Process: A Delayed Christmas

♬ Christmas time is here. ~ Happiness and – cacti? ♬

This piece grew from a project that I did for an old client. It was a lot of fun and needed to be revisited for the holiday season.

See a video of the piece from start to finish on my YouTube channel, or read ahead for each step.

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The old version of this piece informed the new. The original concept was that Santa and Rudolph broke down in the desert, and they needed to pull out their map to figure out where to go next. I ran with the idea, incorporating elements that didn't make it into in the original illustration.

Sketch

Sketch

Line weight, space, and all the fun detail happened at this step. I could probably draw forever. But this sleigh needs to get back in the sky!

Value

Value

I went light-handed on the value at first because of the setting. Usually when people think of a desert, they see sand underneath a scorching summer sun. There probably wouldn't be many dark shadows in this lighting situation except underneath the objects...

Color

Color

In my mind, a desert is mostly yellow, so keeping festive reds and greens represented throughout got kind of tricky. Greens that grow from the ground are going to be different from greens in clothing, yellows will be different from golds, and so on. And I have to say that although I like the look of vintage illustration, this piece wasn't supposed to go in that direction. What could be altered?

Then it hit me. Why would Old Sant Nick be flying in the middle of the day? Surely he gets all his work done in one night.

Color shift

Color shift

Thus, the piece took a dramatic turn. I went back into the drawing to give one of the elves a lamp, a red glow to Rudolph's nose, and tightened up the value range. At this stage I'm not afraid to go back and forth between the different layers to make all the big changes look seamless. Sorry I couldn't show you the drawing before these changes occurred, but the video covers it! 

Final

Final

Many layers of tweaks later, and here is the final result. This piece has been featured as December's banner in the Philadelphia Sketch Club's Portfolio Newsletter. See a step-by-step of the piece as a GIF:

Lockamy_Christmas Process

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Process: Poseidon's Daughter

It might be getting colder here in the Garden State, but I'm more of a summer person. I'll be more festive after this piece!

Growing up in New Jersey, I have never been far from the coast. Some of my best childhood memories are from trips to the beach and boardwalk. Many people might think of Snooki when they think of Jersey's beaches, but for me, the ocean has always been more of a mystical place. It is a great source of inspiration. Poseidon's Daughter is a piece that stems from these coastal roots.

The narrative:

Poseidon's daughter has magic, but it's not as fun as you might think. Helping her father maintain the delicate balance of the ocean is lonely work. One day, she meets a young photographer who reminds her how to have fun. Despite being from two different worlds, they discover a kindred spirit in each other.

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This piece started out really loose. I had a specific color palette in mind, so it was important to use it to full advantage with the right composition.

Sketch

Sketch

The drawing is my favorite step! Everything done at this stage has immediate results, and changes can be made quickly. Adding in those swirls and curls is fun, too.

Value

Value

At this stage, the priority was to make sure the water looked translucent. This meant adding darks in a way that would create the illusion of depth. I was so jazzed to get into color by this point – but value should never be rushed. This is what I think of as the "ink" stage.

Color

Color

Color! Pinks and oranges, with some sea green tints for added dimension. This feels like a "watercolor" stage, on top of a graphite drawing. The warmest hues are used for emphasis.

It's nearly there...

It's nearly there...

Details are the finicky part! As things shape up, changes can be made that weren't part of the initial drawing. For example, I gave the young photographer a backpack to carry his things in. But there was still something missing.

Final

Final

One wave to close off the space, one snazzy pair of glasses, and a few final tweaks later. Thanks for reading! See the GIF below, as well as a time-lapse video of the painting from start to finish.

Poseidon's_Daughter_process.gif

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Inktober, Exhibitions, and Other Goings-on

Hey! It's high time I update you guys on a few things. A lot has been happening at once. First off, I'd like to point out the nifty new Subscribe button, stage right (or below, if you're mobile). After lots of tweaking, the newsletter is ready to go. Subscribe if you'd like to get updates from my blog in your inbox. 

InkTober Preview_Fire Witch.jpeg

Inktober

The current plan is to work on one piece every week, for a total of four finished pieces. The theme I've set for myself is Witches, and it will be influenced by the four witches from The Wizard of Oz  with a twist! Stay tuned for that. And make sure to follow me on Instagram where I'll be posting updates.

Exhibitions

There are two exhibitions to note at the Philadelphia Sketch Club: The 2017 Annual Members' Exhibition going on now, which I am in (yay!), and Phillustration 9, which will be shown in November. Illustrators from the tristate area and beyond are encouraged to enter Phillustration, and you bet I'm going to submit something! I've gotten in for the previous two years, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed this time. You can learn more about Phillustration 9 by seeing the call for entries at sketchclub.org.

Meg and the Golden Fish

The spreads have been drawn out and the dummy has been finished! I can now send it out to children's book publishers for consideration. I'll be working on other book ideas in the mean time. The list of story possibilities is always growing.

Thanks for reading!