Inspiration – Process Thumbnails

It was busy for me last week. I’ll have to write about the SCBWI meeting in another post. Here are last week’s enlarged thumbnails from Concept Illustration. Up top is my Green Man and below Wish. I’m chose the deer thumbnail to elaborate this week.



The other thumbnails based on the random ink – water mixes are posted below. To look at the original random ink mixes I was working with, see my previous post.

The guy at the bottom is my most atypical one – but it was the face that jumped out of ink splatters. Last week we also had an exercise in which we were to take a walk and sketch everything that we saw that was a particular color. Then we were to combine those in scenes. I can see how these exercises are creativity stretchers. I really like this class.



Process Illustration – Dabbling in Ink

This week’s assignment for Conceptual Illustration is to take media that you’ve had no experience with and then group them into 2 or 3 themes.

I really liked the Waterman’s Serenity Blue ink. The others are Winsor Newton.

I initially started with the idea of Copic markers and ink washes, but I found that I preferred the unexpected results of ink washes and the fractal patterns that they made as they got absorbed into paper to Copics, which were a more controlled medium.

Some of the random washes I’ll be working on this week are posted below. This week’s assignment  for RMCAD is with abstract sources of inspiration for illustration. Next week, will be with concrete discoveries. It should be fun.

This week I’ll be illustrating with the Guild of Natural Science Illustration Northwest at the Burke Museum. I also got some nice news that Pilchuck Audubon is interested in having me illustrate some work for their educational program.


A Tale of Two Poes – Edgar Allan Poe and Raven Drawing

This past week, I had a caricature assignment. Caricatures aren’t usually my favorite art form, but it was interesting because of the way the class is held. The first step is extensive visual research on the person, then word lists based on different aspects of the person. I picked Gothic poet Edgar Allan Poe, so his words and poems also helped with generating a word list.

Next, our discussion was to share 3 caricature artists who could serve as an inspiration for our assignment. I picked David Levine, Mort Drucker, and Miguel Covarrubias who did Stanley Kubrick, Albert Einstein, and FDR below.

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We had to do a final line drawing, 2 value sketches, and 2 color options based on a value sketch that we liked best. I drew the original in pencil on Mylar (much cleaner to erase) then added value and color using Photoshop and an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. Caricature is helpful because it teaches you to simplify and pick the key features that make up a person or his or her expression.

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Which do you like best?  I think my teacher liked orange Poe the best, but I thought the purple Poe best fit with his melancholia. I also just opened up a store on Red Bubble. If you’d like to get a print or card, visit HERE. If you’d like to get an orange Poe instead, email me at kristereide@gmail.com  The final is due this week and I was thinking of adding some background.

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-8-46-34-amRed Bubble is pretty easy to set up for all types of gifts and merchandise. I can see why artists like it so much.  Poe pillow anyone?


Value Studies and Final Snow Queen Painting

After sketching thumbnails for my Gerda vs. the Snow Queen’s Snow Bees painting, I created 3 quick 3-value thumbnails to decide on the final composition. I found it really helps separating out the composition and value decisions before committing to a final work. Because I wanted to base the painting on the original Hans Christian Andersen story, I also want to work in the detail that he had about the palace being lit by Northern Lights.

Although I liked the extremes of values in the value study, I settled on the 3rd study because I liked the idea that the shadows on the hill would be pointing to Gerda, my focal point. I added some hills in the background to create greater depth and also added more complex branchwork in the final.

I started out with pencil and watercolor on Arches watercolor paper, but finished the piece digitally using Procreate and an Ipad Pro because I could play around with different color combinations before deciding on a final. I really like Procreate and the Apple Pencil because the process of illustrating with them is so close to real pencil, paper, and paint – but with much more flexibility with materials and undo’s. I had an earlier version, but Phil my teacher and classmate China suggested good feedback about brightening up the colors among other things. Our next assignment should be fun – drawing caricatures. I’ve picked my subject already…Edgar Allan Poe.

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Edmonds Art Studio Tour – Ends Tomorrow

img_8165The City of Edmonds is having its Art Studio Tour today and tomorrow through 5pm. This was fun. I’ve never done one of these before.

Andy Eccleshall is auctioning off the piece at left to benefit Osteogenesis Imperfect or Brittle Bone disease. When we were there, the last bid was $1000. Visit his site and call or text to bid. Both his wife and son have Osteogenesis Imperfecta. It’s a good cause.

eccleshallHis pieces are more amazing in person if that’s possible.

The range of artist was quite wide and it was fun to see their studio spaces.

Other highlights were the the carved sea and myth-related paintings of d’Elaine Johnson.


I also really enjoyed the whimsical sculptures of Michael O’Day   and the repurposed sculptures of the Flying Redhead Lynette Hensley. O’Day’s sculptures would be great for Halloween. I’m glad that my little town supports artists with open studios like these.

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Sketching Scenes with Maquettes

maquetteIn Concept Illustration, we have an assignment to design an illustration based on the broad theme of conflict (character vs character, character vs. environment etc). I’ve thought about doing illustrations from the original Snow Queen so on our thumbnail assignment, which was limited to black and white and approximately 1 x 2 inches.

I’ve always been inspired with James Gurney’s maquette work (here is his Skybax maquette made out of armature wire, sculpey, floral wire, and stockings covered with latex among other ingredients.

gurney-skybax-maquetteI liked being able to walk around the scene and vary the perspective – vertically and horizontally. I used armature wire and chavant clay which doesn’t harden.

