Tag Archives: digital

As most of you know, I’ve been working on an illustration degree with Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. I’m actually seven or eight classes away from graduating, but the upcoming first fall term had me so stressed out, just thinking about it. I was going to have to take 2 classes plus the portfolio class, one of which was the landscape painting class I dropped in the first summer term because it was too much to handle with my other class. I’ve just been a bit overloaded lately.  They wouldn’t let me out of either class I was enrolled in this coming term, so I decided to withdraw. Maybe I’ll go back next year, but I’m not sure one way or the other. Really, I got out of it what I wanted—I got better faster than I would have working on my own. But I’m far from done…

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My second-to-last assignment in my second digital painting class was to create a “fantasy” illustration. But it was strangely limited—we had to take a public domain story and illustrate it. I’d wanted to do a spin on one of my books (from a TikTok video I made bringing dragons into one of my novels) or do the winged cat character I’ve been working on, and the instructor just flat out said no. So I picked Puss in Boots and made him Puss in Chucks instead. We had to write a “summary” of the story we were illustrating, so I just riffed on the original Puss in Boots (part of it, anyway): The Story Puss in Chucks There was a poor man who had naught save for a tabby cat. He was starving so he thought he would have to kill the cat and eat it. The cat read his owner…

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We had to do a digital painting of Genghis Khan for my class. I was actually annoyed by this—I already knew he’d killed an insane number of people, but when I looked into it, it was even worse than I’d realized. He killed like 40 million people, or 11% of the world’s population. Like, what? One man, in some megalomaniacal quest, killed over 1/10th of the humans who existed then.  I am so sick of the way we put historical figures up on pedestals and ignore the horrible things they did and just talk about the “good” things. People are like, Oh, he was just a man of his times. I don’t care. Killing people just for personal gain is evil. So I knew I had to do something that would really highlight the monster he was.  Thumbnails and Line Drawing We had to thumbnail, like we always do. I…

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For the second major assignment in my digital class this term, we had do reproduce a painting by John Singer Sargent. They provided us with 10 to choose from and, all were portraits of some sort. Being me, I picked what was probably the hardest one, since it has a lot going on and two figures. But I loved the red in it.  It’s Le verre de porto (A Dinner Table at Night): First Week This was actually a two-week assignment, and the first week I did the underdrawing and (most of) the background. In some ways this was a tough drawing because all the things were far apart so getting them position right relative to each other and the borders of the painting was tough. I was pretty happy with the drawing, although I realized I mess up the woman’s head and body and tried to fix it later…

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I started the new term and I’m taking the continuation of digital illustration. The first project was actually to do five different digital paintings in grayscale. I like working in grayscale, but I was a little concerned at the number we had to do. We had to take them pretty far in the first week, and finish them in the second (while also starting another assignment in week 2). I was kind of worried that I would struggle because I’ve had trouble figuring out how to shade smoothly in Photoshop, but I finally had a bit of breakthrough and figured it out. I’m including the reference photos with each of the final versions of the pieces.  Portrait I sketched each of these out in blue first, but I didn’t save many of the intermediate versions. But here’s an example for the portrait, with the first sketch I did on the…

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For my Digital Illustration class, we had to make a single playing card. One of the common characteristics of many playing card designs is some kind of interesting background. I love Islamic art (the patterns, specifically—both the geometric and the vegetal ones), so I decided to make a geometric pattern inspired by this style. And since cards often have some kind of figure on them, I (of course) decided to try a cat. I decided to do the 9 of hearts (for 9 lives, and the fact that I love cats).  Thumbnails The first step was twenty thumbnails. I was developing the two separate ideas, the cat and the pattern. Then I combined them for a few of the last ones. Cat Thumbnails Here are some of the early ones: The last one was me just being ridiculous. But none of them quite spoke to me, but I liked them…

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We had another assignment in my digital illustration class, with the prompt Castles in the Sky. I missed the “in the sky” part and just thought it was supposed to be fantastical. I also didn’t realize at first that there was supposed to be a character in it. We had to do a bunch of thumbnails and value and color studies. Some of my thumbnails below. I first thought of doing something with books, and I did a few with that idea: Then I thought of the onion domes you see on Russian churches, because I’ve always thought those we kind of cool. But after doing a rough thumbnail with them, I had a more interesting idea: cats heads instead of onion domes. I ran with this idea and did several different castles this way. Here are a couple: I decided to try a noncircular shaped castle and came up…

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I’m taking Digital Illustration 1 this term, and I was a little scared because it’s pretty much totally new for me. I did take a class early on that taught the basics of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. We did a collage and I came up with these hilarious images (this is my friend’s cat): I also made some very simplistic illustrations in Illustrator: I have also been using Illustrator to do color studies (I put all the shapes for the different colors in for the first study, which takes some time, but after that it’s just a matter of swapping different colors out in the shapes, so it’s fast and easy). But really, it’s new to me. About a year ago, I bought an iPad Pro specifically to learn Procreate, a popular (and much cheaper) digital painting program that a ton of people love. However, I’ve never gotten around to…

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