Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sketch Fest #45 Dec. 6~8, 2013

I'm behind schedule for writing a wrap-up of the most recent Sketch Fest.  Holiday season is here, and like most everyone, I've been busy.  I had previously not been a type of artist who produces a lot of holiday-theme artwork, so my holiday offering has been rather limited.  I've been working hard to address this deficiency this season. ^^;  I seem to have taken a lot of holiday-inspired prompts in the November's and December's Sketch Fests.

I only managed 5 pieces this time around.  The first was a kitty.

"Kitten in a Stocking" to the prompt "kitty in a stocking".  ACEO (2.5" x 3.5") in ink & watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.). *SOLD*

"We Love Snowman!" to the prompt "kitty and a snowman".  4" x 5" in ink and watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.).  *SOLD*  I needed a larger paper to squeeze in the playful kittens.  Went for a simple approach on this one.

"Christmas Owl" to the prompt "Winter Owl".  ACEO in ink and watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.).  *SOLD*  I think this was my favorite of this Sketch Fest.  All the red and green was wearing me out, so I went for the light blue Santa hat and it really helped me get out of the "I've had enough of Christmas already!" rut. XD  (This, from a person who used to set up the Christmas tree the day after Halloween...  How things have changed...)

"The Little Santa" to the prompt "The cutest, little Santa". ACEO (2.5 x 3.5") in ink & watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.). *SOLD*  I am a real sucker for thumb-suckers.  I think it's so cute when little kids do that.  I also love it when they have a favorite object like a blanket that they get extra attached to. ^_^  My own daughter is much older now, so I guess a part of me misses the cute behavior of the very young.

The last one I did is "Mistletoe Fairy" to the prompt "Mistletoe Fairy".  ACEO in ink and watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.).  *SOLD*   This has been turned into a digital stamp already, and it's been very popular among paper crafters. ^_^

Speaking of digi's, I just realized that I haven't had a chance to turn the first two posted here into digi listings yet.  This is how busy the season has been.  Things keep piling up on top of the already long list... ^^;

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"Diamonds" for the Calendar Project with the FTA

It's been a crazy busy November so far.  I will not be participating in Enchanted Visions Project as we resume activity after our summer hiatus that ran a little longer than originally planned (no complaints here from me lol).  Commissions are piling up again and inquiries keep coming.  Signed with a few new companies for licensing agreement, so things are staying busy as ever.

I am usually a person who feels strictly about deadlines and hardly ever late (except for EV themes in the past).  I was late for the submission deadline for the Femme Thou Art's calendar project.  This was thought up by someone fairly late in the year, and hastily put together as a project plan and a monthly auction theme.  I guess I wasn't really feeling 'it'. ^^;

I picked April, and thus diamonds, for the birth stone to be interpreted and illustrated.  White and anything colorless are actually harder to convey than things with color, so I kind of kicked myself in the head for picking my birth month of April after the fact.

The line art was completed a few days before the deadline, and edited and posted as a digital stamp at the Etsy shop.  The digi is available here.

The Sketch Fest has been very productive of late, both in terms of artistic creativity and sales.  So I made a point of participating as much as I could this past weekend while I had many other errands that kept me away from my art area.   That definitely cut into the time I had left for this project. XD

Here's a close-up/cropped view of the colored illustration.  Since diamonds have been associated with purity, I added the lilies and roses to also emphasize that quality.  Sweet pea was also added since it is the birth flower of April.  I wish I had a little more time to work on this.  Things generally feel rushed these days.  ^^;

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sketch Fest # 44 Nov. 15 ~ 17, 2013

Another Sketch Fest weekend! :D  The weekend of 15, 16, 17 was a busy one with extra events happening.  My daughter was performing as the first chair cellist in the School District High School Honor Orchestra.  They had extra rehearsals with the guest conductor on Friday and Saturday before the concert, so I was away from my work area a lot during these 3 days.

When the Sketch Fest first begin Friday afternoon, prompts are slow to come as many participants (artists and buyers alike) are still finishing up the work week and not home and free yet. ^_^  I was being a chauffer to my daughter until well after 5 PM, so nothing much got done on Friday afternoon.

