Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Arisia and Art Books



It has been a very busy couple of weeks with a lot of good news. Let's start with a couple of announcements:

I'm very excited to announce that the Inspired by ArtOrder challenge book is finally available for pre-order! Check it out here: http://www.theartorder.com/blog/inspiredartbook



Some of the amazing art in the book: left to right: Rebecca Yanovskaya, Wylie Beckert, Marc Scheff, Jon Picacio, Tara Larsen Chang, Kristina Carroll

I can't tell you how excited I am for this book. Not only is it a stunning group of artists and stories, Jon Schindehette did an exquisite job of putting it together. It's a very limited run- so don't miss out!

Speaking of books: I am honored to announce that I had three pieces accepted into the 3rd annual Infected By Art Book!

Leviathan
Charcoal 18 x 24

House of Leaves
Charcoal 18 x 24

Intelligent Design
Oil 6 x 6


There are so many wonderful artists in this and the judges for this annual were several people I have a great deal of admiration for, so it felt extra wonderful to get into this book. Thank you!

Also,  I had the pleasure of showing work in the Arisia Art Show this past week and had a great experience.  My good friend Lee Moyer was the Artist Guest of Honor and so it was extra great to get to see so much of his work (he had over 100 pieces in the show!) and catch up a bit with him.  But the good news doesn't stop there. I arrived at the show on Saturday to find a few surprised on my art: 



That's TWO awards! Frog Queen's Revenge won the Chairman's Choice award  and Dragonslayer Artist Guest of Honor award. (Lee had to run it by the committee. It's a common problem within this community, I think, as so many of us know each other already) 

And if that weren't enough, Dragonslayer found a new home with artist Max Martelli! (who had some lovely Lovecraftian pieces on the panel next to me) I was sort of sad to see it go as this is one of my favorite pieces but glad it has  found a new home with someone who enjoys it!

Max taking Dragonslayer home with him
So thank you Arisia, for being such an enjoyable experience! I will be doing Boskone's art show as well next month, so here's hoping for another good run! 

Finally: February is just around the corner which means, you guessed it, the 3rd annual Month of Love challenge! 


  
We have a shiny new website and an all-star roster of artists this year. Click on the banner to see what's new and how YOU can join.

Ok- that's all for now. Check back soon for more art and news!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Henneth Annûn Guard - Lord of the Rings card game

Henneth Annûn Guard
for the Celebrimbor's Secret adventure pack
Digital
Doing card art is always an exercise in patience and changing taste. When it can take nearly a year for an image to be released, that's a lot of time to fall out of love with the art for any number of reasons.  Still, this piece I did for the Lord of the Rings card game was a lot of fun to work on and there is still a lot I like about it. So I unearthed some of my process to share!

One thing I enjoy about working with Zoe Robinson at Fantasy Flight (apart from LotR being one of the reasons I am an illustrator period)  is the descriptions. I love this world and whenever it's applicable, they will include a quote from the books in the art description. Nothing like the words of Tolkien to inspire! 
" They stood on a wet floor of polished stone, the doorstep, as it were, of arough-hewn gate of rock opening dark behind them. But in front a thin veilof water was hung, so near that Frodo could have put an outstretched arminto it. It faced westward. The level shafts of the setting sun behind beatupon it, and the red light was broken into many flickering beams ofever-changing colour. It was as if they stood at the window of someelven-tower, curtained with threaded jewels of silver and gold, and ruby,sapphire and amethyst, all kindled with an unconsuming fire."
The card description called for  a ranger of Ithilien standing guard in the entrance to Henneth Annûn
wearing a cloak and a sheathed sword.  Thinking back to the book, I remembered how ready for action and suspicious the rangers were and knew that this character would never be relaxed. Even if he'd been standing alone for hours, he would be ready at every suspicious sound. I wanted the entrance to be prominent, as if the next moment would bring someone or something crashing through. I also knew this would be a fun opportunity to play with some dramatic negative shapes and light. 

