Friday, October 29, 2010

Polar Bears Illustration

Polar Bears
Commissioned Illustration
Painted with Corel Painter on a Wacom Cintiq display
This is my second illustration for the Coin Club of Australia. At this stage, I can't reveal too much information about these coins until after their release date (which I didn't quite realise before, and that is why my previous blog entry shrank a bit during the week). I am thoroughly enjoying working digitally, but there are times, such as this week, where I miss the simplicity of picking up a pencil.
I decided, since it looks like much of my commission work will be digital illustrations, to purchase a Wacom Cintiq tablet, which allows you to draw directly on the display screen, whereas with the Bamboo tablet, you are drawing on a tablet whilst looking at a computer screen and this takes a bit of co-ordination. I was so excited when the Cintiq arrived on Wednesday, only to find that the power pack supplied was faulty - rang Wacom and was assured one would be sent the next day. When no power pack arrived next day, I rang again (with steam coming out of my ears) and they arranged to courier me a new pack. It arrived late Thursday, but now I had problems getting Corel to open up on the Cintiq display and it wouldn't maximise without shutting down.
After spending about four hours on the phone to Wacom and Corel, uninstalling both Corel and the tablet and reinstalling both, the problem was finally resolved. And so today, I was able to complete the illustration that was started last Monday. Had I done this illustration in pencil, it would have been finished last Tuesday!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Commemmorative Coin Commission - Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog
Painted with Corel painter

I was approached last week to do a series of illustrations for commemorative coins for the Australian Coin Club. In so many ways, this is the kind of project I love to work on the most.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My Dilemma

11x14 inches
Coloured pencils on matte board

After redoing this sample illustration for Macmillan Publishers three times this week (about 30 hours work), I received word today that they have decided not to proceed as they feel this illustration lacks the drama and movement that they are looking for. My overwhelming feeling was one of sheer relief. My family will vouch that I have been a huge stress head and quite challenging to live with whilst working on this project. It has been a goal of mine to try and move more into the area of illustration, but I am starting to have second thoughts. I did struggle with this picture, because those of you familiar with my art would know that I prefer to work on themes that are tender, and gentle, as opposed to dramatic and violent. When working on portraits, and whatever art projects take my fancy, I am generally quite at peace, but the main problem is the unpredictability of the income. Whilst working on Saxon today (and being quite at peace), I started to reevaluate the direction that I am going. One of the main reasons I left nursing was to have the opportunity to work doing something that I love and still have time to be the best possible Mum and wife I could be (I certainly wouldn't have fitted that description this week!) without feeling stressed a lot of the time. My dilemma therefore, is whether to keep striving for a career in illustration and the potential for a better income, or to keep pottering away as I have been. Life is never simple!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Please help me :)

Two blogs in one day - I'm on a roll. But actually I am asking a favour of my fellow bloggers. This is my entry for the upcoming Illustrators Australia exhibition and features our youngest son Sam, who has a particular fascination for dragons and dinosaurs. I wanted to try and capture the magic and wonder of childhood in this illustration, but I am stumped when it comes to giving it a title. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. This is another digital illustration, done with corel painter and photoshop.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sample illustration - Life Cycle of the Green Sea Turtle

Life Cycle of the Green Sea Turtle - attacked by a shark
Painted with a Wacom table, Corel Painter and photoshop
I must apologize, firstly to my blogger friends as I know I have got tardier lately with my blogging and checking out what all my talented fellow artists have been up to. Lately, I am happy to say, my workload has increased substantially, both with commissions and illustration work, and so between this increase in work volume, and also trying to still be a good Mum and wife, it doesn't leave a lot of time left over. This is another sample illustration for Macmillan Publishers, for a children's reference book on the life cycle of Green Sea Turtles, which if approved will lead to the commissioning of illustrations for two books.
I am still very much a novice at digital artwork, but definitely find this the most efficient way of working when doing illustrations. Whilst it still takes me the same amount of time to create an illustration digitally, as by conventional mediums, it makes any inevitable amendments that need to be made so much easier. I can't imagine doing this illustration in watercolours, or coloured pencil and then having to redo the whole thing because some aspects were not suitable. I do find that many people view digital art with suspicion, and in many circles it is not regarded as a legitimate art form. For the purpose of illustration work however, it is an absolute blessing and is somehow very liberating, as I am not overwhelmed with the endless fear that I am going to 'stuff it up' and thereby ruin hours of work.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Final illustration in Platypus Life Cycle Series

Life Cycle of a Platypus - Mother nursing her babies.
This is the final illustration for the series of four on the life cycle of the Platypus for Macmillan Publishers. It is amazing how few reference photos there are for platypus even on-line, which is obviously why Macmillan had to call on the services of an illustrator, however I did a fair bit of research for the project and hopefully have achieved some level of accuracy. These illustrations will actually be within small circular frames, so they will be cropped further, but so long as the kids get the general idea. :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

More Platypus Life Cycle Illustrations

Platypus mother lays her eggs in a burrow

Two adult platypus mating

I'm having a very constructive weekend in terms of work. We have a labour day long weekend, and so far the weather has been quite wet and miserable (which I really love) and all the men in our house spent yesterday glued to the TV watching the AFL Grand final and then today watching the NRL Grand Final, which left me with not much to do but work. These illustrations aren't due until Friday, but happily I am now well ahead of schedule and only have one more to complete, which means I can also spend some quality time with the kids during the school holidays this week. Both these illustrations were done using Corel painter and

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Step by step Tutorial - Graphite Portrait of a Dog

Volume 18 No.2 edition of Fine Art and Decorative Painting includes my step by step tutorial on doing a dog portrait in graphite pencil on drafting film and is now available from most newsagents. The subject for this tutorial is a stunning dog called Burton and the client kindly gave her permission for me to use him for the article.