Thursday, January 31, 2008

"And Now..."

..."for something..." well, you know the rest. This is a logo/character design done for COOL RASCAL QUARTER HORSES. The client wanted a very cool-looking anthrop caricature of his stallion "Rascal," so hence the relaxed pose and the sunglasses :-). (apologies for the huge watermark...this work hasn't been officially released yet, so I have to protect it.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bluebirds and Primroses...linework

Oh my, that's a LOT of lines. It took 5 minutes to rasterize in Photoshop. But oh, the joy of clean lines!!! I love vectors :-)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bluebirds and Primrose...Sketch

I know birds have been "magically" appearing on my blog, with no explanation on how they got here, so I thought I'd post a rough sketch. I always find a lot of reference for the birds and flowers, and look for photos that are as close to the final positioning I want. Then I do several studies and thumbnails to get the shapes of the birds, and also to figure out the framing. I look at a lot of art nouveau posters for inspiration for the framing. Mostly it's Mucha (because I have Ye Giant Book o' Mucha, "Alphonse Mucha: The Spirit of Art Nouveau"), but I've been finding others to add to my scrap file.

So they're getting a spot more complicated, but I was unhappy with the shocking lack of flowers in the earlier birdies. This sketch is for Eastern Bluebirds and Mexican Primroses...probably a mother's day, birthday, grandma, Easter kind of card.

Next step is to do all the linework in Illustrator, and then paint it in Photoshop. This one might take a long time...:-)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Valentine's Birdies

I'm learning more about card how essential it is to have WORDS on your cards, so that it makes it painfully (sometimes) obvious who or what the card is for. The site I currently have my cards on ( profiles each card to make it easier to market to the right people. As a result, many of the "artists" on that site have a ton of the same graphic, just with different salutations. I don't really like that whole approach, although I have 3 versions of the chickadee card, 3 version of the goldfinch, etc. ("happy mother's day!" "happy easter!" "happy birthday!"). Anyway, the difference between those cards and this one is that this latest I made with the specific intention of adding type. Kinda's fun to break up the space with swoopy-shapes (technical name) and make the whole thing feel a bit more like an advertisement from the 19teens. Type plays a big part in those old lithos, so it's something I'd like to keep adding into my cards.

Anyway, here are some LOVEBIRDS a la V-Day :-).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Birdie #4

Hooray Chickadee! I think the next 4 will be ducks.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Birdie #3

Hooray for BlueJay! I'm trying a different order of operations...paint first, outline after. I think I might try doing one in watercolor and then scanning it and outlining. So what is the NEXT birdie???

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Birdie Card #2

Round 2. I'm learning so much about Illustrator! I'm just going to keep doing these until I get about eight...eight should fill up that cafe nicely :-).

Friday, January 18, 2008

Goldfinch Final

So here's the final of the Art Nouveau goldfinch. The texture techniques make a HUGE difference, and I think I'll explore a few more in the next couple birdies I do. Do you think this image needs type? What should it say? --L

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Birdie Comps

Here's something new I'm working on--the original sketch, and the color comp, with a little work on the thistle. I'm a little unsure about the process I'm using (the computer), since I want it to have that nice, old lithograph feel...but I'm not sure how to get that. I think I may end up printing it out and going all Barron on it. It's got a LONG ways to go still...I need to vary the lineweight, and color some lines. I don't mind switching back and forth between Illustrator and Photoshop, but I think a little more planning could have helped. I wanted to do this in watercolor, but I couldn't figure out how to get those perfectly crisp lines. I may end up starting this over, and doing something like tracing the line design onto watercolor paper and painting it, then scanning that in and lay the linework over the top. Anything to keep it from feeling too slick! More later...I'm doing a series of these... --L


Ok, so I fiddled a little in the 'Shop, and came up with this, in terms of aging. I'm trying to mimic some things I see in lithograph prints (Steinlen, and various others), and definitely need to study them a bit more, and really disect, but I tried a couple things and it's already looking SO much better. I put a scanned brown paper over the top, which gave it some nice texture, added noise, and fiddled with a spray-can type of brush for shading and aging certain areas. I didn't change anything about the original color comp image, but it's already looking better, even in this very rough stage. Woot!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Beginnings of a Line...More Shirts

Here are two more rockclimbing t-shirts I busted out today. I like them all so far...they're all different. I've got several more ideas that I think I will spend the next couple days working up, and getting on the web, and then I think I may start to talk to people (Touchstone, and maybe posting a flyer at PG) about getting them in real shops. I'm also always looking for new and better ways to promote my stuff a la Internet--I don't seem to be very good at it!--so if any of you have any ideas on how I can do this better, please leave comments! And if, by chance, you want to buy one of these shirts, CLICK HERE...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Shirt Design

