Friday, September 28, 2012

Work in Progress

   Just laying the shadows in this work-in-progress shot #1.  "Diffuse water" brush only in various shade of blue on a single layer above the "canvas" (= line art file) in Corel Painter.

   WIP shot #2 with the center figure mostly colored.  Next up is the coloring of the wolves.

   A close-up of the warrior.  He's kind of beaten up, and as suggested in the full version above, bleeding from his wound quite a bit.  I wanted this image to have the intensity of the warrior's last stand with the pack of wolves threatening to attach whoever had him against the frozen waterfall. :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Tempest of Ice" in Progress

   I'm having so much fun with this one.  Just finished inking the pencil sketch.  Ready for the color test to decide on the general scheme.  I'm guessing that it will have blues and grays and other muted colors for the winter landscape.

   Once again, this is for the Enchanted Visions Project's existing theme "Tempest of Ice".  The backdrop behind the wolf pack will be frozen waterfall.  I'm hoping to get this finished before Sunday so that I can submit it to the upcoming EMG-Zine "Wolf" issue's art gallery. ^^

   Here's a quick color test just to see if the color of the cloak works and how much dripped blood to put into the image.    I like this one a lot so far.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tackling One of the Old EV Themes

   Since I joined the Enchanted Visions Project back in August of 2010, I have been steadily tackling the list of existing themes on top of the current monthly ones.  In the beginning, I was able to do one of the old themes and a theme of the month every month.  Lately, I'd be lucky if I manage to do the current one on time.  I usually managed to get it done within 7 to 10 days of the deadline, but I have been late a few times.

   I've been wanting to do "Tempest of Ice" since I joined EV.  I had several ideas that were floating around in my head, but nothing really "appeared" on paper as I sat at the drawing table.  Finally though, I had a vision and I'm going to be able to paint my interpretation of "Tempest of Ice". :D

   I wanted the warrior to look a little more beaten up, but no, he doesn't look that way in this concept/pencil sketch version.  I will have to work that into the image later on.  But the basic idea is the bond between a pack of wolves and a human.  There will be a wall of ice (like a frozen waterfall) behind them to suggest that this is the battle weary warrior's last stand with the help from the pack of wolves.

   I used to draw male characters a lot when I did a lot of fan art for friends on deviantART.  I have nothing against drawing male characters.  I certainly am not allergic to the idea or anything.  It's that ... oddly enough, it often makes me feel "strange"... as if I'm ogling at a guy. ^^;  And if all goes well and the character ends up looking great, then I might goof off "admiring" my own drawing a little too much.   Not the most productive way to spend the day.  But I finally decided this was the time and a good theme to do it with since some people have accused me of sticking only with women and flowers. LOL

   At any rate, I didn't use a reference for the guy, so any likeness to anyone is purely coincidental.  I do, however, admit that the actor Vladimir Kulich, from "The 13th Warrior", was floating in my mind as I drew this sketch.  The warrior here will be platinum blond and blue eyed, most likely.  I had an alternative set of details which had an Asian guy in a similar scenario, but the aforementioned movie must have won me over in this. XD

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Enchanted Visions Resuming Activity

   At the end of this month, Enchanted Visions Project's renovated site will go live and our first theme for October 2012 after the summer 2012 hiatus will be due.  The theme is "New Beginnings", and I'm glad I managed to get it done well ahead of the deadline ... for a change. ^^;  The summer break was good for me since I had tons of work (all commissions) to do and I still have work left to finish.  It would have been difficult to squeeze in a theme so I won't be put into the archive.  The new rule states that is a member is inactive for 3 months, her work will be stored in the archives in a separate area of the site.  This is good to encourage all members to stay active and keep creating, which is, after all, the purpose of the project.  There were a lot of members who fussed to get involved, only to produce no work in over a year.  These members were officially purged as we went through the member e-mails list this summer.

"New Beginnings", October 2012 theme for Enchanted Visions Project.

   I had fun with the red and gold color scheme and all that sparkles. XD  It's fun to go from finishing up a Mexican piece ("Las Calaveras") and moving onto a Chinese piece.  I think my next piece will be something different with animals. ^^  I'm going to try to finish it before the end of the month to meet a certain deadline.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Color Test for "New Beginnings"

   As the Enchanted Visions Project resumes activity, the first monthly theme (for October 2012) is "New Beginnings".  A fresh start.  A beginning of something new.  A new life.  A new commitment.  The title brings up a lot of ideas.  As I pondered on the prompt, the idea of a wedding or a marriage came to my mind as it is a new beginning of a life together with someone.  But since I don't like to do just pretty faces and call it 'fantasy' simply because it is a mermaid, a witch, a fairy, or it has sparkles, etc., I thought about it a little further and came up with the idea of drawing a Chinese bride with an elaborate headdress with the fantasy twist of a phoenix, which is traditionally associated in the Chinese wedding decor along with a dragon.  They are as ubiquitous as the color scheme of red and gold.

