I found a fun new freeware application that I wanted to test out. The line work on this went by almost twice as fast as it normally would have taken me.



It’s not very obvious, but I was trying out a really different technique with this image that I’m pretty excited about. If you look closely at her face you’ll notice that there’s a little bit of “painting” going on. I’ve talked a lot lately about improving my digital painting and mixing it in with my typically very flat character work. This is definitely the first successful attempt to do that. That said, the texture I used was a disaster. Lesson learned: pay attention to the close up details of new textures before getting hours into an image… The texture is out of focus and will now drive me absolutely crazy every time I see this image. God damn it. >_>

Oh! And I made a nice little signature brush too, so I can slap a neat little “MegK” onto new pieces now.



You know that expression”you learn something new everyday”? Well today I’ve learned about 20! The most interesting has got to be this technique to create a really nice bokeh effect. Bokeh is the term for those bubbles of color that appear in photos when the background is super out of focus and their surprisingly easy to duplicate. Here’s the background I’ve been working on, and it only took me about 10 minutes (most of that was just creating the new brush tool)

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 11.05.50 PM


I’m considering whipping up a quick “how to” for this. It’s so cool, and way easier than it looks!

Skull Man Progress 3

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Starting to work in some color/form now… I think I’ve decided to go with a little bit more of a painterly style, but with a very restricted color palette.


Inspiration: Mexican Huichol Art

I’ve already talked a lot about Aboriginal Australian art and how much it’s inspired me in my own work. Their art has been inspiring me for most of my life, but just recently I also found the Huichol.

My sister and her boyfriend moved to a small town just north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in Nayarit about three years ago. After they had settled in a bit I flew down to visit with them (…and the beach). My sister had been telling me about the local artwork and how amazing it was, so one day we drove to the next town over for a weekend market where we were hoping to see some. Sure enough there were several booths set up… absolutely overflowing with color. The tables mostly consisted of yarn paintings and bead work and all of it was absolutely beautiful. I knew I’d found something really special as soon as I saw it.

I wish I could say more about the Huichol (Wixaritari) people, but the truth is I don’t know very much yet. I do know that they are an extremely old culture and struggling to remain intact. They retain their own language and religion, one based in Animism, and the designs of their art are direct reflections of that faith.

Some Huicholes have actually brought their art to wider audiences through galleries and exhibitions. One of my favorites is this:

It’s a Volkswagon Bug and it’s covered, absolutely covered, in over 2 million glass beads.

It’s name is Vochol (VW Bugs are called “Vochos” in Mexico). I’ve known about it for a while, but in one of those amazing coincidences I walked right into it one day! I was flying in to Denver International Airport (of all places..!) and as I was walking out of Arrivals I looked up and there it was, right in the middle of the floor. There was no lighting on it and only the tiniest display with it so it was easy to miss and I almost didn’t recognize it for what it was! I was geeking out and practically drooling all over it in the middle of the Airport… I got a few odd looks…

More traditional (and no less bad ass) Huichol bead art is normally done on carved wooden statues that are covered in Bee’s wax. Each little bead is pressed into the wax with a needle, one at a time.

There is also amazing beaded jewelry.

This is a super long post… but one last thing =)

For more information of Huichol you can check out the Wixarika Research Center.

“I Like Turtles.”

I get most of my best ideas late (LATE) at night, usually as I’m drifting off to sleep and letting my mind wonder. Last year I had children’s books on the brain, and an idea popped into my head of the story of a sea turtle. It was one of those great moments where the whole thing appeared in my mind as a complete story, so I jumped out of bed, grabbed the nearest pen and paper and scribbled the whole thing down. For the next few weeks I was just a little obsessed with drawing/painting/creating turtles.

This was one of the paintings I did. It’s acrylic on canvas and the golds and silvers are metallic. I watered down the silver in the blue background so that from certain angles the swirls disappear and reappear again when you move around it.

I love paintings that really show the brush strokes and use globs of paint that reach right off the canvas. If you look at this one from the side you can see how much the paint stands up, especially the dots in the swirls and around the turtle. Okay… you can’t really see it in the photo, sorry =/

I did another much larger version in the same style, but never had time to finish it. The shape of the turtles is carved out of the paint, so it’s actually just light and shadows that create the shape rather than paint. I used two photos here so you can actually see the difference in the paint as it moves. The red of the shells has a metallic gold mixed into it, so as you move around it there is a lot of change in the colors!

To wrap up this post… well, I think this little boy says it best.

