fantasy illustration

Storm Witch

Let me just preface this with the fact that I didn’t intentionally follow up my first painting of a fiery demon with a water-themed witch. The elemental theme was entirely accidental but I’m gonna roll with it.

Once again I set out to challenge myself and learn new things with this one, and once again I succeeded and fought my way to finishing this. Painting water is hard, you guys. Like, really hard. Even more so when you’re using multiple unnatural light sources. *makes mental note to acquire coloured lights for reference-photo purposes*.

I’m happy with how much I learned from doing this, though, and the next time I have to paint water I’ll be a little more prepared. This one is closer to the way I want my paintings to go – this kind of semi-realism, painterly-but-not-overly-so kind of thing. Not 100% where I want to be yet, but that’s half the fun of making these.

You can get notebooks, stickers, prints etc HERE and HERE

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The Daemoness

First painting of the year finished! This one is of my Daemoness character, who is just a warmongering, bloodthirsty warrior queen, travelling the universe to destroy planets and burn the remains. You know. Happy fun stuff.

And know for the process stuff. With each painting I do I want to try at least one new thing to push myself, and the main thing I wanted to try with this was a more complex perspective than what I usually do. Fifty photo references and a few hours of drawing later, I managed to get it down, and then spent the next two weeks fighting with the painting. What I want to do is push my flatter digital illustration style (the way it is in my fairy illustrations from last year), and this painterly style closer together. This one wandered way over into the painterly style, which is great because I’d love to get better at it, but also frustrating because I want to be pulling the styles together, not going further in one direction. Not sure whether the frustration is from how long this style currently takes me because I’m not that strong at it yet, or because I want to pull away from super painterly.

Other lessons learned: use reference. USE REFERENCE THE ENTIRE WAY THROUGH. I kept getting stuck and spending frustrated hours achieving nothing but muddying the canvas, only to realise that all I needed to do was grab my camera and snap a couple quick pictures, or grab a style inspiration pic from the many I have saved. I know I need to do these things, but it seems so easy to forget when you’re in the middle of a two-hour ‘let’s glare at photoshop angrily and wait for the painting to paint itself’ session.

I was going to put a process gif, but I realised I forgot to save any painting stages between ‘flat colour’ and ‘fully rendered’. Whoops. The initial sketch is up on my instagram, if you want to do an extreme before and after, and she’s up on my Redbubble if you want her (and will probably be up on my other stores at some point over the weekend)

Onto February! I have no idea what I’m going to paint this month, but I’m sure it’ll be fun.

Carrion

The second of my entries for ArtOrders Tiny Dragon contest! They added a Not So Tiny Dragons category, and this was what came to me – a tiny dragon that goes after the dead like a carrion bird. I imagine whole flocks of them descending on battlefields after the fighting is done, like pale ghosts that leave after a few hours, rising from skeletons picked clean with blood on their scales.

This one decided to be a challenge for me, and took a whole week longer than I thought it would but I got it done anyway, and that’s what matters. Lighting is unreasonably difficult to paint. Still, I’m pleased with how the head turned out at least, even if the rest of it doesn’t entirely make me happy. Progress, progress.

#DragonAesthetic

One of my entries for ArtOrders Tiny Dragon competition! Judging is going on this month I think so I’m crossing everything I have right now. This painting was inspired by the fact that if dragons existed there would absolutely be a whole Instagram community based around their aesthetic, and also the fact that I would be one million percent invested in it.

I’m actually pretty proud of how this turned out, given how little painting I’ve gotten done this year. One of my goals for 2018 is definitely to work on my digital painting skills, and who knows – maybe I’ll actually learn to paint in Real Life with Real Paints one of these days.

Adventures In Faeryland – August Illustrations

The theme for August was faeries and I had so much fun with these! Tried out some new techniques and things, and I’m really pleased this time with the direction my digital illustrations are going. As difficult and time-consuming as some of the detail work was on these I feel like it was worth it, as the pieces all turned out as something I’m proud of. And these really were a challenge for most of the month, as August was a Bad Wrist month for me. The RSI gods were not smiling on me at all, but dammit I got my work done anyway!

With all that said, for September I’m going to be trying something different, rather than full illustrations. Doing the ones I’ve done over the past few months I’ve learned a lot about how I want to move forward working in this style, so it’s time to try something new and push my creativity at something other than full page illustrations.

And in the meantime, if you want to see my warm-up sketches and WIP’s you should absolutely follow me over on Instagram (@flailingmuse), on my Facebook page (samspicerillustration), and on my Tumblr (incoherentmuses).