Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Fairy (Red & Green)

The first of the colored version, "red and green", of the "Christmas Fairy" is finished.  It's nice to finally get around to doing a festive holiday-theme fantasy work.  It's lighthearted and cheerful and just pretty with no deep meanings to go do research for. ^^; (Refreshing!)  Anyhow, I gave my "red and green" fairy a nice earthy brunette and brown eyes -- I think she's lovely with warmth radiating all around her.

Next, I'm going to do a "blue and silver" version with platinum blonde hair for the girl.  I'm guessing that this one will be a more ethereal, otherworldly look.  I hope it doesn't get 'too cold' in its look and feel.

Friday, November 25, 2011

"Christmas Fairy" - Lines

This is my first "Christmas Fairy".  Since I've only been doing fantasy art since the spring of 2010,  I don't have a holiday-themed fantasy piece in my gallery yet.  As it is getting closer to Christmas, I finally got into the mood.  As time-consuming as it is, I still like stippling for shading.  I don't do it often, especially for line art that will be colored later.  I love stippling and crosshatching for shading of pen-only piece.

Here's the closeup view of the stippling on the wings and her face.  I just recently watched 2005 version of "Garasu no Kamen" (Glass Mask) anime series.  She looks a little like the main character, Maya Kitagima, when she played Princess Aldis from the play "Two Princesses". ^^  She was all sweetness and warmth.

I scanned this and saved as a file of its own for digital download/digital stamp, but I would like to add a big of background (probably some roses, evergreens, and cranberries... stuff like that).  Looks like I'll be able to have a holiday greeting card after not doing one for so many seasons. XD

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Am Now a Member of EV Administration.

I have just been asked and have accepted a volunteer position as a member of the administration for the Enchanted Visions Project, helping out with their Facebook page and the forum. I've been an active contributing member since August of 2010, participating every month with one or two new artwork.  But this is the first time I'm getting involved as a co-administrator.  I'm happy and excited to contribute in a new capacity to a project that really helped launch me and my fantasy art into the industry. ^_^

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Christmas Fairy" - Rough Sketch

I've been doing nothing but updates on my site and shops lately that I needed to take a break and do a doodle. XD  Since I've never done a "Christmas Fairy" in red and green or red and white, I decided to draw one.  This is just my usual scribble with pencil and the final image will probably look quite a bit different, but it's fun to do a seasonal theme (Especially since we didn't get one for EV...).  And whenever I draw a fairy, I can't think of any other footwear except for pointe shoes. XD  I guess ankle boots would be cute on this one, but I just can't resist.

Here's a quick color test.

My first idea is red and green.  I would also like to try a blue and silver version.  I think both color schemes would be pleasing.

I think I'm going to ink the lines as is and scan to save a file for the digi download and stamp.  Then draw a background for the complete version.  I know from looking at the crafters' projects so far that fully rendered version of my line art has way too much detail.  For craft, scrapbook, and card-making purposes, the main figure has plenty detail to make interesting projects.  So this is something I'll probably start doing more and more.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Enter to Win a 2012 Calendar

I'm holding a random drawing giveaway of a 2012 calendar featuring my art.  This is a different calendar from the ones sold at my online shop.  This one is a limited edition, 'not for sale', promotional calendar. ^^

Images included in this calendar are (listed in order from January to December): La Mer, Thep Kinnaree, Wisteria, Abundance, Steampunk Dark Angel, Along Came a Spider, Crimson Wings, Pansy, The Green Faery, Lady of Compassion, The Ruby Slipper, & Shades of Blue.  Each month has a colored border, which is coordinated to match and compliment the featured image.  US holidays are marked.

*** How to Enter ***
Simple, although you need a Facebook account.  Go to my Facebook page "Fantasy Art of Mitzi Sato-Wiuff" and click on the 'like' button found at the top.  Your name will be entered into the drawing.