First one "Sleepy Bunny Elf" (*sold*) to a prompt "Bunny Elf".  I'm sorry, but I'm just not into scantily clad pinup-y females.   That's just not what I get into. ^^:  So I'm going for the cute, whimsical, and adorable, instead.  A baby elf in bunny pajamas and slippers.  So cuddley!

Somebody put in the prompt "Totoro!". :D  So here it is.  Fan art stuff is fun to do.  "Totoro Tower".  Since I feel "illegal" about sales of fanart, I decided to just give this one away to the first person who asked for it, who was willing to pay for the shipping. ^_^  (*claimed*)

"The Little Penguin" (*sold*) done to a promopt "The little penguin".  The emperor penguin babies are just so adorable with their black and white head with grey body.  I love them.  They're huge babies though, actually. lol  I decided to do something whimsical and cute for the holidays.  I tend to always be behind on holiday themed art.  My shop is very low on holiday-themed digi's.  So, it's two birds with one stone time!  Make an ACEO that can be turned into a digi.  This way, Sketch Fest is a very productive venture for me.  Sell the originals and sell the digi's made from them. :D

"Meditating Mushroom" (*sold*) for the prompt of the same.  This prompt almost had my name written on it! Haha.  Mushrooms do look like little sprites meditating, so this came to me very quickly. :D

"Christmas Kitten" (*sold*) to a prompt "Christmas Kitty".  It was interesting to see all other artists who tackled this prompt made a furry... or a pinup-y girl with cat ears.  I'm a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady, so naturally, I produce a cute kitten illustration.  Seasonal.  For a reason. XD

"Poinsettia Sprite" to a prompt "Poinsettia Fairy".  I've been meaning to do a poinsettia sprite to add to my sprite series.  So this was a perfect opportunity.  I love all the novelty varieties of poinsettias the nurseries come up with every season, but I'm still most drawn to the classic red variety.  These plants speak "Christmas!" to me.  I love the large red and green leaves in a pot every holiday season.

*** Random Tip of the Day ***
When purchasing a pot of poinsettia, choose a relatively warm day above 40 degrees (for the trip from the store to your car -- this is crucial).  Ask the store clerk/cashier to put the pot in a paper bag then ask for another paper bag and use it to cover the top by inverting this second bag over the first bag to encase the poinsettia plant completely.  The leaves of the plant hate cold air touching them.  If you ever had bought one of these plants only to see them drop most of the leaves within days, the reason is cold air exposure. ^_^

"Purple Rose"(*sold*) to the prompt of the same.  In the last Sketch Fest, I did a Rose Fairy who looked like a younger version of this with red petals.  Same approach here.  Lose and quick. ^_^

"Frozen Heart" to the prompt "Ice Tiara".  I imagined an elven queen whose heart was broken, who then felt her heart frozen to all emotions and became numb.  Somone said this reminded her of the White Witch from Narnia.  I LOVE Tilda Swinton in that role.  To me, she is the perfect enbodiment of the Ice Queen. 

"Pumpkin Pie Kitten" to a prompt "Pumpkin Pie Kitty".  Well, I think a lot of cat owners had experience very similar to this.  Baked a beautiful pie or cake, leave it up on a kitchen counter, and the little mischief maker helps herself to it.  But you know, you just can't stay mad at that face! XD  Amy Brown, on Facebook, said that she had this happen to her pies.  Her cat was eating from one while sitting in the other. lol  Ruin two pies with one kitty!

Well, that's all for Sketch Fest 44.  I'll be making digi's of these in the next few days -- just in time for the holidays. :D

Friday, November 8, 2013

Going Nuts - Second Piece for the Auction

Some days, a whimsy strikes when you're just waking up and enjoying the first cup of a coffee.  This is interesting, considering that I usually wake up thinking about the same thing I go to bed thinking about.  I was mulling over the details of the "Diamond" piece that I will be doing for one of the collectives.  I definitely want to get this out of the way before the next Sketch Fest on the 15th, 16th, and 17th.  I have a general idea, so it's working out the smaller details.  I've found over the years that if I go to sleep thinking about an image, I often wake up the next morning knowing exactly what I'd like to do.  And the best part of it is that I'd wake up motivated and inspired.  (And that's a great thing in any line of business if/when you can wake up in the morning, feeling ready to jump out because you're so excited about the next project.  I consider myself very lucky in this regard.)

