Friday, December 31, 2010

Second try at digital painting in Photoshop

2010 has been a year of experimenting for me and it's been a real struggle. I know it's necessary, but I miss knowing exactly how to solve a given illustration problem. I can still do it like I used to, but I feel I'm moving in a new direction with my work. I am enjoying the ride for the most part, though.

I 'm working on a snowman collection and this guy is one of the sketches. I thought a snowman would be a simple subject for trying out digital painting. I tend to jump right into a BIG project before I've experimented on a smaller scale. Overall, I'm happy with this guy, though I still feel the pull to try again with paint and color pencil. I just realized that I forgot his scarf!

I'm afraid this new digital direction is going to cost me some serious money if I'm not careful. Can you say CS5 and Cintiq? Yikes!

I want to thank all of you who read this blog from the bottom of my heart! Your comments help fuel my creativity and hope. I have a lot planned for 2011 and hope to share it with you here in this space. Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sketchbook Project — Winter & Some Golf

The Sketchbook Project is coming to a close in a couple of weeks. It'll be a mad dash to finish it up. I hope to fill several pages with some collage and some prints of illos I've colored using sketches from the book. Crossing my fingers that'll I'll make the deadline.

After being hit with lots of sickness around here, I'm happy that my family and I are healthy. My husband feels like he's coming down with something, but we're ignoring it in hopes it will go away. He's out playing golf right now, so I think it's working.

My husband is obsessed with golf. He plays whenever he can and watches it on TV every weekend. He records the PGA Tour, The Champions Tour, and the LPGA. I kid you not. He never does anything halfway. My hope is that the boys someday get into it so they can all go together (and I can stay home and paint for 5 uninterrupted hours!).

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!! I guess I need to finish decorating, wrapping, cleaning!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!! Thank you for following my blog this year!

I've been experimenting with digital painting lately. I made this illo into a Christmas one using a color pencil brush in Photoshop. It still needs some work, but overall, I'm happy with it.

 This is an elf from Christmas past. I made him out from a pattern when I was a teenager. He's a little bedraggled, but still loved.

This little Stanley reminds me of when my 13 year old was a preschooler. Good memories! We have a tradition in my family in which each kid receives an ornament each year. We date and initial the back so that when they grow up and have their own tree, they take all the ornaments they've collected over the years.

This is an ornament that belonged to my grandparents. 

This is the stocking my mom made for me when I was a teenager. 
My youngest uses this one. He's all about color!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Who let the dogs out?

After a week and a half forced hiatus from walking, Cody and I got to walk the trail today. It's still Fall here as you can see. My front yard looks like a leaf bomb went off and with rain coming, it'll only get worse.

Here are Cody and his walking buddies. It would have been a funnier picture if you could see us trying to get them to stay long enough to get the shot. Cody is the little guy wearing the red jacket. Thanks Corina for taking the picture!

This is a sneak preview of my first digitally painted piece. I painted with acrylics then scanned it and painted over the base in Photoshop. Not my favorite way of working, but it's a good skill to have.

I'm posting about our favorite Christmas books next.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sketchbook Project — Reindeer

I'm so excited about some of the sketches in my Sketchbook Project. So many new illos to color!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sketchbook Project — Skiing Penguin

We had a record amount of snow in the Sierras this last week. Wish I could have gone skiing. This little fellow did get to hit the slopes, though. As you can see, I've hit the halfway mark on my Sketchbook Project. If I keep doing 2 page spreads, I should be able to finish by the deadline. Yay!

In CyberMonday news, I'm have a 20% off sale in my Etsy shop with the coupon code Thanx10 and on my Collage Portraits, so now's the  time to shop!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! 
I hope your holiday is full of warmth, love, and way too much food!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sketchbook Project — Bunnies on the Brain

My poor sketchbook has been sadly neglected lately. I was busy on a project and had no time for it. The project was cancelled, so now I have time. If you look closely, you can see the next page I'm working on. It's more seasonally appropriate than bunnies.

We did a lot of celebrating over here this weekend. My in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and my oldest turned 13. In other news, my 9 year old son has discovered girls. More specifically, a belly dancer. You can see the appreciation in his face.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Kiyon!!!

I can't believe that my little boy is  turning 13. How did this happen? He was just a teeny weeny baby yesterday! One thing that has never changed is his deep love of chocolate and his love of ice cream. We joke that his freckles are made of chocolate.

He is the best big brother…ever and we love him so.

I hope this is your best year yet. I so enjoy catching glimpses of the man you are becoming.

Happy Birthday!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm still here

This is a banner I designed for the school & church's Holiday Boutique. It's so fun to see my work so big! I'd really love to see my art on garden flags. Working on it!

This is the original art that I modified to fit the banner's dimensions.

We've been visiting different high schools trying to figure out the best fit for my soon-to-be-teenager. He saw a student's English project which had a few clay soldiers in it and that was all it took to generate hours of fun. He and his brother worked on these all Sunday afternoon. He wanted me to make sure you knew that one, they're not finished (I think he's planning on painting them), and two, that he made them, not me. He became concerned that I put my name and copyright on the photo. I told him that was just because I took the photo. Glad to see he's aware of his rights ;-)


We're really busy with various activities and work around here. The pressure can be crushing (pun intended). This is actually how I feel lately. Disclaimer: No children were harmed in the making of this photo.

