Saturday, December 31, 2011

"A Dark Undercurrent"

My last piece for the year 2011 is a dark mermaid.  Finished in time! :D *happy dance*  I had fun with this one.  This one is my 20th piece for the Enchanted Visions Project.  I'm slowly scratching off past themes one by one from my list, while I make a point in working on each monthly theme.   Participating in EV's monthly themes has really helped me increase the number of works in my portfolio. ^^

Here's a closeup on the mermaid herself.  I love the white hair, light grey eyes with bloody under-eye circles look! XD

Happy New Year!  I hope to do many more fantasy pieces in 2012.  I would like to make enough 'dark' pieces to be able to compile a 'dark fantasy' calendar for 2013. :D

Friday, December 30, 2011

"A Dark Undercurrent" Lines

Finally finished inking my evil little mermaid for "A Dark Undercurrent", one of the old EV themes that I had on my list of themes to be completed.  I will do a quick color test on this here in a bit.  She was changed here and there during the inking process which is nothing new.  I gave her a larger collection of skulls to play with. XD  Still not sure if I want her to be mostly black/purple or ghostly white.  I'd like to get her finished as the last piece of 2011, but this will be close, as I'm not fast and there will be tons of detail work put into it.

EDIT: A quick color test.  I'm liking her creepy eyes! :D :D :D

Friday, December 23, 2011

"A Dark Undercurrent" Concept Sketch

There have been 27 themes announced at the Enchanted Visions Project so far, including the next month's "Dragon Lore".  I have completed 19 in my 17 months with the project.  "A Dark Undercurrent" has been one of the few that captured my imagination from the very beginning, but I hadn't had a vision come to me right away like some of the other ones.  Recently though, after the massive updating (remodeling) of the EV official site, this is the theme that comes up right at the top of the list since is it alphabetized, so I have been reminded time and time again that I want to tackle this one.  It's been nagging at the back of my mind for a few months, and although I thought I was itching to get started on the dragon theme, a dark mermaid made an appearance on my paper when I sat and scribbled.

It may sound weird to some, but sometimes when I sit at my desk with a blank paper, I can almost 'see' the image appear on the paper.  I kind of trace it with a pencil and usually I like the results.  Among my recent pieces, "Santa Muerte" was one of those who just appeared/posed for me. The general artistic process and brainstorming get taken care of.  This is close to the feeling of being in the groove or the peak 'flow' experience.  Things seem almost effortless.  Doesn't happen often, but I know enough that when it does happen, I should just go with the flow and complete the project.  ^^

Monday, December 19, 2011

"Circe" Completed

As usual, I began the coloring phase with the background.  Then the surrounding elements, namely the flowers.  Then I painted Circe, and finally, the lion.  I have many cats at home and am a huge fan of long hair, fluffy cats in particular, so once I got started on the lion, I had so much fun with him.  After laying down the foundation colors and some shadows/darks, I went over putting down the individual strand of long fur in lighter colors.  As his mane grew fluffier, I felt happy -- the same simple joy I feel when I'm brushing my long hair cats. XD  After painting this piece, I'm even more tempted than ever before to give one of my orange and white Maine Coon mix a 'lion cut'.  (I probably never will out of respect for the cat, but I'd love to see him with that haircut just once... maybe in the peak heat of summer. XD)

*A closeup view of the main figures

After painting some Christmas fluff, it was nice to get back in the groove of theme prompts at Enchanted Visions Project.  I really enjoy the gold and brown, earthy, color schemes.  I think I've made more pieces in this color scheme this year than ever before. ^_^  

I must also say that I am looking forward to getting started on the "Dragon Lore" theme.  Mine will be a bit on the dark side and I will be depicting the serpentine Asian dragon, if all goes as planned. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

"Circe" WIP

This marks the first time that I failed to produce a piece for EV in a timely manner.  Since August of 2010, I've always managed to paint at least one if not more of the themes every month. XD  Even in the month when I didn't care for the current theme, I managed to do an existing  theme from a list so I had something new to post.  Well, stuff happens. ^^;    Hopefully, this won't become a regular thing for me, but I guess when some theme just doesn't jump up and grab your imagination, this is to be expected.  Plus it's the holiday season and most of us have so much going on it's hard to keep up and keep track of.

