Perfect for hanging on your wall

Elm 1, An old forest

Some new arts to share! Because The Future Fire, feminist magazine of speculative fiction, is finally back from hiatus! I provided these two illustrations for the story Elm by Jamie Killen, which is a poignant love story about a girl and a dryad and making difficult choices. My images are a tiny bit spoiler-y seen together, but not too. Go read it anyway!

Elm 2, Flora and Fauna

In other news, have you heard about Turning Art, the monthly subscription service for wall art? Well, I have a profile there! Just in case it’s something that seems like your cup of tea. I mean, new art every month! Supporting individual artists! Buying things easily! What’s not to like?

There’s also my (recently refreshed) etsy shop, if you want just my art in particular. Or you could request a commission. I like those. ;)

Drawing inspiration

You’ve heard the recommendation to draw studies from the work of folks who inspire you, to get a sense for their craft, right? I’d add that it also helps you appreciate their work on an entirely different level. Take these sketches I did from Rembrandt the other day. I love the intense darks and smoky sepia tones in his work, but it took sketching from him to realize just how subtle and mischievous the facial expressions of his subjects are. For anyone who’s painted or drawn from a live model, you’ll realize what a challenge this is–over very long sitting periods both artist and model tend to settle into a grim and rigid expression. The number of quick sketches he did for these must have been extensive.

Rembrandt sketches

The look of bemusement on the man in the gorget’s face–I’m imagining that this is a ridiculous outfit even for the wealthy of 17th century Holland. Or the sly and considering look of the woman in the door, her wedding ring just peeking over the top of her blouse. You can really see why his work is so enduring.

Manhunt, an illustration

An illustration I very recently completed has gone live on AEScifi.ca, The Canadian Science Fiction Review, so now I can share!

Manhunt

What. No men here.

I was extremely flattered when the editor sent me this story, telling me that he felt my style suited it. It’s strange and poignant and grotesque, all the qualities I love best in one place.

So check it out, and read the entire issue while you’re over there!

The thumbnail sketches from the project are after the cut, for the curious.

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Literary influences

Do you remember the first book that really grabbed you? The one that fell apart in your hands from constant rereading and spring-boarded you off into your career as an obsessive lifetime reader? (I’m assuming you’re a reader here, because I most certainly am and who would visit my blog if they’re not like me at least a little? Right?)

Well, mine was A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin. I have no idea why my mom decided to bring it home from the library for me that day. To the best of my knowledge, she’s never read it herself (though she can feel free to contradict me if I’m wrong, or fill in the story if she remembers) and it certainly wasn’t a new release in 1992 when I was 7.

But whatever the reason, there it was. And that story, of a young and talented wizard whose life and career nearly end at the hands of his own hubris, really got to me. I remember carrying around laminated bookmarks I’d made myself, painstakingly copying out the poem and runes from the front of the book. I hunted down the trilogy, the copies with my favorite cover art of course (these ones), and still have them on my shelf to this day.

Yet for some reason, I think this might be the first illustration I’ve ever done of Ged.

Ged and Hoeg

(Bigger, better view here)

Process, on a small watercolor

I actually remembered to document my stages on a watercolor! A small watercolor sketch, but it’s something.

Blue forest

Those who follow me on twitter might recall this one! I was extremely unhappy with it for a while, though I’ve since grown a little more at ease. After the jump, I’ll talk a little about the process that goes into watercolors like these.

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Something in the mail

I’ve realized lately that the key to productivity, for me, is to avoid turning on my computer unless absolutely necessary. Meaning I’m a little behind on things that involve scanning or photographing art to show people.

This is actually the second penpal letter of mail art I’ve received from Jessica Gowling, fellow printmaker and nature lover! The last one was a year ago, because I am terrible at responding to things in a timely manner (and maybe perhaps because I’ve been overbooking myself a little). We were also mutually involved in a traveling sketchbook project initiated by the wonderful Valeria Poropat (which I similarly forgot to blog about… or even scan before I mailed it! You can see my governess with a leashed dragon in Jessica’s photos of it).

Here is the latest envelope full of goodies:

The full array

Detail 1

Detail 2

Just look at that tiny Mot-mot card! We have several in the National zoo, and they are so lovely and inquisitive.

Even the envelope is pretty!

Jessica has figured out the important thing about me: I love birds.

I cannot remember whether I ever told her that I lived in Hungary for several years when I was small, which is when I had my first penpal. Who happened to love ducks. If not, the presence of all those (incredibly nostalgia inducing) Magyar posta stamps are just the most incredible coincidence… Or perhaps a product of the fact that Hungarians have some of the loveliest bird-related stamps ever. Though the envelope was mailed with beautiful Canadian bird stamps, too, which I sadly cannot get a good shot of without revealing someone’s home address. Alas! They are wonderful and I love them.

There’s a typewritten (as in typewriter-written) letter on the back of the brown leaf stationary also. Another odd coincidence, considering how I recently started using my own typewriter again…

I am determined to be more timely in my response this round! The truth is: I had my reply almost entirely assembled within a week of getting the previous mail art from Jessica, but dawdled because I felt like it needed one more thing. Needless to say, as Evan and I are finally getting our letterpress cleaned and put together, I am tempted to do this again. Setting myself a deadline of one month from today, or this could be a repeat!

Working my way back toward pink

I’m still overbooking myself. And, I’m still getting sick at inconvenient moments. Feeling a little bit better though, so I made this.

Cassowary dragonIt’s a dragon based on cassowary and horse traits. Just a little watercolor doodle, like the last one.

I do have a few things planned for the blog, so look for more updates soon! Trying to get back into the swing of a regular working schedule.