Friday, October 25, 2013

Character Design and how bacon saves lives

First, bacon saved our lives this week. Seriously. It was one of those weeks on the semester where everything comes due all at once right after one of those hellish weeks where you slipped just far enough behind to feel like you'll never catch up ever again and all of a sudden you're pulling an all- nighter every other night and it's all you can do to appear mentally stable in class the next day and who can even mention actually turning in homework or taking that test?
...And so we come to bacon. That wonderful little packet of bacon that we bought as a treat a week ago, thinking nothing more of it than 'wow, last week was hectic, but we survived it, here's our reward'. Little did we know that bacon was to be our coping and survival mechanism, emotionally and it seemed physically, for the next week.
I would be up till three and have to get up at six, I would wake up to the smell of bacon frying. Martin would face down a brutal day full of angsty student teachers, pop quizzes and sudden deadlines, and come home to smell bacon.
It doesn't take much to make our whole apartment smell beautifully of frying bacon, and we've made that little packet last... but we just ate the last bite, and now all I think we can do is hope next week is not nearly so hectic.

One of the things that made this week so crazy was the fact that all of my midterms were due... split between only two days. Art midterms are a bit different from what most of you are accustomed to. In most art classes, we get projects throughout the semester, and these projects take anywhere from seven to thirty+ hours to complete. When the project comes due, we bring them into class, set them up for everyone to see, and sit down and spend the next few hours taking turns presenting our work to be analyzed, critiqued, and... kind of torn apart. In a matter-of-fact, my-turn-is-next, I-really-hope-this-helps kind of way, because then you have however long is left until midterms to fix whatever was found lacking in your piece.
You don't get a break in assignments, though. They just keep coming. Which means that uuusually most of the redoes are pushed off until the last few days before midterms and you pull several all-nighters getting all of the touch-ups, repaints, redraws, and overhauls finished just barely in time to turn them in.
Yesterday (or really, last night at midnight) the redraws of all my character designs were due. (That morning at eight it had been two other paintings for my senior studio class)
So, without further ado, here's a little peek at my character designs. Next post I'm thinking of doing a little walk-through of how I did these :)

It'll be a lot less wordy, I promise.

 An aboriginal medicine doctor. His name, we've decided, is Bric.
 A circus stilt-walker.
A villain. His name is Mathis Jostad. The prompt was to create a 'soft' villain. That was the entire prompt. Immediately I knew that for me, the most terrifying villains are the ones that are so soft spoken that the way you know you're in trouble is they get quieter and calmer the more angry or dangerously excited they get...he's one of those.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Things that are happening...

I have some projects in the works. Some you will see sooner than later. Some will take considerably more time :3
As for the sooner, I really am just waiting until I can get a good sunny day or access to a scanner, whichever comes first (though the scanner seems much more imminent at the moment...) I'll be able to get some of my digital work up a lot faster:
A quick color study for a piece I'll be finishing (hopefully next week) in acrylic inks.

My new facebook banner...I've never had one before, ad it was starting to feel a little barren looking...

...but I've been taking a head painting class, and the required medium is oil, which is a bit more difficult to digitize than other media. Also, apparently really difficult for me in general.
It feels like it's fighting me tooth and nail, but I really feel like I'm making great strides in a lot of ways, artistically, as I work out my problems with oil paints. And with each success I'm coming to love these paints more and more.
I've also recently discovered acrylic inks, and I've decided those are the best thing since toast. And I love toast. As soon as this piece for my senior studies class is done I'll see how it scans. ...And how it turns out before I scan it.
Anyway, as for the later, I can start sharing some teasers right now. Martin and I are working on a super-not-quite secret project that we have yet to decide how many details we will divulge about later. Here's some of the initial concept items, though-

One more big thing! I am starting an Etsy store! I've started carving small shell pendants, and I'm going to be selling watercolor and ink drawings. This week I'm going to be stocking the store, and next week it goes live! I'll be posting with the name and address of the store, so be sure to check it out. Initial proceeds go towards a scanner (so that I don't have to hunt down a functioning scanner on campus anytime I want to show anyone anything) and then to fixing my printer.