That said, I tend to overthink pieces for some projects more than the others.  And you know that creative flow often gets blocked from overthinking.  Certain degree of self-criticism is an absolute necessity for any work, but that still needs to be kept in check or otherwise the whole thing comes to a screeching halt.  Often, things that I don't take nearly as seriously would produce a result that is free in spirit, easy in execution and style, and overall more pleasant.  It's like finding a way to go back to the pure state of creativity any child has.  The glee, the joy, the delight, the freedom, the utter lack of the concept of "what other people might think"!

The fluffy work I do -- by that I mean the cutesy, smaller pieces of pure whimsy -- is easier for me to approach and I feel less pretensious when I am making these.  I'm more playful when I approach the fluffy work.  Because of that, things go more quickly, and are more often than not, appealing to the heart with the kind of energy that is warm and fuzzy.  (I do feel that some of my darker stuff eminates a warped energy, which is interesting in its own right, but not exactly something I'd like to have around me.  Not that I put my own art up on my walls.)

I'd like to think that all this is because my 'default' emotional state is a 'happy, content, cheerful, optimistic' one.  It's closer to my nature than the other extreme in my art.  In any case, here's this morning's sketch of my Acorn Sprite riding a squirrel for the great nut hunt. ^_^  I love drawing sprites.  I love drawing fuzzy animals.  Combining the two makes perfect sense.   This will be my second piece for the "Going Nuts" auction starting this Monday, the 11th.

This image is now available as a digital stamp at my Etsy shop.
I had to go over the scan of the inked lines in my Corel Painter.  Sometimes when I use the sepia ink for the line art, the details cannot be cleanly scanned or adjusted.  It's an extra step, but I've gotten so quick at it these days, it's hardly a hassle.  Besides, when you work digitally, there's always the 'undo', which is my magic wand (although they have a tool by that name... for a different purpose), that removes stress and anxiety of inking completely. :D  I'm constantly praying to the spirit of Bob Ross to help me when I am inking a work traditionally where mistakes cannot be made.  My mantra is Bob's famous, "There are no mistakes, just happy accidents".

EDIT: 3:37 pm, Nov. 9, 2013  A WIP shot of the piece.

EDIT 2: 7:10 pm.  Finished piece.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


You know you've done more than a few of these when the excitement of designing a calendar at a reasonable cost, thanks to POD businesses, is no longer there. ^^;  I've been making calendars for years (from my previous business), and as much fun as they are for myself and those who get to put their hands on them, they are one of the most time consuming and tedious of all product listing endeavors, no matter how streamlined a POD company's interface may be.  There's a lot of image editing to make things work.  One of the major obstacles is that a lot of artists, myself included, tend to like working in portrait orientation rather than landscape orientation for our pieces.  Contrary to this fact, majority of calendar templates come with landscape orientation for the images.  :(

I remember my early years, making ballet calendars, I would just resize the original to fit vertically and just leave boring whtie borders on both sides of the image. ^^;  Over the years, I got fancy and experiment with different things like colors and textures and tubes.

Then the reality hits.  It takes a quite a few hours to edit and prepare 13 (if you design a special back cover, it will be 14) print-ready images.  And the cold hard reality of the POD marketplace being inundated with millions of other artists, organizations, and individuals producing their own calendars.  Although a single copy of a calendar is 'reasonable' at POD companies, these prices are not at all competitive to those calendars sold at the local bookstores or retail outlets.  Sure, many people do look for something they can't find at the bookstores and bigger retailers.  But the economy in slow recovery, it's a tough world out there.

In the past few years, I've come to terms with the reality of the calendars and don't expect a huge return on investiment.  Some revenue will be generated from the sales of calendars, but it will not be anywhere near number the biggest sellers will bring. ^_^

I was almost deciding to not make one this year (for 2014) when I got an inquiry when it will be available. XD  Universe has an interesting way of pointing the way, doesn't it?  So, I did design one for the year 2014, with a collection of images that represents the many aspects of me -- some traditional/digital mixed media and some that are traditional, in styles from tightly rendered to loosely evocative.  I think it's a pretty cool collection.  It's culturally diverse, too, with Indian moth fairy, a Chinese snake spirit, Japanese noh masks, and the "Day of the Dead" of Mexico inspired art among the selections.

