Updated website, updated style

Welcome to my updated website! It's been 10 months since my last blog post. I haven't been active on social media beyond the occasional favoriting a tweet or a facebook post. I've been busy and I've been trying to find balance. A lot has happened in my life in those months:

  • We have purchased a house. Since it is a fixer-upper, we've been spending MANY hours working on the house trying to get it into a livable state that will eventually become a house just the way we want it.
  • I now have a designated art studio! This was a joy for me--and one of the deciding factors of the house. It's the smallest room, but it has the best light and one of the largest windows in the house that looks out on the backyard trees. AND it's all mine to keep messy with ongoing projects, books and tools. (and theoretically, keep the rest of the house clean)
  • I began an ongoing mentorship with E.B. Lewis. Thanks to talking with him at the SCBWI Summer Conferences, we've now had many conversations about style, voice, and technique--all of which are subtly different. 
  • I've taken block printing workshops. I've always admired block printing and the workshops have shown me how fun it is to physically carve out the images. For now this is just a fun exploration, but since this strongly ties the graphic designer side of me to the illustration side of me, I hope to find a way to blend all the techniques I love into my distinct style.
  • I'm finding stories I want to tell. They're still far from ready to release into the wider world, but taking this journey has been a necessary step in finding the next layer of depth to my own artwork.

The first two changes in my life have caused me to rethink how I mentally find my work-life balance. I only have so much time every week, but even if I make the smallest increment of progress, it's better than my work standing still. I'm getting better at allowing myself quiet time to let my wander, think, explore, and restore my equilibrium for those days when I need to go full-throttle. 

The latter changes have lead to an evolution in my style. While I know there are people who have given me nothing but positive feedback on my old colored pencil style and might prefer it over my new work, I was frustrated and unhappy with the final illustrations. I was not achieving the level of work that I wanted to. The newer style feels freeing, rather than restricting and allows for (relatively) easy editing and revising until I'm happy with the end result. Additionally, having positive feelings towards my artwork leads towards me being excited to sit down at my art desk instead of finding every avenue for procrastination.

I know that I am still far from where I want my work to be, but I'm getting closer. And I'm having more fun than ever. I hope you will enjoy this journey with me.

New(ish) art and my first Society6 print: To the Rescue!

I've posted my very first digital piece to my portfolio gallery! I debuted this piece back in November at Con-Volution, but wasn't entirely satisfied with a few things. After shelving it for a couple of months, I brought it back out, made the needed tweaks, and it's ready for the world.

I enjoyed painting digitally, and I find that I tend to be a bit looser when I work this way. I already have my second digital piece in the works, but since it has 42 characters instead of 2, it might take a bit of time. :)

I've also decided to use this piece to launch my Society6 page. I will slowly be adding more pieces to this site so check back soon to see some of my favorite pieces appearing in the near future.

New art: Chomp!

I've added a new art to my illustration gallery. It was based on a sketch I did back in January that i particularly liked and wanted to see how much further I could push it. It ended up being a very interesting study in technique and style.

Here are the two pieces side-by-side:

original sketch

original sketch

finished illustration

finished illustration

There are definitely elements I love about them both.

Original sketch: graphicly simple. The tugboat registers very distinctly, without any excessive shading/highlighting and the monster is large, but the angle of his face makes his mouth a smile as well as a chomp, so he is friendlier from the get-go. The toned paper offers an interesting take on all the colors, and there is something interesting about the ocean having very distinct marks of color.

Finished illustration: vibrant, dynamic angle, interesting textures. I love the tentacles and I achieved my goal of distinct edges and losing edges in some parts of the sea monster. The glow in the water is very nice as well. I like the sky, but in combination with the water it is VERY blue. The candy was added as a last-minute touch after a suggestion by twitter art friend @CarlShinyama. With the new angle on the mouth, the kraken was looking too scary and this added an amusing, off-the-wall element to the picture that takes it to a new level. My least favorite part would probably be the smoke stack, which is not as boldly black as the original sketch.

Which one is your favorite?