Illustration

Smiling Crow and Wildlife Rehabilitation

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Here’s a great commission that I had a chance to draw, a smiling crow. I haven’t had a chance to post, but now I’m taking Non-Western Art History. It’s passing pretty quickly (Haiti, India, China, Japan so far), but it’s been interesting.

At the beginning of summer, I also had a chance to start working in a small wildlife rehabilitation center. It’s been a great experience so far – mostly birds and small mammals. Here are two long-time residents, Hooligan and Eclipse  – both barred owls who aren’t able to be released because they have one wing. They are beautiful. It’s Hooligan who likes to talk.

Drawing Horses, Elephants, Primates, and More

We’re continuing to draw our way through the animal kingdom. Each week’s assignment follows the same pattern – block out the geometric shapes, then draw animal gestures. We’re also doing a skeleton study and ecorche / muscle drawing, so it’s busy. Having done an ecorche for each group helps in making a fantasy hybrid animal (WIP). These are just a few of the sketches from the past weeks.

 

 

Sketching Bears, Wolves, and Dogs

This week’s assignment are gestures of bears, wolves, and dogs. Using a envelope for the animals and simplifying geometric shapes helps with simplifying. The class is setting into a routine of drawing gestures with a little value added in some, skeleton and ecorche version, and discussion post which looks at different rendering of animals characters and how they can be portrayed as protagonists or antagonists in a story. It’s fun seeing the examples that my classmates come up with.

I’m finding I really like drawing with the Procreate app on the iPad pro and Apple pencil. It’s close to drawing with a real pencil. When I want this soft effect with pencil, I usually prefer to use mylar (Dura-lar) which comes in huge rolls from Dick Blick and erases cleanly.

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My discussion post:
There’s some amount of range when it comes to how sympathetically bear characters are portrayed. On the sympathetic side, there are characters such as teddy bears, and related characters such as the Care Bears and Winnie the Pooh, which are modeled more on the stuffed animal than the actual animal.

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More realistic sympathetic bears include Baloo from any of the multiple adaptations of The Jungle Book, Smokey the Bear, and the bear family of Maurice Sendak’s Little Bear.

On the more antipathetic side, there are characters such as the bear in the film version of The Fox and the Hound, and the grizzly bear from the film Balto, which are portrayed as bestial, inhuman predators.

When wolves are portrayed positively, they tend to come off as majestic, intelligent, loyal, embodying the nobility of nature; the wolf family in The Jungle Book, Moro in Princess Mononoke.

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Negatively, wolves are portrayed as crafty predators, as with the classical fairytale archetype of the Big Bad Wolf.

 

 

wolf-4The main example I can think of when it comes to neutral/background characters is how, in Donald Duck etc. comics, otherwise “human” side/background characters tend to be given dog noses, and occasionally ears. Here, the use of animal characteristics basically just signifies that these stories take place in a completely unreal fantasy world.
In general, I would say that completely realistic renderings of animals, as you might find in an educational book, often have less strong emotional expressivity, and are less immediately emotionally accessible as a result. Even mostly realistic designs often “cheat” when it comes to faces, adding human elements such as humanoid scleras, eyebrow muscles, and mouth expressions.

Big Cats – Animal Anatomy and Drawing

I had my first week of Animal Anatomy and Drawing and the assignments were all on Big Cats. Last week I also had a chance to go to Cougar Mountain, a small zoo in Issaquah. We shot some nice photo reference, though.

The first assignment was to break down the animals into 3D geometric shapes. It was a bit hard at first, but I can see that it helps simplify and visualizes the 3D forms when you see them in the live animals. The idea of drawing the envelope is to get the general shape of the animal or figure before working on details. Here are some of my gesture drawings. For me, it’s easier working out the forms when watching a video loop of animals moving. The book for the course is Joe Weatherly’s Drawing Animals. We also had to do skeleton and ecorche versions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Experience at SCBWI-WWA Spring Conference

I had a great time at our Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Spring Conference. It was neat to be with such an enthusiastic group that were all interested in children’s books. I liked all of the speakers, but especially David Small and Kazu Kibuishi who shared a lot of their personal stories about how they came to be motivated to do the work they do. David Small is Caldecott winner and Kazu is a writer and illustrator of graphic novels like the Amulet and Explorer.

This was the first time I put together a portfolio. I searched on the web for examples of how to set one up. I use an inexpensive photo album on Amazon that had a window in the cover.

I liked being able to present my work in the portfolio evening, but I also liked seeing everyone else’s work. I’m thinking about doing more drawing with ferrets especially since my visit to the ferret rescue in Kirkland. Their fur is very soft. There were a lot of illustrators I also had a chance to discover. I especially liked Heidi Aubrey‘s mice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a week off, I’ll be starting animal anatomy and drawing (yay). I’m also a few weeks into volunteer orientation to work in wild bird rehabilitation – skills training starts in May.

