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It was inevitable. I mean how long can you keep girls and boys apart?

All the posts here have been imported into Drawn Today and all the contributors are receiving an invitation to Drawn Today.

Let's get sketching!

Fairy Sketch

One of my many goals is to finish up some projects that have been gathering dust around the studio. Most of these older projects are intimidating me for one reason or another (can anyone relate??). Either I'm unsure how to proceed with the medium or I'm not happy with the initial concept. Though I like the look of this one (top drawing), I'm uncertain what I want to convey. Yesterday, I spent some time reworking the fairy in this bottom sketch, trying to make her look less coy and more sad and dejected because she's been caught in a snare. Um....decisions, decisions.

New Moleskine -

Finished out my old one, so got to start in my tiny, new Moleskine this weekend. Christened it with a view of the informal concert we watched my daughter play in downtown at Seattle's Winterfest celebration.

I also listened to this weekend's Conceptart.org's live streaming class on sketchbooks. Lots of great examples of famous artists sketching (and not the beautiful, elegantly composed and finished 'sketches' that many artists sell now as sketchbooks). Plus a number of good ideas on sketchbook exercises and subjects. A worthwhile way to spend the afternoon.


Happy Chicken -er, Turkey Day!

("Fancy Chicken" - a Yokohama Red Shoulder Cockerel to be exact. For "The Wind Dancers", published by Feiwel & Friends).

Happy Thanksgiving - my artsy-drawing friends. Thanks for your talent and your input and for enriching my life the last couple of years.

Goblin Girl take One

So I've been trying to find my own "style". It seems that I've been looking for it for a long time with no luck. Then the other day I had an epiphany... I think I have actually had a "style" for years but I've been trying to paint realistically and have unintentionally brought a lot of undue stress onto myself. In trying to paint like Donato, Rebecca, Scott etc. I lost my own voice which was barely audible as it was. Doing a lot of research and talking with Madeline about licensing and artists who do quite well for themselves with licensing has had me thinking in a different way about my own work. Oddly enough it opens me up to a lot of freedom. Could I really make a living painting and drawing what I love and want to create rather than deal with being art directed? Even though this girl is just a beginning idea, it's the way I always used to draw. My question to everyone is this, "Is the natural way that I draw too elementary? Is it worthwhile in your opinions to go more toward this direction?

Breast cancer benefit needs art

Step up and help Daarken with his Beautiful Grim benefit - http://tinyurl.com/yehy353


Eakins in ballpoint

I was at the Mutter Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art yesterday. I guess the former informed the latter because I found myself copying a portion of it in my little sketchbook. Photo taken with my iPhone.


IlluxCon Saturday Night Model Drawings

The model was a bit of a moving target so it was a great challenge to get the pose before it changed - which was a lot of fun! The profile is something I doodled out of my head.


Christmas Promo - Finish

While you all were off galavanting at IlluxCon, I was home. Painting. Got this finished at any rate...

Life Drawing -

"Draped figure" day at life drawing this morning -

We did a series of short poses of our long-necked, leggy model. I decided to mostly ignore the faces/hands/anatomy and focus on the drapery and folds. To see how much I could get laid in in the various scant 20 minute poses. Also tried out different densities of charcoal pencils, from hard to soft - which means I can either have more control or more value...

Made good use of "The Virgin Queen" soundtrack for background accompaniment.

Cat Sketches

I have my first children's book commission. The author is a wonderful 72 year old lifetime educator. She's self-publishing which is an avenue many authors are taking these days. The title is A Grand Cat and it's based on the true story of Fred the cat.
Right now I'm developing the storyboard and book dummy. I'm also playing around with the style and look of the illustrations. The author has given me a free rein in both. Right now, I'm simply studying cats and their expressions and anatomy. Next, I tried drawing them without the photo references and attempted to draw a cat based on memory and characterization. Have much work to do before this feels more fluid and free.

Christmas Promo - WIP

This is the final drawing for my Christmas promo requested by my agents. Their theme this year is 'Caroling'. It is sadly lacking in dragons, but for the children's market it should do fine. :-)

The simpler and more decorative the piece, the harder I find it to make *the right* color choices. Since I paint these in watercolor, I must know before I begin what colors are going where, with few options to change after the fact beyond a bit a glazing. I'm tending towards the lower right, but don't really like the cool background. However warm (ochre? cream?) might be too much warm?


Life Drawing -

Short-pose, sleep-deprived week.
30 minutes. Charcoal. Nap needed.

Lifedrawing and new FW inks

Guess I'm joining the trend of using toned paper! I very much enjoyed using it... even though I was kicking myself for over-working the leg, as well as thinning down the model's loose arm so much that it looks like a macaroni noodle, but that's why we do these things right?... Live and learn. Also got some new FW inks so I was just playing around with 'em... this very sketchy unicorn is the first thing I did (other than some color squares) and the colors are from different mixes of indigo and scarlet ink. The best way apparently is not to mix them first but to use light layers to achieve the colors desired (they seem to look fairly different when wet from dry.)

jester hats

I've been working on a jester hat logo and here are some iterations of one version of it:


Happy Halloween Everyone!!

