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Archive for the ‘Illustration’ Category

Finally I’ve finished another painting! This winter has been brutal in every way imaginable. Because of this I’ve taken to painting dreamy summer scenes all season to console my shivering skins.

Last summer I took a trip to P-Town Mass, early in the season before the crowds arrived.  The town was just waking up from its long winter slumber; the people and their possessions were slowly and lazily stirring with anticipation for the coming tourist season. Things weren’t ready yet–boats had to be hosed off, patios needed to be set-up. Everything was being taken outside and given a good shake. Provincetown is a very beautiful place, but it’s a tourist town and beautiful places are hard to appreciate when you can’t see the scenery through masses of human bodies in colorful hats and cheap backpacks. It was nice to get a glimpse of the famous local when it’s most mundane, where the most exciting thing happening is that the library is being dusted and the sidewalks refinished. It really is a cute little town.
provincetownwatermark

This painting was done in watercolors and pen on cold-press watercolor paper. I’m most proud of how that tree turned out.

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I’ve finished a new painting! in an effort to hold onto the summer sun for as long as possible, I decided to paint, just for fun, a picture of this beach beauty. It’s not often that I paint a picture for no reason other than my own entertainment, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to paint a pretty lady in bright colors.

This is a mixed-media piece of watercolors and colored pencil. It was not easy to mix that perfectly tanned skin tone without making her look sunburned or too toasty brown. Tanned skin is a very complicated mix of reds, oranges, yellows, purples, and blues–kind of like normal skin I suppose but with a lot more saturation! I tackled the skin by laying yellow washes first. Then I marked my shadows with some light blue and purple washes, and then really built up the color with thick layers of reds and orange. In some places I’m really laying the red on much thicker than you would expect, and even then I still needed the colored pencil to give it that extra blast of color. The skin was easily the most difficult part.

The easiest part of the painting? The Hair. I love to paint masses of linear things and there are few organic structures more linear than hair. Hair is easy not to overwork, and easy to stylize while still meshing with other very detailed and realistic elements of the painting.

One of my personal goals with this painting was not to overwork the surface. It’s easy to belabor a work, scouring every inch to make sure every single little detail is flushed out. Sure, that creates a really crisp image, but it takes an absurd amount of time and is not always necessary.  This painting was an exorcise in simplifying my process without sacrificing detail.

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Last week with the snow storm of the decade looming, bundled up in front of my computer, I decided to pick up my Wacom tablet and paint a picture digitally. I am not a very experienced digital painter. I’ve only completed a small handful of pieces on the computer before, and none of them have made it into my portfolio. Sure, I use photoshop all the time to color correct, crop, and touch up photos and paintings all the time, but it is very rarely that I do the bulk of the painting on the computer screen.

I had the urge to go back to the computer screen primarily because of time. It takes me a very very long time to create a full scale, fully rendered painting by hand, and sometimes I lose interest in what I am painting or I have another great idea to work on before my first idea is fully realized. Especially for beauty shots like this, the idea and the passion to draw it only sticks around until the next pretty face comes along and I imagine something new; so there was a sense of urgency to get this face and this stunning collar down on paper before it was replaced by another figure in my mind.

The piece was inspired by a costume I saw at Templecon 2013. I used photo reference to sketch out the face and collar by hand, and then I also inked that preliminary sketch before scanning it into the computer. Once uploaded to photoshop, I started rendering by laying down basic blocky colors. Using photoshop is one of the only times that I render with an opaque medium, making it extra challenging to maintain my style. I blended the colors together using primarily the eye dropper and a soft, low opacity brush. I choose to render over some of my inking to turn the figure more in important or especially modeled places like the nose and lips. I left the collar and hair more linear and stylized because that is how I would have dealt with them were this painting done by hand. However by hand, I would have added the lines last, wherein photoshop, I started with all lines and selectively removed or covered them.

I textured the piece with pattern fills and spotty brushes. Adding texture in highly modeled digital pieces is very important in order to avoid a plastic looking finish. The skin has pores and fabrics have a coarseness to them that is easily neglected in digital pieces. Over all I like how this painting came out, and I think that I will be experimenting with digital painting more in the future.

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Recently completed album artwork for sibling and musician Eric Leva. Done entirely with a digital tablet in photoshop, this doodle will be the featured image for his new single “Heart Gallery,” available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc on January 29th, 2013.


Eric is planning to release a new single at the end of every month for an entire year. So that may mean quite a bit more album art from me as well. In the mean time you can see more of my commissioned work, including quite a bit of my album art in the commissioned work gallery on Shaunart.net

Thanks for reading!

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The other night I finished a painting of a leafy sea dragon. I saw one of these beautiful fish a week or so ago on TV and decided that it would be a really fun thing to paint. I hunted down a couple of different reference pictures online, and from those, drew out an original pose and composition.

The painting is mostly watercolors on cold press paper. I worked from the background to the foreground, laying washes and building up shadows one layer at a time. When the painting was nearly complete, I went in with colored pencils and outlined areas that I wanted extra separation in. The end result looks a little like a shadow box: flat layers built on top of one another to create an illusion of depth. You can view this and more of my work by visiting my website: Shaunart.net This painting is for sale as a print on Etsy!

Dragons

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Here is a commission that I finished some time ago for a custom Christmas greeting card. This portrait of a house was done in watercolors on cold press paper.

As always, I worked from a photograph. Starting with a sketch, I refined the drawing and transferred it onto my watercolor block with tracing paper and graphite paper. I did an outline in ink, which is especially helpful for geometric objects like this, and then I went to work with the paints. Most of the piece was rendered in watercolors, but the stars and lights were added in afterwards with colored pencil. You can view this and other commissions in the commissions gallery on shaunart.net

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Here is a fun painting! Like my others lately, it was a quick one to finish, taking only a day and a half to complete. I wanted to try something really whimsical and free-flowing, while still defining the form of the face. I had a lot of fun with it, and I think I am slowly getting this loose-ness out of my system. It is really fun to experiment and I think that this period of loose experimentation will help me paint faster in the future, even when I am working tightly.

I notice that when working in only two colors like this, it is harder to get an accurate representation of the piece out of my scanner. Or at least I notice the differences in the colors more. I am not working with the best scanner in the world here. In fact, its a very basic home model. Fortunately I have a lot of know-how in photoshop and can, with lots of tinkering, get my pieces to look pretty close to the original.

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