Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sophisticated Play Time

I've often said that I'd like to illustrate children's books and recently I've sort of had a trial go at creating art for a whole children's story. This was for one of my illustration classes. However, we didn't create dozens of finished pieces, rather we went through the stages of character development, story-boarding, making a dummy book, and only producing about 2 finished illustrations (or one spread). Lot's of work, I'll tell you and I'm not going to share all of my process because that's just too many pages to deal with. I'll just post process stages for my two finished illustrations. (Or as always, I hope they're finished.)

First, there were the character sketches, which {this post} was all about actually.

Then, it was time to storyboard. And here's the snippet from it of the two illustrations I coloured:
After my story-board was approved, came the time to make the dummy book, which is a rough mock up of what the compositions the illustrator is imagining for the story. The pictures are often loose but understandable sketches.
As you can see, not that different from my little thumbnail, but I've made sure to leave space for text and rendered the characters in more detail.

And here's the line-work stage for page four (left page). I was in too much of a blunder to spend time scanning the line-work for page 5.

And then the finished pieces: And look - I actually painted a background. A light one, but I haven't done any backgrounds in my latest works so in case anyone thought I forgot how to -- I didn't!

Tea party time!
I made sure to leave plenty of room for text

Hopefully I didn't do a terrible job=)

Media: Microns, watercolors, colored inks + gouache

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mail Me Art 3 - Short & Sweet Hummingbirds (updated)

Good evening? Or I guess it's very early morning now? Anyways...

In January I was ecstatic to find out that I've been invited to contribute to Darren Di Lieto's Mail Me Art 3 Project - Short & Sweet.

Here's some info about the project, cited from the official site:

"Mail Me Art is a British-based project, run by Darren Di Lieto, the founder and co-editor of the illustration news portal The Little Chimp Society.
The Mail Me Art project is here for everyone to enjoy, both as artists and onlookers. It’s not about making a statement or rebelling against the establishment – it’s about having fun and connecting with other people around the world. If you’re looking for a history of the mail art movement or some serious mail art-driven political agenda, you’ve come to the wrong place. This is a celebration and archive of the artists who have taken part in Mail Me Art, plain and simple! We love mail art and we hope you do too!

Mail Me Art 3 has been a long time coming and this time around the project will be called Mail Me Art: Short & Sweet. MMA3 will be by invitation only and limited to 200 participants. There will be an exhibition in July 2013 and a new book showcasing all of the brilliant new mail art! Mail Me Art 3 will be short and it will be sweet."

At that time I was working on my Vanishing Canids/Stamps for a Cause project, so I was inspired to paint some endangered species. And with the theme of the project being "Short & Sweet" - I though - "what is possibly shorter and sweeter than a hummingbird?" So then I did what I arguably do best and put a whimsical spin on the topic and anthropomorphized the birdies.

And ta-da! About a month later here they are - the rare, the fashionable, the short and sweet hummingbirds! =)

The back of the envelope, which is actually the front in this case. I made my own envelope so that I could use the nice paper I found.
 So from left to right we have: Amazilia castaneiventris (Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird), Lepidopyga lilliae (Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird), Eupherusa cyanophrys (Blue-capped Hummingbird), Glaucis dohrnii (Hook-billed  Hermit Hummingbird), and Amazilia boucardi (Mangrove Hummingbird). 
The other side =)
And on this side we have: Selasphorus ardens (Glow-throated Hummingbird) and Eupherusa poliocerna (White-tailed hummingbird).

A close up of this gentleman -- he even has a monocle!

I just love hope I did the little guys justice and illustrated them accurately enough. I must say - it was hard at times to find clear photo references.

Size: 162 x 229mm
Media: Microns, watercolors, colored inks + gouache

Finally, here's the process work:

Some of my favorite sketches
Ink work -part 1
And ink work part 1 for the other side
Ink work part 2 - more details!

Ink work part 2 - more details + species names

So there we go! I'm happy to be done but I wish I could illustrate a few more envelopes honesty. It's so much fun!

On the weekend I'll pop this envelope in the mail and hope that I'm in favor with post-service gods and that it arrives in the UK safely and undamaged =)

Happy Thursday!

***UPDATE March 11th, 2013: I've received news this morning that my envelope has arrived safely and it seems without hardly any damage. From the confirmation of arrival image Darren sent me, it looks like there's a very small smudge at the edge around the right side, but considering the dangers of traveling as far as it did, it's hardly worth a fuss. It might even come off with an eraser, who knows. :) Thank you illustration gods!

*Update, May 8th: This image is now a limited edition print of 25 which comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and can be acquired {here}

The ‘Mail Me Art: Short & Sweet’ will be exhibiting at The Framers Gallery from 30th July – 3rd August 2013. The gallery will be open Tuesday to Friday from 10am – 5.30pm and 11am till 5pm on Saturday. All of the mail art will be on display and the new book will be available to buy and browse.

And the second show at the Factoryroad Gallery will take place from August 9th to August 12th.

AND all original pieces are now available to purchase online, though they won't be shipped to the buyers until September, after the gallery exhibitions have taken place. Here's the link to my piece!  {Mariya Olshevska: Original Mail Art}


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Character Sketches

Ahoy there!

Posting some sketches tonight! These are for a children book illustration project, the first part of which is character concepts for a story.

Here are some of my favorites:

Wishing everyone a creative and happy week ahead! :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Stamps for a Cause


It's illustration time! Here is a my first project of the spring semester. For this assignment we were to illustrate a stamp (or a series of stamps) and a stamp sheet for a charity/cause/organization we feel passionate about. (If they were to hire us) I love wild animals and think they shouldn't be endangered so I chose the Canadian Wildlife Federation as my organization inspiration.
And since I'm particularly fond of predators I decided to paint a trio of stamps of vanishing canids - foxes and wolves.

Here they are:
And the stamp sheet:

After class critiques I'm making some improvements as we speak =)

And here's how it all came together:

Composition sketches. I was still deciding between CWF and WWF
Penciling. Originally I wanted a soft, blue wave type of sky background, but I afterward I thought it would be too distracting
Initial linework

Painting part I -- no background yet

Close up of my favourite portrait with background

 And again - the finished triptych =)

Save the wolves and foxes people!
And here's a different version of the triptych I just whipped up. I digitally removed the next animals' overlaps.

Each animal portrait is 3.75 x 4.25" (cute and little !)
Completed on Strathmore Bristol Smooth paper
Painted with watercolors + waterproof coloured inks + 0.05 micron pen

Art prints will be available by the end of the day =)

Happy Friday!