Thursday, April 28, 2011

Step-By-Step Illustration, Part Deux & Final Art!

A commenter on the previous post asked about the blue tape... this was a wonderful recent discovery. It's blue house painter's tape. (I had to buy a second roll after husband stole the first one to paint our upstairs hallway. Note to self: hide art supplies!) I don't stretch my watercolor paper, as wetting and drying it too many times messes with the quality of pencil line, but sometimes it was a struggle to keep the paper from rippling. It wasn't a huge problem, but I figured there had to be a better way to keep the paper flat. Also, I wanted to keep the bleed edge neater, just because. Voilá, the painter's tape works great.

So, onward with the continuation of Part One...

6) Here, I'm continuing to build up the color and line, jumping back and forth between the two:

7) At this point I'm feeling better about the piece, and pretty sure it will work out. I'm also always making mental notes to myself about how I think it's going, and which part to work on next. Positive self talk is so important, especially when you have a nasty inner critic! The changes are more subtle from here on out:

8) Almost there. It's nice to have the luxury of time to take little breaks, in order to see a piece with fresh eyes. Color fatigue can be brutal on the ol' eyeballs! For this reason, I like to save final details for first thing in the morning:

9) And at last, the finished piece:

Many thanks to everyone who commented on the previous post. I really appreciate all the kind words! Now, back to the drawing board...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Step-By-Step Illustration, Part One

I adore when other artists do step-by-step demos of how they work. I usually forget to pick up the camera, or find that the verbal part of my brain has been temporarily suspended while painting, so it's too hard to talk about what I'm doing as I'm doing it. But I thought it was about time for a demo of my own. So, here goes...

1) Rough sketch (from my sketchbook, a few weeks ago). I was thinking about wind, and motion, and sunlight peeking through clouds, and a more muted, late-winter-into-spring color palette:

2) Sketch transferred very, very lightly in pencil via lightbox to watercolor paper. (Can you see it?):

3) Here, I've started drawing with colored pencil. I like to have the basic lines and textures on the page before starting the color:

4) I work in pencil and watercolor, and go back and forth between the two, building up layers of line and color. I've tried to make a piece go faster by laying the color down darker in the beginning, but that approach always seems to backfire. Either the texture doesn't build the way I want, or I panic and think I've wrecked the piece. Slower is better, in this case! Here's the beginning of the color, in a faint wash:

5) I try to build up the color as much as I can before going back to the pencil line. There's no real formula for this. Sometimes it's just a matter of being bored with one and wanting to go back to the other for a while:

At this point I'm still not really sure if the piece is going to work or not. I like to call this the "Ohmygawditsawful stage." Seriously, I can't count how many times I've gotten frustrated and started a piece over, only to go back to the original later on. I should really have "Keep Going!" tattooed onto my arm, because that's the only way to get through this stage. Sometimes a short nap, or my kids telling me to step away from the painting helps, too. (I've trained them well!)

Stay tuned for Part Deux, and the final art!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Charlotte Magazine Map

Here's a recent map for Charlotte Magazine. I love imagining the flavor and atmosphere of places I've never been to through working on these maps.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Office Assistants

This one prefers to hide out in the stacks all day long:

This one is fond of gnawing on pencils:

And this one has very little patience for revisions:

Sigh. So hard to find good help these days!