Archive for the ‘digital art’ Category

Digital Painting Tutorial Part 3

Final “Spring”

Because Spring is part two of a four-part project, I had be sure that the choices I made for this piece will harmonize with the previous work.

I have a very clear vision of the overall project, and have decided to contrast the moods of the seasons greatly.  On the other hand, I will needed to organize specific consistencies.

They are:

*minimizing of neck and body

*some sort of collar appropriate to each season

*the same necklace representing nature’s hardships

*long hair with a life of its own

*a certain amount of dimension and texture in the back round

*a value gradient dark to light from bottom to top

*one element of disguise

*clear difference in position of the head and eyes reflecting the qualities of each season

(*perhaps a border when all four have been completed)

Below are the steps I took  to stylize Ms. Spring, ultimately  leading to the finish (above).

Digital Painting Tutorial/Spring Part 2

Okey Dokey, part two is mostly about the way I manipulated my photos to provide a back round and a dress for Ms. Spring.  There have to be myriad ways to deal with photos incorporated into digital paintings.  I’m simply revealing the way I went about it in this piece.  And, I have no problem revealing this to you.  I think that the photos in this context will get the job done better than my painting of said areas.

Four Seasons:Spring Tutorial

Spring, It’s the second in my Four Seasons project.  Last time with Digital Winter , I explored an overview of the digital painting via Photoshop layers.  The focus of Spring is painting the skin.  I’m using Photoshop CS4 and Wacom Intuos 4.  I’m still working on the finish, but here’s essentially, how I’ve  painted the skin thus far.

Digital Painting Tutorial

Above is a screenshot of the basic Photoshop underpainting of “Winter”.    Below is a visual tutorial of the painting process. Please feel free to ask any questions that may come to mind, since my text explanation is spare.

Digital Winter

ANOTHER new project:) Four seasons, beginning with winter.  The subject for each season is a lovely young woman.  I chose to paint this series digitally, while my oil portraits are drying between layers.  Next post will feature a layer by layer separation and progression, so stand by.


Intention began as an Illustration Friday prompt.   It didn’t take long to realize that what I was making was decidedly not an illustration. My intention-derailed.  I should back up and mention that Intention started as a watercolor, though not a good watercolor.   I scanned it and finished painting digitally.  So much for my initial intention.  Next, I felt that the white space fell flat.  I needed some texture, so I dug through photo textures I create for this purpose.  I’m always drawn to fabric, and there in the reference were three interesting images to layer over the painting. I couldn’t quite decide, so I created three versions.

Intention vs process:)

3×3 Illustration Annual #8 -I’m In It!

I’ve been entranced with  the  3×3 Illustration Annual  since I first discovered it one Saturday in Barnes and Noble.  Naturally,  I sat with it in the B&N cafe enjoying the eye candy more than my beverage.  My book wish list is always lengthy, but I bumped book title #1 and bought the Annual.  Since then, I’ve poured over the work, and offer it to young artists to demonstrate what’s going on in contemporary illustration.

Summer 2011 I received an email from Charles Hively informing me that one of the illustrations I submitted was chosen for the 2012 Annual, and I was to send a final jpeg for print.  The email came at a tough time for my family and my attention was elsewhere.  I sent off a jpeg and later worried that I’d sent an inferior copy…(I aways have multiples and I’m not so great at labeling them-that’s gonna change).

A few days ago,  the book arrived.  And while I will never be entirely pleased with any piece I make, I am honored to be included in this publication.  I’m still not sure which copy I sent, probably not the best one, but  C’est la vie.

Thanks Charles Hively and the judges.  Right now, I’m burning to make a new piece to submit sometime in the near future.

Stripes for Illustration Friday

Illustration Friday‘s prompt this week is stripes.  And, while my above entry is less an illustration and more a portrait, I couldn’t help myself.   I love to paint real people.   As my penance for not pushing the illustration angle, I decided to make watercolor my medium for this challenge.  My watercolor skills are well, not so hot.  And even though I smacked my hand when I reached for it, I confess to using opacity in the form of white watercolor in this. I know, I know watercolor is supposed to be translucent. There-in lies the beauty.  What can I say, I’m a layers kinda girl.

When I finished the painting, I had to scan it into Photoshop for cropping, and I did it again!  I picked up the highlights and messed with it some more.  Then, I found the black and white too strident and cold, so I sepiaed it up.

