Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Beauty & the Beast: Watercolor

Taking a quick break from some LPG sketchwork to post my progress on the Beauty & the Beast piece that I worked on over the course of the TLC Workshop weekend before last. This is the final watercolor, with just one or two adjustment layers in Photoshop to bring life back into the scanned image.

I'm pretty pleased with the overall painting. Personally, I feel like this is one of the best "finished" watercolors I've ever done, although there is a great deal of room for improvement here. I really need to work on my application of the media - I tend to just mush the paint around with no objective for the strokes. In future paintings, I'll be trying for smoother layers of color.

The next step will be digital adjustments. Happily, I think I've gotten much more color information down in the painting than in the Winter Dragon one I did last time. Hopefully that will make the digital stage much easier!

Anyway, that's about it. What do you think? Keep at it, or go into a career in the Fast Food industry?


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

TLC Workshop Recap: Monsters & Maidens

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the TLC Workshop with Justin Gerard and Cory Godbey. It was a terrific weekend full of good friends, great artwork, and lots and lots of knowledge passed around! These are just a few photos from a very full weekend.


(Above) Justin Gerard demonstrated some methods of picture-making that he uses frequently, including techniques blending ink and watercolor that were used by Arthur Rackham (if you're interested in this method, a detailed description of it can be found here.)

Iain McCaig, who has worked as a concept artist for Star Wars and many other feature films, stopped by on Saturday to give us an energetic and inspiring talk on telling stories with our art and character design.

The "digital room" where I worked. The Arts Umbrella where the workshop was held was a terrific space. Small, but just right for a workshop this size.

This was the state of my Beauty & the Beast piece on Saturday night. Lots of reference lying around, and I had Just got the drawing transferred to watercolor paper and refining it. I had a pretty rough time deciding on a composition that worked for me,  so by this time I was ready to commit to a drawing just so I could try out some new watercolor methods.

Justin worked on a Beauty & the Beast illustration that was absolute dynamite. It was really nice to be able to see him work in watercolor over the course of the weekend, and I learned a great deal about the actual application of it, which has been something I've been pushing to learn recently. Justin was eager to share all kinds of knowledge about illustration and his working methods.

And here's a sneak peek photo of my drawing. It has lots of issues, but I pressed on. I told myself I couldn't go home until I had gotten watercolor on the page, which I did! I still need to finish that aspect of it, and I'll post the final when it's done.

And lastly, here's Mr. Cory demoing his digital workflow in Photoshop which he uses mainly for client work. Cory is a fine fellow, and it was great to hang out with him for the weekend. His drawings are mind-blowing works of art and I enjoy his approach to character and composition.

At the end of the class on Sunday, Justin & Cory did a Q&A with us on the business of art, how they got their start in illustration, and things that we as new artists can do to gain exposure and attention for our own artwork. It was a great session, and it really answered a lot of questions that I've had in the recent months about "where do I go from here?"

After it was over, we all took a look at each other's pieces. There was some terrific art being made over the course of the weekend. That evening we attended a farewell dinner at Vivendo's Italian Restaurant in the Country Village and it was so nice to just spend time with good friends who love art. We're all in this together! 

If you ever get the chance to attend one of Tara Larsen Chang's TLC Workshops, I would highly recommend it, especially if the guest illustrator is someone who has influenced you in your art pursuits. For me, Justin and Cory's work was a huge factor in my decision to become an illustrator, so it was a great opportunity to meet with them and learn from their work and experience. I hope that you will be able to do the same if you attend.

And with that, it's back to work for me! I have a painting to finish!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Buried Treasure - Illustration Process

Here's a quick piece I did. I've been really inspired lately by children's book illustrators like Jon Klassen and Isabelle Arsenault. Their work has such amazing texture and simplicity. I love it. I'd like to explore this type of work more fully.

I took a different approach. This guy was doodled in my sketchbook. I took a piece of watercolor paper, and painted all the different pieces I knew it would take to create him. Here's that page:

I then scanned all of this into Photoshop, and put every piece on its own layer. By doing this, it allowed me to maneuver all the pieces into place, re-size them and get it how I wanted it. A few color adjustment layers, and I was done! Below is a little .gif animation that shows the process:

What do you think of this style? I'm eager to explore this technique further for use in children's books, etc. Hope you like it!