A new series…

I’ve been trying to draw more and more…the story of my life. However, I have found some peace with the amount I’ve been drawing, and have also come up with some structure for creations I may be able to develope as pieces I could sell in my etsy shop. 

Here are two drawings – they are more exercises in color, which I love, than anything else. I want to do these more often with the hope that I’ll come up with some ideas for etsy paintings.  

12 Days of Christmas project

I decided to give myself a little project, kind of like a mini Inktober: illustrating the 12 days of Christmas from the song.

Objectives for this (yes there are objectives, other than have fun drawing) are to explore the new Kuretake brush pen I got recently and to make something that maybe I could use part of next year for Christmas. For example, maybe I could make cards out of some of the drawings, or put them all on some kind of Christmasy product.

I have sketched out ideas for most of them. Some will be sillier than others. Here are the first three! These are drawn in ink (the Kuretake pen) and then colored in Procreate…and then brought back to Photoshop for final color adjustment and addition of the border and text at the bottom.

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“Stranger Things” Prints

My head is swimming with ideas, to-do lists, worries, more ideas and…some more ideas. I figured it may be nice to start the morning with some writing to try to calm the Creative Monster that I’ve unleashed.

A couple of weeks ago, I met with a local printer in town that I knew was not crazy expensive and with whom I’ve had a good relationship in the past. I was wondering if they’d be able to handle making prints of my art. The only experience I had with them was digital printing…the quick and dirty kind that doesn’t look super high quality. But maybe they had different printers now (or before and I just didn’t know it). The research I’ve done from sites online showed me that, while great quality, prints would be too expensive for what I’d like to charge. By the time I order, pay for shipping, then get it in my shop and have to ship it to (hopefully) a buyer…I just didn’t see how I’d make any money for the effort. So that lead me to Evolution Creative Services. I had a great meeting with the owner. They apparently print some artwork of a local watercolor artist, so that made me feel better. They use a Kodak Indigo printer, and their samples looked really nice.

So this week I sent over the first two pieces that will be 8×10 prints. Now to see how the quality is, what timing is like, etc etc. I have high hopes. Fingers crossed this works out!

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These are the first two in the planned Stranger Things series prints. I’d like to do Dustin and Mike next. I had done these two as original gouache paintings, and they are in my Etsy shop. Well, just Eleven, because Barb sold…within a day of posting. My one and only Etsy sale so far! I soon after made Barb into vector art, and just a couple days ago finished Eleven. Here’s a side by side screen shot – the gouache image is on the right.

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It takes quite some time to make these vector…but it’s kind of relaxing and rewarding, once done. And of course, allows me full control of the colors, which the designer in me loves.

For the next ones, I don’t think I’ll be making gouache paintings, but go right to the vector from my drawings. I think the cartoon-like style works well for them.

So my buckets right now are:

  1. Etsy – populate the shop…figure out what my market is…populate it with that. I think so far I’d like to focus on these things:
    1. monsters (cute for the most part)
    2. pop art (such as Stranger Things)
    3. robots (children’s art / children’s room art)
    4. animals (children’s art / children’s room art – some sort of theme)
  2. Illustration Portfolio
    1. Figure out my subjects for this: animals, characters and environments/nature?
    2. Research the hell out of other illustrators’ sites (proving very useful so far)
  3. Ongoing flow – social media upkeep
    1. daily sketches
    2. galleries in town?
    3. events in town?
    4. blog
    5. marketing plan

Ok. That kind of helped. Whew! I’m dedicating today to illustration, I think. Though there are still some other work graphic design day-job things I probably need to do. Yikes!

 

Blurb book arrived!

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After Inktober, I wanted to gather all of the Verntrupple drawings into a collection. I looked into Blurb.com, downloaded their InDesign plug-in, and got started.

The InDesign plug-in is amazing. You choose the type of book you want to design, the paper, the number of pages to start with and then go to town. There are guides and bleed marks. All of the production questions are answered via just using the template.

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After I got everything laid out how I wanted, I worked on the cover. Then when both files were finished, I uploaded them to blurb through InDesign. So crazy simple! I confirmed paper, the sizes, etc. Preflight was done and no errors were found. I was redirected to blurb.com and chose my quantity, shipping, and paid for the books. I ordered 10 to get a little discount, figuring it would be nice to have a few to play with / give away, etc.

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I’m very impressed with the quality of the printing. I chose a 6″ x 9″ trade book, keeping it cheaper this way. I chose the standard color printing, not the economy printing. The pages have visual bleed-through, but it isn’t bad and I expected this. The colors are vivid and crisp. I would give more inside margin room in the future, and I would also make the book more pages. Right now, it’s so thin…it just kind of feels flimsy, or like it should be a hard cover but isn’t.

I listed it on Etsy. Who knows – maybe someone would want to buy a cute little art book. I am giving a few away to family and friends. Oh, and yeah…trying to get that Etsy shop populated!

Stranger Things

I recently finished watching Stranger Things on Netflix. Yes, I binge-watched it. What other way is there to watch a show on Netflix?

I really enjoyed it. Before I watched it, I had a feeling I would enjoy it, from what I heard about it. And I also thought it would possibly be something awesome to draw in a “pop culture” kind of way.

Around the same time I finished the first season’s episodes, I found my gouache paint. We have been painting models for Pathfinder, a campaign-style role playing game we’re going to play this winter, and all of that painting really made me want to paint more. Specifically, I wanted to revisit gouache. So I broke out the paint tubes, some watercolor paper, and after some quick character sketching for Stranger Things, I painted Eleven on a waffle. If you haven’t seen the show and you like sci-fi and scary stuff…and the 80s…I highly recommend it. It’s kind of Goonies meets E.T. meets Stand By Me. You probably have to have seen the show to understand the drawings below.

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Pretty fun, and a nice way to get back into painting. I would like to do all of the characters. Next, Barb. Have you seen Barb?

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I haven’t decided how I’m going to feature Mike, Lucas, Will and Dustin yet. Or if I’ll do Nancy, Jonathan, Joyce and Hopper. Or any others, for that matter. But I at least would like to do the kids. I also decided that these would be better for any products as vector art. I am still going to start with paintings of them each…but am currently in the process of making them vector as well.

It’s been hard to balance painting and working the day job…but with winter coming and less yard work / outside things to do, I’m hopeful my evenings can be spent with my paints.

More Sketching

I am enjoying what I’m learning from my 30 minute sketches, filling the page with one idea to draw. I’ve done mimes, monsters, robots, and now people in glasses. Here are some things I’ve learned:

  1. A 30 minute sketch allows me to have a finished product, even if it’s just a sketch-level product; it feels good to accomplish something
  2. It seems to be just enough time to slightly push ideas…while not pushing them far enough. That’s good and bad. But I’ve come away from these thinking “yeah…I could definitely explore this a lot more,” i.e. push characters expressions or exaggerate features. Maybe one day I will be able to push things farther in that time period.
  3. Limiting my color palette is impactful to the overall page of images. I’m enjoying that, but also find it to be difficult.
  4. 30 minutes is incredibly easy to fit into my day.

Here is my page of people in glasses. And I’ve also included a sketchbook page of character practice I did last year. I would love to be able to come up with a character(s) I like and draw all of their emotions/expressions.

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In print research news, I think I now have all of the samples and/or paper swatch samples I’ve sent out for from online places. There is one place in town I need to email, and then I am going to make a chart based on sizes I think I’d like to sell and see what costs are. I seriously don’t know how people are selling things as cheap as they are, given what I think I’ve seen so far. Plus shipping and shipping costs? We shall see… That’s on this weekend’s list.