Sunday, December 31, 2017

Festive Kitties

It's my last blog post for 2017 and I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy new year. If you read my blog, I'd really like to thank you, your support means such a lot to me!

It's fitting that I now post this Colour Collective kitty that I did for the last Colour Collective of 2017. The colour was 'white' and I had to do something special for the New Year!

Let's all make this a really good year. I'm feeling energised and ready for it - I want to make big things happen!

And here are two more cats I did for Colour Collective during December. I was so busy it was black cats or nothing (they're quicker to draw)

For the colour 'sugarplum' I eschewed the obvious sugarplum fairy and featured gingerbread and sweet pink icing. This kitty has just been BUSTED.

And then for Venetian Red, I did, as someone on Instragram so wonderfully put it, 'a cat flossing a fang' on some Christmas wrapping.

These were done in Adobe Photoshop cc 2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro.

Lapphund Christmas Cards 2017

Every year I do custom Christmas cards for some lovely friends. We started in 2013, when they had just got their first dog, so she was the subject of the cards. In 2014 they had a second dog, so I added her in, and by 2015 they had a gorgeous little boy, who naturally had to be included too!  This year marks the 5th year of this card series, their little boy is now two and a half, and most of their card recipients have now tumbled to the fact that these are custom commissioned cards, they aren't just super-good at finding cards with dogs that look like theirs!

Back when they only had dogs, I used to do two separate designs for them, but now I just do one, with a traditional Christmassy red-green-gold colour scheme, and another with a blue-gold-grey colour scheme. Here's that second colourway:

You'll notice that the icecream in this one doesn't match the rest of the colours - that's because strawberry icecream is his favourite and we wanted to feature that. The red card has a choc-mint icecream, (because strawberry doesn't match red) and let me tell you, I got very hungry while painting it!

We got them printed at Moo, and they of course did a wonderful job:

These were done in Adobe Photoshop cc 2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro.

Go below the cut to see all the previous years' cards:

Floral Christmas Cards

Here's a commissioned Christmas card I did this year. I always love these projects! I've been doing cards for these lovely people for a few years now, and they usually feature birds in a woodcut style, but this year we did something different (much to the consternation of my parents, who would look over my shoulder and demand if I was sure this is what they'd asked for. Not sure if they actually expected me to say 'no, actually, I decided to do whatever I liked' or what...) 

The commissioners had done some work in their garden this year, removing a large pine tree and planting lots of paper daisies. They like natives to bring the birds to their garden. The new yard has been attracting a lot of attention, so they wanted their cards to feature paper daisies. I did up a few concepts, including one based on the floral cards I do myself every now and then, and that's the design they chose:

I added a few extra natives - pink bottle brushes and swan river myrtle - to keep things interesting. They came out very clean and modern and I like them a lot!

We were printing via Moo, of course, so I did a dark version as well, to take advantage of the printfinity option at Moo. I like the way the colours glow against this dark background:

They printed very nicely:

It was such fun to do a Christmas card with such non-traditional colours!

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro

Under the Christmas Tree

A slightly more polished Colour Collective, from after the deadlines had been met. This was the last CC before Christmas, so I definitely had to continue my Christmassy themes. I chose to do Myrna again. She doesn't, fortunately, eat the baubles off the tree (or the presents), but it's a good image. 

I used this for my thank you cards this year. It's good to find multiple uses for something!

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro. It took about three hours or so.

Illo Advent 2017

I'd made my plans for Illo Advent before I suddenly acquired a lot of extra deadlines, so while I struggled on to keep it going, I ended up missing quite a few days. We can't have everything, and I'm actually quite proud of myself for managing as many days as I did, considering the amount of work I was doing at the same time!

My theme this year was a school nativity play, one character a day. I knew I'd only be able to be really rough with it, but later on I may work it up into a proper illustration, treating this as the draft. Then again, I may not. You never know!

I managed 20 of the 25 days, which isn't bad. There was originally going to be a girl dressed up a the star, and some more animals, but I had to cut my losses. There was also going to be more scenery. Best laid plans.... 

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro. I kept it down to well under half an hour per kid. 

Bark the Herald Angels Sing

A quick little Colour Collective that I threw together. Most of December was full of deadlines and I was working absolutely flat tack, but it's important to carve out a little time to not work, so I kept up with my Colour Collective pieces, albeit very quick ones!

This was inspired by the way you get barks heralding Christmas visitors if you have a dog in the house. If in doubt, I draw Myrna!

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Cards 2017

I was pretty busy when it came time to design this year's Christmas cards, so rather than come up with a new theme, I recycled last year's theme - I had several unused concept thumbnails all ready to go, which made it very simple. I chose to change the colours, so the cards really belong to the same series, but not the same set - they compliment each other well though:

See more below the cut:

Christmas Mayhem

I had grand plans for Colour Collective's 'Alice Blue' prompt, but as so often happens, deadlines got in the way. So I threw together a quick little illustration to use as my Twitter header for this festive season.

Myrna is always a good choice for when I'm low on time!
Of course, I scrambled to finish something for Colour Collective, and then Twitter decided to hide my post from the hashtag search. Thanks Twitter, that's all I need. >.<

Here's a look at how it fits into my Twitter page. It's tricky to design something that will work across all devices and screen sizes. I used a template I found somewhere - but it does not work on Twitter's Mac app. Which I don't think has been updated in years, so that's probably why...

Last year my Twitter header was Myrna as well. This time in Christmassy red:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Cruise Kittens

I'm feeling a bit overworked, and dreaming of lazy holidays of the sort that I normally don't even like (you know, sitting on lounge chairs by the beach or pool, while someone brings you drinks. Usually I prefer to be out and about seeing stuff on holiday!) so when Colour Collective came up with 'Battery Charged Blue' for their prompt, I decided to do something with a holiday vibe. I went with the Mediterranean rather than South East Asia, for the very simple reason that I didn't feel like drawing tricky palm trees.

Any colour with a name like 'Battery Charged Blue' needs the zing of a contrasting colour, so I kept my palette very limited, with marmalade cats and terracotta roofs, and kept the saturation high. I've never actually been to the Mediterranean, but the photos always have gloriously saturated colours. 

This took 2 hours, tops. And as usual, I did it in Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. Apart from the clouds, the whole thing was done using Kyle Webster's 'Gouache Extra Dry' brush (the clouds were a watercolour brush).


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