Gandalf the Gray




For the past few days I've been listening to the Lord of The Rings audio books while drawing. It didn't take long for me to start sketching some of the characters in my sketchbook. Gandalf was the first to be drawn followed by other wizards of Middle Earth. Which is going to be a small series of Gandalf, Radagast, and Saruman. Each one will be drawn on a different color of toned paper to make the color that is associated with the color of each wizard. I may even draw each dwarf from the Hobbit, but that's in the future. 

The Unexpected Party 2.0

Recently I have finished my second full page digital illustration. Each piece I create I get more comfortable using Photoshop as a means to render my work in color. For my second piece, I choose to go back and revamp a watercolor I made last fall for my independent study of book illustration. Here's the original watercolor.


This was one of my first watercolors I did in 2 years last fall. Though I am happy with completing an illustration with multiple characters and the warm feeling of the hobbit hole. I knew with the great improvement I've made over the past year, that this piece could become even stronger for my portfolio.


For the new illustration, I used the strong elements of the original and added more narrative. I pulled back the scene a little bit to have a little bit more breathing room and make it possible for Gandalf to be in the illustration. The Dwarves were redesigned with more color to create a broader color palette. Bilbo's design remained the same, I always imagine Bilbo with a red vest. And Gandalf joined with his signature blue pointed hat.

The original drawing was done on two pieces of bristol, one with all the characters and props, the other with the background elements. Having 2 layers made it easier to edit the original black wood grain lines to color. Prof. Gash helped me nail the color as well as experimenting with different techniques to create the warm feeling of the hobbit hole. Over all I am pleased to add another digital piece to my portfolio.

Ent's Attacking


My first full color digital illustration created for my independent study at school. I started sketching and conceptualizing the illustration while I was at Illuxcon in September. With rounds of redrawing the tower and scanning my ink drawing to place together in photoshop, to create the base of the illustration of the final line art.

I had a good understanding of photoshop before starting the piece but it was an experiment to find the best way to render the piece. With alot of guidance and help from Prof. Chris Gash, he guided me to create a final piece that I'm very happy about.

Since I got to choose the content of the illustration, I picked the scene in Lord of The Rings when the Ents attack Isengard to stop the destruction of the Fangorn Forrest. It's a scene that I've wanted to illustrate for a while and thought that it was a good time to finally create it. Plus I've been drawing lots of Ents and Tree Folk in my sketch book (and drawing them is still not out of my system)


The Halloween weekend, I'll be at my favorite comics store, The Comic Book Shop in Wilmington, DE on Saturday the 26th selling zines, prints, stickers,  magnets and original drawings. I'll also be drawing monsters for customers at the shop. It's going to be a fun weekend so stop by!

Monster Monday- September 23, 2013

Monster Monday- September 23, 2013

Tree Folk have been dominating my sketch book since the beginning of summer. I can't stop, there just so cool. This was a inking practice for an illustration I am currently working on for one of my classes. It has to do with tree folk.

Later on this week I will post Illuxcon Part 2 as well as share some sketchbook pages.

Tree Folk of Autumn

Tree Folk of Autumn

This painting has been sitting on my desk of over a month and I'm happy to share a new painting. Lately I've been drawing many tree folk in my sketch book and am planning a small long term project with the wandering trees.

I experimented with some new techniques on this piece. The red watercolor was becoming more pink then I wanted, I then mixed some Doc Martins ink to create red. For the Tree Folk, I tried a different bark pattern then I usually use and it turned out great.

Creating Lord Thunder Beard

Lord Thunder Beard started out as a drawing I did at work to pass the time. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to finish it.

ImageHere is the drawing I started at work. It was based off a sketch created in my sketchbook that I posted a while back. I spent a while on the drawing because I didn't know I was going to end up finishing it.

ImageHere is the inked sketch that I scanned and cleaned up in photoshop. After I decided that I wanted to add some textures to the image to make it look more like a page from an old book. I used a textured filed and used color burn to change the color of the line art. 


Then the image is finished. I added a little text on the top of the characters name, Lord Thunder Beard. 



Lord Thunder Beard

Lord Thunder Beard

I created this for myself as a spare time piece. I sketched it at work on Wednesday, inked yesterday, and edited in photoshop today. This character is from a fictional history I've been thinking about called the Iron Halls. A dwarven kingdom located in a cluster of mountains, each owned by a separate lord involve in a war with a Troll king who is interested in taking over the mountains due to its large amount of valuable crystals.

Lord Thunder Beard will be available as a mini print at MoCCA fest this weekend. I'll be at the Montclair State University table E149. Hope to see you there.

Elf Lord

For my roommate's birthday I wanted to draw her something really cool. We are both huge Tolkien admirers, Ginette is an elf person, I am a dwarf person, and Claire likes people (most importantly Rohan, as Jared said 'it takes Lord of the Rings to get Claire to say she likes people). 

