretation. I've always appreciated the clean graphic rainbow, but this theme allowed me to add a bit of twist with blooming flowers and growing leafy vines. It's just so brightly colorful and happy - especially with the butterflies to add a little life in the mix. It's always fun to play around with stylization and graphic simplification.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Work: Masterworks Miniatures 2011

This year's batch of miniatures are complete and submitted! Keeping my fingers crossed they are all accepted into the MasterWorks show.

Judging from last year's success and the fact that two of the three pieces I entered sold (both New Mexico themed), I decided to focus on my own travels throughout the state. I take reference pictures wherever I go, sometimes even while I'm driving (very carefully!!!). Usually these get dropped in a folder on my computer and are rarely seen again. I decided to go back through these collections and find some choice references to inspire and guide me for this year's submissions. And while I still left most of the work to the last minute (all pieces were completed this past week), I was able to plan ahead a bit better and ordered my frames a couple weeks ago, so I could drop the finished pieces into their final homes as soon as they were finished.

Massive Sky, Sandias
6.5" x 1.5" On Arches, 140lb. Hotpress
(7.5" x 2.5" framed)
This piece is based on a snapshot I took while driving home from Santa Fe one evening. I couldn't believe it was a real sky, it was just so… massive and dramatic. Sun, storm, and clouds converging over the Sandias in a magical moment. I wanted to do a piece that was a less traditional shape as well. I love long & narrow verticals and horizontals, and this was one of the rare images I had been carrying around in my head since I snapped the photo -- waiting for the right moment to bring it to my drawing table. In the case of miniatures, they say the more "miniature" the better, so I decided not to mat this piece, placing it directly in the frame as if it was an epic grand-scale landscape in oil. My impression of massiveness carried through to the title in the end - I really loved the idea of naming this tiny piece "massive".

Bandelier, No.2
3.75" x 5" On Arches, 140lb. Hotpress
(7.5" x 6.5" framed)
Since I had so much success with the piece I did based on Bandelier National Monument in last year's show, I wanted to do a follow-up piece this year as well. Honestly, this place is just so breath-takingly amazing, I could occupy many years of art-making with this theme. I'll be quite glad to return to it year after year. I've been to the monument twice in the three years I've lived in New Mexico (and taken hundreds of picture upon each visit), I only wish I had time to go more often. I have to admit, somewhere along the line I messed up in my planning and I actually ended up doing this one a little larger than I originally intended (mis-measured somewhere in my process). I had planned to mimic the final presentation from last year's piece, but since the picture ended up larger (and I'd pre-measured and pre-ordered the frame) I ended up having to skip the double mat -- though I didn't realize it until AFTER I had cut and finished the mats with deckled edges and everything!. I'm not sure where the blue theme came from. I guess I originally didn't just want to render exactly what was there, but honor it, and accentuate the otherworldliness of the place, the mystic. I put a little more color variation in this one though, pulling in stronger purples with the exaggerated blues. I'm particularly proud of the teenie tiny ruins in the distance outside the cave (just above the top rung of the ladder).

Catch a Flying Star, DT
4" x 2.5" On Arches, 140lb. Hotpress
(4.875" x 6.25" framed)
This one is a bit different. This was another one of those special photos I kept in my head once I'd snapped the picture. It was just so crazy, colorful, surreal, and beautiful. Flying Star Cafe was one of my first New Mexico dining experiences. I went for the first time back on 2006, when I visited Albuquerque for the first time. A year and a half later, I moved into an apartment two blocks down the street. It has always been a special, comfortable place for me. And while they are extremely protective of their interiors (I believe they've gone so far as to copyright them in some way), this is actually a picture I took out the window, of the intersection of Silver Ave and 8th St. It just happens to be reflecting back a saucer-shaped ceiling, lights, and various other shapes and colors into the sky above outside. It makes for a magnificent alien encounter effect in mysterious New Mexico. *Side note - I totally forgot to sign this piece! Oops.

I have to say, with each year, I get more and more into these tiny paintings. They are just so… precious. Not to mention, I can do them pretty quickly - as compared to a lot of the illustration work I do. I get to just immerse myself in the rendering, instead of having to think about story, narrative or objectives needed (or lack there of) for so many illustration & design pieces.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Work: Sticker Sunday - "Gardening"

And so, it is almost springtime! It's time to start thinking about garden plans, needs, and supplies. This is a sheet I worked on a couple years ago, and although I'm not much of a gardener, one I've always been quite fond of. I guess I like the idea of gardening, but I can never seem to get myself out the door to do any! I'm much more of a houseplant aficionado. Give me a Bonsai any day (and yes, I did a sticker sheet for that ;). Anyway, even though it's a theme made up of not-the-most-exciting icons, I guess I've always liked the color and flow of this sheet - it almost tells a complete story of someone about the head to the garden, what they've planned, and what they'll need. That's kind of rare in stickers.

Monday, March 07, 2011

New Work: Bella Sara SPRING CARNIVAL

The new series from Bella Sara has arrived! I worked on Nova for this series, a character that was introduced in the recent Starlights series, and is making another appearance here at the Spring Carnival. Once again, I did not work on the background art, but only concentrated on the character. As usual, I had so much fun working on this project that it can hardly be called "work". Creating the transparent decorative silks and elaborate "Mane&Tail-dos" were particularly challenging. I enjoyed stylizing her "angelic" wings as well. And special bonus, the Bella Sara team has made a digital "poster" of Nova that is available for download at their website - previewed below. Click on the image to go to the site and download it for yourself, along with several other characters from this series!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

New Work: Sticker Sunday - "Birdhouses"

It's almost Spring, time to the birdies to come out and play! This is a really fun design I worked on recently. I actually had a lot of fun researching this one, I cannot tell you how many birdhouse styles there are out there, from the plain to the ridiculously ornate. I wish I could have fit more! I decided to stylize the birds a bit more than I normally would for stickers - I wanted to keep things simple with all the birdhouse designs and details.