Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Haiku

"Spring Haiku" - colored pencil and black ink - 7x10

I drew this a few weeks ago while on a binge of illustrating with colored pencils and pastel pencils for fun. I colored this one with Prismacolor pencils, a black Sharpie, and a few dabs from a white oil pastel. It's called "Spring Haiku" because it's a spring scene featuring a rat named Haiku. The actual rat Haiku was a beloved pet for about two years, along with her 4 sisters. Sadly, rats usually don't have a long life, but while they're around, they're a source of nonstop entertainment and affection.

Since this is a "process" blog, I'll include the initial ink sketch ...

... and an early stage of coloring.

Finally, here's the little cream-colored starlet herself, and her 4 beautiful sisters. Haiku was always the most outgoing one, as you can see from the way she's looking toward the camera. I'm the happy "mom" in the middle. This photo is from 2007 or 2008.  From left to right, the rats are Io, Swivel, Haiku, Treacle, and Nutmeg.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Fling with Pastel Pencils

As I mentioned a few posts earlier, October through February were so busy. I packed this past weekend weekend with landscape painting Saturday, nude figure drawing Sunday, and a detailed digital drawing completed over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. By Monday I was exhausted with digital art and traditional art. I'm waiting on a new freelance job to start in the next few days, so I have some time to spare ... how wonderful, a "vacation" to do NOTHING!! I go off driving just for fun, and hit Plaza art store presumably for a new palette knife. Then I end up spending an hour trying out different pastel pencils and chalks on the scribbling paper (which appears to be a spool of unused receipt paper). I'm so exhausted with digital illustration that pastel pencils seem like a beautifully welcome diversion. I finally go with Derwent brand chalk pastel pencils: a basic 12-pack plus some individual pencils in "faerie" shades of pink and peach.

Then I took a nap and went grocery shopping. (A very boring day...I love it!) I did one quick drawing to try out the pencils. Later I started listening to an Eckhart Tolle audio book, and suddenly felt the urge to try out the pencils again. I ended up drawing the purple-dressed faerie below. I used a black Sharpie to tighten up a lot of the edges. (Watch out for the powdery texture clogging up the pen tip)

Starlight Faerie

I think the book's message about living in the present helped me to complete the drawing without excessive fretting or editing. I'll probably make the wings match where they're mismatched and clean up the hands a little, but it's basically finished.

After wrapping up the "starlight" faerie, I still had a lot of excited momentum, but not a lot of actual energy for doing anything too complicated. I found two small pencil sketches and decided to color them. I did both of them quickly, which is rare for me!

Joyful Faerie 

Leaf Faerie  

So that was my little side excursion with a new art medium. It's hard to get precise detail with pastel pencils, and their rough texture scans poorly. Prismacolor colored pencils are better in those areas, but pastel pencils are better for covering large areas quickly and solidly, and they blend much more easily. The pencil form makes them easier to control than the chalk form, which is great if you're intending to work in a fairly tight, illustrative style. 

To borrow a word used by Winnie the Pooh, this was a great way to do "Nothing" during my time off.

Faerie Ring

I added this illustration to my portfolio over the weekend, in response to an author seeking a children's fantasy artist. I still don't know if I got the job, which had 67 other applicants. I'm not holding my breath! At least I have a portfolio piece that is children's fantasy, without also being Japanese anime/manga. As much as I love Japanese influence, I don't think that style will help me win bids for American children's books. (Click the image to enlarge.)

Illustrations for Sunday School Books

Whew...the fantasy blog has been dead for a while. Last November kicked off a very busy fall/winter season. However, much of that work was directly related this blog. I had shown a client my fairy artwork from the first post, and he asked for children's illustrations using the same style. Here is some of the resulting work. The client is LifeWay Christian Resources.