Happy New Year! 2018!

I spent a lot of time last year working behind the scenes with my art - learning, growing, and planning for 2018. Last year was a very transitional year for me, both in my personal life and professional life, like water flowing down a river headed for the sea.Being an artist in today's time (well a famous one at least) isn't always a simple task. There's so much more to it than just making art, and that can be a little frustrating. I've had to learn how to be a photographer, cinematographer, video editor, and even learn how to photoshop (for digital photo developing). While I love learning new things, I hated how much it all has taken away from making actual art. It made me a little upset for a while, however, I decided that my artist journey is not a race. Heck, even if it is, I'll be the tortise and that's okay. Once I came to that realization, I took my time to carefully build a foundation for my future plans...Which brings us to today!My goal to begin is to create and upload a minimum of one new video a week! I want to share my process and advice with others in a hope to inspire, just as so many have done for me! I've done a lot of learning about how to record video and edit it, plus I recently invested in a new computer in which to work with! I tried making videos last year, but my previous computer was ancient and couldnt function.I also want to get back into the fun that was fan art. While I still will not be returning to the convention scene this year, I do miss making fun fan art of the shows and games I love. To help scratch that itch, I will be posting every Friday as Fan Art Friday! If it's popular enough, I may even take requests for stuff outsode my interests.These fun projects aside, I have begun working on an art series officall titled "40.03". This is a series I have talked about in the past, but has only now (finally!) come to fruition. This series will have a common thread in terms of subject matter and theme, but will be comprised of pieces created in a variety of mediums. Some of these mediums are still new to me, but I am excited to try them out for real and not just in practice. The first piece of the series has already been completed and the second one started.And lastly, my e-mail mailing list will be sent out the last day of each month to round up the content of that month as well as this blog keeping regularly maintained. My online shop and website will also be getting slight overhaul with better images uploaded to the galleries and old works cleared out.I'm not sure if this all seems like a lot or not to you my dear reader. For me, it is a mega-ton due to having a normal, office day job to contend for the precious resource that is my time (a girl's gotta eat). However, I am determined to keep at it and work hard to make my dreams come true - my selfish dream of fulfilling the yearning in my heart to create, and the pure dream of want to fill the hearts and minds of others with emotion and inspiration.I look forward with optimism for what 2018 hold for me and my artwork, and I hope you do too!Happy New Years and cheers!x - Sam :)

Dark Souls fan art 

This weekend I worked on some Dark Souls fan art! I'm not very good at the series, but I love it's aesthetic. I find the characters and monsters to be beautifully, if sometimes grotesquely, designed. So, when a friend of mine requested something Souls related, I happily obliged!To start, I made a light, rough sketch of their favourite characters - Solaire, Oscar, and Gwyndolin. Normally when I paint with watercolours I do a detailed pencil drawing to paint over, however, with this piece... I'll be honest, I got lazy. When i sat down to do the drawing part, Gwyndolin's crown was so ornate that I drew a light outline and left the details for later.I got to work on Solaire first and applied the watercolours as if they were oils. I wanted deep, rich tones, and I find that's most easily achieved by painting in layers - even if it means painting lights on darks. (Typically with watercolours, you want to paint the lights first, then the darks.) It can be a little tedious and time consuming, but the results are so worth it!Once Solaire was mostly done, I moved on to Dark Sun Gwyndolin. His crown was by far the most difficult part of this piece, due mostly to the fact I couldn't find a clear picture of how it should look. I found many interpretations, but the official art work itself wasn't super clear, so I pretty much winged it from start to finish.  Several times while painting it I had to change the shape, which is how it ended up with the glowing effect coming from. Despite being totally not planned I ended really liking it, so I left it in.I finished off the piece with Oscar of Astoria and a bonfire. I used the fire as a chance to try out some new masking fluid I picked up over the weekend. This masking fluid worked so much better than the one I used in my Primadonna Doodle illustration. It peeled off easily and didn't leave any colour residue. To achieve some soft flames, I used the masking fluid to outline the fire and then painted the inside with a combo of red and orange. I used a lot of water to allow the colours to blend on their own by tipping the paper vertical and letting it run downwards a little. I finished the fire by painting the portion covered by the masking fluid yellow - I thought the stylized look it gave the fire complimented the collage composition.From start to finish, it took me roughly nine hours to complete this watercolour painting on 4x6 inch 140 lb watercolour paper. I thought about adding gold ink accents to it, but decided it looked fine without them. One thing I did add at the end was Solaire's red feather. I had meant to paint it once I had completed Oscar, but forgot. It wasn't until I was getting ready to post it to my Instagram that I realized it was missing. I ended up happy with how this turned out, and thankfully so did the person who commissioned it! I'm no where near as big of a Souls fan as my friend is, but I mega-enjoyed working on this small piece. I even feel inspired to play the first Dark Souls again! Praise the sun! - Sam :]

"Primadonna Doodle"

Trying new art supplies and materials is always an adventure for me. Being a self taught artist means a lot of trial and error, and that's especially true with art supplies I've never used before. A while back I picked up a pack of Stiblo fineliners, and I decided to give them a first try on a sketch (Electra Heart inspired!) I had drawn a few months ago.

My game plan for the illustration was to line the work with the markers, and then fill in the lines with light watercolours. All seemed well at the start; the Stiblo pens worked awesomely, and I felt mega-confident with the progression of my piece. However, that confidence was short lived once I began to apply the watercolour.

As it turns out, my lovely pens are made with waterbased ink - of which I would have known had I read the back of the package. :b As soon as the watercolour so much as touched molecules with the ink, it began to bleed out. Small rivers of magenta ink ran across the face of my subject as my eyes widened in panic - I didn't want to ruin my drawing. I quickly mopped up the ink and watercolour mixture that began to pool, and thought about how best to tackle the challenge before me.

In the end, I decided to go with Copic markers for the skin tone. The markers still bled a little bit, but the damage left a much lesser impact than the watercolours. I also used markers, albeit an off brand, to color the gingham dress and large hair bow.

While I did try to reduce the bleed factor on a majority of the illustration, there was one bit in which I embraced it - her hair! Thinking of the previously averted disaster with her face had me asking, "how can I use this to my advantage?" With that, I used yellow and pale yellow watercolour to paint her hair,. With my brush strokes I picked uo the pink from the ink I had used to draw it out and blended it all together. I couldn't be happier with the results.

I finished off the picture with some white gel pen highlights and a light blotchy purple background. With the background, I tried out a new masking pen for the first time. The masking pen was kind of a flop. It was supposed to pull off, but I ended up leaving a blue residue behind instead. I didn't mind too much since the effect works well with this drawing, however, I probably wont use again anytime soon.

Much of this piece was trial and error and oopsies, but that's the joy and adventure of trying new stuff! I still love my new markers, but I have learned a valuable lesson of when best to use them and when not to. Had I ruined my sketch, it would have been sad, but not as devastating as it would be to ruin a major work or commission with their misuse.

Until next time, your friend in art,

- Sam :)