Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Becca's Vikings - Underpainting!

Hey guys! OK so I'm just so excited about this piece that I wanted to share the under-painting (in progress). Yay!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ragnarok: Fenrir Swallows Odin Whole Sketch

Sorry for the quality of the picture, this was as good as I could do right now.  Fenrir, the huge wolf, eats Odin whole as Valhalla is destroyed in the background by falling meteors or fireballs or something epic like that.  In the final I'm thinking Fenrir will be tones of red, pretty much the entire pice will be in a reddish hue.  Snow will be falling, people will be running out on the gates of Valhallah.  It's gonna be fun.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Craig's Viking Drawing

Here is my Viking drawing. I need to do a color sketch next and in it I will be paying a lot of attention to planning out the tones of the various layers involved here including all the atmospheric hazy levels. For now I'd love to hear which details of the drawing work for you and which need tweaking. I'm pretty happy with most elements but I'll let you comment first. Thanks!

Lis's Viking Sketch

So here's the final sketch... I will be printing it out lightly and then drawing it nicely with pencil. As you can see it has really changed! It was super horizontal and kind of boring before. Brought it into my mentorship with Rebecca Guay for critique. Super excited to paint this... hopefully painting it won't be a nightmare--in particular the water and froth. But if all else fails... photoshop! :P I need to edit the hand with the hair entwined around it... fingers are a lil weird.

And here's a color comp... but it's not really complete... it'll probably end up a lot different with more contrast and color, etc.

Becca's Viking Sketch(es)

Full size image
Cropped in close
Cropped a bit less, and flipped horizontally

Same as above, but not flipped.

Okie dokie, here's what I've got going so far! An intimate moment between father and daughter, before the father goes off to... somewhere in one of those sweet ships. The focus is really going to be on the girl, and I'm curious what you guys think about which direction they should be facing. I'm playing with cropping too. I'll be working up some tonal and color comps as well, and really trying to pay attention to maintaining my focal point - Jesper Ejsing recently did a nice post about this on the Muddy Colors blog. I'm avoiding going into a ton of detail until I've got the basics really hammered out - let me know what you all think, the more input the better!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Craig's Viking Thumbnail

After talking with everyone and getting their comments I wanted to push my thumbnail farther. I wanted more going on in the picture and more fantasy elements. I'm going for a drawing and painting that hopefully are more challenging for me. The scene is more dramatic but the viking is more subdued. A young man having a vision high on a hill as Valkyries ride an oncoming storm.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Craig's Viking Thumbnails

Scott's right, so many ideas for vikings!

This is how the idea progressed. I just want the most intense, fierce looking warrior I can paint. Hopefully a real contrast to the Unicorn piece. One was a little wonky. Two introduced a cool storm filled sky with vertical shafts of light streaking down, but much too posy. Three is a much more interesting pose to me, how does it work for you? Four is vertical possibly like a Magic planeswalker and I'm trying to push the half barbarian/half viking idea farther, but way too posy. Five is starting to look better, he's on the dragon ship about to hit shore, throw his spear and attack, more perspective and depth. Crazy storm filled sky with these sort half angel/Valkyrie things (from two) looming above and a strip of sea and bright horizon line way in the back.

Anything good here? Let's all get in Spectrum!

Owen's Viking Thumbs

After a lot of different ideas, I felt I needed to do a piece based on existing mythology.  I'm really excited about the last thumbnail; it's based on one of the events in Ragnarok, the Norse armageddon.  At one point, Odin's giant wolf, Fenrir, swallows Odin whole.  Later, Odin's son cuts the wolf open and Odin is set free.  So I want to show Odin being gobbled up by Fenrir, while Valhalla is on fire in the background.  I'm pretty sure I want to do the one on the far top right, but I did a horizontal version on the bottom right also. 

Becca's Viking Thumbs

Here's my idea so far for the Viking piece. I'd like to do a piece that can play to my children's book portfolio, but also have enough of a fantasy element to be a good entry for Spectrum. The image will be of a young girl and her father, who is about to leave on some sort of expedition. I'm not sure if he's going to war or trading or what - that will determine whether he's holding an ax, shield, etc. They are having a tender moment before he has to leave - I'll have to play with their expressions a bit, I'm trying to decide how stoic to make him, and how sad to make the girl. I'm going to have to do some research, but I'm really excited to design their clothing (lots of furs and heavy cloth). I plan on using a very limited palette, with muted tones except for his beard and her hair. I'm thinking of it as a book cover.

