Oh look what I found

I was cleaning my desk cubbies yesterday, and found these.

Dragon and BirdsMoth monster

The moth creature I remember abandoning, because I realized that I’d accidentally used water-soluble walnut ink on a piece I’d intended to watercolor. The dragon I remember drawing (it was around the same time as this piece), but I can’t for the life of me recall why I put it down.

Artist secret: we give up on a lot of things. Though now that I’ve found these, who knows. I might clean them up and use them for digital coloring practice.

In other news, I recently revived my Dribbble account. If you’re a member, be sure to drop by and say hello! I need more folks to follow.

 

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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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.

Toothless

I’m supposed to be taking it easy today. I had all four of my wisdom teeth pulled yesterday. And while it wasn’t as terrifying an experience as I’d expected, I’m still in a fair bit of pain and a little out of it from the high dosages of vicodin I’m taking every 4-6 hours. But of course being told you’re supposed to relax makes it all the harder, so instead I’ve been knocking about online and doing minor design work for most of the day.

But then I remembered this blog, and the fact that I hadn’t posted any art on here since my trips to the museum. I recently, on Eric Orchard’s recommendation, acquired a new pen nib to replace the several I utterly destroyed while making these pieces. So far it’s held up really well, and on top of that it’s been producing just the sorts of lines I’ve really been wanting from my pens anyway. Here’s my first stream-of-consciousness ink test with it:

Llama Deer personAnd at the same time, I went and found my initial ink test for my lovely tachikawa sepia fountain pen (which I also destroyed, and had to order a new one of). It was sketched back when Cinnamonopteryx had been living with us for just a few days, and still needed to be babysat in our room or else he’d start crying. So, rather influenced by him:

The Cheshire CinnamonI plan on painting both of these at some point soon.

Oh, and if you happen to be on Google+, I’ve been fairly active on there lately. Find me!

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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Draconic Victoriana mailer, WIP

Since I’m almost done with this piece, I thought it was probably time to post the WIP sketches for it. Or rather, the time might have been a few days ago, and I’m just behind. This image is going on my (first ever, since again I’m always behind on things) illustrator’s mailer! I’ll post the final, plus the image from the back, in a day or two.

I have to admit, I’m pretty excited about how it all turned out.

The reference for the figure came from an old photograph of Jeanette Jerome Churchill (Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston’s mum). It’s a pretty striking portrait of her in riding gear, and one I might try reinterpreting again in the future.

There she is, in sepia ink! Done with a crow’s quill, because I can’t leave my love of those things behind.

The idea behind the dragon is that it’s an analogous stage in dragon evolution to, say, Velociraptor or other feathered raptors. If dinosaurs, why not dragons? There are more sketches of feathered dragons in my sketchbook, which I’ll scan at some point soon.