Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Weekly Drawing - Ecosystems and Brickborn

My "exploring your interests" assignment this week comes in two parts. :)

Title: The Brick of Ascension
First of all, I played around on Paint, experimenting with layering on the colors and textures. I decided to make Vin and Elend from Mistborn: The Well of Ascension as bricks. I don't usually do projects on my computer, but it was pretty fun trying to get colors and textures to look right using a mouse instead of a paintbrush. :)

Part two was actually part of a biology review paper I wrote. It included several illustrations, but here I'll only include this one.

Title: Populations, Communities, and Ecosystems
Size: 8 and 1/2 by 4 inches
So this is my little sketch to illustrate the differences between populations, communities, and and ecosystems. Populations are made up of organisms of the same species, living in the same area and interacting. In my sketch, there's a family of deer to represent populations.

Communities are like populations, but include multiple species. Any sort of living thing - mushroom, bird, caterpillar, tree, deer, or grass - living in the same area and interacting are part of a community.

Ecosystems are like communities, including all the organisms interacting in an area, but also include the non-living things like water (in all it's forms), minerals, rock, soil, air, the landscape, etc.

Overall, I had fun with both projects and like how they turned out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Painting with Abstract Background and Realistic Foreground - Bird on a Twig

Title: Saccharine Songbirdy
Size: 14 by 8 inches
This painting was all done in one hour and I'm just going to call it good, despite feeling that more detail on this piece wouldn't go wrong.

This is a European robin. Cute, isn't he? I painted in water-based oils, and I'm pretty happy about how the colors all came out. :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Finished Mistborn Cover - Happy Birthday Dad!

What's this? I've actually finished a drawing!

Unheard of, I know.
This my weekly drawing from the beginning of March, finished and spruced up as a birthday present for my dad. Framing the the colored pencil version of the book cover are the first few paragraphs of Mistborn: The Final Empire

Here's my reference image:

Just wanted to tell my dad to have an extremely happy birthday and say thanks for introducing me to the wonderful Mistborn series. :)

The Shallan Collage Project

Anyone remember the collage I was working on as a final project last semester?

Well, it's back.

Title: Looking Across the Shattered Plains
Size: 14 by 11 inches
This (still) unfinished piece is a collage showing Shallan Davar sitting on a rocky ledge, looking out across the Shattered Plains, ready to sketch anything that catches her eye.

I'm quite happy with this project. I've been sneaking in a few minutes of work on it every here and there for a few months, and this week I finally broke down and worked on it for several hours.

I'd never really done any collages before last semester, but it seems they've really taken hold of me. There's something fantastic and nearly magical about being able to take a pair of scissors to a stack of old National Geographic magazines and use a glue stick to pile and arrange the slivers of color into not only something vaguely recognizable, but a picture, a half story in visual form.

This picture comes from the inside cover of Brandon Sanderson's Words of Radiance. It's one of the best fantasy books ever, with one of my favorite magic systems of all time, so I suggest you all go read it.

Here's my reference image:

I really cannot believe how nicely this project is coming along. More than that, I can't believe how incredibly fun it is to work on this project. :D

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Reflection on Weekly "Exploring Your Interests" Drawings

Over the course of this quarter, I've done all sorts of drawings for the "exploring your interests" assignment.

From Mistborn themed Totoro parodies,

to sketches of dolphins,

to commissioned coats of arms,

to chibi drawing lessons with my little sister, 

to watercolors of chickens giving each other questioning looks,

it's been quite the journey. Along the way, I've discovered that it's really hard to figure out new things to draw each week without just reverting to "I'll illustrate a Brandon Sanderson book!"

...Okay, I discovered a few other things too.

I got my first commissioned pieces this quarter (the coats of arms for the Pack of the Cosmere and the Newcago Court), and it was an interesting experience, trying to put together drawings based on a few comments I wished had been less vague. Doing coats of arms (I did three total) was a lot of fun. I got it down to an art by the third one: draw out a shield, list ideas for what should go on and around it, run google searches until I found an image I wanted to interpret, and draw the picture onto my paper.

Studying chickens was fun. For years and years I would go through phases where I would become obsessed with the idea of keeping some animal as a pet and do hours of research about it. Schnauzers, ferrets, cockatiels, munchkin cats, domesticated foxes, I studied them all. I felt like I was reliving that time in my life, doing all that research on chicken keeping.

And the chibis. Don't even get me started. It may have been better if I had never learned to draw them. Now I cannot. Stop. Drawing. Them.

All day, constantly, CHIBIS. I'm drawing random chibis, my friends and family as chibis (complete with that day's hair and clothes), the cast of any TV show I'm watching, characters out of books I remember reading, everyone becomes a chibi.

It’s kind of terrifying.

I love having time each week to just draw whatever I’m interested in. Even back in Art I, I would give myself an hour to work the drawings, rather than the 30 minute minimum. On some of my drawings, I ended up taking up to 2 hours. These drawings are incredibly fun, and I’ve really enjoyed having them each week.

Weekly Drawing - Chickens!

Warning: this post will include egg-cessive chicken and egg puns.