Anyhooo these are just my ideas so far, and I know these thumbs are suuuuper simple, but hopefully they get the basic idea across. Also, let me know if you think any of these might be better flipped to face the other direction.

Scott's Viking Thumbnails!

RARRGG! VIKINGS! So at last I can manage to get back in here with another RWP project! It's been way too long!
This one's been both fun and tough so far for me because vikings are just so cool...and I've had waaay too many directions pulling at my brain. So it's been a little tricky to get my mind to slow down for a minute so that I can settle on some solid ideas. One could literally spend a lifetime trying to illustrate all of the tales and images that vikings conjure up!
Anyway, here's a few of my favorite thumbs. Please be as critical as possible because I really want this piece to be sweet. If you think they all suck...tell me! and I'll start over. There's plenty more images in my head to contend with.
Ok, this one is kind of a wraparound cover sort of thing.  Pretty straight forward. The leader or hero or whatever of the viking army stands facing us while the others are pointing to a distant village which has beams of light cast on it.

Next, we have a brave viking chick who is valiantly sailing across the seas to conquest or something. She has her pet falcon with her also. But she has a grim side because there's a head and skull hanging from the side of the boat in the Foreground cast in shadow.
This one is not looking nearly as badass and I have in my head...yet. But its a really gnarly looking viking dude walking towards us with an evil smile and a raven on his shoulder. he is lit by moonlight on top and fire from below as if from a torch. The background is fire and silhouetted figures.

This one is from the story of Sigurd and Fafnir the dragon.  Sigurd has killed the dragon and removed the dragons heart to consume. (Though I suppose that the heart would be a lot bigger?) Anyway, pretty explanatory.

And this one is of a viking ship just about to be attacked by a dragon. The leader is yelling a warning to the others.

 If I had to pick favorites I'd have to say I like 1,2, and 5 best. But I would have fun will all of them! What does everyone think?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lis's Viking Thumbs

So I think I have a pretty clear idea of where I'm going with this, I just need help deciding on the composition that works best... It's kind of a wrap-around book cover size (but it doesn't necessarily have to be composed like a book cover)... but I don't know if I want the goddess turning her face toward the ship, or away from them with her eyes turned toward the ship, or if I want her flipped in the other direction! :P

Anyway, Rán is a Norse sea goddess and she likes to drown sailors (án), so I have a viking ship in stormy seas struggling to stay upright and get to shore (or just away!), and Rán is rising from the sea. I'm pretty exciting about painting this!!!!

I envision Rán to have multiple 'tiers' - her bottom half is foamy with waves and water splashing (water spout-like), and she still has some hair dragging in the sea, but in the middle her body becomes less water and more of just a transparent-ish being, and at top i want the rest of her hair to be flying around and kind of blending in with the clouds. In the foreground the ship/sea will be the darkest with bolder outlines, and there should be a nice atmospheric gradient to the distance. I also want there to be lights visible on the shore from torches/huts. Oh... and she'll be wearing some clothes... though one boob might be hanging out.... goddess style.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New RWP Project: Vikings!

 Vikings from the movie How to Train Your Dragon.

The RWPers have been busy little bees recently, but at long last we will be doing a project that all five of us will participate in. With the Spectrum 19 deadline coming up in January, the time is ripe for some kick-ass new paintings.  The theme is, you guessed it, Vikings!

Viking: The term Viking (from Old Norse víkingr) is customarily used to refer to the Norse (Scandinavian) explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.

Thanks Wikipedia

This theme can be twisted and turned any old way you please. Just have some Viking in there.

Thumbnails - December 2nd
Sketches - December 16th
Final Painting - January 16th (extra time allotted because we expect these to be extra awesome)

Have at it!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Art from Lis: Marguerite

Always fun to see how sketches turn into final paintings and what changes. Look back a few posts and you'll see my initial sketch for Marguerite. I finished it during a mentorship I'm doing with Rebecca Guay, along with another piece - Night Song.

