Monday, May 30, 2011

Abundance - rough sketch

Back to my old tricks. lol Lots of detail on this next one. I need to try to finish it by Saturday to make the deadline for the Enchanted Visions. Inking over this to clean up the lines will be the most time-consuming part, and once that is done, coloring will go fast, I think. This time, I already have a color scheme in mind for a change. :D

The EV theme for this month was "Abundance". If you know anything about feng shui, you'd recognize some classic symbols/items that are said to attract abundance -- goldfish (um, yeah, they're the 'flying' types here) for wealth, peony (one of my favorite flowers to draw) for beauty and love, peaches (in her hand and on her lap) for longevity. And there's nothing quite like giving and sharing of your good fortune to bring more of the same.

Anyway, this should be a fun one to draw and paint. :D

Sunday, May 29, 2011


"Yukionna" is finished. I wanted to keep this as simple as possible in terms of color scheme and elements involved. I'll most likely draw something really detailed next. It's just that I like to mix things up. I'm not the type who can paint the same thing/face with the same approach over and over. I would like to get a series of paintings in the theme of Japanese folklore demons and eventually expand to other countries' tales.

I love Japanese kimono textile from all eras. I enjoy researching them and studying them closely. Characters/subjects like "yukionna" and "jorougumo" allow for the exploration of designs on the patters of the garment. It's probably my single most enjoyable aspect of painting this type of images.

EDIT (May 30, 2011): This piece has received a TBA (Today's Best Award) over at, making it the third in my five latest pieces. I'm on a roll. :D

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yukionna WIP 2

This project got put on hold for a week while my family had an eventful week -- orchestra concert, carnival, volunteering project, school picnic, etc. It was a typical 'end of the school year' week and it continues this week, the final week of my daughter's middle school life. Anyway, back onto the project now that I don't have an active part in any of the remaining events. ^_^

I expect this to be a relatively quick one, judging from the lack of fine detail and overall simple color scheme. I am going for something much simpler (even sparse) this time, while I go for the forlorn feeling of the character. As far as I know, she doesn't have a fellow snow demon to live with and only appears in the cold darkness of winter snowstorm. Of course, she is a demon that kills humans, but I can't help but imagine what a lonely being she must be...

Next project will be for the Enchanted Visions Project's monthly theme of "Abundance". I have a vague 'impression' of a vision in my mind, but I know by the time I'm done putting the sketch down on the paper, it will be filled with my usual level of details. ^^;

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Yukionna WIP

Line art for the project tentatively titled "YukiOnna" (Snow Woman) -- inspired by the Japanese folklore once again. She will have black hair, red camillia, white-on-white kimono, with a snowy landscape with flurry of snowflakes all over. I wanted to go for something different this time with much less detail than usual.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Conceptual Sketch

A rough sketch of my next project. The theme I had in mind was "Tempest of Ice", which is one of the previous themes from the Enchanted Visions Project for which I have not painted yet. I had Yuki Onna ('Snow Woman') of Japanese folklore strongly in mind for this piece, but I'm leaning towards painting this as non-EV piece after all. I thought I was going to paint a more femme fetale Snow Woman, but the more I pondered on the subject matter, the sadder she seemed and I became more interested in painting her as a lonesome beauty.

The face. The eyes are totally different from any of the women I've painted for my fantasy themes. I don't know where she came from, but she appeared in one of my many quick scribbles and I'm enchanted by her eyes... I'm also compelled to add the camellia flower into this portrait of her. Camellias are often found blooming late into the fall and seen with fresh-fallen snow against their glossy green foliage and bright red petals.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Collaboration

Two days ago, one of my FB 'friends' asked if I would color his line art. I was in between pieces (what I call the 'brainstorming' phase), so I jumped on the idea. It's always fun just to color -- you get to skip the tedious part, which is creating a solid foundation with line art. Also, when I do work on someone else's lines, it presents me with an opportunity to experiment and try something new.

Here you see three versions of the same line art by Kyba Lione of Paraguay -- the left one was given touch of colors by him (which I used as general reference for colors to use for the final piece), the middle one is the original line art in pencil, and the one of the right is the finished work colored by me.

