flora and fauna, Illustrations, Nature, Odd Little Stories

California Live Oak Tree, WIP

oak tree.web.wip

This new drawing and is part of a new way of working for me.  I am in the process of writing a story and want it illustrate it.  It takes place in California under a big live oak tree.  There are animal characters that will be placed under this tree.  The big difference about this drawing is that it is completely digital.  I am still pretty overwhelmed with the digital process because I am doing everything from scratch.  I am working on my Wacom Cintiq every day, and every day the environment gets a little easier.

By far the layers and brushes successfully keep me somewhat mystified and even though I am not new to photoshop, I am new to the amazing number of choices I have to work with on the Cintiq.  The tablet is still huge at 24″ and I am slow because I have to process the thoughts of how and where to find things on the interface.  Which of the new brushes do I use and deciding which colors.   Nothing is coming quickly and easily.  But today I feel I successfully captured the light of the California landscape here.

So at the end of today’s session, I merged all my layers into this one piece.  The next time I will add a new layer and that will be the beginning of the animals that I will be placing in the landscape.  I don’t know how I will figure out how to capture the specific point of view I am looking for.  But for now, I am happy.

 

Ajijic, Odd Little Stories, Places, thoughts behind the work

Early Days of Wire Collecting in Mexico

  • metalscraps.hook
  • metalscraps.boxmetalscraps.3metalscraps.2metal scraps.1

When I first arrived in Mexico I did a hell of a lot of walking.  I walked every day, up and down steep hills, and over broken streets with potholes and cobblestones.

When  you do this kind of walking, it’s very important to look down.  If you don’t look down, and look at the surroundings all the time, surely you will stumble and fall.  I believe the majority of seniors here walk with canes.  I walk with a cane now too but only when I’m going to wild places and very old parts of town like Ajijic.  |My vertigo has gotten much better as I work at it all the time.  The sidewalks are extremely narrow as are many of the roads.  The cobblestones are worn and bumpy and some stones are popping up, which can catch you off guard if you foolishly wear sandals instead of good walking shoes.

The most dangerous part aside from crossing streets is my depth perception problem.  I have a hard time trying to judge the distance from the sidewalk to the street.  Sometimes it can be very steep and that is really hard if you don’t have a cane; especially with a week leg, or if both legs are not strong.

When I moved to San Antonio my life got immediately better.  Before my infamous tumble when I injured by knee, I used to collect wires I found in the streets.  There is always lots of construction going on around here.  People are building all the time.  When construction is in full swing, the combination of chain link fencing, cement trucks, flatbed trucks of bricks and wire towers seem to be everywhere you look.

The vehicles run over everything and smash anything soft into the cobblestones, changing the poor victims into unrecognizable shapes.  Wires are my favorite things.  Although I dearly love the disappearing metal soup and soda can lids.  I find them pretty nice when they are rusted into oblivion and are full of holes, leaving them wafer thin like some sort of ancient ceremonial disc.

When wires are run over many times, it really improve their shape when the cement trucks do their damage.  I got to the point where I was actually looking for them. I just could not help myself from this new compulsion.  That can be dangerous.  I’ve had lovely friends collect some for me too.  They have left them for me on my patio table.  How fun is that?  I have kept these smashed treasures  from my travels and someday I will create a few works of art from them.  Until that day, I want to catalog my precious collection here so I won’t forget my early days in this amazing place.

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

animals, flora and fauna, Illustrations, Odd Little Stories, thoughts behind the work

I love the Forest with deer

deer-LUV-forest-web

I’ve seen lots of deer in the forest because I lived in the northwest for a long time.  How can you describe them except to say they are very sweet and can win you over.  Although I remember many mornings shaking a string of empty soda cans at them to make as much noise as I could to chase them away from my flowers and plants.  They always won and grabbed some nibbles before they fled.

Or when driving down a main street, a mom with her twins would come out of the woods suddenly and very slowly cross the street.  They understood traffic and I swear they knew stop signs. The only really dangerous  part is when they would try to cross a main highway from the woods to get to the cool riverbank.  All  you could do is slow down and pray they make it.

check out my online store to see this little guy on various products

animals, fantasy illustration, Illustrations, Odd Little Stories, thoughts behind the work

Cat clouds good night

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Have you ever lost something and found it a long time later? Well, here’s one cat I remember drawing way back in 2004.  I found this little guy in a zip file that somehow got saved from disaster.  So I know he’s not very well drawn but this art came at a time in my life when I almost died.  I was recovering from major surgery and was trying to remember who I was as I had lost a lot of my memory.

I remember sitting in a little travel trailer and painting these little cats by the hundreds. I painted some on wood and some on paper. Most were just simple watercolors no bigger than 6 square inches.  I did some on scratchboard too.   Some survived.  They helped me clear my head, get my bearings and be optimistic for the future.  I love cats and this therapy did work.

Eventually a lot of my memory came back but I still don’t know what day or month it is most of the time.  My friends are very patient with me.

Here is the little guy on some products.

Odd Little Stories, thoughts behind the work

Remodeled work station

remodel work station

I redid my work station with Mike’s help. I am very grateful. I am almost there. In any case, writing and drawing will be much easier now. I haven’t been able to use my Wacom Intuos 4 in a few years. Moving to Mexico will knock the wind out of you. I even am using the monitor I brought here from Washington in a suitcase, praying all the way that it would not break. Now at last my world is coming together.

In celebration, I wrote a little story and am breaking through to incorporating my drawings and stories together.

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