*** Increase Your Chance of Winning ***
You can do so simply by 'sharing' the giveaway information link on YOUR Facebook profile.  For each sharing of the link mentioned on my fan page, I will TRIPLE your chances by entering your name three times.

*** Announcement of the Winner ***
Saturday, November 26th, 2011.  I will announce the winner on my Facebook page and contact her/him via private message.

Good luck to everyone!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Spirited Away"

The piece created for this month's theme of the Enchanted Visions Project, "Spirited Away", is finally finished.  The line art was done a while ago, but with holiday shopping season almost upon us, I had a fair amount of listing  updates to do over at my ballet shops and fantasy shops that delayed the completion of this work.  (I was also overhauling the entire site earlier this month, which took away my time as well. ^^; )

   The phrase "spirited away" is translated into 神隠し (kami-kakushi), literally meaning "god hidden" ("hidden by god") in Japanese, my native language.  It refers to incidences where someone goes missing without a trace.  When I did my research for this piece on the web, scraping the Japanese language sites, I came across a lot of forum threads discussing the phenomenon of "kamikakushi", which is a euphemism for more common and direct terms, "kidnapping", "abduction", and possibly, "murder" or "human trafficking" for the purpose of "slavery" or "prostitution".  Historically, in old times where many Japanese people lived in smaller, countryside villages,  where everyone knew everyone by their names, crimes of this kind was unheard of, so when a person goes missing, the possibility of 'abduction by spirit' must have been a convincing one.  It often happened to a child or mentally or emotionally disturbed woman who happened to be alone in the woods or in the mountains.  (Interestingly, port cities along the shorelines had high incidences of missing persons within Japan, suggesting the possibility of human trafficking rate being high in these regions.)

   The indigenous religion of Japan, of course, is Shinto, which reveres spirits in all things.  Old trees, certain species of trees, boulders, rivers, springs, lakes, ponds, forests, and mountains can be designated as a spirit's dwelling or a gateway to their world.   Often, these objects are marked with garlands made of straw ropes and/or paper decorations.  Crossing past them or entering into a deep woods can be considered 'entering' into the domain of the spirits.  And there are spirits of all kinds -- some benevolent, some mischievous,  and some malevolent.

   In the old days, when someone is reported missing, a whole village will mobilize in a search effort.  The methods vary by regions.  One of the commonly observed approaches was to go walking, reciting a certain phrase of request for the return of the person while beating on a taiko drum.  There have been cases where the missing have returned after a period of time, usually with amnesia of the event itself and the period while the individual was 'gone'.

   These bits of information and historical accounts were enough to get my imagination going.  I started with a blank piece of paper and the sketch appeared within a short time.  I had a profile (side view) version of the same scene, but I scrapped it in favor of this angle.  During the coloring phase, the darkening of the foreground (I hope) helped to give the feeling that the viewer is a witness to this scene of abduction by mysterious spirits.

*A close-up view of the details of the Celestial

   Within the image, a variety of animals and insects are presented, all of which are symbols in multiple world traditions -- butterfly, bird, fish, dragonfly.   Butterfly is the symbol of transformation.  Bird (as well as winged insects) usually is the symbol of air and different perspective, as well as 'spirit world'.  Fish exists in an entirely different domain, sometimes murky and hidden from our view, ...mysterious, foreign.   So the spirit/celestial being here is a winged mermaid with butterfly ears, suggesting her ability to go freely between different realms/worlds.  Added to the multiple animal features, she wears a bird-face mask.  Mask of any kind suggests mystery, assumed identity, and/or hidden secrets.  Here, the reason for her mask is to imply her hidden intentions.  A beautiful celestial with possibly a malevolent intent.   Incidentally, the child was originally drawn with her hand already in that of the celestial, but I changed to pull it back to suggest that she is hesitant to trust the celestial. Will she take her hand and be abducted easily or will she turn around and run to the viewer who just might be able to get her out of the forest and back in the safety of the human world once again. ^_^


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Walkthrough of "Santa Muerte"

This is probably more of a collection of WIPs than a 'walkthrough', but I haven't written one up on my blog before, and I found that I did keep shots of stages as I worked on this piece after all, so I thought I'd share them here today.

