Sunday, October 15, 2017

Please let me in...

...It's wet out here!

Continuing my theme of quick-cat-because-I-don't-have-time-for-a-Colour-Collective-but-I'm-doing-one-anyway pics. And I'm branching out - this cat is not black!

The colour was 'timberwolf' this time around.


I really love how much expression you can get into two white circles with dots in!

This was very quick, about 1.5 hours, in Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2

Inktober 2017: Week 2

Despite being horrendously busy, I decided that I would take some time for Inktober this year. If you don't know what that is, it's an October challenge on social media, where you draw something in ink every day. Some of the artwork is amazing, go check it out! There is an official prompt list, and a number of people write their own prompt lists - but there are no real rules, and I'm not following any prompts.

I decided to draw really little images each day - just so I can have ten to twenty minutes working with a nice traditional brush pen, on actual paper, on something that doesn't have to be perfect. I'm not pretending to be up there with the people who do a full-blown, amazing illustration every day. I'm too busy for that, for a start! =P

For my second week, my character was a black raven:


See more below the cut:

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Inktober 2017: Week 1

Despite being horrendously busy, I decided that I would take some time for Inktober this year. If you don't know what that is, it's an October challenge on social media, where you draw something in ink every day. Some of the artwork is amazing, go check it out! There is an official prompt list, and a number of people write their own prompt lists - but there are no real rules, and I'm not following any prompts.

I decided to draw really little images each day - just so I can have ten to twenty minutes working with a nice traditional brush pen, on actual paper, on something that doesn't have to be perfect. I'm not pretending to be up there with the people who do a full-blown, amazing illustration every day. I'm too busy for that, for a start! =P

My first week was devoted to this little black kitten:


More under the cut, including a timelapse!

Training new Familiars

Back to the cats for Colour Collective. The colour was 'Pewter Blue'. I'm still pressed for time, so I reused an old concept from last year, and updated it to fit with my current cat series:


I had rather less than two hours to work on this, so it was a bit rushed, but there we go.

Here's the original use of this frightened kitty-cat, from a Halloween witch I did in October 2016 (that's a year ago, how did that happen??):


Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Pretty as a Picture...

... and Planning the Hit List.

It had to be a really quick Colour Collective for the 'Shocking Pink' prompt. I'm taking overflowing to-do lists to whole new levels.


So this was the quickest thing I could think of!

About 1 hour in Adobe Photoshop CC on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Feral Fergus Book Launch

Finally getting around to blogging about the book launch for Feral Fergus, my newest picture book with Sioban Timmer. We worked together on Toughen Up, Princess a couple of years ago, and now we're back with a new book in full colour!

Sioban and Moi:


The launch was held on September 2nd at the Amherst Community Hall in Gosnells. We had quite a crowd!


Our publisher, Cate Rocci of Jasper Books, spoke first, then I did a presentation about the creation of Fergus as a character, starting with my initial meeting with Sioban, where she told me she envisaged a cross between Alfred Newman of MAD Magazine, Ginger Meggs and Fido Dido, though various character sketches right through to the final character:

 

(My father took this photo, he is a master at catching me in weird expressions :P)

Sioban then took to the stage to discuss her role as the writer, while I provided some entertainment and drew Fergus on the whiteboard behind her:





After that we signed books:






We also had a colouring table set up for the kids, with some colouring pages of Fergus. You can download the pages to colour yourself from my website here. The colouring page pack also features the Feral Name Generator that is included in the book. You'll see from the photos that everyone is wearing a name badge - not with their real-world name, but with their feral name. If you're curious as to yours, go download the pack!


Thanks to Ken Mutton, Jane Hilton and Sioban Timmer for the photos.

I'll blog more about Fergus in the near future. I've been so busy with various projects it's been difficult to find time to blog about anything!

Morning Ablutions

Some privacy, please!

"Buttercup" for Colour Collective. There are daffodils in our garden at the moment, so naturally the yellow made me think of them. I tossed up for a while whether I would feature a black cat, as in my previous few CCs, or return to my Myrna series. In the end I chose a cat, but I would choose a very tricky pose, wouldn't I? =P It took a bit longer than planned, because I was exhausted after an extremely busy day, but I got it finished in good time, so never mind. 


Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2, about 2 to 2.5 hours in total.

Friday, September 22, 2017

By The Window

Here's the little piece I did for Colour Collective's 'Cordovan' prompt. I'm still practicing cats. 


This had its start as a sketch on my father's iPad Pro. We had the electricians in, so the power was off. I had a multitude of things I should have been doing, ranging from drawing or typesetting for work to cooking dinner or practicing the piano, but they all required electricity (my Cintiq Companion has almost no battery life. Last time I ran on battery I got 20 minutes out of it (after which it shut down without warning), and my piano is in a very dark room so I need the lights on) so I picked up the iPad and started doodling. I quite liked it as a concept, but it was horribly full of mistakes (look at the length of her legs, oops) so I thought it would serve as a good starting point for Colour Collective:


This was a quick piece, a bit over two hours overall (plus half an hour or so for that original sketch). I don't have much time to labour over Colour Collective pieces, but I like to squeeze them in as a change of pace from whatever I'm working on at the time. I enjoy coming up with something for colours I might not ordinarily use.

Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Spot of Divination

Way back in highschool I drew a little witch with a goose (The goose was suggested by Monty Python-loving friends) and the other day she made a reappearance in a very quick bedtime sketch. I rather liked her, and other people seemed to as well, so the next day I spent a little time working her up into something better. I had a bit of a cold and it was nice to just draw something pointless, curled up on the couch. 


Here's the original sketch. Full of mistakes, as super-quick bedtime sketches are apt to be. Things changed rather a lot from this to the final!


Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. The sketch took under 20 minutes, the final took about two hours.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Some Bollywood Portraits

The other day, through a roundabout way, I found myself looking at photos from vintage Bollywood films. And I decided to sketch one:


This is Madhubala. Not a very good likeness. =P I sketched her on my father's iPadPro in about half an hour.

I was using Procreate, which recorded my process, but skipped some of it, for some reason. Here's a look at that:

A post shared by Alison Mutton (@alene.art) on


The next day I thought I'd do another. So this is Laxmi Chhaya:


Again, not the best likeness. And again, Procreate didn't record all of my process. Odd. (You'll need to swipe over for the video)

A post shared by Alison Mutton (@alene.art) on


A few days later I was feeling really terrible with a flare-up of my trigeminal neuralgia, and while I wasn't planning on another sketch portrait, I couldn't get my brain to focus on anything where I had to think. So I drew Nimmi:


This time I did get Procreate to record the whole process. (Again, swipe over for the video)

A post shared by Alison Mutton (@alene.art) on

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Oops! Sorry!

When Colour Collective came up with 'Portland Orange' I just knew I had to head into the Australian outback. Such a vibrant red-orange, perfect for Kimberley red dust!

I had such fun with the last CC I did, middle-grade-style linework with one-colour(ish) accents, that I decided to do that again this time. 


I chose to feature an echidna (because they're fabulous) and a spinifex hopping mouse (because they are the cutest things ever). Most of my time was spent on the echidna, because of all those spines. Now I remember why I don't often draw them! =P

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. About 2 hours, using Kyle Webster's brushes (China Marker, Perfect Pencil, Gouache a Go Go and Gouache Bonus Gritty Dry) 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Abandoned Graveyard

Colour Collective's "Pearl" prompt made me think of statues. And since I didn't want to go literal and draw actual pearls, I thought I'd run with that:


This went through several incarnations in the sketch phase. I started out with an Indian-style statue overgrown with jungle plants, and featuring monkeys. That was inspired by The Jungle Book. But then I decided I didn't feel like drawing monkeys and switched to a Grecian Muse type statue and squirrels. And then I decided that an overgrown cemetery was more atmospheric. I rather ran out of time, too - suddenly discovering I had a good two hours less to work on this than I'd expected. I was nearly finished, but if I had had the extra time I would have fixed up the squirrel on her head, which looks a bit stiff. 

There are 12 critters in this - two of them are very hard to spot.

Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. 2.5 to 3 hours.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Witch's Companion

A little piece for Colour Collective's 'Pantone 292 C' prompt. It seemed like a good colour for a ribbon, perhaps around a cat's neck... and I'd been playing around with witches in my sketches so it sort of evolved from there:


Anyway, I need to practice cats. We've always had a dog, so I'm naturally more familiar with pooches than pusses - but that is no excuse!

I think this is my most popular Colour Collective to date, which makes me very happy. =) I'd quite like to do more with this little feline. I like to do chapter-book style illustration, I've always liked some nice linework. 

Here's another piece I did in the same vein for Colour Collective a few weeks later. The prompt this time was 'Vert Réséda:


Here are some more witchy sketches:



Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. The Colour Collective took 2-3 hours. Not quite sure how long the sketches took - quicker than the CC, anyway. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Pups on Purple Pillows

A quick piece for Colour Collective's 'Byzantium Purple' prompt. Naturally the colour really made me want to draw over-the-top Byzantium era costumes, but I stuck with something simpler!


This only took about three hours, and it definitely shows - but I do like that dachshund. ^.^

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2

Friday, August 4, 2017

Hermione

When the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter rolled around, I had to draw something to mark it. I've never been the biggest fan of the books (I liked the earlier ones best) but they were a big part of my childhood even so. If I'd had time I would have liked to have drawn all three main characters, but as it was I had to pick one, and Hermione won because she has the best hair. Sometimes illustrator choices are extremely shallow...


Here's the original sketch, which I posted first. I coloured it up the next day because I felt like doing some colouring. 


Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. A couple of hours in total. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Stealth Mode

I was short on time for Colour Collective's 'Fiery Coral' prompt, so I needed something quick and easy. On the day before I'd uploaded one of my Myrna series to Instagram as a Throwback Thursday post, and people seemed to like it, so I went with a Myrna theme for Colour Collective too. 

It was such a bright, cheerful colour, it made me think of smoked salmon and watermelon, so here is Myrna in stealth mode, seeing if she can steal some lunch.


In reality she's more likely to steal your serviette - she's addicted to tissues - but that had already been a subject in one of my Christmas Myrna illustrations last year. =P It's quite common, however, to see Myrna's head just rising over the edge of a table, to see if there's anything good there. Our previous dog was about half as tall, long and heavy, so it's a bit of a shock to have a dog that can so easily reach the table! (we've had Myrna 4 years now, but that doesn't outweigh the complaisance of 17.5 years with a tiny terrier!)

Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. 1.5 to 2 hours

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Little Explorer

I just don't have time to do anything big and fancy for Colour Collective, so when their 'Khaki' prompt rolled around I decided to slap a bit of colour on this little explorer:


I didn't spend very long on it, and it shows, but it's better than nothing! =) 

Here's the original blog post for the black and white version of this illustration. 

Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. About two hours for the colouring - rather longer for the original illustration though!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Something Gothic

For Colour Collective's 'Licorice' prompt, I decided to go a bit gothic. And I didn't want to spend too much time with linework, as I'd been doing very detailed linework of landscape scenes for a year 4 geography program all week, and I'd had it with linework and grasses. =P 


So this is almost entirely done with the lasso tool and a big textured brush (Kyle T Webster's Gouache a Go Go). I just added a tiny bit of linework at the end, to make sure things stood out enough. It was cathartic. 

I was inspired, oddly enough, by a photograph in the national geographic of someone surrounded by red bouquets of incense sticks. I realise I moved about as far away from that as possible. =P 

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. About 2.5 hours.

Cheese Thief

Still super-busy, so I'm still stuck with only the quickest of sketches for Colour Collective. This was for the 'Ceylon Yellow' prompt, and was originally, in my head, rather bigger. But my imagination draws quicker than I do, so most of it was jettisoned. Such is life...

The original plan was to have three mice, pushing and pulling a big jar of mustard on a little trolley made of found objects. As you can see... we now have one mouse, no mustard, and no trolley. But we do have cheese. 


About a to 1.5 hours on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2, using Adobe Photoshop CC2017

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Moonlight

I had to think of the quickest thing I could for Colour Collective's 'Iris Blue' prompt, because I have so much work on - I didn't want to miss Colour Collective, but I also couldn't spare more than an hour. 

