Friday, June 28, 2013

Endure and Find Peace

I recently finished a series of commissions for a client illustrating his original short story. I had a great time developing the characters and bringing key scenes of the story to life. I drew and inked these traditionally, then colored them digitally in Photoshop.

All characters and story are copyright James Marin.

I'm glad to have finished this project as a happy illustrator with a happy client. I'll be going on vacation back home to Chicago for the next two weeks so blog posts will be sparse; I'll try to post once a week, but the schedule of Wednesdays/Fridays will be on hold for the next two weeks.

Have a great fourth of July and I hope everyone out there is enjoying their summer.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

At last, new space!

A new studio layout! I've been wanting to change the layout of my studio space for awhile now and yesterday morning I finally said, eff it, I'm doing this shit now. It took the better half of the day, but was well worth the cleaning and shuffling around of furniture!

Here is my computer work station with my scanner. I also put my printer down on a lil table to the side since I don't use it that often (especially like now when it's out of ink and needs tons more). Beware the white walls! I definitely need to get me some art up on there.

To the right of my computer work station is my drawing table and two small side tables for brushes, canvases and paper, and various other tools. Now I'm situated where I can gaze out at the lovely park outside while working.

Also yesterday my order of the first batch of promotional mailers came in!

Some of these bad boys will be sent out this week before I go on vacation back home to Chicago. Then the rest when I get back in July. So many postcards... 

I've invaded the cats' window gazing spot. We're going to begin negotiations of the space today...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Best Fifteen

The best fifteen out of the next batch of hundred! Now I'm a smidge past 700. Only 300 more heads until I hit 1,000! 

(Anyone new to the blog, I'm doing a "Draw a Thousand Heads" drawing challenge. Draw a thousand heads and practice drawing!)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ink All the Things!

I've been inking a lot recently, back with my croquill dip pens and that sweet, black ink.

Here are the best 15/700 for the next batch of hundred heads in my head drawing challenge. I'm a little less than halfway done inking them and will share the finished heads Friday.

Here's a peek into an illustration I'll be inking later this week, too. More to come on this illustration as I finish it... probably won't be posting the finish until next week.

I have to say I've really enjoyed going back to my dip pens for inking. I was trying to use microns and other pens, even brush pens, but I really am drawn to the croquill for its versatility in line shape and weight. I know brush pens can be pretty sweet in that arena too, but man my skills using brush pens for inking are not up to par. I'll have to keep practicing, but I just had to go back to my darling croquills for a hot minute.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ten more to 700!

Only ten more heads until I reach 700!
This drawing challenge is a lot of fun and I am definitely seeing results. 
 can't wait to hit 1,000!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


A benefit of loving to draw: when you don't have cash for presents, you have your mind and your hands! Yesterday was my boyfriend's birthday and since I don't currently have much extra, I decided to draw his favorite character from Guilty Gear, Testament! If you haven't checked it out and like fighting games, give Guilty Gear a go!

Here's the process and end result.

I used colored Col-Erase pencils, sprayed it with workable fixative, then applied inkwashes. Don't grow too attached to that yellow; it was a bit much and changes.

The end result! (and my messy work station)

The final is on 15x20 illustration board, done with Col-Erase pencils, inkwash, and gouache.

Friday, June 7, 2013

So Many Digital Dreams...

Happy Friday, everyone! 

Today I'd like to share with you my mock book cover for Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" I love the hell outta this novel and was super excited to draw some concept art, then book covers and interiors for the story. Many iterations later, I have finished the cover (for my thesis)! Now, allow me to share with you the process.

It all started last fall. I worked on this in my Narrative Illustration class at AAU for my thesis. Above l to r: the initial thumbnails at the top, then below several different versions. In the end, I was glad to have explored my options, but really wanted that dead-on, looking right at you with her goggles version. I then did some value and color studies and a tight drawing. I wanted to experiment with oil painting initially (I was obsessed with creating texture in oil paint at the time). I worked on it some traditionally, but when pressed for time took it digital to finish and overlay the lineart. Not terrible, but I wasn't happy with it and knew I would continue working on it.

I re-visited the drawing after getting some great feedback from Michael Buffington (an instructor at AAU).

I decided to tackle it digitally this time for color. I was happy with how it turned out, but when I had my final review one of the biggest problems I heard back on it was that there wasn't enough room for type and there was some confusion about why she didn't have arms. I made that choice consciously, wanting to be more abstract and design the overall shape as priority. I needed to revisit this illustration again.

Back to thumbnails! I decided to really push the designed elements and make it obviously pattern/shape based.

Voila! The final version. When I finished it about a month ago I was very "meh" about it, but after taking a break and coming back to look at it I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Zombie Killer Extraordinaire

Sidge McDougal's Zombie Crisis is an original concept created by my boyfriend and his close friend.  When I started Visual Elements of Story at AAU and had the option to develop an original story I knew it would be this one. I'd previously done some character designs for the story but wanted to revise those and push the designs further. It's a fun story and who doesn't love zombies and the apocalypse?

Although, I must say, I need to do a lot more drawing of zombies in the future. I mostly focused on designing the living human characters in the story this time around. So, behold, Sidge McDougal! Our main character, anti-hero protagonist.

thumbnails exploring different designs; head explorations; and the final version on the right

turn-arounds! I had fun drawing all the spikes and accessories on Sidge initially, but man was it interesting to move them. I kept going over my checklist of spikes to ensure none were missed. Below the turn-around are several expressions. It's getting somewhere, but I think he still needs to be pushed to look even more manic and crazed.

we had to create boards at the end of class and here is my character board. I still want to revise some of the characters and finish the 3D character painting (bottom right) so once those are done I'll be sharing them in the near future.

I've had a lot of fun designing this story from characters to props to environments. I will probably continue working on it in the future. A part of me has been itching to do some animation involving this story, even if it's just some animated storyboards. We shall see what time allows....