Zazzle listing is already live.  http://www.zazzle.com/2014_fantasy_calendar_art_by_mitzi_sato_wiuff-158274088745385661

I will have a small number printed at another printer to be listed at my Etsy shop later in the month or in December. ^_^

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Going Nuts -- Themed Auction Piece

Sick again with flu-like symptoms. T_T  This is never fun for anyone.  My neck is stiffening up and I've been feeling weak.  I needed to get this piece out of the way, so I finished it this afternoon.  I will most likely go to bed early tonight. ^^;

"Going Nuts for the Nutcracker" 5" x 7" in ink & watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.) for the upcoming themed auction at the Bubble Gum Dreams - Artist Collective.  I only participate when I feel like it (when the time allows and a theme sounds interesting), which is exactly the kind of group for me.  I'm also a part of another collective, but not enjoying it nearly as much. ^^;

Anyhow, the theme was "Going Nuts".  I thought about a girl chipmunk falling madly in love with the Nutcracker Prince for his special skill.  :D  It's a whimsical, lighthearted piece.  I like going back and forth between dark and serious and light and whimsical in my art.  I had to choose between a chipmunk and a squirrel.  I like the stripes on the chipmunk, but I also like the bushy tail of the squirrel.  But in the end, chipmunk won.  I know, I'm oddly grounded in reality in my fantasy work by insisting chipmunks to not have bushy tails. LOL  That's just how I am.  Another odd thing is obviously the chipmunk's ballet technique -- she's properly turned out and her arabesque foot is properly beveled.  Yes, I guess years of study  (and teaching) show up in my artwork when I least expect it. XD

This seasonal illustration's line art is already listed at my Etsy shop as a digital stamp.  See link below the line art.

I think this digi would make adorable season's greetings as well as special occasion cards for little girls in the Nutcracker ballet performances.  (Ahhh, the memories... ^_^ )

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sketch Fest #43 Oct. 25 ~ 27, 2013

I think my record for the pieces done during Sketch Fest previously was 9.  I broke that by 1 this weekend. :D  Most of the pieces were ACEOs and all were small pieces with the largest being 4" x 6".  Still, I have to feel pretty good about it since a lot of other artists seemed to be complaining about art block, etc.

I scribbled, inked, and painted on all 3 days of the weekend, starting with this super adorable sweetness to a prompt "It's So Fluffy".

ACEO 2.5" x 3.5" in ink & watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.)  SOLD

I titled this "Mama, It's So Fluffy!".  A chick and a kitten have an encounter and both are thinking that the other is just so darned fluffy!  Like a toddler points to another toddler and says, "Baby!". :D  Sweet and lighthearted to ease me into the groove.

ACEO 2.5" x 3.5" in ink & watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.)  SOLD

Next, I found this hilarious prompt, "FORLORN CORN!".  It actually was all capital with an exclamation mark at the end, too.  I've been wanting to design more vegetable sprites, but their shapes make it somewhat of a challenge and I often feel stumped.  But somehow, the phrase "forlorn corn" just did the trick.  I got this mental image of a lonesome and heartbroken corn baby.  It's so cute you just want to give her a tight hug!

ACEO 2.5" x 3.5" in ink & watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.)  SOLD

As it gets later into the evening hours on Friday, there usually are a lot more prompts posted by the people.  Some people are regular buyers, while others just want to see some of their prompts turned into art.  I'm sure a lot of the participating artists keep that in mind.  Sketch Fest can be a very nice quick money-maker if you keep the prices low and pick prompts that have mass appeal.  Putting it this way, it sounds like less of a creative venture and more like a business opportunity.  But the biggest benefit to both your wallet and your skill do come when you creatively maximize both of these aspects.  I've painted many flower fairies in the past.  I've also drawn so many roses, it's one of the flowers I can draw very quickly without reference photos.  So it only stood to reason that I quickly whip one up to this prompt, "Rose Fairy".   This was done very quickly with ink, just 3 colors of watercolor and table salt.  Skipped the usual highlights for the mood.  I really like the way this one turned out. ^_^

3.5" x 5" in ink & watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.)

