step by step, how to, thoughts behind the work

Old watercolor palettes

quiller-wheel1

Cleaning up one of my old, old Quiller watercolor palettes. After all these years I decide how much I still love colors by Blockx and Marimeri Blu. Soon it will be time to shop for new paints. Tomorrow I will photograph the 2 new palettes I bought. ONe is rugged and small for plein air.

Ajijic, people, step by step, how to, street scenes

Marketplace seller, WIP

This woman is a weaver and she was sitting in a dark corner of the marketplace.  The sun shone through the archways of the Mexico town plaza.  The cobblestone streets are a maze of patterns and colors.  Piece by piece, she is coming together.  I will add some cast shadows and some detailed drawing elements to help define her more.

This is large, a full sheet watercolor.  When you get away from working big, it is scarey to  pick it up again.  This painting will help me re-discover my old self, when I painted big all the time.

The pallette is my full plastic stephen quiller pallette, now a good 15 or 20 years old.  When I grow up, I will get the porcelain studio pallette.

fantasy illustration, Illustrations, Revising Old Work, simple photoshop, step by step, how to, thoughts behind the work

Corn Fairy’s Nightly Run

corn-fairy.revised-web

What can I say.  I am working hard trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work in photoshop digital painting.  I’m still getting layers mixed up and even though I am still scrambled eggs about it, I am so happy to have learned a new thingy in this one.  I found an old abstract painting and brought it in as a background and tilted it, blew it up, changed the levels a lot until I got a nice contrast between the background and my sweet fairy.  With that as a positive, the negative is that I feel I lost an opportunity to paint the corn as it should look in moonlight.  The same can be said about miss fairy herself, although I like her weird hair with the red maple leaves all over it.  I won’t do that again  though because I don’t think it worked.  When you add something and it looks added and is not inspiring, it will always be a dead issue and is better off left dead.  But alas, every time I paint one of these, I get a little closer to getting the concept.

corn-fairy-old wc

This is the old corn fairy from 2005.  I like the idea but I am surely not there yet. All in all, this is the better work but I will meet the challenge of reviving it.  It is always good to save your work.  It is much more rewarding to revise your own stuff that to just grab something off the web.  I love the corn in this and the corn colors. I also think her skin tones are pretty cool.  I may try this whole thing again at some later date.

abstract-milky way-th

Here is the abstract big watercolor.  I changed so much of it –changed the levels and saturation in photoshop.  See if you can guess which little section of this I used and manipulated.  The original painting is misty and washed out just as it looks here because I washed and tried to scrub out what I had painted a long time ago.  Because I used Arches 140lb. cold press, I could not get it all out.  Now I am so happy about that because I can use this artwork for so many digital applications now.  How cool is that?  The other option is that I could paint over it but I think that would ruin it.  So I will leave it as it is: a hidden treasure.

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

Farmers: An American Experience

farmers-pencil-sketchfarmers-full-text-th

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

dogs, horses, cats, fantasy illustration, Illustrations, kids, simple photoshop, step by step, how to, thoughts behind the work

My Orchid Kitty

cat-orchid-web

This kitty is covered in orchids.  I had orchids sitting in front of me from my patio garden  and I drew the simple outline of kitty, added wings, a little bird and some fun and not so ordinary color palette.  Then I drew abstract fragments of the flowers on his body.  The little bird ended up having one of his wings looking like another bird facing in the opposite direction. a perk from heaven.

The font is Gigi.  I got the color just by going down a few shades darker than the orchid flower on the color wheel.  The whole drawing was done in photoshop with a few simple brushes.  lots of layers: orig. scanned art, outline, coloring, text, and a white layer in there to be able to see what it finally                                                                                            would look like.

