Thursday, September 27, 2012

Save the Date!

Hello one and all!

I apologize for my absence. But I wanted to share some art that I have been working on lately. My cousin, Julie is getting married next Fall in beautiful Durango, Colorado (SO excited for this wedding because I've never been to Colorado!) and she asked me to design her Save the Date cards! How could I say no?!

She was kind enough to let me post some of the work I've done so far for the cards, so here it is.

About a month ago, Julie and I got together to discuss rough ideas of what she wanted the cards to look like.  Since her wedding is going to be in Colorado, she wanted a rustic and natural theme. To represent nature, she thought a tree would work well as a central image. She also wanted to incorporate herself and her fiance, Jake, into the tree somehow. This is the first idea I came up with. A tree with their initials carved into the bark surrounded by a heart. Very rustic and cute, indeed.

She mentioned that she was thinking about her wedding colors being navy blue, lime green and blush pink so I tried to add those into the composition as well.

As for text, I plan on doing hand-written lettering. At this point, I'm still unsure of the exact date of the wedding so I can't go ahead with that part yet.

I also did another variation on the tree. Instead of the names carved in, I did the initials as part of the branches themselves.

I like this one, but I personally think the other one will look better once the text is added.

Julie did make the suggestion to simplify and just use navy for the trunk of the tree and the branches and lime green for the leaves. Simplifying usually makes things look more polished and it did. It was a great suggestion! And for a card that is mostly for informational purposes, simplifying is always a good idea. So here is the first variation after I made changes.

This one pops just so much more against the white of the paper. I really like it! In the end, it is Julie's decision, though.

I plan on working some more on these. I'd like to re-do the second variation in just blue and green as well.

Congrats to the happy couple!

Oh, and my mom is commissioning me again to do the 2012 family Christmas card. So stay tuned for that! And as usual, the card will be up on my Online Shop for purchase before the Christmas season!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Art from Michigan

I did manage to do a few pieces while I was in Michigan. One of them is a work in progress...and I do hope that I can get some paintings out of the many photos I took (all of which can be found here), but here they are nevertheless...

Red Lighthouse

After a few (failed) attempts at trying to sketch the lighthouse and then paint it, I just decided to go for it and paint without sketching at all. Just painting on paper was something I had been itching to do for a while, but I just hadn't the time or the inspiration to do so. It felt really good finally getting to do that. This piece was the first painting I did on the trip and I did it on-location at Holland State Park (aka Ottawa Beach) whilst sitting out on a pier across from the red lighthouse. I was looking around to see if the lighthouse actually had a name, but I think that the only name it has is the one affectionately given by the locals, "Big Red". This piece was kind of a "warm up" painting, of sorts. I like how it turned out, though. I was very loose with detail. I wanted to be. I knew this wasn't going to be a detailed highly rendered illustration with varying micron pen lines and such. I just wanted it to be splashy and just defined enough that we know what it is. I painted this piece around Noon-2 pm so the light was very direct and unfortunately, I think the composition suffered for it. There weren't as many lights and darks on the lighthouse. It was just kind of one tone.

Clouds Over Holland

This was my favorite piece I did on the trip. I sketched it out while on location at the pier on Holland Beach (the exact same location of the previous piece) and then painted it back at the house. I sat there mesmerized by the cloud formations over my head. There were puffy cumulus clouds and wispy stratus clouds, clouds that may or may not have been airplane exhaust...they were just beautiful, and then add to that the Michigan coastline that just seemed to stretch on forever going from light green, to dark green, to teal, to blue and to purple as it stretched towards the horizon--absolutely gorgeous. That is why I prefer to draw natural things to man-made structural things, I just find them more aesthetically pleasing. I tried doing this piece in a similar style to my Rocky Pemaquid illustration. While I was sketching the coastline and water and sky, a sailboat passed by so I thought I would include that as well...though I just kind of roughly sketched it and followed up with a reference photo later. I hope to frame this piece. I really like it. 


We did a figure drawing session on the last day of the trip. It was very quick, only 15 minutes and I think we had planned to do more, but for some reason, that never happened. I think we got carried away watching covers of Gotye's Somebody That I Used to Know on YouTube. These things do happen. It was good to see that I still had it, though. I haven't done a lot of figure sketching in a while. I think this sketch of Bob turned out nice...although everyone said I made him look younger. Not necessarily a bad thing!

Red Lighthouse II (WIP)

The last evening of the trip, a few of us headed back to Holland Beach State Park. I had a much better experience that time...aside from the bugs. The lighting was much more dramatic in the evening as the sun began to set. The lighthouse actually reflected had off the warm-toned waters of Lake Michigan. I was going to do a simple color-blocking technique, but since the paint was drying veeeerrrrry slooooooowwwly (because the air was so full of moisture from the lake) and everything was running together (AND the bugs would not leave me alone), I vowed to finish the painting at a later date. I wanted to try adding some detail into the lighthouse with micron pens, over the paint which is not something I usually do. We shall see how that turns out. I'll keep you all posted.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Michigan State of Mind

I just got home yesterday from a four-day trip to Saugatuck/the Michigan Coast with the Sons of Turner. You all that read my blog probably didn't know I was going on such a trip because I don't believe that I mentioned it on here, but it was a lot of fun. I wish I could have had a couple more days just to spend time with people and paint a little more. The trip was on a much smaller scale than the trips the Sons usually take, like for instance the one we took last year to Maine, so there wasn't as much to see and do in the time we were allotted, but I think if we had more days, we could have traveled around more and found more things.

I did have a lot of fun, though. I was more productive than I have been in months in terms of my art, so that alone was great! It was really nice getting to see people that I haven't seen in a while too.