I thought I'd branch out into designing t-shirt for the purpose of climbing, since it's something I love to do, and I'm the geeky kind of person who wears a climbing-themed shirt to actually climb in. This one isn't specific to climbing...but anyone who climbs knows that Bishop is one of the best bouldering areas in the USA (and the world!). I like the whole vintage-70s-sunset feel, and typography you find on old t-shirts, so I thought I'd give it a try. I have some other ideas for ClimberWear, but I need my own gear (currently in someone else's car) to start on those. So! If you like climbing, and love Bishop, and need a custom t-shirt to get all sweaty and dirty in, CLICK HERE AND SUPPORT A STARVING ARTIST/CLIMBER!. --L

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Better Mary - Progress

I worked on her upper half tonight. I can't quite figure out her right arm. I changed the color of the sleeves, which I like, but it's so dark where the right sleeve meets her bodice, that I'm worried it all merges into one blob, and she looks like a hunchback (as my illustrious artist mother pointed out when her sleeves were just red blobs). Perhaps some defining detail will help, like pearls or trim, etc.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Study ~ Round 2

So here are a few more that definitely do look a lot more like me. And yes, that is a turbie-twist on my head :-). It's not that I'm trying to make a detailed study of myself...I'm just trying to get better at drawing features, even if they are the same features every time. I'm doing better with eye size, but now they're too close together, so that's the next thing I need to remedy. I think I'm going to run off and do quick sketches of random folks in photos, trying to imagine they are real people and not photographs. At least I will be studying things I may run into when drawing at Faires--glasses, beards, braids, wrinkles, oh my!

Sunday, January 06, 2008


These more or less look like me. I was alarmed at how long it took me to correctly draw Mary's face in the painting I was working on yesterday, so I decided I best get some "real" practice in before the time comes when I need to draw people "for real!" Self-portraits are such great things, since you've always got a cooperative model, but if you draw yourself TOO much, everybody else you draw starts to look like you too. It's because you learn to draw your nose perfectly, and it becomes your symbol for nose, and all noses everafter are more or less your nose. I suppose the fix for this is to draw OTHER people, but I don't have any handy right now. My other problem is that I draw my eyeballs entirely TOO big. I happen to have big eyes, but not THAT big...I blame it on cartooning :-). I've been studying Sargent, and noticed how simply he sketches in the eyes...just a few lines, really...and also how small they are. The big eye problem goes back to symbolism...the eyes are the most important parts of our faces--it's where most of our attention goes (or should be going!)--so we tend to draw them larger because they seem more important in our minds. Our society puts a lot of emphasis on the beauty of big eyes, as well. At any rate, some things to work on. I'll need to shanghi some people into sitting for me so I can a) practice on not-me people, and b) get some examples for the upcoming Faires.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Better Mary

Well, my ambitious equestrian portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots, hath been scrapped, in favor of something more intimate. I'm still going for the storytelling, but with a more contained space. And hey, better reference too! I like this very much so far (which is essential if I am to keep working on it), and will post more in-progress images as I go.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Mary, Queen of Scots - In and On Progress

Here is an in-progress painting I'm working on for my Faire stock. I'm trying to develop scenes instead of just portraits--stories, instead of just pictures of people. It was strongly suggested that I do something Mary for the upcoming Calaveras Faire (and subsequently every Celtic/Scottish faire after), so this scene of Mary on horseback popped into my head. I haven't found very good reference for the drape of skirts from a sidesaddle, so I may give it up and drape the skirt the way it falls when a lady rides can't see the legs either way, and they both look pretty, so we'll see.

These in-progress images show the initial sketch, and then the color lay-in. This painting is going to take me a LONG TIME, I think, to get right, since in terms of lighting, it's not a controlled environment. I need to pay particular attention to where the sun is, what shadows are cast, and how the mist effects everything. I have a pretty good image in my head, but I will need a lot more reference in order to get things right.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Fahionista Exp.

I scanned in some papers I had laying around, and am planning to experiment with them. I suppose this could count as the first collagey-scrapbooky-designy experimenty-thingy. I tried the pile-more-on technique to see if I liked it, and this is what I came up with :-).

Christmas Sketches...

Here are some lazy dog sketches I did over Christmas. These are my parents' dogs, Rosie and Tosh...such cute and pretty labradors! They never really sat still for long, except after they'd been hunting and were tired :-).