Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Extra Ilustration

Rusty gave us a chance to do an extra illustration, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to try out the loose style that is inherent in watercolor, because I have done too many controlled illustrations. I don't think I pulled it off as successfully as I would've liked, but it has some interesting things happening in it.

Illustration time: 1 hour
Watercolor on watercolor paper
8.5" x 11"

Society of Illustrators!

This illustration was a battle. I knew I wanted to do steampunk-y airships but I wasn't sure how I was going to do so. My comp was uninteresting and was going to be incredibly difficult to pull off. And so I procrastinated. But I finally got around to making my illustration, and I'm happy with the outcome. This large scale allows the freedom of detail and intricacies, but I found that my structural lines lost their integrity at this size, since I refused to use a ruler... However, I think that overall, the image is convincing and I'm especially happy with the way the smoke turned out. I also think my suggested landscape worked fairly well, considering it's completely gestural and yet still conveys the correct imagery.

Illustration time: 5 hours
Watercolor and gouache on watercolor paper
16" x 20"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Final Portfolio

This illustration was difficult to start, but once I put it together, things went well. I like the composition and the color of the piece. I am especially happy with the smoke, because I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, and I am glad that it looks believable (particularly the smoke from the airship).

This piece is my favorite piece of line art this semester. Pen drawings have always been something that I enjoy doing and am generally successful with, and I think that this was important to have as a strength, since I initially failed so miserably at watercolor and gouache (and still am so so so bad at airbrush). I love this illustration because it actually resembles my shoes and is a good use of hatching as value to create realism. There isn't much indication of texture, but because the shoes are either rubber or cloth, there wasn't much to distinguish between, so I think it works well enough.

This piece was my product illustration. It was one of my first successful, fully watercolor pieces, and I think it turned out really well. This was most difficult to get the shoe to read as several textures, but through highlights and line usage, I think I conveyed a realistic, believable shoe. The lines on the base of the shoe were also a challenge, because it was difficult to not only get a believably straight line, but also a consistently thick line. It took several tries and some frustration, but I think it was eventually successful.

This was our first project, and my first attempt at color wash. I think it's very effective, because it gives greater detail to the high contrast line art. I think that it is a good combination of the loose wash and the tightly controlled line art, allowing the two styles to enhance each other and create a richer illustration.

This is a watercolor exercise in which we were supposed to paint 10 watercolors of the same image, cropping and changing color and composition. This was my most successful one of that series, and I think this was the first time I allowed watercolors to bleed and blend together loosely, and I think this has great expressive line that still renders a believable image. I think the composition is strong and the use of empty space and background color was effective. I am extremely happy with this illustration.

My third attempt at the three-image gouache montage was finally something that I was overall happy with. My first two attempts consisted of several good elements, and in the second one, two of the three object and the background looked really good. However, this is definitely my best illustration of the three and I am especially happy with how the penguin turned out. I found that the lego was the most difficult to render because the nature of the technique. I couldn't get a smooth surface because of the gesso texture on the board, and if I overworked it, the color started pulling from the surface. But after a lot of time spent messing with the lego, I think it reads as a lego brick. My only problem is that I accidentally positioned the lego corner behind the penguin's head, which is a stupid compositional mistake. But otherwise I am incredibly pleased with how it turned out.

The memory portrait was quite successful and fun. I was surprised at how well I was able to convey my brother's features. I went with a stylized, slightly worm's-eye view to accentuate his height and simplified the line work so the emphasis was on form rather than detail. I also chose to leave the background blank and use a minimal grounding shadow to again draw attention to the form alone. I was very happy with how this turned out.

The life and death diptych was one of my favorite projects. I got the inspiration for this piece because in another class, someone was talking about making an absurdist play where the curtain rose just enough to only show the actors' feet. So when coming up with ideas for this project, I developed this idea the furthest, and thought it was a unique way to illustrate the concept. I used warm colors for the life panel, and cool colors for the death panel, and using Rusty's suggestion, I made the sheets in both panels line up so there is more continuity between them. I was frustrated at first because I arranged the compositions to be horizontal and it used the space better in my opinion. But the specs called for vertical images, so I had to change them to fix the assignment. I think that this was an incredibly successful image and conveys the idea of life and death strongly. I also think that it ended up looking fairly realistic and interesting. I was worried about the life panel, because in all my preliminary sketches, the feet blended together and didn't look very good or physically possible. But I think I managed to make it come together and this turned out to be one of my favorite illustrations of the semester.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Newspaper Color Illustration