  In feng shui, both the dragon and the phoenix, when presented alone, are yang animals, being said to have 'male' energy.  But when these two are presented together, the phoenix represents the 'female' energy, the bride, while the dragon symbolizes the groom.  So I decided to depict the bride here with the celestial phoenix appearing before her to bring the blessings and good fortune.

   This is a quick color test I did to help me visualize the red and gold in the image overall.  I may experiment further with the background colors, but I like the purple and brown to go with the red and gold.  This one is going to be fun to color. :D

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Chinese Horoscope Contest Winner

   Just found out that my "Dragon Lore - Green" had been selected as the winner of the Chinese Horoscope Contest on deviantART.  This was one of their official contests where you can enter your submission into a special contest 'folder' during the artwork upload process.  I've never won in any of the official contest, so I'm pretty psyched about it right now. ^^

   The bonus was that the win came with 12-month subscription (This is really sweet after dishing out so many months' worth subscriptions myself for the Annual Young Artists Contest.  I won't have to pay for my own for another year.  Yay!), my choice of dA T-shirt (And I do have one that I've been ogling at... XD), and a print of choice (up to $30 in value).  All in all, this is a pretty complete package for a contest like this, and I'm thrilled that my dragon piece won.

   I'm particularly fond of green dragons, especially the serpentine, Asian kind of dragons.  And as an amateur feng shui enthusiast, I've had nothing but positive experience whenever I activated the area to honor the green dragon in my surroundings, so naturally, it's my personal favorite in the Chinese zodiac, although my birth year zodiac animal is sheep/goat.  Winning a contest with a green dragon just adds to the list of 'proof' that this mythological animal is indeed 'lucky' for me.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Walk-through of "Las Calaveras"

   Have been doing some extra bit of writing this month for submission for possible publication.  In the mood for a walk-through of "Las Calaveras", so here it is. ^^

The Beginning
   The first thing I do after I make a rough sketch of my idea onto a piece of paper with a pencil is to go over it with my ballpoint pen (I use black Quink ink by Parker brand for all my line art.) to ink and clean at the same time.  My pencil sketch is not that clean, so the inking can be tedious depending on what I need to correct before proceeding.  Once the inking is complete, the image is scanned and digitally cleaned of all the stray lines left (like by incomplete erasing of the pencil lines) and dust specks (and cat hair) that get picked up by the scanner.  Anything that doesn't belong in the image are carefully erased from the digital file of the line art.
   Next, the file is adjusted for contrast (lowered) and brightness (raised), so that I end up with grey lines instead of black.  The lines are then colorized to give sepia tone.  At that point, I decide on the color scheme and choose my "paper color".  Since I wanted to go with red and black for this piece, I decided to go with a rose colored 'paper'.  This is done by tweaking the red-green-blue balance.

Background Wash
   First, I took reddish black at somewhat low opacity (8% range) and used "diffuse water" brush, in my Corel Painter, to give the background wash.  This is done loosely and quickly by changing the tip size frequently and changing my pressure I press the stylus onto the tablet with.  "Salt" in different tip diameter and opacity are applied to give a bit of interest in the background.
    A second layer of wash is done in red, and applied much the same way as the black wash layer.  Loose and quick for the 'natural' look.  If you don't change tip size and the pressure you use frequently, in most digital painting programs, we end up with "stamped circles", though it may be just what we're looking for in some pieces, it's not what I wanted for this one.

Painting the Roses
   After the red washes were given, I went back onto my black wash layer and gave the rose petals shades in the reddish black.  This is all being done with the "diffuse water" brush which bleeds into the already colored areas within the same layer.  In another layer, I set the green leaves in subtle hues of green.  I set up a new layer on top of all others for a line highlights and start putting highlights to the petal edges to help indicate the direction of the light source.

Painting the Hair, Eyes, & Face Paint
   I experimented a little with the eye colors before deciding on golden brown.  I knew I wanted her to be a beautiful Latina with dark hair, so I set up a layer for her hair.  The hair layer is also "hosting" the black part of the face makeup.  All applied with "diffuse water" in much the same way as the background washes.
   On the same layer as the rose petals' highlights are put on, I do a bit of highlighting for the face -- eye lids, eyes, nose, and lips.

Adding Reflected Red
   On the same layer as the roses' red wash, I bring in the same shade at different opacity onto the main figure's head, shoulder, hands, and onto the skull she's holding to give the reflected red light that surround them.