I love getting comments.  Let me know what you think: either about this revision series or any comments on the art are appreciated.

cat-orchid-web

 

alphabet, dogs, horses, cats, fonts, Illustrations, kids, simple photoshop, step by step, how to, thoughts behind the work

You’re On a Roll

youre-on-a-roll-web

When it comes to humor, everybody has an opinion.  The world revolves around people putting opinions of  other people’s creative work into a niche.  Critics enjoy this because they can sit outside and look at it and not be threatened as they are only observers and not the creators.   The truth is, corny or not, people laugh at puns and somebody always will–so let’s move on.  What’s the fuss about all this?

Well, this was an idea I had and was reluctant to proceed because it is a classic “pun” or “play on words”.    My thought was to put a baby in the hot dog bun and draw that.  I got cold feet.  So I did this instead.  Call me a coward but I’m trying to put fonts and images together as a self-motivated interest and I’m trying to stay true to my goal.  That’s my newest M O, so for the sake of being a little more traditional and not wanting to offend anybody, here’s the newest drawing.
I sketched the hot dog in the bun with a ball point pen and scanned it in greyscale. Then opened it in photoshop and painted it in with a few semi-transparent shades of various colors, making a layer for each major item: hot dog, bun, and of course the text.  Did the same for the little dog.  For me, drawing simply like this in photoshop is super easy and very rewarding.  When it was completed, I saved it as a psd file and then removed the background and saved it as a png. Then I combined all the artwork layers.  I am sure this is not the preferred method, but I just plow ahead and do whatever works.  When I grow up, I want to be able to use AI and know what I’m doing.  After years of PSD, I just keep trying and keep learning.  I hope to learn one new thing every day.

When I studied graphic design in college, I drew in AI all the time and was never intimidated. I remembered putting images on to a thumb drive and then bringing them to a professional printer and staring in awe and these gorgeous glossy huge prints spit out my artwork.  I was in love.  Now after all these years, the program is scaring me.  But Adobe is  making improvements that certainly make it more intuitive.  I will continue to plow ahead in the hopes my memory comes back and I can learn new things.

The wonderful font is Hansel  Texture and I think it’s great.  I will be using it more I hope but this is the first time.  I am keeping all these images super simple and super big.  I like seeing them big on t-shirts and I like seeing them on kids’ onesies too.  That’s where I’m at and wow, how fun would it be to see this on adult onesies, if there were such a thing.

Here’s the art on some stuff.

animals, Illustrations, interior design, Pen and Ink Drawing, step by step, how to, thoughts behind the work

Rabbit and company, still life, color and black and white illustrations

 

 

This process is really long and tedious.  I don’t understand why I am making so much work for myself….except, I started with this idea and I can’t break the mold now. When you have high resolution images, bottom line is that it is what you need to publish your work.

I first do a pen and ink with fine line nib on to bristol paper, which is great for detail.   If I am happy with that, then I transfer that drawing to a heavy watercolor paper.  I am using my 12″x16″ light table to make the transfer.  I am doing this with a thicker nib and heavy emphasis lines are darkened to balance the amount of black on the page.

Then I scan the b&w into a large scanner and upload the b&w to my online store.  When I have the new darker black and white on watercolor paper, I paint it.  The composition defines whether or not I leave a lot of background white in the image or paint it in.

I have been playing with gouache and my usual clear watercolors, which is either Winsor and Newton or Maimeri Blue.  Why do this complex process?  I have learned a lot by this process.  It is remarkable how if you discipline yourself, you can accomplish a lot.  These drawings are giving me a lot of pleasure.  I can’t wait to get to a place when I can assemble them into some kind of storyboard book.

I studied this book building and illustrating in 1988 with Uri
Schulevitz but here I am now, so many years later, actually stepping into scary waters with a style that is actually the first one I adopted such a long time ago.  I discipline myself to doing 3 things every day, studying Spanish, working on the treadmill and drawing and/or painting.  I actually am very satisfied doing these activities.

I hope people will enjoy what I have to say.  My story really never changes.  It’s only the way of telling it that is new.

You can find my art here.