Sunday, May 31, 2009

A bird in the hand...

Now for the promised avian overdose:

Horned Screamer (available)

Costa's Hummingbird (traded)

Ground Hornbill (available)

First and Last(ish)

Today was cold, but with the occasional burst of sunniness, followed by a shower of hail. What fun! A good arting-indoors kind of day. Today I labelled up most of my ATCs to be posted tomorrow (or maybe tuesday since post offices may be closed on the Queen's Birthday) and created some more.

After my little revelation yesterday I thought "wouldn't it be fun to redraw my very first ATC?" So I did. And here, for your viewing pleasure is my ATC#1 and my ATC#2048 - "Bluemoon - Tyto alba".

I'm sure you can figure out which is which.

So, here is my daily challenge*: recreate your VERY FIRST ATC and put it in your blog, beside the original.

And there will be some birds to follow.

* visit I dare you to for more fun daily challenges. Sandra and I will keep promoting each other, but she's provided me much inspiration. More, I'm sure, than I've provided her!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Evolution of ability

Today I have finished the dragonfly inchies and whilst chatting on the phone to my mum (about an hour) sketched, coloured and completed a rather nice Titmouse illustration.

I then decided that my next book should be instead of an Avian ABC, merely an Avian collection as I have soooo many bird pieces I would like to include. This lead me to a hunt through my archives to look at my various illustrations from years gone by.

And by jove, I really have improved! The colours are messy and garish, the proportions less proportioned and the backgrounds far too cluttered for words. The best of the illustrations seem to be the portrait style pieces and the watercolours. So I thought I'd showcase some of my older, rubbishy pieces for you to laugh at.

Compare the owls, fantails and hoopoes!






My challenge to you (inspired by Sandra Willard's "I dare you..." concepts) is to display in your art blog a similar array of extracts since you started doing ATCs. OR re-draw the first ATC you ever did.

I'd be curious to see how everyone else's talents have evolved.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Octopus Carousel and Dragonfly Inchies

One of my internet buddies has been having a rough time of late, so I decided I should create a little something to bring a smile to her face.

And what better than a ride on an octopus?

In other news, I've been doing some inchies. Alas, I kinda suck at such a small scale and out of about 8-9 efforts, these are the only 5 that were marginally succesful:

Luckily inchies only take about 10 minutes to dabble up, so there's not too much time lost! Talking of "Lost" - that's what I was watching whilst I was drawing. Four of these are dragonflies and one is a nymph. I would like to do some head close-ups but I think some further references will be required afore I can engage in that!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's the one-man Gnome Band!

This little guy with his cricket accompanist is a printed and coloured in version of one of the illustrations for my novel "Midsummer Knight's Quest". It is somewhat inspired by the nifty band Ritual. I imagine he sounds a little like them. If you haven't heard them, I seriously suggest you check them out. Their album "Hemulic Voluntary Band" is inspired by the Mooman books!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mutant Iguana and a pretty bird

For my trade with Donna Quinn. She resides in deviantart and is an extremely talented artist - which makes me wonder why she is willing to trade with me but I am very grateful that she is. To check out her stuff -

Anyhow, like UrsulaV she has a slightly twisted sense of humour and I was trying to come up with something interesting to entertain her.

Her first request was for a "bush bird". Now, for those of you not ornithologically minded, what springs to mind when you hear those two words are the small, innocuous and more-or-less relatively dull birds you see in the woodland. Sparrows, for example, or silvereyes. She mentioned being enthralled by thornbills in her garden, so I decided to draw one of them:
Possibly not the most scintillating of birds - it's not gaudy not weird, but it is rather cute.

Then I thought I might draw an iguana, since I had a neat photograph of one I'd taken in Panewa Zoo.

Somehow it mutated into this:

This is what Hemlock would look like, were I to draw him more realistically and less toonish. What do you think?

For the third one, I might print out one of these characters and colour him in:

They're both gnomes.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Cat from China...

Oh my, she's updating! It's been a dry week with very little art on offer. Why, may you ask? Well, I did have to put in some extra time at work and I also went to see the new Star Trek movie, so I haven't had a lot of time to art. Also, I have printed out over 100 of my Hawaii photographs and compiled them into an album. These things take time!

Anyhow, I am proud to present the card for the lovely Luvloz's equally delightful mother, Donna.

It is *drumroll*

"The cat from China had a pet mynah"

The latest in my "My Cat likes to Hide in Boxes" series which is loosely based on the picture book by Eve Sutton and illustrated by Lynley Dodd.

