Sunday, January 25, 2015


I recently finished a new personal illustration inspired by ghost stories and ouija/spirit boards. I had a lot of fun painting this one, although it did take longer than I wanted. I took a lot of in process photos, so brace yourselves.

first came thumbnails

When I first had the idea, I tossed it around in my head for a bit. I knew I wanted it to be a dark image with one limited light source, so I went straight to value studies when I thumbnailed. I also make a lot of notes which may be scribbled a bit beyond understanding.

Who is our main character?

I wanted to reference my time as a teen in Chicago, messing with spirit boards, ghosts, and getting into goth, punk, industrial, and metal music. I got a lot of inspiration for creating the character from my friends and our teenage experiences. In earlier sketches, I had a group of teen girls, but decided to isolate it to one for less of an action feel to more of a creepy, alone-in-the-dark vibe.

Take all the reference photos!

Once I had my composition decided, it was time to get some reference. My first reference shots (on the left, cooler light) weren't as natural as I wanted. I knew I wanted candles as the primary light source, so I bought some candles, borrowed a tripod (yes, I still need a tripod... it's on my list), and retook some reference. Much better.

drawing time

Then it was drawing time. I did a relatively detailed drawing, knowing that most of the background was going to be darkness and texture, so I didn't bother with too many details there. Again, notes are my bad memory's friend.

transferred drawing to watercolor paper

begin painting!

so many washes...

painting site

I listened to a lot of Coast to Coast AM while working which really helped my mood. I also love working in front of my windows, especially at night. Don't mind the clutter... 

time to add the warmth

lots of evening and late night painting

I wanted to add black, but was wary about adding it directly to the original watercolor in case it wasn't what I wanted. I also felt the need to pull back before I overworked the painting and lost some of the spontaneous texture from the watercolor. It was Photoshop time for the finish.


And the final illustration!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A New Year and a New Drawing Challenge

Happy New Year!

Last year I finished my Thousand Head Drawing Challenge, then decided to begin a 500 Figure Drawing Challenge. Hopefully I'll finish by the end of 2015!

only 7/500 -- there's a lot more to draw in the upcoming 361 days!

This year I'll be in a better position to focus on creating more personal illustrations and am going to ramp up promotional mailers and wooing clients. Here's to a productive year!