A New Painting

I could spend a lot more time perfecting this painting, but I’ve been working on it off and on for almost a year now. I need to move on. It’s a set piece with Vanya and Taniel, Wanderlust main characters. I painted in black and white because my book illustrations are black and white, but it’s not an illustration of any specific scene. Click the image if you’d like to see it a little larger.


This is a digital painting created in Adobe Photoshop. Comments and constructive criticism are very welcome. Everything’s still a learning process, and I’ve discovered since graduating that I have a very hard time finishing anything without deadlines. Part of this is that I’m still figuring out my style, and how far to polish things while retaining a sketchy and loose quality to the work. Still figuring out whether the sketchiness is a choice, rather than a lack of skill or inability to take an image to the level I would like to achieve. At any rate, I think I’d learn a lot more by completing pieces and then making more work, rather than by agonizing over a very few pieces that never reach completion. I hope that “finishing” this piece, and sharing it here, is a step in the right direction.

People have told me they enjoy seeing my rough work, so here are a few in-progress pics for the above completed image:

First, I sketched this sketch and decided I liked it:Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 11.49.03 AM


Originally, I wanted a futuristic city-scape for the background (I’d been watching a lot of Doctor Who, okay?):

Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 10.50.54 AM

Then I started using photos of myself for anatomy reference. Someday this will be the first step, instead of the oh-crap-I’ve-already-started-drawing-and-now-that-I’ve-spent-three-hours-on-this-pose-I-realize-it’s-not-anatomically-possible step.

Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 10.52.18 AM

Suddenly clouds, more anatomy reference for Vanya, and All The Trouble In The World with that face. I used a de-colorized still from a Studio Ghibli film for reference while working on the clouds.Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 10.55.37 AM

I decided the city was way too much trouble, but still wanted to keep the blimps. Face is getting there.

Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 10.59.29 AM

And nearly there. Goodbye blimps, hello castle.

Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 11.01.46 AM

And the rest is mostly lighting and finishing. Scroll back up for the [as] finished [as it’s going to get right now] piece!


2 thoughts on “A New Painting

  1. I love it and I love seeing how you got to it, Doctor Who references and all. You know, I tend to think that someone with a real art education just breezes through every painting, always knowing exactly what she wants and how to achieve it. It’s comforting to see that even an educated artist goes through troubles and makes changes along the way. I have to say, I kind of miss the blimps. 🙂

    • I miss the blimps a little too; maybe they’ll make a reappearance in a future version of the piece! And about the art education: sometimes it makes me so aware of all the things I *don’t* want to achieve that it’s overwhelming, and hard to even get started. Sometimes I miss how much fun art was in high school, when I had no idea what I was doing wrong and every piece was a fun new adventure. Comparing my work then and now, though, I would absolutely not trade everything I’ve learned. There are so many little pieces of advice from professors that have been so valuable, that I hear over and over again as whispers in my ear when I’m working. But the biggest thing I learned at school is that every piece is hard work, and that *nothing* is a breeze. Before I went to art school, I also used to think that everything would be easier once I had an “art education,” but the truth is that what I learned was how to work harder for my art than I ever had before.

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