Next I chose "Candy Corn Fairy".  Sounded cute.  And I had the mental image of my Little Tomte character (who is a gnome with a pointy cone hat and a dress) wearing her usual gear in the colors of candy corn.  Fancy her up with wings and a magic wand for an adorable young candy corn fae. ^_^

Here's a funny story about me.  As some of you may already know, I came from Japan 20+ years ago.  I'm a college graduate, and I don't even have much of an accent (or so people tell me).  Yet, there was a huge misunderstanding on my part about the candy corn that went undetected for ... well, 20+ years.  I was walking in a grocery store with my husband when we came across a huge display of candy corn.  The hand written sign read "Candy Corn $1.99".  I pointed at it and said, "Haha, some idiot wrote it wrong.  It's candy CONE."  My hubby looked at me a little strangely and said, "No, honey, that's correct.  It's candy CORN."  "Really?!?!?!  But, but, but... look, it's clearly cone-shaped, so it's candy cone, isn't it???"  *facepalm*  To this day, I still see the cone and no resemblance to corn whenever I see candy corn...

ACEO 2.5" x 3.5" in ink & watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.)

"Fall Leaves in Her Hair".  There used to be a prompter/purchaser who would leave "(object) in her hair" prompts month after month.  I used to really enjoy doing an ACEO every month to these prompts.  I think there were months either she missed or I missed...  At one point, I no longer saw the "in her hair" prompt any more.  So it was my pleasant surprise to see the prompt "fall leaves in her hair" this time around.  I was able to do a quick ACEO of an autumn elf.  As much as I love working in colder hues of blues and purple, I do have a fondness for the warm tones of red and orange mixed with a little purple. ^_^

I've been watching "The Rose of Versailles", the Japanese anime series, based on a massively successful shoujo manga series of late 70s.  I think I'm seeing a little bit of the characters... or the shoujo manga feel in some of the pieces this month. lol

"Pikachu, I Holla You!" -- ACEO sized quick scribble (ink & watercolor).  Someone put a prompt "Favorite Pokemon".   Really?  Gosh, let me think?  I wasn't going to draw one to this prompt, but in the end, my weak will couldn't resist.  I had to sketch out a gangsta Pikachu. lol  "I didn't choose the thug life.  Thug life chose me."  

4" x 6" ink on bristol vellum (140 lb.) to be finished   SOLD

"Chrysanthemum Festival".  Ahhh, nice traditionally Japanese-inspired prompt!  Couldn't resist once again.  As it turned out, the prompter had me in mind all along when she posted this prompt. ^^;  As much as I love the look of these large chrysanthemum blooms with long petals that curl up at the end, these require a bit more planning and tedious sketching (what's on top of what in the layers), and they definitely slow me down.  I guess I need to draw more of these flowers.

ACEO 2.5" x 3.5" in ink & watercolor on bristol vellum ( 140 lb.)  SOLD

"Blood Tears".  Goth-sounding (= fun) and potentially very simple (= eye art).  I always enjoy super quick watercolor opportunities.  The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes (+ waiting time for salt to take effect and paint to dry between stages).

4" x 6" in ink & watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.)

"Le Bleu Fantastique" for a prompt "Feather Fantasy".  Another very quick piece.  Black ink, Prussian blue watercolor and salt.  I like the way this came out, too.  Loose and flow-y.  I think I was starting to get tired of fall colors of orange, red, and yellow around the time I did this...  Also, probably quite tired of small space of ACEO papers.

ACEO 2.5" x 3.5" in ink & watercolor on bristol vellum (140 lb.)  SOLD

"Autumn Rose" for the same prompt.  It just sounded so lovely when I saw the prompt.   In my yard, the last rose of the season is usually a single Peace Rose (although this year, I had a single red bloom...).  So that's where I got the inspiration for this ACEO in fall colors.  The petals are starting to drop and scatter in the northern wind.  I was watching the Episode 37 of "the Rose of Versailles" (total of 40 episodes).  Things are starting to turn sad in the story, and I think it added to my inspiration for this piece.  Fall is breathtakingly beautiful, but at the same time, it leaves you with a heavy heart of knowing that bitter cold of winter is just around the corner.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Celebration Time!

Well, it is the weekend after all.  But all kidding aside, I just noticed that my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FantasyArtofMitzi) has reached 2,500 likes and I feel like celebrating (Plus the fact that the school district gave the students a 4-day weekend, which is like a mini-break before Thanksgiving break.  I didn't even sleep in, but that's besides the point. lol).  I thought about what would be cool to give away and came up with this.