Here are the other cats:
The Cat from Quebec took a long, cold trek ...
The Cat from Spain flew an Aeroplane* ...
The Cat from France loved to sing and dance* ...
The Cat from Greece joined the Police ...
The Cat from Berlin played the Violin* ...
The Cat from Chile was playful and silly ...
The Cat from Tasmania took a roll in Titania ...
The Cat from the Phillippines collected old Magazines ...
The Cat from Singapore had a very loud roar ...

... But my cat likes to hide in boxes!

* = theme taken directly from the book, the rest are created by me.

Aside from the Spain and Berlin cards, each of these now resides in the country it is themed after. Nifty or what! Of coures, its hard to find rhymes for some countries (Tasmania was a bit of a stretch...).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Baby Elephants and a Tower in a Tree

A short while ago, Sandra Willard posted a challenge in her "I dare you to..." journal (which I dare you to read, it's filled with nifty ideas for art and also life).

The "challenge" was:

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? What kind of house would you live in?

Here is my answer:

My tower is set within the branches of a mighty banyan tree. It is the tallest tree in the forest, and thus I still get the sun and a mighty fine view. In the evening, the bats depart from under my eaves to hunt the night skies and come dawn, I am awoken by a symphony of birdsong.

This piece was inspired by two treehouse pictures: this tower and this banyan tree

If Sandra wants it, then it is hers.

The other piece I completed today was the fifth and final in my "vultures" set. It depicts the Andean Condor, a darned fine specimen of a raptor.

And last, but far from least, is a piece I made for a friend of mine who is having a baby and has an older child already. Although they do not know the gender of the not-yet-born baby, as you can see, I am hoping it will be a girl!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bamboo and hibiscus

Just one little picture today (hey it's the last day of my working week, I'm totally exhausted!). This is a piece I rustled up this morning before work. It's inspired by Crafter/Janet's work and features some Hawaiian flora:
Once again, the colours are a little too saturated. But still, it's pretty and I at least inked it in her style without my usual "colouring book" thick outline. For reference I used three of my Hawaii flora photographs.

Tomorrow I shall be designing my dream treehouse.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lovely art, but you can't see it ^^

I've finished up the second part of my Secret Santa "small" package. Alas, because the recepient could stumble upon this blog and the picture is very definitely for her (it has her name on it, for goodness sake!), I can't share it.

But it's cute, very cute. I've been designing altered cds recently. Using a similar technique to my early Character Trading Cards. Firstly I draw a head and shoulders portrait onto my sketch paper and then I colour it, cut it out and mount it on card. Then I cover the cd with a piece of printed scrapbook paper, cut to size (and stuck on with double-sided tape cos nothing else will stick to cds, except maybe superglue which I won't go near) and stick the card-mounted character onto that. This gives a neat 3d effect that also has bits sticking over the edges.

I'll be able to show these off at the end of June, so if you are interested in acquiring one, please let me know. For now all you're getting is a sneak preview.

I also have a grand idea on how to display my inchies.

Today I also went in search for goodies to add to the Secret Surprise parcels. Alas, no NZ bookmarks to be found. We had some neat ones at work but with the refurbishment we're not quite sure where they've got to. Consequently, I am thinking of making my own. I did manage to purchase some cute pencils though, and I have some starburst candy. Add a couple of chocolate somethings, a bookmark and a few other goodies (I shall see what I can find) and they're good to go.

Also, a customer today was urging me to finish my story because she seems to think (Without having read it, or knowing its plot or anything about it, even its name) that getting published is easy. Her daughter is writing a book. Inspired by "Twilight". In a similar style. I dread to think. Have given her my email address in the hope I might get to read it, as I love critiqueing work even if some people won't talk to me now...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Low Art Day

Not a great deal has come out of my pens today - or yesterday for that matter. I have been too frustrated trying to draw someone's cat character correctly (third attempt and I think I've suceeded).

Anyhow, here's two more of the "In the Style" of cards.

The first is Luvloz. She was a bit of a trickyone because her style is more realistic and she does not tend to delve into recurring stylisms - like my suns or Adriayna's swirly trees. After poking through her archives, sending her an email and poring over the cards I own of hers, I decided to try more to capture her colouring style than her actual artistic style. So here we have Astaria with a Vasa Parrot. She uses watercolour pencils, and thus so have I. The bird feather details were somewhat copied from a picture of a rosella in her archive. The 3/4 profile to the piece was suggested by her, however she tends to draw human subjects. I am not so fond of drawing random humans - they need to be specific characters or what not. Also, I kinda suck at them. Also, whilst she comments that her backgrounds tend to be coloured gradients, they actually have better detail than I provided here, at least some of the time!

