Monday, October 29, 2012

10.29.12 Process...

Hey there!
I've had another very productive week, which is fabulous!
  This week I had the urge to make this image of Rapunzel/Rampien, whatever you want to call her.  Off and on--mostly off-- I've been illustrating images from fairy tales.  Since I grew up reading Grimm's and Hans Christian Anderson, I have a lot of those images in my head--this one really wanted to come out so I said, Fine! Let's DO this.
  I decided, this week, to focus on showing you my process so I actually saved this piece at crucial points in to show you step-by-step how I work.  I could go a lot into Northern and Southern Italian Renaissance Painting styles here but I won't because I talk about art history too much.  I'll just say this about my process: I am a planner and by the time I actually start drawing the final image, I've drawn that image at least 3-5 times before. Sometimes many times more--but the more often you draw something, the better and faster you do it!  Just like the Northern Italian Renaissance Painters, by the time my "brush" hits the "Canvas" I know where everything will go and what it will look like when it is finished.
  Here is an idea of what I'm talking about:
This is the original sketch in my sketchbook.  It's a small thumbnail, only about 3 inches by 2 inches. Sometimes these are so small and scribbly that I'm the only one who can tell what is going on. I liked this image so I decided to move forward with it.

The next thing I did was blow the sketch up and use it as a guide to draw this "study".  I usually don't clean my lines up much more than this unless it is something very intricate.  I like to think of the inked lines as the "muscular structure," if you will, and this study-drawing as more of a "skeleton," I suppose.  That would make the final top-image, the "skin," of course.

After I've moved past the sketching/planning phase of the process, I begin the execution part of the process.  To me, these next few steps here are pretty brainless because all of the planning is already done, I can basically go into auto-pilot from this point on--until I get to the more detailed coloring, of course.  Here's the next couple of steps:

These are the final inked lines.  I decided to be very minimal with the lines, as far as difference in thickness, and let the color do all the work  in creating depth.  In the end you won't really be seeing these lines all that much.  But I love the hair!  Love it!!

Here's the part right before I start coloring the black lines.  I'm sure you agree that these blacks lines are harsh and flattening.  Ugh.  Gotta get rid of that....

So that's the end of the part where I don't have to think.  From this point on is like painting only without have to make a huge mess and spend all day mixing paint to get the shade just right.  Digital painting is vastly superior to the real thing: cleaner, faster, brighter, more forgiving--less wasteful, too!!! It's the whole package, really.  Well, here is the final image (or about 98% final, anyway..)

I love this image.  It's exactly what I saw in my head--so much so it's uncanny.  
I spent a ridiculously long time on that hair.  I'm not going to tell you how long, but there was definitely a point when I asked myself if this was it?  am I going to quit?  Then I said NO--I will conquer this hair!!  And then I did, end of story.
   There is a ton-A TON-of symbolism in this image.  I would tell you what it all means, but that would ruin the mystery for you, wouldn't it?  If you look and and pay attention I'm sure you'll at least pick up on 1 or 2 of the hidden messages.
  Well, I hope you've enjoyed this peak into my process.  I enjoy ..... processing?  hmmm, that sounds a little weird.  Well, I'm off to go "process" another thing into this world.  My work never ends.
 (I wouldn't like it any other way, though!)
Thanks for visiting!
See you next week

Monday, October 22, 2012

10.22.12 Another day, another drawing

Hey, out there!

Welcome back to my studio!
  I have had another very productive week, which makes me oh so happy!
I worked more on "Hero's Journey" and, so, I have more pages to show you that are fully colored--lucky you!  This time I'm posting them next to their inked lines because, as you may be aware, I love to see the difference the color makes.

Page 4

Page 5

"Hero's Journey" is coming along nicely, very smoothly.  I am very happy with the overall look of the book and I can't wait to get to the meatier parts.  Speaking of that, I have more scripting to do...

Also, sometimes, I draw just for fun, just to relax or loosen up before I start something bigger.  When I'm just doing some free-form art I tend to draw faces and animals.  ... just like the cavemen ... hmmmm....Well, I'm a big fan of the really early Geometric-style,  pre-Hellenistic Greek pottery.  I know that's a lot of words and I'm not trying to sound pretentious but sometimes that's hard when you are talking about Art History.  The point is, I love how they stylized the animals then and that's been a huge a influence in how I've simplified animals, stylistically, in my work.  Here's some idea of that, mostly in the bird and the bunny.

I'm always happy when a spider shows up--they are good luck...for artists anyway.