So I broke out the sketch book to throw some ideas down. I don't draw elves very often so I had to find designs that I liked, I prefer stronger looking characters so I gave the elf lord a strong jaw line and cheek bones. Around the portrait of the Elf Lord, I wanted to create a frame, something I have not experimented with. Art Nouveu reference was used, but I tried to put my own twist on it. And is definitely something I want to continue experimenting Paige Connelly

After filling 2 pages of my sketchbook, I pulled out some illustration board and got sketching. It took a while to draw because of the frame, I wanted to make sure I was happy with the design before I inked the image. Got my trusty FW ink and brush and inked the Elf Lord creating the final image 

by Paige Connelly

The Unexpected Party

The Unexpected Party

First of 4 paintings I created last semester for my independent study. Finally got the illustration scanned and learned of a new tool in photoshop that combines 2 files seamlessly into 1.

The Hobbit is written by professor JRR Tolkien and has been a favorite book of mine since childhood. The project was created from a book report I did in 7th grade where I drew images to include with the report. I've always had strong images set in my head for Tolkien's creations and I used the independent study to create large rendered watercolor illustrations.

This is 'The Unexpected Party' of the dwarves arriving at Bilbo's hobbit hole in order to plan the journey to reclaim their treasure.

Toned Paper Dwarf Drawing

The next month is going to be extremely busy. It is the final month of my thesis. I have to finish the paintings, writing, and put the book together to send to the printer. And then I have to get ready for 2 Conventions, Asbury Park Comic Con and MoCCA. My calendar is so full I almost want to vomit. 

Anyway, over the past few days I decided to work on a new drawing as a break from painting. I haven't drawn a dwarf in a while so I decided to fool around in my sketch book.

by Paige Connelly

This is one page from my sketchbook, I tend to draw details that I will use in an illustration or drawing before hand. It helps to have reference on what the character is going to look like. I also draw little gestures of the pose (seen in right top corner), it's a great way to figure out poses.

After I do a few pages of sketches, I draw the figure with a 2H pencil for the lose gestures and details. Then I'll darken some lines that are hard to see clearly. I pull out my FW black ink and use a brush to ink my drawing. I've been experimenting with multiple ways to add white to my toned paper drawings. White pencil is good for sketchbooks but tends to rub off onto the other page. And I finally found a solution, gouache.

by Paige Connelly

There's the finished Dwarf. Make sure to check out my tumblr, for more illustrations. Now to get drawing for Monster Monday.

Piles of Books

Books have always been something I've hoarded. I have stacks and stacks filling my shelves at home and my very favorite books here at school. Its an understatement to say that books did not influence me as an illustrator and eventually find myself working towards a career in book illustration A lesser known fact about me is that I didn't learn to really read until fourth grade. I struggled in elementary school and depended on the illustrations to explain the stories to me. Dr. Seuss was my favorite, no surprise I was attracted to his bizarre creature designs and strange contraptions, I often looked forward to eating green eggs and ham at school.

The first book I ever finished front to back on my own when I was in 5th grade was 'The Magician's Nephew' by C.S. Lewis. Those books were the gateway to discovering other authors. The books had an amount of escapism that I needed at that age (in order to survive school) and inspired many drawings for years.

But the most important piece of literature I encountered as a child was 'The Lord of The Rings' by J.R.R. Tolkien. The films were released when I was in middle school and soon I was begging my Mom for a copy of the books at age 10. I didn't have the reading skills for the books, it took me 2 years to read 'The Fellowship of the Ring'. I carried it with me everyday to school and would read it when I had a free chance. The books introduced me to many fantasy artists like John Howe and Alan lee (who both worked on the films) and inspired me to work hard at becoming a serious artist.

In High School, I read the series again by Tolkien and it inspired me to take a shot at writing. I was not very good at it, but I did get a scholarship to attend 'Arts High School' for creative writing. Books became a comfort for me in high school as I slowly realized I was out growing the town I grew up in and was preparing to attend college.

At college, when I wasn't in class I enjoyed reading (besides DRAWING). My first semester I was not an illustration major, but had an epiphany. I liked reading and liked to draw things inspired by words, I was always inspired by words and imaginary worlds. I just never had a name to attach to the art I liked to create until illustration came into the picture.

Now that I am a senior, its time to think the direction I want to go with my career. Once again, books inspired me. I have always enjoyed illustrated chapter books like Narnia, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Spiderwick Chronicles, and Coraline. So I decide that is the direction I am going to take, starting with my independent study where I am illustrating 'The Hobbit' and my senior thesis, where I am creating a mystical world of creatures in the style of an illuminated manuscript.

Here's to little sleep, lots of drawing, and reading a great book.