Flesh and Bone
   The skin as contrasted from the skull-painted face is given a flesh tone and shaded.  I decided to give the old skull a bit of aged look by shading it in various shades of ocher.  Still using "diffuse water" for all the large area colors.  On the highlight layer, I give the hair detail.  Black background wash layer was utilized to add shades to the figure and the skull.  Color and highlights were also given to her silver hoop earring.  A separate layer for soft highlights is set up for highlights on the woman's cheek bones, bridge of her nose, forehead, hands, and on rose petals.

Painting the Face and the Skull
   Now, the fun part!  The skull painting detail for the face and the skull.  For the face paint, I chose "simple water" brush which acts like more a dry brush or marker tip, compared "diffuse water" which acts like wet application of watercolor.  This affords me more control and I apply the black, red, and green to the woman's makeup, giving it the look of hand painted face.  I do the same to the skull, staying close to the color scheme, but adjusting the hue a little bit.  Her white off-the-shoulder dress is given a hint of glow.

   This piece had an interesting shift in personality and mood from the original line art to the completion of coloring.  The woman grew more fierce with her gaze and her smile a bit sinister, though still mysterious as to the meaning of her smile.  I had a lot of fun with this one.  I love the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico and how it's celebrated.  I also enjoy making a cultural tribute with my fantasy work every now and then by stepping into a distinct, identifiable tradition, that is very different from my own, but equally rich and fascinating.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pencil Sketch for the New EV Theme

The Enchanted Visions Project will reopen with a newly redesigned web site and a new theme for October, 2012, after a summer hiatus.  As both the head administrator and myself (the humble assistant administrator) are volunteers who divide our time with many roles --a  mother, a wife, a working artist, and a volunteer -- the summer hiatus, which coincides with our children's time-off from school, is a much-needed break and a necessity.

I, for one, did not get around this summer to knock a single old theme off the list of remaining old themes.  I still have 5 old themes that I would eventually like to tackle (And I am not leaving the "stock photo" theme, since I just am not interested, and do not like to be dictated about a pose and a subject matter.).

I am going ahead and getting started on the October theme without waiting till the last minute.  I have a few other images I would like to get done before this month is up, so this is no time for procrastination. ^^;

The October's theme is "New Beginnings" as we, as a group, start fresh for the 2012~2013 season.  I decided to take the inspiration from China this time for the theme.  I love the red wedding dresses the Chinese brides wear because the color red is the lucky color with so many good things associated with it.  (White, on the other hand, is associated with the dead in the Chinese culture, as in many other areas of the world.).  I also really like the ornate headdress.  Gold is often paired with the red for a delightfully rich and vibrant visual effect.  As I am an amateur Feng Shui enthusiast, I adore the red and gold, for these are a very positive, highly energetic colors.

Today's Best Award at Zazzle

"Las Calaveras" was chosen  as one of the Today's Best Award for September 12, 2012.  In the past, they sometimes sent out e-mail notifications of congratulations and sometimes I only found out because of the congratulatory comments left by other community members, but this is the first time I saw they put a 'badge' image in the e-mail, which was kind of nice. :D

I have been updating my Zazzle shop, making new merchandise with this image.  I still have the CafePress shop to update.  Since I didn't get to do much this summer in terms of fantasy art the way I want it because of all the commissions I was doing for others, my stores didn't see any updates with new merchandise for months.  I'm glad I finally got around to do something for fun. ^^;

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"Las Calaveras"

Just finished this one today.  I like the Mexican "Day of the Dead" celebration on November 1st as a prompt for art.  Although this was just for my personal fun, if it's a choice between Halloween and Day of the Dead, as an art prompt, I'd pick the latter, since witches are one thing I have not touched as a fantasy artist.  Simply because I'm not interested in them (not the vampires).

This summer has been really busy with commissions and I have not been able to do anything for my personal enjoyment art-wise until this piece, "Las Calaveras" (The Skulls).  I also got very sick (most likely from the West Nile virus) at the end of August, and when I was finally feeling well enough to sit at a desk, the pencil sketch of this came out really quickly.  Inking went pretty quickly as well.  Coloring took a bit extra simply because we just got us five new baby chicks and I was also finishing up the Annual Young Artists Contest on  So many award certificates to make, so many notes to write to the winners and prize sponsors, and a big journal feature of winners -- all very tedious and time-consuming. ^^;

I can't wait to go to my Zazzle shop and make merchandise with this image.  It's been so long since I got to update my store or my web site with a new image. :D

Friday, September 7, 2012

Work in Progress 2

With the arrival of the chicks for our backyard coop yesterday, I didn't get going on this piece till this mornnig.  About halfway there, I think.  Decided, after all, to go with the classic red roses, white skulls, and black hair.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Work in Progress

   Finished inking the sketch this morning.  Hoping to get started with the coloring, but I have not made up my mind for the general color scheme.  Most obvious would be to go with red roses, but I'm not sure. ^^;  Will play around with color test for sure before going ahead with a scheme.