Process Post: Black Hand

A couple months ago I was delighted to receive an email from Glenn Fleishman, who some of you might remember as the fella who interviewed me for The New Disruptors earlier this year, asking if I wanted to work on an article about an imaginary friend for his publication The Magazine.

I love the idea of imaginary friends, even if I never had one of my own as a child, and as soon as I received the list of this friend’s characteristics from writer Lisa Schmeiser I knew this was going to be a lot of fun. You should really just go ahead and read her essay, which does a far better job of explaining Black Hand than I ever could.

But since this is a blog about my creative stuff I thought you guys might like to see a little step-by-step process of the creation of this piece. The graphic below was created for one of my weekly Patreon Process Posts, which I put up every Friday with updates on my current projects and behind-the-scenes info on how I get stuff done. If you dig it, why not subscribe? It only costs $2 a month, and helps ensure the creation of bigger, better comics just for you!

Patreon12.8I created this piece start-to-finish in Manga Studio 5EX. You can see my initial sketch with the pencil tool, which actually went through three versions. First I’d given Black Hand these loopy bellbottoms, but Glenn asked for something a little more like Morpheus from Sandman, so I added bulky Goth boots and snugged up the pants—tight jeans or flowy sweats. We ended up going for the latter.

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After the sketch was approved I went in with the Hairpin Sable inker and laid down some lines. Glenn wanted a psychedelic, dream-like color scheme, so after blocking in some bright colors with the fill tool I added shadows (on a separate layer set to Multiply) and highlights (on a separate layer set to Screen) before going in with a watercolor brush and adding splotches and clouds on the background.

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And there you have it! Again, you can read the whole finished article here, and tune in for more weekly process posts like this one over on Patreon.

 

Nautical Postcards Round 1: Swallows!

Getting boxes from the print shop always feels like Christmas — the excitement, the possibility, the wondering whether that thing you asked for is really as cool as you think it is in person.

The answer is yes: it is.

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These are my first proper postcards and I have to admit I went a little bonkers putting them together. If there was a bell, I added it. If there was a whistle, that too. These suckers are printed on silky smooth 16pt matte card stock with rounded corners and they look and feel SO GOOD. I couldn’t be happier. Here’s a closer look at the art:

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NitroRoundSwallowBackAs someone who tends to have a lot of art on her walls, I wanted something that would look lustrous and beautiful enough to display with or without a frame — even after going through the rigors of the postal service. These cards definitely fit the bill. They are both attractive and BEEFY.

I have packs of five available in my store, and I’ll also be throwing in a free card with any order for the next couple months! Shop around and stay tuned for the next installment of these prints — I’m hoping to roll out a whole sequence of nautical cards before the year is out. Have something you’d like to see? Drop me a line in the comments.

Patron Saint: VanCAF Promo Card

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Had a lot of fun illustrating this exclusive postcard for the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival last week. It’s funny how certain pieces really showcase the concept that “Everything’s a Remix”. There are a couple influences here that I’d feel remiss not pointing out: the concept for this piece is totally a spin on a shoot my photographer friend Peter Chee did a couple years ago. His original subject, my pal Tess Myers, is a metalworker, so the halo featured all her tools. I loved that photo and have always wanted to do something similar for illustration or comics.

The second influence is definitely Erika Moen’s saintly portraits, though they have the benefit of real gold leaf (shiny!). I love Erika’s comics, but I’ve also been really inspired by her mixed media collage illustrations. I have all this fancy paper at home that I never really play around with anymore (I used to be more of a book arts gal), so this was an excuse to try something a little more illustrative.

Anyway, keep an eye out for these at VanCAF 2014! I’ll be exhibiting there in May.

Sherlock and Nina

Back in October I had the pleasure of working with writer Steve Nicolaides on a children’s book called Sherlock and Nina. Here are a few preview shots of the finished product:

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The story follows 6-year-old Nina and her inquisitive basset hound Sherlock as they solve the mystery of the old Triplescoop Mansion.

