Category: Blog

Children’s Books and Conferences and Everything in Between (AKA a Quick Update)

Children’s Books and Conferences and Everything in Between (AKA a Quick Update)

The past two months have been filled with illustrations and people and opportunities. They have been wonderful and difficult, and my key phrase when talking about what I do is “right this minute…” because everything changes so fast.

So. Here is a quick overview of some of the things that happened over the past two months that have led up to what I am working on right this minute.

Character-A-Day

Shortly after my last blog post, I decided to develop some of my animal illustrations by drawing one of the characters every day and posting them on Instagram. I think I made it to day 40 before I missed one. Since then, I swing back and forth between being way ahead and way behind. Right this minute, I am slightly behind.

Three-Month Slump

Early in March, I hit the three-month mark in my endeavors as an illustrator, and I hit the three-month slump. I was discouraged and a bit lost as far as art and illustration was concerned.  Time to reevaluate and refocus.

March Writers’ and Illustrators’ Conference

At the end of March, I went to my first writers’ and illustrators’ conference. While the conference was small, the people were amazing and helpful, and… I’m going to another conference in August!

Right This Minute

My uncle’s book, Dora Visits Chloe, is my focus for the next month. My goal is to finish the illustrations by mid-May, and I feel good about that deadline so far.

Character-A-Day illustrations are less of a priority at the moment, but I hope to keep working on them now and again so that I don’t get too far behind.

I’m about to start the third draft of Granny Mouse Goes to Paris.

I’m working toward going to the conference hosted by the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in Charlotte in August.

 

That’s about all for now.

I need to get schedule together for this blog so that I don’t go so long between posts…

“You’ll Have the Stars Like Nobody Else…”

The Little Prince is one of my favorite books. If you haven’t read it, you should. I painted this last month, and it is, to date, one of my favorite pieces I have ever created.

“[Y]ou’ll have the stars like nobody else. …When you look up at the sky at night, since I’ll be living on one of them, since I’ll be laughing on one of them, for you it’ll be as if all the stars are laughing.” – The little prince

(The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupéry)

The Little Prince.jpg

“You’ll Have the Stars Like Nobody Else…” – acrylic painting

 

“Sentinel”

“Sentinel”

first-sketch
Note how I started so low on the page that I didn’t have room for the hooves…

 

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve already seen this piece. Multiple times, even. I don’t mean to be annoying. I am sorry. But I had so much fun drawing this that I just had to babble about it for a bit, so here goes.

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This is after the second sketch, when I was getting ready to start on the final illustration.

Just for a bit of context, I don’t draw mythical creatures or people. I don’t draw sci-fi themes things either, actually. Or at least, I didn’t until I started this drawing last week. I was scrolling through Pintrest, and I saw a cartoon of a centaur. Not sure why there was a centaur, but there it was, and I thought, “hey, I’ve never drawn a centaur or any other mythical creature/person/thing before (besides a few lousy attempts at dragons); I should try drawing one.” And I had been thinking of sci-fi, because I write sci-fi a good bit, and I was also thinking of a sci-fi show called Voltron: Legendary Defender, because season two premiers on Friday, so my brain connected sci-fi and centaurs. And then I couldn’t NOT draw one, so voila.

in-progress-b
I didn’t know what I was going to do for a background when I started this drawing, so I was terrified that I’d lose the 6+ hours I’d already spent on inking the centaur

Overall, I spent probably fifteen hours from initial sketches to  final illustration (it’s a rough estimate). I had planned to color the picture with a watercolor sketch style, but I’m glad I decided to leave it black and white. I started with two sketches and a inking test run, then used a 01 Micron Pigma liner for the final illustration. As for technique, I attempted some crosshatching (NOT my forte to be sure), and filled in the rest with various scribbles. I don’t do ink drawings often, but I used to draw very detailed pictures in graphite, so I’m familiar with drawing in grey scale. This style in general is not normal for me, but hey I really enjoyed trying something a little different.

As for story, I don’t really have one to go with this, but I have a feeling the centaur is about to confront the main character who was hiding in the grass, trying to sneak into the city. That’s all I have.

I’m thinking about starting a series of drawings related to this–taking other mythical creatures and putting them in sci-fi settings. Feel free to comment with any suggestions!

sci-fi-centaur-1-18-2017
“Sentinel”

Closeups:

Nakara Bane of Throgg

Nakara Bane of Throgg

So, one of the YouTubers I follow (Draw with Jazza) hosts an art challenge every month, and this month I decided to participate. The challenge was to take the sci-fi-esque axe that Jazza designed and give it a home or legend.

