Coloring Books & Event Prep

Being an illustrator isn't always about making illustrations - a lot of time gets spent running the business side too! And that can make for the occasional week where there aren't a lot of finished new paintings to share with the interwebs. So even though I don't have any masterpieces to show you today, I thought I'd take you along with me as I begin to create my first coloring book, and continue to prepare for my booth at Crafty Wonderland this May 5th.

 

I FREAKING LOVE THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

I'm a tad obsessed with it actually. I've never been there and it's a major bucket-lister for me. So I had an idea that I could imagine that I've already gone to the reef, and that I kept a sketchbook while I was there. I'd write down notes of things that were memorable, sketch the animals that live in the reefs, and draw scenes from my dives that I could keep with me forever. Hence my the idea for the coloring book was born! I've already done the rough drawings for about 9 pages of it, so here are some pics of the (really) rough sketches.

I'm honestly stoked about how it's been coming along, and I dare to hope it will be ready and available in time for Crafty Wonderland. But even if it's not ready by then, it's definitely coming soon and I'm really enjoying working on it. Any excuse to look at pictures of the Great Barrier Reef is a good enough one for me! More updates and behind the scene shots are surely to come so stay tuned for it if you like that kind of thing.

 

MERCH ARRIVAL!

Last thing I'll share today is that some of my merch for the fair has finally arrived and I think everyone is going to be very happy with the way it all came out. I'm delighted with the quality of it all and can't wait to unleash it upon the world as phase one of my plan for world domination. Just kidding about that last part, but the excitement is real. Here's a sneak peak of some of the stuff I've gotten this week.

art-fair-merch.JPG

A couple of prints, a couple sticker packs, some individual stickers, and a bundle of notebooks that I'm pretty sure are adorbs. I'm anxiously awaiting the delivery of some more very cool stuff, including two enamel pins I can't wait to get my hands on. All this and more will be coming with me to Crafty Wonderland at the Convention Center this May 5th, so be sure to stop by and say hi if you're coming to the fair! I really would love to meet you. Until next time, stay crazy wild.

Paint Da Sharks

As promised I'm back today with some painting process stuff. I'm painting a series of sharks to make a taxonomy of them to sell alongside my dolphin and crystal prints at Crafty Wonderland. Even though they aren't conceptual pieces, I'm trying out some different painting techniques than usual and thought I'd share the joy. Today I'll be focusing on a Thresher Shark I've painted. Here's the initial sketch I spent all of 5 minutes on.

Thresher Shark Sketch Painting Process

You can see I just focused on the form of the shark and made a couple lines to note the curves of the form, meaning that the top is lighter then the middle or bottom, etc. Okay, so now for the good stuff. I heard somewhere that if you tend to use desaturated color you should make your underpainting really saturated and have decided to start trying that. For this series I also decided to play with hue by using whatever color I felt like, reality be damned, and only concerning myself with the saturation of the color to make the shape of the shark make sense in space. So here is a pic of my first hideous layer of paint for this guy.

Thresher Shark Underpainting Painting Process

I know, it's like "shield your eyes" right? While I painted this layer I looked at shark reference photos to determine what colors I could find in their bods, and then threw in some hot pinks and lime greens because I felt like. As I layered more gouache over the shark, I continued to focus on making shark body parts that were farther away from me less saturated and maintaining a soft lighting scheme. A few layers later he looked like this.

Thresher Shark Painting Process Layering Gouache

So by this point the shark is starting to make a little more sense I think. I've already made a lot of notes with my colors and have pretty much stopped looking at any reference images by now. Now I'm just working on making my shark seem dimensional. So I paint paint paint until he looks like this.

Painting Thresher Shark in Gouache Process

By this point a lot of the work is done, but detailing becomes really important. For instance the eye and face of the shark needed more definition at this stage. And I wanted to be sure to add highlights to make him look more fishy. I also wanted to darken his belly a bit to make him seem rounder. So I addressed all the things and here's a pic of the finished shark as he actually looks, as well as a picture of him after I took him into photoshop and played with hue until I found out it would have been better if I'd made him red.

Gouache Painting Thresher Sharks Illustration

The above infographic is brought to you by The Curious Wild, proving once again that hindsight is 20/20 and that red is better. Thanks for stopping by and, until next time, stay wild my dudes.

The Crafty Wonderland Diaries

If you read my last blog post you'll know that I've been accepted to vend a booth at the Crafty Wonderland event this May 5th. What this means for me is that I have SO MUCH stuff to do, and a lot of it is really unsexy by Instagram standards. So since I'm doing a lot of work I can't really share on social media, I thought I'd take the opportunity to write a blog post about making things for my first booth at an event.

SAY YOU'VE BOUGHT SOME ART FROM ME...

I want to make sure that you get the red carpet experience, so I've designed some stamps I can stamp on the bags you carry your new art home in. I want you to know who you got your art from, that I seriously appreciate your support, and in case you miss me at the event and order online I want to make sure the postman knows not to break your shit.

The Curious Wild Stamp Design

IMAGINE A BOOTH

Most of what I've been selling has been through print on demand services like Society 6 and Printful, so I need to order merch! Which means I need to design merch! So I started by thinking of the kinds of things I want to offer at my booth and came up with this list:

  • Enamel Pins
  • Art Prints
  • A Coloring Book
  • Notebooks
  • Stickers
  • Original Paintings

The original paintings thing is in the bag, so that left the rest to go about making. I decided to focus on the Mineral and Dolphin taxonomies as the art prints, so I wanted to spend some time with them and update their look to match my evolving aesthetic. This is what they look like now.

Mineral Crystal Taxonomy Art Print & Dolphin Taxonomy Art Print

For the notebooks I wanted to do a pack of 3 notebooks themed Land, Sea, & Sky so I designed these patterns for the outside covers of the notebooks, featuring turtles, fish, and birds.

Notebooks Turtles Fish Birds Pattern Design

I know what I'll be doing with the coloring book, but I haven't made it yet so I can't show you anything of it. But I can share the first enamel pin design I've made because I'm stoked about it. The pin is of Granny (J-2), the matriarch of the Southern Resident Killer Whale's J Pod. Granny was the matriarch of J Pod, and lived to be between 80 - 105 years old (there's conflicting research on this). Either way, she was the oldest known living Killer Whale until her recent loss, and was integral to raising J Pod's young and teaching this amazing pod their unique inherited culture. My favorite part about this pin is that I'm going to be donating a percentage of the proceeds to the Center for Whale Research, a group that's heavily involved in protecting, studying, and conserving J Pod and other whale pods in the Salish Sea who's numbers have been dwindling at an alarming rate. This is what the pin looks like on the paper backing it will come attached to.

granny j pod killer whale enamel pin

There's a ton of work left to do before I'm ready for the event, but I thought I'd share what I've been up to lately, and I'll try to keep you posted as I continue to make more things. If there are things you wish I'd have for sale that I haven't talked about here, please do let me know - if I can give you what you want I definitely will! 

For those of you who are here to see painting process blogs and not event table talk, I do have several paintings lined up to do soon, though I have to prioritize other things before getting to them. I can say that there are more crabs in my painting future, possibly some bearded dragons, and maybe a pelican too, so check back soon. Until next time, stay wild my friends <3