IInktober is almost half way through and I have been going a pretty good job of keeping up with the challenge this year. I have been committed to completing a fully inked image each day complete with background this time. I have also stuck to a theme this time. This is my third year to participate in Jake Parker's challenge of one inked drawing a day for the month of October.
Some may be wondering about the missing drawings. I have skipped two days purposefully this month because of a personal challenge I have pursued this entire year of not doing any art or art career related activities on Sundays. If I feel like it I may catch up during the month but more likely I will simply spend an extra five days of November finishing the 31 drawing project.
Here are a couple others from this month so far-
I have had to take a break from art from the beginning of the school year up until the Inktober challenge began. The children's book is at a great point right now but is put on hold while I focus on other things- possibly until the holiday season and first half our school year is done. Inktober has been a fun reminder of my growth with drawing skill since last year. The difference in what I am able to accomplish (in a hurry) since then and even more so- the first year I did the challenge has been an encouragement. I can definitely say that things in the house have gotten just a little bit more out of hand than they were before because I have often foregone the usual cleaning schedule in order to fit in more drawing time. As a matter of fact I am already in a crunch to start and finish one this evening. Thanks for reading.
Found time to participate in the Third Thursday contest this month with SVS (svslearn.com) And the prompt was to take four characters from Wizard of Oz and do them in a new style or theme. The idea was to be consistent and have good character design and poses. I am pretty happy with my design and poses but I am still not happy with my final work with the digital painting. I am searching for the answer to my problem but haven't found it yet. The live critique of the entries was interesting and they did mention mine but the only comment they made was that it is in an "Animation Style". I suppose that must be bad for Children's book illustration but I am not sure what it quite means. Maybe the rendering should be more traditional, maybe I should bring back my linework. I don't know. I really want to get a professional's advice soon. I feel like I am stalled and just spinning my wheels until I solve the problem of how to finish each piece in the best way for both personal satisfaction and maximum appeal for the children's book market. I am in an extreme frustrated mode where I start with a drawing that I love and then just try stuff until I feel done but am not happy with the result. Meanwhile I have my Children's book to the point where the only thing left to do is begin the digital painting process on each of the more than 30 completed illustrations. I am hesitant to begin because at this point I don't think I want to consistantly mess up the whole lot. I suppose I should cling to the thought that got me through the first leg of the journey - better done than perfect.. but I would like to be a little more sure of my process before beginning the final leg.
Thanks for reading. MM
Still making style decisions. I decided to take a piece from last year and redo it in the flat color style with no lines. Not sure which is better. They both have their charms. It still feels slightly uncomfortable to do it the second way but I do like it somewhat and it may be more marketable. I wish I had my own art director to ask.
I'm back to talk about what has been going on. I have been super busy this week and last. It felt like I'd never get the time to really get to work on the book but the time finally came. Too bad I got sick at the same time, I had basically one day of work before being totally sick and have been ever since. Fortunately being sick paid off in at least one way... it made me have less guilt for sitting still so long each day. I actually ended up staying on schedule with the illustration chart that I created months ago to tackle during this time period. So yay! Right on track.
In other news... still working on the painting style that I will eventually use on the illustrations for the book. I won't touch any of them with color until I am done with all of the composition and drawing work. Therefore in the meantime I am trying out new things with my weekly random illustrations, usually incorporating the color of the week from the twitter group colour_collective.
So last time I posted here I shared the image of the girl on the bike. This was the first of several images that I have been testing out the new style of taking out all my linework. I love linework but I am not positive that it is the best fit for children's illustration. It is more widely used in comics and cartooning. I have been doubting my work because of this for a long time. At the same time I worry about changing just to suit 'them'... my imaginary critics. In reality, I don't get enough feedback from actual editors or publishers or successful illustrators to be able to adjust my work appropriately. So while I don't know which direction I should actually go in, I thought that it wouldn't hurt to try it out and see what I think about it after I have several pieces to reflect on. If possible I will be seeking more of the helpful kind of feedback mentioned above at some point.
The two images above are both in the flat color sans line work style that I am referring to. To see my previous style just go back to my home page and take a look at all but the top three or four images. There is a difference in these two above images that is also worth noting. In the second one- Bunny Quiet Time I tried yet another new trick- that of creating all major color areas as vector graphic shapes in Adobe Illustrator and then bringing them one at a time into Photoshop as separate layers and then continuing with my normal finishing methods of shading, highlights and textures. This created much more smooth edges. Maybe too smooth. I am still deciding. Always with line work I didn't have to worry at all about the quality of edges where two colors meet because the lines covered up any edges. So this is new territory for me and I am still deciding how I want to handle it.
That's is for this week. Thanks for reading....
