Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Painting Study in Depth and Focus (DI 9/10/16)

So, this illustration is me studying depth and focus in composition. In order to create the illusion of depth in a two dimensional painting, you have to keep the details low in the background and bring them in in the foreground, of which this is an extreme example. The plant in the foreground is sharp, with a good deal of detail, while the background is general shape and insinuation rather than actual fleshed out or detailed forms.

However, there's more to it than that. Note that dirt pile from which the foreground plant grows isn't very detailed, despite being in the foreground. There is some vague lighting, shading, and texture, but that's it. That's because I don't want the dirt to draw the eye; I want the plant to be the focus. With it being rendered (detailed) and it's lines being sharp, the viewer's eye immediately going to the plant, and the rest is absorbed peripherally.

That's still not all, though.  While this image is fine, as far as it goes, there are still more ways to add a greater sense of depth without detracting from the central focus of the foreground plant.  To do this,
I added a level of detail between the blurry, half-suggested shapes of the background and the sharp, distinct plant in the foreground. In this mid-ground, I have outlined specific bits of plants--leave, stems, etc.--and highlighted them, but still kept their forms somewhat vague. This brings the background foliage closer to the foreground plant, whereas--in the first image--the viewer interprets a gap between where the background foliage leaves off and where the foreground plant is growing.

Now it feels as if the plants in the background are closer to the foreground plant, although still now right up on it. Adding in too much in this middle ground stage can weaken the focus on the foreground plant, especially if I had added larger plants too close to the one I wish to focus on. Remember that, as things move toward the viewer, they become larger as well. Any grass in the background is too small to distinguish and so just becomes a blur of green texture, but in the middle ground plants that are probably a similar size to the one in the foreground are portrayed as only a fraction of the size. Our brains recognize this as meaning that these plants are farther away, and so having these comparative sized plants in an image helps to deepen the sense of depth within the painting.

To take the image still further, I added in darker "plant-y" outlines in the far foreground. These, too, are absorbed by the viewer, even though their eye basically skipped over them to focus on the central foreground plant. But this brings us to another interesting point! Even thought these plants are closer to the viewer, I blurred these dark outlines instead of making them hyper-sharp. While there is a general rule that what is closer to the viewer is sharper and more detailed, that isn't always the case.

The human eye (and brain) does not give equal detail to everything we see. If it did, we would have a hard time focusing in on any one object. When we do focus in on one thing, everything around it is given less detail. So, despite their placement in this image, the far foreground plants would not be sharp were the viewer to focus on our central foreground plant, and so the painting should mimic that. And, when it does, the focus on the foreground plant, and the depth of the image, is reinforced.

Additionally, there are some other interesting bits here for us to review. It is another general rule that, as things move away from the viewer, the become lighter. So, close objects in the foreground are painted with the darkest "values". Now, to understand values it's easiest to switch to greyscale. The darker the value of grey, the closer it is to black. Images are typically split into three "value" categories--background, midground, and foreground--with the background being the lightest and the foreground the darkest. However, this isn't always the case, and night scenes, scenes in enclosed spaces, etc. sometimes reverse this order, putting the lightest values in the foreground, and the darkest to the back. Either way, this separation of values helps the painter create the illusion of depth.

So, let's look at this painting in greyscale to see what we have. This is an area I struggle with. I paint in color (because I love color) and often forget to consider how this will translate to value and whether or not there will be a separation of value. But, as I explained, that separation is very important to the creation of depth within the image.

And, that's certainly true here. While we can still tell the foreground plant from the background, the values are still very similar. Can separating those values improve the image? Well, this is a study, and the point of it is to try new things, so... Let's find out!