After I scan the pen lines, I clean up stray lines and specs of dust that show up.  Sometimes I have pencil line fragments that weren't completely erased before I scanned, so I would digitally erase any elements that I don't want in the final piece.  I lighten the lines by lowering the contrast and then brightening the whole thing.  After that, I colorize the lines to give sepia tint to the line.  The final preparation before I start coloring is giving the whole thing a starting base, here a slight beige tone, by adjusting the red-green-blue.  All of this is done in a photo-editing program.

First thing I do with every piece is the background 'wash'.  In my software, Corel Painter (what I'm currently using is not the latest version, mind you ^^), the image file in JPG (the prepared line art) becomes 'canvas' layer, which is fixed.  All subsequent layers will be placed on top.  This works fine for me since my approach uses highly transparent (low opacity) colors in repeated 'washes' to build up color while maintaining transparency so that the line art stays visible.   Here, I used 'diffuse water' brush from the wet media section.  Opacity is set at between 4 and 7%, brush sizes are fairly large, and grain is set at 100% for a lot of 'bleeding'.  I don't use the 'color mixing palette' in the program at all, instead, I use the circular 'color wheel' (I'm not sure if this is it's official name...) and just precision pick what I want.  Usually, my colors are muted variation (grey-ish) within a color group.  I vary my stylus pressure quite a bit while I apply "washes", which also creates variations in saturation levels.  I play with the 'salt' brush, once again, varying sizes and opacity with each stroke to create a natural look.  I erase the stray strokes of 'wash' from the layer.  If this piece was done in traditional watercolor, I would have gone through the trouble of applying masking fluid to the main figure.

It's hard to see at this size (click on the image to see it larger, if you like), but I started experimenting with the background's highlights at this stage.  I'm basically tracing close to the line art with a light cream color 'soft charcoal' in small tip sizes.  The highlight is a single separate layer, sitting on top of the 'background wash' layer.

I set up another layer for the figure's props and accessories and start painting, brush used is the same as the background wash.  Just higher opacity and smaller size.  Grain setting is still 100%, so the colors bleed into one another a lot.

The blade of the scythe is utilizing 3 layers.  Foundation color (base item color) is done on the same layer as the prop and accessories.  Highlights seen on the carved detail in the middle of the blade is on the same layer as the background's highlights.  I gave the shine effect to the blade on a separate layer by using a single stroke with a low opacity, large size 'soft charcoal', then erasing the excess off.

Giving the dress the color.  First, grey-ed down beige in large size is applied with 'diffuse water'.  I slowly build from light to dark by applying more washes over the valley of the frills while leaving the peaks fairly light.  Additional highlights are given on the same layer as the blade's shine.  I give the illusion of satin ribbon trim detail by applying just highlights.  Lace trim is done on the same layer as the background highlights.  Peals are not given additional treatment other than highlights, giving them the look of reflecting the surrounding light and environment.

Adding the skull painted face and eye details, done on the same layer as props, as well as skin highlights and shades.  Additional texture is suggested by adding the little specs of light on her dress.  Total number of layers used for this project was 7, which is very low for digital art (Many digital artists utilize several dozens.).  Everything is free-handed with no 'imported' graphic elements and I do not use 'effects brushes'.  My traditional/digital mixed media is pretty basic and low-tech, however, I am fond of the overall look of this approach of mine.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Digital Download Images for Scrapbooking & Crafts

I am now exclusively with Scrapbook Stamp Society for my line art for scrapbooking and crafts purposes.  Now, you, the craft and/or scrapbook enthusiast, are no longer restricted to the small 2.5 inches to 3 inches size of the rubber stamps, but you can print them as large as 8 inches by 10 inches.  These printable downloads will allow for resizing for maximum customization for your projects, ease of coloring, and more visual impact.

