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Results 1 - 25 of 135
1. This is Florence- a commission I did for a lovely couple. Yay...



This is Florence- a commission I did for a lovely couple. Yay for pugs!



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2. Henri!, Character design concept.



Henri!, Character design concept.



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3. Check out the Chun-Li Artist Series Card I made for Fangamer:...



Check out the Chun-Li Artist Series Card I made for Fangamer: Also, don’t forget to take a peek at the other cards, they all turned out awesome!  goo.gl/0aUSNm



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4. One of my forgotten books - 'The Easter Surprise'



Here's one of my forgotten books - the Easter Surprise! It was painted in real paints on gessoed paper (for all you hard-line real media folks). And it featured idyllic scenes of baby farm animals frolicking in pastoral locales. I think it does have a nice painterly aspect to it. And now I'm much more forgiving of it's innocence, all these years later.  I think it's sweet... loving kindness.

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5. Spring Headdresses

A page in my sketchbook I'm proud of. There are many times I wished all the pages in my sketchbook were this full. I'm praying this is the light of something new. :)


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6. woodless graphite....

is a beautiful thing!

this is how EVERY painting begins....for me, anyway.

i draw/sketch out my idea in my sketchbook (sized at the same size the painting will be). in this step, i am extremely detailed and precise, making sure i have everything drawn/sketched out EXACTLY the way it will appear on the canvas. the more exact and precise i am in the drawing/sketching stage, the easier it is for me to execute the finished painting.

once the drawing/sketch is perfected, i then re trace over my own drawing/sketch with tracing paper....every line, every detail, everything...completely re traced. once that is done, i will take a piece of woodless graphite OR, if i don't have a piece laying around, i will use a VERY soft lead pencil (usually an 8B...6B at the very least). with that, i *scribble* very methodically on the back of my tracing....being sure to cover every line i have just traced so that i can transfer the drawing/sketch exactly as it appears in my sketchbook.

then, i lay the tracing (paper) with the graphite on the back over the canvas and press down with a 4H lead pencil to transfer the drawing to the canvas ever so perfectly.

and that, my friends, is how Nicole rolls...old school. that's how i worked in college...and that's how i work today. keeping it real and true to myself. 

i am a traditional painter. ALWAYS a (traditional) painter. :)

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7. my couch is now complete!

there's always room at the top...for a hug!
©the enchanted easel 2014
so loving these throw pillows courtesy of fine art america.

visit my shop here http://fineartamerica.com/products/there-is-always-room-at-the-top-for-a-hug-nicole-esposito-throw-pillow-14-14.html to pick up one for your little one....or for your not so little one! ;)


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8. It's Monday + Weekend Round Up


I believe this Martin Luther King Jr. quote is as true for the inside of ourselves as it is for the outside to others. We must drive out the darkness within our minds, and love ourselves. Thank you Dr. King for so many inspiring words and faith.

This past weekend was a whirl wind of a time! We did so much, that by Sunday I was tired enough to sleep through Norah waking up from her nap. Who knows how long she was in her crib playing before she finally started to let me know she wasn't happy there. I find these are the times I learn the most about myself, because they are also when I'm my weakest, most vulnerable, and busiest. Do you ever have weekends like that?

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It's a new week though, with new thoughts, new perspectives, and new schedules! I have discovered that every week is different with my schedule, time to  E • M • B • R • A • C • E  it! 



I tried something new this morning, I tried some meditative prayer. Like most women, my mind is always moving. Surprisingly it stayed pretty clear, and I think I caught myself drifting to sleep a couple of times (sitting up in the studio). Since then I've been very calm, and I knew I needed to get it down on paper, so I began this drawing. I look forward to working on her throughout the week during these times of peace every morning.

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After that first nap I give Norah all of my attention. We played around and got to ride on the dragon in the studio. It's so special to have her in the studio with me, even if I'm not working. I remember spending many days and nights in my dad's studio, and I wish the same for her.