I also had to have 2 color comps and three 3-color value sketches. My instructor picked thumbnail 3 so that’s the one I’m working on, but with more background added.



Our discussion this past week was to collect illustrations that could be used as inspiration for creating your scene. I picked these great works by Sendak, Lathrop, and Dulac.













Drawing Animals from Life

roo-head-shotroo-krister-yardI’ve had a week off before heading into the new quarter and Concept Illustration. I know a lot of animal artists talk about visiting the zoo to draw animals from life, but the zoo has its limitations – including the fact the animals are usually pretty far away. Yesterday I went to a Kangaroo farm and had a chance to hold a baby kangaroo and get close to a variety of animals I don’t normally see.

roo-grooming llamaBesides kangaroos, there were lemurs, emus, donkeys, alpacas, Patagonian Cavies, and more. Plenty to see. It was neat to see the differences between animals and their different temperaments.

how-to-train-animator-gurneyI had heard that Disney and Pixar animators work with live animals to capture their gestures and expressions.

Ralph Eggleston of Pixar said he watched a lot of National Geographic videos to get the correct shivers of birds for his For the Birds video (below). He also videotaped his bird for a few hours and he and his team studied its movements. The team also brought in Cornish game hens to study volume and weight.

I mostly took reference video and I’m going to practice sketching animals from different perspectives. I’ve heard it’s better trying to sketch from a looping video than relying on still photos alone…I can see why. James Gurney shared his tip about sketching a pony from life. He chose the time to draw it when he knew it would be sleeping.


Changing Reality – Life Drawing

charles-jeong-realistic-2We had an interesting discussion this past week about realistic (or hyper-realistic) painting vs. realistic
painting with fantastic elements. A fellow student shared some of the hyper-realistic paintings of Charles Jeong from South Korea. I shared  Allen Williams’ If Beauty Were a Book, done in graphite.Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 2.26.07 PM

I realized while I like representational art, I prefer works that convey emotion or story more than complete accuracy.

In our final assignment of the class (costume figure), I decided to change it up a bit and use color and value changes, and even changes in the model to alter the mood.

It great to get back painting again. I combined a gouache underpainting with transparent watercolor and then Faber Castell Polychromos pencils and little touches of Sennelier pastels for highlights. It was nice to see that all of the media seemed to work together.

Had a great time with the critique group through SCBWI last weekend. Now I have a week off before starting Concept Illustration.


More Pastels – Carbothello Stabilo Pencils

floating-girl-ear-final It’s been another busy week, but learning a lot more what CarbOthello pencils can do. I really like the medium although I have a lot to learn about making color blends.  This past week had our usual gesture drawings, 2 hand drawings in pastel, and then a costumed figure drawing. Sanded paper like UArt or Wallis can receive more layers than Canson Mi-Teintes or other pastel papers, but they will eat up your pencils quicker.

I found I like the soft rich blacks of  Nitram charcoal. It also doesn’t have as much dust as General’s.

I’ll also post the three examples of pastel paintings that I posted in this week’s discussion. Pastel offers such a wide variety of expression. I really like the medium.

The first is a rendering of Ophelia from Cuong Nguyen who worked as a successful web designer for many years until he got working more as a streetpastel-1chalk artist, then became a full-time fine art painter. I learned from him that skin tones can be mixed with a green underpainting (verdaccio) and flesh tones.

pastel-2The second is an illustration from Paul Howard from a Jill Tomlinson book called The Owl who was afraid of the dark. I like the soft luminous quality Howard was able to get from his use of pastels.

pastel-3Finally, there’s The Guardian by Fiona Tang. It combines chalk pastel with charcoal and acrylic on a paper backing. The different textures of the various media used for this piece this piece contribute to the overall effect in different ways; the chalk pastel in particular is important to the trompe l’oeil effect, helping to differentiate the “three-dimensional” stag in the front from the more “two-dimensional” background charcoal elements, with the white tone of the pastel “light” against the natural brown color of the paper.

This coming week is my final one for Life Drawing IV. We’ve got a watercolor assignment, the first I’ve had since I’ve been in art school. Also this weekend, I’ll be going to the Great Critique-nic through the Western Washington Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. It’ll be the first one that I’ve ever gone to. People bring their illustrations or writing and split up into small groups where they critique and be critiqued.



Drawing Hands – Life Drawing IV

krister-hands-2  This past week my class has been looking at the drawing of expressive hands. We’re still working for the most part in charcoal which is getting easier to handle for me. I like Strathmore Toned Paper and I’m finding it easier to get darker tones with a softer Nitram charcoal. I had started with Strathmore 500 charcoal, but it doesn’t have the smooth look of toned paper.

Besides drawing practice (whole body gestures) and these hand drawings, we also have a discussion post where we post examples of expressive hands.  Everyone always shares very different examples – it’s a great part of the class.

The three I shaerd this past week were from Rackham, Wyeth, and Earl Oliver Hurst. In the Rackham, I thought it was an interesting contrast between the knobby hands of the old woman and the simple open hands of the children. The Wyeth also showcases contrasts in this Heidi picture. The grandfather is tanned and has a commanding gesture. It’s contrasted with Heidi’s fairer and more tentative post. The Hurst I liked because he seemed to contrast the confident face of the man with the nervous lines in  his jacket and hands.