So here we have it. Baby owlet with the moon, very sketchy:


Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. About an hour.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Little Mermaid's Transformation

Here's a portfolio piece I did recently, as part of a small series of Little Mermaid illustrations I've been doing on and off. Currently two of them are finished. 


This is the scene where the Little Mermaid drinks the Sea Witch's potion, and grows legs. You can see the jar the potion was in floating away, after she drops it in the sea. 

I really wanted to have this image with the mermaid half in and half out of the sea - we can see the two worlds here, with the waterline as a barrier between them, as this part of the story is really about the Little Mermaid leaving one world and entering another. 

Here's a progress animation:


Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. 15-18 hours. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ocean Views

Still busy, so to save time on my Colour Collective I revisited one of my Mermay sketches and turned it into something colourful. The prompt was 'Apple Green'


I didn't want to go with the obvious connotations of 'apple green', so I chose to use it as greenery. I looked up scenery in Vietnam, and used that as my base, as my mermaid has a conical hat and it makes sense to put her in the right region. Plus, if I was a mermaid, I think this would be good scenery to be sitting around! 

Here's the original sketch:


I flipped the image around for CC, as I decided I liked it when I flipped it to check that everything looked okay. 

I did this pretty quickly, in about three or so hours, including the initial sketch. Lots of use of the dry gritty gouache brush in Photoshop, and not being too bothered about the fine details.

Adobe Photoshop CC2017 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Illustrator Tips: Preparing your digital canvas

I often jump into conversations on twitter to help people asking for advice with illustration, so I thought I should start a little blog series dealing with some of the things I often see asked, or that I think might be useful.

So here goes:

#1. Preparing your digital canvas


When designing for print, it's important to know what specifications you are working to before you start. I can't stress this enough - a lot of clients won't automatically provide you with all the relevant information, and possibly won't see the necessity, but believe me, you'll save a lot of stress by getting this information out of them at the start. Ask! Keep asking! Explain to them that if you have to spend ages reworking pieces that end up the wrong size, it will increase their costs. 

For example, here is the cover for Feral Fergus. I had to create the cover long before starting on the book itself, for promotion purposes, and when I did (back in September) the book was to be printed in A4. But this changed to 8x10". No big deal in this case, but just look at all that white space down the sides of the cover on the left. I had to carefully paint in this area back in as seamlessly as I could, and think how difficult this could be if you have a really detailed background and a composition that won't stand for the alteration anyway! You can't avoid all such incidences, but it's best to at least attempt to make sure it doesn't happen.


Continue reading below the cut:


Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Sea Witch

Here's a piece I redid for my children's illustration portfolio.


It was originally a realistic digital painting done way back in 2011. It was mainly to prove to myself that I could create something dark and scary, as with almost everything we were supposed to do at uni. I'm not really a dark and scary person, so I always struggled with that a bit, and wanted to see if I could create something scary off my own bat, a couple of years after I left uni. 

Here's the original. There's no place in my portfolio for anything like this now, so I took the concept and turned it into a children's illustration. I quite like redoing old pieces, if I think the concept is strong enough. It lets me see how much I've progressed, and also gives me a chance to fix all those little things that end up bothering me after I've finished a piece. 


Of course, turning it into a children's illustration meant that I no longer had to make it super-scary, which is much more my cup of tea. =P 

Here's a progress animation:


What do you think? Which version do you prefer?

Adobe Photoshop CC2016 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. About 12-15 hours, I think.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Mariella

Here's a sort-of-new piece for my portfolio. It's a redo of a piece I did back in 2015 - essentially the same piece, but it's been entirely redrawn so it can stay in my portfolio without bringing down the tone.


It's intended as a book cover, so as I do a lot of work for self-publishers, I added text. This is a roll-over view option on my website. I know conventional wisdom is not to put text on book cover design, because illustrators are not graphic designers... but I do actually have a degree in graphic design. Anyway, self-publishers need to be able to see that I can add text without turning everything into a dog's breakfast.


If I was printing this, I can see spot varnish on the text, maybe even a foil.... but I'm not printing it, so you'll just have to use your imagination.
This has my name on it because it's my story. I've even written some of it!

Find out lots more about this illustration below the cut:

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