Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Illustration Friday - Winter

This week's word for the 'Illustration Friday' challenge was "Winter."  It seems an appropriate word for the wintry weather we've been having here in Indiana.  Christmas eve brought us another inch of snow on top of the six inches that were already on the ground.  The snow is beautiful, but it does make getting out and about a bit of a chore. One of those things that has become more difficult is walking the dog. Our dog, Poppy, doesn't seem to mind the snow, but for some reason, when there is snow on the ground she tends to pull harder on her leash, walk faster and zig-zag back and forth. I think the snow must somehow change the way the scents linger on the ground.  Either they're better preserved and she's getting a smell overload, or they are dampened down and she is having trouble picking up their trail.

One thing that she doesn't have trouble spotting or sniffing out are the squirrels and we have them all over our neighborhood and in the nearby park.  Whenever she sees one, she slows to a stop and stares for a moment before she slowly and stealthily begins to stalk it. If the squirrel makes a dash for a tree, then Poppy will lunge after it dragging me along with her. Because I witness this repeated on nearly every walk, I decided to do a comic scene of a dog chasing a squirrel down a snowy mountainside, only this squirrel has the advantage of being on skis.

I made several sketches before I arrived at something I was at all happy with.  I had trouble getting the squirrel the way I wanted him.  The first attempt didn't even look very squirrel like. He looked like some sort of a cat / squirrel mutant hybrid.

The next squirrel was better, but he appeared to be going to much off to the side.

Here is the final sketch that I ended up working from. The main difference is that I brought the squirrel over more toward the center and opened up his legs more and made his skis point toward one another.  I still wasn't 100 percent happy with him, but I had already spent more time than I wanted on it, so this one is what I went with.

Here is a screen shot where I'm working on the fur texture on his face. The image was created in Corel Painter and I primarily used the gouache brushes, a few of the chalks and pastels for texture along with some of the sponges. In the final stage, I added some detail with a leaky pen brush.

The background was heavily influenced by a background I saw in a "Casper the Friendly Ghost" cartoon which I had recently watched (yes, I still watch cartoons!).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

After the Holiday Sale

It's hard to believe that another Christmas has come and gone.  In childhood, Christmas always seems such a long way off, as an adult, Christmases seem to come and go at the speed of light. You take down the tree and put away the ornaments and it feels like only a month or two has gone by before you find yourself taking them out again to decorate a new tree.  But the purpose of this posting wasn't to get nostalgic, it was to make an announcement: my Etsy shop is having its very first after Christmas SALE!

Today, through Tuesday, December 28th, enter AFTERXMAS15 and you'll receive a 15% discount off of my already low prices.  I've added a lot of new items over the past two weeks and I'm continuing to add more, so if you haven't yet visited my shop, this would be a great time to take a peek.  Treat yourself to a signed print, a glass tile necklace, a refrigerator magnet or one of the other many whimsical items that I have created. Below are just a few of the items currently for sale in my shop (note: the watermark that appears on the images of some of the prints, does not appear on the actual, printed artwork that I am selling).
Fairy and Rabbit Scrabble Tile Necklace
Cat and Rabbit Friendship Necklace

Orange Butterfly Glass Tile Necklace

Dog Stickers

Lepus the Great Hare Signed Print
The Night Hunt Signed Print

Burning Man Signed Print

Pavo the Peacock Signed Print

Polymer Clay Ant Fridge Magnet

Monday, December 20, 2010

Illustration Friday - Mail

It's been a while since I've had time to do a posting, but now that I'm feeling a little more caught up, I can post my latest entry for Illustration Friday. This week's word is 'Mail.' The holiday season creates a heavier work load for a lot of people, but only a few of those people have to do that extra work out in the rain, sleet and snow. Your neighborhood post-person is one of those people. Even in this era of email, when fewer people are mailing Christmas cards, there are still lots of packages to deliver. When I read the email with this week's word, I had just returned from the post office and had waited in line for close to half an hour, so the mail service was on my mind. So this is my tribute to those men and women who make sure that the mail gets through in all kinds of weather.

In my first sketch, the mailman looked a bit too much like Bob Cratchit in "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol," which I had just finished watching before I made this sketch, so I revised it and made him into a slightly older man with a mustache and white hair.

Here is the cleaned up and revised sketch.

After finalizing my sketch, I placed it into a new Adobe Illustrator file and began to trace the shapes. You can see the start of that process in this screen shot.

Here is the illustrator file with all of the original colors in place.  When I got to this stage, I exported the file as a photoshop file (.psd) and then opened that file in Photoshop, where I ran the layers through some 'Mister Retro' distressing filters to give the colors a more vintage feel. I also added a hue/saturation adjustment layer where I changed the colors to give it a colder, more wintry look.

I then re-opened the file in Painter where I put in some of the line details using a leaky pen brush and some snow texture using some of Painter's chalk and pastel brushes.

After saving the file again as a .psd file, I re-opened it one more time in Photoshop where I ran it through a 'Machine Wash,' filter to give the snow and sky a more scuffed texture.  I also decided to crop the image. I'm having a hard time deciding which I like better - this final cropped version, or the version just proceeding it? Comments are always appreciated!

Friday, December 03, 2010

What I've Been Up To

I haven't had time to do a regular blog posting in a while because I'm getting ready to be part of a local gift fair. This will be my first time as a vendor at a fair, so I'm not quite sure what to expect. I'm making lots of stuff though so I hope it's well attended. Here are a few quick pictures I took of a few of the things I've been working on.

Here, I'm getting ready to make some bottle-cap magnets.
These images are being glued to glass tiles and will be turned into pendants and magnets.
 My cluttered work table.
A basket full of prints of some of my illustration work, all ready to go.
Dog-tag necklaces.
These images are attached to scrabble tiles and will be turned into pendants. They just need to have the pendant bails glued to them.

I will also be selling bookmarks, polymer clay jewelry, stickers, greeting cards and a few stuffed animals that I made.

One of the greeting card designs I will be selling.

One of the laminated bookmarks I will have for sale. This one is part of a dog series that I did, each with a different dog related quote. This one is a quote by Edith Wharton.