(original painting)                                                 (after digital enhancements)

That is my full confession.  I WILL try unadulterated watercolor again.  I want to,  but not before hiding my ever so tempting, gleaming tube of white.

Razzle Dazzle Rose

A little girl wielding a magic crayon with a lovely point, expertly sharpened by the built-in sharpener in the 64 pack… of Crayola’s, of course.

Fifteen Minute Hair

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I love to render thick manes of long hair.  Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I’m familiar with them.  From age fourteen to thirty, I dragged around my own head of long heavy hair that reached nearly to my ankles.  Why, you may ask?  Couldn’t really tell you. I just…grew it.

It’s much more fun to saddle my characters with outrageous tresses than to actually wear them myself.  There is not however, any real secret to confide about how to render quick and easy digital Photoshop hair. There is however, a bit of a shortcut.  In a word, it’s a brush. A “hair” brush. Make a few of them. They’re really useful for getting the strands going, after you’ve laid in the values that forecast the shapes of the curls or bunches of hair.

I always work at least five times bigger than the print size.  *First -I lay in the shapes of the darks and lights *Second-I use my “hair” brushes or make more to fit the tresses. This creates many quick layers of hairs to build dimension.   *Third-I use a big round soft brush with low opacity and a cool color to “glaze” areas I want to push back  *Fourth-I use my “hair” brushes where appropriate, usually with a lighter warmer color  *Fifth-I use a small round brush and begin to draw each hair.  Sometimes I repeat steps 3 through 5 many many times until I achieve a messy organized chaos.  For me, that’s the look that works.

Lorica #3

The third illustration in my not yet written, middle grade novel.  So many projects, so little time:)

Mysterious Lorica

There is a story behind this painting.  I posted this piece first on my Illustration Friday  page for the topic mysterious, but I its first obligation is to serve as an illustration for a story floating around in my head.  This story will convert itself into text after I have a few more illustrations worked out.  This is the second piece.  I’ve a third in the works.  You’ll see that one soon too. When this story fully unveils itself to me,  I will reveal it to you too.  Stay tuned.

Right Now

It’s been a tough few weeks.  Hoping these times are as short- lived as a maudlin chalk drawing just before the rain.

This morning while hoping and waiting for the clouds to lift, a hummingbird surprised us on the front porch, buzzing it’s wings persistently in pouring rain.

Encounter with a Ladybug

Chapter 3


Ah, what one must bear.  After the disheartening encounter with Malamar (who I may eventually forgive), I felt the overriding need to stretch my limbs and rest a bit. I commenced to lay directly on the floor, because my grandfather claims there’s nothing better for the back.  Just as I felt a true desire to drift off to sleep, a blur of vermillion passed before my eyes not two inches above my head!  As one might imagine, my interest was peaked.  My weary eyes fixed on a ladybug buzzing and circling above me, obviously signaling wildly for my attention.  Well, I mused,  finally someone who possesses the good taste and decency to engage in proper dialogue.  I paused politely, allowing the ladybug to catch her breath and introduce herself.  To my surprise I learned that my partner in verbal exchange was known as Paul. How very pedestrian of me to expect my companion to be a LADY bug.  Live and learn.  I may comment comfortably now, but I must admit that at the time I was indeed flummoxed and chagrined. It’s little wonder that Paul took exception to my ignorance and resumed his quest for a more sophisticated ear.

I am abashed.

To be continued….


Chapter 1


I like a nice rat.  Charming conversationalists  if you don’t mind the defensive tone.  I met a rat quite recently whose knowledge of subterranean culture was really quite extraordinary.  His opinions regarding  a great variety of issues, I found to be both informed and refreshing.  This particular rat also understood the importance of attentiveness in an engaging tête-à-tête.  As well-traveled as he was, he never for a moment hogged the conversation or took on airs.   A great shame my cat Princess did not share our camaraderie.  She was terribly rude, and I believe she caused him to take his leave prematurely.   It’s really too bad.  Apparently, Princess informed my mother of the encounter.   Mother  forced me to spend the remainder of the day indoors.  My little brother is a very poor substitute for such illuminating communion.

I am bereft.

