Friday, November 30, 2012

An Artist You Should Know About

Let me first say that this guy's black and white illustrations are amazing.  Go check out his illustrations for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  Every time I see them my eyes bug out.  It's very inconvenient.  But, really, Bernie Wrightson, for the love of Pete, whoever he may be, please, please, put your site back up.  It's so frustrating to want to drool over your work and then you taunt me with a broken promise.  So just to save you a couple of steps, here's a link to his work on Google Images.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Steampunk Little Red Riding Hood - Part 8

I am having trouble with the scanning process.  Have I mentioned before how much I hate scanning?  My machine keeps picking up all the texture of the watercolor paper and it's driving me nuts.  If I can get home early enough from work I am going to try photographing it.  But since it starts getting dark around 4 here and I haven't been able to get home before 6 . . . well, you can see the problem.

Here you can see I am trying to figure out if I need to make her "dirtier".  I'm leaning towards the dirt on her shirt, but the general consensus has been that the smudges on her face make her look like she has a beard.

Sorry for the drive by post, but I have been really distracted and haven't gotten nearly as much done on the next piece as I need to.  Let me know what you think of Little Red - any suggestions as to a title?  I am considering Little Red, Little Red Cap . . . and a whole slew of others.

An Artist You Should Know About

Justin Gerard is a South Carolina-based illustrator (and one of my favorites!!).  He works in pencil, watercolor and digital.  You can see more of his work here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

An Artist You Should Know About

I've mentioned him before, but . . .

You should check out Greg Swearingen.  He's California-based and works in acrylics, watercolor, and colored pencil.  You can find his website here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Artist You Should Know About

I've been inspired by the SmArt School Facebook group to post a couple of artists a week that I think people should know about.  

An artist you should know about:

Nicolas Delort.  A France-based illustrator working mainly in ink on clayboard.  Go check him out at his blog!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Steampunk Little Red - Part 7

I got sick this weekend - that's twice this year.  That's 1.5 times more than I usually get sick over the course of the year.  And it totally threw off my schedule.  I spent most of Saturday afternoon and Sunday in bed NOT sleeping because I couldn't breathe.  Gah!

I know I've said this before, but Little Red is almost done. Honestly it's the best thing I've produced to date as far as finished paintings go.  And as of writing this I have no idea of what to do for the next piece for Eric's class.  Though I am debating between just using the concepts for the girl in the woods or something Narnia related.  Or Robin Hood.  Or Chronicles of Prydain.  Or dragons.  Yeah . . .

I am also slowly, but surely, compiling my list of publishers/art directors to send out my first mailing to.  At Jen Betton's suggestion, I picked up a copy of Children's Writers and Illustrators Market as well as Artist and Graphic Designers Market.  I'm debating about getting an associates membership with the Graphic Artists Guild - does anyone out there have a membership?  Is it worth it?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Steampunk Little Red - Part 6

18 Hours

I just want you to know that I'm not trying to make this painting a bigger deal than it is.  First of all, I'm not all that creative when it comes to blog post titles.  So.  Second, I'm also not trying to be all "look at me, look at me!" even though I know it looks like it.  I am always so curious about how other artists work and the whole process and time and all that stuff.  There's a part of me that wants to show others who may be wondering how that painting came together.  Maybe you'll get some insight or avoid some of the traps that I tend to fall into. And it's good for me to be able to look at my own process and see how my decision making process works.  So I might be a little over-zealous in the sharing department.  But you know what?  This is my blog.  You can deal with it!

I'm sorry, it's late and my brain is fried.  So now that I've got my little disclaimer out there, here's some more updates, and an actual scan!  Aren't y'all proud of me?  I am.

Original Scan

So my new-ish scanner is 9x12 I think.  I've got it in my studio now and it helps to not have to walk all the way across the house to set up a scan, then back to my studio to preview and then back again, etc, etc.  I know.  My life is so hard.  This was scanned in in 4 part and stitched together in Photoshop.  I played with the levels a bit, but I think most of the color was captured pretty well.  It picked up a lot of the paper texture though and that wasn't as cool.  

Edited Scan

I was a little lost with the piece, so I went in with Photoshop and did a paint-over, to see if the changes I was wanting to make would work for the piece.  It did, so then I did that in real life.  My dad came in as I was working on it - he's one of the reasons I pursued art growing up.  That and my mom says she doesn't think I could do anything else.  Anything not creative, I mean.  She doesn't mean it as mean as that sounded, but I can't think of another way to put it right now.  Anyway, Dad came in and called me on my laziness in forgetting/ not wanting to go in and define some detail in her pants the way I was with the rest of her outfit.  So I got down and dirty with my reference and nailed down some details in the pants and WOW, how that helped.  It's so subtle, but it really brought the piece up a notch.