[For my fellow Photoshop Geeks, here's a run down of what I did to tweak the values on an image that was already partially painted.
  • First, I made the image greyscale--without changing the actual image--by creating an adjustment hue/saturation/lightness layer and set the saturation to -100. 
  • Second, because I did not want my changes to affect the foreground or far foreground plants, I masked them out of the adjustment layer.
  • Third, because I don't want the adjustment to affect the light source (which should be the brightest/lightest part of the image), I masked out the moon and some of the highlights on the trees.
  • Fourth, I played with the saturation and lightness values (but didn't touch the hue!) until I got a result that I liked. Because I was focusing on the separation of values, I started by lowering the lightness and eventually settled on -75. I also wanted to separate the image by saturation, so I set the saturation to -50.
  • All the while, I continually turned the adjustment layer off, so that I could see how this affected the color image.]
Now, as you can see by comparing this image to the last greyscale image, you can see that the background is much darker, but I've also kept the moon and some of the background highlights at the same level, which means they are much brighter in this image. I didn't lighten them at all, just kept them at the same level while darkening everything else.

This separation of values does, indeed, pull the plant forward, at least in the greyscale. The plant is even more the focus of the image and the sense of depth is deepened... Except, it seem that we've also lost the suggestions of shape in the background. We can no longer make out the brushstrokes that might have been tree trunks and the foliage-like shapes that added texture to the image. Now, that might not be the same once we switch back to color, because greyscale is a reflection of value and color separations may still provide some texture. To find out, we have to switch back to our image in color.

Here, in the color version, we can see that there are still some suggestions, but the background is still largely lost. However, the separation in values is too valuable to simply revert back to the previous iteration. But there's nothing that says we can't add some of the detail back in. So, that's what I did. Note, however, that this has to be done carefully, so that we don't just wind up lightening the whole background all over again.

It's best to focus on adding back in a few larger elements, and to do so with broad strokes, so that we don't start over rendering the background, which would also make us lose focus on the foreground plant that we're trying to keep as the center of the viewer's attention.

I decided that adding back in some of the tree trunks would do the most good, since these are easily recognizable shapes, and since, without them, the tree tops look much more like clouds than tree tops! To combat that, I'm also going to add more green into the trees and further separate them from the sky, because this is a color change only, it won't affect the values of the image overall.

There! I think that's a real improvement. *nods* But now the plant doesn't hold the same amount of focus that it did in the earlier iterations. While it defintely stands out from the background, it doesn't have the same amount of visual interest. The rendering (detailing) I've done seems faded and the highlights/shadows don't feel as intense because there's a much wider range of value behind the plant.

I didn't make any changes to it, and so the background is much deeper and richer, but the foreground still has the same range as it always did.  In order to finish the image, we need to widen the range of values on the plant, i.e. intensify the highlights and shadows so that the plant can hold it's own again the rich background we've created.  Doing that will return the focus back to the plant, and make it not only stand out, but worthy of the focus we've created for it.

Additionally, the moon (which also hasn't changed) need a little work to fit in to the new background as well.  Making those changes gives us...


And here's the starting image again, just to help with comparing them...





Friday, September 9, 2016

Not A Daily Illustration

I got caught up in painting a portrait yesterday, so there was no daily illustration, but... Portrait!  *G*


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Symmetrical #12 - Coloring Book Walkthrough

Symmetrical #12 is a reflection on dragonflies, which I have a thing for. I find it fascinating that they spend a significant portion of their lives living in the water (nymph stage) exclusively, like tadpoles (I also love frogs), and then take to the air to become skilled and beautiful fliers.

I wanted this image to encompass all of the things I think of when I think of dragonflies: the water, with it's expanding ripples, and the plants and air that later become their home, their distinct wing shape, the colors and the translucence of their wings.











The line art for this design is available in my book Symmetricals: A Grown-Up Coloring Book. My preview for this design (to the right) didn't show off the dragonflies to full effect, unfortunately, but then it was only supposed to be a hint at what was to come, right?













And check out the print version for sale over at Fine Arts America! They've got everything from canvas prints to metal ones, plus tote bags, phone covers, towels and tones of other things.


Daily Illustration 9/7/16

So, I use my daily illustrations to work on different aspects of my work. For instance, at the moment I'm studying various styles of kidlit art and playing around with the different elements.

That's really, in my experience, how an artist eventually develops their own style. While some elements of a given artist's style may be inherent to them (specific to the way they move, etc.) most come from study and practice, the build up of one learned technique or preference overlaying another and another and another until it creates something distinct. The process can be conscious or unconscious--although I feel unconscious takes longer and that focused studies are really the way to go if you want to develop quickly.

