Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Castle in the Sky Digital Art

I still haven't gotten around to doing another acrylic painting, but this afternoon I was watching some old Portland Studios digital brush demos by Justin Gerard, which inspired me to pull out my tablet again and try some digital stuff. Having recently read the section from Gulliver's Travels on Laputa, the floating city, I decided to attempt to paint Laputa from the Studio Ghibli movie Castle in the Sky. I used a much more "brushy" brush than I have in the past, and went for a much looser, painterly approach–almost impressionistic. While my digital art still has a very, very long way to go, I was pleasantly surprised at how this turned out. Much of the time trying to work digitally ends with me giving up feeling frustrated. This piece, however, definitely gave me some satisfaction, and I'm excited to work more in color, both through digital and acrylic.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Elsa Meets Rand Al'Thor

So recently I have both been reading The Wheel of Time series, and I saw Frozen. Minor spoilers for both following. Right from the beginning, Elsa's out-of-control magical abilities made me think of the male Aes Sedai from The Wheel of Time. I love the concept of the "good" character struggling to reign in their capabilities for mass destruction. At the end, though, Elsa somehow manages to get a handle on her powers through love, and everyone lives happily ever after. I was intrigued, though, by the thought of Elsa perhaps falling towards the other extreme. What if, rather than everything turning out alright, Elsa snapped? What if she decided she was done with it all, and in an Ender Wiggen-esque scene, embraced the tainted sweetness of Saidin, and just totally trashed everything? I'm not saying it would have made a better story, but the idea sparked in me the interest of drawing the Elsa from this scene–the  one who has shattered her shackles, and is now going to bring down the entire castle, and completely let loose her pent-up frustration in a torrent of wrath and destruction.

From an artistic point of view, I need to make two comments. Her teeth were hard, and her hair was fun. Her hair was actually a ton of fun to draw. I started by toning the paper with powder from my 4B graphite stick shaved off with a knife blade. Because of that, most of the "drawing" involved with Elsa's hair was actually done with my eraser, and by combining that and touch-ups with the pencil to bring out some contrast, I had quite a bit of fun with it, and I think it turned out pretty well. Her mouth, on the other hand . . . It still looks just a bit off to me. Maybe later I'll try to fix it, but I've spent a whole lot of time messing with it at this point and I don't know if there's much I can do. My last note would be that I'm very pleased with the sense of drama the high-contrast lighting provided. I was really hoping that by putting her on such a dark background, illuminated by the sphere of magic, it would add a sense of dramatic impetus, and I think it did.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Here's a pretty quick sketch I did of a dagger I own. Hopefully I'll have another acrylic painting done before too long, but with college applications and life in general, it might be longer than I'd like.

Monday, January 13, 2014

My First Foray Into Acrylics (and painting in general)

So this afternoon I finally bit the proverbial bullet and decided to do some acrylic painting. I've had the paints for a while, and kept on putting it off via the excuse that I had no canvases or anything to paint on. Then I got the canvases and had no excuse except for the fact that I was totally afraid it would turn out looking like a dirt road after a rainstorm and a cattle stampede. But I gathered what courage I could find–and my brushes, paints, and materials–and set to work. I decided to paint a skull because, well, it's a reasonably simple shape, nice and round like an orange or an apple or something, but a little more interesting. Well the first thing I immediately realized was that I wished my canvas-covered board were about four times larger than it was. Skulls have these things called teeth, that are tiny and require detail. My board was around the size of an 8.5"x11" sheet of paper, and that size coupled with my complete lack of skill led to an inability to render any sort of detail. Nevertheless, I kept slapping paint on there, rationalizing that even if it did look like a dirt road after a rainstorm and a cattle stampede, well, at least I'd be a little more comfortable with handling a brush. And little by little it actually started to look like a skull. Kinda. As far as a painting, it's not that great. But I'm pleased that I at least had my light working somewhat logically, and it is recognizable as a skull, if you squint. I also think that by forcing myself to post it, I'll be more motivated to do better next time–and to make sure there is a next time. Regardless, I consider this a fairly major milestone in my growth as an artist, and hopefully it won't be too long before I do some more with acrylics.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Raven of a Different Kind

After thinking about my "Mr. Raven" drawing I posted, I was inspired to attempt a drawing of another "Mr. Raven," incorporating the hat, scarf, glasses, and cane, but with an entirely different mood to it. I admit I got a little bored and tired of going over that cape over and over again, and eventually I think I started rushing things a bit. I also think it would look better in a different medium, or done by someone who can really get precision of value in graphite. Still, it was a fun exercise.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Some Ravens

So, after a long hiatus due to Christmas Break, I'm back to drawing and updating this blog. Today I drew a couple of ravens, birds which have always fascinated me. One's doing some sort of hissing/croaking routine at something, and the other is a tad more whimsical.