04 July 2018

Aunt Sam - Happy Independence Day 2018!

Happy Independence Day from me, here, in the United States of America!  I was inspired to create something fun and unique today, since the holiday falls on a work day!  Please allow me to present Aunt Sam!

"Aunt Sam 2018"
graphite, watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and ink on watercolor paper, 5x7"
Completed 4 July 2018

I wanted to genderbend our well-known fictional representative and make her a cheeky, fun-loving lady (as opposed to the grump on the Army recruitment poster, lol).  I don't know where the idea came from, but once I thought of it, that's all I wanted to do for my 4th of July Twitch stream.  I think more than anything, the fact that this would give me a break from my February Gryphon illustration, which I've been working on diligently every day for the past few weeks, was what motivated me.


I ended up using an even wider variety of media than I originally planned.  My plan evolved as I worked and after finishing the graphite sketch and the watercolor, my use of the gouache with a stencil proved that I would need to use something else when adding more detail to the background.  I had intended to use gouache there too, but it was too bold and would have taken away from the main focus of the piece (Aunt Sam, that is).  So I switched to metallic silver acrylic!  I love the effect!  I definitely think it was the right move.  Everything else went as planned and I finished off the details with ink and more gouache.

Real time creation video of Aunt Sam 2018.

I had so much fun creating this piece (and chatting with one of my Twitch friends) that I ended up streaming for a full hour longer than scheduled!  And I didn't even notice my back hurting or my stomach complaining for food like I usually do.  I definitely needed this break :3  What a great way to start my long holiday weekend!  Happy Independence Day, everyone πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

P.S. Consider supporting my art career by purchasing this artwork as a print!  Available as art prints, mouse pads, mugs, and more! Click here to check it out :D

21 June 2018

Chibi Bilbo Baggins

Today I'd like to share a chibi I drew for myself, as a response to an art challenge posted by my friend on my message board back in April 2017.  The challenge was to draw something from one's first anime.  When I thought very hard about it, I realized that, technically, my first anime was The Hobbit!  Although it is a Rankin/Bass film, the animation was done by what would eventually become Studio Ghibli.  So, to complete the challenge, I drew the cutest Bilbo Baggins I could!

"Chibi Bilbo"
ink and Manga Studio, 4x5"
Completed 9 February 2018
I've always loved the incredibly unique art style of the animated The Hobbit adaptation (as well as that of its sequel, The Return of the King).  It was very fun to take that amazing style and process it through my own chibi style to come up with this super cute Bilbo!  I started by finding a good reference image from the movie and then began sketching.

Completed sketch.
I used my Plumchester sketchbook to draw this piece and the sketch was done with a simple mechanical pencil.  Interestingly, I didn't move directly onto inking.  For whatever reason, I forgot about the project entirely until my friend posted his completed challenge drawing a week later XD

Erasing pencil.
Completed inking.
I used my Sakura Micron pens to ink.  I may have used a small brush pen of a different brand as well, but I honestly can't remember anymore, lol.  I cleaned it up and got it scanned in and digitized for coloring on my PC but, again, for whatever reason, I totally forgot about the project and didn't start coloring it until nine months later!!

My digital working environment with reference and color swatches.
What got me to finally pick this project back up was my need for digital work to do during the months when I was in-between homes earlier this year.  I was extremely fortunate to be in a place where I could stream art on Twitch despite my awkward situation, but digital was MUCH easier to do since I had a rather small workspace.  That's how I dug this file back up and finished it off!  You can watch the whole thing happen in the video below!

The coloring of Chibi Bilbo in real time.

So there we have it!  Took nearly a year but I finally completed my friend's art challenge XD  I'm really happy with this chibi, it reminds me just how much I truly love that awesome, unique art style from Rankin/Bass's version of The Hobbit~

18 June 2018

Mika's Pets as Chibis!

This year I did something I'm actually surprised I never have before: drew all my pets in chibi form!  Pet caricatures are something I've done here and there in the past, but this year I've been taking it to the next level, promoting this artistic service as an inexpensive way to obtain custom artwork in my unique style.  So, who better to model for this product than my own precious fur babies?

Click images to see them larger :D

Another reason I drew this set of chibis was because I needed subjects for the weekly themed drawing I started doing for my Twitch livestreams, Chibi Friday.  I wanted to avoid too much fan art and everyone loves animals, so I figured my pets were a great subject that anyone could enjoy (^^)  Each of these drawings took about two hours to draw, give or take, so they were also the perfect fit for my standard streaming window!