This giveaway will have 2 winners. :D  I'm giving away one 3-piece ACEO set of pink artwork (Wild Rose Sprite, Sweet Dreams, and Sakura Fubuki) and another set of Day of the Dead artwork (Bone Queen, White Lady, and Las Calaveras).  I love doing a wide range of artwork from simple, whimsical pieces to complex and dark large scale pieces.  I don't want to limit myself to only doing one type of art since my art, as much of a business and livelihood as it is for me, is a reflection of who I am as a person as well.  I have a broad range of interest and find many things intriguing and beautiful in the world.  This is the reason my tagline at the Etsy shop reads: light, dark, and (in) between.

I also do realize that the artists who limit their styles to one particular style do so for a reason.  If one sticks to one thing, the body of work will be easily recognizable and there's also no chance of unintentionally surprising your audience negatively who has come to know you for one style or subject matter.  I've even known artists to set up different Facebook pages or Etsy shops for different styles of art.  Although I do see the benefit and logic of doing so, I chose not to worry about what other people thought of what they perceived to be less desirable, be it certain styles or subject matter.  I swing from one end of the spectrum to the other on a regular basis that if anyone is kind enough to follow me on my page, they'll know that I paint and draw in a wide range of styles and moods.  I'm not even limited to doing only digital or only traditional art, either.

So this giveaway is a good reflection of me, giving choices to the people. :D  People who want to enter for a chance to win are encouraged to specify one set or the other in their comments.  Choices are always good.  (Variety is the spice of life!)  And this is also a pretty cool way to find out roughly what the split is among my customers/fans.  I get to see who likes my light and whimsical and who likes my dark and complex.  ^_^

Speaking of celebration, we do have a 48-hour Sketch Fest this weekend that will go from  2 pm (Mountain Time) to Sunday afternoon at 2 pm.  I'll be there with my pencils sharpened and papers cut to size. :D

EDIT: October 28, 2013  Winners have been announced on my Facebook page and notified individually.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"Emergence" Piece Finished

I was able to finish the newest piece for the Enchanted Visions project's "Emergence" theme this morning.  I used hints of iridescent gold paint throughout, but as I expected, it is rather difficult to photograph successfully.  ^^;  (And it will be impossible to capture in a scan... T_T )

I tried to photograph this illustration from different angles with light coming from slightly different angles to see if i can show the gold...

You can't see much of the gold, but you can see the details of the moth fairy's head and the highlights.

This photo shows the wings and the vines to the lower right of the illustration and you can see the gold iridescence a little.

When you click on this image and view it at the full size, you can see the shimmering touches of gold on the wings and on the floral parts.

Loose and soft, with contrasting densely drawn area and sparsely filled open space.  A little different from my usual, but I do a lot of different styles of illustrations. *shrugs*

EDIT: I've decided to call this piece "Reverie".  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Piece for the Enchanted Visions Project

I haven't painted one for the Enchanted Visions project for a while (Well, we also went on a summer hiatus for several months, too, as being a part of the administration for this group can be mentally draining at times.).  A few themes before and after "Anima Sola", I hadn't touched still remain on my list.

I went to the newly redecorated site and looked up the list of themes.  Some will always remain somewhat uninspiring, but "Emergence" finally caught my attention.  This was a spring 2013 theme that I chose not to participate -- I was busy with commissions and generally not excited about the theme. ^^;

Got started on a concept sketch yesterday and I was able to finish inking this morning.

I was looking at some Venezuelan Poodle Moth photos online and was inspired by the fuzzy cuteness, and decided to draw a moth fairy.  Also, I've been feeling a bit adventurous lately, so I'm going about this theme in a different way than usual.  In a way, it's a throwback to my earlier doodle style with tightly rendered "busy" area with open space left for balance.    The paper is a little bigger than usual, too, at 9" x 12".  As I type this, I realized that it's too large for my scanner to get a clean scan. *facepalm*  I'll have to see what I can do about saving a good scan for my archive file.

I'm using sepia/brown ink for this line drawing.  I would like it to have a warm, old-fashioned glow.

