Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Secret Kisses" Complete

It's so nice when everything flows easily from the pencil sketch to the final painting.  This mermaid was so easy to work with. lol  I think the color scheme, as it is a limited palette, was a no brainer, and the main reason I had an easy, smooth, time with this painting.  My last mermaid, the sweet pink one, gave me so much trouble in comparison, since I had to re-do and re-adjust the background color three times. ^^;  This is one of these paintings that I felt I was 'in the groove' with and it made me feel good about what I was doing.  Projects of late are all going smoothly and fun, it's so nice. ^^

Here's a closeup of the mermaid's face and the skull.  The tongue detail is hard to catch  when this image is presented at about 500 pixel wide (for most sites), but this closeup will let you see just how "wicked" ("twisted", "perverted", "evil", "weird", "demented", ... etc.) she is. ^^;  Definitely not for everyone.

Shortly after this piece was posted on dA, I started getting a lot of views, comments, and faves.  Turns out that it ended up showing up on their front page, generating clicks by random members who usually don't come across my pieces.  It ended up working just like the Daily Deviation shenanigan -- loads of traffic and lots of nice comments.  What a lovely way to start February! :D  Over 16,000 views and over 2,700 notifications in the inbox since yesterday.   (People love dark stuff... XD )

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Little Fun with "Weekend in Paris" Scrapkit

OK, I've never done this before.  I have never tried my hands at actually MAKING tags although I've been selling tubes of my fantasy art for almost a year now.  Lisa at PSP Tube Stop was so kind to let me get my hands on the scrapkit I contributed a few items into, so I got to play with the idea for the first time. XD   I think this piece will be shown in a blog article about 'what happens when tube artists try to make tags' (for laughs).  I think it ended up looking more like a postcard than a tag. XD LOL  Anyway, it's the aforementioned Valentine's Day scrapkit from PSP Tube Stop that I used for this.  It's packed with so many things I didn't need any additional tubes to make this one.  And there were so many items left untouched for many more projects. ^^  I might try making some more later.  It was cool to work in this color scheme of reds, oranges, yellows, and black, considering most anything you see out there for Valentine's are traditionally red, pink, and white.

Other scrapkits are being planned, so you might see me participate in another collaborative scrapkit projects in the near future.  It's fun to do small bits and items on the side along with larger scale, full-out works.  I feel blessed that my artistic life brings me variety of projects.  Speaking of variety, I'll be working on a tattoo design soon. :D

EDIT: A new blog entry for the PSP Tube Stup fans has gone up and it showcases tags made by three PSPTS artists, Constanza Ehrenhaus, Lisa Cree, and yours truly here. ^^  Please check it out!

"Secret Kisses" Color Test

A quick color test for "Secret Kisses".  I guess I haven't done a mermaid in shades of blue green.  I like the way it looks.  I'll stick to something very close to this for the final version. ^^

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"Secret Kisses" Inked Lines

The inked lines for "Secret Kisses" for the Enchanted Visions Project's monthly theme for Feb. 2012.  She is the third mermaid in less than a month, which surprises me.  It's another one of a darker mermaid for me, and like "La Mer", this mermaid is more fish-like than human-like with scales all over her body, webbed fingers and claw-like fingernails -- all around more predatory in nature.  ^^

"Weekend in Paris" Scrapkit from PSP Tube Stop

Here's the Valentine's Day themed scrapkit  that I participated in making at PSP Tube Stop with my fellow artists who sell tubes there.  Not only this is our first collaborative project, but we only had a little over a week (in order to make the kit available well in time for the Valentine's Day) to produce special images for the prompt, "A Romantic Weekend in Paris" in colors and styles inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec's famous works.  I contribued the "lady in black" (based on my Kuroshitsuji fan art, "Madam Red"), "long-stemmed roses", and the "black cats (in love)" as inspired by the famous "Chat Noir" poster.

