fantasy illustration, fonts, people, simple photoshop, step by step, how to, thoughts behind the work

Farmers: An American Experience

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This started out as a pencil doodle.  When I brought it into photoshop, I adjusted the levels to make the greys of the pencil as dark as I could, and the lights as white as I could. This gave me a little template to build the digital painting on.

There is a lot of painting involved here and a lot of colors and brushwork too.  It took a long time.  I am learning to navigate through my Wacom tablet which saves a lot of time. Learning shortcuts is amazing. I wanted the wife to have pears on her dress but they are not joyous colors.  Because of the situation farmers find themselves in, nothing here is joyous.  I hope their expressions reveal what is going on in their lives.

I usually don’t do political drawings but I thought I would have a little fun with this.  It was pretty easy choosing an appropriate font for a title.  I called it An American Experience because there was a PBS series with this name for a long time.  It was a documentary series about cultural phenomena. This font is Goudy Stout.  I love the name and think it’s sounds exactly what it looks like.

My favorite part of this piece are the two types of bodies.  She is a plump pear and he is a skinny dude.  They make a perfect couple that we see in real life just about every day.  Regarding the coloring; my favorite part is his blue jeans.  When jeans get old and worn, they look kind of yellowish/grey sometimes.  There are many layers and tones of the colors on everything here, and I sing the praise of “multiply” brush effects.  It adds so much depth and dimension, as it picks up the colors underneath with every stroke.

An additional treat is that it was saved for web as a png file and therefore it can be printed transparently on to different fabrics.  This piece ended up looking great on lots of textile products and it really surprised me.

Here is what it looks like on a grey sweatshirt product

alphabet, fantasy illustration, fonts, Holidays, Illustrations, kids, Odd Little Stories, scratchboard drawing, simple photoshop, thoughts behind the work

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary with text

mary,mary,garden-th-web

From the nursery rhyme the 1st paragraph of Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary is illustrated here. This painting is a digital drawing and painting of my own idea. I have tried to use colors and text that engage a nostalgic mood. Mary, Mary was quite the contrary miss, I think.

What started out as a cool idea and something nice to do on a quiet Sunday ended up being a 6 hour project….from the idea to the photoshop drawing and painting to the addition of text.  I made 2 versions, one with text and one without.  I ended up only listing the one version with text online.

What can I say except I love drawing like this and playing with text.  When I moved from the U.S. I left all my fabulous books and films behind.  For 40+ years, I had collected “primers” which in my collection, dated back to the 1880’s.

They were old beautiful books that I treasured and cherished. Primers were children’s elementary readers.  Heads up on this one.  The vocabulary, language in general was very sophisticated and advanced.  I had a 5th grade reader which was equivalent to what would now be 1st year high school.  There was no photography and dot printing had not been invented yet.  So all the art was line art only.  That is where I learned the fundamentals of drawing in grey scale by not using grey scale but using line art and the idea that drawing was an optical illusion.  The width of the lines conveyed the tonal values.  That led to my 30 years of drawing in scratchboard. I drew for over 25 years only in black and white and I am not ashamed to say it.  I also learned about scale from primers.  Think about this:  Convey a mountain with a few people on top of it…don’t forget to include the clouds, the weather, the country, etc etc .then ask yourself if it conveys a mood as well as giving all that info?  The  storyboard was alive at the turn of the century for sure.  All the rules and success of animation are in the old primers.

All of these principles have basically never changed.  You become a better artist when you learn digital media because basically art is science.  Photoshop and Illustrator are basically science and math is your friend.  After one month of working hard and trying to remember my old skills, they are coming back.  Now that I have the desire to use typography, this is just another icing on the cake.

Here is a product with this 100% digital art.

 

fantasy illustration, fonts, Illustrations, kids, Odd Little Stories, simple photoshop, thoughts behind the work

Pumpkin House Home Sweet Home

pumpkin-house-HSH-web-th

A sweet fairy has a new home.  She dances for joy at the warm light coming from her big pumpkin abode.  Her dress is in tatters and her hair is a mess, but she now has her very own pumpkin.  You can continue to make more chapters to this story.  This is a happy ending for this little gal.  It is a watercolor I did some time ago and it has been forgotten until now.

