Friday, July 29, 2011

"La Sylphide" Complete


"La Sylphide" is finished.  It really can't show all the details at this size, and I really detest the fact that many people only see images the artists worked hard on in a mobile device screen of few inches squared.  I would rather produce images that have a lot to look at when viewed at full size than have something that only looks great as a thumbnail only to be really disappointing at full size (Thumbs really are so very forgiving to artwork with lots of flaws, so long as they have nice color contrast, simple/bold composition...)  I would much rather have my pieces viewed as a print of 5 x 7 than on a computer monitor at 500 x 700 pxl, also.  Although I don't want to go bigger than that either here or at facebook since art theft is rampant as we all know.

*Detail of the wings and the flowers shown at full size.

I seem to be going through the gold/brown phase.  My last three pieces all had this general color scheme.  I guess I love the warm earth tones, as well as the feeling of nostalgia these colors tend to produce. ^^

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Exciting News

Two words.  Coloring book!!  It's been on my mind since early last year.  I've always had people on deviantART really liking my lines and asking if I had a coloring book out.  I can see how my lines would be a lot of fun for colorists to color (I know exactly the feeling!).   To be honest, I had no clue where to even start looking for information in order to make this a reality, but I posted the question last week at one of the facebook groups and got a reply which turned out to be exactly what I was hoping for. *squee*  I am working on this project right now with a goal of getting the whole book proofed in the next few weeks. (I have all the line art files, but they need to be tweaked for a 2-color format, which, at least on my software, involves multiple steps going from original grayscale 256 bits color to the final 2-color file.)

I've often felt that coloring books were like clip art.  99% of them are not exactly what you are looking for -- too simple (my most often cited complaints) or not quite the style of art that you like.  I can honestly say that I put in as much time (in many cases, more) in the creation of my line art as the final fully colored rendition of my artwork.  I think this coloring book will be a blast for many adults who still enjoy the occasional coloring fun. ^^  And I can finally tell my friends online that they can get their hands on a coloring book filled with my line art. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

"La Sylphide" WIP 2


A work-in-progress shot of "La Sylphide", cropped to show detail.  I'm just starting to get going with the main figure's colors.  It's been going slower than I would have liked and it has nothing to do with planning, artistic decisions, or other things going on work-wise.  I'm having to deal with some emotional issues relating to ballet.  Lately, there have been multiple occasions where ballet has been popping up in my life -- two and a half years after I made my final decision to leave that world once and for all.  My old ballet watercolor paintings are getting renewed attention professionally, and I'm getting invitations to teach and perform in a local company, etc.  But I've come to know that ballet is something that's easier to live with if I'm not too close to it.  It's just like a problem substance to an addict -- much easier not to have it around the house than fight the temptations face to face. ^^;

I've painted three pieces in recent months that had a ballerina or fairy wearing pointe shoes and they never bothered me like this one. XD  It's probably because I had Marie Taglioni in mind, and the title is "La Sylphide" -- my favorite ballet.  It was the very first gift I received from my most respected of all teachers when I first began studying with her.  She gave me a video of Paris Opera Ballet's production featuring Ghislaine Thesmar.  She made an immense impression on me and its grip, to this day, is still strong.  Stronger than I ever thought it to be. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Addicted-to-Stamps Now Open!

*Photo courtesy of Addicted to Stamps.  See the product info here.

Another company carrying some of my images in 'rubber stamps' has launched and it is now officially public.  This store will have a completely different set of my designs from the other.   Hope the variety (the spice of life!) will be fun for the crafters, scrapbookers, card makers, and anyone else interested in rubber stamps.  The stamps from Addicted to Stamps will be made of clear acrylics and priced at $7.99 each.  You will need to buy/have an acrylic block to mount the stamp, and of course, the ink pad in order to use these.

Anyhow, a little about this image you see here.  A couple of years ago, I was in a running for a job as an in-house graphic designer for an upstart company ( I was teaching dance part time at the time and only drawing for fun on the side.).  For interview/audition, I had to come up with 5 designs in a week's time.  I had nagging doubts about the whole thing, especially since the person I was talking to was not very open about the company or any of the details, citing that the very idea of this company was so revolutionary that it had to be kept secret (But really, their idea was a T-shirt with those round metal buttons to go with... how revolutionary could it have possibly been?).  Long story short, I don't even know if this company ever even officially launched.  Afterwards though, I was glad that I didn't end up being an in-house designer slaving for a children's line of T-shirts and buttons!  I knew something wasn't quite right (Call it 'gut feeling'.) and something told me that I wouldn't be happy.  Fast forward 16 months, and I was signing licensing contracts for cell phone and laptop skins, stamps, fabrics, and other fun stuff, with the art I made purely for my enjoyment.  It couldn't have worked out any better. :D  Anyhow, this 'Eye Butterfly' was one of the doodles that I came up with at the time of the "audition", and since I still had the file and I thought it might make an interesting rubber stamp, I submitted it.  They liked it enough to offer it in their line. ^_^  A happy end to an almost-forgotten little doodle!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Giveaway on Facebook

*Sample pack of what a winner might see in a package.  I have other images available in both postcards and greeting cards.  Assortment will vary from one winner to another.  (Sorry for the atrocious flash... T_T The actual colors on the product have met my approval for fidelity of color.)

