A Wisdom of Owls

I have a new piece in the Woodland Nursery section of the Illustration Gallery. It matches the other woodland nursery illustrations in style, but it differs both in size and background texture. Also, this new image happens to be full of owls, and nothing but owls. Because it's hard to go wrong with owls. And yes, a group of owls IS called a wisdom. The interwebs told me so last night, when i was trying to name this piece.

I think i've been liking the odd shaped piece recently because I've been working on another piece for They Draw and Cook (to come soon, if I ever finish the lettering). All the TDAC layouts are very horizontal. This is roughly the same base dimensions, turned vertically. 

I like aspects of all 6 (yes, six) owls, but I think i like the pink one at the top the best. I had lots of fun coming up with different characters and color combinations.

I will be showing this piece at the upcoming Con-Volution in San Francisco, Nov 2-4. I will post my booth/table number once I have it. I am considering turning some of the owls into buttons to hand out at the convention, but I haven't decided. If I do, any requests on which owl(s) should be on the buttons? (One owl per button.)

A couple of detail shots:


New artwork: woodland nursery - meeting


I ran a survey on my facebook page to see which animals I would draw next for the Woodland Nursery series. The two favored animals were raccoon and porcupine. I had a great time creating them and was happy with their look, although I wish the porcupine's face ended up a touch cuter. i liked his face better in the original sketch. Oh well. It was also interesting trying to work out composition and placement of background images around all those spines. 

Like the others in this series, this one is a gift; unlike the others, this one is NOT for a nursery! Shocking, I know. I created this for a coworker and friend who was visiting from our India office. We had a lot of fun on our adventures together and many really good conversations. I knew from the start that I was going to give this image to her, so the characters just evolved into a...well, ...a meeting. Hence the creativity on my naming scheme. 

I chose this as my illustration friday image for sight, because while you can have a meeting without sight in this tech era, it's just so much more meaningful in person! 

I'm a published illustrator!

I have had one of my drawings/paintings printed on a book cover! This makes me a published illustrator! woohoo! 

This image was created last year at a landscape sketch workshop with Karl Gnass. (He has another landscape workshop coming up again in April). It was a detail study of a very twisty tree with interesing bark patterns and branches. 

When my coworkers saw the image, she thought it would work well for one of the cover projects she had and it got selected as the final cover. It just came back from the printer recently and it was great to see something of mine in print that I didn't get printed myself. 

For more information about the book: SAGE Publications.

Woodland Nursery 2 - Wolf

In the style of the first woodland nursery picture, I've created a second image. I played with graphic shapes in the background, while focusing the rendering on the animals: wolf and squirrel.  I had a lot of fun with this one. 

Amusingly enough, this is a wolf picture for a little boy who is named Edward--and I believe he was named after the vampire in the Twilight series. Go Team Edward! Go Team Jacob!

Illustration Friday: Prepare

He was prepared to enter the water, but he was not prepared to meet a new friend!

I had a lot of fun with this one, even in the initial sketch stage. I think that the only thing that would make this illio even better is a yellow duckie tube around the belly. It's tempting, but I'm not sure if I want to possibly mess up the illio for that.

The scanner is down for a couple of days, so I had to photograph it. I will post a scanned version of this once technology is back online...possibly with a duckie tube.

UPDATE: He has an inner-tube!

(still a photograph)

Hungry Giraffe

Artwork! I had fun with this one, and I tried to push the darks more than I'm normally comfortable. The second image was my initial scan before I went back and reworked the dark areas. I'm much happier with the revised image. And this guy has already found a new home, for a friend's birthday!

And to give me a direct tie in to Illustration Friday, I'll pull in what I told my friend earlier last week when it was still in progress, "He's not finished...he just hasn't been spotted yet!" (i know, bad pun)

Illustration Friday: Stay (Prehistoric Surprise)

This little guy has gone to stay in friend's nursery. Their theme is, unsurprisingly, dinosaurs. He was supposed to be smiling at whoever was in the cave, but he ended up looking more surprised than happy. Our friends were very happy to receive him as a baby shower present.

This may be a loose interpretation of this week's theme, but it is a rare occurrence for me to post finished, full-colored art.

I originally planned to crop this much tighter, but when I was at the frame store, I ended up liking the look of the panoramic matte rather than the standard 8.5x11. Luckily, I gave myself plenty of bleed area to try out different framing options.

I feel I've sufficiently mastered the dark-medium-light variant of basic composition. Next composition must be different, so I can study all 6 basic variations of foreground-middle ground-background lighting arrangements.