See you all next post!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

'Quick' study

It was supposed to be a quick warm-up sketch before I got to my homework... but then I started noodling. Ah well. Didn't turn out to badly :)
Reference photo found here on pinterest...

Oh! Also, I'm still alive ;)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A brief feature...

I have a piece I've been wanting to show the in-progress of so bad, but my professor hasn't given it back to me yet, so I don't have a good picture of the final product. I think it's going to be another few days before I can get that post up.
In the meantime, for my folklore class, I'm writing a sort of investigative paper on webcomic artists, and how their fans and admirers affect their experience as artists. A few of these artists I've been following for years, (since high school, even) and they've had quite a hand in influencing where my art is today.
Interviewing them has just proved to me that they are as awesome, grounded, and excited about life as they'd appeared through their blogs and comics. These guys are great.

So, continuing my comic feature from ages ago, here's three more amazing webcomic artists (who I now know more about than ever before and are way cooler than I'd ever thought!)

Based out of Finland, University student Minna Sundberg somehow manages to create a page a day of this beautifully crafted multi-media webcomic A Redtail's Dream. 24-year-old Hannu and his dog, Ville, are enlisted by the great and powerful spirit Puppy Fox to fix a grievous error on his part before the council of elder foxes gets out and notices how badly he messed up in watching the Northern Lights while they were away. 
...I'm really not doing this any justice. The art is breathtaking, the story absolutely wonderful, and it is a definite must read.

Second for today is Nimona

Written and drawn by Noelle Stevenson, Nimona updates on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It has already won a couple of awards, and is slated for publication by HarperCollins in 2015.

"Lord Ballister Blackheart has a point to make, and his point is that the good guys aren't as good as they seem. He makes a comfortable living as a supervillain, but never really seems to accomplish much - until he takes on a new sidekick, Nimona, a shapeshifter with her own ideas of how things should be done. Unfortunately, most of those ideas involve blowing things up. Now Ballister must teach his young protégé some restraint and try to keep her from destroying everything, while simultaneously attempting to expose the dark dealings of those who claim to be the protectors of the kingdom - including his former best friend turned nemesis, Ambrosius Goldenloin."

Noelle's terrifically unique art style is completely charming, and belies the careful and deceptively solid plot and complex characters. The totally anachronistic world is hilarious and whimsical, and feels like you can read whatever sardonic social commentary you would like into it, but on the surface is just funny and entertaining.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


And a long weekend! Yay!

Also, I really need to clean off my desk. I'm sitting here with my elbows in trying not to lean on anything or bump anything over as I move about. It's been one of those weeks.
...After lunch. I'll start then.

Anyway, yesterday I woke up really early. That doesn't mean I actually got up that early, but I woke up then. And that's where the problem started. When I wake up early but don't get up, it does really funny things to me and I typically end up getting nothing done at all for the rest of the day. My surefire trick to breaking free of that funk, though, is sketching. Figure drawing is my favorite. Really fast gestures, no longer than thirty seconds, typically. On Fridays at my university there's an open draw session where they have live models come in and you can go sketch for free, but I'd already bummed around the apartment long enough to miss that (sad day) so I went to my favorite fallback, the figure and gesture drawing tool over at pixel lovely.
I spent a good long while making completely unintelligible scribbles all over my new sketchbook with my copic markers, which have hardly seen any use of late. I'd forgotten how great those things are.

Later that night, I was still kind of in the swing of things, so I decided I wanted to try my hand at something a little more finish. There's this model on deviantart, Devin Willow who does modeling and photography, and is just always inspiring to me, so I pulled up one of her latest portraits and did my best with it...

Not a terribly good likeness, but not a very bad drawing...

And there's my day. :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

I never knew I was doing it wrong...

