Fantasy Art

Fantasy Art
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pin-up Part Two

I wasn't able to finish this in time to enter the contest because I was still doing a lot of sign work at the time and paying work had to come first even though this kind of thing was a lot more fun.  So I missed my time window while painting ...a window.  Then the painting was put aside and languished out in the woodshed for a few years.
Taking time away from my own work is another reason why I probably shouldn't enter contests. 

 Finally I decided to dig it out of the shed and finish it.
The first thing I wanted to change was to lighten it up.  The whole picture just transformed into a much more lighthearted and fun experience once it's outside in the sunshine instead of in some dark dreary dungeon.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Pin-Up Contest

I started this painting as part of a contest on a website about fantasy illustration.  (Wait a second have we had this conversation before?)
The idea was to look at some pin up art from the 50s and make a fantasy image with the same feel. For some reason there was a lot of pin-up art depicting scantily dressed women scolding some cute little animal like a cat or dog so I drew a little elf warrior girl scolding a baby dragon.
It was a fun project which appeals to my all-in-good-fun attitude towards fantasy and towards pin-up art, but I wasn't able to finish it in time due to prior commitments.
This was as far as it got at the time.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Owlbears

A few years ago there was a contest on a fantasy illustration website.  The contest was a conceptual design challenge to "Re-think the Owlbear".  Owlbears are a so called fictitious monster that is described in the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual as a bear with the head of an owl.  People thought that sounded silly and wanted a different explanation for this creature and its nature.  Well it is silly.  Owlbears as I'm sure you know are quite common in the Prescott National Forest in central Arizona and are not a bear at all, but simply a very large flightless owl.   Which if you've ever read much about owls makes them a great deal more terrifying than a silly old bear.  The wings have evolved into a forelimb for walking, but are equipped with a rake of claw-like feathers which can do devastating harm to enemies or prey.

Wildlife painting can be dangerous at the best of times, but this piece was particularly hazardous to produce.  Nice hike though, you can see Thumb Butte in the background, a landmark of the Prescott area.



So did I win the contest?  Nope, I wasn't even considered.  The guy said to me "That's too many claws."  I said "They're not claws they're feathers"  he said "Yeah, but why so many claws?"
...I shouldn't enter contests.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Selling Art and Aluminum Cans

Well well well what do we have here? Another hands in the air glam-pose? Just what I always wanted! That's OK I'll fix it somehow.
Even though it was just a 3 minute gesture sketch I really liked the rhythm of the pose all except for that hand on her head. Maybe if I'd given her a hat and had the wind blowing so it looks like she's keeping her hat on and her skirt down, but I didn't think of that. Maybe next time, I'm sure there'll be a next time. This is the same model who did the same hand-on-the-head thing in my earlier post "posing naked on a crocodile".   It seems to be a pet peeve of mine, but that's the beauty of it, it's my art all I have to do is change it.

So I changed it.  In this case I didn't come up with a clever solution, I just deleted it.
Notice her dress has some more of those swirly patterns like I showed yesterday.  I like recycling things it's a theme in my life.  

When I was a kid I gathered aluminum cans to sell. It was my first source of income and my first taste of financial independence. I did it again recently when money got tight. It's not a bad choice if you're out of work, you can be your own boss and set your own schedule. You probably can't make it work if you are homeless and pushing a shopping cart, but if you have both a bicycle and a car with a bike rack you can make at least equal to minimum wage. Carry your bike to street corner, ride around picking up cans. Deposit the bags in the car, ride to another street corner and do it again until the car's full then go cash in. You're limited only by your own speed and determination.
In fact as unglamorous as it was it was still an easy fit for an artist because I could choose not to do it anytime I wanted and pick it up again any time I wanted so there was no threat of getting fired or losing clients like you'd have in most lines of work.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What to Draw when there's Nothing to Draw

Sometimes when I want to draw I have no ides about what to draw.  Nothing comes to mind at all, so you know what I do then?  I draw.  Anything, anything at all just get the pencil moving.  These moments often begin with making a frame around the edge of the page or just doodling in little spiral patterns.  I have hundreds of them and harbor no fear but what I'll put them to use some day.



Such doodling led to this painting.
You see three layers of spirals in this painting.  Spirals carved into the stone, the red spirals partially contained inside the frame and partially escaping it.  And her hair and feathers twirling in front of those.

Temple Dancer
Oil Paint on Plywood 
48 inches by 24 inches
Sold
I have an aunt who was trained as a temple dancer in Thailand when she was small.  She gave me little figurines of dancers in exotic costumes which fired my imagination and sent me studying the ancient history of that region mostly looking for art and costumes.  While this costume is my own invention it somewhat evokes the style.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Not Perfect but Better

OK so I didn't like the arm in the air pose because I thought it looked silly.  The big challenge is to come up with a position the arm could be in without changing the height of the shoulder too much because then you're re-drawing the entire upper body.  So I actually drew her arm through the middle of the body with vine charcoal because it erases so easily and brought the hand out in this position.  This was after a couple failed attempts to have her holding a knife behind her back or holding something up up in the air.  That's why there's all that gray shading back there just to get hide all of those lines.
So I like this a whole lot better than I did before, but still not as well as I wish.


Monday, August 15, 2016

The Pin-Up Pose

Oh look another hands in the air pose!
Again I wouldn't mind at all if I were not attempting to make some kind of narrative image out of it.  So I really can't complain in life drawing class because that's not the aim of anyone there except me.  It's a very pretty pose and if I were just painting pin-up art it would work nicely for that.
Pin-up art is fine, but the world has plenty of pin-up artists we'll get by if I do something else.


So I made a costume and I like it a lot, but that right arm just looks weird.  Perhaps I can dream up something clever to do with that.