"Chibi Kiba"
ink, marker, colored pencil, 4x6"
Completed February 2018

The first pet I drew was my black Manx, Kiba.  I don't know why I decided on this, but I started with him because I wanted to draw everyone from smallest to biggest.  The reference photo I used showed him laying on the floor on his side, looking up at the camera.  I'm not sure if that comes across here without a background, lol.

 Here's the video of Chibi Kiba's creation!

"Chibi Kiki"
ink, marker, colored pencil, 4x6"
Completed February 2018

Next, as the second smallest pet in the house, I drew my cat Kiki.  Her full name is actually supposed to be Tanuki because of her adorable striped tail, but that name was very quickly shortened XD For her chibification, I chose another unusual pose as reference.  I wanted to challenge myself to draw chibis in positions that I never have before.  So she's sitting on the floor, looking straight up at the camera, in her reference image.

 
Here's part one of chibi Kiki's creation...
...and this is part two!

"Chibi Bear"
ink, marker, colored pencil, 4x6"
Completed March 2018

Next on my list was Bear, my second largest pet and the biggest cat.  He's also the oldest pet!  If I remember correctly, Bear's reference image was unique among this series because I took it right before I started drawing.  We had only just got his weight back to normal after years of trial and error so I wanted to draw him looking his healthiest (^^)  He wasn't very amused by my picture-taking so that's why he looks kind of annoyed in the drawing, lol.

This is chibi Bear's video~

"Chibi Sun"
ink, marker, colored pencil, 4x6"
Completed March 2018

Finally, the last pet in this series, and the only dog, is my Shiba Inu, Sun!  His name is pronounced "soon" like the Chinese surname (I named him after the Sun clan in Dynasty Warriors and Sun Wukong, the monkey king X3).  His might be the most difficult pose I took on but I'm extremely pleased with the result!  In the reference image, he was laying upside down in a recliner, lol.

And here is the creation video for chibi Sun!

So that's everyone, three cats, one dog, Kiba, Kiki, Bear, and Sun~  If you'd like me to chibify your pet, or even your favorite animal, I am always open for these quick projects!  Just email me at Denise.Mikarts@gmail.com to get set up!

15 June 2018

Druchii Commission Parts 1 & 2

This is an extra special post since it covers a project that I've been working on since years before I even thought of starting this blog.  Way back in 2011, my services were engaged by several members of a group of online Warhammer roleplayers.  They had seen my previous tabletop gaming character design work and wanted me to bring their team to life :)

First group, completed 2014.  Click image to see larger!

Specifically, they wanted me to visually design and illustrate six of their main player characters. They were all Druchii, the Warhammer dark elves, all with very different aspects and histories (as is only right in a decent roleplaying party).  I received written descriptions of each character and started my work from there.  Eventually, another member of the group liked my progress so much that he commissioned me to design a further four characters!  I was so excited to be in such demand!

Unfortunately, that excitement caused me to bite off way more than I could chew.  I thought I would be able to complete the project in a manner of months.  When all was said and done, it took me almost seven years!  I finished the tenth and final character in March of this year.  I suppose seven is an auspicious number, and I learned a LOT about a wide variety of things thanks to this project, so in the end, I completed it with positive feelings.

Second group, completed 2018.  Click image to see larger!

Aside from technical skill I gained through visually working on these characters, I learned a lot about myself as a professional artist.  I learned what I can and can't handle, I got a better idea of how long it takes me to create things, I realized that design work MUST be approached differently than work that already has complete visual reference available.  Perhaps most importantly, I understood the true value of my time.  As hard as it may be to turn people down or ask for more than I know they can offer, underselling myself just to snag the job does no one any good.  I end up losing money, motivation, and confidence, while the client loses faith and patience while wondering if they will ever see their dream brought to life.  If nothing else, I'm extremely thankful for this commission because it made me a better artist, both technically and professionally.

If you'd like to engage my services for a character design project like this (I give you my word I won't take seven years to complete it πŸ˜‰) feel free to email me at Denise.Mikarts@gmail.com!

Click here to see larger images of all the Druchii characters from this project as well as my other previous commission work!

And this link will bring you to a list of all the videos of my livestreamed work on the final characters in this project.