My Work in Progress

A sketchblog where I post a few of my scribbles from a variety of works-in-progress, usually from my rather random personal creativity outside of the daily grind. I occasionally, but not always, post the final artwork.


Fun with...

...costumes! As complicated as my idea has gotten from its original conception (think kindergarten school play as the basis for the first amusing idea), I think I'll probably end up wearing a t-shirt with the message "YES -- THIS -- IS my COSTUME". I'm sure I'll at least win 2nd place...ha.

However, I'm still moving forward with the process, cause now I'm curious to see what I actually end up with, even so it won't be ready for the office Halloween Showdown. Especially since it involves trying to be crafty with stuff I haven't played with before. I love a creative challenge. :)

Hmm...I wonder if I can make a little door for my little plush owl to pop out of, a la a cuckoo clock....


Midnight Geese

Last night I'm lying in bed writing my "one-paragraph-a-night" bit of story in my spiral notebook, listening to the north wind starting to blow as the cold front blew in...when I hear the wild geese crying out as they flew by overhead.

Their calls were so sweet and melancholy.

It was just a couple minutes past midnight -- I was curious enough to check my cellphone on the nightstand (it's my 2nd alarm). Then, a few minutes later, another flock flew by. Or were they circling overhead? I don't think so; somehow the calling voices sounded different.


More studies: Vasilissa

Did some more studies at today's sketchgroup meeting over at HP Books. It was good to see so many people today! Well, I managed to volunteer myself to help out with the development of a new blog for the Dallas Sketchgroup. Sort of based on some suggestions that I made to the mailing list after the meeting announcement went out last week...and, hopefully, with the addition of alot of good feedback from the other artists in the group this coming week.

During today's sketch session, I focused primarily on Baba Yaga's infamous hut, as well as giving some thought to the skull fence that surrounds the yard. Didn't have any bone references with me so I didn't add the ribs and the other random bones that I was thinking about while I was sketching the fence...but I may yet add those in later. Also did some rethinking (and alot of draw:erase:draw) on Vasilissa's running pose. I think I'm finally satisfied. So, that would be the below scan of the latest tweaked layout for the one illustration I'm doing based on my re-interpretation (like, urban fairy tale) of the classic Russian fairy tale, Vasilissa the Brave and Beautiful. Col-erase pencil over my ink jet printout... I've posted previous rough sketches for that...sadly, I'm still working on it. Well, actually, it's a good thing since that means I haven't abandoned it and am scheduling time to be with it. :)


Feeling so sleepy....

But, I have more artwork I'd like to do this afternoon and later this evening, among other little apartment chores, before I call it a night and sit down with the latest book to read before bedtime. Just got in some new stuff to check out. I'm a bit fascinated with one set since it only caught my eye because the premise is so similar (in some respects) to one of the stories I've been working on for the past 2 years. And I only started writing that one because of a wee interesting dream I had (like people haven't said that before...isn't that how Frankenstein got thought up and then written by Mary Shelley?).

And there's a lovely storm to look forward to late this evening...there's a cold front coming.



Other Progress

I've found that I can get my in-house high-res illustration work finished faster and without a major headache (the little ones will always occur) by planning and working with certain points kept in mind:

1.) Figure the art will be used for a variety of projects...not just the one the original request was for (for example my worst case scenario -- it gets blown up to 10 feet high when the first request was for letter-size)
2.) Get the layout approved, but make sure there's enough stuff around it to allow for various formats (vertical, horizontal, round, diamond...whatever fits)
3.) Realize that other projects may take priority so it will have to be set aside at various times to work on other concepts
4.) Realize that it may get cancelled and never finished; or it may float back up after a year and need to be completed -- quickly

While I'm doing my painting in Photoshop (I very rarely work with Painter), I start with the high res sketch...usually scanned at about 450 dpi and the working file maybe about 11" x 14". From there I'll do a quick pass with the background and make up a palette for the major colors. Key elements I'll do what I call a middle color pass, under the lineart, usually just a solid color to separate the elements into individual layers. Gives me a chance to see if the color scheme is working or not.