Here are some examples of cards made by others that beautifully illustrates my point. (*all photos courtesy of Scrapbook Stamp Society)

The beautiful outside of this embellished card.  Doors open to reveal...

A stunning view!   
This elaborate project was by Cynthia.

A ballerina kitty on a pull-out card.  So unique!

A unique folded card with lovely embellishment of lace and floral print paper.

A striking red and black combination is simply gorgeous!
All three ballerina kitty projects by Mrs. Sassy Crafter.

Refreshing pastel colors with embossed bubbles to compliment the line art.  Stunning!
Project by SunshineSher.

A beautiful treatment of the lineart with careful shading.  Circular theme inside of a square format is outstanding.
Project by Diane Ahlers. ^^

Talk about a major challenge!  These are no easy lines to color, but this project by Jill Angel with vivid orange red against the teal green is breathtaking!

This card by the Crafty Dream is elegant!  Black with jewel-toned flowers and rainbow glitter on the wings are just PERFECT!  Lovely project by Gabriela Brito Beard.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Spirited Away" WIP (partial view)

"Spirited Away" WIP -- close-up view of the Celestial.  This one is going to be one of those terrible thumbnail pieces (as most of my images are), so I cropped the picture to show mostly the moth-bird-fish being from another dimention.  Line art is pretty detailed, and this is a relatively small piece in terms of the size of the paper the original pen drawing was done on (8.5 x 11").  Trying to put the main figure with the little girl and still show the air by the use of vertical space is really pushing my limit here. ^^;

I'm liking the mood of the image so far.  I still have lots of high lights to do and subtle details to add.  There are some things going on in my life at the moment that are just not helping by draining my energy.  I tend to distance myself and clam up when I encounter unpleasant people.  It's like after being exposed to certain type of energy that really disturbs my own vibration, I need to center myself and regroup.

Also, as much as fun and inspiration as DDs are, they can 'intimidate' you into all the self-talk and second guessing about the 'next piece'.  Not that every single piece needs to be great or anything (There's no such rule anywhere. lol), but I think we all kind of start thinking about the 'expectations' and 'standards' after a large number of people have suddenly been exposed to just one sample of your work (and probably have formed their opinions/expectations about your art already).  I like doing different things, and in the process, challenge myself in different aspects, be it subject matter, style, or general approach.  Sometimes I wonder if I really belong in the likes of the fantasy artists that specializes in nothing but big-eye cuties or fairies and pump them out like as if from a cookie factory.  I just hope people don't come to expect that from me. ^^;

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

deviantART Daily Deviation

"Santa Muerte", my piece for the Enchanted Visions Project's theme for October 2011, "Dia de los Muertos", has received the honor of a Daily Deviation.  This is my second of the year, and the fourth in my 3 years on deviantART.  I'm very psyched about this one because I do think that this one is my best piece to date, and it's relatively new in my gallery (so I'm still emotionally attached somewhat).

This theme demanded a little more reflection and research than most since I did not want to do a sugar skull, Catrina, or just a pretty face painted like a skull (I don't think a pretty-face portrait ever constitutes a fantasy art.).  I'd say, judging from the response I have received so far for this piece, all that research and brainstorming that I did paid off. ^_^  I'm also glad that I didn't go with the predictable dark color scheme.  It's nice to take a chance and experiment with approaches that are not taken often and be recognized for it.

The products with this image have already been available at my Zazzle shop, and I actually entered their Halloween Phone Case Design Contest.  My iPhone case featuring "Santa Muerte" was showing up high on the contest page, and the product page itself was getting a lot of views.  So maybe it's a good sign (although I don't even know when they're going to announce the results...).

I'm truly grateful for this recognition and the support from the dA community. ^_^