Sunday, April 16, 2017

More First Easter Eggs

Easter has rolled around again, so we needed a couple more felted Easter eggs for two little girls who are celebrating their first Easter in 2017. The first one of these I made was in 2014, and I did three last year and one in 2015. I've made quite a few!

These eggs have a slightly different design from the eggs I've done previously, because the egg cups we had for them we different to the ones from other years. Spots just didn't seem to match!

Each egg has an initial on the back - J for Jemima, H for Hannah. 

Here they are together, in their egg cups. I'm really annoyed that one of them is so much smaller than the other. I only had one polystyrene egg, so I made the other one from scratch, needle felting dacron and covering it with pink roving. But I misjudged how much it would shrink when I felted in the pattern.... so while they started out the same size, the dacron egg shrunk while the polystyrene one stayed, of course, the same size. A lesson to me to pack the base shape harder to start with! I had thought that as the pattern wasn't going to cover all that much of the egg that shrinkage would be minimal, so I lazily didn't spend hours felting the shape to rock-hardness.  

Merino Wool over Polystyrene/Dacron. A couple of hours each. 

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Move along, no eggs here!

For Easter, Colour Collective had 'Jonquil Yellow' as its prompt. Originally I was going to go with a lamb, garlanded with flowers, and I'd got most of the way through the linework when I suddenly changed my mind and decided to go with something more Australian (not that sheep are not Australian, but they're not actually native!)

Here in Australia we have the Easter Bilby. A bilby is a rabbit-eared bandicoot, a super-cute burrowing marsupial, so an apt animal for Easter. We still have the Easter Bunny, of course, and we still have chocolate rabbits - but there are also chocolate bilbies, which help to raise awareness - the bilby is critically endangered and needs all the help it can get. 


Bilbies are not noted for their jonquil yellow fur, but they do like to burrow near acacia shrubs - which handily have yellow flowers - and I added in some yellow Easter eggs as well. Our little bilby here is doing his best to distract you from them, it's not Easter Sunday yet!

Here's the partially-completed lamb linework:

Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. About 2.5 to 3 hours, I think. I was watching tv at the same time. ^.~

Saturday, April 8, 2017


Yet again, a very quick Colour Collective, but one that I like, and that other people seem to like as well, so that's nice. =) 

The prompt was 'Burnt Sienna', which is a very rich brown. As I was in a hurry I looked at the sketches I'd done during the week to see if one of them was suitable to use brown in, and settled on a viking girl cooking, inspired by a photo in the March issue of The National Geographic:

Here is the original sketch:

I redrew it in dark brown to fix up a few mistakes, but mainly stuck to the sketch. I had fun with that halo of blonde hair!

Here's the original photo that inspired the sketch (handily in National Geographic's Instagram feed so I don't have to scan it from the magazine):

It nearly wasn't a viking girl, the other sketch I was considering was this pirate:

I'd still like to take her a bit further. Do you think I made the right choice for my CC?

About 3 to 3.5 hours (including the original sketch) in Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Golden Ball

I always seem to be doing my Colour Collective pieces in a rush lately! I threw this one together in a couple of hours, as quickly as I could. Originally I had intended to include the Frog Prince himself, but on the whole, I'm glad I didn't have time to do so. I think the image is stronger without him.

The prompt was 'Bluebell', which is the blue I used in the background. Of course the obvious thing would have been to draw actual bluebells, but since when is obvious fun? 

About 3 hours in Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Bramble and Briar

I'm dividing my new website by age (so children's, middle grade, young adult) rather than the previous division of colour/black and white, digital/traditional, and realised that my Young Adult section was a bit thin. While staring into space trying to think of something to do for it, my eye fell on a portrait I did of a friend back in year 12, as one of the three paintings I did in TEE art. It's very dated now, my skills have improved so much, and I was never entirely happy with it as it was - and what better to put in a Young Adult illustration portfolio than a redo of a piece I myself did as a young adult? Plus, I'd come across the photos I took for it back in the day, while I was sorting out files on my computer. It was fate!

Here's the final piece:

I designed it as a book cover. I know everyone generally says that you shouldn't include text in your illustration portfolio as illustrators aren't qualified to work with type - but I have a degree in design, and I do a lot of work for self publishers, who need to see that I can apply type to a cover for them. So as a compromise, I have a version with text available upon roll-over on my website. Best of both worlds!

This isn't a real book. I came up with a title that fitted the image, and used a random name generator until I snagged one I liked for the author. I envisage that text being shiny gold foil....

It's quite a radical departure from the original painting I did back in 2004. I was referencing the Pre Raphaelites when I did it, and looking at the Victorian language of flowers. The plan was to do something very lush and a bit Bollywood inspired, with a huge bunch of white carnations, with a single red rose in the middle. But my art teacher didn't like that idea, and insisted I use coloured carnations, which really mucked up the message. I didn't paint the flowers very well anyway (not aided by the fact that I was working in oil paint, which gives me a bad migraine. Not the best situation for good painting!)

Here is the original:

Yeah. Oil paints really aren't my thing! 

So this was a chance to do it over, see how much I'd improved, and get more of the feel I'd originally been going for when I did the painting. However, I'm still scarred from painting all those carnations with a migraine, and I just couldn't bring myself to do a page full of carnations. So I went with all roses, influenced, no doubt, by the fact that I was listening to Robin Mckinley's Rose Daughter at the time.

Here's the reference photo. Isn't my friend gorgeous?

And here's a progress animation:

As you can see, one of the final stages was to add a colour adjustment and some lighting. That's the beauty of Photoshop. I also duplicated a lot of the roses, for which I am not sorry. =P 

All-up this took about 20 to 25 hours, and I did it in Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. No oil-paint-migraines for me this time!

Christening Cards

When Colour Collective's 'Clover Green' prompt came around, what I *really* needed to be doing was a couple of Christening cards for my cousin's two daughters, so I used the colour in the cards to get two things done at once. 

The card I shared for Colour Collective featured this illustration. This is Mary, the older of the sisters (she's nearly four). I wanted to go with a very spring theme as that seemed appropriate for a Christening card:

I added text to make it into a card:

And I also made another card for her sister Jemima - but just with flowers on, as Jemima is only six months old:

I used the same font family (Storytime) on both cards, to tie them together, and used daisies on both, as white flowers are popular for Christenings.

I added clear glitter to both cards, but I didn't have time to take a photo of the final result. It was one of those weeks where it was all go! =P

Both cards done in Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2.


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