Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beautiful Cousins - Suddenly it All Comes Together

I don't really like blaming my tools, because I think it's the last refuge of people who don't actually know what they're doing, but I didn't have a good white pastel, and I finally made the long walk to the art store, and got a couple hard pastels (white and dark brown, for details), and a nice white with just a tiny bit of yellow, to get the colour right.  I also got a few paper stumps to get the blending right, and help with the little details. I don't know if it was the new tools, or they just gave me a little more confidence, but on this layer everything just sort of fell into place.  The colour is much better and the portraits considerably more accurate. I'm going to give it a couple of days, then maybe go back in and touch things up.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Beautiful Cousins - Details

With most of the colours set I can now go in and add detail on top of the larger areas, in order to bring out the image. I think both their hair worked really well, and the clothing is turning out nicely. I'm still not happy with the drafting of their faces or their skin tone. Also, the flowers are now incredibly bright compared to the rest of the piece, so that will have to change. I think the background is a little distracting, and the colours are incongruous with the people. In other words, I'm not very happy with this picture at the moment. But I'm not done yet. We'll just say it's progressing, so check back for the next incarnation, and we'll see if I manage to pull this off. If I do I can say that this stage was all part of the plan.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Beautiful Cousins - Developing Colours

After blocking in the colours I went back in and started to develop the colours towards their real hues, adding more subtlety to the general colours that went in first. I also put in more darks, to give form to the subjects, and because I want the background colours there when I start layering on top (in the hair, for instance).

It's progressing fairly well, though I seem to have switched tactics halfway through, because it's considerably lighter on the right hand side. Partially this is because I'm giving the girl a slightly different skin tone to differentiate the two, but it's supposed to be more subtle than this. That, of course, comes with the eventual layers. I'd rather have things much starker than necessary to begin with than try to add them in the end. Also, I always work from left to right because I'm right handed and don't want to smudge what I've done before, but sometimes this backfires a little if I change things, or leave off before the entire layer is finished, and this is the result. Oh well! There's lots left to do, I'll fix it eventually.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Beautiful Cousins - Block Colour

I'm attempting this drawing in much the same way I would do an oil painting (since it's referred to as 'pastel painting' it seems like as good an idea as any for only a second attempt at pastel portraits), and after the warms and cools I start blocking in colours. At this stage I can stat seeing where everything is going to develop, theoretically. The faces are really going to need some correction, though, because they've gotten kind of off by now. The impreciseness of pastels is something I'm just not quite getting a hold of. Sometimes I can make it work, and sometimes it just confuses me. Which only means I need more practise, of course. Here's hoping I can pull it off on this one.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beautiful Cousins - Warm and Cool

I'm drawing this pastel very much the way I would do an oil painting, so the first layer has nothing to do with putting in the colours, just with adding some tonal values, showing what is warm and cool, regardless of what colour they'll be in the end. I like this stage because it really sets outs values for the final piece, and tends to make it simpler in the next few stages in terms of shadows and highlights.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Beautiful Cousins

I took this photo of my lovely cousins at my sister's wedding. I decided to do a pastel of it because they're just too gorgeous to resist. Besides, it's only a portrait and a half, so it doesn't seem too complicated. Right? Famous last words. I haven't done a lot of pastels, and I'm always a little unsure of what colour paper I should pick. I choose a subtle blue-grey for this, which I hope will be in keeping with the mood of the photo. So far, I've just done as detailed a sketch as I could, especially since things will get blurry as soon as I start layering on the pastels.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fabric for Sale!

This afternoon I was very excited to have a couple packages and a postcard in my mailbox! One of the packages had the samples I ordered from Spoonflower a few weeks ago. I'm happy with how all the designs turned out, especially the coloured steampunk pattern. I'm going to make bookcloth out of them to make some cute little books with. I know you've been dying to buy your own, and they're now available in my shop! Go check it out!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Suddenly Popular

I have to say that I find it pretty encouraging that within days of reopening my Etsy shop my Words and Letters book has been featured in two treasuries! Both features lovely black and white, typographic themed works. Take a quick peek, and add a comment!