And, in that vein, I'm working with various styles, using line art and not using line art, integrating the line art this way or that, creating different textures, different palettes, different levels of detail and types of composition. So, I'd love to know what you think!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Daily Illustration 9/6/16!

Now that I've finished with Symmetricals, I can start doing my daily illustrations again! *bounces* They're so much fun, and they let me practice different aspects of my work.  Today's illustration is a quick bit of fun. A morning view of Teddy, with his friend Thomas the Very Tired Turtle. Don't worry, neither kids nor turtles were given coffee for the making of this image! *G* I wanted to give a bit of a view on how it all works, so I'm including my original sketch, then the finished line art, and then the colored image! I'd love to hear what you think!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Symmetricals: A Grown-Up Coloring Book

My coloring book is out! You can find it Amazon or on Createspace! And you can get a free coloring page and find out how to win a free copy over here!

Free Coloring Page and Giveaway!

My first coloring book--Symmetricals: A Grown-Up Coloring Book--will be out in the next few days! (Edited to add: You can find it now at Amazon and Createspace!) I'm so excited, and to celebrate I'm giving away a free coloring page and 2 free copies of the book!  To enter the contest, just print out this free coloring page, color it, post it anywhere you like (Facebook, Twitter, your blog, anywhere), and then send me a link!  On Sep. 15th I'll randomly choose 2 entries and those lucky colorists will each get a free copy of the book!



Wednesday, July 6, 2016

New Preview!

Okay, so the holiday weekend threw me off my game. Fireworks + me + sleep does not equal anything good and I'm currently yawning my way through this morning. But? New preview!


Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Preview!


New coloring book preview! Progress has slowed down since I started doing the new patterns, but it continues! In fact, I should be finished with the 15th design by the end of the week, halfway finished! *bounces*

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Coloring Book Project

So, it occurred to me that... Well, I may not have really explained what I'm working on right now. I tend to do this sometimes, I tell a few people what I'm thinking and then act as if everyone knows. *rolls eyes at self* So, here's what I'm doing...


All these previews I've been posting are small snippets from larger designs that will appear in a coloring book I'm putting out entitled "Symmetricals: A Grown-Up Coloring Book." (Because it's the coloring book that's grown-up, of course. We color-ers haven't! *G*)  My plan, which is subject to change at this stage, is to have 30 unique designs, which fill up their pages, and then postcard sized versions that show off the designs themselves. Although, they can't be too small or they'll be impossible to color without a magnifying glass!


The images here are examples of what I'm talking about.  This is just one symmetrical, but it looks quite a bit different when you can see the full pattern.  The problem is that my symmetricals (by necessity) are square, but books are rectangular. Plus, they're detailed enough that I have to consider how small the shapes and lines will be if they don't fill the page. I'm hoping to strike a balance, where there are the larger images that let people get into and enjoy the details, and then the smaller ones that let them focus on the overall shape and effect of the pattern.  Am I over-thinking this? No, really, I would LOVE your opinions on this!

Anyway, each page will be one-sided, because marker bleed through sucks, right? So, I'm aiming for between 45 and 60 pages total, and to have it out in the next month or two. Certainly I'd like to have it out before the holidays. We'll see how that goes, though. I was doing a pattern a day when I was doing line work on my older designs (I've been drawing these for years), but now that I'm composing new ones, it takes longer. Some of the designs I've had for years--although sadly a whole slew of patterns were lost in Hurricane Katrina. I'm kicking myself for not scanning them all in when I had the chance because they're not something I can reproduce. But, luckily, I can draw more, so that's what I'm doing. *nods*

Thoughts? Comments? Raspberries? *G*


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

If You're Reading This, It Means I Couldn't Think of a Good Title

Yesterday there was no preview because a migraine knocked me down, but I'm back and today I have something for you!


So, I've started on the new designs, the ones I'm drawing from scratch rather than digitizing from patterns I've previously drawn, and it's so much harder. I'm glad I started on the older patterns because it meant I didn't have to compose (as much) and I could think about the actual techniques of creating them. The pen tool in Photoshop is not something you just pick up and start wielding competently. The line work I've been doing, and those first symmetricals, really helped me get a handle on some of the finer details of working with it, which means that now I can actually think about the composition.

