Frog Prince

Jerry didn’t really want to be a prince, but once the old witch turned him into a frog he decided it was better than being a frog. His lilypad kingdom included only flowers and flies. Now all he wanted to do was find a princess who he could convince to turn him back. But how to find one?

Dumbo Octopus

It’s #cephalopodwednesday and I bring you a Dumbo Octopus, the most adorable octopus ever! The similarity of the ear-like fins protruding from the top of the mantle of the Dumbo octopus to the ears of the Disney character, Dumbo, the Flying elephant, led to the common name, dumbo. Maybe this one wants to be called Greg though. What do you think?

Gnome Home Process

Hello once again everyone! After a month or so of hunkering down and creating work, I thought you might be interested in having a peek into my process on another fun piece that I’ve created. I bring you: Gnome Home!

For this piece I didn’t do any thumbnails; it sprang into my head pretty much fully formed while perusing a new book I had gotten on fantasy creatures. The book took a look at drawing gnomes, but my brain went off on a tangent of what their homes might look like. I came up with the idea of a mushroom, which I had previously painted a bit last year. I wanted the piece to have an atmospheric feel, as the mushroom should be small(ish) and hidden in the tall grasses. Details, such as the doormat, acorns, and wheelbarrow, came to me as I worked through the main parts of the piece.

I put quite a bit more detail into this sketch than I generally do in my initial sketches because I was enjoying the process, and it helped lead into the details. There were a few things that I had to make decisions on beyond my initial idea of the mushroom in the tall grasses. I decided to add the acorns because I like squirrels, and I could see squirrels hanging out with gnomes. I added the wheelbarrow with an acorn in it because, well, what else do gnomes do all day? Perhaps they’re helping the squirrels out. Or maybe they’re also saving acorns for the winter. I mean, who really knows what gnomes eat? And finally, what room would be through the window? I thought about making it a kitchen, but kitchens are generally on the first floor, and this window is high enough to be on a second floor. A bedroom seemed a bit too much for a children’s illustration, so I decided a study would be a good pick. And I love books.

Once the drawing was to a far enough state that I knew exactly how everything would appear, I started coloring in the base layers.

This phase basically consists of deciding the color palette and ensuring that all areas are covered in preparation for the shading and detailing. That dark blue color behind all the leaves, for example, I ended up changing many times trying to get the best base for the piece. In the end it ended up as a practically black green. Also, I wasn’t quite happy with that bright green I used for the foreground, but I decided it was something I could fiddle more with in the next phase.

In the final phase, I began by adding shading to the mushroom and worked my way around the piece. I tightened up a few things, such as the smaller multicolored grass, which I thought looked more like worms than grass in the previous phase. I ended up changing a bit of the wheelbarrow because the initial rendering had a weird perspective on the front wheel. I also adjusted the door frame and added of a round window to add more interest. The biggest change, however, was to enlarge the foreground objects to fill more of the frame and allow for more detail in the study, where I ended up removing the light fixture on the ceiling to allow for more breathing room.

The last step (which I honestly completed before I was done with the base colors) was to add a transparent blue overlay over most of the image, leaving a hole where the lights shine through. Over the windows I added a transparent yellow glow to help make those areas pop and draw the eye.

Overall, I found it to be a really fun piece that felt easy and natural compared to other pieces I’ve made. Clearly I was inspired. I believe this may be one of my more complex pieces and shows a sophistication many of my pieces have been lacking. So for now, I’m really happy with it.

What do you think?

Watch the Full Process