Father’s Day Painting

For Father’s Day this year I painted my father and grandpa a mountain scene. I’m starting to realize that the only gift I really give my parents/other relatives is art. XD I don’t know what to say other than that it is convenient.

Here are my process pictures:

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I started with an underpainting like usual.

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My materials

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Then I painted over the underpainting and realized that it may have been too thick because all of the paint was blending. There was no way I could get the whites white enough without mixing it with the other layers, so I had to wait for it to dry first.

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After about a week, I started working on it again, starting with the clouds. Then I moved on to the mountains and trees. Sorry about the weird lighting in these pictures.

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And here is the finished product!

This was so far the biggest painting I have ever done, at 24 x 36”. It definitely took longer than any other.

It was also the first time I’ve let a painting dry before finishing it. Usually I would paint wet-on-wet, but I’m happy with how it turned out.

I’m excited to try some plein air painting for the first time this weekend! Wish me luck. 😀

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Digital Painting: Underwater Exploration

This week I made a digital painting using my computer and bamboo tablet. I’ve been looking to improve lately with that medium so I thought that making some more space-art would be a fun way to do so. This time, however, the crew (Michael and GG) aren’t in space, they’re underwater!

To be more specific, they’re on a planet covered in deep oceans. Michael is scanning a species of seaweed while GG whirls around in the water.

Below are my process pictures and the steps I took to paint the scene. I used the art program Paint Tool Sai.

Step 1: Rough Sketch

Uh Oh process pic 1

First I made a really rough sketch of the general idea and shapes of the drawing.

Step 2: Linework

Uh Oh process pic 2

After the sketch I created a new layer to draw the lines. I also made the sketch transparent to make it easier to draw on top of.

Uh Oh process pic 3

Here’s the finished linework.

Step 3: Background

 

Uh Oh process pic 4

After linework I created the background using a couple of different brush textures. I imagined the environment to be a deep, expansive ocean, and a little mysterious.

Step 4: Coloring the Foreground

 

Capture

I wanted to experiment with the textures a little bit so I chose a brush that looked kind of like pastel or crayon.

Uh Oh process pic 5

 

This is what it looked like after most of the coloring. This was the most time-consuming part of the whole process XD.

I tried very hard to fit the colors to the background/environment and learned a lot, I think. For example, what is brown over a white background looks orange when over a blue background!

Why? My guess is that the way we see color is very much based on the lighting of the environment surrounding it, rather than the true color.

I just realized now that the tanks kind of look like hot dogs. Let’s move on.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Uh Oh final (2) (2)

 

I made quite a few small changes to finish up the painting: I changed the color of the lineart to match the colors a bit more, colored in the bubbles, added some more rays of light, cleaned up edges, and blurred some of the plants in the background to create depth. And, of course, I put a little signature on the bottom. 🙂

Overall this was very fun to draw/paint and I hope to do more digital art in the future. Thanks for reading!

Late Night Painting

So I just finished painting a birthday present for my dad:

Burfjord Painting

Since his birthday is right around the corner and I didn’t really have enough time to buy him something nice, I ended up painting him a scene from our recent trip to Norway. XD I always end up waiting too long to get gifts.

Anyway, here’s the photo that I used as reference:

Norway photo

I’d never really painted with oils before, so some parts of the process were a bit difficult. I’ve been painting with acrylics for years, and one of the biggest differences between the two mediums is the drying time.

Acrylic, a water-based paint, can dry in a matter of minutes. Oil paint, on the other hand, can take one or more days to dry. This means that it’s easy to blend colors on the canvas, soften edges, and even rework previously done sections. However, this also causes some difficulty when trying to layer colors on top of one another.

Here is my painting process:

First I found a color for the sky and tested it out on the canvas. As I went along, I drew up a simple sketch using the blue paint. Some people do this with pencil or they create an “underpainting”. An underpainting is a monotone sketch in paint that people use to figure out values before filling in color. I didn’t have enough time to do this, so I just went right into painting the scene.

Then I filled in the water and mountains, using some of the blue paint I used for the sky. Getting the mountains the right color and shade was difficult, and I had to rework them several times. After they were finished, the rest of the painting process moved relatively fast. My method involves painting the scene from back to front. It’s generally easier to paint over the last layer than to try and paint around the one in front.

Burfjord Painting

The final touches of the painting were the flowers. It was a little hard to layer the purple paint on top of the grass, since it kept mixing with the green. Eventually it worked out, though. 🙂

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the result. I have definitely grown fond of the soft look that oil paint has and am looking forward to experimenting with it again, even though it takes forever to clean up! Maybe I’ll paint my dad a Christmas present. XD

My Graphic Novel is Complete

Finally, after months of working on my graphic novel, I have completed its final pages. The artwork needs no further editing, and the dialogue has been put in. I ordered a proof copy, received it, and am making adjustments at the moment in order to self publish by next week.