The artists who worked on this collaborative project are:
* Joanna Bromley
* Lisa Cree
* Constanza Ehrenhaus
* Katerina Koukiotis
* Kim Turner
and yours truly :D

The kit contains 64 elements, 25 papers, and 15 frames (not all available elements in the kit are shown in the image above), enough to make multiple tags without additional tubes.  All this for only $3.50!  You can purchase this scrapkit along with many other spectacular individual tubes of beautiful fantasy images at PSP Tube Stop.

This was a really fun project and it was delightful to see what other participating artists were coming up with along the way and how these elements were put together in the final presentation image of the kit at the shop.  I hope to do more in the future when the opportunity arises. ^^

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Secret Kisses" Rough Sketch

Got working on the current monthly theme for the Enchanted Visions, "Secret Kisses", which I believe was inspired by the Valentine's Day coming up on February the14th.  I already had an idea for this theme before I worked on "Pink Ribbon Mermaid", but alas, I cannot do two sweet things in a row, apparently. XD  The second scribble sketch shifted a bit to the dark side and third one went a little morbid.  This here is the third one, where a mermaid is about to French kiss a skull of a dead... who knows... human lover, prince, handsome pirate (Johnny Depp)?  This is so far off course from my original idea it's funny.

I originally had an idea of a kitten putting its nose up against a goldfish bowl where a colorful goldfish mermaid (What would you call that?  Freshwatermaid?  Pondmaid? XD) was giving him a sweet kiss from inside the bowl.  That would have been cute, sweet, and innocent. ^^  I can certainly paint those things and it's not painful or anything usually.   However, coming from just finishing a spectacularly PINK mermaid, whose shades of pink reminded me of bubble gum and cotton candy (and a touch ... just a touch of Pepto Bismol and Sailor Moon... *facepalm*) the whole time I worked on her, another cute picture seems to overload my brain and it wants something on the dark side.   I already have another mermaid (Yet another one!) kind of knocking on the back door to my brain right now and she's "family-friendly".  So, this is weird.  I don't paint mermaids all that often and yet, I'm about to start on my third one in a month with one more planned afterwards.  And I do have an art trade planned for a pink mermaid that I need to get done soon as well.  Everything is coming up mermaids.  Why...? ^^;

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Pink Ribbon Mermaid" Tube Preview

This is the tube (sized down, lower resolution, with transparent background) version of the "Pink Ribbon Mermaid" to be available exclusively at the fundraiser event that I've mentioned previously.  I made the tube myself -- it's no big deal, but the 'bubbles of doom' and hair details are about the only part that was tedious. ^^  I hope the organizers, and more importantly, the people who are making the donations like this image and find it usable in their tag making fun.  I had fun with her all the way.  It's good to pictures that are just simple joy, although it's fun as an artist to do more elaborate pieces, and fun as myself to do some dark pieces here and there.

Speaking of dark pieces, the sketches I've been doing for the theme "Secret Kisses" (for Enchanted Visions Project's February 2012 monthly theme) have progressed ever darker, interestingly.  My original idea was something cute and innocent.  The most current version of the sketch is more in line with my "A Dark Undercurrent" with the mermaid looking like the one from my "La Mer".  :D

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Pink Ribbon Mermaid" Complete

The "Pink Ribbon Mermaid" to be made into a tube that will be available exclusively at the breast cancer research fund raiser event called Taking Back PSP in March.  I've read at their site that the number of exclusive tubes offered by various artists is now up to 22.  Hope this event raises a lot of money for the cause. ^^

This picture kind of gave me a headache after a while.  LOL  I like lavender, but pink can be very tricky.  I started out with a purple/lavender background on the first try, as I did the color test, but I wasn't too happy with it, so I gave it another try, with a brownish grey, and I also had to scrap that one halfway through.  I finally settled on this reddish grey-purple.  Some of the other elements in the picture ended up in different colors as well, like her hair (darker and magenta, which I didn't envision when I did the lines).

It was nice to do a light-hearted, cheerful piece after doing a time-consuming and mentally demanding piece like the "Dragon Lore".  It's fun to do both kind of paintings.  The key is all in the balance.