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I struggled with my daily sketches these last few days. To find the joy and the motivation to draw when so drained is like pulling teeth for me. I feel like Tinkerbell, only able to handle one emotion at a time, except it's more than just emotions, but actions too. I did it, and I'm proud of myself for getting them done. It's okay to not be elaborate, or detailed, or whatever else I think I HAVE to be. Sometimes, just a simple sketch is all there needs to be.



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9. Love thy Studio + The Daily Sketch

A sink full of dirty half rinsed dishes; toys and paper scattered waiting for a foot to stomp on them; cluttered dining room table ranging from a stuffed bunny to a lint roller; laundry decorating our couch and our bedroom dresser; and shoes beckoning to be tripped over at the front door.

This is my house, most every day. It makes me feel squished, with no room to move without knocking something over or stepping onto something. I'm clumsy and that always means I will stub my toe, ram my elbow, slam my hand, or bang my knee. It's crazy how many nicks and bruises I get.

Yet, I look to my right and I see sun light beaming in from the windows in my studio.
An immediate "ahhh" relaxes my mind and all is right again.



If this winter has taught me anything, it's that my studio truly is my place of solitude. 


I used to tell people it was because I think artists are supposed to say that. It's expected of us to love our studio, a place where the creation happens, a place filled with things that inspire. Mine has been in a constant state of change since I moved away from home to college back in 2000.

When we moved into this house I was so excited to have a space I could settle in and not worry for a long time. I didn't expect it to be so cumbersome.

My studio has poor insulation, so during the hot Iowa summers and freezing Iowa winters, it's very uncomfortable at different times of the day. I've had to continuously change my schedule to fit. I've had to move everything constantly so that Brian could get to the windows for more insulation, or to add carpet scraps, or or or. And I know more is coming.

But this week, with all of the sun, regardless of the temp, my studio has been bright, warm, inviting, and mine. No more moving clutter to work on the dining room table, no more stepping on stuff when I get up to grab something I need, none of that. I feel whole.

I will bundle up, buy another mini heater for my toes, I will put a fan on my face and wear ice cubes, whatever it takes. I love my studio!

The icing on the cake? My daughter being able to spend time in the studio with me. That's what I've envisioned for a long time, my hope, my joy today. She makes the studio brighter with her smile, her giggle, and her curiosity. Bringing out the crayola crayons doesn't hurt either.



There is one other place in my entire house that I find peaceful and full of light. The only other place in the house that is always filled with the light rays, and that is our bathroom. It's silly, but when we moved in it was our first project, and it set the tone for the whole house (what we dream). It's full of birds. :)

It's so easy for me to be distracted by all the chores, they pull me away from my work and drain my creativity. Yet, last night, I didn't let it get to me. Here are this week's Daily Sketches and joys, #10, #11, and #12.




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10. Taking Flight

For years I have felt clipped down. 

Every time I jump to fly I get cut down by my circumstances and emotions.
I have allowed them control of my life...ALL aspects of my life. As an artist this gives me a lot of substance to work with, but it also holds me back. Way back.

I prelude this post with that because I want you to understand where I'm coming from. As a wife to an amazing man (they're rare and I was blessed with one!); a mother to a baby girl who loves to make you laugh and smiles so bright; a homemaker with a solid, strong house we just can't believe is ours; a gift that I truly just adore, drawing truly is my soul; but I've been depressed, unhappy, at my ropes end over and over again, and I'm beyond tired.

I have talked about this before in past posts, it's not a secret that I keep, and I willingly share it because I know I AM NOT ALONE. Especially as a woman. We all suffer greatly with the multitude of responsibilities gifted to us. And I use the word gifted, because I now remind myself "I GET to be his wife, I GET to be her mom, I GET to do what I love for a living!". Wow, amen to that!

Back to what I'm saying...
my point is I'm done trying. I'm finished. Ta ta, bye bye, no more. It's over.