Avatar! (not the blue kind)

I am finally finished with a project I promised my husband many months ago. A new avatar for his online presence. The direction he gave me: a viking ninja robot. The robot got lost somewhere along the way, but I mostly got the viking ninja, in stereotyped fashion. He was pretty fun to work on, although the drawing got put on pause many times for other projects.

Like many of my pieces, I overworked the rendering and am still not completely satisfied with it, although there are parts I really love, like the folds at the waist and the belt. The rest is kind of stiff, although I felt I learned a bit more about skin tones in the process.

Hopefully the gesture drawing class will help me loosen up on my process/rendering.

My recipe has been posted

My recipe has been posted on They Draw and Cook! Yay! It's been such fun watching all the different recipes appear on the site every day. It's like a very unique advent-day calendar: what goodies will opening the door each day reveal. I can't wait to see who the winners are.

What a great Christmas Eve present to me! I had a blast working on the drawing and testing cookie recipes. Below are some photos I took while I was creating the piece. They're not the greatest, since they were only taken with iPhones, but it's always fun to see the process.

The first of three versions of the mouse putting a cookie in the oven. I decided I wanted him leaning over more.

Take 2, but overlapping the center mouse more then I liked.

Final Line drawing

I started by laying in the background elements, then went straight to the foreground, since i'm still hesitant with the dark colors

Then, I started laying in the color on the main pumpkin and the snow in the middle-ground.

And more color...I was trying to mimic a white pumpkin with orange patterns from my reference photos, but by the time I finished tweaking colors to accurately highlight the focal point, this effect got very subdued

Working on the focal point, even though the background wasn't quite finished. The pear-shaped gourd has the door and window in a different position then the final drawing, which I didn't correct until the end. It had created a horrible tangent in the drawing with the pumpkin in the foreground. The carolers were also added to give more life to the scene.

Mostly final color.

The concept for my primary pumpkin.

The reference photo for the primary mouse, so I could get the lighting to look as accurate as possible, while stylized.

it is DONE! or Illustration Friday: Savour

I've been very quite for the past month, but I have been working hard!

I worked all month (read: weekends and sporadic nights) on my recipe submission for They Draw and Cook's Holiday Recipe Contest. Not only did I work on the illustration, I made LOTS of pumpkin cookies in search of my perfect cookie. My coworkers sure enjoyed that part of my project.

It's been fun, exciting, nerve-wracking, and exhausting, because it definitely came down to the last minutes before the submission deadline. I achieved most everything I set out to do with the piece. I have strong characters, strong composition and focal point, and I added/modified things up until the end to make it just right. I also used dark colors, which is still the hardest thing for me to do. I wanted to hand-letter the title, but I knew when to throw in the towel and fall back on my graphic design abilities.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone!

My first post of 2010 is both good and slightly unfortunate. Good because you get a finished artwork post; slightly unfortunate because this is the fleeting turtles illustration that I entered in the SILA Illustration West competition...it didn't get chosen. Oh well...I plan on doing better next year and hopefully enter multiple pieces. I think that will definitely help me increase my chances of getting a piece of work into the competition. I still may enter it into the Communication Arts illustration competition, but i'm not 100% sure i'm going to submit...the deadline is in just a few days.

I feel that I've improved 10-fold over the first SILA submission I entered in a few years back and I'm hopeful that my future entries will show as much or more improvement from the current piece. It probably also didn't help that I was entering into the unpublished category, which is the category with the most entries and the largest range of styles. I can't help thinking that I really need to get some artwork published, even if it is for a small publication.

I got a really awesome gift from one of my friends this year: Do it Later! A 2010 Planner (or Non-Planner) for the Creative Procrastinator. I'm excited to see if I can fill it up or use it to motivate me and keep me going strong with all my plans for the year...including of course keeping everyone entertained by my sketches/doodles/artwork :) It's going to sit right on my desk and glare at me whenever I'm sitting there, asking me why I'm writing on my blog rather than working on art... hmmm... i should go.

Without further ado, the art:

Dragon Blossom

This is my newest piece, Dragon Blossoms, created for our very very good friends Jenny and Philip and their son Gavin. I've been promising them a piece of art for years now, and I finally made good on my promise. We gave it to them today, and they loved it and I got an "ooohh" and a giggle from 2-year-old Gavin. Obviously, it was a hit all around!

The blue pattern/color on her kimono matches a plate I got for them years ago, and this piece is a nod to my first oil painting of a little girl in a kimono holding a giant umbrella while tea rains down and turns into flowers. Philip always liked that piece and wanted it or something similar. I tried a couple of different compositions, but wasn't happy with any of them, and once I drew this little girl, I knew I had the perfect drawing for them.

If only it had a ladybug or frog....well, Jenny, maybe next time!