Illustration Friday: Enough


… or really, more than enough! My rather liberal interpretation of this week’s Illustration Friday topic is one from my archives, but I’ve never used it for anything. The project it was drawn for mutated into a different format before I finished this particular drawing. One of these days I will have to scan it and finish it nicely, because I’ve always liked it, but at the moment I just have this rather poorly-shot photo to share. (click to enlarge!)
This piece is trickier than usual to scan, partly because of its size (16×20) and partly because it’s drawn on clayboard instead of paper. Although the texture is a dream to draw on with crowquills, and highlights can be scratched out like scratchboard, I can’t use my light table to trace onto it like I can with sheets of bristol — had to break out the carbon paper! And because it’s inflexible it doesn’t scan as easily on my home scanner. Also, it’s far more expensive than the bristol, but probably worth it for a very special project.

Illustration Friday: Foggy

Pause in the Shadows

This week’s Illustration Friday topic is a tricky one for me — I was stumped for something metaphorical, and I haven’t drawn atmospheric effects in a while. Then I remembered this old image which I made a while back for a school project but never really felt happy with. Just add fog: Viola! It’s not perfect, but I think it helped give the picture the depth it was lacking before. Doesn’t do anything for the figures, unfortunately!  Click the image to enlarge it.

The character is from a story rattling around in my head. She’s slipped out in bits and pieces of prose over the years, one of these days she’ll escape entirely…
The drawing itself is from several years ago, when I was still developing my current method of coloring. It’s fascinating to me sometimes to look at how I used to structure my files.  It seems like every few years I change my tactics. I guess it’s partly an evolution of my method, and partly due to the relentless march of software upgrades. (I always seem to switch the way I organize my file archives every few years too… amazing how something that made perfect sense five years ago can seem silly now! )

Illustration Friday: Worry

Excerpt from Feline Dreams - Detail

So, I feel a little bit cheesy about being absent for a month and then uploading another archive piece for this week’s Illustration Friday topic… and yet, that’s what I’m doing! This is just one panel from a short, 7-page story I wrote and illustrated a few years ago titled Feline Dreams. The drawing was particularly rushed in this panel but it definitely embodies “worry” to me — when I was drawing it I was really worried about finishing in time!

Here’s the full page this scene is from, click ’em to see ’em larger:

Excerpt from Feline Dreams

This is one of the series where I really hope my source files are hidden in my CD archives, because they didn’t make the move between my old computer and my current one… As part of my much-needed website redesign I’m planning on making space for this and a couple other more narrative projects I’d done about that time.

As for my long absence, let’s just say that two out-of-state conferences PLUS my big vacation for the summer PLUS coming down with a severe case of the traveler’s plague during the little time I was home this past month pretty much made posting impossible for me. Starting this week I’m getting back into my routine – new artwork next week if it kills me!

Illustration Friday: Fail

Well, it’s hard to post a drawing when I embodied this week’s Illustration Friday topic by failing to draw something new, so you all will just have to suffer with another from the archive:

The Tortoise and the Eagle
The Tortoise and the Eagle (Click to enlarge)

This is another by good ol’ Aesop, which seems to cover the topic well enough: the fable of The Tortoise and the Eagle.

A Tortoise, dissatisfied with lowly crawling on the ground, envied the birds who could soar high into the clouds whenever they desired. One day, he offered an Eagle all the treasures in the ocean if she would only teach him how to fly. The Eagle declined the offer at first, but the Tortoise kept insisting and pleading. “Fine, I will teach you to fly,” said the Eagle and, taking him up in her talons carried him high into the sky. As she let go of him, she said, “Now, spread your legs and fly!” But before the Tortoise could say one word in reponse, he plunged straight down, hit a rock, and was dashed to pieces.

Moral: Demand your own way, demand your own ruin.

Detail from “The Tortoise and the Eagle”

Yeah, he failed. Big time.

Illustration Friday: Save

The Monkey and the Dolphin
The Monkey and the Dolphin (Click to Enlarge)

This week’s posting for Illustration Friday is from my archives again. This is another one from Aesop’s Fables, one of his less-well-known stories The Monkey and the Dolphin. It’s the story of a dolphin saving a monkey… sort of:

A Sailor, bound on a long voyage, took with him a Monkey to amuse him while on shipboard. As he sailed off the coast of Greece, the ship became caught in a violent storm. The ship was wrecked, and all the crew were thrown into the water and forced to swim for their lives. A Dolphin saw the Monkey struggling, and thinking he was a man, whom dolphins are said to befriend, he went to help him and carried him on his back straight for the shore.

When they arrived within sight of Piraeus, the harbor of Athens, the Dolphin asked if the Monkey if he were an Athenian.

