Showing posts with label experimenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label experimenting. Show all posts

Monday, February 23, 2015

Simply Messing About...with Watercolor!

Since I'm not yet able to post images from the current book I'm working on (A Morning with Gong Gong, Lee & Low), here are a couple little paintings I've been doing for fun. I've had this Windsor & Newton travel watercolor set for a couple years, but I've hardly used it. I decided to pull it out and simply mess about! Though watercolor isn't as forgiving as my computer, it's been fun to make marks on paper and delight in happy accidents. I'm hoping these little exercises in watercolor will spill over and help me with some spontaneity in the digital world of painting. Here's to having fun with real paint!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Pushing a New Style: Photoshop Process GIF

When it comes to creating art for deadlines, my current weapon of choice is my Wacom Cintiq. But last week, I had a serious urge to grab a (real) pencil and put it to (real) paper beyond a simple sketch.

I decided to do a piece that will hopefully become one in a series of paintings based on classic fairy tales. 

I cracked open my sketchbook, cranked up some Henry Jackman music for some dramatic ambience, and got to sketching!

I got the drawing pretty far along and completed in my sketchbook, then scanned it into photoshop for some minimal refining. My goal was to remind myself that I can draw and that I don't have to rely on the Undo button to create my art. I'm really focusing on trying to create portfolio pieces that incorporate more traditional media.

So, a quick rundown of how I did it (it's very basic):

The cleaned up drawing was set to a multiply layer on the top of the others and the coloring was done using flat blocks of color on subsequent layers. Being that I tried to get all the darks and lights figured out in the pencil drawing itself, only minimal highlights were added to the color. After that, some glows were added on top of all the layers, and that’s it!

I had amazing fun doing this and can’t wait to sink my teeth into more!

Until later!


Monday, November 4, 2013

It's time to play

This is my favorite painting that I've made.

Play is important. Like REALLY important! I’ve forgotten that lately. In my push to improve my work, get more work, and life in general, I’ve let go of play. I think it shows up in my work. I keep thinking about all the preliminary play Melissa Sweet does in the beginning of her projects. I want some of that in my life.

Work in progress.
So with that in mind, I pulled out some old canvases that weren’t working and just started gluing on different papers, smearing paint around. When I paint for fun, I don’t worry about what the end result will be, I just start playing. The hardest part is making that next mark, unsure if it will make or break the painting. I have to remind myself that this is just for fun and if I hate it, I’ll just cover it all over. I have a few canvases with a lot of layers that didn't work under a painting that really works. I think all of those layers make the final piece just work even though you can’t see most of them. Painting like this requires a bit of bravery and a lot of letting go. I make a lot of bad paintings. It just doesn’t matter. Every once in awhile I fall in love with one of them and the process keeps me sane.

I've repainted this canvas several times.

Go out and paint! Here's some books that'll get you started:
Brave Intuitive Painting by Flora Bowley 
Painted Pages by Sarah Ahearn Bellemare 
Daring Adventures in Paint by Mati RoseMcDonough 
Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts 

Not sure about this one yet, but it's growing on me.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reworking Old Illustrations

Today, we have a combined post dedicated to the art of reworking older portfolio pieces! Laura and Renee have been hard at work trying to give a little love to some of their favorite personal illustrations and are here to share some of the thought process behind their decisions!



I'm constantly working on improving my skills and revamping my portfolio. It always has to be fresh and show improvement if I want to reach my goals. Mostly that involves creating lots of new art, but sometimes all I really need to do is to apply my current skills to illustrations I've already created.

Here's an illustration I first created in March of this year. I was happy with it at the time, but it always had a bit of a starkness to it.

I needed an illustration for the local Illustrators Day's First Look Panel later this month. I didn't have time to created something from scratch, so I decided to see if I could improve one of my existing pieces. I chose this one which I always liked, but felt was still missing something. I wanted to add more depth and drama to it, so I added snow and more trees to the background. I started with a blizzard, then ran it through some of my toughest critique friends, my SMA blog group of Tracy Bishop, Christina Forshay, and Renee Kurilla, and my friend Gina Perry. Their advice was to have fewer and larger snowflakes, to darken and redden the trees, change the border, and make the white border a softer color. (Almost all of the changes were done in Photoshop. The snow and border were ink paintings that I scanned in and manipulated in Photoshop.)

Here's what I have now. It has the drama I had hoped for and I think it's a much stronger piece. It'll be interesting to see what the panel has to say. Maybe I'll be able to improve it more.

It's so good to have people with a good eye and the ability to speak 'art' in your circle. It can be difficult, sometimes, to see one's own work clearly. It's can be hard to hear that your work's not perfect, but it gets easier with time. If you know that your critiquer wants to help you, it's easier to hear what they're saying. Trust me, it gets easier with time. I am a better artist because of their help.



This particular piece was an experiment from 2008 or so. My original goal was to paint this on canvas, so my first color study was very sloppy with globs of color and sketchy lines. The painting never came into fruition, and the color study sat in my "unfinished art" folder for years. It looked like this:

One day, I decided to revisit the piece and this is where I ended up:

Throughout the years, my style has changed quite a bit. I used to work in a vector style, as I was doing a lot of animation in Flash...but when I transitioned to Photoshop, I found that I love texture and transparency. 

That being said, for some reason, this particular image stuck with me as a piece I did not want to give up for my new portfolio. I recognized it's faults (one being no clear definition of story) and added a few tweaks. It's funny, similar to Laura's, my final piece ended up with snow as well!

I don't know how to explain why some ideas are just worth not letting go, but it's why people revisit old notebooks. A sketch you drew 10 years ago might not have even made clear sense to you then, but now it may spark your best idea ever. You don't need to give up on your older art because it's "out of date"!