What better time to say that than the beginning of a new year! Here are some highlights of "wow" moments for me about this year:

15 years ago I graduated high school.
I am 33 this year, the same age Jesus was when he sacrificed his life for mine.
My daughter turns one January 28th.
My husband has been supporting us for 5 years.

I am at a place where I know now is the time to just stop. Stop trying to take control, stop making excuses, stop thinking so darn hard about what to do, and instead DO IT. Commit to my life.

Commit to my life.


I want to fly. I realized after years and years, the truth behind why I paint fairies, angels, and mermaids (thank you Kelly for helping me get there). It's because they are free, or at least symbolize freedom. For a mermaid there is no ground and sky, they roam all of it. For a fairy there is not ground or sky untouched, they grace all of it. Angels can transcend time and realms between earth and heaven. Freedom. Flight. I'm inspired and take a deep breath. Amazing.

Commitment.


I purchased the abilities to have a shop on my website, and the whole site will be changing in the next couple of months. I am so excited to see the support from you, my followers, on Etsy, but to be honest the fees are starting to wear at the income I need to bring in for our family. Plus I will be able to offer so much more on my site, including my book, coloring book, and more. I can't wait!



I also purchased my first e-book, Flying Lessons, by Kelly Rae Roberts. I must say, I'm floored by how spot on she is as a teacher and coach. She's very airy, in depth, and in tuned with her creative spirit. I had mentioned her in the past ( read Life Inspired post here ), and how she inspires me....oh buddy does she inspire me. Her words, colors, textures, and how she shares being a seeker of Joy, filled with light, hope, and possibilities. As an artist I truly believe there are those of us who are called to be artisans of light. I KNOW I am one of them. I KNOW who I want to be, deep down inside, just waiting for the permission to FLY.

Her e-book not only helps the business end of things (which she lays it all down and hides no detail from you), she goes deep into facing your fears, finding your inspiration, your passion, your quiet whispering voice just waiting to come out. And then asks you to commit to your creative business. Merging both. Being both. Living with the joy it brings. Loving YOU.

Loving me as ME.


My spiritual path has started this year with a bang of AH HA, it's so much more than the e-book. We found a new church home we are so at peace with, the new messages being given, new tools handed to me, and renewed, meaningful relationships. It's all falling together amongst chaos, and I give all of the credit to Jesus. It's scary to say that in the open because I know what is attached to that in so many ways, on so many levels, but as a former practicing witch, spiritually seeking wanderer, and a highly curious person, it is by his grace I am where I am today. I have to squint to stay focused, but I'm committed. Committed to him and my life.



There is so much more for my business, and to share. Changes are coming visually for the blog (it will most likely be moving) and website, my approach, and you may even see just a tad bit of change in how I paint. Look for it, and let me know what you think. I hope you're just as excited as I am.
Happy New Year everyone!

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11. Holidazed

Yay! I finally received my copies of the January spread I did for Highlights Magazine! Love love LOVE how the colors came out on this one.

I hope you guys get to pick up a copy! 

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So for those that don’t know yet, we’re expecting our first baby!! Yipee!!! I’m nearing my final trimester, there are two books in the pipeline with very tight back to back deadlines so I’m trying my best to beat the 3rd trimester fatigue and getting as much done as I can while I CAN!

I’ve been so wrapped up with work lately it’s been challenging to find the time to indulge in any holiday fun. But this weekend I put my foot on the breaks and was finally able to let myself indulge in some seasonal goodies. It was a nice and much needed break!

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All the while I was working over the weekend on sketches for them, I received this little fun card from the team at ABDO. Thanks ABDO!

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We finally found time to actually buy a tree (his name is “Monty”) and make some christmas cookies for the postman and a few of our dearest and nearest…I wrapped them fast this year, or else they’d all end up in my belly..hee hee. I tell yah, there’s nothing like taking in some holiday music and the smell of cookies and pine to get you caught right up in all this season cheer!!

Happy Holidays!!