The second is Katilady. Her gallery shows lots of head/shoulder pieces with long necks and large eyes. She has a tendency to hide the hands (many artists are guilty of this, hands are hard to draw) along with plain colour backgrounds and often text. My art actually looks very little like hers, but that's cos I suck at people. Anyhow, it's based on a photograph of her and the more I look at it the less I like it, so I might attempt it again.

Okay, so I decided to attempt it again:
What do you think? Better? Worse? Who cares? Let me know!

So, all up, not a very productive two days.

Here's the last artist I need to try and replicate the style of: Crafter
If anyone can offer me suggestions on how I can do that, please do! She's good at landscapes - but I'm not sure I could even try that (my landscapes look very dinstinctly like MY landscapes) and most of her pieces seem to be beautiful realism, without recurant features.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Whimsy Music

And today I bring to you... saturated colours, rainbows and musical instruments! I tried to draw a piano, but they're hard. So you've got a piano accordian instead. How delightful.

You may want to reduce the brightness of your monitor for this one:

For the theme of "Whimsical" I chose musical instruments. They are castanets, a harp, piano accordian and a violin.

I apologise if your eyes are bleeding.

Monday, May 11, 2009

What's my Style?

Well, if you've been following my art at all, you should know the answer to that question. But today we're having a bit of a change of pace.

I am currently engaging in a swap entitled "What's My Style?" in which we attempt to replicate another artist's style. I have chosen to use my personal lemur characters to replicate the style. These are my contributions to the first group:

Kristinized - I noted her bolder outlines, bright colours and mostly unshaded. Her characters have quite rounded features and she seems to like cupcakes. As does Ysabelle!

- did I overdo the swirliness? Like me, Adriayna has a very distinct style. No lemurs in this one - Adriayna rarely draws animals, except for special people (like me - I have a lemur from her).

- cartoonish critters with lively poses and bright colours, with monocolour backgrounds (and swirligigs). I wonder what Ysabelle is high-tailing away from this time? What mischief has she got into?

- gradients of colour, borders and bold outlines seem characteristic of Loralou's work - along with a more realistic take on the critters involved. It's Katta and Ysabelle, out for a stroll.

The other group is going to prove something more of a challenge. Several of the artists do not have such distinct identifying features to their art and it may require some research. Anyhow, I took on the most challenging second, and one of the easier ones first.

TotallyOzSome - looking at her art, what stands out is fairly soft, colours, with monocolour backgrounds. Some of her pieces feature spikey hair and she seems to like stripes and checks. Many of her pieces have black borders and a fairly whimsical, fanciful air. Thus Danyel with his (currently stringless, oops!) kabosy seemed to fit the bill.

Acacia.Rose- she was the hardest to actually pinpoint a style on. Many of her gallery pieces are either collage or fan art of pop culture. She does seem to have a tendency for fairly simplistic characters, usually placed upon a layered paper background. As this was the hand-drawn group, I decided to replicate a layered paper background in tombow markers. It isn't a particularly good rendition - but I hope she likes it. It's Astaria, my sweet-natured Avahi.

Three more to go for this swap - Luvloz, Crafty (aka Janet) and our lovely hostess, Katilady. But tomorrow I suspect musical instruments will be my show and tell as I also got them sketched up today.

I'm rustling through these trades, might soon be time to go on the prow once more for trade partners.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day - with Vultures!

It used to paint/draw/etc a lot of pictures for my mum, until the year she said "please do not give me any more pictures in frames, as I'm running out of room to store them". So instead I gave her a 6x6 scrapbook album with one picture in it, and for every occasion (Christmas, Birthday, Mother's Day) I draw another page for it. So far I have given her: chickens, a villa in Italy, fantails and a kakapo. As you can see, we both love birds. The picture represents what she is interested in at the time or something relevant to our lives. Thus when I was in Hawaii, I rustled up her Mother's Day piece.

And here it is:

These wee guys are Apapane, one of the more common and easily recognisable of the Hawaii Honeycreepers - a strange little family of Passerines that evolved on the islands to much the same purpose as Darwin's Finches. The curly ferns, although stylised, are modelled on some that were in the lovely rainforest view outside our little cabin on the island of Hawaii. I stylised it somewhat, using the technique of several local artists. These use prismacolour pencils, which I acquired whilst I was over there.

