I've been working on a series of fairies...more to come!
For the sketch, I usually spend a lot of time messing around with shapes, the silhouette of the character, the intent/concept, and details in the costume. Scale is something I'm playing with, too, in this series. I am establishing the size of these fairies compared to bees, dragonflies, and other winged insects, all of which are also relative to flowers and other botanicals. My meditating fairy might be too large for the scale I am considering. Anyway, more to come. Enjoy!
If you are following my "Little Mermaid" reboot, I am still working on that story. It is currently deep in the writing phase, so I have no artwork to show. Hoping to have the story wrapped up by August so I can move on to thumbnailing pages!
For some time now I have been developing several stories of my own, but have decided to focus solely on my version of "The Little Mermaid" told in the Viking era. Originally I set the world in the Samurai era, which I still think would be pretty cool, but since I have roots in my Scandinavian heritage, I decided the project would be a cool way to learn more about the era of my ancestors.
I am planning thorough research on my little mermaid character, but I really wanted to design the main viking character first, since he would firmly set the era in place for my story. I'm really glad I spent so much time working on him since designing the character brought to mind some interesting story twists and ideas that I hadn't thought of previously.
I imagined he is a prince of the village (if vikings really had "princes") and expected to help navigate and organize raids. He is reluctant, however, since he has a strong interest in music. He would be much happier roving around with local musicians but his father does not approve.
Here is some exploration for the character:
And finally a story painting. I spent a lot of hours on this painting, but in the end, I am still not sure about this style and color palette. I may go back and repaint this more graphically after I finish my Little Mermaid designs.
I was so excited earlier this year because I had the opportunity to illustrate a Whisker Haven Tales "Little Golden Book"! I'm STILL excited about it now that the work is finished, too! I love Disney's Palace Pets and the world we've worked so hard to create for them in the animated shows.
On the animated show, I have been responsible for designing the environments and color palettes at Ghostbot, where they are produced and directed by the talented bots. The "Little Golden Book" I illustrated was based on the episode, "Masquerade Ball". It was so thrilling to translate the animated short into book illustrations. Painting everything to the nine's was super fun and definitely a learning experience that I hope to try again someday!
The process involved working up pencils for the entire book. Here are a few samples:
And after the pencils were approved by both Random House and Disney, I moved ahead with full color. The fun part! I could hardly wait for this stage, where I got to experiment with brushes in Photoshop to get the texture I was looking for. If I ever get to illustrate another book, I would like to push it even further.
Look for "Pawesome Costume Party" with the Palace Pets from Random House "Little Golden Books" coming soon!
UPDATE: I didn't get into the book. It is definitely disappointing, but I am hopeful that some of the work I am doing THIS year might be accepted. You win some, you lose some. I am currently working on a book and some exploratory paintings throughout this year. Here's to next year! Like a lot of artists, every year I submit a few images to be considered for entry into the Spectrum annual illustration book. Like a lot of artist, I have yet to get into the book. The book is a badge of honor in the art world, and so it is worth trying. This year I decided to enter this small series of paintings I did, all digital, of fairies I painted last year. My fairy series always come out of sketchbook musings and aren't necessarily attached to any particular project, just a bit of whimsy.
I've been experimenting with pastel brushes in Photoshop. I am striving to make my digital paintings look like my plein air pastels, a look that I really like in terms of texture, soft edges and layering of broken color. I have a ways to go yet in developing this look, but happy with this experiment. More to come!
Sometimes I just have to draw things that make me happy and are fun to think about. This was one of those pieces. I was originally going to render this entirely in ink for inktober, but I just never had the time during the entire month of October. I finally got a few free moments this past week, so I picked away here and there until it was finished.
For a long time I've dreamt of opening up my own shop to sell my original art, prints and, hopefully - books. I currently have a collection of 21 landscapes for sale, just in time for the holidays!
Here are a few landscapes from my selection of 21 original pastel landscapes for sale. All of these were painted on Bainbridge Island, Washington this past September. Check out the shop for more!
"Summer Willow Tree, Bloedel Nature Preserve", pastel on paper
"Birch Pines, Bloedel Nature Preserve", pastel on paper
"Forgotten Voyages", pastel on paper
"Japanese Pine, Bloedel Nature Preserve", pastel on paper
"Morning Willow Tree, Bloedel Nature Preserve", pastel on paper
"Pleasant Beach Afternoon", pastel on paper
"Rich Passage Morning, Bainbridge Island", pastel on paper
My father recently had a few of my paintings framed. I really like the simple mat and framing that his framer recommended. With pastel paintings, the mat needs to be slightly raised off of the surface because of the dust. This looks great and adds some dimension to the piece. I like how the borders of the paintings are exposed although I think they would also look great cropped. Either way - nice job!
