Worst week ever – Rabies

My S/O and I adopted a kitten. The kitten began to have seizures. We called the shelter and they told us just to keep an eye on her. The seizures got worse and one not she couldn’t walk straight after a five minute seizure. So, we took her into the emergency vet. The vet told us the shelter was full of shit and we should have brought her in immediately because seizures are rare in kittens. Epilepsy doesn’t show up until they are at least one year old, apparently. Given the kitten was a rescue, the vet was very concerned she had rabies. We made the hard decision to put her down and get her tested. Unfortunately we also had to go get rabies vaccines which made us both feel sick (I vomited for times after the IGG shots). My anxiety tempered the grief and convinced me it was too late and I was going to die of rabies.

The kitten didn’t have rabies, she had a rare brain infection. I think we did the right thing by putting her down, as she wouldn’t have made it either way, but it was a horrible week. This drawing is a representation of what it felt like.

Rabies6.jpg

 

Cheers,

Blu

Dilaudid – Abstract Painting

I wanted to focus more on the emotional side of the textures and colors for this one, so I obscured the subjects face with a smoky effect and worked his form into the body of the painting. I wanted all the transitions and blending to feel really natural and for lack of a better term, ‘two-dimensional’. Even with all the layers I think I largly accomplished that goal while keeping a lot of the shapes and contour interesting/engaging for those who want to take a closer work. The text is in Greek and Latin and deals with concepts of addiction, hence the name.

small cut

I think the interplay between the cross hatching and low opacity shapes created a futuristic sort of vibe that I kind of liked paired with the theme.

 

Cheers,

Blu

2077 – My submission to the 43rd annual artcall

A futuristic portrait with an abstract background. I put a lot of work into fading the detail from blurry to sharp at the mechanical eye and sunglasses. I did this mostly by using more pen-strokes and splotchier shading in the face, hat, and hair. The background took a significant amount of time to construct as well, and I’m proud of how it turned out. The buildings were traced from a photo of Manhattan. There was originally a creepy painted face in the top right, but my friend pointed out that it took away too much focus from the eye and face.

The Jester3

 

Here is the piece without masking the painted face:

Stalkers3.jpg

 

I’m interested in whether you all think it is better with or without the face. I’d greatly appreciate the opinions!

 

Cheers,

Blu

Burst and Decay – Mixed Media portrait

Bit of a splatter portrait with composite elements. I wanted to set up a cool illusion with the main portrait sharing eyes with the inked figures and I think it turned out pretty interesting. Not too much to say, I think some of my blending got sloppy but the lips turned out very well (I very often struggle with hyper realism in lips).

Anyway, the workflow was more straightforward than it probably looks. I sketched the face on watercolor paper in ink, did some basic shading to paint over. I was heavier in the areas with less detail to draw focus to the eyes and mouth. Did a lot of basic splatter effects around the edges of the face, then painted the skin. After that I blended the components and added the red splash, the buildings, comic book photos, and clouds composite style. Blended those and finished up.

Portrait6

Cancer – Painting

Phew. Been working on this one for a few months. A put out a smaller version a while back, then realized it had more potential. So I added, a lot. And made it huge. I’m proud of it. There’s a lot of little details that are easy to miss, especially when it’s shrunk down like this. (If you can find the negative space crab, I’ll be impressed.

I still need to clean up a few things (especially the lips and the transition to the waterfall). But I think it’s on track to be one of my most complex pieces.

 

94×73 inch digital painting

Cancer

copr Blu-art and Arktic-ink 2018, all rights reserved.

Wallpaper cut:

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Sketches from my first sketchbook: Six years of progress #1

I took my first art/design course when I was a sophomore in high school (six years ago). I was interested in making art for video games and I was already learning C# and experimenting with tools like Autodesk maya and engines like UDK to make my own stuff.

That whole dream never really panned out (ended up in hard sciences) but I really went at the art. I was doing fifty hours a week, staying up all night to practice contour and learn to draw new things. It was one of my first real obsessive periods. I periodically get really into things which later eb and flow but most have stuck around (writing and drawing more than anything).

For the class we had to do daily sketches from life or our head based on a prompt. These are some of them. Bare in mind that while I was working hard, I was very much a beginner. It’s awesome to look back and compare this stuff to my current works and compositions. The style is actually pretty similar, still, in a lot of ways. It’s just more refined and cohesive now.

I’ll go in order of the pages and this was taped to the front page.

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I started out with bic pens and markers which s what this was in. Pretty sketchy shading but I was really proud of the contour. It took my a while and few tries at the time to nail down the general shape of a face let alone the gesture of a body.

This was probably the first time I tried to depict tattoos on skin, which is something I do on a regular basis now. I’ve gone so far as to design elaborate tattoos just so I could put them in a drawing later on:

copyr

In this semi-photo-realistic digital portrait I spent the most time on the tattoos and hair. I’ve found that abstract designs (time here) work much better for accenting skin in the context of a drawing.

This style evolved further into turning the skin into it’s own canvas within a canvas:

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Here the skin is less skin and more of a symbolic mosaic kind of story. I don’t like to explain intent explicitly and won’t, but there is a specific reason things are where they are here.

To me it’s really cool to be able to trace stylistic elements I employ in my hyper-realism and composite art back to one of the first decent anime sketches I did a few months after I started drawing.

How I draw eyes (at x25 zoom!)

Eyes are usually my favorite or one of my favorite parts of doing a drawing. I’ve spent a good deal of time lately wondering how to work them into my more realistic drawings. Realistic eyes are actually rather simple compared to not realistic eyes. I started out doing realistic eyes, which are darker and not all that interesting but decided if something was going to be unrealistic, the eyes were good candidates. So I had fun with it and tried a new technique:

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I basically just treated it like there was a floodlight shining in and the cornea was lit up. It ended up looking graphic and decent enough to keep.

