Almost every night for the last couple weeks I’ve been working on the new illustrations for my book. This time around (almost exactly a year later) I’m doing it completely differently.

Last year, I sat down in my studio, with pencils and paint, and sketched and painted immediately. I didn’t really plan out what I wanted it all to look like and how coherent it was going to be. Which resulted in different sized pictures (I started out using only a little bit of the page and eventually used the whole thing) but they were generally coherent in style, though, possibly ill-conceived (gotta love retrospect). The varying sizes made it really hard to format, on top of the fact that I didn’t even know what size book I was creating. If I’d thought about it a little bit more, I think it would have resulted in less headaches.

So this time, I know what size the finished version will be, I have a proof copy and I’m using that as my guide. I’m planning out where the text is going to be in the image (if it’s going to be in there) and I haven’t touched paint. yet. I’m going through every single illustration in the book that I did originally and asking myself “how can I do this better?” , “how could I make this look more interesting?” , and “how could I reinvent this scene?

So far, there are a lot more balloons, less straight up people shots, and with the scenes that have people in them, I use the other pictures with the characters as a guide to make sure that they are as coherent as possible. I’m also taking shades and varying degrees of value into account in my sketches and going over anything I want to remember the value of in levels of shading.

draft illustration

We’ll see what I think a year from now, but at the moment I’m very happy with the progress and how much I’ve learned since last October. Interestingly, I’ve been implementing a lot of what I learned in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and that alone has been a huge difference.

So today, I got in my gaming keypad and spent the morning getting used to it while listening to some podcast about Sherlock Holmes (the movie, with RDJr.). I found a sweet spot in Nagrand above the throne of elementals where, well, all the elementals live and you can farm for motes to your hearts content. I caved and bought motes of fire from the Auction House but there were no Motes of Air or Primal Air to be found (same thing with the Overcharged Capacitor. I finally gave up and abandoned the quest. If it ever comes back, I’ll pick it up again) until I found the spot where the Storming Wind-Rippers lived. I’ll be getting used to my new keypad over the next few days questing, and then when I’m used to it, maybe I’ll try it out in a dungeon or two.

It’s hard to get used to, but I really like it so far, and I think it’ll be really simple once I’m fully adapted.

So then, after the Holme’s podcast, I put in some more Harry Potter and got out my watercolors. It always helps me to do something when I’m listening to things, I don’t really know why. Habit, I guess. So while Jim Dale was talking about the Marauder’s Map and Quidditch and Dementors, I was painting a fairy floating amidst bubbles.

bubble fairy

I added a wizard hat because it seemed fun. I’ve had sort of an obsession with bubbles or polka dotted backgrounds lately. I don’t know why, it just adds a bit of interesting-ness. So I made another drawing.

fairy with polkadot backgroundI used a pen until the ink was being weird and then used the special comic-making inky marker/pen Alex got last summer. I like the effect, kinda reminds me of 101 Dalmatians….

The last few days I haven’t been feeling really great, and so I’ve been sleeping most of the day and awake most of the night. Wanting to paint (or even clean) but not having enough energy. Tonight though, I started feeling a little better – Alex cleaned the house for me before I told him to go catch a movie and I would just kinda hang out and relax (and he would bring me donuts from Tim Hortons). I have all this pent up creative energy, but I can’t actually do anything with it on canvas. So I decided to play with my wacom tablet. I think I finally have it down – it’s a little hard to get used to sometimes, when you’re used to giant canvas or paper and you’re drawing on a 13 inch screen but using a 4×6 pad. Anyway, I decided to play with the concept that I have for one of my paintings and see how that turned out. I just hope I can make it flow like this on the canvas now (I also need to get better brushes…).

Decided to paint on/with my iphone today after lunch, and tomorrow we’ll be painting pottery. I’m trying to decide on a cup or a plate and if I should make a movie reference or just play with it. But that’s besides the point – today I tried something different with the brushes app instead of filling everything in like I usually do, I just colored the sky and left everything else. I really like the style and might try to incorporate it into future paintings.