Go check out Night Song, from Hans Christian Andersen's "The Nightingale," over on my blog!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Craig's New Unicorn Horn

I was experimenting with better lighting to photograph my art - and it helps a lot! Here is a new picture of my Unicorn. I tweaked the horn and seriously hope it looks centered at last. I also toned down its color and texture. I think it blends in much better now, more ivory than gold.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Becca's Recent Work

Hey guys! I've recently been working on a couple of children's book dummies, and while I can't share most of it here, I can show you this exploratory piece that I did a little while ago, and the the new process I've been working on of late - I've set aside the watercolors for a bit, and am trying something new (and fun!). You can read more about the process and what I've been up to on my blog Something Artsy. I'll post a new project for RWP soon too!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

New portfolio piece for Lis

Hey all! It's been quiet around here /: Well we aren't working on any group projects, but we can still post sketches for our own ideas! This is portfolio piece idea I had.. kind of a book cover for young adult or early reader. The first one was my initial sketch, but then I made the foreground bigger and made the background smaller so I think I like the second one best. I'll need to get photo reference for the girls body, I think the arms around the pig are a little off. Please let me know what you think!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lis's Troll Painting

Finally!!! My troll is finished (: I couldn't continue working on it for the past month because I've had nonstop guests... but once they left, I was able to finish in four days. Pretty pleased with it... I was really disliking it before I started to paint, but I think I was just sick of looking at it unfinished on my desk. Now go rent TrollHunter!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Running With Paintbrushes at GenCon!

Scott and Lis at Scott's booth, Day 1
I was going to take pictures of the booth each day, but that never happened.  Scott, in my opinion, had a very successful Con.  He sold a couple originals, a lot of prints, and got Best in Show for a Running with Paintbrushes assignment!  It was a lot of fun to watch.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Billy Goats Gruff

Ahoy, everyone!  So this is finally done.  I have been working on 2 pet portraits while I was doing this one, thats why I didn't finish earlier.  I'm happy with this piece.  I want to do another piece showing more of the character design and less perspective, cause I think if anything, the proportions aren't exactly clear.  I'm very happy with his face and how the bridge came out.  Anyway I hope everyone likes it, and If you don't know the story, SPOILER! (the goats do not get eaten, crafty little guys they are).

On a nerdy note, I will be wandering around GenCon, in Indianapolis, this weekend, Scott and Lis will be there also, so come by Scotts booth we'll probably be there. 

The Billy Goats Gruff, 10" x 14", Oil on Paper on Masonite, 2011.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Owen's Troll Sketch

Here is my sketch for the Troll assignment.  It's a take on the tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff.  The big bad Troll is holding onto the youngest goat as it pleads for it's life, and to eat his father, for he is more of a meal.  The goats father and grandfather look over the bridge wall in the upper left corner.  Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lis's Troll Sketch

Hi folks! So here is my troll sketch... I included a few rotation variations so it may not be as straight on... depending on what people think. I ended up making the troll less dumpy... I was getting annoyed by his dumpiness and I wanted him to be a little more scary looking. I had a lot of trouble trying to figure it all out, composition, looks etc. I think I'm finally satisfied though. Will be a good portfolio piece for Gencon! I'll probably post a color comp in a few days. I have a vision!

The first one is the original. The other two are tilted toward the right or left.

And click this to see an larger one for detail...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Owen's Troll Thumbnails

For my Troll piece I tried to come up with many different compositions and things for trolls to be doing, but I kept coming back to the 3 Billy Goats Gruff.  Oh and I hate myself because for the past 2 weeks I have been drawing trolls nonstop, I had pages and pages of trolls and I wanted to show my evolution of drawings to get to these 2 thumbnails.  Then of course I left my sketchbook at work and didn't realize it until I was way to far away to turn back and get it.  Anyway, essentially these are my 2 favorite ideas.  I think I personally like the one on the left.  Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lis's Troll Thumbs

Hey all! Here are my troll thumbs.

The first two - Troll shepherd with goats (if you think a troll being a shepherd is weird, I'm not the only one that thought of it! Google and you will see one of those popular troll statues as a shepherd with goats! haha. He eats them later :P), or a troll fishing with his hovel behind him. I'm going for the fishing scene I think. I want it to be kind of a portrait, a troll in his comfort zone.

This second thumbs are just a comical idea - giant troll with itty bitty sheep... in the left thumb he's bending down and picking one up delicately, and the others are running away. I think it's a cute idea, but I'm still leaning toward the fishing troll... maybe I'll do this later.

I will, of course, work on my troll character design more for the final. He's a bit boring right now.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Project: TROLLS!!!!

Recently, a few of us went and saw TrollHunter, an amazing movie from Norway. A documentary style film, it follows film students who think they are making a documentary about bear poaches but it turns into so much more. It's hilarious, and the trolls are fantastic! It inspired our next project -  Trolls! This project is for Owen and Lis, as everyone else is busy on personal work at the moment. If anyone else would like to join in, feel free!

