Bananas (done for real this time)

4_25_2015_banana_doneThe background was bugging me, so I added a plate and redid it. So much better now, and the plate was a lot of fun to try to capture with limited time and brush strokes.

~30 mins for new plate and background. I left the naners themselves largely untouched.

Work in progress steps: Bananas (wips and done)


Flashlight, clothespins, shark still life (wips and done)


And another one! April has been a great month for digital still life paintings.

This one is pretty heavy on the red stuff, but that’s okay -I always love working with a limited palette. I think the big clothespin up front is my favorite. The shark is a rubber toy (alas, it does not squeak, but I always thought it should squeak) that used to sit on the wall separating my cube from the cube of one of my favorite co-workers. (Look, I still have your shark, Sean! He is well cared for. Haha :))

Anyway, here are some WIPs revealing just how sloppily this thing got started. I’m not a big sketcher, I just like to start putting in forms and adjust from there.april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_wip01

I try to block in everything before going too far on any particular part.april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_wip02

Bam, a shark appears! (I wish I had more opportunities to say that in real life.)april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_wip03

And the narrow slots between my oversized blinds! Isn’t this a tiny flashlight? I think it came free with a pack of batteries or something. april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_wip04 april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_wip05 april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_wip06

I know the airbrush is considered uncouth by some, but I think it’s handy for making foam balls look as smooth in the painting as they do in real life. It’s also nice for fabric highlights.

april_still_life_flashlight_shark_clothespins_red_doneYup, that clothespin up front is definitely my favorite part of this scene.

It’s just a practice still life so I don’t worry a lot about composition as I set these up, but as a finished piece it’s pretty chaotic. A better still life would probably feature a variety of object sizes, fewer objects, or both. 😛 I tend to choose just small objects for my still lifes since the platform I put them on is so small (it’s maybe 10″ x 10″).

Anyway, this is like… still life #4 or so for April, so I think I’m done eating my veggies for at least a few weeks. BACK TO INDULGENT FANTASY STUFF!


Someday you’ll see (wips + done)

someday_youll_see_done… that I am such a fragile thing.

(Which is a reference to the SD6 song “Everywhere”, which is awesome yet completely un-Googlable/un-YouTubeable for some reason.)

This one started as a sketch that probably wouldn’t have made it to completion it if weren’t for a soft spot in my heart for these two and their romantic scenes. After all, so much of their story is about the forces that keep them apart and the foolishness of their romance. She’s the girl-from-another-world, literate but useless in a sword fight; he’s betrothed to the world’s best assassin in support of a fragile political alliance between the world’s two most important guilds.

someday_youll_see_wip01 someday_youll_see_wip02 someday_youll_see_wip03 someday_youll_see_wip04Her face was just wrong – not wrong in general (I think it’s one of my better ones) but wrong for the character. So I repainted it, trying to make her look younger and less sassy (since this would be early in their story) and now it feels right.

someday_youll_see_doneBacklit faces, yay! I mean, no. Ugh, so hard. I’m trying to push my understanding of lighting a lot more this year and it’s not easy.


I came back a few days later and repainted the characters. I don’t know what it is with me sometimes, but it’s like I have to do a version I don’t like before I can do a version I do like.




It’s also sort of a spiritual remake of this painting I did back in 2009:


Dice, spool, ornament still life – red and green lamps (#5)

Here’s #5 in my still life lighting series. Painting from life into Photoshop has proven a reliably interesting use of my time, so I think I’ll continue this series for at least a few more iterations.

In this version there’s a lamp with a red lightbulb (and a red shade!) positioned to the left of the scene, and a small lamp with a green bulb behind a white shade to the right.


For some reason – not sure if it was because of the two-light arrangement – this one seemed to take longer than the previous pieces. The matte-finish ornament in the center is my favorite part of the scene. I’m getting tired of painting the spool of thread. I’m neutral about the dice.


Photoshop CS6
A few hours

#4 – CFL spotlight to the left
#3 – Pink Christmas lights to the left
#2 – Interior floor lamps
#1 – Early winter afternoon daylight

Dice, spool, ornament still life – CFL spotlight to the left (#4)

#4 in my first lighting practice series was lit using an ordinary CFL bulb (“soft white”, to be specific) in a desk lamp pointed straight at the scene from the left. I also continue to correct composition and perspective issues with each successive piece.

So far my method has been to use the previous painting as a base for the next one, though I do end up fully painting over it in the process. This has worked well, as it lets me spend my time on color and not repeating composition, though I do keep fixing things with composition as I go.

dice-spoon-ornament_spotlight_to_the_leftColor-wise, I feel like this is the most artificial looking of the bunch so far. Everything’s the color you expect it to be (and probably the closests these objects have been to their “real” colors), thanks to the lack of natural light and use of almost-white interior lighting. However, a trip to Fred Meyer for colored bulbs has ensured at least a few alien-looking entries will be added to this series soon.

Photoshop CS6
A couple hours

#3 – Pink Christmas lights to the left
#2 – Interior floor lamps
#1 – Early winter afternoon daylight


Even the stars look brighter tonight (wips + done)

Nothing’s impossible. (this version by Kato Kino feat. Ayria is my favorite).



First color pass under sketch:


Merge sketch into colors and paint on top of sketch on a single layer:


Render render render render:


Change his shirt to brown so they don’t look like they’re dressed in the same outfit lol:even_the_stars_wip05


Airika: And what’s that group of stars called?
Vince: Uh… the Cleave.
Airika: Are you making that up?
Vince: No, I would never do such a thing.

Photoshop CS6
A few hours


This piece is unique and special to me because they actually appear on the canvas how they look in my head omg. The end-of-vacation paint marathon continues. At this rate, I’ll get more painting done before February than I usually paint in a year – sweeeet.

Dice, spool, ornament still life – winter daylight (#1)

I’m 99.9% sure that I have never painted in Photoshop from life before. And I know for a fact I’ve never done a color piece from life before.

That 31 year streak ends today!


Photoshop CS
2 hours (first hour on a greyscale version, then another hour for a color version with improvements to perspective and rendering)

I’m gonna come back to this scene once the light has changed and paint it again.


The first lesson in “how not to die” (wips + done)

Airika gets her first lesson in how to stick the pointy end into enemies. She soon discovers there is an important difference between watching sword fights in movies and actually swinging your own sword.


But that’s okay, Vince has nothing better to do but show her some of the basics.

They meet at dawn for practice. They become unlikely friends.sword_practice_wip03Fortunately, she’s a quick learner, especially for someone who never did well with athletics.


The most important lesson: try not to die.



sword_practice_vincePhotoshop CS6