Thursday, June 28, 2012

Diablo 3 Birthday Card featuring... Treasure Goblin!

Diablo 3 is a pretty fun game. Craig and I got it free with our one-year World of Warcraft subscriptions! He plays a monk and I play a demon hunter. So for Craig's birthday card this year I painted Dido-cat as his monk character! Here are the other watercolour cat cards I've blogged.

His favourite level/chapter/questing area is Bastion's Keep. It's a snowy area where your character helps defend the battlements from all sorts of horrific creatures. You have to light signal fires (as seen in the bottom left corner of the card), help raise catapaults, and kill dozens and dozens of demons. 

Any Diablo 3 player will be familiar with the Treasure Goblins. These poor dudes are occasionally found minding their own business in the game's randomly generated levels. Players must waylay these creatures and pound them into bloody chunks before they open up a portal into Treasureland and escape forever! Dido has got her paws on a Treasure Goblin and she's not about to let him go. I hope she remembers to collect his sweet loot and doesn't just bat him around for her amusement!

My demon hunter recently learned an ability I like to call Treasure Ferrets. It's a pair of adorable pets that scurry around and collect the gold that sometimes falls off of dead monsters. They also increase the amount of gold found on monsters by 10%. But mostly, they are cuuuuuuute!

This is the second game-related card I've made for him. The first is this Marvel vs. Capcom one I did for Valentine's last year:

-- Julia

Monday, June 25, 2012

Willie Nelson for A Circus Mind

Here's the tenth illustration in my A Circus Mind series! Good ol' Willie. I'm really enjoying learning more about music through my research for these pieces. 

Willie was initially more of a songwriter than a performer because record labels found his voice too plain. Craziness. He helped establish Farm Aid (which is why I've got him walking by "amber waves of grain" in this illustration). He formed the company Willie Nelson Biodiesel. Willie is very much pro marijuana, so I have the plants springing up in his footsteps. A busy man and an American icon!

It's always fun to use the A Circus Mind palette in different ways. All ten of my illustrations use combinations of these colours (although technically the gradients cheat a little bit). I used four for Willie.

 And sketch! I gave the final a frame to give it a bit of a stained-glass feel. 

-- Julia

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Father's Day 2012 card

This year is the Calgary Stampede Centennial, so I decided to paint my dad a Father's Day card to celebrate that. I painted Dido on a chuck wagon with the Saddledome and Calgary tower in the background! This year's Mother's Day card featured a chinese finger trap-looking bridge in Calgary and last year's Craig birthday card also included the Saddledome and Calgary Tower, with some rolling hills and distant mountains for good measure.

Here's a link to the other cat cards I've posted, and here's the book I self-published which boasts eight years worth of even more of them!

-- Julia
Portfolio site

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Scorpions for the Weekly Alibi

Rockin'! Here's a fun illustration for the Weekly Alibi that pays tribute to the German hair metal band The Scorpions. They are embarking on their farewell tour, after more than 40 years of kicking, jumping, and rad pyrotechnics!

A while back I did another heavy metal-inspired illustration, this one for Curve magazine -- Kind of funny to see the similarities between the two. Flames in the background, orange/yellow/blue colour scheme, microphones and more guitars! I like taking a look back at my old stuff to see how things have evolved.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lots of Links and Reviews Part 7: Artflakes

Artflakes is a Berlin-based company that hosts artwork on their site, selling it as canvas prints, art prints, digital prints, gallery prints, posters, and greeting cards. Artists can follow each other, post comments on work, and "like" work. Basically, it offers the same products and functionality as Society6 except Society6 is based in the United States (California, I think). Society6 sponsors collaborations with select artists which can turn into printed pieces and/or art shows -- I think that's the only place they differ!

I signed up with both because while each can ship internationally, it's faster and cheaper for customers to order products that don't need to be shipped by air or sea. 

I've been with Artflakes for a year, about as long as I've been with Society6. I have yet to sell anything with them, but because they don't charge any fees (besides their cut of whatever you sell) and because they are in the European market, I'm definitely sticking with them for now!

Oh, and also -- Artflakes is another site that is respectful of the copyright of the artists they host. I can't find that stated on their website at the moment (it's gotta be on there somewhere!) but I emailed one of the founders and asked, and they make no claims of ownership of the work that is posted. I think if you are interested in joining the site they will email the terms of agreement and such.

Hope this was helpful!

-- Julia

Monday, June 11, 2012

Latest Macleans illo on newsstands this week

Here's my latest Macleans illustration! The obituary subject was part Cree, an avid cyclist, a volunteer who was involved in the Girl Guides, YMCA, and more. She worked at a graffiti art gallery in Winnipeg (the statue on the left side of the frame is the famous "Golden Boy" of Winnipeg, featured in a The Weakerthans song). 

And here's the accompanying spot illustration for the Macleans iPad version:


The sketch, which is very close to the finished version. I finessed the feathers a little, though.

Should be out some time midweek!

-- Julia

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lots of Links and Reviews Part 6: Blurb

Part 5: Galleray Review
Part 4: Society6 Review
Part 3: Hire An Illustrator Review
Part 2: Illustrationmundo Review
Part 1: FoundFolios Review

Blurb is a self-publishing book service that I've been trying out and I'm pretty pleased with it! Society6 is my favourite site for selling prints and t-shirts, Blurb is my favourite site for selling books (at least, so far!). Thanks to new technologies, Print-On-Demand self-publishers have really flourished. I even did an illustration for Alternatives Journal about how all these cool new advancements are changing the publishing world.

There are many, many Print-On-Demand sites out there. I chose Blurb because they offered lots of options for paper thicknesses, finishes, and bindings, their browser interface meant I didn't have to install any software on my pc, they have quick-start templates (they also provide guidelines for designing your book as a pdf if you don't want to use their layout program), they have an active support community, and other illustrators use it, too!

I'm not a fan of their payment schedule, however. You have to make a certain amount of profit (I think it's $25 or so) before they will pay it out. If you come up short they will roll it over to the next pay period and keep doing that indefinitely so it's not that big an issue, but I wish they were a bit more flexible in that regard. They will pay directly into your PayPal account, which is nice and convenient.

I have two books for sale so far and I've ordered copies of each. I'm quite pleased with the quality of the printing -- another cool thing about their layout program is that it won't let you place images that aren't of a high enough resolution (although I'm sure there is a way to get away with low-resolution images somehow, it's not 100% foolproof). I haven't sold many books but I'm glad I set this up for myself in case I want to really dive into producing my own art books in the future!

-- Julia
Portfolio site

Monday, June 4, 2012

Chelsea Hotel for A Circus Mind

Hotel Chelsea is a historic building in New York. It hosted countless numbers of famous musicians, artists, and writers. One of the more notorious stories connected with the Chelsea is about Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols and his girlfriend Nancy. Sid woke up to find Nancy dead from a stab wound on the bathroom floor and he wasn't sure what had happened the previous night. Drugs were involved and I'm sure that didn't help!

I've drawn them here together with some pretty intense red lighting. I wanted to contrast the lighting with the tenderness they must've shared during better times. 

A couple of distinctive features of the hotel including the vertical "HOTEL" sign and the ornamented iron balconies, which I made sure to depict in the illustration. I also checked out the hotel on Google Street View and saw what the building on the other side looked like and used that as a reference.

Here are the other Circus Mind illustrations I've done!

And sketches:

-- Julia