Friday, April 30, 2010

There Had Been Too Much Death On This Hill

Hey guys! It's that time again...Picture Book Report Time! I've got another Sabriel piece to share! Check out my post at to get a little more background on the story behind the illustration. I'm glad many of you enjoyed the previous Sabriel process post and I wanted to show the process for this one too.

I started out with the Cloven Crest sketches I had made previously and did some color comps for them...
...which made me realize it just wasn't that interesting to look at! I wasn't really excited about drawing it.

I decided to revamp and do something more focused on Sabriel and her encounter with Thralk. (I was a little sad I couldn't fit the broken charter stone in there though!) N.C. Wyeth's work has been blowing my mind and I've been looking at all his strong compositions--you can probably see the silhouetting influence in this!
I started with a bunch of quick crappy b&w photoshop sketches, trying different silhouettes and cropping. Once I found one I liked, I developed it more and tried a color option.

I wanted something spooky and cold and snowy, and finally settled on these colors:

I looked at a lot of reference for knickers, boots, and coats of the period. The coat she is wearing is one of her father's old hand-me-downs, and is only specified as "oilskin". Since Ancelstierre is vaguely 1920's, I figured her father's old coat could be a variation on the WW1 trenchcoats. I really love researching into illustrations, and I also spent a while sketching ideas for how her bell bandolier functions.(I think the bell handles would have to hang down, so they don't ring while she's walking)

I cleaned everything up and added textures and some digital painting to my usual flats. I wasn't expecting to put the red in there, but I really ended up liking it!

Voila! And here's some closeups!

Thanks for checking 'em out!

Friday, April 23, 2010

ToBoldlyFold + Family Circle DUBPOST

Hello friends!
So recently I've been doing a lot of portrait-type illustrations of women, which I'll continue to share in the next few weeks. They range from the more stylized (like below) to more realistic. It's been interesting trying to find different ways of doing them.

Family Circle magazine asked me to do an illustration about women's arthritis and joint pain for one of their March issues & I was happy to oblige! They decided later that it'd look good as a full page with room for text, which was easy for me to convert my illustration into.

I would've been happy doing either sketch, but it was interesting to be asked to do the simpler portrait since I feel I usually end up doing more complicated illustrations. (I drew her holding her wrist, because I'm super afraid of getting arthritis in my hands when I'm older!) The whole project was AD'd by Lisa Kelsey. Thanks Lisa!

In other news, Sam & I received a lovely care package of sketchbook goodies from To Boldly Fold! One of the perks of going to an art school is that you meet lots of other talented people who sometimes give you some of their great work, and we are lucky enough to know Mel Chao & Mark Grambau who generously sent us this parcel of high-end handmade sketchbooks. (check out Mel's other handcrafted sketchbooks at and
We each got a nice big leather sketchbook, and a couple of smaller varied ones!

The big sketchbooks are made with Rives BFK, hand cut genuine leather and a vintage button. This was all a total surprise to receive, and I LOVE the button and the stitching and the dark leather on my book, it fits my personality perfectly!! I also love how Sam's sketchbook totally matched with the shirt he was wearing that day (and his had dark green thread--his favorite!). My sketchbook is so nice I am honestly intimidated to draw anything in it. I hardly sketch traditionally anymore, but I'm glad I've got an excuse to now so I can post stuff to the flickr website!

An extra bonus was that both books came with a sweet stick-on bookplate graced with the illustrations of our talented friend Nancy Muller!! (I got the bat!! I loveee himmm) I do not know how this girl doesn't have a prizewinning children's book out already.

Thanks so much Mel & Mark!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hot Off the Press!

Hey dudes! It's been a while, I fell off the wagon a bit with blog posts last week because of taxes and busy-ness, but now I'm BACK and I have things to show you!

First up, I can't believe I haven't posted this yet, but this was done back in February for PLANADVISER's "Hot Off the Press" section...
It is AD'd by the charming SooJin Buzelli --I was happy to meet her and Chris Buzelli in person at the Heads for Haiti gallery opening last weekend.

I like the final, but had some trouble with the sketches....I had done a very straight-laced business illustration beforehand, and had some issues loosening up and finding a very non-literal interpretation of "Hot Off the Press". I think it worked out in the end, though (and taught me a good lesson!)



P.S. I found out that "Spring Awakening" piece from a few posts below got into Spectrum 17! Sweeeet.