The due dates are as follows:
Thumbs - Friday July 8
Sketches - Wednesday July 13
Final - Wednesday July 27

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Hello everyone! As you can see, there hasn't been a post in a while. Everyone has been super busy this summer on various personal projects, commissions, and exciting travels. Becca is even getting ready to start her MFA! You should check out all our blogs and websites for updates.

I recently finished a painting that you can check out over at my own blog:

We may start up a new challenge again soon, those of us who aren't ridiculously busy. Until next time!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Becca's Unicorn

Hey all! Here's my unicorn! I had a great time working on this one. It was a challenge, but I got it to a place where I'm happy with it. I looked a lot at Charles Vess and James Jean's work (esp his Fables cover art) for color palette ideas and general inspiration on this piece.

Question - the colors look a bit dull on my monitor - how do they look to you?

Owen's Unicorn

Finally I have finished my Unicorn painting.  I really loved working on this piece, so I wanted it to be the best it could be, I reworked and repainted far more than I usual.  There should be a second layer to all my paintings, but I rarely have the time.  I hope this comes off as a good young adult or children's book type piece.
Lately I have been using a very limited palette of Raw Umber, Ult. Blue, Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow,  a bit of Burnt Sienna, Titanium White and Ivory Black, and maybe a few other colors for the flowers.  The outcome feels very natural to me.  
If anyone looks at the Unicorn in Captivity Tapestry from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you can see that I modeled the flowers, unicorn, and pomegranate tree on that piece.  I still think that's probably the best, most sophisticated unicorn.  My fiance has a poster of it in our living room.  What a great piece.

The Unicorn, 21"x16", Oil on Paper on Masonite, 2011. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lis's Final: The Light in the Weald

Hey! Here is my unicorn final. I actually ended up using acrylic, and I really enjoyed it!! I printed the image on watercolor paper, put a green wash down, then covered it in a few layers of matte medium. I then worked with washes of acrylic (and some opaque acrylic in the light areas), before spraying it with varnish. Took a little longer than my watercolor work, but overall I am pleased. I want to work this way again! Unicorns <3...

It ended up quite different from my color comp... but that's how it goes with me. I always get more saturated with my colors than I intend. I guess that's my style? It's not as ominous in feeling... more Disney-esque. But I love Disney so it's cool. Tried color correcting in photoshop to make it more like my comp, but I like this.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Craig's Unicorn Color Sketch

I have my copy mounted on board. I wanted to see my color idea before I dove in to paint. The first idea is very straightforward white sunlight and blue skies with shadows falling into grey-purples. The atmospheric perspective will just be a fade into pale blue. Pinks on the girl and gold-yellow on the horn and hair will bring attention there. Right now the sea needs a little more brightness and glitter. Maybe too tame? Try storm filled sky or deep golden light?

P.S. I'm on the header! Thanks, header maker person.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Craig's Unicorn Drawing

Here's my drawing. Sky and sea and a small island peeking through at the right. This will need a color sketch to figure out color and values. Should be a challenge with a white dress, white birch trees and a white unicorn.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Owen's Unicorn Sketch

Sorry I'm so late with this, I finished it saturday but for some reason I thought monday was the due date, and then I realized monday night I had to go to a passover seder.  Anyway, this is my sketch.  I really like it, I tried to incorporate as much of the unicorn tapestry as I could: the pomegranate tree (I'll paint the leaves in later), all the different flowers, and I tried to make him less a horse and more a hybrid goat-horse.  I do need to know what you all think of the girl.  I made her looking at the unicorn as a compositional thing, eyes going toward the center of interest.  But technically she can't be looking at the unicorn.  You could make the argument that she is reacting to the hoof noises on the roof, or plants growing in from her ceiling.  Should I change her face to be looking at the hoof prints on the side of the building (which will be growing flowers and grass as well), or keep her as she is? 

Craig's Unicorn Thumbnails

First of all thanks to Becca for inviting me to be in on this Unicorn "assignment" and thanks to everyone for letting me be part of Running with Paintbrushes! Let me dive right in ...

I like the upshot of the Unicorn. For some reason I think a unicorn should be with a young woman, maybe a "barbarian" girl?A much more active shot. The woman has just jumped on.

But I think I like this more. A little "posey" but I like the interaction of the unicorn, woman and landscape foreground and background. I'm going to start drawing this up but there's always room for input.