Still, composing them takes longer and requires more thought and attention. I've been working about 10-12 hours a day for the last two weeks, since I decided to do the coloring book (excepting weekends, which I've so far managed to take off) and most of that is down and dirty 'arting', building them line by line.  It took me a day of work to do a pattern I'd already drawn, and now it's taking me about two to three times as long to do the new patterns.

What this means, in practical posting terms, is that I probably won't have a preview every day from here on out.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Today's Symmetrical Preview!

Today’s preview! Still working on this one, but it’s great to be doing the new designs. All the previous ones were based on symmetricals I’d drawn by hand over the years, but this one is completely new!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Today's Preview!


So, here's what I spent much of yesterday working on! The designs are coming along and the more of them I finish, the more I start thinking about everything else I need to do for the coloring book. There's still so much formatting to consider, so I've been snatching moments here and there to brush up on my InDesign skills. I'm also considering how I want to format the designs, whether they should take up a whole page each, or if I want the person coloring it to be able to see and color around the outer edge and the shape, or if there's a way to do both.

I'm trying not to get too caught up in all of that, though. I'm obsessing enough about my lines!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Brain No Work

This morning is not looking good for brain function.  But! I am still managing to get some work done.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

7 of 30!

Okay, so it may not seem like much, but I'm about a quarter of the way through the 30 designs I've planned for the coloring book! *bounces* This makes me so excited, and it feels like a huge milestone.

On today's preview!


Monday, June 13, 2016

Refreshed

So, I took the weekend off and you know what? The world didn't end! This is something of which I need to frequently remind myself. I tend to be a bulldog once I start a project, I have a very hard time putting it aside for anything at all, but after a weekend of not 'arting' I've already (this morning) finished one pattern and nearly finished a second!

And, now to today's preview!


Friday, June 10, 2016

Coloring Book Preview!

Today's bit of art is a preview of the symmetrical I'm working on.  It's a complicated one, but it's been fun.  Well, mostly fun. Yesterday I kept making little mistakes that snowballed and that wasn't my favorite thing ever.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

WIP Wednesday - Symmetricals!

Here's a brief look at how I create my symmetricals in photoshop! It used to take me days (sometimes weeks) to draw these by hand, but photoshop speeds up the process a lot! Don't get me wrong, each stage is several hours worth of work, but it's still faster. It's also harder in some ways. For instance, when working by hand, it was important to focus on the image as a whole so that one area didn't get so ahead of the rest that repeating the pattern was almost impossible. Digitally, I can work in section and then copy it and then manually detail each section.  But working in sections that way means that you can't directly see what you're doing. You have to wait until it's all been added. I think, really, both of these approaches has their benefits and challenges, and I'm still exploring what I can do with it all!

Daily Illustration


So, today, I bring you a flower! I wanted to take a break from the symmetricals this morning and do something a little different. Flowers are peaceful, and I needed a little peaceful before I jumped into my day. *nods*

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Wanna Patronize Me? Okay!

Illustration of a glass jar containing money in various denominations.
Actually, what I mean is, "Want to become my patron?" *G*  I've set up camp over at Patreon, and I'd love to have your support!

Patreon is an awesome crowdfunding site for artists and other creators which allows artists to gather a source of income from people who enjoy and want to encourage their work (i.e. patrons!).  This means that each patron doesn't have to give a lot for it to add up and help the artist out, and it means that artists can fund their work and make even more cool stuff, even faster. And, in addition to being an awesome person and helping an artist make a living in a world that consistently devalues art, you get awesome rewards, too!

Just for a start, with a $5/month subscription, you get ...
  • Access to Patreon-only feed-exclusive content and artwork.
  • The ability to vote on what fanart subjects I will do.
  • 10% discount on book art & commissions when I open them
And, at higher levels of support I offer things like book cover critiques and character design!

I plan on using my Patreon feed to discuss the how of my art, to post annotated images of works in progress, and hopefully some step-by-step tutorials for different kinds of work.  I want to discuss my symmetricals, and the way I've been doing them in Photoshop, and how they evolved. I eventually plan to give away free coloring pages, and maybe even coloring books, and there's a whole slew of projects I have just waiting for me to have the time to work on them.  I want to create an illustrated guide to worldbuilding for writers, and an expanded book cover design workbook, and ... So many things!

