Raven Work in Progress

I finally have my work table set up after moving, and it’s not 100% yet but usable space again! I decided to take a little time out and do a project for myself (rather than commissioned work) which I haven’t done in a long time. Having done lots of those decorative drawings in my sketchbook lately, I decided I’d like to try a really nice version for myself. I settled on doing a raven, ’cause they’re the coolest ever.

So unlike the ones in my sketchbook, I took the extra step of sketching in pencil first. When I sketch in pen it can get a little messy…

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Oh! And I also started out by drawing a realistic raven from a photo, just to get the form right. I did him on a scrap of tracing paper that I had, then drew an enlarged version onto the bristol. I tweaked the drawing of the full-size version to make it more symmetrical, then started in on the interior details, still in pencil.

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Commish w.i.p.

Working on something a bit different today! I’m just finishing up the hard lines on a commission for a friend of mine. She’ll be a sci-fi half-mech bad ass when she’s done.

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It’s aaaall about the details

Working up the inks for these Ladies of Lit and I’m focusing on putting tons of little unique details into each one… Mulan just haaad to have scaled armor @_@

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I already have four inks done! Mulan will be the fifth. These are flying by, but that might have something to do with the fact that I’ve been doing all of my favorites first… I’m going to hit a bump soon, I’m braced for it. The good thing is I have plenty of projects going on right now to keep me busy. If I get stuck on one, I just move on to the next until I can come back to it with a fresh eye.

Between commissions to keep me from going completely broke, this Ladies of Lit project, my art book printing/preorders and moving to a different country next month… I’m a little on the busy side. But it’s Good busy, not Tear Your Hair Out busy, so there’s that.

Anybody know a nice place for rent in the Portland area..? x|

Preview 4

I’m starting on inks! I’ve officially finished all twenty sketches and now it’s time to start completing them.

I love to read, but I’ll be the first to admit that despite that I’m not very well read. I’ve missed a lot of the classics and New York Times top 10 and Oprah’s Bookclub… To be honest I read way too many silly fantasy/sci-fi books! However, that doesn’t mean that I’ve missed all of the classics and “important” books, and I really have read a lot, but even so finding just twenty well written female characters to put into this collection was disappointingly, frustratingly, annoyingly difficult. Even with so many suggestions from people while I was working on these, it wasn’t easy!

I wasn’t just looking for strong characters, I definitely included some weak people on this list. What I was looking for were characters that were well written, well rounded, believable and not dependent on other characters to define them. That’s still a vague idea… I have characters from mythology on there too, and they don’t necessarily have full back stories or even a single clear version. Still, I was considerate in the names that I chose, and I’m happy with the result, I hope you guys are too.

Here’s another little preview of the line work I’m working on =)

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Slow but Sure

When working on a big project, especially one with multiple pieces like my Women of Lit book, it’s so easy to feel like you’re making little to no progress even when you know you are. It’s even easier to get frustrated enough to quit and move on to something else entirely. It may be a little thing, but what seems to help me stay motivated is taking a step back and looking at the overall progress I’ve made so far. I also try to keep each image in the project at about the same stage all the way through. While this helps me keep everything looking very similar stylistically, mostly it’s to keep my short attention span under control. With all of the images being sketched or inked or colored at the same time, it’s easy to hop between them.

Here’s my desktop and a peek at how far along I am so far with the WoL book. I’ve created .psd documents for each character, even if they’re just blank for now. You can see that I have sketches for about half of them, and all but a few of them have brief text describing what the pose/costume/scene/mood will be. A couple of the files also have reference photos in them.

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It may be a silly thing to do, but it honestly helps me! So long as it works, right?

Mural 2

I’ve been so busy commuting back and forth from Sayulita every day, I didn’t have time to post anything! I also managed to forget to take photos for a couple of the days… but that’s alright, I got a few in.

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Day one and two were just priming and touching up the wall, as well as getting a rough sketch laid out with chalk. I also did the blue/black and white of the sky, moon and stars. Once everything was ready to go I started laying in the base colors for the jelly fish and the turtles. I was picking out colors pretty randomly, to be honest. I had already chosen the paints I wanted to use, so I knew they would all work together for the most part, but I still had no real set plan for what went where.

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The next day I gave the turtles and jellies a black outline, filled in the orange and purple swirls on the turtle shells, and started on the jelly tentacles. When I stepped away from it at the end of the day, I realized just how empty my composition was. Keep in mind this is about 100x bigger then anything I’ve worked on before! I’m having to really force myself to use the entire space.

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So today I sketched/filled/outlined a few more turtles, plus some little baby ones. The jellies still need their tentacles, but after finishing up the little guy in the picture below, I realized that I was still going to do some background detailing. If I did the tentacles now it would just turn into endless retouching. So for now they’re floating mushrooms.

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I also knocked out the octopus today, too. He has an outline now but it’s not in the pic since I wanted to take one while I remembered to and before it got too dark.

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So it’s still pretty plain, but it’s getting there now. Tomorrow I’ll knock out the coral, seahorses and little fishes by the octopus, and maybe finish up the sky. There’s going to be a little bit of color around the big stars that are already on it, and then tons of tiny little plain white stars all around them.

My problem now is that I know I want to use dots as details (I’m addicted to dots!! example , example), but I need to find a quick and easy way of doing them on the wall, while keeping them fairly uniform. I’m thinking maybe a piece of cloth tied to the end of a paint brush might work nicely…?

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.

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Skull Man Progress 2

Part 1

Part 2

The line work is finally just about done! It’s been a while since I did anything so textural, so doing his guy’s hair and beard was pretty fun. The next step will be the smoke, then color… I’m still not sure how I want to color it. Either something flat and stark, or maybe more painterly… I’ll figure it out as I go.

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This guy’s got one helluvah jaw.

Skull Man Progress

Just about half way through inking that sketch from yesterday. After I get his neck and shoulders done, I still have to adjust the lines of his face a bit more, then his hair and beard, and then finish up the smoke lines.

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That blue line down the middle of his face is a just a ruler marker that I’m using to keep my center line straight.

Scarf – Lines

Inking (especially digitally, like this one) is always the most time consuming part of any piece for me. Each line has to be just right. I keep my left hand on CTRL-Z while I draw with my right so that I can quickly draw and delete, draw and delete, draw and delete… It gets to be second nature while drawing, I’ve actually caught myself reaching for CTRL-Z while sketching in my sketchbook… The average line in each of my drawings has been redrawn at least 3-4 times. If I’m really having a hard time on a certain area, I may go back into the sketch and either clear that area up or come up with something else all together. In fact, I did just that in several places in this image. It’s most obvious in the girl’s feet. I decided while inking that I didn’t like what I had sketched so I went back to that layer, erased what I had drawn and came up with a new design that was simpler and looked a lot better.

I constantly have to remind myself not to get too married to a sketch, or even to already inked lines. No matter how good it looks, it can always get better and going back into an image can save it!

I also realized at this point that I had no idea how I wanted to color it….