...but THIS, my friends, is french toast.

And so I stand forever corrected. My life has been forever changed.
This is stuffed french toast, the stove-top version. It's all crispy and wonderful on the outside, and all full of warm, sweet and tangy gooey amazing ... stuff on the inside.
French toast has probably the least precise recipe of anything I've ever encountered, so I apologize to all of you out there who just cannot function without a recipe... Also, my husband (Yes, my husband, I got married over the holidays. I was going to make a special post about that, and it's still on the way. I'd been waiting on the photo CD back so I could actually get some pretty pictures up here ;) made this for me, so I didn't really catch anything more than what went into it, not how much. 

Good luck to you (it's worth it!)

Take nice, thick slices of french bread, and cut a pocket into them. Don't cut all the way through, but cut deep and wide enough you can kind of fold them open a bit. Also, don't worry about scooping a pocket into them or anything, the bread should be soft and you'll be able to smoosh the fillings in well enough :)

We filled them with previously frozen berries and a mixture we made of softened cream cheese, maple syrup and brown sugar. Heavenly.

The dipping stuff for the french toast was pretty classic, eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and lots of vanilla (that was my contribution... I always get a little carried away)

So, you stuff the bread with as much of the cream cheese mixture and berries as you can (and it will be oozing out all over the place, that's how you know you've done it right apparently. And once I tasted it I couldn't find room to argue), dip both sides in the egg mixture (don't concern yourself too much with the sides, that'll leave room for it to toast a bit and then soak up syrup later), and toss it in a hot buttered pan and brown it on both sides.

Top it off with more berries and sweetened cream cheese and some maple syrup as desired and fall into the deepest and most blissful sugar-coma you've experienced in the past two-years.

Needless to say, I was highly impressed. I think I have found myself a good man.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hey! Another post!

So, that paper airplane painting I mentioned? Finished it! It didn't turn out too badly, either.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New year, new classes, new new new...

Could also be titled 'what I like to do when I don't want to do what I have to do', but that's a long title.

So. This upcoming week I have the first projects of the year due. In one class we are doing cover illustrations for Peter Pan. Tons of fun, really. I'm loving designing it. sketching it, doing color roughs and noodling about and composing the whole deal... It's just really intimidating to sit down and paint what I've designed XD Here's one of the face sketches for Peter, though. I think I'm getting to about the right amount of smug. Almost...

The other painting is a still life. My teacher in that class gave us a list of requirements involving a paper airplane made of college-ruled blue-lined paper, and said go. The exercise is supposed to help us get familiar with acrylic paints, which I've not really used before, unless you count using the really crappy stuff in high school a few times. Which was fun, but it's been a really long time, and I honestly hadn't the foggiest idea what I was doing back then. Anyway, I got my list of requirements, and sat down at home, made my paper airplane, started setting up my still life... and proceeded to throw the plane against the wall for five minutes. My teacher laughed when he saw my photo reference and said go for it.

So, here I am, down to crunch time on both of these, getting a little overwhelmed and more than a little scared of this new paint, and so what do I do to relieve the tension?

I figure I might as well do something that is not for a grade as my first foray into the new medium instead of risking my life, livelihood and reputation before the class on the first thing. Also... come on. The bowler hat is going to be so much more fun to paint than all those stripes.

Also, later, I have a huge explanation with many pretty photos as to where I've been for over a month. It was good. I promise. ;) Some of you kind of already know, but I have pictures of New York and me in a pretty dress and all and I want to show off. So there.

Quickly update- My behatted lizard has a background ;)

Oops, could have sworn I'd taken a shot with just the flat color step... oh well. See what I'm doing with my day off? NOT HOMEWORK! Yay!

Aaaand... done! He's such a posh professor type looking sort of skeleton raptor thing. :)
There'll be a better scan up eventuallyBetter scan is up! I'm thinking I might enter this one into a local art show, though. I'd been planning something else, but this turned out so nicely and in theme... should i put him up for sale?