Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Gift of Poinsettia

This was done for the OC Winter Contest hold by the very kind Endorell-Taelos (Alicia Cooper) at DeviantArt. The point was to depict one of hers OC and one of mine in a winter/X-mas environment. I do not have specific OCs, but she allowed me to have one of my Butterflowers, and so the Butterflower Poinsettia was created.
I chosed Luciana among Endorell's characters, because I found it the most intriguing one. She is basically a Dragon mage princess, with a vampire illness, a kind girl, with a heavy past and duties.
So, here comes a little explanation of the pic's symbols:

yes, you 've seen right: the Poinsettia gives its blood as a (X-mas) gift for the gentle but thirsty Luciana. Normally Poinsettias have a white juice, but this is a Butterflower. And, no fear for the little creature: the petals can grow back.

The constellation above Luciana is the Draco. Obviously.

The flowers are typical ones used in winter bouquets, as well as the Bullfinch is a must in (Swedish) X-mas cards. Just to make the pic prettier.

The crown of light resembles the one of Lucia, here in Sweden is a key figure under X-mas times. And, Lucia/Luciana means "Light".

I tried to represent her as a young princess with a childish, but sad expression in her eyes, as if the happiness of these days could never be enough to cancel the terrible past following her. I also wanted to give a feeling of a regal portrait from Old Masters, at least a kind of.

Otherwise, I enjoyed very much to paint this, in Photoshop as usual. Hands referenced from mine. No refs for face. The character Luciana is copyright of Alicia Cooper.

Amphetamine Owl

This was a short task, but it put me far long out of my comfort zone, so it was very much welcome. A colleague/friend of mine wanted to give a decorated mug as a present for hers MC-driving instructor. 
The assignment was to depict this bulky guy yelling at her during lessons. I was provided with a picture of him, the info that he used to call her "amphetamine owl" and some details about motorcycle and his typical outfit.
The drawing was expected to be ironic and not too detailed, since it had to be put on a mug.

Here a pic of the finished work. It is really impressive how nowadays the finish and the quality of colours of ceramic items can be so good.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I was in a cover and I didn't know it...

Recently I've discovered the Google option "search by image", and, in a rush of vanity, started to look if my works were used/downloaded by someone else in the Internet.
Besides my own pages, or some of my watchers at DeviantArt, there are a couple of blogs and some russian wallpaper sites. Ahah, so famous I'm not :) .
Then I found this one, which looks like a cover of a magazine:

The picture is Alexander the Little, the portrait of my older son in a fantasy version.
Since I don't know Chinese, I asked a colleague of mine to translate the content on the page, and she confirmed that this is the cover of a widespread Chinese magazine, Science Fiction World
I learned from Wikipedia that they have some hundred thousand readers, and in fact for me, little and unknown illustrator, is a quite big honour to have one of my paintings gracing the cover of an important publication.

The point is, they never told me they wanted this picture for their publication. It's not a matter of money, since I did it after a request of my mother-in-law, and for building up my portfolio.
I hope at least they did credit me (well, looks like I'm very naïve :D )

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sweet Pea Love (Butterflower#3)

I'm not really a pink-sweet-girly type, but the pea flowers growing this summer in my greenhouse couldn't avoid the chance of becoming the subject(s) of a tender, eternal meeting between two Butterflowers. The motif of petals is a little revisited.
No surprise that an alternative name for this subfamily is Papilionoideae.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ipad + Artrage experiments

My boyfriend got an Ipad a while ago, which has became an abused object at home.
When I heard that there're apps allowing you to paint on it, with fingers, or a capacitive stylus and even a capacitive brush, I couldn't resist to try them. What sounded more appealing is the possibility to sketch in a traditional way, without the need to go around with a lot of material.
I got a Sensu brush (includes brush and stylus at both ends), downloaded Artrage for Ipad, and start to doodle to try the stylus and program features. I felt like when I tried PS and the Wacom tablet the first time: fully handicapped.

The first issue is the complete lack of pressure sensitivity. I use pressure massively, when drawing/painting both traditional and digital, and suffer when I cannot use it.
The second problem is the low resolution of the drawing, which do not allow you to draw tiny details, especially when using watercolour/oil brushes. The pencil/pen can compensate for it, but you get another effect. When you would like to paint tiny strokes, what you get are perfect, small circles. So, the sketch below named 'Autumn leaves' suffers of this flaw, and I find it awful, frankly.
The sizes for some brushes are limited.
Artrage has some bugs: sometimes the program stops before you can save; big, square areas of your drawing can get damaged and lost when you, for instance, try to erase/smudge/ or other actions.

The stylus/brush
having a stylus is much better than finger, the precision is really greater. I didn't experience an advantage of capacitive brush compared to the stylus. I believed that the brush strokes size could depend on the brush fibres and how you 'paint', but this is not true. The only way to set the stroke's size, is through the program.
You must also be careful not to put your fingers on screen, too, while drawing: otherwise you'll get effects you don't want, and maybe just realize it after a while.