Chapter 2


Never let it be said however, that I am a quitter, nor am I a complainer, therefore I sat myself down, took stock of my options and sought a suitable partner for an informative one on one.  Malamar, our resident bunny rounded the corner avoiding the attentions of my brother who was apparently in hot pursuit of Malamar, until the hideous theme of a television program, that my brother for some reason enjoys, became audible.  Brother was transfixed by the magnetic rays of the television; a largely sophomoric device.  I therefore, secured the opportunity to invite our comely lagomorph to a raucous discussion regarding the unspeakable practice of encasing miniature bunnies in chocolate in an effort to delight unsuspecting children with an Easter “treat”.

I myself have never sanctioned such a practice. Perhaps the topic was insensitive, because despite my attempts to put Malamar at ease by immersing myself in his cultural stance, Malamar continued on his course, overtly ignoring my invitations to commune.  I’m sure that he was able to hear me, due to the ample size of his ears. The evidence that perhaps Malamar took particular issue with my topic of discussion materialized in the form of small pellets that he left in his wake.

I am offended.

Sneak Peak/New Book- Cover!

VERY soon now, Portrait of a Girl and Her Art will be available in hardcover, paperback and PDF .

I’m working on additional electronic formats.

Very soon I’ll have purchase info ready for one step clicking.

Portrait of a Girl and Her Art  already has a dedicated blog where art tips, exciting interviews with young artists, and submissions of art by young artists will keep the inspiration momentum flowing!  Please visit soon.

G- rated Steampunk Mermaids

Very recently two illustrators whom I admire, inspired me to paint a steampunk piece for kids.  Now, I really dislike painting mechanical symmetrical elements, but I do enjoy the look of  shiny geometric details. So I decided to simplify, take it slowly, and allow Photoshop’s filters to do the heavy lifting. I also relied heavily upon layer style to lend me an outer glow and to bevel and emboss.

I did mention that I was taking this slowly. I’m clearly missing both overt Victorian and punk flavor here, but the only creatures not propelled by steam are the wind-up angelfish and the starfish.  I’ll get a little more hardcore next time.

ALMOST…My new book is COMING

My brandy new book, PORTRAIT OF A GIRL AND HER ART  is in the final stages of production!   Hopefully, all typos and misspellings have been identified, and the many gorgeous images have been perfectly  placed.

What’s it about?  Quite simply, it’s all about young female visual artists and their work.  It’s a labor of love that has taken me five years to complete.  In it, you’ll find portraits of fifteen featured artists, quotes from them about making art, and at least one featured work from each.  But wait, there’s more.  The book is chock full of vivid visual art of all kinds from even more girls and young women artists.  There’s also..a take-away guide for you, the reader, to inspire your artwork and/or a creative way of thinking.  And finally, “sketches” or  little bios of the featured fifteen artists from my point of view.  It’s eighty pages packed with awe and inspiration.

I couldn’t be prouder of this book!  You’ll be hearing lots more about it in the weeks to come. I’ve also created a blog for PORTRAIT OF A GIRL AND HER ART  to keep the inspiration flowing.   The blog will serve as an interactive art class filled with tips, concepts, interviews, ideas, heart, and of course, lots of ART!   I’m working on it as you read.  Everyone is welcome to visit and participate.

I just can’t wait!!!!

Caught in the Flashlight

The third in my “Bug” series inspired by Micro Cosmos.  A little color this time along with a little sympathy for the “unsuspecting”.

Summer Bug Series #2

A little different approach here, but this piece is also inspired by Microcosmos.  The color in the film is glorious, but  I wanted to concentrate on one element at a time, so I went with black and white.  The textures take over here.  I’ve allowed the tree to define the texture.  I made a rubbing with a charcoal pencil over the stone blocks that make up my patio.  The result is the grungy almost embossed feel of the trees juxtaposed with the flat smooth insects.  More to come.

Summer Bugs

As I scratched my first mosquito bite of the summer, I became entranced by the beauty of the buggy images on my tv screen…

I don’t remember what I was doing in 1996, but I missed the release of Microcosmos a gorgeous French film that certainly captured my imagination.  It dunked me right down into the clammy wild world of impossible looking and behaving insects.  The shapes, textures, and colors left me gaping while simultaneously making  me  aware that I needed to shut my mouth. I did NOT want to encourage squirmy flying things to find refuge anywhere near me.-Eww.

Anyway, the film sparked a “People Bug” series. Above is the first effort.

Another New Digital Painting

“The Rescue” also employs a scanned textural item. Obviously it’s the net.  The oranges that came wrapped in it were delicious.

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