Friday, January 20, 2012

"Pink Ribbon Mermaid" Lines

The inked lines for the "Pink Ribbon Mermaid" I'm making for the Taking Back PSP event in March.  When this baby is all colored and made into a tube, it's going to be one of the goodies that's available at the breast cancer research fund raiser event.  This tube will be available only at this event and not anywhere else -- it's an 'exclusive' tube.

I've changed her appearance here and there.  Her face has changed to look less baby-faced. I also changed her lower body to be more like a fish (without the 'knee joint') and made her tail fin to be a little more frilly and flower-petal-like.  I like experimenting with little details like that.  And I added the pretty seaweed-like plants in the background.

One thing I like to do with my mermaids is to let them play with found objects.  I've painted one with a red high-heel shoe that a human girl must have dropped into the sea,  and another with skulls of the long-dead sailors.  I'll leave it up to the imagination of the viewers as to where she found the satiny pink ribbon.  The Pink Ribbon campaign just celebrated its 25th year last October, so I think it's entirely possible that many such ribbons can be floating in the gyre (That's the name of the giant floating heap of non-biodegradable waste, folks.) in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  She's apparently helping the environment by recycling/reusing the found object while making a fashion statement AND supporting a good human cause. XD

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Pink Ribbon Mermaid" Rough Sketch

I just quickly sketched my "Pink Ribbon Mermaid" that I'd like to do for the Taking Back PSP event mentioned in the entry earlier today.  She's tying a satiny pink ribbon in her hair, but she'll be mostly pink with iridescent scales and pearls.  Right now with no colors and messy lines, she looks as if she's dancing Conga. XD  I want to keep this relatively simple... after the "Dragon Lore" piece.  My head is not ready for a huge mental commitment, but I'm sure by the time I'm inking the lines, it will have its fair share of detail. ^^;  At least, since this is being created as an image to be turned into a tube, I'm not going to be doing anything elaborate to the background.

And here's the quick color test...

A better name for her might be the Cotton Candy Mermaid! XD

Taking Back PSP

Here's an announcement for an event that's coming up in March in support of PinkRibbon.org, an international organization dedicated to breast cancer research.  I will be donating an exclusive new image that will be turned into a tube that's going to be available only at this event.

Taking Back PSP is a community event designed to bring taggers together for a fun evening, and at the same time raise funds for Pink Ribbon.org - an international organization focused on breast cancer research -- something that has affected each of us in one capacity or another.

Join us at the end of March, when we will hold a one time event, where attendees will have access to a TON of exclusive tubes, scrapkits, CU items --- and win door prizes including gift certificates, tubes, and other wonderful things.

Your event ticket will cost you a mere $10.00 - ALL of which will be donated to PinkRibbon.org.

So far, 8 artists have agreed to produce exclusive artwork for this event, including Maxine Gadd, Selena Fenech, Joanna Bromley, Maigan Lynn, and of course,  yours truly! :D  Door prizes are offered by many companies and individual artists, including PSP Tube Stop (who carries my tubes), Creative Design Outlet, and PSP Tubes Emporium.  

The ticket/price of this event is $10 through the end of February.  It goes up to $15 starting on March 1st.  You can purchase tickets (You are effectively 'donating' to PinkRibbon.org by your 'purchase' via the PayPal button.) right on their blog/site's upper right hand corner.

I can tell by looking at the donating artists and businesses that this event will be well worth participating and you're going to get so much more than $10's worth.  You get to support a great cause AND get tons of goodies -- truly a win-win situation!! ^^  Hope to see you there!

My little artist button Lisa at PSP Tube Stop has made for me for this event.
So adorable I just love it so much!! XD

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Dragon Lore"

This year's first piece, "Dragon Lore", is finished. XD  Gosh, inking of the lines seemed to go on forever, but the coloring phase went on just as long.  There's lots of detail in this one and, unfortunately like many other pieces of mine, thumbnail size looks just terrible.   I'll be posting on dA and SN for a much better view tomorrow morning.