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12. SAHM Artists Need Help


I have always been a free bird, doing something the hard way... a hundred times to get it done, impulse buyer and doer, and I love to organize but hate to follow organization/schedules. So when we had Norah on top of all this, I felt a bit topsy turvy. How do you stay full time mom, full time artist, and full time wife?


Help. Lots and lots of help.

I'm sitting here writing this post as my mom does my dishes. It's something she truly enjoys doing for us on a monthly basis (often times twice a month). And it's AH MA ZING! There are many Fridays where she leaves work early and comes to give Norah hugs and kisses (and books, and play, and animal sounds, and walks), that frees me up for an hour or two. Big help.

On Tuesdays my mother in law, Karen, watches Norah for several hours in the morning. A good chunk of time to get some painting done, and Norah gets a lot of snuggly hugs.

Wednesdays I have my dear friend Andi come and watch her for several hours in the morning with coffee and then we all do lunch.

On Thursdays my sister in law, Joni, watches her for a couple hours while I go sit at a coffee shop and breathe. When my niece and nephew get out of school the cousins hang out for a bit together. Great family time.

My sister, other friends, and our parents will help watch her in the evenings so Brian and I can have date nights.

And then there's my hubby. He does so much! After a long day at work he comes home, grabs Norah out of my hands, and he's on daddy duty for the rest of the night. I can get so much done because of his willingness to do the evenings. Same with the weekends, we alternate.

I am always curious as to how stay at home moms who are also artists get their work done with a baby/toddler around. Norah has gotten to a stage where I can get very little done while she is awake and I have to give in to that. I WANT to give in to that and watch her explore, learning about the world around her.

I would not be able to get what I get done without the help of others. I know some who do, and that just blows me away. I applaud them with a standing ovation because I know myself well enough I would overheat and give up. My discipline still has strides of work to go in the field of 'getting it done'. It takes a lot of practice!

I have messed up in my business because of the many, many tasks I do, I have allowed Norah to watch tv so I can get a task done, I have even let her stay in the crib wanting out after a nap just to finish up an Etsy listing (I am aware these are very normal events all of us parents do), I have mailed orders out later than intended because I simply got overwhelmed and forgot, and I have checks that have sat around waiting to be deposited from months ago.

I'm not ashamed, and won't be. I will be realistic that life happens, and stuff needs to get done. My daughter has me all of the time, and I give almost just as much into my marriage and business. I think we're good. I say it all the time, but it never seems like enough....

I am SO BLESSED to have the life, the people, the husband, and the time I have today.
Wow. So good!

How do you manage life?
My situation is we can't afford childcare or babysitters, and I understand everyones situation or circumstance is very different from the other. This is how we make it work. 


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13. a birthday celebration....

painting tiny dots...
©the enchanted easel 2014
almost done!

CAN NOT WAIT TO SHARE THIS... TOMORROW!!! :)
...'cause every good cat costume needs a pretty red bow.
©the enchanted easel 2014

perhaps someone has tapped into my Mally Beauty stash...;)
©the enchanted easel 2014




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14. Illustrator & Printmaker Daniel Danger

daniel 2

I first stumbled across Daniel Danger’s work quite a while ago and it stuck with me ever since. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get the chance to meet him, but if/when I do, I have a feeling it’ll be like seeing an old friend.

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Daniel is a Boston-based illustrator, mediamaker and printmaker with a penchant for urban scenery, natural landscapes, vintage guitar effect pedals and creepy memories. His style is marked by confident black strokes and eerie uses of color, often looking to one solid shade to create haunting contrast. You might have seen instances of his work through gig posters for bands such as The Black Keys, Arcade Fire, The Decemberists and Flight of the Conchords. He’s also worked with clients like Universal Pictures, Dreamworks, Penguin Books, Polyvinyl Records and ABC Television.

