I never create fan art, mainly because I suck at it but I couldn't resist doodling this as a little gift for my sister. She's the main character from a book my sister recommended to me called Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It's a brilliant book and if you haven't read it yet, put it on your list!
Last week, my friend and I decided to set each other a portfolio challenge - to create an illustration incorporating a group of children in any chosen setting as we felt our portfolios lacked in that area. Too many dragons and not enough snotbags (just teasing) in my case.
I decided to document a few of the different stages along the way and post them up here.
The first thing I always do is create a rough sketch. I need to get the basic composition down, even though this will change a thousand times before I'm happy, there has to be a starting point. I then do some quick colour blocking to see if everything works well together. I try to create enough contrast in an image to make it interesting, but I also like to keep the colours harmonious.
From there I start to pick out the main elements and work them up so they are close to how I want them to look in the end. The polar bear in this piece is the main focal point and everything else needs to work around it, so if I can get that done and be happy with it then everything else SHOULD work.
I then start to add in secondary elements and build up the composition based on my initial sketch. Here you can see that a lot of the space will be occupied by different characters with lots of things going on.
And then BOOM. Someone comes along and suggests you get rid of ALL of the characters, except two.
The little girl peering through the glass on the left and the polar bear...
I think they were right, too.
But now I have to start my challenge all over again.
I haven't submitted anything to Illustration Friday in longer than I can remember, so whilst I'm waiting for some feedback from a client, I decided to doodle this little chap. Not sure what he's training for exactly... Swan Lake, perhaps? The Nutcracker?
This is a new piece I have spent the past day or two working on whilst waiting for some feedback from a client. It's always good to keep the ol' portfolio up to date and what better way to do that than a Fairy Tale/Sci-Fi mash up?
As much as I like to keep this blog upbeat and focused on my work, I need to take a little detour with this post to tell you all about my friend Robert.
I took the above picture about a year ago whilst sitting in my back garden nattering about my uni work and how much it was stressing me out. I only had a month or two left but it felt like a lifetime. I had so much to do, my computer had just broken for the third time and I had deadlines fast approaching; you know how it is. However, Robert just smiled at me and reassured me that I'll get it all done and once it was over I'd wonder what I was ever worrying about.
He was completely right, of course. As he always likes to be.
Whilst sitting there he told me stories about his friend Pete the graphic designer and how he never had much time off work because of his career choices but he loved it all the same. I came to really like Pete the graphic designer, though I never met him. He sounded passionate about his trade, or at least very keen on it.I hope I will feel the same in forty years time!
I think that sums Robert up quite well, really. Always finding the positive in what I would see as a negative. To tell you the truth, he has been setting me back on track for the past 20 years. From grazing my knees as a little girl to winding myself going down that bastard ramp on roller skates that my brother had set up in the garden one summer, to reassuring me that I would get my degree at the end of it all.
And I did get it, thank God. I called him up to tell him I had passed and that I would like to come home now thankyouverymuchandplease because I had had enough, ha. He was just getting over a pretty bad chest infection but he wanted to be the one to pick me up and help me move back home and told me that I shouldn't argue with him as I would lose. Which is what always happened.
He seemed in good health again as we drove the 50 miles back to Manchester from North Wales and even helped me unpack everything when we got there. Ever the helpful and reliable Robert!
It wasn't too long after I'd settled back home that we found out he had cancer. The chest infection was caused by a build up of fluid on his lungs. We all know that there are different kinds of cancer, some serious, some not so serious but all very scary nonetheless.
He continued to come and visit us, tell us his stories, make us laugh. And then he was told that he had lung cancer and would need to start chemotherapy straight away which really tired him out. The cancer became terminal and his health deteriorated very quickly after that. He told me that they were going to stop chemo because all it was doing was making him feel worn out but that he'd probably get a lot better after that.
He mentioned a couple of times that his friend's wife had lung cancer and she'd had it for 20+ years. It wasn't pleasant obviously but she had survived and lived a long life despite her illness. This gave me hope that Robert's case might be similar and that we wouldn't be losing him any time soon, but cancer is an unpredictable bugger and Robert was given weeks to live not long after he stopped his chemo treatment.
If he knew I was writing this he would probably get a good laugh out of it, as he hasn't passed away yet and he'd probably want some sort of input.
I went to see him last week in the hospice and his nurse told us that he only had a couple of weeks, so really it was chance to say goodbye without actually having to say it. Even then he was cracking jokes and reassuring me that everything would work out. He has been part of our extended family for as long as I can remember and I will miss him very, very much!
I guess this ties in with my work a little as Robert has always been really supportive of me and my main focus above everything else is to make him proud :)