Jester Logo

Three version of a jester hat logo.
The customer wants to use it as his logo for everything from favicons to embellishing his suit lining.

Fanart and Sketches

Finished sketch of Emmett from Twilight (non-movie version). No snickers please.
From sketchbook, scanned and toned in ps. Playing around with different proportions...slightly exaggerating head for fairy possibilities.

More "oatmeal" sketching -

Here is an uncharacteristic "monster" design by Alphonse Mucha - for Halloween. Need softer/darker pencils. Don't think I want to draw on white paper ever again. :-)

H is for Hygeia

I got some great shots of a friends little girl during a photo shoot. This one in particular I wanted to turn into something mythological based. I was thinking snakes or octopus. So I came up with a little Hygeia. She was a goddess of health and healing....hense the term hygene. She is always pictured with a snake signifying healing and medicine. Anyway, it was fun.

sketch work ups

Work ups for some commissions.

More sketchbook fun -

Head study after Edward Burne-Jones.

[Graphite and white charcoal on toned paper]

Nifty new sketchbook!

After seeing some of the examples of drawing on toned paper by Mike and Jennifer, I acquired a Utrecht 11x14 'oatmeal' paged sketchbook.

Practiced on copying some Master drawings at the retreat last weekend. This one after Hans Holbein (who drew fascinatingly 'real' looking figures from the court of King Henry VIII. Most of them somewhat homely and decidedly *not* idealized). Great fun.

Sunday Sketching -

Only a couple more pages left in this tiny purse Moleskine....
(Maybe for Halloween, I'll draw their skeletal structures instead? Just like Steve over on Drawn Today. :-)

Life Drawing -

Sleep deprived long-pose day....

Last week's Lifedrawing, plus a Photoshop layer

I couldn't get the effect I was looking for at the studio last week, so I came home and twiddled with it in PS just by adding a layer and erasing some highlighted areas (which I'm embarrassed to admit I'd never even THOUGHT of doing until Dan DosSantos did it in his presentation at IMC. I felt like a nitwit, because it seems so obvious now, and is also something I can do with a mouse-- at least to experiment with compositions-- until I get my tablet working again.) I like it better but still, not my favorite thing ever. I had trouble getting that left leg (the one she's holding) to come forward instead of being amorphously joined to her torso. Sharper highlights on the kneecap may have helped there. Oh well, "better next time."


I just returned from our annual fall illustrator's retreat weekend. Lots of art happened - including drawing in my nifty-new, large toned sketchbook (I'll post some of those soon).

One of the 'fun' projects we dabbled in was intaglio printing on plexiglass plates. Here was my initial tiny practice plate and a few of experimental prints I pulled. Incredibly fun. Want to do more!

To anyone interested in buying the much revered cachet kraft paper sketchbooks:

I just bought an 8.5" x 11" hardbound, 80 sheet one for $12.95 at WAL*MART.
It must be a new item because I have never seen it there before.

So when you pickup your motor oil, big-screen tv and a gallon of Sunny D, stop by the crafts department and take a look-see.


In Progress

Hello All! This is a piece I'm working on that will be completed by next week's deadline. It is the interpretation of a Henry David Thorough quote.

Temple in the cliffs

This is a rough pen and ink drawing that I liked the concept of and started playing around with its colors in Photoshop.

Yes, I know the cliffs look like clouds. I don't have a tablet, just a laptop mousey-pad, so Photoshop is always an exercise in frustration for me... I think I will invest in a tablet soon as it seems very useful. :)

I was thinking of eventually painting this in some traditional medium as a portfolio piece, but I don't know if it would be too simplistic and boring just as a peaceful landscape... I mean, surely there should at least be a dragon twined about one of those roofs, right?... so I'd like to know any opinions or suggestions you all might have to either add interest or make it a stronger piece. Thanks! -Abby

Fun times with foreshortening -

Short pose, life drawing day. About 15 minutes...

Some WIPs ...

(...a sample of which is shown here....)

...complete with drama and peril...

...are posted in full over at the home blog....

Boat Art

I call this "boat art" because this piece is an example of the art I was working on last spring when I was traveling regularly to the mainland on the ferry. I found it was the perfect time to work on small pieces (this one is about 5"x6" right now) and helped make the time pass more quickly. I haven't been traveling on the boat much lately, so this piece kinda got buried. But I found it again recently and am planning on having it finished for Illuxcon.

About this blog

Here are the sketches done by a number of artists working in the realms of fantastic and surrealist art and illustration.
Email madeline@mcmatz.com to join us.
Everyone working in fantastic art is welcomed!
All works presented on this site are copyrighted by the artist that created them. All rights are reserved. Contact the artist directly regarding use of any of their images.