So a day after the deadline, all I've got to share here is a shot of work-in-progress.  I think I like the way it's coming along, but I have no solid idea where it's going (or more precisely, where I want to take it).  There's nothing like an unfinished work to bug me endlessly, so I will get around to finishing it and most likely before moving on to "Dragon Lore".

Update: WIP 2.  Still have the lion and the background details left to do. ^^;  Getting there, though.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Circe" Line Art

Finished inking "Circe" after letting her sit on my shelf for a few days while I caught up on things around the house, including the Christmas shopping, which I am still behind on.    I knew I was going to procrastinate, but I didn't quite plan on being so late with this one. XD  Tomorrow is the official deadline.  I have 1.5 days to finish coloring this one.  I might be able to get it done if all goes well.  *fingers crossed*

The flowers that ended up appearing in this piece are: belladonna (deadly nightshade), opium poppy, and appearing faintly in the background to the right, hemp. The wisps of smoke or clouds in the background are suggestive.  I don't want to talk too much about the plant selection in this piece because I don't want to sound like I'm glorifying or condoning the use of these plants or drugs in general.  They're placed in there as the elements in Circe's life and surroundings as freely interpreted by me, since she was supposedly a potion-concocting witch who turned men into docile large cats and pigs.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rough Sketch of "Circe"

I've done 3 scribble sketch (That's what I call my pencil roughs.) on the theme of "Circe".  I couldn't decide that I liked my angle of approach on this one.  Usually, when the theme is announced for Enchanted Visions Project, I have a mental picture that pops up, and all I have to do is go after it.  This one gave me no such idea.  So as usual, I did a bit of research online, and got the basic story on Circe.  I knew I'd have to put an animal for sure, plus some kind of drug/potion reference to capture the essence of the character/story of Circe.

I thought about doing a harem of pigs, but instead decided on a lion because it's easy to convey that it's a male because of their manes, unlike other animals.  And I found the poisonous/medicinal plant 'angle' agreeable since I love to draw flowers and leaves, and they're great as 'space fillers'. XD  So, here's my rough sketch for "Circe", with her looking as if to say, "I am not impressed...", which is probably the attitude she had for all the men who came to visit her.

The deadline is the 15th.  I think I can get this done by then. :D

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Christmas Fairy - Blue" Complete

I worked on a blue version of the Christmas Fairy.  (Working two separate color schemes back to back can become boring very quickly, I learned. ^^; )  The red and green version looks very down to earth and human, but this version looks a little more ethereal.  As usual, the downsizing for web does it such injustice! :(  So below is a closeup look.

Yep, she's a blondie in this one.  And her wings are aurora borealis colored.  I hear Elvis singing "Blue Christmas" when I look at this picture. XD lol

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Enchanted Visions January 2012 Theme & More

   As I mentioned in the previous entry, I was asked if I had any suggestions for themes for Enchanted Visions Project by Lisa last month.  Oh, boy, did I have one!  I was so ready for an idea, but I had no idea that they ever asked anyone to just pick one.  I assumed that Amy Brown was always selecting or giving approval to something suggested by the head of administration.  But since I am a humble member of the administration now, I got asked. :D  And the theme I chose is...

   "Dragon Lore"

   I've been thinking about this mental image that I've had that involved a dragon.  I thought maybe I could work on it for one of the yet-to-be-painted themes left from the past, "A Dark Undercurrent", ... but since this opportunity just landed on my lap, I went ahead and suggested it.  Amy has given it a green light, and it has been announced to the members.

   As you may already know, next year, the year 2012, is the Year of the Dragon in Chinese zodiac.  So, as the first theme of 2012, it suits the group.   Plus, dragons are just about the only fantasy creature that I can think of that 'exist' in multiple cultures around the globe.  We have the winged European dragons that breath fire, and we have the serpentine dragons of the East that fly without wings.  Dragons will also give many members a technical challenge for many of the members are 'portrait artists' who do not venture out of their comfort zone or experiment with different approaches.  So I'm very curious to see what everyone will come up with.