Summer Reading:

Written Down in Black and White:

Row on Row - Reduction Lino Print 2

I'm really pleased with how this print has turned out. Amazing what a little practise will do, it already takes only a third of the time to print as the first try I did. I'm excited for what that means as I get better.

Here is the second colour:

But the big excitement comes with the black layer:

Of the eight I started out with, four turned out well enough for me to be happy with them, so those are the ones I'm keeping, numbering, and, I hope, selling. They're now on Etsy.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Vote Now - Butterflies

Voting is now open for Spoonflower's Palette-limited butterfly themed design contest. This is my entry. I'd encourage you to go vote, there are some beautiful designs up, I'm just so impressed with what people have done with only a few colours.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Row on Row - Reduction Lino Print 1

This was one of the photos I took a couple months back in a flooded cemetery.  (Take a look at the original post.) Since I've been thinking about working with more reduction lino prints after the first one, but with a simpler image, I pulled them out again as an option. I thought that because the shapes are fairly straightforward and there was no need for colour I could use this as a image to practise my technique with.

I started by separating the image into different colour layers in Photoshop, which gave me a good idea of what I'd have to carve. I'm getting better at thinking in terms of negative space, but it's still very foreign.  This is a good image for me to learn because I'm only going to need three layers. I also flipped it , so that it comes out correctly once it's printed:

With the first layer printed so far it looks like this. I didn't need to ink the entire way, since that will be covered by the other colours, which is why it just sort of trails off:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Jabberwocky - On display!

I am so very very pleased with how this book turned out! Although the maze shape was at times extremely difficult to work with it turned out to be the perfect shape, and displays beautifully.

NEWS! To celebrate I've finally re-opened my etsy shop after being on vacation mode for months. It only has a few pieces in it at the moment, but I will add more as I become a little more settled.

Tell your Alice in Wonderland loving friends to buy the book!

Here are plenty of photos, enjoy.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fabric Design - Go Vote!

I submitted this design for Spoonflower's Fireworks contest. Feel free to go vote for mine!

Jabberwocky - Cover

The idea behind the cover for Jabberwocky is that it should look like the hide of the beast itself. I reused some old leather, and made a pattern on the board that vaguely resembled some kind of reptile:

Once the leather was glued on it took quite a while to get the shapes to really come out, by pushing the leather into the gaps until they stood out. After that I painted the leather to make it look more monster-like, and then the pattern really came out:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Jabberwocky - The Last Words

Whoo! Done at last. The writing, anyway. The negative words turned out very well, I think. The paper is all torn up, and is now being pressed so it will hold it's form when it's on display. I've decided on the cover as well, it will be leather with a pattern underneath like reptile skin, so that it looks like it's made out of 'Jabberwock hide'.

Time: 1 hour

Saturday, July 2, 2011

ACSO patches

I'm stuck waiting for training to be an ACSO (Air Combat Systems Officer) in the CF, and therefore have a naked flight suit without any proper badges. However, they're going to be changing that soon, when we get an ACSO In Training patch! Or it's rumoured, at any rate, that they're going to hold a contest to design one. Which is good enough for me to start playing around with a few ideas on a lovely Saturday morning. The top one is my favourite, it's based on the t-shirt design I did for my platoon at basic.I finally fixed her head by tilting it back a little, which had always annoyed me. She's sitting on top of the ACSO (formerly Navigator) symbol, that we'll someday have on our wings. I used the same background and rivets as the t-shirt, keeping with the idea of 'nose art' as the inspiration. The phrase at the bottom is a play on the air force motto "Per Ardua Ad Astra" (Through Adversity to the Stars), changed to "Through Coffee to the Stars" because the running joke is, that, as we are just in make-work positions until our course starts, we do nothing but make other people coffee.

This patch is a bit of a joke based on the coffee idea. I took the Navigator wings and replaced them with a coffee pot, and the Star Wars reference is because 2LTs (Second Lieutenants, our rank until we're qualified) tend to get tasked to do all the crappy jobs no one else will.