The crushed one, pictured above, has been drawing up a storm lately. He's been working his way through copying Pokeman drawings. He learned shading by the age old method of copying. No worries, I explained copyright law to him. If I missed anything, I'm sure his big brother will fill him in. Recently, he has branched into creating his own robots. If he keeps going at this rate, he'll be better than me in no time.  I wish I had his focus. Did I mention he's only nine?

That's all for now. I'm working on a big project that I can't talk about, unfortunately.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Illustration Friday & Sketchbook Project — First Kiss Illustration in Color

First the kiss, then the flowers Afterwards. You may remember this from my Sketchbook Project. I've been wanting to make it into a full color illustration ever since I finished the sketch. I purposely used a limited palette on this one. This illo was colored with my usual Caran d'ache watercolor pencils on toned paper, clipped and collaged using Dioma Paper Textures in Photoshop.

This print is now available in my shop.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Checking In

Sorry for being MIA, but there's a lot going on behind the scenes. Some I'll be able to show soon, others later. I had to include a picture, so I took one of the newest member of my studio 'staff' — Woody. We cleaned out a few, and I'm sad to say, very few, toys from my son's room. I couldn't let go of Woody, so he's my new pal. He's seated next to Mr. Frog and a collage portrait of my mom's dog.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sketchbook Project — Unwrapped

I couldn't resist posting just one more halloween pic. I have more in my regular sketchbook, but I'll save them for next year. I got some wonderful collection inspiration from all of this spooky sketching.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sketchbook Project — Frank E. Stein

I managed to squeeze one more Halloween sketch into my trusty sketchbook. Happy Halloween to you all! I hope it involves lots of chocolate!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sketchbook Project — The Mummy & Some Tea

I am so happy that I joined the Sketchbook Project! It's really helping me with the practice and pure enjoyment of drawing! It was the best decision.

I'm loving this little mummy guy and his cat!

I'm a hardcore iced tea drinker even when it's freezing outside. No wonder I'm always cold! I do like hot tea, but I rarely drink it. It's just not as satisfying as iced tea. I like it black with a touch of lemon and absolutely no sugar or sweetener of any kid. I run from herbal teas!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sketchbook Project — Pumpkins

Not your average pumpkins.

Five days left to order your very own 8x10 Semi Custom Collage Portrait for only $50! That's almost 50% off!!! There are only 10 slots available for this awesome price!

Monday, October 25, 2010

From sketchbook to finished art

This piece is part of what I'm calling my Boy Series. My son pointed out to me that I'm always drawing girls, so I've made it a point to draw more boys this year. My Racing Boy is another one from this series.

This is the sketch from my Sketchbook Project.

This was the perfect piece to experiment more with these matte acrylic paints from my friend Tracy Bishop. They're Jo Sonja's Artists' Colours. They have a nice tooth to them when they're dry. It's a great surface for my color pencils.

For the boy, the dog, and the boat, I worked as I usually do on toned paper with Caran d'Ache watercolor pencils. I painted in the blue around the boat so that I could get the glow around them just right. This also made it much easier to assemble everything in Photoshop without having to create an accurate clipping path around the image. I saved a lot of time this way and it looks more natural.

Here's what the water looked like before I colored over it. I wanted more punch to the color, so I ended up using Caran d'Ache Neocolor II Watersoluble crayons. I used them over the entire background. In the sky, I used a damp brush to blend the colors for a smooth look. For the water I left them dry.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Illustration Friday — Racing

I just couldn't pass posting this illo again for this week's Illustration Friday theme. He's just right for it!

There's still time to get this Spidery Trick or Treat bag that I designed. I've ordered one for each of my kids and I'm so excited about it for two reasons: #1-Well, I designed it! and #2-This is a much better option to the plastic pumpkins or pillow cases we've used on previous Halloweens. You can buy your own here.

I've also made this beautiful fall print available in my Etsy shop

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sketchbook Project — Ice Cream Man

Just a random bit of silliness inspired by my oldest, ice cream loving son.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sketchbook Project — Witchy

A little Halloween sketch in my Sketch Book Project. Being a witch was my favorite costume as a kid.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's raining so it must be Fall!

Fall is my favorite season and pumpkins are my favorite thing to paint. I just love pumpkins! This is a painting I made many years ago and it has been hanging in my house ever since. I've just listed a print of it in my Etsy shop. It's the perfect image of Fall! 

FYI: I'm so excited that it's raining. Don't remind me that part of my roof isn't covered. I'm sure it'll be ok, right?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sketchbook Project — Sailing

This one was inspired by Joy Steuerwald's 'Where the Wild Things Are' piece over on Sketchables. I liked the ideas of all that water. I also like to do night scenes. I'm keeping with my fast and loose edict in my sketchbook, but this one did take a little more time. It's been awhile since I did a finished pencil drawing like this. Even so, it's not as finished as I used to do them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ladybug Magazine

Here's my work in the October issue of Ladybug magazine! I have always wanted to be in on of the Carus magazines! They are such beautiful, high quality magazines.

Photo by Angela Matteson

My Twitter friend, Angela Matteson, sent me this photo. I hadn't even seen it yet. So happy!!!


Here's a close up of the grasshoppers. You may remember the other grasshoppers I did here.
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