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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Cats + owls = win, apparently

For some reason I’ve come back to this again, a merger between owls and cats. I guess I like rethinking this particular combination. It’s an easy blend.

Watercolor and brown india ink on 4 x 6″ Strathmore watercolor paper.

Owlcat, final versionInterested in earlier stages? After the cut!

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Of dinosaurs and videogames

Some months ago, the inimitable Jon Davies asked me to do some internal promo art for a game his company, Megadev, was working on for Adult Swim. The game came out today, so now I can finally share this!A man and his sheepherding Allosaurus

There wasn’t much in the way of existing art representing the game at that time, outside of Jon’s original proposal sketch, so I actually got a fair bit of creative leeway. Here are some of my initial character sketches.

Character sketchesAnd here are the compositional thumbnails.

Compositional thumbsI can’t even describe what a great experience this was. I’ve known Jon for some years, and working with him as an art director was just terrific. And his own art, in the game? Standout gorgeous.

Give it a play. Just watch out for those exploding tomatoes at the carnival, they’re brutal.

Painting day

I know! I have so much to get done! D: But I also have a pretty bad infection in my jaw from the wisdom tooth extraction, and either it or my antibiotics are making me a bit woozy and lacking in focus. So today, I finished my dad’s birthday present:

Ship for dad

Dad likes his ships

(His birthday was on August 17th…oops….)

And then there’s the 4th card that went with the ones I posted last time. It was for a wedding invitation company, and I thought “Hey! They’re based in DC. Maybe some paleontologists from the Smithsonian will want a proto-bird on their card!” but then I chickened out at the last minute and didn’t send it to the client. In fact, I didn’t even ink it until today.

Anchiornis card

A very Anchiornis wedding

Uncolored ink drawing after the cut!

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Everything goes back to normal

So I think my art crisis is over. I’m back to painting in about the same way I did originally (save for the fact that I ink last, rather than first) and I no longer feel quite as convinced that my color work is terrible. I do think that the experimentation was really useful, but it’s nice not to feel so panicky whenever I think about making work for someone. Expect more of that sort of thing next time I start feeling insecure about my art (which knowing me will probably be next week).

Three creaturesI tried using gouache for the first time in this one! And I also used salt successfully for the first time! So I guess I’m not actually done experimenting, but at least it’s more typical to my work. Ink, I missed you. I think I’d like to practice painting slimy things some more.

I was having an extremely strong urge to draw pokémon fanart, which I channeled into this instead. So I guess this is what pokémon would look like if I’d been the one to design them. This must be your three starter options. Which would you choose?

I forgot to get a scan of the initial pencil lines, but I do have an ink-less and gouache-less stage below the cut, if you’re interested.

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Goldfish Monster, with some WIP

I’ve mentioned that I’m working on my color usage, yes? The entire point of this particular piece was to push my color usage, and experiment a bit with my application of watercolor. Also, I was trying to speed up my overall worktime (this sort of worked out). It’s a pretty silly, simple picture, but I like how it turned out overall. Sometimes one needs to draw something silly.

I don’t believe I pushed myself nearly enough, in the end, but the result was good at least. One lesson I learned is that I really, really need to make more of an attempt to prevent my hand oils from getting on the paper while I’m drawing. It’s hard to see the effects of this in the scan, but it’s there. And of course it drives me crazy. I’ve heard that laying down a layer of spray fixative over the pencilwork can help (putting a barrier of plastic between you and those hand oils!) so I may try that. Or I suppose I could put a slip of newsprint down under my hand like you’re supposed to. Heh…

I took photos of the piece as it progressed. If you’re interested, they’re after the cut.

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Birdmarks part 2

After much procrastination (and many distractions) my second page of bookmarks is finished! (The first one is here, in case you missed it). Only four of these are either birds or bird ancestors, but what the hell. Birdmarks page 2!

Top: Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Golden-faced dragon, Blue dragon of some sort, Eel-inspired dragon. Bottom: Some mossy sloth thing, Anchiornis, Velociraptor, Caudipteryx

As you can see, I went on a bit of a proto-avia spree at the end. The Anchiornis’ coloring is based partly on recent scientific discovery regarding its actual feather coloration, partly on modern Pileated Woodpeckers. The Velociraptor is loosely modeled on a Red-shouldered Hawk, and Caudipteryx is even more loosely inspired by a goose. Of course, after I finished painting Caudipteryx I realized just how tiny it was, and not really that goose-like at all, but ah well. It will be years before anyone can contradict me with concrete evidence!

I’m not done with that kick yet, either, so expect some more feathery saurians and proto-birds in the future.

I’m not very happy with the dragons. Dragons are usually my favorite, but these were probably overly influenced by the various anime I was watching while sketching them. Unless anyone’s desperately in love with them, it’s unlikely they’ll actually make it to my shop.

Mossy, dancing sloth monster just is.

As with last time, WIP after the cut!

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Birdmarks!

I decided that I hadn’t been drawing enough birds. So, as a solution, I made these bookmarks. Printed versions of which will be for sale in my shop once I finish page 2.

Birdmarks final

Top: Gray Tufted Titmouse, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Mourning Dove. Bottom: Downy Woodpecker, Barn Swallow, Blue Jay, Golden-Crowned Kinglet

The technique is a shade different than usual, as I saved the inking for last. Sort of like that, feel like it frees me up for a somewhat more expressive mark. Considering how overly controlled my mark usually is, that’s probably a good thing.

WIP stages below the break!

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