Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Blackberry Princess

I guess I'm fairly content with this piece, although my humans always seem to look a bit off. It's a bit on the monochromatic side which is somewhat unusual for me. I was going for a kind of barren yet wild feeling with this piece. If she's the princess of blackberries her dress would be stained and torn after all that running around through the brambles, right? I think I probably should have made the figure a bit more angular in her features to emphasize her other-worldliness. She's a bit too soft and round, but then again she is a "princess."

5x5" and 8x8" prints are available through my DeviantArt account here.
Greeting cards, note cards, and decorative boxes are available at my Cafepress shop.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Injured Sparrow

So after reading through several other artists' tutorials, I've been wanting to try out some techniques in Photoshop. Here's the final result:

I really didn't know where to go with the color on this one. I just couldn't visualize it very well. The only thing I was sure of was that her hair needed to be blond. Then I started thinking about John Bauer's work and figured a dark, earthy background with a pale, glowy figure might work out all right.

I'm not so sure about this piece... it's not quite there. Maybe it's just the bright, isolated figure and/or the fact that there's not much color pushed around throughout the background that's bothering me... I was kind of going for a faux watercolor look, but I don't think it really worked out that way at all - it looks pretty digital to me. Either way it was primarily a learning experience for me, considering how seldom I produce art digitally.

Every element (hair, trees, etc.) except her skin has a different texture overlay with painting done underneath. Some of the textures came from Mayang's Free Textures and some came from other free online libraries.

I've got my other painting, The Blackberry Princess, in progress and that's probably what I ought to go and do now, but all I want to do is sit down and finish reading The Golden Compass. I'd been told it's a really great read and when we were at the Comic-Con, I noticed a lot of promotion for the upcoming movie and thought I really should read the book before the movie comes out. So with gift-card in hand, I picked up the book at Borders last week. I just started reading it on Saturday and I've barely been able to put it down since. It seems like it's been a while since I've really gotten hooked on any books (haven't read the new Harry Potter yet) and this one's got me thinking about my next fix already. I still have credit on my gift-card... looks like I'll be walking down to Borders sometime later this week to pick up The Subtle Knife....

Monday, August 13, 2007

On the Theme of Tangled Hair...

So, we got some hiking in this weekend and since the camera seems to only work for my husband nowadays, I had him shoot all the pictures this time. And it worked - well, sort of. A good number of the pictures turned out, but several just turned out black. Fortunately, I don't feel like we're missing too much though. We went to Zuma Canyon this weekend and I'd say it was one of the more ordinary hikes - nothing really unusual about this place. I suppose the defining feature was a broad, dry creek-bed that criss-crossed with the path several times.

We really wore ourselves out on the "Ocean View Trail," not realizing that it would be straight uphill for a long time with no shade. It was pleasant as always, but I think we probably won't go back to this one to finish up the other trails. I'd really like to go back to Malibu Creek and finish the rest of the trails there, but it's just been too hot to do more inland hiking recently.

On the art side of things, I have a couple of pieces in progress right now:
This one is The Blackberry Princess. Some time ago, Chris read a fairy-tale to me titled "The Blackberry Princess," and although I can't recall at all what took place in the story, the title stuck with me and I've wanted to illustrate it ever since. I've only just recently came up with the visual to go with the title.

And this one just popped into my head while I was working on The Blackberry Princess. I have no idea what's going on in this one. I guess I just really wanted to draw more tangled hair. I've tentatively titled it The Injured Sparrow, but who knows if that sparrow is really injured or if he's just a diversion so his buddies can make off with strands of her hair for their nests. Or maybe they're the ones who tangled it up in the first place. Either way, she'd better not pull...

Monday, August 6, 2007

Playing with Photoshop

I've been pretty frustrated working on my "Woodland Post" painting, so I decided to set it aside and work on some other things for a while - preferably less time consuming things. So I pulled up a photo we shot at Descanso Gardens here in LA and did a quick, sloppy painting in Photoshop:

While I use reference in my work where needed, I normally don't like to work so directly from photos. But, since I'm just trying to get more comfortable with digital media, I thought it might be a little less involved to just work straight from a photo. Anyway, the texture on the path is from a photo my husband shot somewhere else. I'm thinking I probably should have added textures to some of the greenery as well for the sake of consistency...

I enjoyed painting this in Photoshop because it was so much faster than traditional painting, but I think it will be a while before I'm really comfortable with pen and tablet. I just feel a little less in control with digital as opposed to traditional - except for that lovely undo button! Gotta love the undo button.

I know I really should start developing a digital portfolio since a lot of publishers seem to favor digital art these days, but so many of my ideas just look like traditional paintings to me. Not to mention, it's also kind of nice to have an original painting after all that work!

I've got a couple sketches for fantasy paintings in the works too, so hopefully I'll be posting those next week.