I also love fairy tales and folk lore of all kinds so when I'm drawing just for fun, guess what I gravitate to?  I was thinking a lot about the story of Rapunzel:

I liked the sketch so much I decided to finish it, so I put the final study up next  to it.  I just made an illustration of Rapunzel for the last coloring book I did but that was a comedy and I've always thought of Rapunzel as a very sad, sad story, so I felt unresolved at the end of that one.  Now, I've gotten the real Rapunzel image out of my head and I'll be sleeping better now.
  I will have the finished colors up next week--promise!

Well, thanks for stopping by the studio!  I'm off to talk a nice long walk by the River to enjoy Minneapolis in the Autumn! (it's going to be winter so soon.)
 Have fun out there in the world!

Monday, October 15, 2012

10.15.12 Rabbits and Hyper-Intelligent Squirrels...also a wedding!

Hey there, out there in world!
I am back from a super fun trip to NYC and CT to be a bridesmaid at my big sis's wedding--the MOST fun I've had since last year when I was a bridesmaid at my twin sis's wedding.  What can I say?  We know how to have fun.
  But did you think all that excitement and dancing would stop me from drawing?  Are you crazy?!  My passion burns with the intensity of a thousand suns gone Nova!  (I wish I was joking about that sometimes...)  I actually got so much work done I amazed myself!  But most of what I was doing was writing and I'm not going to post my script, obviously, but I will post some of the sketches that have come out of it and I'll tell you a bit about the story--just enough to make you want more...
  Some of you out there who have known me for a very long time know that I've had this idea for a long time:  Rabbit St. Cloud, her hyper-intelligent squirrels and the Dystopic-Utopia they create "together."   But it wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that the final pieces fell into place.
 Sometimes inspiration comes when you are least expecting it.  For example, I was recently sucked into a conversation that I didn't want to have about entropy and since then I've been obsessing over the concept (don't get me started, okay, because there's a novel's worth of things I have to say about that!)  but suddenly, amid all this thinking, I realized that this was the over-arching, central theme of Rabbit's story:  is there a purpose to life or is this all there is?  I don't think I'll be getting that answer anytime soon so I'll just make a comic about it! There are a lot of other morals and twists, of course--this is an EPIC tale--but, really, this is the main point of the story.
 Oh wait--there's also zombies in this story and they have hot-pink glowing blood. You know you want it :-P
 I wrote out the entire plot layout in a day!!  No, that doesn't normally happen and yes, it was really fun.  I love this story and I can't wait to share it with all of you but unfortunately comics and stories, in general, take a lot of time and work to bring into this world so you will have to be patient, like me, and let it unfold as it will--also it's 2nd in line to Hero's Journey... I'm not so patient so I'll be drawing it really fast when the time comes. :)  Also, until I start full-on working on it, this will be the most of Rabbit you will see.....

I know this looks like the White House but it isn't.  This was my first vision of Rabbit's estate.  It's based on American monuments, which means it will have a Grecian  theme with a little twist of Egypt to the architecture--but the inside is Rococo which will make a lot of sense (if you know your Art History)  when the story starts to unfold.
Rabbit St. Cloud is definitely not the most trustworthy person.  I think of her a lot like post-plague Justinian, or  a little bit toned-down Old Tiberius--only if they were really convinced they had good intentions, that is.
 Do you NOT know who I'm talking about?  Jeez, study up on your Roman Emperors....though, technically, Justinian was Byzantine....Still counts as Rome in my opinion.  The point is, she has a creepy, thousand-yard stare I'm trying to get down.  I'm close.  so close!
I know these squirrels look really cute and you may be thinking  "I wish I had some cute little squirrels that would give me all the answers and direct my career to its acme....sigh..."  All I have to say to that is this:  don't listen to a word they say!!  If they even start talking, it's already too late for you.

I hope the Rococo elements are coming through in this super-rough sketch--this is Rabbit's office.  It's her throne room, her sanctuary and she has this giant window she can survey her lands through.  She's a bit like Yertle the Turtle in that way. She also has a super ornate and amazing skylight which is not pictured here.

And here are the real stars of the story:  The insidious and hyper-intelligent  mutated squirrels: 6-Legs, 2-Heads and 2-Tails.  6-Legs is the ring leader of the gang.  I can't wait to show you them in color--they are pink, orange and green.  But the pink one is a boy so take that, society, and your dumb gender/color associations!!

I'm so excited about this story but don't worry, I'm still focused on "Hero's Journey" because that one has a lot of forward momentum right now.  But Rabbit St. Cloud is the next in line and by the time I will sit down to actually produce pages for it, it will come out really fast because everything is already laid out.  See how that works?  Foresight.