So, if any of this sounds like cool stuff to you and you find more artwork worthwhile, please consider becoming my patron!

Brain Filled with Coloring Book...

... Send caffeine.  *G*

So, I'm still working all out on my coloring book pages, especially since it takes up all of my brain, which is a totally good thing right now. We're still in Limbo, trying to get everything together so we can find an apartment of our own. It sucks, because it means we're be stuck in fucking Texarkana longer, but good in that we won't have to worry daily about physical violence. Although... Frankly, I'm not sure just getting out of this house will make me feel safe. After dealing with the cops here (who were terrible!) I don't know if I can feel safe in this fucking town.

Anyway, coloring pages, which are so much more fun to contemplate.  Here's a preview of the symmetrical I'm currently working on...


There's still a ton to do, since the final book with have 30 different designs.  I've finished two completely, started on three more, and I'll be finishing this one today, so it'll be the third completed design.  However, the three I've completed (and previewed!) will all be some of the simplest.  I've been drawing these by hand for ages, but doing them on the computer is really interesting.  It means I'm developing new techniques for them, and working on new ways of conceptualizing them.  I don't want to just copy the drawings I've done, but rather create new designs, but I can't do it the same old way. It's exciting and fun, and I so wish this was the only thing I had on my plate right now so that I could enjoy it all properly!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Print Research Poll


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Symmetrical Illuminations

So, for a very long time, I have been making these things I call symmetricals.  I think the first one I ever did was when I was... eleven, maybe? They were very geometrical to begin with, but they've evolved quite a bit.  I posted a rough one (Unfolding) here for WIP Wednesday and talked about how I wanted to pull them all together into a coloring book, and then a friend of mine directed me to a Facebook group of coloring book makers and... Now I'm going to do it!

This means I've been working all out on the symmetricals I want to include in the coloring book, though, so I don't have any of my usual line art for y'all today.  What I do have is a preview of the work I've done!


I really love the way they're coming out, although my technique for doing them in Photoshop needs some work.  I've always drawn them by hand, and doing it that way, there's only so symmetrical you can get.  However, there are ways to do them better and easier in Photoshop (especially when you already have a hand drawn guide to go by).  But I'm still figuring all of that out and I accidentally made tons more work for myself than I needed to.  Ah, well.  I'm almost finished with the first page, and the lessons I have learned will make the rest go much faster!  I hope.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Daily Line Art


I've got another bird for you today.  Enjoy.

Don't Forget!

Remember guys, I'm having a Summer Sale! 25% off all cover art and illustration! It's best to get in touch with me at least a month before you need the cover, and two is even better, so if you're going to need cover art before the end of the summer, now is absolutely the time to get in touch! marysipe@gmail.com or message me here!




Friday, June 3, 2016

FUCK TODAY!

Okay, so I was about halfway through a post on my anxiety and depression, when my fiance's stepfather decided to bully us.  He came in and told us we weren't 'earning our keep' (when we have done everything that they've asked! Including yard work, car washing, dishes, laundry and cooking) and then physically got in my way and pushed me when I went to talk to fiance's mom about the situation.

So, I went back and texted her from my computer and she was coming over to talk with us. Stepfather tried to come in as well, and I said, "I don't think so" (because I no longer feel safe around him) and went to shut the door.  He knocked the door in (hard) and it hit me in the head, and then he pressed it in and I was pinned to the fucking wall.  He proceeded to yell.  I don't remember all of it, but apparently, I'm nothing and I'm a snake.  Also, the words 'Pagan, get out!' were flung around quite a bit.

I'm yelling at Rene to call the police, Stepfather is yelling at me, and Ms. Nancy's yelling at him to calm down. She leaves, and he pushes Rene down and goes and gets A FUCKING SLEDGEHAMMER! He yelled threatening things and then smashed the lock off the fucking door.  I called the police, he continued to yell, the police arrived.  They were AWFUL, and visibly unfriendly and irritated at ME (specifically).  Basically, they said, 'It's better if we don't press charges' (*GRRRR*) and that he has to go through legal proceedings if he wants us out.  He said he was going to evict us, but I'm not going to believe it until I have the paperwork in my hand.

