Happy Birthday, America!

© 2015 Stephanie Smith

© 2015 Stephanie Smith

It’s America’s birthday, so let’s celebrate!

I didn’t have any cake, so instead I had some fun playing around with a few new digital tools and techniques. I based the eagle-riffic portions of this digital painting on one of the amazing wildlife photos taken by Lawrence Ten Eyck, used with his permission.

The last of the little flock

Tiny Gryphons #5 Goldfinch by Stephanie Smith

I saved the most colorful of my little house-gryphons for last. I think these are my favorites from the set. If you missed the previous installments, they’re here and here. I hope to make some little notecards with these after the holiday, but I’m not sure whether to leave them with the watercolor pencils or recolor digitally… I have the scans of the uncolored ink drawings just waiting on my computer. What do you think?

Tiny Gryphons #1 Cardinal by Stephanie Smith

Tiny Grypons #2 Blue Jay by Stephanie Smith

Artist Trading Cards: Tiny Gryphons

Tiny Griffons ATC #8 Chickadee

Where did the summer go? Oh, that’s right… between client work, an illustration-heavy project at my day job, and general craziness all the way around, I’ve had very little time for “just for fun” drawing. That’s one of the reasons I like the Doodle Swap Project, a little club of artists and designers who all make tiny trading-card-sized artworks for each other. It gives me an excuse to do some quick, small, simple drawings that I don’t have any time to overthink because they have to get out the door fast.

This time around the theme was “hybrid animals” — chimera, creatures made up of two or more different unrelated animals. Perfect timing for me, since:

a) the idea for little gryphons that are a cross between songbirds and housecats (instead of the more traditional eagles and lions) has been kicking around in my head for a while, and

b) “Backyard” and household fantasy creatures are the theme of my Sketchbook project book. More about that one later…

So, this was a little bit of two birds with one stone. Or something like that. Here are the first few of the cards, I’ll be posting the rest soon. They’re all 2.5 x 3.5 inches, drawn with ink and watercolor pencils on bristol paper.

Anyone else think that these will make nice little notecards? 🙂

Tiny Griffons ATC #7 Crow

Tiny Griffons ATC #6 Robin

Year of the Rooster

The Year of the Rooster
click to enlarge

Buy art

The latest in my Chinese Zodiac series, The Year of the Rooster is now available for sale at my RedBubble page, as notecards, prints, and T-shirts.

This image was drawn in ink with a brush pen and colored digitally; in the background is the Chinese character for the Rooster. He deserves a closeup, don’t you think?

Detail from “Year of the Rooster”

This colorful fellow took quite a while, but I can’t help myself. I love all the crazy details birds have. 🙂 There’s another complex drawing on my drawing board right now, but I think one of the “simpler” animals will be the next one finished.

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.