My blog, entitled Dreams and Letters, was originally made to document my process as I attempted to complete a graphic novel by May. It was supposed to be more of a scrapbook of ideas for me, a way of saving memories for my future self and maybe inspiring someone out there along the way. I am glad to say that I was extremely surprised at what blogging had in store.

I didn’t realize upon my blog’s start in February what a supportive community of people were out there, motivating one another to achieve their dreams as if they were already friends. All I can say is thank you to everyone who supported me along the way. Although I have been neglecting my blog during the past few weeks, when I did post you were all quick to give me a lot of much-needed motivation. You guys are why I love blogging, and will stick with my blog for years to come.

Thanks again.

Here’s a little timelapse video of me drawing a spread from the book:

Graphic Noveling Update

Hi everyone! I haven’t had much time to write blog posts recently because I’ve been hard at work at completing my graphic novel. By which I mean flailing wildly about with a crazed look in my sleepless eyes, murmuring to myself, “I need to get back to work!”.

It’s been a wild ride so far. I’m happy to say that I have finished drawing about half of the book’s total pages. Here’s a picture of some of them laid out on the floor:

pages on the floor

My set deadline is the middle of next week, when I will hit the glorious “self-publish” button and breathe a huge sigh of relief. The only problem is those 35 or so pages waiting to be drawn…

Well, I’d better get back to work! 😉

My Graphic Novel Drawing Process

As I work on my first graphic novel, I thought I’d share the process I go through to create each page from start to finish.

I’ve chosen to create traditional ink drawings and have them stay black and white because I feel it will tell the story better. Everyone has a different way of doing things depending on the project, time frame, materials available, and personal preference.

desk and materials solstice process

Materials

Paper

I’m using 9×12 smooth Bristol. It works well with inks and is sturdy. I believe that if you’re going to put in a lot of time and effort into your artwork, use a paper that lasts. A rule of thumb is to create artwork that is larger than it will appear in the book.

Pencil

I like regular HB pencils, but I’ve seen some artists use non-photo blue pencils, which are supposed to disappear on the artwork when scanned.

Pen

You can use anything under the sun. My favorites are papermate flair pens and Microns.

Eraser
Camera or Scanner
White-out
Sketchbook

I find a sketchbook extremely useful, even if I have a good idea of what a page is going to look like. You can test out pens and different drawing techniques in a no-pressure way. It also doesn’t have to be a sketchbook. Any piece of paper will do.

A Good Mood 🙂

Going through this process, I find this especially useful. Sometimes I’ll try to draw pages while stressed-out or worried and it ends up looking forced. I’ll often get really frustrated with drawing a certain thing (like water) and have to remember to take a break.

Step 1: Thumbnail Sketch

Sketchbook Thumbnail pages 8 and 9

I first make a rough sketch (or five) of the page layout in a sketchbook or random piece of paper. It helps to think about how the two pages will look side-by-side.

Step 2: Pencil Drawing

Pages 8 and 9 Pencil Sketch

Then I make a more refined drawing on the actual page. I usually don’t include all of the details that will go into the finished artwork. The level of detail I put into this stage depends on how developed the idea of the page is, and how difficult it will be to ink. Although it looks more finished than the thumbnail sketch, there is still time for changes to be made.

Here’s a tip: don’t press too hard with the pencil if you’re going to be inking over it, because the lines will be too dark and won’t erase well.

Step 3: Inking

This page went through some changes even after I started inking.

For this page I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted it to look like, so the penciling was limited.

Step 4: Scanning

This step is necessary for publishing and commercial printing. Also, I’m going to add text bubbles on some pages using a computer program.

This is what the pages look like right after scanning them. As you can see, the darkness of the inks got a little washed out. Also, the border is not aligned.

Tip: If you’re going to print your graphics in black and white, scan them at a high dpi so that they stay crisp.

Step 5: Editing

I crop the images until just before the edge of the panels.

Solstice process page editing contrast

Then I open up each picture in a photo-editing program. Using high contrast makes the ink darker and page brighter. I try to get the white of the image as light as possible so that it practically disappears.

Tadaa! This is the final product.

Step 6: Formatting

If you are self-publishing, there will be a specific page format for you to use in order to print your book. I’m using Lulu, which prefers PDF files, so I format the pages with Microsoft Publisher and then convert the file to PDF. I’ll share more on formatting and self-publishing later.

Solstice Formatting Process Pic

Finished!

That’s it. I hope this gives a little insight into my process without being too straightforward. I don’t have much experience with illustration in general, but I’m learning as I go along and it’s been so much fun so far. 🙂