When a work is primarily a portrait, I get to spend more time on each element within the figure, and I love that. The thumbnails of such pieces usually look wonderful, too, which is also nice. ^^;

I didn't realize at first, but his line art is closer to my style than the lines I've colored in previous collaborations with other artists. The finished piece looks as if it was all done by me from the start except for that it doesn't have the usual amount of detail. ^_^ That's another reason why collaboration like this is very refreshing! Anyway, I really like the way it turned out.

Next, I will be tackling one of the older themes for the Enchanted Visions Project that I haven't done, "Tempest of Ice", for which I will be painting a Yuki Onna ('Snow Woman') of the Japanese folklore.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


"Wisteria" is finished. You know there's a saying, "art is never finished, rather it is abandoned" ... or something like that? This was the closest to that saying I've ever come. Usually, when I start a picture, I have an image in my mind that I'm going after, and I'll just go for it the best I can. This time though, I wasn't sure whether I liked the way it was looking at all. After 2 days of working on it though, I honestly got tired of looking at it and also disappointed a little at my inability to make myself happy with it. I decided to leave it.

Most of my paintings do not shrink well at all because I put a lot of details and they don't show. Also, the subtle shadings get obliterated by some of the highlights when an image is shrunken down. White (or light color) part of the image gets 'overrepresented' in a thumbnail version or anything smaller than 500 pixels across... *sigh* This is too bad since I like the way it looks at full size just fine. It only gives me this "Ugh..." feeling when I looked at smaller versions of it, like people would see it here.

I was really liking the way I was painting starting with the "Stardancer" and really felt good about "Lady of Compassion", and I was really pleased with the "Along Came a Spider". I felt as if I was onto something. But I've had this weird, nagging feeling since "The Ruby Slipper" -- I am not really liking what I'm producing at the moment. Not truly happy, deep down. It might be that these last two pieces didn't mean nearly as much personally as "Lady of Compassion" or "Along ...". Or it could be that I'm vaguely feeling the need to study somehow. I know I am picking on the last two pieces in my head like crazy...

It surely didn't help with this nagging feeling of dissatisfaction when multiple people complimented me on this image with reference to CLAMP. Everyone had different reasons, but, no ... that type of comments don't make me feel good about what I'm doing (or trying to do) at all. *facepalm* At least, it's better to be classified as manga-style and associated with a certain mangaka than having someone call or categorize my work 'anime'...

In the end though, it is a kiriban request/gift. No need to go insane taking apart a gift art.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Wisteria" WIP 2 & Pet Peeves

Just a little peek on a work-in-progress -- I'd say this one is about halfway through. I still have to do highlights and adjust the overall balance of dark and light by pulling the background further back... among other things. XD

Now off to my pet peeves: poorly drawn pointe shoes AND kimono collars closed the wrong way. I know many (too many) people don't care. And it's also true that so many people are just not cultured enough, educated enough, or mindful enough. I find it very irritating that too many artists out there don't do sufficient research on their subject matters -- both of my pet peeves refer to things that can be easily learned if one cared enough to do a little bit of research on Google.

First, poorly drawn pointe shoes. This peeve includes depiction of technically wrong or poor execution of BALLET technique. I've seen everything from pointe shoes that lace up to the knees to pointe shoes that tie with a big butterfly bow. I don't think the fetishist uber high heels that have the mocked up look of point shoes help at all with the general public's misconception (Gosh, it is sad that so many people think that that's how things are...). And with 'wrong or poor execution of ballet technique', I am referring to the 'turned in' legs and feet to the sickled foot and everything in between. There's nothing quite like the disappointment I feel when I come across an otherwise beautifully painted image of a ballerina/fairy/magical being/what-have-you, and the moment I zoom in to appreciate the details, the first thing I notice is a glaring mistake. And it's a mistake that can so easily be avoided if someone would have just taken a little time to research. I can only call this laziness. I studied and taught ballet for years before retiring, so I'm not exaggerating when I say that ballet is an art of details. In fact, to many aficionados of many different types of art, it is the details that makes the statement and separate the 'good' from the 'mediocre'.