thumbnail 1

thumbnail 2

thumbnail 3
thumbnail 4 -
the winner

mood study

I knew I wanted to convey a dark, cool mood and was leaning toward a very limited palette. However, I soon realized, with some helpful feedback from Zoe, that this wouldn't be so effective on the small, card scale so ended up bumping up the palette and contrast so the figure would read clearly.


detail
I'm a traditional girl at heart and do it whenever I can but often find that my schedule makes choosing digital for either part or the whole project a better path. Time that I would spend waiting for things to dry, photographing, color correcting, I can spend on making a better image.  I really wanted to play around with color in the shadows and subtle light shifts in the character and going digital gave me the chance to experiment and push those choices with more flexibility. Thank you again Zoe for the opportunity to contribute to one of my favorite all-time worlds!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Month of Fear 2014


So things have been pretty quiet on the blog this month because once again I've been coordinating the Month of Fear challenge for October. Head over to monthoffear.com to see tons of amazing art from nearly 50 artists this round! You can also follow us on Twitter. It's the biggest one yet!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Adventures in Charcoal - Prologue

Minotaur quickie sketch
powdered charcoal, charcoal pencil

Let me start by saying I love the internet. Social Media, while still massively flawed in many ways, does make it so easy to share information instantly and start a conversation with a ton of people.  A few weeks ago I put out a call on Facebook for input on charcoal brands. I've been loving the charcoal lately and  now that I am getting more comfortable with it, decided I needed to do some serious testing of the different options to up my game. Namely I wanted to find a charcoal with a smoother and more consistent application than what I have been using.   I got some great suggestions and immediately took advantage of all the Dick Blick back to school sales and free shipping to fill out my burnt wood collection. Charcoal is a very tricky mistress. She's messy and flexible which is what makes her fun but a little hard to control sometimes. 

So in the spirit of art and the scientific method: I bring you Adventures in Charcoal! (feel free to hum some dramatic music)

Here are a bunch of my new (and some old)  toys I will be playing with :

It's like Christmas! I must have been very, very naughty to get all this coal. 

 The new players: 

Alphacolor charkoles recommended by Bill Carman

Coates recommended by Scott  and Teresa Fischer


Pan Pastels recommended by Eric Braddock and Dale Stephanos
Eric used these on his amazing Lord of the Rings drawings.

Nitram recommended by Robert Hunt

I really wanted to play with some of those big sticks, so tried out a quick experiment with the Nitram charcoals right away with this self portrait below.


Self Portrait
18 x 24
nitram charcoal on 300 series Strathmore charcoal paper
Right off the bat I noticed that the Nitram holds onto the paper better than a typical vine charcoal.  Often I prefer the 300 series charcoal pad from Strathmore because it has slightly less tooth and so I can float the charcoal on top a little easier, move it around with a brush or chamois and erase to white. The flipside to that is building up darks gets tricky. But with the Nitram I can build it up a bit thicker, get some darker colors and still erase. It doesn't go on quite as smooth as a soft vine charcoal but is still pretty consistent. Plus the larger. firmer sticks really lend themselves to filing into useful shapes which I will discuss more in a later post.

Over the next several weeks I will be experimenting with all of these more and posting my results. So please stay tuned and let me know if you have your own tips and tricks!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Figurative Friday 6 - Self Portrait

It's been a while since I did a proper self portrait from life and it was about time I captured the crazy hair anyways. Plus, I just got a huge supply of new charcoal toys to play with and couldn't wait to try some out . I will talk more in depth about the different brands and how they are to use in a later post but so far  the Nitram is quite lovely.
Nitram Charcoal on Strathmore 300 series pad


Friday, September 5, 2014

Figurative Friday 5 - Sam

Sam modeled for my Frog Queen piece last year. She was a great model  but I knew I was going to end up changing her likeness a bunch for the piece, so grabbed some normal shots of her as well for myself.  A while back I wanted to test out some new oil colors and some palette ideas so grabbed one of the photos for inspiration and did this little study.

Sam
Oil on Panel
8 x 12

Friday, August 22, 2014

Figurative Friday 4

The beach is one of my favorite places to sketch people. It's very nearly like life drawing but with a much larger variety of models. Here are a few pages of sketches from our trip to Sarasota earlier this month.