Stay tuned - I will be updating the shop in 2017 with new items as I finish them.
I recently saw some online images of the Finnish ballet of Hans Christian Andersen's, "The Little Mermaid" and was totally floored. Everything from the costume design to the lighting and dance have a slightly dark and mysterious tone that feel just right for the classic tale, departing completely from the Disney version. It made me wonder what other cultures and takes on the tale might be interesting to see. I was inspired by the architecture of Okinawa and thought perhaps the Little Mermaid might fall in love with a Samurai. I'm not sure I really got it but it was seriously a blast to dream about.
Some initial thumbnails, dreaming about what kind of island The Little Mermaid first encounters the Samurai.
This is an establishing shot of the island I chose from the thumbnails, just before The Little Mermaid meets the Samurai she falls in love with.
I was thinking of some foreshadowing in the architectural motifs. These are a few ideas. The possibilities are endless, really.
Below are a few variations on The Little Mermaid. I still feel like I want to do a few more pages of these and then move on to the Samurai, Triton and the Sea Witch.
Many more updates coming in a few weeks! Thanks for visiting.
A few years ago I had this idea that tiny humans with wings were discovered in various regions of the planet. It's not a new idea at all, but I wanted to mess around with making these fairies a sort of tribal, pagan warrior race that looked more human than the wide-eyed alien version. I am deeply inspired by the art of Mary Cicely Barker (of Flower Fairy fame) and Margaret Tarrant, Edwardian era artists that depicted tiny human-like fairies usually of a friendly beautiful sort.
Margaret Tarrant watercolor
Cicely Mary Barker watercolor
I wanted to take their ideas about fairies and focus on aspects of character personality and group culture. It's a pretty big project that I am picking away at here and there in between many other projects.
I did this quick little sketch about five years ago. I like the idea but it's a little too vertical for the kinetics of the scene, and the costume doesn't work for me. I wanted to explore warriors that are more gutsy and brutal instead of sweet. I scanned my sketch and then did a TON of loose drawings on top to work out the idea more to my liking.
I also did a few studies of bees. Here are a few sketches. I thought about stylizing the shapes and the character far more than this, but in the end decided I'd rather focus on the story of the character, and of course (since I love to paint) the light.
I have a several more warrior fairies in the works in various states of finish. Hopefully I'll post a few more this year in between other posts. :)
For the past year or so I've been working on a new web and tv series called, Disney's "Whisker Haven Tales with the Palace Pets", published on the Disney Junior website and network. The latest episode, "Chowing Down" (Season 2), can be seen here:
All of these shows are developed, directed and produced at the awesome Ghostbot animation studio, where I have been working as Art Director with the Director-bots, Alan, Roque and Brad.
I am SO, SO proud of the really hard work that we all have done on this series. The best part has been meeting kids that tell me all about the shows and the characters. There is nothing better than that!
Here are a few production stills from this episode (I think this one is my favorite!), directed by Alan Lau. The color script on this episode was really key in getting the lighting, mood and tone just right, and also making sure transitions worked from the first sequence which was the set up to the indoor Kibble shop and dream sequences.
Below is some of the design work I did for the spring episode, "Hearts, Hooves, Eggs!", directed by Roque Ballesteros. The biggest thing I learned in this episode was scaling of details in the distance vs. the scale of details in the foreground. I spent a lot of time looking at mountainscapes studying how to make them work atmospherically.
The color script for the "Masquerade Ball", directed by Roque Ballesteros, was one of my favorites. The episode practically designed itself! A dark room with a party atmosphere was pretty interesting to explore in the color script and in the background design. I was surprised at how dark it could go, actually, and still read as long as the main characters had a good amount of light on them.
"Buddies Day", directed by Brad Rau, was really fun to design since the fall season was a character in the episode. I thought about things like how the color of the grass and the position of the sun in the sky would be different and distinct from episodes that take place in the summer or spring months. The most difficult part was the lighting in the maze from shot to shot, which required a color script - absolutely. In addition to that, getting a hay texture and shape in flash without it becoming too distracting or vector-y looking against the action of the characters was a real challenge. In the end, I think we found a good balance after a lot of trial and error.
I just wrapped on Season 2, 13 episodes, which will be released throughout the year including a Christmas episode I'm really excited about. I'm really hoping that we get a 3rd season. After 23 3 minute episodes I feel like I've really gotten to know the world pretty well. I enjoy every single part of the storytelling process in animation and film making and especially working with the Bots. I hope to visit the world of Whisker Haven again sometime soon!