I don’t often draw armor or weapons, but after thinking about the prompt for a while, this image came to mind of a mother and her child. Nakara is the name I gave the axe, and Throgg is the bear. I didn’t get around to naming the woman and her child.

nakara-bane-of-throgg-sketckes

After five or six sketches, I was finally happy with the pose and perspective, and I attached my final sketch to my light box so I could use the sketch as a guide without having to bother with pencil lines on the final painting.

nakara-bane-of-throgg-sketckes2  nakara-bane-of-throgg-mid-painting

I used acrylic paint, but I thinned them so that the colors were semi-transparent and worked a bit like watercolors. I don’t work much with acrylics, so it was fun trying something a bit different.

The colors in the image below are a bit more accurate than those in the other photos.

nakara-bane-of-throgg

The anatomy is a bit off, and some of the colors are not exactly how I imagined, but overall, I’m quite please with the result.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you to all who have encouraged me and challenged me throughout the year.

Thank you to those who saw me through to graduation and wouldn’t let me drop out of college.

Thank you to those of you who follow my blog, Facebook page, or Instagram. Thank you to those of you who comment on my artwork and get excited about it with me. Thank you to everyone who has listened to me babble about my favorite art projects. Thank you for encouraging me to keep drawing and painting and creating.

Thank you to all who have listened to my big ideas–insane as they sometimes are–and are still willing to listen when a new one comes around. Thank you for listening to the wild ones, the impractical ones, the impossible ones, and for being there to cheer me on as I venture into plans that are way bigger than myself. Thank you to my more practical friends and family members who help me weed out the weaker big ideas, so that I can spend more time and energy on the ideas that I’m more suited for.

Thank you especially to my family and friends who remind me that being an artist in an important job. Thank you to my younger sister, who reminded me, “You can’t have culture without art.” Thank you to all who have helped me wrestle through what it means to be an artist, and how that reflects the nature of God. Thank you to all who reminded me that art can be an act of worship.

It’s hard to say what 2017 will hold. I’m a Big Ideas person, and have plans of all sorts, but over the past few years God has reminded me over and over that my plans are not always His plans, and His plans are always so much greater and so much better than anything I could have thought up on my own.

I’m looking forward to seeing the opportunities and challenges God will drop in my path this year. It’s bound to be an adventure 🙂

The Crooked Pink House, Charleston, SC

The Crooked Pink House, Charleston, SC

I don’t have much experience drawing buildings. I guess I never really thought about it until I painted a village for a friend and discovered that perspective and lines are a heap more complicated than I imagined. In theory, I know how to draw architecture. In practice, not so much.

So, as I am pursuing a career in illustrating, I figured I ought to draw buildings. So I watched a bunch of YouTube videos on perspective (if you’re interested in checking those out, let me know, and I can send you a list of them) and I found a class on urban sketching on Skillshare, and voila! Here is my project for the class.

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I’m really pleased with the outcome, and I even enjoyed the process. I love the style used in the class, and I think I’ll try to work more with it in the future. Eventually, I’d love to do 3-D buildings in a similar style.

 

Below, I included the sketch and line work. I used a lightbox (my new favorite art tool) so I could trace the sketch from my sketchbook onto watercolor paper.

img_20161216_214145153                             img_20161216_220841

Quick update on my artistic projects

Quick update on my artistic projects

My window is open and I’m listening to the gentle, steady  rain. Rainy days are often the best days for me as far as creativity goes, which is good, as I have several projects I’m working on today.

First, I’ve been working on my sci-fi novel, which, I’ve discovered, is promising to be a huge book. I’m hoping to get the first draft finished in the next few months (hopefully sometime March-ish), but I have about 120,000 words left to write (no, that’s not a typo).

Second, I’m currently drawing sketches for my second book illustration project! My uncle asked me to help him with his fifth children’s book, and I’m so, so excited.

Third, I recently started yet another illustrating project (this is the news I’ve been hinting at for the past week). This is something I’m doing by myself, so I may not be able to work on it overly much in the near future, but I’m going to announce it anyway. I’m creating concept sketches for my series idea, The Adventures of Mr. Mouse. I’m already considering changing it to The Adventures of Miss Mouse. Nothing is set in stone yet. I could do both. The point is, the first book (manuscript and illustrations) is in progress.

I’m also finishing up all artwork I’ve promised friends and family members over the past couple of years… The goal is to finish them all before January.

For simplicity’s sake, many of my updates will be on Instagram and Facebook, but I won’t abandon my blog entirely 🙂

(About the picture: That little guy’s no bigger than my thumb. I used a ballpoint pen for the outline and colored it with alcohol -based markers. Apparently those don’t get along well, as the outline bled a bit.)