Thursday, May 24, 2018

Ocean Blue Design


I'm enjoying my new markers and this design uses shades from the blue collection. This design is more free-form than the other design plans I use (geometrikon, colorform, mathematical forms) and is friendly to the scanner because it is a rectangular shape. It is inspired by printed textile designs which a friend of mine is working with. The textiles are made for quilters and they are like a painter's palette made with cloth. I have designed quilts in the past and wouldn't mind designing more but I don't have the sewing skills to actually make one. 

Markers on sketchbook page with some lines in Photoshop, 6 1/2" x 2", May 24, 2018.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Jo Clayton character


Jo Clayton (1939-1998) was a fantasy author who shared many fans with Marion Zimmer Bradley. Clayton had been a school teacher and also for a short time, a Roman Catholic nun in the Carmelite Order. She wrote at least 35 fantasy novels and I read many of them. She specialized in "strong women" i.e. women who could do action as well as romance. The figure above is "Serroi," a hybrid human/alien who endured abuse from her magical mentor and went on to have many adventures and conflicts. The books starring this character were published in the early to mid-1980s. I never got to illustrate Clayton's work professionally but I did a number of sketches such as this one. 

Red ink on sketchbook page, about 4" x 6", 1990s.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Howling Wolves


There is a fad, or rather a continuing theme, in fantasy and science fiction fandom, starring wolves and wolf packs in their fiction. Wolves have changed since they were the villains of fairy tales or folk music or "Peter and the Wolf." In fandom, they are nobler than humans, living in their snowy family wilderness and howling into the echoing mountains. Or they are the thought-sharing permanent companion of a great warrior. As an illustrator I have never been tasked to depict wolves but decided many years ago that I would draw some for my image reference collection. Fortunately I had many good sources to copy from, especially the dioramas in the Smithsonian Museum and many books which I still have. I never got to see a live wolf though. I rarely draw animals but this set is a fair attempt.

Pencil and black ink on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 9", mid-1990s.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Cloudscape May 2018


The Big Clouds are back! I also know them as the "Floating Cats of Virginia," who bring rain to the farms and vineyards. No rain fell here this time, and I stood outside looking carefully at the skyscape so I could reproduce it later. The sight of the big cumuli makes me glad at the approach of summer, the only season I like. 

Markers and colored pencil on sketchbook page, 5" x 4 1/2", May 20, 2018.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Colorforms 6: The Lighthouse of Alexandria


Here's more experimentation with digital Colorforms, this time using grey ovals as the fourth shape. Don't look too closely at the back-to-front layering, it doesn't make too much sense. Working with Photoshop as a geometric design generator is more difficult than you might think as it is hard to create shapes in the "right" size and the controls are tiny even on a big screen, and I often forget what layer I am working on. I suppose I could do it the old fashioned Mid-Century Abstract style and do these with watercolor or acrylic but that would be quite a job. At least there are no wine barrels in this one. 

Photoshop, 5" x 5", May 20, 2018.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Perspective Fantasy


This is more "sketchy" than I usually make them but the subject matter is huge and I couldn't fit all the details in. This is a study of the interior of my greatest fantasy building, the Great Library of Eridu. Situated in an other-dimensional Mesopotamia, the Library preserves all the remaining knowledge of the human and Noantri peoples who colonized New Earth. It's a major attraction to visitors and a center of political power as well. 

Tech pen on sketchbook page, 4" x 10", late 1990s.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Lady Charis


This character portrait from my Byzantine tale depicts Charis, a noblewoman who collaborates on intrigue with Heliodorus the eunuch. I did a lot of research to design and draw the garb of my illustrated characters. The Later Roman era is hard to depict as most illustrators and recreators don't do their research and dress their people in generic robes or even worse, fashions that had not been worn for hundreds of years. But if you look enough, you'll find jewelry and garments like these on a lot of ancient sculptures or book illuminations, including hair styles as well. That's why I studied so much art history at Brandeis. I really enjoyed doing research on this era. Lady Charis was lightly based on a friend of mine at Brandeis, whose name was Karen, as close to the Greek name Charis as I could get.

Ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 6", 1974. Click for larger view.