Monday, February 27, 2012

"La Fée Verte" Lines & Color Test

Finished inking the line art for "La Fée Verte", my kiriban 100K piece for a watcher on dA.  Color scheme will be lime green (and other shades of green) and black.  I'm not sure about the black since I don't use black often ... or in fact, at all, in any of my pieces regardless of the medium.  It's something I've done for years since my colored pencil days.  Black straight from the pencil box or watercolor tube just always seemed like such a dead color. XD  So I'll most likely use other colors mixed with green to achieve the 'look' of black to avoid the dreaded 'straight black'. ^^;  At any rate, this should be a fun piece to color.  I've been itching to do a full work after a couple of weeks of doing bit work for the scrapkit.

A quick color test to see overall color feel.  It looks very flat (and dead) without the shadows and hilights. ^^;

Friday, February 24, 2012

Kiriban 100K Artwork - Pencil Rough

My dA homepage recently reached the 100,000th pageview milestone, and since I hadn't done a kiriban since around 70K, I decided to offer the lucky member a gift art in colors and flowers of his/her choice (I don't do someone's original characters or fan art so I don't offer that for kiriban.).  The person who caught the kiriban requested "lime green and black" as the color choice, and shared with me photos of some green roses, orchids, calla lilies, etc. plus near-black (actually very deep purple) flowers such as tulips.  From the color prompt, the idea that immediately popped up in my head was Absinthe.  I've already done a "Green Fairy" for the Enchanted Visions Project as it was one of the old themes from before I joined.  This time I'm going to call her by the French term, "La Fée Verte".

I've always imagined my Absinthe fairy to be something sophisticated, a little bit reminiscent of a flapper girl of the Prohibition era, with an air of aloofness and melancholy -- a girl of mystery. XD  So for the first time, I'm drawing her with a slick bob for hair (I've always had a thing for that hair style!  And I don't think I've ever seen a fairy art with this hair style...), long silky gloves, beads and lots of green blooms.

I just finished working on a collaborative project of St. Patrick's Day scrapkit with many items in some shade of green or another, most of them being flowers.  So this is a rather smooth transition for me.  The rough sketch was quick, so I'm hoping that inking and coloring will progress just as smoothly and quickly this weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Scrapkit from PSP Tube Stop

Here we go again!  The team of artists at PSP Tube Stop has once again collaborated to create a scrapkit to be used alone or with any tubes on the market.  Since St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, that's the theme we tackled.

Aptly titled, "Over the Rainbow", this colorful kit contains 68 elements, 14 frames, and 16 papers/backgrounds in colors and themes that compliment St. Patrick's Day.  Lots of spring greens, rainbow colored elements, shamrocks, and leprechauns.  The artists who worked on this project are as follows.

Constanza Ehrenhaus
Lisa Cree
Joanna Bromley
and yours truly here ^_^

The preview above does not show everything that's included in the scrapkit, of course.  It's available at the PSP Tube Stop  for the low price of only $2.50.  It's such a fantastic bargain!

I did a ridiculously high number of elements this time since I'm a self-proclaimed flower freak and cannot restrain myself once I start painting random flowers.  I ended up contributing dozens of flowers, ribbons, shamrock clusters, and even some backgrounds/papers, as well as sparkles.  Yes, sparkles!  I like to liken sparkles to bacon since they make everything look better, much the same way bacon makes everything taste better. :D

Here is a tag I just made this morning, with one of my own tubes from PSP Tube Stop (As you can see at the bottom where the copyright notice is shown, I have to have a license number to use my own art in tube form. XD ) , along with many of the elements that come in the "Over the Rainbow" Scrapkit.

This time, I utilized the transparent background and made the elements to look as if they're overflowing out of the heart-shaped knot frame.  Lots of fresh, spring-time green, brightened up with yellow daisies and accented with a handful of blue and purple butterflies and a rainbow.  It has a delicate and feminine feel.  I am pretty happy with the way this turned out.  And of course, the sparkles were fun to use. :D

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Treat for My Eyes

This illustrated book just arrived in my mailbox from Japan and I'm delighted!  I bought it on eBay from a used book dealer, but as typical of all Japanese sellers, what the Japanese consider 'used' is so much better than 'new with some shelf wear' in the US.  (At least, that has been my personal experience with100% of my transactions.)  This volume is practically pristine.  Just beautiful in the print quality as well as the over all design with the use of transparency (both clear acrylic cover and with some vellum pages internally).  Such a treat for the eyes and soul!!!

Reiko Okano, the manga artist, is my singular favorite among all my inspirations.  Whenever I get an interview and someone asks to list my inspirations, I always mention her name.  Her art is simply spectacular with such attention to detail and sensitivity to the subtlety of colors.  I can look at her art all day and never tire, and she is a wonderful manga-ka with beautiful way of telling a story as well.

The Onmyouji series, I believe, has not been widely available in the US, although I am aware of the French-language version having been published.  This Heian period historical drama demands much knowledge of Japanese history and culture, not to mention kanji, it is quite possible that finding a suitable translator for the job is no easy task for any publisher interested in the publication of the English-language version.  I've read the 13-volume manga series with utter delight over the years, and these books remain a major source of my artistic inspiration to this day.

The large scale presentation of the illustrations in full color in this volume is sure to inspire me in the coming months with some Japanese- or Asian-flavored fantasy pieces or some more contemporary Buddhist fantasy art.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Donate $10, Get Exclusive Tubes & More!