Well, thanks, again, for visiting the little internet extension to my studio!  Be by next week for more fun times.  I will leave you with this picture of me flying in Times Square because I love it!  I love Times Square and I love Broadway and this pic captures just how I feel every time I'm there!  I know, I'm such a cliche but  I can't be super original in every single little way--that's just exhausting.  And look, the Lion King is right there and on the other side that you can't see is the Disney Store so I'm positioned perfectly in the square to be surrounded by Disney!

Well, I've exhausted myself this week and I need a nap. That's how I know I've been a good artist. :-)
 Here I come, sleepy-times--I earned you!
Till next week!

Monday, October 8, 2012

10.08.12 Hero's Journey

Hello there, out in the world!
I am about to leave for a trip to NYC--WOOT!!! but before I catch my cab I decided to add these new images for Hero's Journey to my blog for you--I know, I'm so thoughtful!

Here are some conceptual images--more to come, of course:

This, above, is obviously Hero.  The pink roses represent his earnest and pure passion for life.  This is when he just sets out so he's not too sure about things, yet.

 This is Sayid Kilik, Hero's sidekick.  He is one of my most favorite characters and here he is playing Mozart's "Magic Flute" on his own magic flute....but just between you and me, it's not really magic.
This is "Orehn", the shadow self character.  He seems cranky, and he is, but he's an alright guy....but just wait, okay, because things get a little weird towards the end!       

I promised you that I would share the process for the first 9 pages and I will not forget that promise.  Here are pages 2 and 3.  Why not page 1, you ask?  The answer is that I'm redoing that page and adding a couple of aspect to aspect shots that will introduce the surrounding countryside more effectively.  Trust me, it'll be way better when that way.

Here are the colors, preliminary and may possibly be tweaked or changed, but I'm very happy with them thus far:

Page 2

Page 3

 Well, after one very productive and inspiring week I must sign off and take a break as I go off to have an amazing time in NYC.  There's also my sister's wedding and that will be fun but I'm going to see "Chicago" on Broadway and I have a really cute skirt for that and I'm really excited! YAY!  The wedding will be fun, too. :-)  Well, on that note, it's time get going.  I hope you enjoy Hero's Journey, as always please contact with any comments or questions! More work next week--but probably only sketches because I'll be traveling.

Monday, October 1, 2012

10.01.12 Where did the summer go??

Well, the summer is over and I didn't have a chance to post!  That is because I was insanely busy working on 2 coloring books and a set of Posters for the Columbia Children's Theatre and The Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis.  I wasn't allowed to post much until now so here are my favorites from the coloring books.  The first are Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

This is an image for Pinocchio.  I had no idea how dark that story was and I have to say... I like it a lot better now that I know.

 What illustrator doesn't want to draw Alice?  How lucky am I?  This one is getting colored and going up on my wall.  The first of many. (:

It's obviously a treat for any illustrator to work with such classic characters and these were such so much fun, I saved them for last in order of production.  These next illustrations were also quite fun  but  a bit more of a challenge.  I wanted to keep the Seussian elements as clear as possible without losing my own style...not quite as easy as you'd think but the results are quite pleasing:

So now on to the biggest challenge of this project which is to take an original script and, with no input from anything or anyone else, completely design a look for the characters, the set and the feel of the show.  Also, keep in mind that this is a musical and all I to work with was the lyrics, no music!  A daunting task?  Perhaps, but creating whole worlds and populating them with myriad complex societies is something I like to do for fun so, of course, this is a perfect challenge for me.  "The Buccaneers" opened at The Children's Theatre in Minneapolis on Sept. 11, 2012 and runs til Oct. 21, 2012--if you are in the Minneapolis area you should check it out!  After seeing the play, I must say that I captured the feeling of it quite well, especially considering how little I had to work with, so if you like this image then you will LOVE that play!

So, now on to the posters.  I decided to show you the final colored image right next to the black and white because I love the difference the color makes.  It's almost a completely different image!  (Color Theory, I love you!)
 Who, who has known and loved a child, has not read "Goodnight Moon?"  
I have it memorized--surprised?-- and, needless to say, I was very happy to work on this one.  
People who know me can tell you I'm not a very "pink" girl and  I have never made anything this pink in my life!  But I'm not afraid of a challenge and I feel certain that conquered that color. 

"Rapunzel".... I think it's pretty obvious how much fun I had with the hair.
"A Year With Frog and Toad" is one of my very favorite plays!

And yes, there are more but you will have to check out Columbia Children's Theatre's website and Facebook page if you want to see the what is coming out next!

Well, as you can see I've had a very busy and very fun summer that flew right by.  I can't wait to work on this project again next year!  Also, my website is going through a major over-haul this month and will return much better than before the following month.  You'll just have to hold tight til then.
Stay posted for new "Hero's Journey" art.....