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His aesthetic strongly reminds me of Tugboat Printshop–the obsessive linework and powerful contrast work beautifully in a screenprinted format. I think art is especially successful when it looks good across a variety of formats (screen, print, phone, etc). He reflects the best and worst of reality, and most interestingly, his works reflect what’s neither here nor there–ghosts of forgotten cities, empty theaters, silent roads. Daniel demonstrates a sincere concern for the elements of life that continue to exist without inhabitation–an awareness that is rarely paralleled.

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I feel an extreme bond to Daniel not only over our shared love of creepy abandoned houses, but also because he’s yet another illustrator-musician hybrid (currently on tour in Europe right now, as a matter of fact). In a lot of ways, I couldn’t imagine him not being a musician–if that makes any sense. These pieces would all go entirely too well with some Neko Case or Laura Veirs songs.

The detail of his works is nearly overwhelming to the point of obscurity–as, sometimes, the most realistic aspects of life are the ones that are the most difficult to understand.

Follow along with Daniel and his breathtaking work:

Twitter

Website

Tumblr

Shop

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15. Alexis Anne Mackenzie

Alexis Anne Mackenzie Alexis Anne Mackenzie Alexis Anne Mackenzie Alexis Anne Mackenzie Alexis Anne Mackenzie

 

Alexis Anne Mackenzie is a collage artist, who was born in Michigan and is now based in San-Francisco.  Her work has appeared in many publications including: Zeit Magazin, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The New York Times.  Alexis Anne Mackenzie’s work has been exhibited internationally including shows in L.A and Poland.  I’m personally a big fan of collage artists/ illustrators and I think these images have a really original and quirky feel to them, which are very inspiring.

To find out more visit her Facebook and website.

posted by Jessica Holden

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16. Guest Post; Martha Mans and Gordon

Hello March House Books readers. Let me introduce myself. My name is Martha Mans and I am a fine artist. I have been painting in watercolour and oil all my life.  And what does this have to do with children’s books you might ask.


Well, as a child I loved to read and I especially was fond of looking at the illustrations. Being a very visual child I loved the magic that the illustrator created with their drawings and paintings.

As a mother I loved to read to my children and watch them light up as I read the stories and point to the illustrations and talk to me about them. One of their greatest joys was to go to bookstores with me and choose books that I could read to them and eventually they could read for themselves.


As an artist I have been lucky to go to some wonderful places to paint.




Such is the case of the beautiful Medano/Zapata Ranch in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, where I have the privilege of being invited to paint each year. It is home of a herd of over 2500 American bison. Most of the time you can't get close to these magnificent American icons so when a little bison was found alone out on the range and needed to be rescued everyone on the ranch couldn't stay away and talked of nothing else. One of the ranch hands gave him the name Gordon. 

Pictures from Zapata Ranch

I was immediately intrigued. As I've said before, I'm an artist and I suppose that is why the book started taking shape with paintings of Gordon. Sometime later when I began thinking about a story for a little bison it came to me that this little bison didn't know what he was because he was not with a herd and there was no other bison around to teach him. He couldn't go back into the herd, it would be impossible to get them to accept him. So he had to go on a journey of self discovery and find a place where he fit in and could be happy. This is how “Gordon”, my first attempt at a children’s book, was born.


The Medano/Zapata Ranch is protected by the Nature Conservancy and dedicated to preserving the animals and their habitat. So, in developing the story it was great fun to discover animals that were indigenous to the land and have them meet Gordon. Through them he would learn about the ranch and find out eventually who he is.


I loved drawing and painting Gordon but I had to learn something about baby bison first. I soon discovered that baby bison are born sometime between April and June. A very young bison is reddish in color and is called a calf. They are also known as “red dogs”. It is easy to pick them out from the adult bison, who have dark brown coats. The baby bison stays close to its mother for about one year and she protects and teaches it many things to help it survive. Around September it’s coat begins to turn darker brown, it’s shoulder hump begins to appear and it’s horns begin to grow. It begins to eat grass and plants. The young bison continues to grow for three or four more years, until it becomes an adult. 