Anyway.  I didn't scan it again.  You'll just have to make do with photos until it's really finished.  Cause aside from the general annoyance that scanning is, un-taping a stretched piece of watercolor paper to scan it and then trying to tape it back down was probably the blondest thing I've done all week.  Maybe all year.  So guess what?  It's staying on the board until Sara's done with it.

21 Hours

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Steampunk Little Red - Part 5

Just a quick update this week.  18 hours in, longest I've ever spent on a painting and Eric and Rebecca are talking about spending at least 50.  I cannot even fathom that.

I'm having to be careful, cause I loose steam more quickly and I really don't want to rush here at the end.  Colored pencils have been awesome - not getting lost in the painting nearly as badly.  But one thing is clear about all of this: I need to build up my endurance.

And an idea I am working on for a Christmas card.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hand Safety

So. I'm doing some cartoons for work again.  It's basically "how to not cut off your hand".  I had more fun doing these than I expected.  Everything's done on Photoshop (CS5).  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bendigedig and a Website

I don't know if you knew this, but I'm horrible with technology.  Like, really bad.  It's why I have Macs as my brothers would tell you.  

So just bear with me as I gush and say that I figured out how to set up this blog under my personal domain!  I feel so cool right now, guys.

So, now if you go to, it redirects you here - Ha!  How awesome is that?
And yes, Marcus, I can hear you and your super-computer laughing at me.

So if you're curious, here's how you do it:

First you have to have a domain name (mine's with, obviously.  After you have one, you go here, which is kind of a step by step outline of what you need to do.  Blogger has something set up with GoDaddy which is supposed to make it really easy (but don't believe them, IT'S NOT).  You go through, tick a few boxes and if you have a domain through GoDaddy, you're supposedly done!  But then you still have to go and do everything that people without GoDaddy have to do, so, I'm not quite sure what the point of all that was.  

First you have to got to your DNS Manager.  It took me a couple days to figure out how to do that.  

Don't judge me.

On GoDaddy, open up your account manager and under the products tab, click the launch button next to the domain option.  Click on the domain you want to link to your blog (if you have more than one) and that's gonna open a page with a whole bunch of text and cyber jargon.  You're looking for the DNS Manager (which on mine was located close to the middle/bottom of the page between "Nameservers" and "TLD Specific" and no, I have no idea what those are).  Under DNS Manager, there's going to be more cyber jargon and "@" and stuff, but at the very bottom there's going to be another "launch" link.  Click that.  

Now you should be in some kind of zone file editor or something.  No I do not know what that is.  Go down to the "CNAME (Alias)" box/table and you'll see three columns "Host", "Points To" and "TTL".  Find the host "www" that points to "" and tick that box. Then, you're gonna have to click that quick add button at the bottom and paste what ever mumbo-jumbo Blogger spit up when it told you there was a problem with linking your blog to the domain name.  Then save it.  Make sure those two boxes are ticked and log out.  Supposedly it takes a while, but I was able to open everything up right away, which is how I figure out it worked!  

Don't judge me.  

So now links here!  I decided to do this because the holding site I had up with GoDaddy while I try and put my real one together was an embarrassment.  So I found Dan dos Santo's blog article from Muddy Colors and threw together my new gallery page (it really only took like, 10 minutes, for real).  Let me know what you think.  The great thing about it is that I can really easily add or delete pieces and by changing the post date I can decide where on the list the pieces fall.  Easy. Neat. Bendigedig.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Steampunk Little Red - Part 3

Study in acrylic, watercolor and colored pencil.

Color comp 

We are now in the painting stages.  I'm having a blast, which is a welcome change to my usual emotionally constipated "I can't DO this" mantra.

A couple of weeks ago, Eric introduced us to Greg Swearingen, who's work I had seen before in Spectrum, but I'd never looked him up.  Turns out he's super cool and uses watered down acrylics, watercolors and colored pencils to achieve the amazingly beautiful illustrations:

While ogling his website, the thought struck me that this might be a technique I could incorporate into my work.  I always feel like I loose so much because I am trying not to noodle and I end up not being able to push those details that always seem to evade me or get muddied up by the end of my painting.

And honestly, it looked like a boatload of fun.

And guess what?  It was!  All those things that I feel like I don't have control over with paint I could go back in and refine very gently with the pencils.  I really enjoyed it.  And using the acrylics as a kind of under layer has been great, too.  I can establish colors and tones and not worry about all the watercolor layers getting mixed up and muddied by the time I'm getting to the end.

But just wait.  I'll run into a problem and swear it all off in a week.  I mean, I hope not, but that has been my modus operandi.

Here is a photo I took about 5 hours in:

Not great, but I'll scan it in at some point so you can see all the lovely details.