Well, I'm back from my 6 week (which turned to 8 1/2 week) break. The break from artwork was so that I could complete a total declutter of my house as laid out by the "Japanese Art of Tidying Up" book. (The KonMari Method). So that went well and the house is in better order now. We have been in our house for 10 years now and this was long overdue. I have never been good at letting go of 'stuff'. I just let go of over 10 garbage bags full of stuff out of my house. This has got to be good for our home and family. We already are enjoying being able to find things more easily. The KonMari book has great advice on how to store items efficiently which has helped too.
But back to art.. that is what this week is about for me... getting back to art. One unfortunate( or maybe fortunate..time will tell) byproduct of this break was that I came back to my work with a fresh eye toward my work.. and didn't like what I saw. I felt a change was needed. I was literally repulsed by my own stuff. Before this I was focused on all the progress I had been making, but honestly in the back of my mind I was always trying to solve the problem of my style and technique. I have been tweaking it as I go along for quite a while now but still am not pleased. Because of this discontent I felt a need to take a drastic jump to something different. The above image is the first one of this new type that I have made. I feel like this might be a long term change, but in the next few weeks I will be deciding if that is needed or if I am making a mistake.
If it isn't immediately clear what the difference is.. I will explain. (to be continued)
For the color challenge this week (Serenity Blue) I used this sketch which I did as a tribute to those in our community who were effected by the flooding a week ago. Many people had their homes destroyed and are still displaced. Our neighborhood was fine but as little as ten minutes away others were forced to leave their homes and belongings to the water with hardly any notice. It had never happened here that mere rainstorms flooded people out of their homes... once in the 80's there was a levy breach at the river and many homes were flooded but the areas effected then were different. This came completely out of the blue. Often here in North Louisiana we are the safe haven for those who evacuate north during hurricanes out of the gulf, but this time it was our people who needed help. One sweet part of the whole experience has been the way the community has come forward and supported those in trouble. It has really been inspirational and beautiful. Only good stories and heartwarming kindness have been the order of the day.
Meanwhile, I also participated in the SVS Third Thursday contest for March. The prompt was "Haven brought it to Show and Tell even though she didn't have permission"-
This month's was a spot illustration. I prefer those, although everyone seemed to have a different definition of what a spot really entails.
I enjoyed the chance to incorporate the robot owl I sketched a while back.
Thanks for reading
This week's color challenge was Dandelion Yellow. I had sketched this little seahorse last week originally to add more detail to the Mermaid illustration but it turned out to be unnecessary. I really liked it for it's own sake though and decided to use it later. The color for the week happened to be a nice vivid color, so that worked out right away. My little boy loves seahorses, so we talk about them often in our house. His favorite lovey that he has slept with since he was a baby is a seahorse. The only library books he ever wants to check out are about seahorses. He draws the best seahorses ever. I should post one of my favorites of his on here later.
I have been so productive lately. I am carving out a steady work time in the mornings. I have created a chart to help me with the Children's Book project and it is helping tremendously. Instead of an invisible set of ideas that I know I need to get to, I have a layout showing each illustration and each stage of it that I can check off as I move forward, I have gotten so much done in just this one week because of that. I also am beginning to design my own patterns to use in the future with my illustrations. Standard background things like leaf patterns and stone path patterns much like the one I used in the Winged Girl illustration I posted a few weeks ago.
So I am super excited about all the work I am doing right now. It is so much fun I can hardly stop myself to do the mundane stuff. I am embracing the habits that I have been forming lately though because they really do make life smoother and more enjoyable in the end. Some habits that I have been keeping up with for example are - sketch time in the mornings and posting to Instagram shortly after... a daily log book at night that lists the days events... a read-a-loud streak with my husband and kids where we read a chapter a night with the kids -no matter what... no social media on weekends... keeping my daily Bible reading going this year but with my actual Bible open, not listening to the audible version on my app like last year....the color challenge due each Friday ... and several school related habits with the kids.
Anyway, I am also trying to post once a week to this blog this year. I am toying with a few ideas of subjects to actually write about besides my regular work updates. I may have more news about those coming soon.
Thanks for reading,
Hello all. Here is the latest piece I did for the color challenge on Twitter. The color of the week was Moss Green. I used it in the mermaid's hair and tail mostly. I had fun trying different fish shapes.
I'm making more progress on my children's book lately. I haven't been able to post much of that because I am saving it all up. That is why I am glad to continue doing the color challenge, it is just for fun and to improve skills and gives me some work I can share with everyone and get feedback.
Thanks for reading,
Thanks for stopping by. I'm a published illustrator working on getting better every day. My goal for my work is for it to be charming, bright and endearing. I share my ongoing work progress online because I welcome all the encouragement and feedback I can get as I try to improve my skills. I currently have a children's book project that I am nearing the end of.