Now onto the vultures. These are for the Spring Choose-a-theme where we each join a group with a set "umbrella theme" - in this case "animals" and we all select something within that theme that we wish to base our four cards on. So here are my offerings, I hope you like them.

They are a Turkey Vulture, a King Vulture, a Lammergeier and an Egyptian Vulture.
I'm not sure if I'm 100% happy with them all. The colouring of white birds is hard!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dragonflies and Cuckooclocks

Two cards to show off today.

The first is for AvaElizabeth, who lists amongst her themes dragonflies, hearts, lilies, rainbows, skulls and a number of other things. I could not quite incorporate everything here - but I did manage to find a lily that was heart shaped and a dragonfly with rainbow coloured wings.

I hope she likes it.

And the second is something a little bit different. But not really!

It is for Miss who lists realistic animals and clock faces amongst a number of other very interesting topics. After utterly failing to draw Snoopy, I decided instead to take on the cuckoo clock. I adore cuckoo clocks, and actually collect them myself (Crazy Cuckoo Clock Cards, anyhow). This time I decided to go with the more realistic side of things. The cuckoo is a Common Cuckoo and it was actually drawn on a separate sheet of card, mounted on thicker board and then stuck atop the original drawing of the clock.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rabbit Moon Take Two

Okay, so not a lot has been achieved the last two days. Today is my long haul at work - 9.30 - 9.15 and thus I don't have enough time to fully devote to my art. So all I have to show off is yesterday's results - a reworking of the "Rabbit Moon" card. I was never quite happy with it - the animal symbols were added on belatedly and the rabbit itself was not quite proportioned right. So I thought I'd give it another go. Here are the two side by side:

Which one do you like best?

Cards to be worked on:
Eraserqueen (1) - in her style (just for fun)
Donnaquinn (3) - bushbird, fairy, mammal or reptile
DonnaCr (1) - Cat from China DONE
SandraWillard (1) - My Dream home DONE

May PAT (due July 24th)
Lynnelise -Purple
RoOskie- Ostriches-The funnier the better!!!
Neca84 -CATS (the musical? I guess)
Miss -Hot air Ballons
Carole Cadek - Tropical Flowers

Dragonfly Inchies (due July 1st)
- 9 dragonflies

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Nature Goddess and Mutant Hatchling

Only two card to show off today - although I did make another, I doubt it shall scan well.

Today's card is "Nature Goddess". This was designed for Amerasu as a "hostess gift" for the Spring PAT. I wanted to base it off her, but she's camera shy and had not uploaded a clear photo, so I chose instead to base it - very loosely - off a picture of her eldest daughter. I am assuming like mother, like daughter, right? The flowers are passionvine flowers.

The other card was a hatching egg. It was part of a PIF (Play it Forward) started by Spiritfingers - she of the cards-with-moving-parts. The concept was that we would send an egg that opens up to reveal a infant. We had to offer it with a hint at what was inside the egg.

Mine was:
"Who would like a cute little mutant from me?"

And here he is:

He's off to a new home with Vicki Z. Hope she treats him well and he behaves himself!

Soon to come - cards for one-on-one trades with Miss and AvaElizabeth.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Safari and Butterfly Plaques

A friend of mine is having a baby soon, and as she already has a toddler, I thought it would be fun to give them something to put on their wall. Now, I had these coasters lying around that I had acquired years ago and never got around to using (and was thus a little guilty about). But the problem was, that I would have to paint them. And I can't paint. Can't paint, you say? Surely she jests! No, sadly, it is true. Not with acrylics anyway. I achieve a paint-like effect at times, but it is always with pencils and markers, rarely paintbrushes. And the times I do use proper watercolour paints I've generally gone through later and added in detail with pencils. However, I pulled them out and discovered that lo and behold - ordinary pencils will work on them, to a point (the derwent were the best) as do tombow markers (although they prefer a layer of pencil under them). So, I coloured them in and sketched up some safari animals, which I then glued on. But something seemed a little wrong - there was dead space in some of the pieces. I can't abide empty corners, as you've likely noticed, and thus was forced to add... flowers! The lion was the only one to avoid this treatment because with his centering there was no "Dead corner". However, I did add a few swirls to the background, just for fun.

Anyhow, here's the piece:

Animals are Giraffe (with acacia), Lion (with swirls), Elephant (with err, pretty flowers, maybe some sort of daisy?) and Zebra with Tulip tree.

I also made this piece - it was actually my first experiemental piece. It's slightly 3d.