The special fundraising event, Taking Back PSP, is bringing artists, PSP tube companies, and taggers together for a wonderful cause of supporting breast cancer research.  The total number of exclusive tubes only available at this event, with your donation of only $10, is 22.  Talented artists in pinup and fantasy genre are contributing their talent and time.   Many are coming up with exclusive new art just for this event (See my "Pink Ribbon Mermaid" above, for example.).  We are seeing a lot of lovely pink art!  Also included in the ticket price/donation are scrapkits provided by companies and artists as well as door prizes from various sponsors.  It's truly a win-win situation for all involved!

The total donation received as of this writing is $1,490.00 USD.  We're almost at the $1,500.00 mark.  The event will take place on Friday, March 23, 2012, starting at 8:00 PM EST.  Donors/ticket holders will be able to access the exclusive tubes for one week after this date, in case some may not be able to attend the live event.  The price of the ticket will go up to $15.00 starting on March 1st, so get your ticket today and enjoy!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Commission Piece

"Kannon Horimono Commission for Matt M." ©Mitzi Sato-Wiuff

This is a commission piece of custom design of a Kannon (The Lady of Compassion, Kwan Yin, Avalokiteshvara) as seated on a lotus throne, holding a water vessel and a willow branch, for a client who will have this image executed on his back.  A very detailed drawing in pen on paper, more brightly colored than usual for the end purpose specifically as a horimono.

My first horimono design commission and I thoroughly enjoyed the project.  The client had a pretty clear idea of the basic elements to be incorporated (seated Kannon, with more human-like feature and expression, with a vessel of water in one hand and a branch of willow on the other, filled-out background incorporating some traditionally found elements in tattoo art of Japan).  We exchanged many e-mail communications after he initially approached me after coming across my "Dance of a Thousand Birome" piece in my online portfolio.

"Dance of a Thousand Birome" ©Mitzi Sato-Wiuff/Aruarian Dancer

The initial sketching did not take very long, but the inking of the lines took a fair amount of time.  The coloring was trickier than I had expected, as I had certain fondness for pinks and golds, while the client expressed preference for red over pink in the flowers and pointed out the possible difficulty accurately capturing the gold in ink on skin.  I was more than happy to incorporate the suggestions into the color scheme to suit his taste and need as we went through several different versions of the colors before settling on the final piece.  It has been a wonderful experience for me -- a spiritual endeavor as a Buddhist and a learning experience as a designer.  I often had the feeling of deja vu as if I had done this before (as in one of my past lives, possibly as a tattoo artist or as a Buddhist monk).  At times, the task seemed overwhelming, while at other times, I enjoyed the moments of utter tranquility and feeling of rightness (= I am doing exactly what I was meant to be doing at the right place at the right time for the right reason with the right people.).  It was a wonderful feeling.

 A closeup view of the piece.

My client is very pleased with the final design, and we are already in talks for a possible next piece for his arm.  He has promised to send me photos of the tattoo-in-progress once the work begins on his back.  I'm looking forward to sharing the images here.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Tube Giveaway at PSP Tube Stop

It's time to have some fun with the fans!  My PSP tube distributor, PSP Tube Stop, is holding a giveaway where one lucky winner can win a free tube of their choice from my tube gallery. :D  Freebie with no strings or major commitment attached.  Sounds good, doesn't it? :D  Here's how to enter.

Go to their facebook page or go directly to the giveaway information photo.  They have a link there to my tubes gallery at PSP Tube Stop.  Go and visit the gallery and decide on your favorite image.  Come back to PSP Tube Stop's giveaway information photo on facebook, and comment with the title of your favorite tube!  That's all you have to do to be entered into the drawing.  You can use Facebook's 'Share' function (You see the 'Share' button under the giveaway info photo.) to post it on your profile or page.  Mention that you shared it on the comment, too, for additional entry into the drawing. ^^  The winner will be randomly chosen on the 17th of February.  So, go visit their page, look at my tube gallery, and enter the giveaway today! :D  Good luck!!

Here's the quick, partial look at my tube gallery at PSP Tube Stop.  I currently have a total of 19 high quality, painstakingly well-made tubes available at the shop and more will be coming soon. ^^

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Steampunk Dark Angel" on the Cover of EMG-Zine

February 2012 issue of EMG-Zine -- an e-zine for artists and writers of fantasy and science fiction -- covers the topic "Steampunk".  This month's issue includes: steampunk art gallery; columns on licensing, glues for collage, and motivation; art walk-through on dragons; part 3 on "Appreciating Speculative Art"; and fiction "The Wish Machine"; and more.

Steampunk has been popular for quite some time in many genres from books, manga, comics, to movies.  I find it a rather demanding genre and stayed away from it like a plague for the longest time.  (The thought of doing mechanical and technical rendering overwhelmed me. ^^; )  But like any theme, once the bug bites you, I cannot seem to say 'no'...  So last summer, I attempted my first steampunk piece,  and I also believe this was my first 'dark-ish' theme as well, for the EV theme, "Darkness Falls".

I had the idea of a warrior girl clad in black Victorian attire with gorgeous mechanical wings that allow her to fly and engage in battles in the air, while dodging bombs and bullets from nearby dirigibles and other flying crafts.  I made two version of this image -- one with splattered blood and another without.  Either way, the violence is only implied and not graphically depicted.

As complicated and mind-numbing and hand-cramp-inducing as this piece was, I love the final results.  I love the intricate details in the wings' blades, the pulley mechanisms and whatnot, the look on the girl's face, and the overall brown/gold color scheme.  It's one of my favorite pieces.  I'd like to do something similar with a white version, where she is flying high in the clouds, untainted with blood stains.