I had no inspiration for this image, and so I chose to do disgustingly cute anime squirrels dancing. Because of the relatively flat color and simple shapes, I thought airbrushing would work well, but I suck at airbrush, so that was a failed attempt. I then tried to use a wacom tablet to draw the image in photoshop, but it was taking too long for me get used to the drawing sensitivities, and the image was not looking too good. So I switched to watercolor and gouache, simply because I was running out of options and needed to get the project done. It turned out fairly well, but the class said that I needed a stronger tie to the article.

I scanned the image into photoshop and changed part of the line to purple and added a transparent cupola to make it more directly related to Truman.

Illustration time: 1 hour
Watercolor and gouache on watercolor paper
10.5" x 7"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life and Death

I really enjoyed this project. It was fun to create a diptych. For this project, I chose to do life and death from the perspective of feet, mostly because in another class, we had been talking about filming a movie that only showed feet, and so my mind was on that subject when I did my initial sketches. However, I think that not only did my concept come through strongly, but my execution was pretty successful as well. In the sketch and color comp, it was difficult to identify all four feet in the life image, and the sheets were not believable. However, by using saturated colors and blending, I was able to clarify my image and make everything look much better.

My biggest frustration in this was getting a horizontal (and much better) composition approved, only to find out in the final stage that it needed to be a vertical composition. I feel that even though my image is strong, it was much more compositionally strong when in the horizontal layout. However, I worked through my frustration, and because of the vertical layout, the sheets in both pictures line up, creating a nearly seamless transition that would not been possible if the images were horizontal.

Illustration time: 3 hours
Watercolor and gouache on watercolor paper
10" x 16"

Reflections of Lincoln

For this project, we were assigned to create an illustration to be submitted into the"Reflections of Lincoln" contest. I came up with several good concepts; unfortunately, none of them were picked. For some reason, my classmates thought Lincoln fighting communism was a hilarious concept, and they all voted that I do that one. Outvoted by the majority, I was stuck with it.

However, as I put the project together, I found that it was a lot more fun than I had anticipated. I had the most trouble with getting Lincoln himself to fit the style of a Soviet propaganda poster, but after building him in Illustrator and messing with colors and shapes, I got him to blend fairly well. It was very difficult to create a superhero-esque body, since Lincoln was rather slender and the body, even now, looks a little cartoon-ish. However, I think I convey the point enough that I can get away with the not-quite-perfect body. He was also supposed to be ripping apart a communist symbol, but it kept reading as a symbol on the shirt he was wearing, and he was ripping the shirt apart, Superman-style. I didn't want that, so I just made him stand still, looking regal.

But the design and manipulation of the poster itself was a lot of fun. I think that it is overall successful, and definitely has that propaganda poster feel. I'm not sure what this says about Lincoln, but I am satisfied with the final product, even if I had to struggle with the concept.

Illustration time: 4 hours
Photoshop and Illustrator
10" x 14"

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cheesy Airbrush

This is my second attempt at the cheesy airbrush assignment. I didn't think that airbrush is for me. I like control, but I'm not a perfectionist, and I lack the meticulous nature thatan airbrush artist necessarily has to have. Also, I seem to attract water spots to my work like magnets. It's rather frustrating. But at least I am able to control the spray and get fairly predictable results with the actual painting process. I think airbrushing is great for large areas of color, especially for consistent gradients, but I don't think I could do anything more than that with my illustrations.

Illustration time: 1.5 hours
Airbrush, gouache and sharpie on illustration board
10" x 14"

Friday, April 2, 2010

Airbrush Sphere

I airbrushed a tennis ball and I think it turned out pretty well. I need to learn how to stay clean so that I don't leave fingerprints all over the image. I have finally learned to wait for each layer to dry and to wait before applying a mask over the painted surface.

Illustration time: 15 minutes
Airbrush on Illustration board
6" x 6"


This project was interesting conceptually. I did a series of ideas, and the one that was selected was the dice rolling eleven. I really wanted to do the Tardis and the eleventh Doctor Who, but no one seemed to get the reference. It was sad.