Yes,” answered the Monkey. “Certainly. I’m from one of the most noble families in the city.”

“Then of course you know Piraeus,” said the Dolphin.

“Oh, yes,” replied the Monkey, supposing that it was the name of some distinguished citizen, “He is one of my most intimate friends.”

Infuriated at these falsehoods, the Dolphin dived to the bottom of the water and left the lying monkey to his fate.

It’s a little grim, but I really couldn’t resist the chance to draw a picture of a monkey riding a dolphin.

Not much more time to chat this week. It’s been a bit hectic around here, as I’ve had on my graphic-designer hat reformatting a lot of my older work for reuse. Between that and spring maintenance taking up most of my “art time” I haven’t even had time to finish my new drawings, much less visit anyone’s blogs — I’ll get caught up soon! My frog from a few weeks back is just waiting for a few hours of quality coloring time, and he has a friend in the same situation… I want to post something new here before I disappear on my trip at the end of the month, darnit!

Illustration Friday: Homage

An Appointment Kept
An Appointment Kept 2006 (click to enlarge)

So, I was looking for some different, older, partially-aborted but more-directly-related-to-this-week’s -Illustration-Friday-topic images… but I couldn’t find them. I just got my new backup drive, but I haven’t gone digging through my archives yet to populate it. Somehow we’ll all have to console ourselves with this piece instead.

It’s not directly an homage, but it’s definitely the result of years of reading wonderful fantasy and sci-fi authors who have brought the unreal to life. Yes, I went through an intense Anne McCaffery phase, lol, but read voraciously and doodled fan artwork from many others, including our dearly departed Arthur C. Clark. In particular, I was also inspired by the art of Michael Whelan, who’s used the covers of those books and many others to bring vividly to life countless dragons, aliens, otherworldly landscapes, and the very human people caught in their midst. I’d always admired the rich colors and detail in his artwork and the obvious attention he pays to making sure the the book cover was true to the story inside. (It’s a pet peeve of mine when it’s obvious that a cover artist has no idea about the actual story they’re illustrating… but it does make me a bit sad that this narrative style for book cover art is out of vogue these days.) Is it a weird coincindence that his artwork graced the covers for many of my favorite genre authors? His cover artwork clearly takes the design of the book cover into account, but remains interesting on its own too. Even though I’ve focused on a very different medium, he’s definitely one of my earliest and enduring inspirations.

Detail from “An Appointment Kept”

This is one of the larger ink drawings I’ve done so far — the original is on 19×24 bristol, with most of the details drawn with teeny tiny 005 Micron pens, scanned and colored digitally. It was made as a fine-art piece for display; this image and the rest in the series weren’t from any story in particular but from a general idea for a story I’ve had floating around in my head. I was sooooo sick of drawing foliage by the time I was done, but even I’m amazed at how it looks in a 30-inch-tall giclee print. These low-res images hardly do it justice, alas.

Illustration Friday: Garden

This week’s Illustration Friday topic actually fit quite well into a personal project I’m working on. Alas, at the end of a hectic week where I barely had time to do any drawing at all I managed to get the main figure sorted out, but the garden part of the composition was eluding me. Not even enough to post the sketch.

So instead, a treat from the dusty archives:

Flower Fairy: Petunia
“Petunia” (click to enlarge)

Yes, flower fairies, not the most original I admit. But always fun!

Fresh out of college back in 1996, when the internet was shiny and new and full of nerd jokes and little else, I thought it would be a great idea to make and sell notecards. What a concept, right? Well, I had no cash, no real plans, and was severely lacking in clues as well, but I made a handful of designs — cards, bookmarks, mini-posters — ran them off at Kinkos and tried to sell them a local flea market where the tables were cheap and a friend was scraping a few extra dollars a week giving tarot readings. Some, like these, I colored with watercolors and colored pencil.

They didn’t really sell. Eventually I got a job that actually paid the rent and another that let me buy food too, and with my weekends thus occupied the remaining inventory have sat in a box in the back of various closets for a very long time.

Flower Fairy: Tending Phlox
“Tending Phlox”

(I also thought puns like this were hysterically funny at the time.)

It amuses me to look at these now as I’m embarking on the 21st-century version of the same exercise. I’m tempted to add these to the lines I’m making now, but I might have to redraw them first. The odd proportions don’t bother me too much, but the head on the petunia fairy makes me wince, and these were two of the best in the series. At the least I’d recolor them digitally.

 I’m really hoping to stick to my plan and post an update every week — with a preference for new work! But I’ve been busily filling up my schedule for the spring and it now includes  lot more travel than I was planning. If at all possible, I’ll post while I’m away but there’ll be at least something here every week that I’m home, that’s a promise.