 

Moving forward I decided to go for well-lit but also more realistic. So I made the texture in it’s own PSD at a higher resolution. The only issue is that it ended up looking more realistic than the other bits (way too realistic, it’s actually a little creepy zoomed in like this). In the context of this drawing, where the eyes are a focus, that’s fine, but it’s not something I can apply to everything so I decided to blend the realism a little more:

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Being able to start with the eye in the beginning really helped this one. It’s much less imposed on the eye ball. I did play it a little safe and the eye isn’t actually very detailed this time, but I think it fits this drawing nicely:

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This one I think turned out the best. I used a higher res file to make the eye then superimposed it. Here, it feels less out of place. The shading and makeup are a little blurry, but they aren’t blow out. So the lighting at least sort of matches the overlit and hyper rendered eye:

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For technique here, you kinda have to play it by the ey…ear. Uh…basically just make concentric circles of a similar shades of whatever color you want it to be. I always make the middle brightest and get darker as I go out. These are pixel drawings, so if you have vector software, it’d be easier to pull off. That said I’m so used to shading pixels that it doesn’t really bother me. The light source on these eyes don’t match the light source of the drawing, and I think the drawings are actually better for it. I’ve kinda been learning over the past few weeks that realism isn’t always better.

Texture Drawing with Steps

For a texture based drawing like this, you kind of have to know what you’re going for, then accept that the result probably won’t look the way you think it will. I wanted to do a portrait of a character I’d already drawn, which is actually harder than drawing a new character, because you can’t just wing the features.

Step 1 (about five hours): Yes, texture drawings without blending are terrifying. I molded the textures I wanted to use into the correct shape then did some rudimentary blending and erasing out places for the drawn and more detailed parts of her face. There are some brush strokes here, but they are suggestive and serve mostly as a framework or placeholder for what is to come.

step 2

Step 2 (about six hours): Drew the majority of the important bits in. Most notably the first few layers of the nose, lips,  teeth, hair and sweatshirt.

Sopbhie withoutshading

 

Step 3 (around eight hours): I should have taken more pictures in between for this step, but it was a lot of drawing and redrawing to get the eyes to blend into the texture and create that cracked illusion. I did a lot of work on the skin and actually retextured a few areas to get it to work better. I did most of the skins texture in a fence brush (splatter blending style).

Most of the time spent was noticing little issues in light room and going back in to fix them a good seven-nine times.

Sopbhie 6-3

It ended up looking entirely different then what I’d pictured, but I like it a lot. Came in at only forty layers which is good, because it means I’ve gotten more efficient at reducing extraneous layers that make it needlessly complex to manage and edit.

Moving forward I want to look into re-balancing the darker marks on the right cheek, as they are too dark right now and are flattening the implied positioning of the cheek.

Cheers,

Lilith 🙂

Revamping the Wall-Spider (Artwork)

Having recently completed the general and rough manuscript for Butterfly Gate and passing it off to a trusted editor, I suddenly have time to work on my other stories and art projects. Re-reading and editing the same 460 page story three times within a week is hard work, but also really engaging and fun for me.

So this week (Spring Break!) has been all about planning new art for my other work-in-progress Saving Hadley and tackling a new arc. I also had time on the side to start writing my third project, Wall-Spider in a more serious capacity. As soon as I finished the rough short story (now chapter one of Wall-Spider) I knew I wanted to take it farther, but I already had a few engulfing projects. It was great to really delve into developing a new book, and infinitely less stressful than the first two times.

It’s a little mind-blowing and encouraging how visible the improvement has been. I started by  re-working the short story. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t up to my current standards or style, so I improved the flow and counter-play between the first and third person narration. Then, having a good six months of ideas and notes about where I wanted to take it, barfed out a cool sixty pages, which was a new record for me.

But there’s other clerical work I do when I approach a novel. Part of that was taking the art I’ve already done for Wall-Spider and reworking it.

Before:

Hunger Demon
Hunger Demon

After:

Hunger Demon

The main challenge was retroactively fixing the perspective issues with the first sketch. Then I drew as realistic of a padded cell backing as I could in Photoshop. The rest was simple lighting.

Obviously there are still some lighting and perspective issues, but I felt good about it for a simple three-hour session. One of the main takeaways from this for me is to really spend more time planning perspective. Messing up the two-point as badly as I did on a drawing that was otherwise very solid and emotionally personal/important to who I am was a little silly. I could have avoided the issue by spending two minutes with a compass to measure the two-point, but I free-handed the lines and rolled with it.

Art, writing, and a Mugshot of my Doggo.

Hi! Just a casual update on what projects I’ve been tackling over the past two months. I got a little side tracked from my zodiac project over the holidays (for the right reasons). I added a few more metallic flourishes to Sagittarius: IMG_7526After that I spent a good bit of time being anxious about whether or not to paint a background and what colors to use on the figure itself. So naturally I just drew something else!

My friends b-day was in early December, so I drew the cleric-beast from Bloodbourne: IMG_7428Pics a little blurry, sorry about that! I used a reference image. Actually I basically just copied the games concept art! A cute little piece of plagiarism? It sounds nicer if you just say fan art, you decide <3. Here’s the original: 

After that I started writing more and just relaxing for the holidays. I have a heavy load this semester, so I want to do my best to enjoy vacation before jumping into the meat grinder. I’ve mostly just been doodling unplanned drawings and working on my book.

Here is a lovely portrait of my doggo, Rufus. And before you ask, yes, he is available for casting in any of your movies. He’s a stone-cold professional, and will be a diva.

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