first of the year.
I guess this really is my first finished painting/artwork of 2021; not counting the Kickstarter group projects. I wanted to start the year off with a smaller piece, before I get underway with a painting I’ve had my mind on for a while. Hopefully, the next piece will have more improvements on anatomy and hair. Speaking of, hair…the struggle. I’ve been looking through as many watercolour tutorials as possible for painting hair in this medium. I’ve grown to dislike the way I’ve painted hair these last few months; mainly the way the strands fall, making it a bit more cartoony/’anime-y’ (for lack of a better word). I don’t know though, the verdict’s still out on this one. It may turn out that I don’t like too much realism after all.
a closer look.
I’ve been getting better at reminding myself to take more progress shots. Honestly, it’s probably one of the reasons I haven’t attempted any more Youtube videos. I mean kudos to all the art Youtubers out there, but having to constantly pull out my camera is a chore in itself; not to mention having to be pulled out of the moment to record every stage. X__X
As usual I started with a drawing on tracing paper, although you’ll notice I didn’t add the flowers. Sometimes with more simpler design details, I’ll go in directly to the watercolour paper. The drawing isn’t really meant to be ‘finished’, just the line-work (the simpler the better) so I can graphite-transfer it onto the paper. I’ve learnt the hard way that detailed line-work combined with the tooth of even hotpress paper, tends to warp the transferred drawing you get. So the solution for myself anyways, is to keep the initial process simple and add details in before painting. I’ve also stopped printing my line-art/drawing, as I used to for transferring drawings. Personally, I haven’t been finding the need to waste more paper; just using sharp pencil over the tracing paper drawing works fine. I’ll usually scan the drawing before I get started on tracing with graphite, so as to preserve all the lines I originally had for reference.
washes and paint | work in progress.
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post. I’ll have the original painting up on the Shop section sometime at the end of the week, and prints should be up by the time this blog post goes live. Take care everyone!
Well ok technically I don’t use an easel for my watercolour paintings (or drawings), I’ve resorted to just a Masonite board propped against the table and on top of my thighs at this point. 💁♀️ Small studio spaces.
I hope I’m not giving you all whiplash with the amount of times I’ve changed the look of this site; truth be told, it’s not looking how I want it to yet. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday and a good start to the year. I wanted to start off by saying thank you for all the support in 2020, whether it was here on the site, Instagram, or through orders on the Etsy Shop. It’s been amazing to see people supporting smaller businesses/artists like myself during this time, and we’re all beyond grateful.
I briefly talked about the Woven Path Tarot months ago, and I am able to share a few more glimpses at the progress of my part of the project. I’ll link an Instagram hashtag here if you’re interested in seeing other cards from all other participating artists. There has been a slight delay, but the project will be coming to Kickstarter later on this year from Changeling Artist Collective.
If you haven’t already guessed, I’ll be illustrating Death. Going into this project I was vaguely familiar with Tarot, and so doing the initial research and learning about the Death card in particular was fascinating. The meanings, history, and symbolism associated with each card is a really interesting topic to look into if you have some spare time. If nothing else, the artwork associated with every variant deck that have come out over the years is worth the exploration. Be sure to follow Changeling Artist for all the updates going forward, and we hope you will support us on Kickstarter once the project goes live.
A piece that has been in the works since a couple months back and is now finished waiting to be evaluated, is another Kickstarter project; this time a magical collection in the form of an artbook by SPIRIDON. If you haven’t already, you have until January 18th to submit your entries for CODEX OBSCURUS. You have talents like that of Bastien Deharme and Karla Ortiz just to name a few in this artbook, so you can tell why I’m especially excited for this one. There isn’t much of the final artwork I can share yet (should it be included in the final product), but here is a little sneak peek until then.
Drawing Without Reference
Going into this year I really wanted to improve the way I drew faces and proportions. Most important of all I wanted to be able to see said improvements when not working with any references. I was noticing the loss of creativity that I had an abundance of, when I used to create art in the early days of middle & high school. Back then I was doing more of a manga/anime style work, however I had much more creative ideas come through in terms of design.
A really good article that caught my eye earlier this year was The Danger of Reference by Jesper Ejsing via. Muddy Colors (A website you should be following if you’re interested in acquiring a wealth of knowledge from artists in the industry). It was something that I had gotten too comfortable with, and something I hadn’t even noticed or thought about until I read Jesper’s article. I had indeed created a safety blanket for myself over these last couple years, relying heavily on references for all my work in every stage. Although there isn’t anything inherently wrong with this process (most artists require references at many stages of their work), there is a danger of killing creativity if you don’t step outside the technical once in a while. This reliance on references came from an insecurity of my own skills as an artist, and of course comparison to the masters in the fantasy art and illustration industry.