I had a lot of fun with the grid structure. I wanted the dice to be small, but the dead space needed visual interest, so I did a grid. I also enjoyed the gradient capability with the airbrush. I wouldn't have been able to do this as successfully with watercolor or gouache.

I think this was fairly successful, but I had a lot of trouble with making convincing dice. I also like the color I added, because it shows the sides of the dice without resorting to line.

Illustration time: 1 hour
Airbrush, watercolor, Micron and Sharpie on Illustration Board
10" x 14"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Memory Portrait

This is a portrait of my brother. We had to do this from memory, and it could be stylized, so I did a slightly worm's eye perspective because of my brother's height, and then used a heavy outline and minimal hatching for a cartoony, graphic look. I did the initial line work and then went over it with a quick wash. I think it's a pretty successful image.

Illustration time: 2 hours
Microns and Sharpie and Watercolor on Watercolor Paper
8" x 10"

Saturday, March 20, 2010

FINAL 3 Image Montage

Ugh. After three tries, I'm finally getting the hang of this technique. I like the way my penguin and banana turned out, although perhaps the spots on the banana could have been done slightly more realistically. I was having a hard time with the spots and the shadow on the banana peel, and I think it's because I had too much mat medium in my gesso mixture and the paint was lifting too much. That was why I had a lot of trouble with the lego piece, too. I would try and get a smooth texture, but as I tried to smooth out the brush strokes, the paint would lift off rather than blend. And my strokes on the side closest to the penguin are not directional, which gives the appearance of a trapezoidal lego, rather than a rectangular one. But overall, I am pleased with the result.

Illustration time: 3 hours
Gouache on Hot Press Illustration board
10" x 14"

Friday, March 5, 2010


My postcard changed from my comp, but only by rotating and cropping it. I kept all the same elements, but used the space more effectively to create a more dramatic composition. When I "finished" the postcard, it looked really flimsy and lame, but after adding more color density to the piece, I think it looks pretty good. I had a lot of trouble with controlling the bleeding of the clouds, but after I stopped and let it dry and added some definition, it worked out.

However, Rusty didn't approve my design, so I'm going to work on it. Everyone seemed to like my original comp better than my full size, so I might go back to that and develop it further.
This is the final version of my postcard. I think it's a lot more successful than my previous attempts. My favorite part was the splatter at the base of the tornado that suggests debris. I also like the cloud on the left side, but I think the rest of my clouds look too... "nice." They look like storm clouds, but they are not as ominous as the one large cloud on the left. However, I think my illustration does a good job of conveying the scene and I am satisfied. I have a hard time with small-scale watercolors, because there isn't much space for the watercolor to run and blend without losing definition and clarity of content. But after several tries, I'm happy with this version.

Illustration time: 2 hours
Gouache and Watercolor on Watercolor Paper
4.25" x 6"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Midterm Portfolio

Midterm Portfolio:

This was the first project we had to complete and I think it was quite successful. I had to combine line art with a watercolor wash in Photoshop. I had not had much exposure to the Lucy until this project, but I found that it was tremendously helpful, particularly in getting the facial features correct. This was a lot of fun to ink, but it drained my Micron pens, because I built up the tones in the hair (though when it was scanned, that detail was lost). I also think my watercolor was successful in accenting the line art.

This piece is my favorite piece of line art. I think it clearly resembles my shoes and shows a range of values. I am not entirely satisfied with my shadow, but the rest of the shoes turned out very well.

This piece is one of the watercolor exercises, where we had to do 10 of the same image. I think this one is my most successful sketch, because I used a layering effect for the fur and also glazing. The bleeding in the lower section was really successful as well. I was also able to evoke a sense of detail while not using much detail at all.

I like this piece, mostly because it's adorable. But I also really like the background. This was my first successful background attempt, because before, my backgrounds looked like random colors rather than an intentional background. I also think the fur is effective as well. I think the shading and the grass are also nicely accomplished.

This is my product illustration. I think it was successful, because it looks realistic enough while still maintaining the illustrated aspect. My favorite part of this piece is the shine by the toe of the shoe.