It’s scary to think how close we came to no longer having this awesome animal around today. The herds that once numbered in the millions were reduced to fewer than one thousand by the late 1800s. Due to many people who worked hard the herds have grown back to where the bison are no longer in danger of becoming extinct.



So if you do travel west during the summer months take the time to look for the red colored babies in a bison herd. Have fun watching them run, jump and play as all baby animals do and give thanks that this magnificent animal is still here and once again roams parts of the west.

Also remember you can visit the real Gordon at the Zapata Ranch like I did this earlier this year.


PS: I’d like to thank Barbara for letting me share this story on her blog. Hope you enjoyed it!

You can find out more about "Gordon" at: Gordon the bison

or buy the book at Gordonthebison.com

Thank you so much Martha your illustrations are beautiful.   I would love to visit Gordon and the other animals at the Zapata Ranch one day. Barbara


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17. On Being an Artist

Imitate...life

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18. Interview with 16-Year-Old Artist Reyes Rosa

Today, Kid L it Reviews is pleased to bring you an interview with Reyes Rosa, a sixteen-year-old, up-and-coming illustrator. He is here to also showcase some of his work which I think you will enjoy.  (All art copyright © 2014 by Reyes Rosas.)

 

Hi, Reyes. Let’s start at the beginning. How old were you when you began seriously drawing?

I’m 16, now.   And I began seriously drawing last year.

The illustrations here, how old were, Reyes when you created them?HNI_0094

I drew most of them recently.

What is it about illustrating that you like so well?

I find it fun and exciting to give characters life.

 Is there anything you don’t like?

I love everything I do.

Reyes, who is your favorite artist and why?

I do not have a favorite artist. I don’t watch other illustrators.

 

Has a piece of art or character that influenced your art?

This is Kirby and he was my inspiration to start drawing when I was younger.

Kirby is your muse. How does Kirby influence you? 

At the time, he seemed so fun and lively. And he could become anything he wanted, simply by inhaling it!

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How old were you at the time?

I really don’t remember, but I think I was about 11

Until Kirby came along, how much did you draw?

Before that I really didn’t draw at all.

I love the interesting character study you did of a Kirby. I really like all the expressions and positions you included.

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I love your art I have seen. The digital illustrations are fantastic an on the level of much I see today in picture books. How did you learn to make digital art?

I am a self taught artist and the program I mostly use is Colors 3D for digital art.

Did you have any help? Maybe a book on drawing?

I didn’t use any outside sources, I just started drawing.

Some of those art programs have a large learning-curve. No one helped you learn any of it?

No. I have done everything on my own, thru trial and error.

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Color 3D is a new one for me. What are the advantages/disadvantages of using Color 3D?

Some of the advantages are that it is a very comfortable, easy to use program. It isn’t cluttered by any unnecessary options. And some of the disadvantages are that the program is a little limited in terms of image resolution and tools.

Was Color 3D difficult to learn?

The program itself did not take long to get comfortable with, but acquiring  the skills took quite some time.

HNI_0008_JPGHave you tried using any of the usual programs illustrators like? (Illustrator, Photoshop, Manga 5, Corel Draw, or the open source Gimp)

I have not used any others because this one is the most comfortable for me to use. I have tried Gimp, but found that it is a little overcomplicated. And the others, I just don’t have the funds for.

Do you use a graphic pad?

I do not have a graphic pad, but I have wanted to try one. I use a stylus.

 

What is your normal process when creating illustrations?  Do you sketch and then scan, paint and then scan to finish other areas? How do you get such great looking illustrations?

I usually just sketch within the program and then build the drawing from there.

Which part of the process do you enjoy most – sketching, painting, or digital illustration?

I love sketching and digital illustration. I don’t like the initial starting process of getting a rough sketch down, but I love the process of coloring and shading.

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I know you would like to illustrate children’s books. Have you any experience? 

I have worked with my mother on her kids cookbook doing the illustrations for it.