Great features
Artrage works in another way than Photoshop. I think is moreless like Painter, though I've a very limited experience with the latter. It looks really like a real traditional painting, with watercolour, oil, pencil, pen effects. They also blend each other like in a traditional drawing.
You can paint on separate layers, and import reference pictures (maybe taken with Ipad).
Drawing with stylus don't have the annoying delay effect that I experienced by sketching with PS.
It is a wonderful way to keep sketch and paint while travelling, (or maybe lying in bed with a baby who wakes up every half hour): all those situations when dealing with brushes, solvents, or a whole computer with a Wacom, is very impractical or impossible.
The knife brush (which is much about smudging and blurring) has some very interesting effects.

I feel anyway that I need tons of practice to learn to use each brush, to get the desired effect, and how it blends with other brushes, and so on.


Autumn leaves


This is an attempt for realistic painting, used a blurry ipad photo as reference. I'm not very satisfied, looks like a bad PS airbrush painting.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Lady Faun

In the last time, painting has became nearly impossible, since my evenings are almost totally occupied by the baby-almost-toddler who got separation anxiety.
So, I was very uncertain if participate in the Faun Contest held at DeviantArt by the lovely Eledhwen, whose conditions were to choose one among three of her Faun stock pics, and do a paint, or a photomanipulation out of it. I tried to give it a trial, and chosed this one:

and finished in a hurry in around a couple of weekends, so I had to keep it as a simple portrait, even if I'd like to put more imaginative elements in it. She asked also to not draw the dress to let the faun features be more visible, but I find it beautiful so I decided to keep it.
It's always great to paint from a real model instead of painting stereotyped human characters, as often seen in fantasy illustration, so I really enjoyied it, despite the little time. It is moreover a very useful exercise. (then, I also won, which is an additional pleasure :) ).
I'm still not completely happy with rendering, but maybe I'll take up again later.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Butterflies House

This started as a portrait practice, my camera sometimes shows quite odd perspectives while taking narrow portraits, so I wanted to use the pic I had. 
The painting then degenerated creeply, so below I've the result. I've no clue about the title, maybe I'll change it, suggestions are welcome.
This time I tried to use the Sharpen More tool in PS, to avoid that muddy effect I always get when uploading the file. 
Usually I also draw the pic in a computer, and uploading to internet with another, which displays a quite less saturated image. I wonder what people really see when looking at my pictures.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rhaego Targaryen

Well, a little piece of (imagined) fanart. I must admit that I also fall in that Game of Thrones trap.
I was watching Season I while my second child was just few weeks old and, I would say obviously, I felt disturbed by Danaerys miscarriage of her son Rhaego:
“Monstrous. Twisted. I pulled him out myself. He was scaled like a lizard. Blind, with leather wings, like the wings of a bat. When I touched him, his skin fell from his bones. Inside, he was full of graveworms.” - Mirri Maz Dur -

So I decided to change the history and make him newborn, alive and healthy. Just, the scales and the wings aren't really a malformation, but a sign of the dragon blood inherited by his mother. As she saw him in a vision, his skin is bronze like his father's, and his hair are instead of the Valyrian blond type.
However, don't ask me how she could deliver such a scaly child without so much pain. Maybe she just delivered a dragon egg, ahah. It would be easier.

Technically, I experienced some problems with computer screens: with some my pictures are so saturated, then I look in the other one we've at home, and everything is so grey. This pic is no exception.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Song of Wandering Aengus

I wanted to draw an illustration for the Poem The Song of Wandering Aengus, by WB Yeats, since long ago. I especially love the song version by the Italian folk singer Branduardi.
The part depicted here is when the girl comes out from the silver trout (in italic below). It is not said in the poem itself, but I took the freedom to made her coming out from fire. Hers mermaid appearance comes from the silver trout.
My interpretation is that the Aengus quest is the Quest for Life itself, where Life is symbolized by the girl, born from all the four elements of nature: the fire, the water with the trout, the bright air where she disappears, the earth where apple trees are blossoming.
Well, just my two cents :) Hope you like the painting, anyway.

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Snow Maiden (Snegurochka)

Long time, no blog, and very slow painting in the background of my life occupied by small children.
I started this one when the snow still covered the Scandinavian woods, and now it is finished only in the middle of summer.
This is my personal interpretation of a classic character of Russian folklore, the Snegurochka, or Snow Maiden, daughter of Frost and Spring. Despite she's typically depicted as a merry and kind girl, I wanted to show her sadness, since the legend tells her heart will melt, and she'll die, when she will first fall in love.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Time with my newborn and his brother do not let me paint so much, at least right now.
Just a little to paint a sketch of the little one, three months old, in a spring-elfish-maybeflemish version. This was intended as a portrait study, many elements are intentionally left rough, to give a painterly finish (nice way to say: "didn't have the time to do a better render" ). 
Painted in PS, 3-4 hours, in and out.