Since the file size gets pretty big with too many layers (125MG/900MG as shown in the Photoshop panel at lower left the way I have mine set up), I generally do the background details first with various layers, and then merge them before I work on the main characters. I want to keep the 2nd number under 800 MG as that in my experience, keeps Photoshop and my machine happy. In any case, I definitely save iterations of my projects (version01, v02, v03, etc.). That way if things change, or the file goes wonky, the art gets used in another project, or whatever...I still have a file somewhere with enough layers to more rapidly do the updates requested...or at least have enough art that I don't need to start from scratch.

And the images posted today are from one such project that isn't finished. Another work-in-progress, in fact. Ha.

The first image with the red silhouettes shows a part of the initial sketch with flat color to break up the art for the detail color passes. The second image shows updates to the character lineart and positioning (I wasn't happy with the original sketch...but not because I didn't do it...) and some of the color choices I was making for the character on the right; and that I'm close to final on the background art. After I'm satisfied with the middle value coloring I've done under the drawing, I'll do an "over-painting" layer. Basically, a layer over the lineart with the detail painted over the lineart and the middle value coloring. My final steps will be to add final highlights and shadows over the entire piece once the character detailing is complete. Basically, start broad and work over the entire canvas; then spiral in for the detailing; then back out again for final tweaks. Makes sense to me, anyways.

The close-up view of the deer at the top shows some of the overpainting in progress, the lineart, as well as the middle value coloration under the sketch. BTW I cropped all of the images in to focus on the characters...there's alot of elements to the sides that aren't included in the posted images shown here. You can also see that the illustration is in no way complete...particularly since all the detail at the moment is in the head of the animal; and the background trees are still floating above the snow... Maybe one day I'll get to finish it. :)


Just a Little Mermaid...

Hmm...maybe I'll give her some fangs, too.

A quick mermaid sketch this evening after I did some more work on one of my fairy tale layouts. She's nice and twisty, I think. Next step -- color. After I finish up the others. :)


Just for fun...

Here's a quick concept for a book-cover that I did just for fun on Sunday night as part of a discussion thread I've been participating working on some other things. Nice bit of interesting comments it was getting, until the server went down at some point this afternoon...evening? Ah, well.

Still unpacking, that will ever end... **rolls eyes**

Also did a rapid color version of a sketch I doodled while I was cat-sitting this past Friday. You can still see some of the vertical lines from my notebook, although they blended a bit with the trees fairly well. Might actually end up finalizing that, since it turned out to be a bit popular. Still working on the storyboard concepts; and writing my YA novel...even if it's only a paragraph or two each night (although the final version may end up better fitting in the adult fantasy/sci-fi section -- we'll see how that goes); and mocking up my YA graphic novel (found some excellent reference material this evening as well for a section I've been a little reluctant to finalize); and, of course, working on my fairy tale illustration set (will be going to board this week on a couple of those).

So, that was my weekend for the most part. Believe it or not, I also have an idea box and a notebook(s) with entirely too many other creative projects that I want to make time to work on one day or another....but they will simply have wait till I have these other at-home projects finished first. And let's not even talk about the day job projects that pay my bills. ha.

Oh, and...still listening to Muse.


Old Stuff

I recently found some of my older digital illustrations that I created for work posted on the internet by my employer for various products that are now for sale at the consumer level, so I'll be updating my portfolio site with content as well...since the art is no longer under NDA. Some of them were painted 2-3 years ago... In any case, here is a sample. I'll be posting more, with detailed (and larger) images in my portfolio, of course. :)


sketch: in the clearing

Definitely still in-progress. Not quite the seated pose I want for the girl just yet -- she needs to be leaning more to her left against the wolf's shoulder; need to fix that left arm too....and I will probably need to shoot a quick reference photo so I can get the legs better positioned for the final color illo. Too awkward at the moment. But it's getting there.