What you interests you about a career illustrating children’s books?

I like working in the children’s market because it’s more creative and less limited and lets me have more freedom in what I create.

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Reyes you are a young man with lots of time ahead of you. Have you decided the life path you will take? Will it include art?

Yes, it will definitely include art and I would like to do 3D rendered animation in the future.

Have you thought about college and the art programs they have?

I have not thought about it yet, because I am only 16. But, my mom has thought about sending me to the Art Institute Of Chicago.

HNI_0009You’ve got to love moms. They are always one step ahead.

What do you do to relax?

I like to play video games.HNI_0011

 

 

 

 

 

What would be the most important advice you would give to young artist following you?

Never give up on any drawing, it might look bad at the start, but that’s only part of the process.

 What would you like to get out of this interview?

 I would like for you to share my art with others.

What is the next step for you and your art?

 I want to take my art to where I can do this professionally and have someone represent me.

 HNI_0079

Thank you for stopping by Kid Lit Reviews. In kids lit, an up and coming new artist interested in creating children’s books is exciting. Your innate talent is inspiring. I hope you become and accomplish all you wish to achieve.

 

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Reyes is a self-taught digital artist and
pencil illustrator with a focus on character
art for video gaming and children’s literature.
He has been drawing since he was old enough
to hold a crayon. Reyes is a passionate guy who is
ready to take the next leap by pursuing art as a career.
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Reyes is off the grid, but as been encouraged to build a blog so others may find him and his art.
x
x
x
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: Children's Books, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Illustrator Spotlight, Interviews Tagged: artist, children's books, digital medium, illustration, kidlit, Reyes Rosas

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19. The Artist and the King by Julie Fortenberry


The Artist and the King
by Julie Fortenberry
Alazar Press, due out April 7, 2014
review copy provided by the author

Daphne is an artist, but her art -- an honest portrait of His Crabbiness -- does not please the king. Daphne's punishment is to wear the picture, rolled up, as a dunce cap, instead of her beloved red artist's beret.

Almost immediately upon donning the dunce cap, Daphne's Art kicks in. She begins to add decorations to customize the cap. "Soon she was getting compliments." And she began to sell the hats. They became all the rage.

Which enraged the king.

He banished all dunce cap wearers to the wilderness. Even his own daughter, who threw the extra cap she was carrying at his feet and walked with the others into the woods.

Daphne goes back to rescue the flung cap and discovers the king crying. They share a moment of apology and self-realization, then discover that the cap was intended as a gift to the king from his daughter. Together they bring all the villagers back from the woods, and Daphne is given back her beret.

In the current (March/April 2014) issue of The HornBook, the final essay (Cadenza) is "Reading Picture Books 101" by Robin L. Smith. I'll walk you though her seven steps with The Artist and the King.

1. Look at the cover. The cover illustration of The Artist and the King lets us know it's a windy day. This is absolutely necessary for the plot development.

2. Take the paper jacket off and see whether the board cover is different. Nope.

3. Now examine the endpapers. Plain blue.

4. Peruse the title page. The story actually starts here (I love books that do this)! Daphne is painting a picture of His Crabbiness, and the villagers who are her audience are appreciating her art.

5. Read the book all the way through without reading the words. Pay attention to page turns, white space, and pacing. This is a fascinating way to read a picture book -- thinking about the design process, movement in the illustrations, artistic decisions made by the illustrator. The story absolutely is told coherently through the pictures in this book!

6. Read the book with the words. Think about how the words and pictures work together. There are two places where the words in the illustrations interact with the words in the story. I might not have noticed that if not for this list of steps! When read on its own, the text has a nice flow, with long and short sentences and accessible vocabulary peppered with words perfectly chosen for the story: regal, mockery, banished.

7. Go back and check every gutter. Now that's something I'm SURE I've never done, but how smart to make sure that the art matches up across the gutter and that nothing important gets lost there where the left page turns into the right. In The Artist and the King, when the gutter is not used to divide the pages into separate scenes, there is very intentional movement from one page to the other across the gutter. Fascinating!