Kokoro Cafe – Step by Step

This was a commissioned image especially for Kokoro Cafe, an Otome gaming forum. The owner of the website approached me to do a commission in the same style as my “Scarf” image, and requested that I illustrate two similar characters on a date outside of a cute and romantic european-style cafe with the name “Kokoro Cafe” above them. So I started out with a rough sketch thumbnail…

The important part was to rough out the composition in a space that would fit the dimensions needed for the piece, as well as to get a good idea of what the scene would consist of. When I was happy with it I scanned the thumbnail onto my computer and into Photoshop (I like to do super rough thumbnail work in my sketchbook… it’s just easier to be messy I guess), then I started rearranging the bits and pieces to fit into the exact dimensions.

I miss-judged the dimensions in my thumbnail just a bit! So I added a few extra details to stretch the composition out; another tree, longer window display, two more tables, as well as a few little details just for fun. I also cleared up some of the sketch lines. You can really see it on the guy-formerly a man shaped blob, now with a winning smile. And a little cup’o tea.

Next comes the lines. As things clear up I go back into the sketch a few more times and add or subtract details. I also moved a few things around, like the tree. After seeing the clean lines it was obviously way too close to the door. A few more little tweaks and adjustments, as well as cropping the right edge a bit to help the composition out, and finally it’s time for some color.

This is the “Ugly Stage”. It looks finished enough to be complete, but the colors are all flat and boring. Also, what you can’t see in this are all of the color adjustments I went through to get to this point. The first color version had the wall baby blue… Don’t judge, I thought it could be cute… It’s also important to note that there are probably about 20-25 different layers for the colors. It makes adjusting and tweaking color/hue/saturation/texture/everything! so much easier! Someone once told me “You should never need more than three layers MAX”, but I completely and strongly disagree. The Layers function is one of the most useful tools in photoshop, hands down, and I use it shamelessly. The final image probably has around 50 layers.

So that brings me to the final image! All of the colors in the previous image are exactly the same in this image. The only difference are shadow, gradient and texture layers over them. I decided to keep it clean and as clear as possible because of the small size of it’s display (which you can see for yourself here), so while I normally would have added a lot more light and shadow I stuck to only some super basic shadows in the trees and plant. I also added two simple textures to the wall and concrete. The brick was one that I pulled off of Deviantart‘s Resource Stock a long time ago (I think), and the concrete texture is actually high resolution bread overlayed with a super low opacity… So then I just added in a bit of a gradient and shine to the window to make it look more windowy and voila! All done =)

I hope that wasn’t too obscenely long. For my scarf image I uploaded each image one by one, but I thought for this one it was better to see the whole thing together. Oh! and don’t forget, you can click on the images to view them full size.

Gujarat – Watercolor

This is an older piece of mine. I did a whole big series of portraits a few years ago and this was one of my favorites. I haven’t used very much watercolor since then, but I’ve been considering picking it back up. Oils and acrylics are bulky and so expensive it’s sometimes difficult to make myself pull them out… I think it might be about time to get over it and whip up another portrait series. My painter hands are itching =)

And for those of you wondering, the swastika in this image is a religious symbol. No affiliation to that short guy with the unfortunate facial hair.

Scarf – Final

While inking is the most time consuming part of each piece, coloring is almost always the most difficult for me. I struggled for a long time getting any kind of cohesive color palette into my work. At first my colors were all over the map; everything clashed with everything… It was pretty bad, and I definitely managed to destroy some nice drawings for the sake of color practice, but I’ve come a long way since then because I was willing to ruin some. My coloring still needs a lot of work, but little by little I notice certain tones and techniques starting to “click” and make sense.

So for the colors of this piece I chose muted tones to give it a softer feel. I grayed out the blue of the sky to give it that cool snowy feeling without having to add any clouds (that’s another technique I need to work on: non-cheese ball clouds…). I also decided to leave the white of the “paper” as the snow. Using the white like that was something I picked up from my watercolor professor Harry Heil. I love the way it breaks down the walls of a drawing or painting. I’m not a big fan of image framing (not that I don’t still use it), it just feels too… stamped.

Oh! I almost forgot to talk about where the idea for this one same from. I was watching a really funny Korean movie called “Going by the Book” (it’s on Netflix!) and there was a scene in which a girl with a ridiculously large scarf shares it with the man sitting next to her. It was such a cute image, I screen captured it and sketched out a little thumbnail as soon as I saw it. The image I came up with looks nothing at all like the image in the movie, but that’s where the original inspiration came from.
**You get extra Geek points if you know where that scarf is from!! It was just so long… I had to =)