Unicorns and Penguins and Ponies, Oh my!

This last week was an exciting week. I got to create some art for three friends/loved ones for their birthday/unbirthdays. It is the first time that my schedule hasn’t been INSANE in months so I took this extra time to have fun and enjoy creating. I enjoyed casually playing around with my style and experimenting with colors to come up with these cuties. (Note, I didn’t take a photo of my brother’s card before I sent it off. I just got so excited that I shipped it without thinking about capturing the epic, ridiculous birthday request that he gave me. *Facepalm*)

Lauren-Crest-Blog-curvy unicorn Lauren-Crest-Blog-motivational penguin

My favorite part about creating these pieces was putting them in their frames. I loved painting them but I loved choosing the right color for the mattes to complete each image and make them pop. I will add that there is nothing nearly as satisfying as seeing the final package come together.

 

Lauren-Crest-Blog-curvy unicorn frame Lauren-Crest-Blog-motivational penguin frame

 

If you are interested in a small piece similar to these (5” x 7”) for yourself or for a loved one, message me. 🙂

Inspirational Artists – The High School Years

In December I wrote four posts on artists that have been inspirational to me as of late. This post I’m going to focus on artists that got me started creating in the first place.

Gustave Courbet

Gustave_Courbet_-_Le_Désespéré

Self-portrait (The Desperate Man), c. 1843–45, Oil

This self portrait was what initially got me started trying to depict deeper emotions and auras in my art. I discovered this painting in an art magazine my freshman year of high school (2004!) and instantly fell in love. The painting spoke to me and I wanted to figure out how to make art that could reach the viewer and communicate as well as this one did. This painting really shaped my art focus for my high school years and probably contributed to my love for darker art.

 

Arthur Rackham

Arthur Rackham

The Old Woman in the Wood, 1917, Watercolor and ink

We are going to go old school when talking about this image. I used this image for my Myspace background and coded a personalized profile around this image. That’s how much I loved this image. When I first saw it I was stunned by the color scheme, the lineart, and character interaction of this piece. It still causes me to catch my breath when I see it. This piece definitely helped inspire my love of line art and whimsical themes in my artwork.

 

Amanda Turnage

An_Apple_for_Fey_by_ArmadaRyuAn Apple for Fey, 2008, pen, watercolor and white ink.

I found this artist on deviantart and saved this image in my “inspiration” folder to reference it down the line. I loved the limited color scheme, something I’m still working on perfecting, and the way that this artist’s style was so loose yet so detailed at the same time. The use of red tones in this piece still impresses me to this day.

 

Bao Pham

Leafy_by_thienbao

Leafy, 2009, Digital

Bao Pham was one of the first digital artists that I discovered. Her work was so detailed, lively, and realistic that I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. I loved her smooth shading and crazy amounts of texture and detail that brought her creations to life. I had tinkered with creating my own creatures and her art inspired me to push for a more realistic look by better understanding lighting, textures, and movement.

 

Thumbnails for the Win

This week’s post is a follow up from last week about focusing on improving my style. I originally had wanted to work on a bunch of pieces and see where they took me but ultimately I decided to place my focus on one piece. I pushed myself with this piece by adding in a detailed background, something I’ve never been comfortable with nor have I focused on improving on in the past. I’ve also gone back to work on my love of details and the human anatomy with this latest piece.

Below is a step by step guide to how this piece progressed:

As usual, when I’m searching for an idea I’ll take to pinterest for inspiration. When I found the image below I instantly fell in love with it. I could see this image turning into some sea squid woman and I couldn’t wait to start working on the piece. I loved the movement and lighting in the original photograph so I knew this fit within my goals for this week’s piece.IMG_3952

 

I started off by sketching some thumbnails. I typically skip this step but I’ve been pushing to start working with the fundamentals of art and have been attempting to do thumbnails now before starting a new piece. I wanted to get the proportions and composition perfectly prepared for my final image so doing a thumbnail sketch would definitely save me a lot of time and effot. Below is the first sketch that I did. I wasn’t pleased with the composition, the figure didn’t have room to breathe and was pretty squished within the page, so I decided to try again.

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Below is my second sketch. I made the figure smaller and fixed the composition of the piece. I felt that the image was still a bit boring with it just containing the figure so I added a jar around the figure, as if she were a pet fish, and an idea sprang to mind. IMG_8565

 

Seeing this mersquid in a jar reminded me of specimen jars and how much I’ve always loved them. I decided to try a new composition with a bunch of fantasy hybrids stuck in variously sized jars all placed on a shelf. The thumbnail below is what I eventually came up with. This is one reason that thumbnails are so important. Without sketching out the piece a few times I would have ended up with a poorly composed piece that was a lot less creative than this one. My idea was allowed to grow because I took the time to figure it out and I was saved the time of correcting the piece over and over again because I had already done that in a smaller, less detailed piece.

The-Collector-Series-blogLauren-Crest-IMG_8568

 

As you can see by my sketchbook page below, I only did three thumbnails. Technically I should have done a bunch more before moving on but I was too excited to get started so I jumped right in. This would end up causing some problems so I definitely learned my lesson on this one. The-Collector-Series-blogLauren-Crest-IMG_8560

 

Getting the jars and figures on the paper was harder than expected since the format of my thumbnails above tended to be a bit wider than my final paper format. This is one reason why having multiple thumbnails of a final piece is super important. With some maneuvering, and taking more time that I should have, I got the basic line art down. The composition could be better but that’s what I get for only drawing three thumbnails.

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My next step was to decide whether to use powdered graphite or to hand shade this piece. I decided against the powdered graphite for this one and get back to my roots of hand shading. I didn’t have enough references for the powdered graphite to really work well and I don’t have the experience that I’d like with it to start such a detailed piece. So jumped in head first with a 3h, 2h, hb, 2b, and 5b pencil. After a few hours we can see progress.

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This is where this piece is at thus far. More details to the figures and shading have been added and the creatures in the remaining jars have been decided upon.

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I should have the final drawn image finished by Wednesday at the latest. After that I’ll be deciding on a color scheme and will be starting the digital coloring. 🙂 I’m super excited about this piece thus far and am super pumped to see where it goes from here!

Let me know what you think!