June was a month of just solid drawing and painting. I feel like I’ve climbed some serious hills, clambered over rocks, got my toes and fingers sore, and maybe made my way a little higher up the mountain. The odd thing is, I sort of stripped away all my structured schedules, wake-up times and so forth, and just worked. But having done all that in May and April, the habits of it just stuck with me. No, I didn’t get up at 5 every day to draw. But I drew and drew and painted and painted anyway because it was what I wanted TO GET DONE.
It started with a birthday present for my nephew, him as a Jedi Apprentice for his tenth birthday:
One of the best things about being an artist is being able to give gifts like this. I don’t find time for it often, but tenth birthdays don’t come along every year.
June was sort of The Month of the Pencil. I also had the opportunity to draw lovely baby Isla:
And topped the month off with one of the most complex pencil drawings I’ve ever done, of ELEVEN Blood Elf characters for a World of Warcraft fanart commission:
That one was a bit of a challenge. Drawing eleven characters separately would have been one thing, and that’s actually how I initially approached the piece, thinking I could scan the drawings, arrange them in Photoshop, and then work from that composition for the final draft. But these folks all WANTED to stand together, and I ended up just taping down a big piece of paper and drawing them all together at once. It took a lot of layers of tracing paper to build them up, and at times I wondered if it would ever come together, but I was happy with the final product – especially since it’s just pure drawing without any tweaking from Photoshop!
Not that Photoshop was neglected in June, either. I’ve had the good fortune to get to know some truly talented people during my years playing and roleplaying in World of Warcraft. One of my long-time supporters is a fantastic writer whose characters rather transcend the World of Warcraft universe, so when he commissioned two new portraits of them I really wanted to portray them to that level. For his warlock Belmilia, I was given a John Singer-Sargent painting as my only reference, which proved to be fantastic inspiration. Painting someone “evil” while keeping one foot in very human realism was an exercise in subtlety. It also was the first time I seriously looked into using photos from museum collections for the setting, such as turning a little glass whale-oil lamp into some kind of cool thing to keep souls in.
Belmilia was followed by Theryl, a character I’ve known for maybe five or six years now. I still remember the night in-game she first appeared, and cannot even begin to relate the number of stories I’ve read of her over the years. Approaching that sheet of white paper to paint her was daunting. The real treat, however, was that like Belmilia, Theryl would be rendered a little more realistically. Which meant none of that heavy, beveled, stuck-to-the-flesh World of Warcraft armor. SO refreshing. WoW’s art style works wonderfully within the game and the various card games and such, but the more realistically you draw the less sense it begins to make. Plus, I wanted Theryl to be real, as well. So she ended up with real knight’s armor, barding on her horse, and a background inspired by Scotland:
ALL DAT METAL.
I was so pleased with Belmilia and Theryl, because they were both realistic paintings created out of nothing but a massive reference file and a lot of hard work. No shortcuts, no WoW modelviewer armor to simply copy – they had to be put together piece by piece and built up from nothing. It felt very good to have them both come out so well.
So this coming month, aside from the commissions I have lined up, I’m also going to polish up a portfolio site to properly display some of this newer work. It’s a big step I’ve been working towards for the past year, and just finally beginning to feel comfortable taking.
Also coming up, some eBay auctions, drawing and painting tutorials and… Possibly BBQ chicken?? It is July, after all!
Being that I’ll be sharing my artwork via a more professional website, don’t be surprised if this blog changes tone a little bit. Recipes just might begin to sneak in.