   I have an idea that I've been holding onto for the last few months.  If I managed to pull it off, it would be pretty cool.  But I have my doubts whether my ability is enough to bring my mind's vision onto a tangible image (and be convincing... that's the part LOL).  I do feel the need to approach this subject and tackle it.  Challenges like these are good for me.  One can't always just paint girls and flowers after all. ^^;

   And now, the '& More' part of my blog entry title.  I was amazed by the number of sales I got yesterday, December 6, 2011 at my online shops both at CafePress and Zazzle.  I beat my previous personal record of 25 with a new record of 40.  This is looking to be a GREAT holiday season for me and my family. :D  I hope other artists are doing equally well.

   Another big plan is my Etsy shop for the fantasy art of mine.  This is something I've been kind of thinking about for the last several months, but have been too busy to actually pursue.  My daughter is an Etsy fan (who  is also in need of some sort of fundraising ventures to make money for her Junior year trip to France in the spring of 2014), and she knows her way around the place.  So I decided to put her in charge.  I will provide her with the products for listings, help her with the initial photo session, writing up the necessary information that goes onto listings, and let her set it up and be dealing with the operation of the shop. ^^  She is excited, and I am, too.  We start work on this project when her Christmas break starts in 2 weeks.

Friday, December 2, 2011

"Christmas Fairy - Blue" WIP

I started the blue and silver version of the "Christmas Fairy" after playing around a lot with the tube version of her (courtesy of Lisa Cree at PSP Tube Stop) and made a whole bunch of holiday merchandise.  I'm afraid they may not be seen nearly as much coming into the marketplace this late in the season, but it was fun, and Christmas never goes out of style, so if not this year, the'll be good for next year and beyond. :D

Looks like this one will have ... wouldn't you know... 'aurora wings'! XD  I was originally going to give her some kind of drawn background, but when I took her out of my scanner where it's been sitting (since I worked on the red and green version), I realized how little space this picture has left.  The fairy is definitely bigger than usual because I was primarily making the lines for the holiday digi download and for the holiday tube in mind -- not at all the same approach as my usual fantasy work.

After this blue version is finished with, I'm going to tackle Enchanted Visions' "Circe" (I think I've already complained that I didn't really like this theme...).  But hey, Lisa at Enchanted Visions gave me the opportunity to pick the next theme and I've been told that the supreme mistress of EV, Amy Brown, has approved my idea, so I'm going to be looking forward to tackling that one. :D  (I'm not going to blurt it out on my blog though.  The official monthly e-mail has not gone out yet. ^^; )

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm Now with PSP Tube Stop!

This is a milestone entry.  It's my 100th! :D  I believe I started writing here at Blogger in March, right around the time of the earthquake/tsunami disaster in Japan.  Well, almost 9 months later, here I am with my 100th entry.  I've been averaging 9 to 13 per month, which seems amazing.  I hope many more good news and artistic inspirations will keep coming.

Today's exciting news is ... as the title of this post stated -- I'm now with PSP Tube Stop.  This is a brand new upstart founded by Enchanted Visions Project's head of administration, Lisa Cree.  She's a unique artist on her own right, but also a dedicated volunteer, and an entrepreneur.  She approached me with a very artist-friendly contract when My Tag Art closed its doors on November 1st of this year.  I was in negotiation with one company, while weighing in on options from other companies.  But knowing her through EV, plus the excitement of being a part of a brand new business venture (and her contract as I mentioned before) eventually led me to sign with her.  This will be my first time working so closely with a business owner.  As you may know, I assist her with the Facebook page and the forum of the Enchanted Visions, so I'm in communication with her a lot, which is wonderful.

And here's a look at the tube that just came out; my "Christmas Fairy".  What's wonderful about Lisa is that she makes multiple layers, and I don't mean 2 or 3.  She makes 4 and 5!  For example, this one, as you can see on the image on the right, has 4 different elements in individual layers: the fairy, the bell, the rose with cranberry bubbles, and the star with cranberry bubbles.  Just imagine the creative options this single purchase (for only $1.80) will give each tagger!  Take a closer look here!

As of this writing, she has three of my images at the shop and there will be many more to follow as she adds listings to the shop section of the PSP Tube Stop web site.  You'll recognize several more artists from the Enchanted Visions Project there. ^_^