Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Commission Work

A few months ago, I was commissioned to do a drawing for a friend's brothers wedding. There were only two elements that had to be included; teddy bears and national parks.


Needless to say, this stretched my brain in ways that made it physically hurt. I spent about four days thinking and trying to find a concept.  I decided to relax and let the idea come when it was ready. In a quiet moment,  I heard a faint song play in my head;

".... teddy bear picnic".

From there, my brain took off. I had more ideas than I could actually produce The original commission was for a single piece, but the client liked the sketches so much, that we eventually settled on two small pieces instead of one large piece.

The first illustration was incredibly tough. In the initial sketch, the bears were walking on a path, but as the drawing progressed, I realized that wasn't going to work. Eventually I came up with the grass and field of flowers. The second piece came together from sketch to finish in about 2.5 hours!

Overall, I'm happy with the pieces, and more importantly, the client was happy! But the conclusion that I came to at the end of this commission, was that I need to take a small break from children's art. I passionately love to draw portraits, and fantasy art. So.... I'm going to take a little time and focus on doing that. At least, that's the current plan, but who knows? There is always the possibility that I will feel compelled to do more children's art sooner rather than later. Watch this space for updates.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Commission for a child's room

Several months ago, I completed a commissioned piece for a client who wanted a fun underwater scene for his grand kids bedroom. The only stipulation was that it had to be VERY bright and VERY colorful. Hmmm... colorful I was good with. Bright almost neon colors was not something I felt comfortable with, but  I accepted the challenge.

I presented the client with several options, and he chose the first sketch.

Things were going along quite well, until I started on the little fish. They were so tiny and difficult to work on, and I knew early on that I had to make some changes. Luckily the client was very flexible, and trusted me to make changes as I saw fit.

I wasn't entirely sure how to resolve the situation, so I moved on to the anemone and other under water plants, all of which presented their own set of challenges (weird and clashing colors, too big in some places, too small in others).

I looked at more underwater photos, and finally came up with a solution that got things back on track.

I was very wary of using the bright, neon colors, but I gathered my courage and laid down the first bright stroke. Once I started, I realized how much interest they added to the drawing and I was hooked!

After a total of 12-14 hours, here is the final result. It's a bit more Disney-esque than I planned, but the client was very happy, and the kids really loved it. At the end of the day, that's the most important thing.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Behind the scenes of "Basel Bear's Big Birthday Bash"

I thought it might be interesting to show a little about the process behind my ebook "Basel Bear's Big Birthday Bash", and explain why some of the illustrations cannot be sold as they appear in the book.

The most important thing to understand about the book, is that from the very beginning, I was planning to turn it into an app. That meant I couldn't do everything in a single illustration. Most of the illustrations are done in pieces. Here's what I mean.

In step one, you can see the background, which is one illustration on a single piece of paper.

Next, through the magic of Photoshop, I "cut" all of the animals out of their respective images, and added them to the background.

In step 3,  I added various bits and pieces of the background image to fill in any holes that needed covering.

The final step (which is the finished page) was adding highlights and shadows as needed, adding the text and making sure the page worked as a whole.

As you can see, the only way to sell this piece would be as a print. Almost every page in the book follows this same process. Only 5 of the pages are stand alone illustrations. Though there are only 14 pages to the book, in actuality, I did 55 separate illustrations. Hopefully, this will give you more insight into some of the reasons for the publishing delay.

In the past year or so, many people have asked if my original work is for sale. I'm happy to say I have recently opened a shop on Etsy, where you can purchase both original art as well as prints. The direct link is: http://www.etsy.com/shop/darkkristallized Paypal and all major credit cards are accepted.

For now, I will be working on a few personal pieces, but I do have a project waiting in the wings. Stay tuned! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Basel extras

I just realized that the "look inside the book" feature on Amazon doesn't show any of the interior illustrations, so I am posting a few images here. Enjoy!

Officially published!

At long last, I am officially a published author/illustrator. My children's book "Basel Bear's Big Birthday Bash"(http://www.amazon.com/Basel-Bears-Birthday-Bash-ebook/dp/B00BVG8L2Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1363590112&sr=1-1)has been published to Amazon and is available for the Kindle Fire for the low, low price of $2.99!

Originally, I had planned to have Basel ready for sale in December of last year, but various obstacles delayed the final publication. Some of those obstacles were my fault (movies that needed watching, books needing to be read), but there was at least one month when I was unable to work due to  inclement weather (I work by natural light, and it was overcast/raining at least 4 straight weekends).

Never-the-less, the book is finally finished. Publishing it was a giant leap for me. Just a little more than a year ago, I was ready to throw in the towel and give up trying to be a professional artist. Now, I have so many ideas and projects I want to work on that I hardly know where to start. There will certainly be more books in my future, possibly even an app. I am also setting up an Etsy shop to sell both prints and original artwork, as well as providing a place to purchase a printed version of the book.

For now, trot yourself on over to Amazon, and take a look. Feel free to leave a review. Thanks in advance for the support.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quick Update

Hi everyone. I just wanted to post a quick update on the current situation with my book. First, let me say thanks to everyone that is hanging in there, patiently waiting and quietly supporting me in this process.

The book is SO close to being finished. I have about 5 more pieces to finish. I estimate this will be ready to upload to Kindle Fire no later than the end of February, possibly sooner. I know that is quite a bit later than I had originally announced, and again, I am truly sorry for that.

In the meantime, here is a quick character study for an older drawing from the book. This was going to be "Three tumbling tapers". Ultimately I decided to go in a different direction, but I think I may use this illustration somewhere else very soon.