I think that the portfolio is not only a representation of my best work, but also a good sampling of the work that we have done so far. I have enjoyed this class so far. I do not like the gouache pick-out technique, but I like gouache better than watercolor, simply because it's easier to get a denser, brighter color. My favorite technique is wet-on-dry. I still love line art, simply because you have the greatest control, and yes, I am still a control freak. I had never appreciated watercoloring before, because I didn't realize the variety of things you can do with the medium, and the effects you can achieve.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

3 Image Montage - Take Two

Because Rusty thought our first attempt sucked, we had to do it again. I chose to do an orange (that I painted yellow/as a lemon), upside down lips, and three smokestacks. I had a lot of trouble with the smokestacks and especially with the smoke, but I was really pleased with how the lips, orange/lemon, and background turned out. But we have to do another one, so hopefully I'll be able to pick images I can actually paint.

Illustration time: 4 hours
Gouache on Watercolor Paper
10"x 14"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Three-Image Gouache Montage

For this project, I didn't know what objects to choose. So I asked three people for the first image they could think of. I got a caterpillar, a pinwheel, and a strawberry. Then I arranged the images and put together a comp. I had forgotten the background, but as I was painting the actual piece, it seemed that using a streaky background would work well. I didn't add it to my comp, because it wouldn't have reflected the actual anyway.

I was really pleased with how my caterpillar turned out. My pinwheel was fairly successful, and Rusty seemed to think it was my most successful part. I had a lot of trouble with the strawberry, and probably spent the most time on that one part. I probably did more on that one image than the rest of the entire piece. It's starting to have definition, but I'm not happy with how it turned out.

I don't like this technique, but I love the intensity of the gouache. I had a lot of trouble with getting deep colors in watercolors, but the gouache works much better.

Illustration time: 4.5 hours
Gouache on watercolor paper
10" x 14"

Large-scale Watercolor

We were assigned to do a large watercolor. I chose a picture of a couple in a field and changed the people so they looked like my boyfriend and me. I also eliminated the background and used a gradient from yellow to green/blue and splatters to create visual interest. I didn't use enough color saturation in the painting overall, and thus, the image is pale. However, I think the other aspects of the painting were successful.

My color comp does not accurately reflect the final, because I did not have the range of marker colors nor the skill in using them to create a color scheme that was realistic and reproducible. I will probably have to work on using my markers to create a more believable comp.

Illustration time: 8 hours
20" x 30"
Watercolor on Illustration Board

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

First Project Comps

We finally got our first project assignments! We have to do a product illustration and a line art illustration for a newspaper article. We were supposed to do mini comps to show what our final illustrations will look like, and I think mine turned out well. I just hope that I can pull them off in the larger scale.

I'm not too worried about my line art illustration, because I really like working with pen and ink (I'm a control freak, I know). It will just take some time to complete. However, I think the challenge will be in my product illustration, because it's important that it looks realistic. I'm glad that it's larger scale, because that will at least be easier to work with.

Now on to the final product!

Illustration time: 1 hour
Microns and Prismacolor markers on marker paper
4" x 5"

Monday, February 8, 2010


We also had to paint 10 abstract images using color theory. While they all turned out well color wise, I had two really good compositions. I liked these, because they really allowed me to loosen up and just let the colors work together.

Illustration time: 3 hours
Watercolors on watercolor paper
4.25" x 5.5"

10 Washes of One Image

We were supposed to take one image and, using a combination of ink line, painted line, and wash, create 10 different images. I think the close-up of the face is the most successful piece. It has a loose quality that still conveys the information of the animal. Despite this taking forever, I had a lot of fun and I am getting a higher ratio of good pieces.

Illustration time: 7 hours
Watercolor and Micron pens on Arches Watercolor Paper
4.25" x 5.5"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

10 More Watercolors

Our assignment was to create 10 more watercolors of any theme, and I think that my skills are improving. Slowly, but there is a visible difference.

However, today, I wasn't able to get all of my watercolors done. I was just swamped in meetings and other projects, and I didn't get a chance to finish my watercolors. And I was even looking forward to doing them this time! However, I hate pulling all-nighters, and I couldn't justify sacrificing my sleep. Hopefully I'll get a chance to complete more at a later time.

Illustration time: 1.5 hours
Watercolors and Sharpie pen on watercolor paper
4.5" x 6"