These seven simple steps make me want to dive into a study of picture books with my students! One savvy reader noted recently that hardly anyone reads from the picture book shelf in my classroom. This may be a way to get some buy-in from fifth graders who are "too cool" for picture books!

The Artist and the King will definitely have a place in my classroom library, as well as in a study of picture books, and in our discussions about theme. Three cheers for a character who stays true to her passion, her art, and who helps the unfair and crabby king to soften up and be more accepting!

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20. The Blue Sky Folder

childrens book illustration, blue sky folder, ostrom, mouse, bicycle, crass, illustration, photoshop, illustrator

The Blue Sky Folder

Deep in the archives of my computer there is a small beacon of light that shines brightly through the darkness. It’s called the Blue Sky Folder. Inside is a collection of sketches, experiments, new styles, new techniques, story concepts and a bunch of projects in various stages of completion. This folder is basically a resting place for all the ideas that rattle around inside my head long enough for me to get them down on paper or into various stages of digital completion. Like many other artists I’m always restless to try new things and this is my outlet. 

This is a Blue Sky piece I began almost 3 years ago. I wasn’t quite sure where I was headed with it at the time so I put it in hold to work on other things. I had totally forgotten about it until I was leafing through the the folder recently and it caught my eye. One of the main reasons I had put this one on hold was that the techniques I’d used to create it were very time consuming and a bit unrefined. Looking at the piece again I realized that the solution was sitting right in front of me. I didn’t have my Cintiq tablet when I started so any digital freehand drawing was pretty much out of the question? As I popped the file up on my screen I realized that was no longer an obstacle. It only took me a few hours to finish the piece and I’m psyched because now I finally have a great way to save time and paint right on the computer.

The post The Blue Sky Folder appeared first on Illustration.

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21. the maker makes

A bit of retro here. This is an oldie. It's actually six years old - where did that go?
Anyway, I'm having a clear out of all my old cassettes, so, this too is up for sale.
You can get your hands on it HERE.

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22. Julia



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23. Illustrator Submission :: Jack Hudson

Post by Chloe

GB App3

Mental Floss Magazine

UandR-photo

Jack Hudson is an illustrator from East London whose retro style has attracted a lot of big clients such as Google, Channel 4, Toyota and many press publications. He is inspired by fashion, photography, mid-century design and adventure. His illustrations are textural which really makes them pop and feel warmer rather than flat vector images. The colours used are usually bold and work beautifully together.

Want to explore more of Jack Hudson’s world? Visit his portfolio here.

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24. Drawing Super Heroes – Wonder Woman

 

ostrom-wonderwomanFrom the Blue Sky Folder – Wonder Woman in Adobe Illustrator CC 2014 by Bob Ostrom Studio

The post Drawing Super Heroes – Wonder Woman appeared first on Illustration.

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25. Summer Vacation – lllustration by Bob Ostrom Studio

summer vacation, beach, sun tan, illustration, bob ostromSummer Vacation!

Hope everyone is having a great summer! Last week I headed down to the beach here in North Carolina for a short little summer vacation. Unfortunately it rained harder than I’ve ever seen it rain. It was one of those rains where you think it can’t possibly rain any harder but then it does….all day. Just as we checked into the hotel it started let up. The sun popped out for about an hour and half so the kids and I grabbed our boogie boards and headed down to the ocean. Right about the time we decided to to get out of the water the rain came back. And so it went the following day. Two hours of sun at the beach in the morning (with the darkest storm cloud I’ve ever seen on the horizon) followed by a torrential down pour. Since we don’t live too far we decided enough was enough, jumped in the car and headed back home. All in all everyone had a pretty great time. I think maybe we’ll head down another time before the summer is done and see if we can’t get a little better weather.

The post Summer Vacation – lllustration by Bob Ostrom Studio appeared first on Illustration.

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