Title: The Canton of Inquisitive Looks
Size: 11 by 9 inches
For this drawing I wanted to do some chickens, because I really love chickens. They're kind of dorky, but I love how much personality they have. Chickens always seem to have so much personality and attitude. It really... cracks me up. They also are eggs-ceptionally fun to draw and color, as there are so many different shapes and colors chickens come in.

As I stated above, I think chickens are eggs-tremely great. So for this week's "explore your interests" assignment, I researched backyard chicken keeping. It was really fun! I learned whole lot about chickens as pets. One egg-shell-ent source I found was BackYardChickens.com. They have tons of articles about getting started raising chickens, which is apparently rather popular and considerably cheap cheap cheaper than keeping other pets. Plus you get eggs!

The three main types of chickens are meat birds, egg layers, and ornamental birds. I guess it's less expensive to raise chicks than buy full grown chickens (which I eggs-pect is backwards from most other animals. Buying a puppy, for example, is more eggs-pensive than getting a full grown dog). Chicks will eat about 10 pounds of feed in their first 10 weeks, while a full grown chicken will eat around 5 pounds a month. Interesting, no?

Anyway, onto the drawing... It's drawn in sharpie with pen on the fine details and colored with watercolors. I think this piece turned out okay, though I wish I had more time to spend on it. The entire time I was trying to build up the color, my conscience was whispering at me... "...Megumi... You have other homework that needs to be done... Stop drawing chickens and go do it!!" So I decided to call this good and move on. :)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Paint the Sky - Cumulus Clouds

Title: Cumulus Over the Hills
Size: 10 and 1/2 by 11 inches
This piece portrays some clouds floating over some hills, done in water-based oil paints.

For this assignment, I was supposed to paint an "interesting" sky and take notes on a sunset. Painting the clouds was fun, but taking notes on the sunset was definitely the highlight of this assignment.

I don't think any painting could properly portray a sunset. A sunset isn't just a palette of colors, it's an experience. The colors don't stay quite the same for any more than a second or two. Creamy oranges shift to golden oranges which change into redder tones as the blue parts of the sky bleach pale and clouds hover between lavender and peach. Birds' voices drop out one by one, and the air grows chilly as the sun drops behind the horizon. There's just too much to show in a single frame.

For my notes (done in watercolor), I barely had time to throw down a splash of paint before I would notice a shift in some part of the sky and want to capture that too. It was a rushed process, and I loved it. I was kind of surprised how many colors I ended up with in the notes, though. I was expecting maybe some oranges and blues, but there was far more than just two colors in the sky. :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Weekly Drawing - Anime Sketches

Title: Anime Sketches
Size: Each drawing is about 5 by 7 inches
This piece shows my adventures in learning to draw anime.

For my "exploring your interests" assignment this week, I asked my sister to teach me how to draw anime, as it's her specialty. We started out simple with chibis (see above), then moved on to more realistic/detailed drawings (see below).
We did a close up and a full body drawing next. I'm not quite as satisfied with them as with the chibi sketch, but I really enjoyed hanging out with my sis and learning about a different style of drawing. I've always thought the anime style was really interesting, but I'd never really taken the time to immerse myself in the style before. All in all, it was fun! :)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Immortalize with Portraits - Elaine

Title: The Joy of Reading
Size: 9 by 12 inches
This unfinished portrait shows my mom, enjoying a book on the couch.

I wasn't really sure how this project was going to go, but I feel like it's come a long way since that empty sheet of paper I started with. :)

I could, of course, spend this post moaning over the many things I feel I could have done better, but instead, I'm going to try and keep this positive.

I've never specialized in realism or anything involving a paintbrush, to be honest, but I really enjoyed working on this painting. I only had six colors of paint to start out (red, yellow, blue, green, white and ochre), so I had a lot of fun trying to create the perfect tones by mixing a bit of this and a dab of that. I didn't quite as far in with this painting as I would have liked, so I'm labeling it as "unfinished" for now and hoping I can find time to come back through and continue building up contrast.

All in all, I like how this painting went.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Weekly Drawing - Mistborn Cover Grid Art

Title: The Final Empire
Size: 7 by 10 inches
This unfinished drawing shows the cover of Mistborn: The Final Empire done in purple colored pencil, using the grid technique to copy the picture over.

Here's the reference image:

This week I tried to recreate the cover of the first Mistborn book. I would love to write books someday, so for the "exploring your interests" assignment this week I did a little research on writing and different literary devices. It turns out one of my favorite books follows the rules of a tragedy perfectly, and I never knew until now, so that was a bit of a surprise. I've been practicing writing fiction and reading lots of stories, so I feel like I'm well on my way to being an author. :)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pointillist Painting - Carousel Horse

Title: A Pointillism Pony
Size: 12 by 9 inches
This unfinished piece portrays a merry-go-round in the pointillist style. For this painting I applied oils using an old pencil eraser.

I have to admit, this piece turned out better than I expected. I was sick for the better part of this last week, so I wasn't able to pour in quite as much time on this as I would have liked, but it actually looks sort of like a horse. Hooray!

This was my first try at straight up pointillism, and I feel like it's been a success. :)