This is my second WIP shot after I put a wash of water over the ink drawing and added some watercolor in spots.  Still working fairly loosely.  ^_^  I like the way it is coming out.  I should be able to finish this piece in the morning tomorrow.  As I write this blog entry, I've already finished coloring the fairy's wings, body, antennae, and facial makeup.  Just needs some highlighting.  I'm thinking about touches of gold acrylic. ^_^

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Giveaway Time

It's been a few months since I held a giveaway on my Facebook page. ^_^  Well, now that they relaxed the rules regarding holding giveaways on one's pages in late August, I'm finally in the mood to run one again. :D

Since it's October and October is all about Halloween in the retail world (besides that, it's my favorite celebration), and I just got done painting a large goth piece, I did this ACEO piece in a style very similar to "the Dark Bride".  I will be giving away this original ACEO to the lucky winner who will be randomly selected at the end of the month... or maybe November 1st, since I'll be busy celebrating Halloween. :D

Details on how to enter will be posted on my Facebook page tomorrow.
EDIT: 8: 05 AM MDT (Oct. 21, 2013)  Facebook is currently experiencing limited functionality (pages are viewable, but posting, like, etc. are not working).  I will keep checking and post info on the giveaway as soon as I can. ^_^
EDIT: 10:02 AM MDT (Oct. 21, 2013) The giveaway post is UP! :D

Friday, October 18, 2013

Grimm Auction Piece Finished

I didn't think a black and white image would be difficult to photograph, but my camera keeps seeing the same artwork in slightly different tint and it's almost impossible for me to adjust for it. ^^;  Granted, the various stages of the artwork were not taken in the same lighting/condition...

Above is another WIP that followed the previous blog post.  This was taken around noon yesterday.  Just about done with the darkest parts of the black.  It was funny when someone made a comment on my facebook page asking if I had spilled ink over my drawing. XD  No, not quite 'accidental spilling'.  It was 'intentional flinging and splattering'.

This is where the piece is at after working on it today.  (Transformed from looking "kind of cute" to "evil" overnight! ) I think I'm done.  I wanted this to have a really loose feel (not like my digital pieces where every detail is spelled out).  Anyway, I wanted to capture the Black Bride's true form lurking beneath the facade/pretense of the White Bride in this interpretation of mine.  She is beautiful, but the left side of her face is diseased and decaying, and her left eye is a dead eye (like a 'dead fish' goth horror eye) that doesn't reflect as much light.

And this is what I mean by the camera capturing the slightly different tint in every shot.  Some come out looking blue while others come out looking sepia.  Having to adjust so that it looks more black is really hard. ^_^;

And this one looks a little rosy. XD  Anyway, this shot allowed for a better look at the lower portion of the image where things just fizzle out and face to white.  When I take the scan of the original, it will allow for a more proportionate look (if somewhat washed out from the bright light).  From this angle though, she looks like an angel at first glance.  How interesting...  Didn't see that while I was painting this. :D

Creepy beautiful. Just in time for Halloween and the Day of the Dead.  Seriously though, I do enjoy this kind of themes.  It's a lot of fun.  Still undecided on the title.  I guess I have till Monday.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

First Phase with Watercolor

I didn't get to go shopping for my paper towels (must have!) in the morning while I was messing with some commissioned projects.  By the time I got around to this piece, it was roughly 40 minutes before I had to go make another errand, so I quickly put some black paint out of the tube, got myself a cup of water, another cup of rubbing alcohol, another container of salt and wads of paper towel and sat down.  Usually, I start with a very thin wash all over.  Since this piece is larger (8.5" x 11") than many of my pieces (5" x 7"), I went for the 3/4 inch flat to play with the wash.  I also flung some wet paint to give the splatters in strategic spots (lol).  This is a process I haven't played with on smaller scaled artwork, but since this is a larger piece and the inked line work already contains so much detail, I figured it would be nice to go a little wild and let it flow loose.  I like the way it's coming along.

These days, now that I've been back doing a lot of "traditional" art (I really don't like this word just to denote traditional media as opposed to digital... ), I don't feel as fearful about ruining something and wasting supplies.  Well, better financial situation and increased familiarity with the behavior of the medium certainly afford a sense of confidence.  I feel more 'in control' of what I'm doing, channeling Bob Ross with his famous saying, "There are no mistakes, just happy accidents."  (Love that guy!)  I still have brief moments of "Oh, $@#t!" when something unintended just happens, but I feel confident that I can work around it and turn the mistake into something that was meant to be there. ^_^

While I work on the original, I have listed the edited line art as a digital stamp at my Etsy shop.