As much as artists enjoy sharing their art on the internet, the rampant theft by the uneducated or those who don't give a damn is a real problem.  Just like everyone else, I limit the size and resolution of the file that I post at places like blog and facebook.  What's really frustrating though, is the fact that pieces with lots of details always look so craptastic as a thumbnail image while many otherwise craptastic pieces look rather wonderful shrunken to that size.  I like my paintings to be a fair size and the paper size that I do the line art is 8.5 by 11 inches.  That really is the size the final piece should be looked at, but... oh the dilemma continues. XD

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Dragon Lore" Inked Lines

My goodness, my eyes are so tired after inking this piece. T_T  After I color this one, I'll have to do something really simple to release some of the stress...lol.  I had no idea that drawing a dragon was going to be this tiring. XD

I like this one a lot so far.  Like it enough as a line piece I'm thinking I might work on this some more to make it work as a standalone, black & white, traditional piece AFTER I finish coloring the digital version (to meet the deadline for EV).

There was a time not too long ago when I used to do nothing but black & white, pen & ink pieces.  As I started doing digital coloring of my inked lines, I stopped working on my drawings 'all the way', meaning stopping short of filling in all the dark areas with various shading techniques.  I like stippling (time-consuming, but the results are always worth the time) and crosshatching for shading.  I like the way this drawing looks at this point, and there's a part of me that wants to see this finished with all the dark parts filled in.  ^^

Moments like this remind me of my love for simple, basic art tools like biro (ballpoint pen) and pencil.  Ballpoint pen has become a medium that I use in every piece -- I love the control it affords me.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

"Dragon Lore" Rough Sketch & Color Test

This month's theme for Enchanted Visions Project is "Dragon Lore".  I'm trying not to procrastinate and wait till 3 days before the deadline (15th) to get started. (That can be my new year's resolution: Procrastinate less often.)

I've had the idea from the very moment I picked the theme back at the end of November 2011 when I was asked.  I had to get "Circe" out of the way, and then the dark mermaid paid me a surprise visit, so there was a bit of distraction.  (The bronchitis I've been fighting for a while doesn't help.)  My idea was a guardian spirit dragon that lives as a tattoo on a girl's body coming to manifest itself in her time of need.  It will be crucial for me to visually convey the difference between the 2D tattoo dragon portion and the 3D fantasy dragon portion of the picture.  As for the transition between the two... I have no real idea how I'm going to achieve it. ^^;  It's a challenge I posed on myself to tackle the vision in my mind so I'm not always doing what's expected of me or easy.  I've also made a point in drawing a dragon that's as ferocious and fearsome as can be for this piece.

I did a total of 3 sketches for the same general idea.  Just variations in angles and dragon's positions.  I had no idea how challenging it is to draw a twisting 'tube' with a head in space.

And here's the second version of the color test I did over the scan of the rough sketch.  First one was red and black, but I somehow didn't like it as much as I thought I would.

I like the green dragon with blue background reminiscent of water, although I like the white/silver dragon idea just as much.  Decisions decisions. ^^;

Thursday, January 5, 2012

deviantART and Shadowness

I just got a Daily Feature for "What Love Means to Me" over at Shadowness, which made me ponder about the differences between my two major online art places -- Shadowness and deviantART.

"What Love Means to Me" (digital painting 2009) - Daily Feature 01-05-2012 on Shadowness

I've been a member at deviantART a lot longer and it's my primary art place on the net with far more friends whom I admire, adore, and interact with like real friends even though many are from outside the US (I seem to exchange season's greetings and gifts more with them than my real life friends and family...).  I first created my dA account  back in October of 2008 with 'collecting fan art' as the primary motive.  I created my Shadowness account in July of 2011 with the purpose of 'being seen in more places by new people' as my primary motive.

There are distinct differences between these two art places (They are both art sites with social interaction features.  dA offers journal/blog, print and other merchandise sales, option to give and ask for critiques, much larger membership base although a good portion of it is underage kids whose primary intent is for social interaction rather than art, lots of great art as well as lots of scribbles and other junk, while Shadowness has much smaller membership base, far less kids simply there for social interaction, no merchandise for sale, a game-like points and level system that rewards member interactions, and overall higher quality, and large number of photographs.), and I like them both, but I do find myself spending more time on deviantART, and the recognition that I receive there still means quite a lot more to me, mainly because of the competition that exists due to the immense size of its membership (and the sheer number of artwork). 