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I had a lot of fun working on this project, honing my full-color digital illustration skills and getting a crash course in dog anatomy, and am super pleased to finally share some of the artwork with you guys. I won’t spoil the ending, but I’ll finish with my favorite piece from the book — Sherlock and his namesake!

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Yui, For Jonathon

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A piece I did for my buddy Jonathon Dalton. This is Yui — a frankly terrifying young woman who leads a faction of militant youths in A Mad Tea-Party, Jonathon’s spectacular sci-fi webcomic. The comic will be appearing in print thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, and this illustration will appear in the bonus art book he’s putting together. Hooray!

Cartozia Paper Figures!

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YOU GUYS LIKE PAPER DOLLS? I DO.

These are some fancy postcards that will come bundled with the second issue of Cartozia Tales. They’ll be fully sendable, so you can either cut ‘em out or mail ‘em to friends. The paper will be nice and sturdy, and the figures each have outfits that you can color and cut out yourself from the centerfold of the second issue. If you don’t want to cut up your precious comic, we’ll even offer PDFs of the outfits so you can make as many as you like!

Sarah Becan created Reshii (who’s one of the characters I’ll be working with in Issue 2), and Jen Vaughn is responsible for Sylvia.

In the meantime, as I mentioned yesterday, Issue 1 is available for pre-order at a dollar off the regular price until it starts shipping on August 1st!

SO MUCH EXCITING CARTOZIA NEWS!

Relief

You know the feeling. The fear that a triggering situation will arise in your future and incapacitate you the same way it’s done so many times before. And then, it happens. And you don’t care in the slightest. And it’s magical.

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(Due to popular demand it looks like I’ll be making postcards of this image in the near future. Stay tuned!)

Periscope Portrait

I’m sad to report that my internship at Periscope Studio officially came to a close on February 27th. It was an amazing four and a half months, but I’m not going to write too much about what being there meant to me. Not only because I’ll get all mushy and start crying on you guys, but also because…

I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE! That’s right. I know. I don’t believe it myself, but it’s true. I get to stay. At Periscope. For the foreseeable future. (I’m trying to use real words to talk about this rather than just replacing every letter in this sentence with an exclamation point, can you tell?)

Now, I’m only a lowly Studio Assistant, but it means I’ll continue to work alongside an incredible group of dedicated, powerhouse artists who inspire me to improve every day. If I have to run blogs and scan pages and help with shipping to make that happen, I’m more than happy to do so.

ANYWAY. That’s some of the big news I’ve been sitting on for a while. And boy howdy am I excited about it.

To thank everyone at the Studio for being so welcoming and helpful, I spent part of last week drawing up this group portrait of all the members. Ain’t they a studly bunch?

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I’ll be away in California for the next three weeks helping out with a family medical situation, but I hope to keep you all abreast of what’s on the drawing table during that time. (And I should note that any orders you place in the store while I’m gone won’t ship until I return on April 3rd! Thanks for being patient.)

So long for now!

Vancouver Maritime Museum Installation

Some of you may recall I was doing some illustration work for the Vancouver Maritime Museum last month. Their Art of the Sailor exhibit opened this week, and Alina Anghel (of the Vancouver Trolley Company Blog) was kind enough to snap a photo of my giant poster on the wall!

sailor ink FINAL

 The exhibit runs through October, so I’m really excited to see it in person when I visit for VanCAF in May. In the meantime, if you’re in the Vancouver area, be sure to stop in and check it out! There are a ton of educational and entertaining elements involved — including beautiful pieces of scrimshaw and many photographs of actual sailors showing off their ink. To learn more, check out this in-depth article on The Tyee blog.

I’m also excited to announce that the Museum will be stocking all three issues of Baggywrinkles in their store. There have been some delays, so they might not arrive for a week or two, but hopefully Vancouverites can pick up copies on site before too long.

More art to come soon!