Western Washington SCBWI Spring Conference – This Week!

I’m be  attending my first Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference this week in Redmond. I’m doing some tweaks to my portfolio (here’s my new improved Snow Queen) and printing up business cards and postcards.

I’m signed up for the Illustrator Intensive “Hard Things to Draw” with David Small (see some of his covers below) as well as participating in the Juried Portfolio show. I’m looking forward to seeing lots of portfolios and hearing from other illustrators and writers, art directors, and agents. I’ve heard these conferences are great for networking and getting started in children’s books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s my design for a business card: 

I’m also doing  film class this RMCAD quarter, so I’m putting together a short film discussion of the movie, Vertigo.

I had a great chance to interview author and film critic Jeffrey Overstreet and attorney and film lecturer Robert Cumbow, in addition to my family. I even attended a 6-hour Cinema Dissection of Vertigo at the Seattle International Film Festival Center which gave me an even deeper understanding of the film.

Playful Crow – My First Etsy Store

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I’m just setting up my first Etsy store here: Playful Crow.
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Check out my store and see if there’s anything you might like. At left is a rescue duck named Angel who was a favorite uncle duck to 13 little ducklings in our backyard pond.

If you’re experienced with Etsy, please share any tips. I just had my first sale last week.

Western Civ II is now behind me (I like Dostoevsky best) and Film started this week. After this quarter, I’ll be back to Studio classes and I’ve really been looking forward to taking Animal Anatomy.

Painting of Endangered Marbled Murrelet for Seattle Audubon

Sorry – I haven’t been posting in a while.  Here’s a work-in-progress painting of a Marbled Murrelet that I’m doing for Seattle Audubon. I’m planning to paint in a background of an old growth forest, but they have some important conversation actions coming up in March, so I also made this badge for them too:

murrelet-design-krister-eideThe marbled murrelet is a bird that is endangered because its habitat depends on both the ocean and old growth forests. Although it’s a sea bird with webbed feet, it nests high up in old growth forests and lays a single egg at a time.

Take Action HERE.

I am grateful to Kim Nelson for scientific feedback about my painting and Mike Danzenbaker for photo reference.

I painted this on Ampersand using gouache.

Things have otherwise been good. I’ll do another post soon. I’m taking Western Civilization this quarter, so more free time to work on projects like this murrelet. I’m also 4 weeks into an Artist’s Way class in Seattle and I’m just figuring out how to sell greeting cards on Etsy and Amazon. I can talk more about that in a future post.

Still Life – Acrylic Painting

underpainting-peppersI’m halfway through Still Life Painting and I’m learning Acrylic Painting now. We’re painting several different ways – the first involved an underpainting. There was definitely a learning curve. I used Asmpersand Aquabord because I liked the smooth look over canvas. It also has the advantage of slowing drying for people who like to rework.

I used Golden heavy body acrylics, but then layered fluid acrylics on top. It was a bit slow to have to work with it in two steps, but I liked the control when the second layer was added. The next one I did have to have some basic geometric shapes and drapery. I’m also working on the third which has to involve toys and texture.

This week I also put up prints in the Small Works Art Show to benefit thesmall-art-gageGage Academy. Check it out today through December 9th! It’s a great way to purchase some inexpensive original art and also help the Academy.

I also heard the great news that both the Pilchuck Audubon Society and Seattle Audubon Society are interested in having me illustrate for them.

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It’s already been a learning experience. Pilchuck was interested in illustrations they could use when teaching school children about beak shapes and food.

I initially picked a berylline hummingbird because it looked pretty, but they wanted an Anna’s hummingbird instead because that was the one they’re more likely to see here in Washington state.

Deer Illustration Final and SCBWI Keep It Simple Art Show

Here’s my finished (I think) ink wash illustration from my concept class. Now I’ve begun Still Life, so it’s back to paintbrushes.

I did want to share some photos from our Western Washington SCBWI Keep It Simple Show. I’m lucky that it’s such a great group. Everyone was very generous and it was incredibly helpful seeing other people’s work, their tear sheets, and business cards. I’ve put in links to their websites on their works below. Check them out to be inspired. The artists are David Joaquin and Liz Wong in the top row; Maja Sereda and Tracy Wallschaleger of Red Dog Images.

The keynote speaker for the night was Jennifer Soloway of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She gave a fantastic talk on how to stand out from the slush pile, great first lines, and some of the ins and outs of being an artists’ representative.

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