"Santa Muerte" (traditional-digital mixed media 2011) - Daily Deviation 11-01-2011 on deviantART

Although anyone can argue that both places show what some would consider less than stellar pieces as their choice of featured artwork of the day, the majority of the pieces that are featured, I believe, certainly possess artistic merit that justifies their selection. (There will always be personal tastes and preferences that people are never going to agree on.)  In other words, the moderators are doing a good job of what they're supposed to do objectively in a subjective field of art. ^^  And I do appreciate the recognition that I receive at both places.  The selected pieces, however, show a marked contrast, which I find interesting.

Though I do not have the same number of featured pieces at both places, of the pieces that have received the highest honors (Daily Deviation for dA and Daily Feature for SN), I do spot a 'tendency'.  And my personal experience is this; deviantART recoginizes good art AND 'distinct, individualistic style, regardless of media and overall style', while Shadowness seems to show a tendency of a preference for 'traditional, realistic renderings, away from manga- and anime-influenced style'.

Now, this is just MY PERSONAL observation, looking at the pieces featured at both places, mind you.  And  over at Shadowness, they have this lesser feature called 'Daily Inspirations' which are placed below the 'Daily Feature' pieces in their daily presentations.  I've had so many of my fantasy pieces chosen for the 'Daily Inspiration' I've lost count.  But I know I've only had two 'Daily Feature' awards and they have both been '(photo-)realism'.  No denying there.

"Singing Lake"(100% colored pencil 1997) - Daily Feature 07-13-2011 on Shadowness

While I'm not against realism in art, and I don't dislike art done in that style,  I have a definite personal preference and much admiration for whimsy and originality in vision as well as style.  Rendering something realistically is a learned skill, and I believe anyone can do it, if they're willing to put their time and effort into learning the necessary skills and how to look at and see things as they are.  But to have an original vision and present it effectively on paper or screen, I do believe, takes real creativity -- creativity from nothingness.  And I think that's where my personal preference for originality in vision and style comes from.  I value the artists' ability to really make something out of nothing, not just inspired by something tangible they see in front of them, and certainly not by their ability to present beyond any doubt to everyone's agreement of what it is that they're seeing as the end result.  

There's no denying that a great number of people feel much more comfortable being presented with something they're familiar with or they can readily recognize,  but I personally prefer art that gives me something out of the ordinary to look at and gives me a new perspective, a different way of seeing or thinking, or evokes a feeling (preferably something exhilarating or uplifting).  I guess I tend to seek in art an experience that's outside of the ordinary, everyday experience.  And that's where fantasy art comes in.  Art, for me, is a fun and relaxing way to escape the mundane in my life.  That's how I approach in the making of art and that's what I prefer when I look at other artists' work as well.  Simply put, skills and realism alone do not impress me unless there's something really original and creative to go with.

"La Mer" (traditional-digital mixed media 2010) - Daily Deviation on deviantART 07-05-2011

"Pansy" (traditional-digital mixed media 2010) - Daily Deviation 09-12-2010

"Viridis Incendia" (pen on paper 2009) - Daily Deviation 09-24-2009

I'm far more fond of my pieces that were given recognition on dA than the pieces that were recognized on SN for the same reasons.  I feel fortunate that I received my Daily Deviation honors for the original pieces and not for my most-favorited and most-commented fan art pieces that I made in my early days of membership.  I feel  that the proverbial 'pats on the shoulder' came at just the right times along the way to nudge me in the right direction so that I'd be the happiest doing what I find true to MY heart.

I almost forgot to mention another big difference.  When an artist gets a Daily Deviation on dA, he/she gets inundated with thousands of 'correspondences' (notices of people favoriting their pieces and new watchers, messages, comments, requests from various groups for permission for gallery inclusion, etc.) and pageviews, the whole thing is quite an experience.  In many cases, the ripple effects last for days.  In my experience, these occasions have been genuine love-fests of good will and admiration from total strangers, the effect of which is a rise in self-esteem for a day or two, even for the worst self-critic. ^_^