So, I guess we can stay here (we have no other options), but only under threat of our safety.  And Rene's mom?  Well, she's just too upset and humiliate at having the police called to talk to any of us right now.  WHAT?  So, it's okay if your bully of a husband ASSAULTS someone under your roof, but not okay that the POLICE CAME BECAUSE OF IT?  WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, WOMAN?!

I'm so scared and so tired, and I have no idea what to do now.  The police were supposed to HELP US, and instead the motherfucker is scott free and apparently completely allowed to do this to us and no one is going to stop him.  So, apparently, I get to live the next however long there is until we can save up enough money to move, living in fear.  That's if we're not evicted and given 30 days to get out.  So... Fuck today.

And, as much as I hate to, I'm going to drop this here...

It's a link to a Gofundme to help us get up enough money to get out of here, and it's particularly necessary after today, so if you can, please donate and if you can't, please signal boost.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Strategies for Arting

So, I went to bed extremely early last night, due to the sudden return of a sinus headache and because I didn't have any time to organize things before I went to sleep, I woke up feeling very overwhelmed. There were all these open browser tabs, and a couple books, and some half finished artwork, and so much stuff!

However, I have recently hit upon a strategy for that feeling. *nods* I call it the 'Winchester Strategy,' (yes, because of M*A*S*H). Paraphrasing Charles Winchester, "Do one thing, do it very well, and then move on to the next." So, I make a list and tackle everything one item at a time. The Winchester Strategy also dictates that I don't question the list. It's entirely possible that I forgot something important, but if it's important I'll remember it later. The important thing, I tell myself, is just to get working on something and eventually everything else will fall into place.

It works, too! I know because I have line art this morning, rather than having crazy hair and a raging case of anxiety. *nods*


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

WIP Wednesday

Okay, so I am not good at sharing WIPs (Works in Progress) because, well, they're not done yet.  And they look not done yet, and to my mind that means 'like crap.' A mean, other artists have these really pretty process photos, with stellar sketches, that somehow manage to look awesome even when they're a complete mess. Mine just look like a complete mess.

But, I've been thinking, maybe those other artists think that, too. And, you know, even if they don't who the hell cares, right? I mean, even if my process does mean my WIPs look like crap, it's the end result that really matters. How I get there is important only because it illustrates (*G*) my thought process, it shows how I begin and how I mean to go on, and that can be interesting.

Long story short (I know, too late), I'm going to post and talk about some of my WIPs, because why not. *nods*

Rough sketch for Perrault's version of Little Red Riding Hood.

This is an illustration I'm doing for my portfolio. It's for Charles Perrault's version of Little Red Riding Hood, which begins with a quick mention of Red's village and her and her mother and this is going to be her looking back at her village just before she ventures into the woods. Its' obviously very rough, my first 'sketch' in fact. I work better with shape than I do with line, which is one of the reasons for my daily line art. It helps me understand line better. So, for this I started by filling in some basic shapes and shading. Notice that the colors in the foreground are darker than than those which are meant to be in the middle or background, which is a common way artists create distance and depth in a painting.  This would be a two page layout, with the words in the white sections and the illustration along the bottom of the two pages.  Connecting the pages this way creates a sense of movement between them.

Rough of my symmetrical 'Unfolding.'

This is one of the designs that I call 'symmetricals.' I've been drawing and painting these for years and years, since I was a kid. They've evolved a lot since those days (they were more geometrical in the beginning) and I'm thinking of eventually pulling them all together into a coloring book. While this one actually looks pretty good at this size, at larger sizes the lines are uneven and very clearly hand-drawn. So, I'm slowly, but surely working on a process to even them out. I have dozens of them scanned into the computer, so it's going to take some time to finish them all. This is actually one of the simpler designs because it fills an entire page, where as others are bound into a more definite outer shape.

Wonder Woman fanart, beginning line art.

