Thursday, May 24, 2012

Elven Mage

She is very complementary!

Over the last several months I completed several private commissions. Most came to be after having conversations with Gen Con attendees who had taken an interest in my work. I've done a lot of  drawings for people during and after conventions, but this was the first painting I did for a private collection. Rather than conforming to an already existing style guide, commissions are an opportunity to call upon my own internal style guide–something the client is seeking when they ask me to create artwork for them.

Sometimes I like to examine the drawing and the painting of an image side by side. They're fundamentally the same image, but end up looking quite different once value and color are added. There are things about this character I like better at the drawing stage and things I like better at the painting stage. (Sometimes I like an entire image better as a drawing rather than a painting and vice versa.)

Here, I like the expression in her eyes better in the drawing. There's some subtle emotion that I feel I lost once I went to paint. But the painting has volume and warmth that the linework lacks.

What do you think? Are there aspects of one you like more than the other? You're welcome to discuss in the comments!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hobbits in Spaaaaace!

Recently I completed another character commission for the same client that requested a drawing of his half-orc warrior character. This time, the character hails from a very different setting: a futuristic science-fiction world. She's essentially a "space hobbit" botanist who works on a space station growing hydroponic plants.

Head studies

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Maurice Sendak: 1928-2012

More sad news from the art world. Maurice Sendak, beloved artist and author, died today at the age of 83.

Maurice Sendak had the unique ability to tap into the imaginary life of children through his lively characters and dreamlike imagery. Some of my earliest memories of reading (and of being read to) are of his books Chicken Soup with Rice and Pierre: A Cautionary Tale. I remember fondly the illustrations, the catchy rhymes, and even the sensation of holding those little hardcover books in my hands.

It would be difficult to find a person–child or adult–whose connection to art or reading has not been impacted by Mr. Sendak's work. I'm sure my attraction to drawing at a young age was due in some part to his beautiful illustrations in the books I read as a little girl.

I'm guessing he would have been annoyed by my descriptions of his character with my poor prose, so I'll step aside now and allow Mr. Sendak to speak for himself by sharing some recent interviews.

A hilarious interview of Maurice Sendak by Stephen Colbert, in two parts. I have watched this over and over:
Grim Colberty Tales with Maurice Sendak Part 1
Grim Colberty Tales with Maurice Sendak Part 2

A preview video for Spike Jonze's short documentary on Maurice Sendak:
Tell Them Anything You Want

My earlier blog post on Mr. Sendak with a link to a moving Fresh Air Interview:
Maurice Sendak Fresh Air Interview

My sincere condolences to Mr. Sendak's friends and loved ones.

Adam "MCA" Yauch: 1964-2012

Click to read a tribute to Adam Yauch's life on

I have been listening to the Beastie Boys' music for most of my life. I was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Adam "MCA" Yauch to cancer on Friday. I loved his unique voice in both the literal and figurative senses of the phrase.

"Serious" music aficionados might consider my music collection woefully inadequate. For whatever reason, I never amassed the massive CD collections my sister and some of my friends had during high school and college. I was always more focused on visual art, and instead amassed a ridiculous collection of comics, art books and toys. But the Beastie Boys have been a mainstay in my modest collection for at least two decades.

Not my copy, but mine's snugly packed away for safekeeping.
The green cassette tape of Ill Communication lived in my car for many years. It was still riding along with me during college.

Nathan Rabin of The AV Club wrote on Friday:

Yauch’s life and career are a testament to the possibilities of emotional, creative, and artistic growth. A man who rose to fame peddling a proudly obnoxious form of adolescent nihilism grew up to be a man whose life and career were defined by idealism and integrity. Adam Yauch wanted to make the world a more compassionate, loving, and funky place. He succeeded. The world is poorer for his loss but richer for the contributions he made. 

My sincere condolences to Mr. Yauch's friends and loved ones.