So at the end of September, as sort of a spur of the moment thing, I decided to do a painting in which I would draw a face without the help of any reference material. …Confession, I did give up on the hands 😅; something I have yet to master in terms of structure/shape. I am pleased I was able to come up with a face, composition and design at least. Small steps.
August has just flown by for me. It started out rather slow, and then ideas kept piling up and now I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. 😯 While I get into finishing up some newer pieces, I thought I’d share some sketchbook drawings from this month. I’ve been trying out the Strathmore Drawing Sketchbook, and it’s quite fantastic I have to say.
New Project, Kickstarter Collab.
I’m excited to also share that I’ll be joining a roster of very talented artists in illustrating part of a Tarot Deck from Changeling Artist Collective. Guesses as to which card I’ll be illustrating? 🤭 The project will be coming to Kickstarter in 2021, so make sure you follow CAC on Instagram as well to keep up to date. Here’s a little sneak peek at what I’m working on.
I’ve made the switch to hot-press paper. Having conversations with other artists and looking at their process, it was time to switch over and give this paper a try. I think I’ll always prefer cold-press; the texture and depth of colours you can achieve is much more satisfactory, but alas the scanning results in my opinion are rarely so for displaying work online (especially for more illustrative pieces).
Stock piling and clutter in both art and life is not something I’m keen on. Something I’ve had to reconsider during this pandemic. Luckily I had enough supplies until shops opened up again, but what I didn’t have on hand was hot-press paper. A month back, the only shop that had any in stock here in Toronto was Deserres. 4-5 ‘misroutes’ with Canpar, emails & phone-calls back and forth with both companies, and I finally had my paper arrive in a bent cardboard box. …I don’t know if I was more surprised at having received my shipment at all, or that the paper had somehow survived with minimal damage. Yay to Canadian postal service. 👍😑
New Vision for Ventress
I chose to test out Fabriano’s Artistico Hot-Press Watercolour Paper. I would suggest everyone do a little test run before starting a new piece, but seeing as I didn’t follow my own advice it seems a tad bit hypocritical to say so. 😅 After success with this paper and seeing that it wasn’t a waste of money, I’m eager to try out Arches‘ (pricier) paper as well. I had little to no warp with this one, although I’m suspicious of my 3m masking tape playing a part as well. I don’t put down a lot of heavy wet washes either, so I can’t say what the result would be for those of you who like to do so. Again, do your tests!
I suppose it’s no surprise I’m doing another Star Wars related piece. With the last season of The Clone Wars finished and looking forward to both Season 2 of The Mandalorian and The Bad Batch, my head is constantly buzzing with ideas for artwork. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Dave Filoni to continue the stories of SW Rebels characters, and that of Ventress in future animated projects. I had hoped to see more of her life after serving the Sith and her new missions as a bounty hunter; even more interactions with Boba’s team perhaps.
Keeping the bounty hunter theme in mind, I wanted to soften Asajj’s look by giving her hair again (drawing on the flashbacks of her lavender hair as a child), as well as changing her usual Sith attire to more of a civilian one. Taking liberties of course from the original art & design, I played around with additional Sith corruption marks and tried to include references to her Dathomirian heritage with things like beaded necklaces, and of course some elements of witchcraft & necromancy. This was a fun little side project to work on, although personally it’s always nerve-raking to mess around with original visions of any series.
As a promise to myself to improve my figure drawing, (the male form in particular), I was surprisingly satisfied by the end of this piece. My current displeasure with my work was that there was something off about how my figures in my watercolour paintings were looking. There was a flatness that I didn’t really like, and really wanted to improve on. Therefore I went back to the basics with graphite. Obviously a much more forgiving medium, it gave me the chance to really analyze what I was missing in how I presented the male/female form in my work; taking a slower pace, and building up each layer with shadows, highlights & textures. I think the next step will be to play around with much more dramatic lighting to add more dimension to faces and figures.
It was also really fun to play around with some of the graphite shavings/residue I had saved from sharpening my pencils. So do save them if you sharpen your tools with a blade! 🙂 Although scanners don’t do a very good job at picking up the subtleties in traditional work, I hope you can at least see the attempt to create more solid black planes. I’ve wanted to incorporate this technique for a while now, without using black paper or ink washes. Although easily created (as seen in the halo), there will inevitably be a visible texture no matter how dark the graphite. So this technique was quite interesting to try out, as well as figuring out whether I like graphite better on white or tan-toned paper. The verdict’s still out on than one.