Second, the kimono collars closed the wrong way. I can only attribute this mistake to ignorance, and in the West, it hardly even gets noticed and/or pointed out. However, it's a laughable mistake to every Japanese. Kimono collars for all living humans should close with the left side over the right. This is practically set in stones. No Japanese would think to break this rule just for the sake of being different or fashionable. In fact, the kimono collars closed with the right side over the left are reserved only for the dead. I'm afraid that too many Westerners simply don't know that this rule/custom even exists. Cultures and arts rich in history will always have traditions, rituals, customs, and ways of doing things that are studied by many (over years, decades, centuries), and agreed to be set that way. The awareness of such things can only add authenticity to a piece of work. Inaccurate depiction of cultural mores not only robs an artwork of a sense of realness (regardless of one's style of painting... I'm not talking about that here, but most of the pieces I notice those mistakes in are more or less realistic pieces, some hyper-real or photo-real), but in the eyes of a knowledgeable person, it represents the artist's sloppiness, lack of care, ignorance, etc., which all leads to devaluing of the piece altogether. Why should a viewer take anything seriously when an artist didn't bother to care enough about details of his/her subject matter? Anything that is worth doing at all is worth doing well, to the best of one's ability, each and every time.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wisteria WIP

This is the line art for a piece tentatively titled "Wisteria". This will be a gift for a friend on deviantART who caught my 70,000th page view back in... maybe October, 2010. I take request for color scheme and flower of choice for these kiribans and she requested wisteria in violet hues. Took me a while to get started on this after several pencil sketches that didn't get me really excited. I think it also helped to see real wisteria vines in bloom. Nothing like engaging all the senses to inspire and motivate. ^^;

This one will have shades of purple, lavender, blue, maybe a bit of pink -- the kind of colors I really enjoy and naturally gravitate towards. I had the vision of a delicate wisteria fairy with damselfly wings when I was looking at my wisteria in bloom in my garden. I like the transparent wings of dragonfliess and damselflies that have aurora glimmer. I'm looking forward to painting that!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Ruby Slipper Art Print from

The Ruby Slipper Art Print from

My fifth TBA (Today's Best Award) from the Aurora Wings Fantasy Art shop. *yay* I think this is 10th or 11th overall when combining my ballet gift shops also. It never gets old to receive TBAs. After all, there are hundreds of thousands of products being created every day from all over the world. And especially since I feel that most of my pieces don't show well at all at thumbnail size, which is what I guess the people at Zazzle must go over to select the TBA awardees every day...

Speaking of thumbnails, I think it's better to have a really good piece at the intended full size than a piece of work that shrinks well, but disappoints at full size... ^^;

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"The Ruby Slipper"

"The Ruby Slipper" is complete. When the monthly theme was announced, I knew I didn't want to paint just some fairy or witch wearing a ruby slipper. I thought about it and wanted to see something unexpected, and the mermaid idea came to me. Then there was a choice to make whether to go with a sad mermaid contemplating her lack of feet upon finding a ruby shoe OR with a happy one who stumbled upon something shiny and FUN. It didn't take me long to decide on the latter. The first pencil sketch was a sad (maybe mad and sarcastic) mermaid, the next three were the happy ones.

I also wanted to play with a bit of perspective, light, movement of water, floaty feel -- there's a lot of fun stuff to paint in water scenes. It's an opportunity to create a truly magical sight.

Well, this month's theme has been announced. It's "Abundance". The night before the announcement e-mail came, I had an image come to me right before I fell asleep that perfectly fits the theme. I'll most likely do some brainstorming, but it's always good to have a seed of an idea right off the start.

Monday, May 2, 2011

"The Ruby Slipper" WIP 3

Looks like this piece is going to be one of those that will test my patience. ^^; Every now and then, for no particular reason, I get distracted during the color painting phase of a piece and things seem to go really slowly. I usually finish things by working many hours at a stretch, but I've been taking many (maybe too many) mini-breaks on this one.

Usually though, I do save my .rif files (which is the default file format for the Corel Painter) in .jpg so that I can study it and play around with it a little, which would be the equivalent of standing back and looking at your work from time to time to catch anything that's a little off or plan things to come. I often end up with 5 or 6 WIPs along the way and sometimes I compile them into the step-by-step demonstration strip for dA for such groups as Corel Painter and other people who might be interested in how I do things.

Now I have the water ripples at the top, beams of light that come through the water, and the face and body of the mermaid to go... oh, and all the little plankton dots... can't forget those! XD