My facebook art page Fantasy Art of Mitzi is inching toward 200 'likes'.  When the number reaches 200, as my way of saying "Thank you!" to everyone, I will do a random drawing from the list of people who have clicked 'like' and give away 5 packages of 3 assorted over-sized glossy postcards and 2 greeting cards.  The over-sized postcards measure 5.5 x 8.5", so these are like mini-prints.  You can use them as postcards or you can put them in ready-made frames to have a cute little grouping of three of my pieces on your wall. ^^  If you haven't already, please visit my facebook page and click 'like' for a chance to win some free stuff from me. :D

EDIT: Five winners have been announced on my facebook art page.  Thank you everyone for your support.  Congratulations to the winners.  Sorry if you didn't win this time.  I will be doing another giveaway -- hopefully soon when one of my next projects that are in the making becomes reality. ^^

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"La Sylphide" WIP


Line art for "La Sylphide" -- loosely based on a ballet of the same title about a beautiful fairy who enchants a human, only to be killed by his selfish desire (He enlists a help of a witch to 'capture' her to make her his forever with a scarf with a spell to remove her wings.).  Story of the typical fairy tale aside,  I've seen some beautiful dancing by many of the world's finest ballerinas (My favorite, who left the strongest impression, is Ghislaine Thesmar, a French ballerina.)

For this piece, I looked at some vintage drawings of Marie Taglioni, the legendary Italian ballerina who starred in the role along her brother in the premiere of the ballet.  Of course, back in her days, pointe shoes didn't quite look like the ones today.  Anyway, I imagined what she would have looked like as one of those adorable (if excessively pricey) ball jointed dolls.

I'm thinking about giving a print of a finished painting to my old ballet teacher.  I will be giving this a soft and nostalgic feel with warm subtle shades of brown with hints of rose and green.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Sketchbook Project Tour Stops in Chicago

Final 2-page spread on my sketchbook.  My Tomte and her buddy Snailee are saying good bye in the sunset.  You can see the annoying perforations the last 16 pages of the sketchbook had.  Those perforations had many artists worried about the structural integrity of the pages during the tour and the possibility of a theft. XD

The Sketchbook Project Tour, brought to you by the Art House Co-op, is making the second to last US tour stop this weekend in Chicago, IL.  Here's the details if you're in the neighborhood.

July 14 through 17 (Thursday through Sunday) from 12:00 to 5:00 pm
Hyde Park Art Center
5020 South Cornell Avenue
Chicago, IL 60615

Their final tour stop will be Winter Park, FL during the last weekend of July.  After this event, all sketchbooks will be put in the permanent collection at the Brooklyn Art Library, their home base.

July 29 through 31 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)  Time to be announced.*
Full Sail University
3300 University Blvd.
Winter Park, FL 32792

Both of these locations will be also exhibiting the Art House Co-op's "the Fiction Project".
* For more information, visit their Sketchbook Project Tour page.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Thep Kinnaree"


"Thep Kinnaree" completed.  This has been one of those pieces where you like it one moment and go away for a few and come back and you find something that you don't like about.  I got tired of going back and forth.  Last time this happened was with "Crimson Wings".  I started out really liking the line art and the idea, but as the time went by, I grew tired of it before I could complete it.  Something is just 'not right' about the shades of red/orange backlit on the monitor screen...  I'm thinking that this one is a similar situation.  Maybe I will like the printed version better. (Or else, I can always paint a different color version if it doesn't stop bothering me. lol)

All troubles aside, I do like making fantasy art with Buddhist flair.  I do like drawing lotus flowers.  Many of the deities are actually quite suited for fantasy work with wings, multiple pairs of arms, ornate decorations, flowing clothes, etc.  I played with the clouds on this picture with the typical styling that we see in Tibetan Buddhist thangkas of the round swirly shapes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Thep Kinnaree" WIP


   Between the 4th of July festivities and the Daily Deviation over at deviantART on Tuesday (which always brings thousands to correspondences into the inbox), plus more tedious work stuff (like cleaning up some line art files) for some of my licensees, kept me away from working on this piece for a while.  This WIP just shows the general color scheme of the background.  The figure has not been painted yet, but I've done a color planning already, so I won't be deviating from the plan too much in the coming days.