I used a font called Worstveld Sling…this is the italic version.  I love the simplicity.  It
is very legible and all I did was add an additional stroke.  I laid it on the bottom half of the painting but it was getting lost in some places.  So I made a new transparent layer and tinted some areas with the soft yellow to eliminate the visual clutter.  This took a little time to finish the touch ups on this piece because the edge was kind of raggedy.  I smoothed it over a little with a soft brush of orange to tie the pieces together.  I erased the white background around the border because I wanted the transparency to reveal the cool jagged edge of the painting which I think is very appealing.  I did not want it on a white border.  When  you print on textile, it is very preferable to use the PNG format, so that way you can also put it on different colors of fabrics.

I would like to see this art on a baby’s outfit.  I think that could work.  I am happy with this as I think it’s a good fit of text and subject.  I think this could easily become a story.  Of course, now that I look back it is somewhat autobiographical.  Did you know there are fairies living under logs and in abandoned bird nests?

Here it is on a onesie

alphabet, fantasy illustration, fonts, thoughts behind the work

Going big with small art

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This is a small scratchboard that I drew a long time ago as a commission for someone’s wedding anniversary.  It seemed funny and goofy at the time.   I’m using it as an exercise here in working with the text.  I put it against a big black frame and used the new font I just purchased called Nauticus Script Bold.  It just seemed to fit the subject.  I think this works and I’m getting encouraged again.  So maybe I won’t quit exploring text.

I love the way the spaces seem to work together.  It is intriguing.  The words are a pun on “your wish is my command”.  My eye keeps going back and forth between the very even spacial treatment in my command to the wider spacing in your kiss.  I did not adjust the kerning.  I need to think about this more.

The very big image is a new bold try for me.  Here it is on a product.

 

 

alphabet, fantasy illustration, fonts, Illustrations, kids, Pen and Ink Drawing

Hammock Lazy Days of Summer

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Hopefully, the last version!

I have revised this sketch so many times and I can’t even stop myself.  chuckle, chuckle.  Sorry folks, I am working hard to get to the next step with my drawings and marketing efforts.  I have thought this over for quite a while and last night I decided this alphabet and text series is not for public taste.  It’s not that people don’t actually like this kind of thing, but I think it’s a non-fit for this on-line store venue.  I can see this idea fitting ….where?  Right now I don’t know but I have all the psd files and I can use them at any time.

Being an artist is hard enough but when you go through a deep learning curve, it is nerve-racking.  I am driven to find a solution to this little dilemma and I am confident an answer will put up its weary head and I will end up smiling.  Every day I am learning and every day new doors open. Moving to Mexico has given me the opportunity to work for as many hours per day as I want to without being distracted by life’s problems.  I love it here and celebrate that I can finally draw, paint and click to the world what is going on in my brain.

I have always walked two paths for as long as I can with my art.  Many have told me I am a traditional painter trying to fit into a commercial world.  YES!  They are correct. I guess I like too many things and want to explore too much.

here’s the link to see the latest version of this drawing.

This is the revision of the first hammock sketch I did using the word “Rest”.  I actually changed a lot of things.  I think it’s much better and it is over-all a lot lighter than the old green version.  So your comments are appreciated and I am listening.  I am trying to be super simple but maintain personality.

Here is the first version using a lot of greens and the text is much heavier in the first version.  I like the new above version much  better.   Comments appreciated.

hammock-web.
the 1st version

 

alphabet, fantasy illustration, fonts, Illustrations, kids, Pen and Ink Drawing, simple photoshop

A Hammock rests here

hammock-web.

She was reading but my bet is she won’t finish this book and very soon it will gently fall to the ground.  She is looking pretty relaxed with her pet rabbit on her shoulder.  I had a pet rabbit once in Pittsburgh, PA.   This little pen and ink sketch done with black ink on white watercolor paper dates back a few years when I was contemplating writing an alphabet book.  I am sure I had slated it to be H for Hammock but, since I’ve been putting images on kids t-shirts I’m opting for the word “Rest”.  I have a feeling moms would like to rest so I did this for them.  They could think about a little rest when they dress the baby or child.

The font is Lieb Doni and I hope people find it appropriate.  When it comes to fonts, there are so many ways to go and so many choices, it can get confusing. I colored this digitally with my Wacom Intuos Pro tablet and pen in photoshop CS6.  I need to practice using brushes again…it’s been a really long time.   I love using the big brushes and keeping the opacity always somewhere from 30 to 50%.  I’d rather build up layers of transparent color.  I love painting this way.  It is very relaxing.  I think all the black strokes around the hammock are making the whole image a little dark.

I would appreciate comments and critiques.  That’s what I am using the blog for.

Here is the link to purchase.