Friday, June 24, 2011

Illustration Friday: Midsummer Night

This week's Illustration Friday topic is "Midsummer Night" so I'm re-posting my "Bug Summer" illustration from last year. It seemed a good fit!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Poster

I finally finished painting my original poster for Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows! It's been a thoroughly enjoyable labor of love over the past couple weeks, and I am just about ready to move onto something new!

But I hope I never forget how fun passion projects are---doing whatever I want makes me feel so FREE.

To view a larger version, click here: VIEW LARGER

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Words from my Creative Hero, JK Rowling

Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most trans-formative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.
-J.K. Rowling, Harvard Commencement Speech, 2008

Monday, June 13, 2011

Original Character Promo

Tugeau 2 is sending out a promo email this week on the theme "original characters" so we were encouraged to participate and come up with some new work just for this. I've been talking with my agent about experimenting with style variants that will allow me to work simpler and faster--two words that are the bane of my artistic existence. Try as I might, I can't seem to NOT over complicate illustrations.

So my goal for this promo was to work looser and faster. While I did succeed in trying something new, I failed miserably at working quickly. This thing STILL took me all day long. Oh well. Maybe someday I'll be able to get on paper what is in my head in under 8 hours!

Here's "That's What Friends are For."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Little Red Riding Hood: Classic Record-a-Story

EDIT: The book is now available for purchase through click here to buy Little Red Riding Hood Record-A-Story

My complimentary copies of Little Red Riding Hood have just arrived from Publications International!

It's always fun to see the final product and for the most part I'm very pleased with how it turned out. The cover is satisfyingly squishy and has some embossed elements around the animals which is fun.

On the downside, the overall color and brightness didn't come out as I had hoped. My original cover illustration was much brighter/lighter than it appears in the printed version. I think it has something more to do with the way the cover is printed specifically because the interiors don't look as bad. If only they could send me print samples for approval before they actually go to print! Oh well.

BUT I was absolutely flabbergasted in a BAD way when I saw the front cover the first time. I immediately noticed that SOMEONE who is not me had added in blindingly white teeth to Little Red's smile! My original illustration did not show teeth at all--and I for one think she looks better without them. I am trying very hard not to get upset about it. It's not that I am mad that they decided she needed teeth, I am mad that they did not have the courtesy to ASK ME to adjust my own artwork. I would have done a much better job integrating the teeth into my original art than whoever did the edit.

I'm not sure that I have any recourse in dealing with it at this point, besides making them aware that I am extremely displeased that it was never brought to my attention. How frustrating to have my work tweaked by someone else without my permission! THANKFULLY it is not an end of the world situation and is for all intents and purposes a very minor thing---but it just makes me feel powerless and unconsidered.

Which is truly a shame because as far as publishers go, Publications International has been a pleasure to work with, always paying on time and always very communicative with what they want from their artists. I do hope to work with them again, but next time I will make sure to add into my CONTRACT that only I am allowed to adjust my own artwork!


Friday, June 10, 2011

Loving A.R.T: Abolishing Restrictive Thinking

Through middle school and high school it seemed as though most of my Friday nights were spent happily shut inside of my bedroom drawing to my heart's content. Sometimes I was alone, sometimes one or both of my sisters would join me with whatever respective activity they were doing. Those hours upon hours of drawing portraits of my celebrity dream boys or favorite movie fan art were some of my fondest past times. Back then, it was all about creating. Making something that I didn't have. If I saw a photograph I liked, I drew it, no questions asked.

And even as a full grown adult in my mid twenties, nothing makes me happier than to merely render art from photographic sources. I may be an illustrator now, but my self-taught background is in drawing from concrete sources rather than from my imagination. Tragically, somewhere along the way of becoming an illustrator I lost the ability to make art just for myself. For my own pleasure. For the mere sake of making something I wanted to look at. I used to ask "What do I want to hang on my wall today?" and then I'd draw it. But now I am plagued by questions like "What SHOULD I draw?" "What is worth drawing?" and before I know it everything that isn't some kind of imaginative illustration for my portfolio feels like it would be a waste of time to create. The not knowing WHAT to make often results in not making anything.

But why should I confine myself to art that fits certain criteria? ANYTHING can be art! Making something is better than making NOTHING. 

If nothing else, drawing is great practice and can only help me as an artist.

So in the midst of all the self-inflicted pressure to create something worth creating, I decided to say SCREW IT and go back to my roots and make a self-indulgent piece for the heck of it.

I've wanted to make a Harry Potter movie poster for Deathly Hallows because I was disappointed by the posters I've seen so far. So I started collecting the few images I could from the film and composed my own poster, compositionaly inspired by the iconic Sorcerer's Stone poster created by Drew Struzan.

What I realized once I got going was just how HAPPY it made me to make fan art. Because I love Harry Potter, I love drawing, I love movie posters, I love Drew Struzan, and I love the freedom and autonomy that being able to DRAW grants me. If something I want does not exist, I can MAKE it MYSELF!

And there's even more to the silver lining: I know that even though I am creating this to satisfy my own desires, it WILL inevitably be enjoyed by other Harry Potter fans, which makes me feel really good. All I had to do was allow myself to do it.

Sooooo anyway. Here's the pencil version. I'm in the middle of digitally painting the final colored version, which will take a couple more days. I. AM. ESSITED.