This last one is a bit of fanart. Wonder Woman, of course, but it's not meant to be line art, this is just the first stage for a full color illustration which may--or may not--be lined. I'm having trouble with it because she looks so static. Some of that will be helped when I add in lighting (especially to her eyes and hair), and I may have to crop out some of the image because when you cut off an image at or near the joints (as with her arms and waist) it can leave the image looking weird and static.  I'll have to work on it first, though, to figure out what to do to it.  We'll see how it goes.

So, that's it, the tour of some of my WIPS. I have a bunch of them at all times because I like to bounce around on projects. It's a bit like when you're writing, and your brain is stuck, so you go do some dishes or play a round (or a hundred) of Solitaire. Bouncing around keeps me working while my subconscious processes the issues and then when I come back to a given piece, I know where to go with it.

What do you do when you need to let your brain work in peace?

Line and Shape

Good morning everyone!  Today, I have a little something different for you, and then another post to come later. *G* First, today's line art!


Also, I finally finished my Behance portfolio, if you want to swing by and check it out. I had a lot of fun with it, with adding highlighting different close-ups and going through artwork I haven't engaged with much in a while. *nods*

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Of Portfolios and Line Art

So, I've been setting up my portfolio on Behance (and I'm about halfway finished!) and I've run across a really neat thing some artists do there. Because the site resizes images down to about 600 px, a lot of larger works don't show as many details as are there, so a lot of artists also post close-ups of art so you can see those details. I think it provides some really interesting views of the artwork, and lets people see how much an artist really puts into their work. *nods* Sort of a neat little 'behind the scenes' kind of thing.

On to today's line art, which is called The Writer...


The Fiance looks at it and sees frustrations, but that's not what I was thinking. For me, it's a representation of the practice it takes to get good at writing (or anything else) and how a single page that really works is built on all the crumpled up pages that came before it. Often, writers (and artists) forget that it's the failures, the misspellings and the missteps, that show us how to do it right, and that's what this reminds me of. *nods*

(And yay! I got through a whole post without mentioning sleep! ... Crap.  Oh, well, maybe tomorrow.)

Monday, May 30, 2016

So Many of These...

are about how I slept the night before. This one's kind of about that, too. *shakes head at self* Or, actually, it's more about how I woke up, which was in the middle of a three ring cat circus. Cats everywhere and all of them bouncing and playing and meowing at each other. Since we lost Smudge and Peacock, there's only Meinu, Caramel, and Houdini, but they were playing like there were twelve of them! They broke their water bowl, bounced all over us, and then laughed at us when we grumbled. It was not a great wake up, but looking it back I realize it must have been totally adorable from the outside! Like an episode of Simon's Cat come to life.

Thus concludes your daily update on my sleeping habits and my cat's antics. I hope you enjoyed it.  *G*  Now to the line art...


I wanted to do something a little more complex, and I've been seeing a lot of birds lately in the parents-in-laws' yard, so I ... birdie! Some of the finer detail in the legs gets lost, but overall I think it came out alright. If it had been more than a morning line art thing, I would have done some deeper detailing and a little more background, but I can always go back and add that in later if I decide to. But right now I've got a billion other projects to work on. I'm doing some silly superheroes (Orangina and Apple Boy! They fight crime!  *G*) for my portfolio and some Wonder Woman fanart that will be full color rather than only line art.  So, it's not as if I need another project right now.

Which is, of course, why I've been itching to write lately. When else would that happen except when I'm trying to focus on illustraiton? *sigh* But, I may have a compromise for my brain. Instead of working on something new, I'm thinking about editing some of the half finished stories I have laying around oh.... just... everywhere.

We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

I Actually Slept!

Last night we took steps to make sure that the Caramel cat would have no reason to complain and I told Rene that today was his turn to get up if Caramel did cause a fuss, and we BOTH got to sleep! It's amazing how much better sleep can make you feel!

This is not, however, reflected in today's line art, which came out looking a little sadder than I'd intended...


It was the shape of his eyes that gave me trouble, and no matter what I did with them they just didn't seem to perk him up.  But, he's Eeyore, so that happens sometimes.  He's adorable no matter what, though, so that helps.  *G*

Thursday, May 26, 2016

And a Title Would be Nice...

Really, really busy morning.  *yawn*  So instead of fresh fanart, I give you some WIP line art from my portfolio work.  *nods*