Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Dead" poetry book spread

Here is the first "finished" spread for my illustrated poetry book project. I am illustrating Some of the poems my fiancée has written over the years. Copyright for written materials (poems) belong to him and all illustration copyrights belong to me so this is a joined project. It's sort of like having areal client because in the end it is his poems I am illustrating and if he is not happy then the project is a failure.

So far I've done a lot of preliminary sketch work, created a dummy and started doing some finished odds and ends. I am currently doing a collage sort of thing. Which means that pretty much everything you see in the illustration has been made as separate illustrations and has been Photoshopped together. The background is really a black and  blue painted texture (acrylic on watercoulour) blended with a black background color. The skull is a pencil drawing, so are the roses, but they have been colored in Photoshop. The hair on the skull was painted on digitally too. The faint roses in the background was made with ink, and was then set to vivid light blending mode and opacity was turned down to 6%.

A lot of prep work went into this but I have to say that I am very pleased with my first spread. Only 7 more and a cover spread to go :P

It feels good to be doing something different than pure Photoshop work, and I love working with the Gothic vibes right now. 

The poem featured on this page is called "Dead" and is written by Ole M. Stoebakk. 


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas everyone

I made this Christmas card for the artorder challenge, a last minute thing, but I've been meaning to make a card for some time so I'm posting it here, and I'm "giving" it to all my friends and family.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and if you wish, you can print this picture from my blog. I have uploaded it in a fairly good size so that you can hang it on your fridge or your wall or maybe give it away to someone else you wish to say Merry Christmas to.


Anita Night

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Advanced Individual D&D Project- Final post!!!

Yes indeed. The time has come for me to put an end to this project. I have for the past three months tried top post most of my progress during this very taxing but fun and informing project.

For those who are not already familiar with it, here is a little recap;
I wanted to do a fantasy illustration project, simply because I love fantasy art and roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons, vampire the masquerade and Pathfinder. (not to kiss ass or anything but D&D is my favorite game hands down). The teachers at the University were not as enthusiastic as I were because they did not have such a good experience with previous students doing something like this (they don't really like fantasy illustration either). They demanded I have some sort of text to work from, if I didn't I would have to choose something else. So I thought ok, I'll just have to get some text to work from and Lo and behold the savior of my project came into the picture. Mr. Jon Schindehette. 
I sent him an e-mail asking for help. I wondered if he could provide me with some art briefs previously given to other artists on behalf of WotC. I din't really expect any help because he is so busy, but as the wonderful person he is he agreed to help me out, and I'm forever grateful.
So over the course of this semester I have been doing research, sketching, Photoshoping and gods know what else in order to improve on my skills as a fantasy illustrator. 

The result is six individual illustrations. Each of them inspired by an art brief from the D&D universe. I was originally going to make 8 illustrations, but time is a fickle friend and I had to downsize the project somewhat. At last I have finished and today I handed in my project. I have no idea how it will be received by my teachers but my fingers are crossed for a good result. 

So without further ado, her are my final pieces:

Fig 1: Hobgoblin, Goblin and Bugbear cover art.
I'm not entirely sure this would work as cover art, but as a free standing illustration I like it. This is by far the most detailed and crowded illustration I have ever made, and I'm so proud that I stuck to it even though I wanted to give up several times and in the end revamped the entire background. The dead goblins on the floor could be rendered better, but this was a last minute finish and I am well aware of a few mistakes here and there.

Fig 2: White Tower
This is a environmental/architecture illustration. It is supposed to depict a crumbling white tower standing on a small bluff with rubble around on the ground. It had to look like it was glowing slightly. No wines or moss were supposed to be clinging to it. It also had to show the tower at night. Over all I think the illustration looks good. I have some troubles when it comes to working with perspectives, so I'm not very confident in my own abilities in this area. However I do think the illustration works and I'm very proud of the grass I painted to be honest. Small things like that are often hard to do.


Fig 3: Shadar-Kai Warlock.
This was by far one of the most challenging illustrations to do. Because of the perspective and all the architecture. I am not used to doing detailed background and this was good practice for me. I'm not where I want to be yet when it comes to technical skill but I definitely see great improvement in my work. And I absolutely love how the buildings turned out.

Fig 4: Elf Sorcerer
An elven sorcerer surrounded by flames holding a brass orb. He was supposed to look confident and the flames were to appear as if the were coming from him. Now I haven't really focused on the last part as it was more important to me that the elf looked confident and strong. I had some trouble with the face and had to redo it several times. I like the characters clothes, but I think some more texture on his robe might elevate it further, so I might work some more on it later when I'm not so busy.

Fig 5: Drider and Mul slave
In this illustration the Mul slave is trying to choke the Drider slave master with the chains on his manacles. This illustration went throug a lengthy process before I got it right. I'm very happy with the background. It's simple but still interesting and it looks like a dark and dingy room of cells or pens. The Drider turned out pretty great too. The Mul I am not completely satisfied with. The face is a bit weird and it could need some more rendering, but I didn't have the time to improve upon it further before handing in the assignment. 

Fig 6: Human Warden
This is a class description illustration of a female and hopefully slightly asian-looking warden. She is manipulating the earth and stone around her during combat. I wanted there to be a lot of movement in this picture so I drew her in a dynamic pose, gave her hair flying every which way and a long billowing cloak to accentuate the movement. This illustration took a lot of time too, because I had trouble with the face once again. What I am very pleased with is the texture of her hide armour and the details in the fur around her shoulders and on her boots.

All in all this project went well. I have improved a lot on my skills in Photoshop which is remarkable since I am what I call technically retarded. My anatomy skills and use of perspective has become a lot better too. What I can improve upon is better rendering, and to study faces and poses more, because I tend to draw the same face over and over. I need to pay more attention to details and remember to draw things from more extreme points of view rather than keeping my compositions flat and safe.

I hope the people who have been following my progress can see my positive development and I hope that I have not dissappointed Mr. Schindehette, who has been so kind in giving me the art briefs needed and given me critique on some of my works.

From the bottom of my heart thank you to all the friends who have been encouraging me to do better, and reminding me to take a break now and again.

Anita Night 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Simple acrylic practice

Here are some simple artefacts I painted for my fantasy project. Just some simple technique tests really. And even though I'm used to working with acrylics it's a long time since I did. I found that my skills with the brush needed some refreshing. It took a while to get used to it again, but it was such a welcome relief after working with Photoshop constantly for the past two months.

Hope you guys enjoy them, I sure did ^^

Until next time,

Anita Night