While I was there, I felt very relaxed and just being there by the lake, surrounded by friends, it dawned on me that life shouldn't be rushed--or rather, my friend Dani just kept telling me not to rush my paintings. I would sit there staring at the lake, or the rocks, or the beach thinking "What do I paint?" and she would tell me "Just don't force it". An idea for a piece of art comes naturally. You shouldn't have to force yourself to paint something just because it's sitting there in front of you. You have to really think about what you want to capture and "feel" the composition coming together. You have to be excited by it. I kept going back to how I felt after the Maine trip with all my photos but very few "good" (in my opinion) paintings and looking at the photos and thinking Wow, that would make an awesome painting! I want to paint that! But instead of a photo, I was still right there looking at the lighthouse or the sail boat. It made me more excited to be there in the moment, and in turn gave me a bit of inspiration. I hope that makes sense. It made sense in my head.

So I will do my best to scan those paintings and sketches I did. I do have a few pictures I'd like to share, though, of course...

I should mention that the weather was absolutely GORGEOUS the entire time we were there. Like it wasn't too hot and the sky was exceptionally clear. Unfortunately, I got a little sunburned.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ooh and this too...

A couple of weeks ago, my mom asked me to do a retirement card for one of her coworkers. He is apparently a fan of the Three Stooges so I was told to draw them on the card. I typically don't draw these types of characters, but the card actually turned out better than I thought it would.

I looked at a picture and used pencil and micron pen to ink it in, then added tone with light washes of watercolor.

We added the lettering to the card later. I am told that my mom's coworker really liked the card.

Oh hey, there!

Yes, I am still alive.

I wouldn't necessarily call that a hiatus. I would call it working a lot and not having a ton of time to do art, which is very sad, I know. I still have a few things I want to show you guys, though.

First of all, if you don't know me very well, you probably don't know that I am obsessed with the British Period Drama Downton Abbey. You also probably don't know that I get obsessed with most British Period Dramas that I watch. Anyway, I started watching Downton Abbey last Fall when I checked out Season 1 from the library. I was immediately hooked. But after watching that, I sort of forgot about it and went on with my life. Then randomly last winter, I was flipping channels one Sunday evening when Masterpiece Classic on PBS came up and said "Downton Abbey". It was maybe two or three episodes into the second season, but I watched it anyway and with Doctor Who on break until next Fall (I believe), Downton Abbey quickly took it's rightful place as my favorite TV show!

So naturally, I did a little fan art, and I do plan on doing more...

I did sketches in my sketchbook first of the Crawley sisters of Downton Abbey

I looked at pictures of the actresses and tried to pick out their unique facial features to turn them into caricatures. Luckily each of them have such unique facial structures with a lot of character so that made my job easier. 

I then did something I rarely do...I scanned the pencil sketches and put them into Photoshop (and let's be honest here, I don't have the most advanced version of Photoshop. I worked with what I had) and rendered the colored parts digitally using layers. I was going for a more breezy, sketchy and simplistic look since that is the style I use when I do traditional art as well. So here is how they turned out. 

Lady Mary Crawley

Lady Edith Crawley

Lady Sybil Crawley (aka Sybil Branson)

The three of them together

here is what they actually look like if you are unfamiliar with the program.

Like I said, I would like to do more of these. I would definitely like to try my hand at drawing a few of the men of Downton Abbey. These little sketches actually started out of trying to draw some Mary/Matthew fanart.  For some reason, I just could not get Matthew's face right. I would also like to possibly do some Avengers fanart. I just saw the movie last week and absolutely loved it. I'm not usually a big superhero fan, but I truly enjoyed that film. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hi there! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and a fantastic New Year!

Sorry again for my lack of updates, but now that Christmas is over, I wanted to show you the gift(s) I painted for my dad. My dad is a card collector and one of the types of cards he collects are called sketch cards. They are cards with sketches on them (I guess as the name might imply) done by artists of tv characters, movie characters, whoever. My dad didn't want me to spend any money on him this year for Christmas, so I decided I would do a few sketch cards for him. I used a theme of his favorite tv characters and I thought I'd show them here.

Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

for each card, I sketched out the portrait in pencil then inked it with the 005 Micron, as well as outlining each silhouette with the Sakura Brush pen. I wanted a sort of emphasis there. I have been reading graphic novels lately (the Jane Austen ones by Nancy Butler, if you must know) and I noticed that the illustrators (like Janet K. Lee) often use a heavier line to outline. I liked the way it looked, so I tried to incorporate that with my style. For color, I used a monochromatic approach with a simple wash of watercolor and a little bit of walnut ink for some added tone. I tried to match each color to the character being presented.

Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead

Walter White from Breaking Bad

Dexter from, well, Dexter

Violet Harmon from American Horror Story

These were actually really fun to make. I might do some Doctor Who ones in the future since that is my favorite show. My dad really loved these too. It goes to show that you don't need to spend a ton of money on a gift that someone will love, and it shows that I can paint more than just teapots and cupcakes.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Greetings!

Happy Christmas Eve Eve, all!

I know I've been absent from this blog for nearly two months. In my defense, a lot of things have been going on to prevent me from updating regularly. One of them being, I got a job. It's not an art job, unfortunately, but it is paying the bills, which is mostly what matters right now. I can still do art outside of work, which I have been doing.

This year, I designed Christmas cards for both my family and for my aunt. I thought I'd show them now. It may be a little too late to purchase them, but they are for sale in my online shop case you want to get a head start for next year.

This is our family Christmas card this year, designed according to my mom's specifications:


And the one I designed for my aunt, it's a bit of a different style. She wanted a sense of movement and something involving birds.


Anyway, I hope anyone reading this enjoys the art and has a wonderful holiday and a very healthy and happy New Year!

<3 Emily