   Then yesterday, I made an account at Shadowness.com, which is pretty much like deviantART.  I have only seen a lot of photography, photomanipulations, and mostly good art, so maybe they've so far managed to keep junk away unlike dA (However, as the site grows in membership, this is bound to change.  What can I say?  It's the 'regression to the mean'.  The larger the sample, the lower the average will be....  The larger the site, the higher the chance of seeing lower-quality pieces.).  Will it be just another account to steal away more of my time? XD

EDIT (7:00 pm): I just learned that my "Pansy" was selected as Shadowness's Daily Inspiration.  Wow, that was quick! XD  I had to wait for quite a while over at dA before I got my first Daily Deviation. lol  :D

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

deviantART Daily Deviation



   My "La Mer" has been featured today as one of the Daily Deviations at deviantART.com.  This is my third picture to be selected, and I have to say that I did not expect it at all because this piece has been up for quite some time.  It was also nice to get a suggestion for DD from someone other than Hellobaby  (Don't get me wrong.  I adore her art and she's such a great asset to dA community with all she does on top of her art!).  It was a dA member by the username of Astralseed who suggested it with a comment of "Beautiful colors and great details make La Mer by *aruarian-dancer feel like you're in a underwater world".  That makes me happy! :D


   "La Mer" was done in the spring of 2010 (This was months before I got involved with the Enchanted Visions Project and the subsequent licensing deals that followed, so there's no watermark on this image at deviantART.), just when I was getting into my fantasy phase, coming from primarily doing nothing but anime fan art and beginning to do my own surreal drawings in pen and ink.  The coloring of "La Mer" shows both the transitional phase of my coloring technique as I was working diligently to find a way to produce a look similar to watercolor using Corel Painter and the remnants of my crazy doodle with areas of tight details vs. sparsely-filled open areas. 


   What I really like about "La Mer" is that this mermaid is my original design with outrageous ears and excessive pearls, huge piercing eyes, scaly skin, and long sharp claws.  I've always disliked the Disney's version of "the Little Mermaid" for the obnoxious red hair and overly Americanized perky personality.  I imagined mermaids to be cold-blooded and predatory in nature, luring unsuspecting men who happened to or dared to come into their underwater world with their beauty and mystique, but the men are nothing but a prey to them. *giggles*  I imagined that on this mermaid, behind that enigmatic expression, she probably hides rows and rows of tiny shark teeth. :D

Sunday, July 3, 2011

"Thep Kinnaree" Line Art

I've finished inking my "Thep Kinnaree" drawing.  Took me a while since her lower body is loaded with detail. ^^;  But I had fun with this one and I like the way it's coming out so far.  The texture detail is reminiscent of Aubrey Beardsley's drawings.  I used to do surreal drawings filled tiny shapes and patterns in place of regular shading techniques like crosshatching not too long ago.  This kind of detailed work really suits my personality.

Friday, July 1, 2011

"Thep Kinnaree" Sketch

A concept sketch of "Thep Kinnaree".  I had this idea to do a drawing/painting of a half-human-half-bird being, so started my research into the harpy this afternoon.  It was all interesting, but once I stumbled on an image of a Thai statue of Kinnaree in gold with ornate head dress and other details, I was immediately captured by its unique beauty.  Not familiar with the Thai mythology at all, I did a quick look-up and found out that she is a mythological figure who is half beautiful woman and half swan.  The upper body is that of a woman and her hips down is supposed to be the body and the tail of a swan.  Well, none of the sculptures and painted images I saw depicted "lower body of a swan".  Let's face it, swans have horribly short legs and webbed feet.  They may be graceful gliding on the water, but on land, aside from their long necks and white feathers, they look as wobbly as ducks. (Ducks are cute!  Don't get me wrong...)  So I can see why the artists past and present have taken their artistic license in their creation and given Kinnaree more like the legs of a crane and the tail of a peacock, elongating the lines all around. (Either that or something must have gotten lost in the translation of the word "swan"...) ^^;  Mine is no exception.  Aside from the long thin feathers trailing behind her, I based my Kinnaree pretty much on the traditional Thai images of this mythological creature.


I'll most likely be adding lotus flowers in the background once this gets to the inking stage for the line art.  Looks like it will be a lot of fun! ^^


Edit:  OK, so I learned something new today.  I looked up Kinnaree using the Japanese Google and there was a mention that this figure appears as one of the many Buddhist protective deities in Buddhist paintings and that it is called by the name 緊那羅(きんなら)(kinnara) in Japanese, based on the Sanskrit pronunciation, kimnara.  No wonder it looked vaguely familiar...

Edible Art Cupcake Decorations

*Image courtesy of Party in a Box Designs

Yesterday I talked about the edible art cake sheets.  Today, I want to introduce the cupcake sheets.   Each 8x10" sheet will have 12 round cupcake art images.  $12.99 per sheet.  Shown here is my "Shades of Blue" (Blue Orchids) piece on a cupcake.  Cuteness of a cupcake is dressed up as something elegant.

This image is also available as a full sheet as shown below.
*Image courtesy of Party in a Box Designs

These cake sheets from Party in a Box Designs will keep for 6 months to a year if kept away from bright light (both sunlight and artificial lighting) and stored flat at room temperature in its original air-tight packaging.  So start planning your next party now by visiting their online shop today!