Happy thoughts with a warm feeling.

“One of the nice things about being an artist is never having to waste money on greeting cards again.”

I picked up that line from a friend somewhere in past, and I wholeheartedly have to agree with it. As every year comes and goes, I haven’t had to buy a greeting card for ages anymore. And just as last year, I loved drawing this one.
Last year I was overwhelmed by long lists of accomplishments on almost everyone’s homepage. Hence why I had decided to go against the stream and not to look back in the past. This year is no different. Though, with one minor exception.

I remember when I wrote last year, that I was looking forward to a hopefully brighter future. One without the need to look for heroes. Unfortunately, we got worse. Murphy, I blame you again, old boy. Just having to think of the many things people have had to go through this year: Paris, Mali, those crashed airplanes and I’ll probably forget a lot more.. It seems we’re still a long way from a future where we work together as an intelligent species in order to be able to write this post on board of an intergalactic starliner. But let’s not dwell too much on the past, and instead look ahead to the future, with a positive view.
This year’s pretty girl is sitting on a stack of presents, and naturally acting as one in the process. I’ve been dying to create an illustration like this for a while now, but never found the right reason/moment for it. Intentionally, she was to be a bit more saucy, but since this greeting card is ment for my grandmother as well I.. wisely decided against it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make the rest of the family and a few of my closest friends quite happy with her and thus providing my share for a warmer Christmas and new year.

As is usually the norm, I decided to add the complete process here as well, this way you can actually spot the many mistakes and errors I made during the creation process. Or just be awed by the process and stare/ogle at her enticing beauty like I do. Anyways.. -hum- I also decided to add a shiny wallpaper for all of you, just like last year. You can download it here for free and adorn your desktop with it, for an even warmer -hum- Christmas experience.

So, with that in mind, the only thing for me to wish you is: lots of fun in the snow (if we’ll get any this year), a lot of hot cups of chocolate (with a marshmallow of course) and some solid positive vibes. Happy holidays folks.

A happy Christmas & a merry new year. Or something like that.

Happy HolidaysI’ll start of with a few classic tropes in times like these. “Another year has passed.” “So many things have happened.” “I wonder what next year will bring…”
And now I’ll let you in on a small secret of mine. I only care for one of these three feeble sentences. Guess which one. I’m not one to look behind. If and when I do, it’s mostly about stuff I really like, but with a mind as forgetful as mine, that’s unlikely to happen very fast. Hence, I look ahead. No long lists of accomplishments here, sir. Oh no.

I look forward to a hopefully brighter future. One without the need to look for heroes. One where we don’t cherish a football god and where instead, we work together as an intelligent species in order to be able to write this very post on board of an intergalactic starliner (one can always dream, right?). Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be all negative here and whatnot, I too stop to smell the roses once in a while, but I see no point in doing that at the end of every year, pure out of obligation or because everyone else does.

So that’s why I drew this illustration. A pretty girl sitting behind a window in a warm fuzzy place, dreaming and staring out to what lies ahead. I made a few of my closest friends (hopefully) quite happy by turning her into this year’s Christmas card and I’ve added the work in progress and results in this post for you to see as well. So for now, just enjoy the snow (if you have any), get toasty in front of the fireplace and have a hot coco with a marshmallow in it. I know I will. Happy holidays folks.

Oh, and if you’re as big a fan of this sweetheart as I am, you might want to grab the free wallpaper I’ve included at the bottom. Because, you know, it’s Christmas after all 😉


Wallpaper_02

The Grand Army of the Republic Wants You

Here’s a question to all you budding artists who are reading this: “Haven’t you ever wondered how your art will look like in about five or so years from now?”

Well, a couple of years ago, when I was trying out various styles, I had that same question. Nowadays, nothing has really changed, I’ll have you know. Though I can say I made some vast improvements on various levels. Anatomy being one of them. Or.. well, at least I hope I have. That’s more for the experts to decide, really. Anyway, a couple of days ago I decided to do something I normally never do; to redo a painting from a couple of years ago. I chose to do this particular piece, because (in contrast to the happiness level I had reached about it, back then) I never “really” was fully happy with it. Something felt “off”. Either it was her mouth, her build or the way she was standing. Or maybe it was the way I had painted her skin .. something (or all of it combined) felt very wrong.

So after various amounts of tweaking and eventually leaving it to move on to other projects, I decided to rebuild this one from the ground up. I only kept the pose and outfit and gave her a completely different style, look and attitude. She now looks more like what I had in mind in the first place. My inner demons were pleased when I finally finished the new, improved version. And only then do I truly know that it’s “done”.

Because I love to help you guide through the entire process, I created a small work-in-progress version as well, showing you how exactly I came by to this final result. Let’s go through the entire process with the usual four steps, which you might remember from last time, should you have read it already.

Just as last time, I’ll begin with a simple line trace for Step #01, the hard (please-let-this-be-over-quickly) work of every drawing. If you (or your clone) made it through this part in one piece, we can step over to the next part.

Step #02 is still gruntwork, since we’re adding the basic colors and shadows at this stage, though I’d like to adress you that you pay strong attention to the light here, since you don’t want your subject to look unrealistic. I didn’t want to emphasize the light and shadow this time, so I kept it light and fluffy for once.

Step #03 is the where the jolly part kicks in and where I take it over from my clone; the detailed coloring of the subject. This is where my reference material kicks in as usual, especially for those “detailed” specifics in this instance -hum- ..

To end the process, we have Step #04, where the icing of the cake happens. The magic. The good stuff. My all-time favorite, the small details, the textures, every bruise, scratch and dirt spot has to be taken care of in this process. Everything to make your painting just that bit more shiny. Usually followed up by some/a few/a lot of corrections since I’m going very micro in this stadium. This is normally the point where you best mirror your paint or take a step back, just to see if and where you went wrong. Though, I’m no expert in this, since I *still* need to remind myself of this a bit. If you did something wrong big-time, then it’s usually back to Step #03, get past start and earn yourself a quick 200$ on the way. Or does that only count for Monopoly?

A comparison between the old and new version of “Join The GAR”

And oh yeah, here’s a comparison of the old versus the new result. What do you think? A lot better, right? I hope you guys found this as fun and informative as I had making this. Now, onto the next one, shall we?.

Cheers,
-me