Illustration Friday: Whimsical

Drawn with Pentel Sign pen on marker paper, colored digitally © 2015 Stephanie Smith

I couldn’t resist this week’s Illustration Friday word: “whimsical.”

I also decided to experiment a bit with some new digital brushes I hadn’t used before, so the colors are a little different than my usual. It was refreshing to use color again, after spending nearly all of “Inktober” working in black-and-white!

Getting ready for Halloween!

Illustration for lottery scratch-off Halloween promotion

Just in time for the season, another client piece! I wonder how many more-modern Halloween parties in the Northeast US this year will be disrupted by the storm currently bearing down on us…

This might be the last picture from the series I’ve made for Cactus to promote scratch-off tickets for the Colorado Lottery, although they were a joy to work for and to draw so I can only hope there will be more. I posted one of my sketches from this piece on my Critterwings Facebook page, and plan to do that more often so you  might want to mosey on over that way…

Illustration for lottery scratch-off Halloween promotion

All the pieces in this series were created for an e-mail campaign about traditional holiday celebrations (with scratch tickets) and the coloring is deliberately subdued. Original drawing 12×14 inches, ink on smooth bristol paper, colored digitally.

More DoodleCards – Fantasy People continued

Here are a few more of the “doodles” from my “Fantasy People” set of trading cards. These were all just quick little drawings — warm-up exercises, really — rather than finished artwork to share with some of my artist friends. Maybe I’ll turn them into something more, or maybe they were just a fun practice project. In either case, I hope you enjoy them too!

#6 Fairy — Fantasy People series

#5 Dryad — Fantasy People series

#7 Gnome — Fantasy People series

Happy Mother’s Day

 Celebrate the Seasons: Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love, support, and encouragement of my own mother. Love you, mom!

In honor of the day, here’s another client piece from the holiday series I’m drawing for Cactus. I don’t know if they actually made banners like that in Victorian times, but the client wanted it. 🙂

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Celebrate the Seasons: Cinco de Mayo

Wow, I thought I’d updated this blog at least once since the new year. All the more reason for a little fiesta to kick things off again! And on Cinco de Mayo, one of those holidays which has outgrown its origins, but what better excuse for a party?

This is another client piece I produced for Cactus to promote scratch-off tickets for the Colorado Lottery. I’ve missed posting a few of the holidays, so I’ll be playing a bit of catch-up. The project is almost done and I confess I’ll miss it. This was a fun one.

The Cinco de Mayo art is a bit brighter and more colorful than the rest, partly keying off of the traditional costumes and decor, and partly because it’s one of the few holidays on my list that doesn’t come from the Victorian visual tradition the rest of them do. We played around with the idea of making this art in a more graphic style reminiscent of Mexican poster art, but ultimately decided on greater consistency with the rest of the series.

More artwork to come soon, I promise!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone out there is having a great Thanksgiving, able to spend some time with family and/or friends to appreciate all of the good things in their lives. Personally, I’m very grateful for having been born into — and married into — a loving family, for meaningful work that supports me, for a comfortable home to live in. These are the things that really matter, more than “Black Friday” and all the other craziness that goes on this time of year.

Thanksgiving With Scratchoffs
click to enlarge

So what’s up with this somewhat…. unusual picture? Well, one of the things I’m grateful for has been an increase in client work, but it’s been cutting in on my time for making “for fun” work. As a result, instead of something more personal I’m posting a recent piece I produced for Cactus to promote scratch-off tickets for the Colorado Lottery. It should be only the first in the series for a campaign called “Celebrate the Season,” which is already shaping up to be a lot of fun. They wanted an old-fashioned look, so I drew it in ink to simulate an engraving and added subtle tints to color it; the rest of the series should be in a similar style. I produced this one in record time for the complexity of the drawing, and I look forward to taking a little more time to lavish details on the rest of the series.

I wish you all home, health and happiness for this holiday… have a good one!   

Illustration Friday: Sweater

Mommy’s Sweater

This year I plan to participate in Illustration Friday again as much as possible. I’m kicking it off with this week’s word and a quick drawing, “Mommy’s Sweater,” inspired by the cold, cold winter we’ve been having this year. It just makes me want to snuggle up all cozy like she is!

It was drawn with pencil on sketchpaper and colored in Photoshop. Just a quickie, this time!

A touch of fantasy

Here’s a quick piece of new art from my RedBubble site! Sometimes I’ll jump into one of the many challenges or drawing jams there to try something a little different with my style and tools. This time, instead of using inks I made the drawing entirely in pencil, and colored it all in Photoshop. It’s just a quick little study, which is why the background is so very bare.

I’ve been busy dusting off some of my art to make some new items for the Critterwings store… keep an eye out for new announcements very soon!

Illlustration Friday: Dip


Quick Tango

Well, this one was finished in time only on a technicality… thank goodness the Illustration Friday website is on Pacific Standard Time! Another stab at something different… unlike last week, which was all old-school paint-on-acetate, this week it’s all digital, with no “real” media involved!

Every so often I think to myself “hey, I just want to do something really quick, I’ll just draw it right in Photoshop instead of mucking about with the paper and the pens and the scanner and all.” So far, it’s never been the faster way to go. The slippery tablet and inability to turn the paper around to get the right angle both conspire to make what should be nice, simple lines a constant string of do-overs. Oh well, practice makes perfect. I decided to leave my “sketch” layer in the finished drawing, because it seemed to add a nice bit of extra movement and texture, and since I’d ordinarily consider something with this level of detail a study or a sketch rather than a finished drawing.

It’s been spring-cleaning season around here, but in between getting the garden ready for planting and cleaning the house I’ve been hitting the drawing table. I have a few projects that need to be finished in the next few weeks… I’ll be sharing them here when they’re done!

Illustration Friday: Rescue


I missed out on “expired” for last week’s Illustration Friday, but this week it was actually my day job that came to the “rescue” with this illustration of a cowboy riding to the rescue.   This is a work-in-progress for an event poster which is allowing me a rare bit of illustration fun, and a bit of a digression from my usual style. I hope they keep this design, which will have a retro movie-poster vibe, instead of going with the fall-back, which is a much “safer” but more boring design with pretty landscape photography.

This illustration was based on a stock photo we’d bought, although I had to add in a lot of details, including redrawing the horse’s head, which was at an odd angle. This is the unretouched artwork, which was reverse-painted with acrylic paints on acetate and scanned with a black sheet behind it, about 11×17 inches.

I needed a “rescue” this week, as I spent half the weekend with a sore jaw (aftermath of a root canal) and didn’t get nearly as much done as I’d wanted. But I did have a chance to start researching my next personal project, which I’m looking forward to sharing in the next few months.