As interesting as dark art is for me to make and present (And there's definitely a market for it whether in originals or prints.), the digital stamps market is full of cute and pretty (and simple) things.  I'm more than happy to accommodate the needs/demands of the market by cleaning up the original drawing (= removing all her facial wounds and scarring).  I also realized that I didn't have any bridal digi in my shop... ^^;
This digital stamp is titled "Bridal Veil" and it's available at this link.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Inking Complete

Finished inking my "Grimm" piece.  Right now, she's a white bride -- at first glance, the wounds on her face and neck are hard to notice. XD  There will be a lot of grey and black to be introduced in this image in watercolor starting tomorrow. :D  Should be fun and should go fairly quickly.  Definitely be done well in time for the Femme Thou Art Collective's themed auction starting on Oct. 21. ^_^

What I'll probably do is scan this line art, digitally erase the wounds to make a 'bridal' digital stamp for the heck of it.  The roses and lace details are very pretty.  But the finished piece should be real interesting -- one of those images that look perfectly innocuous at first glance, but turns out to be quite eerie after a closer inspection of details in the shadows.  My kind of art. :D

Monday, October 14, 2013

And So It Begins

The pencil rough of this "Grimm" piece (This is probably how I will be referring to this piece until I decide on the title.) for the Femme Thou Art Collective's upcoming Grimm's Fairy Tales themed auction was finally transferred to a good paper and inking has begun.  After a dismal turnout in last month's themed auction, the admins have decided that this will be mandatory participation for all member artists this month.  I'm not a big fan of mandatory anything, but I am curious and excited to see what other artists will come up with. ^_^  I've already seen a few Snow White inspired pieces, along with a Rapunzel and Red Riding Hood.

The pencil 'scribble' of the concept.  I'm not a neat artist when it comes to sketching things out.  On top of that, my pencil pressure is so light, photographing/scanning my scribbles is generally difficult.  ^^;

Just as I usually do with all of my Enchanted Visions pieces, once I know the theme, "Grimm's Fairy Tales", I go looking for inspiration.  This is my research/brainstorming phase.  I love doing this kind of prep-work for art.  It's probably my favorite phase in a creative process.

I was looking at a Wiki list of Grimm Brothers' tales.  I knew I didn't want to do something that are familiar to most people (which is probably not the most commercial approach, but if I'm producing an artwork that is not a commission, I want to do what I feel like doing and have fun) like Snow White or the Sleeping Beauty.  Luckily, the list of titles is quite extensive and there were so many that I've never heard of.  And a few of which caught my attention as a possible candidate to take inspiration from.

"The White Bride and the Black One" was the title of the tale that caught my attention.  I did additional reading on the basic English translated version on different web sites that specialize on Grimm Brothers.  To my 'grown-up' taste, the tales are all so simplistic, vengeful, and somewhat predictable.  Putting that aside, there are certain charms in the collected tales.  If anything, these folk tales are the windows to the culture and the history of people, and that is what I take from them.

As an artist, when trying to create a piece of artwork inspired by one of the tales, I have always been drawn to 'predatory female'.   Rather than focusing on the protagonists of the tales, I tend to be more attracted to the antagonists, who, for various reasons, commit acts of evil, in these stories.  Plus, after doing a lot of cutesy illustrative work for the fall season, I'm ready for venturing into the dark side once again. ^_^

Inking with a roller pen rather than my usual tool (ballpoint pen).  The viscosity of the ink in a roller pen is different, so the look is a bit different, but I like it for a piece this size (8.5" x 11").

This will be the Black Bride, who is the step sister to the protagonist of the story (the White Bride).  After refusing to show a raggedy stranger a way, this woman, along with her mother, was turned "as black as night, as ugly as sin".  (Seems a bit harsh, don't ya think?)  But with the mother's black magic, they manage to sneak this woman into the castle as the king's bride (Of course, the royals in these tales are always such simpletons... ^^; ).   After I finish inking the lines, I will be adding watercolor to this piece, but the colors will be limited to black (maybe subtle hints of other colors like indigo and purple...).  I want this to be rather stark, with shades of grey.