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.

Radagast the Brown

Radagast the Brown

The Hobbit has been a favorite of mine since I was 12 and did a report on the book for my English class. (the year before I read The Fellowship of the Ring) At a young age Tolkien's middle earth has shaped and inspired my illustrations.

A while ago I was sketching bored after a full shift on the boardwalk and sat down to draw. Lately all I have been wanting to do is create a new Tolkien piece, I feel my design, composition, and painting skills have all improved since I finish my 5 Hobbit illustrations in my independent study last fall. This time I'm thinking of illustrating a piece from Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion. I just need to find a scene that inspires an exciting image to add to my portfolio before I attend Illuxcon in September.

Monster Monday- July 15, 2013

Taking a break from a post about the Legendary Monsters. This week is full of creatures who fill my sketchbook. Keeping a sketchbook is important for me to brew ideas and designs, so I thought I would share sketches done in the past 2 months.

ImageThese little guys are going to be used for a series of chapter headers. It shows how the leaf sprite changes with each season, not just physically but emotionally as well. (i really like the little sassy sprite)

ImageThe left side of the sketchbook has some fish monsters that I designed to be used in a character spot illustration for a role playing game manual. The right side are designs of dragons, one thing I know that I should be able to draw better are dragons. After all they are important in my books and video games. 

ImageI show spreads of my sketchbooks to show that not every page is filled. Sometimes just to get a fresh feelings, I'll hop to another page. The right side is covered in lumpy, weird mushroom creatures. These guys mumble to themselves as they run around stealing real mushrooms.

ImageMore designs of forrest sprites. The orb was to glow at night and guide the lost out of the forrest and back to civilization. The other page was my first attempts are Ice Giants, I have more pages that explore the idea as well as compositions for the watercolor I completed a few weeks ago.

ImageThe Imp designs on the spread are being used for a watercolor of a thieving imp sitting on a wooden beam. It's another illustration that I can be seen used in role playing games, more for a written adventure. The Imp steals a valuable necklace of importance and its the adventures task to return it.

ImageThese are designs for the Irish Phooka, a known changling, that takes the shape of small animals like goats and cats. I used the animals as reference to make the phooka more animalistic. 

ImageI've been drawing my version of high fantasy elves for a while and haven't used any of the designs in an illustration. Here is the costuming and armor for an archmage high elf character for a role playing game character profile. The next page is my idea of how a explorer might catch smaller creatures of the wild. Many will-o-wisps trapped in jars, they kind of look like little ghosts.

ImageAnd finally, basic rock elementals. I made it different from every other elemental using ruins to enchant the rock into an humanistic form. He has a strong body structure and cracked rocks of billowing smoke.

Thanks for checking out all of my sketches. I'll be posting one of these images a day of my tumblr.








Creating Goblin on Gargoyle

Yesterday I posted my newest illustration of Goblin on Gargoyle and today I am sharing how I created it. 

ImageMost of my illustrations start out as ideas in my sketchbook, personal or client work. I don't like to leave to much open room for major design ideas once I start drawing on the watercolor paper. This is one of many pages from my 2 sketch books I filled last semester. The idea stuck with me for a while.

After creating a small comprehensive drawing of the piece (which I some how lost) I draw on the watercolor paper. I knew that I wanted to have the Goblin in the foreground and not an open background. So I took the basic ink drawing into photoshop and played around with it. 

ImageHere's the ink drawing I used in photoshop with penciled in ideas of where I wanted buildings to be. Drawing naturalistic backgrounds are a lot easier for me to design then structures. But luckily a pesky art history credit needed to get covered last semester and I took an architecture class. Though it was a modern architecture course, I still learned about old and new construction techniques and helped me have an understanding of how to think about structures. 

I am no photoshop wizard and I basically worked under my line drawing to place shapes of buildings and architecture. Spending about an hour in photoshop saved me hours of time drawing by hand. 


After I tape down the watercolor paper, time to pull out the palettes. I work from 3, the 2 on the rights hold color and the 1 on the left is mostly my for mixing colors. Don't forget your color wheel, it may seem elementary to have one, but has proved to be very important. That color wheel is from my color theory class I took 2 years ago.


A progress shot while I am working on the illustration, I like to work on the main focus of the piece first. Then secondary elements. Usually before any rendering happens the whole piece gets layers of washes. 

When all color is done, any part that needs to be white gets a few layers of gouache, I am not very good at keeping the paper white. But it also makes highlights much easier. After scanning and a little photoshop, its ready for the internet.



If you are interested in seeing more progress of pieces while I am working, follow me on twitter, PMCillustration or follow on instagram, paigeconnelly45





Creating Goblin on Warpig

This week I create a piece for illustration Friday, for those who don't know what it is, it's a website that supplies one word a week for challengers to illustrate. This week's word was 'Wild', I decided to create a toned paper drawing



The first thing I always do is pull out my sketch book to explore ideas. I know I wanted to have a goblin riding some animal but I wasn't sure. So with the theme 'Wild' I decided to go with more of an Savannah them since that feels like a wild world of animals. I then chose a Warthog as the animal, I pulled out my ipad and looked for reference photos. What I like about having a tablet is that I can lay it down on the other side of the sketchbook like I can do with printed reference, so I can sit in a comfy chair and not at my desk all day.


After I've created enough sketches to feel comfortable to move onto the final image, I'll go through my drawers to get the right piece of paper. For toned paper, I like Strathmore tan. Its smooth and takes ink really well. 

I draw with a 2H pencil, starting out with the basic shapes like I did in the thumbnail drawing in the sketchbook, because once details are applied it feels more committed to the piece and what happens if I need to move the head an inch over? After blocking, I use an HB pencil for the details, I don't tend to use a 4B or anything because it smudges and makes it hard for me to ink. Once details are done, it's time to ink



I always ink on a flat surface, even when I ink at my drafting table I lay it flat and hover over it like a hawk. The brush I use is a 'round 0' but I've tried many brushes still I found one that I've liked, it's like finding the right pencil. For ink, I only ever use FW black, everything else never lives up to its standards. I start out inking large shapes first, then smaller, and finally the small little details like patterns. 

After the ink has completely dry, I get white gouache (Winsor Newton) and a fine brush to add whites. Most of the time it takes 2 layers to get a flat white, but I am also careful to not buckle the paper since it isn't made to take a large amount of water.

Once it's all dry, scan, and use some photoshop magic and its ready to share.



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

Sketch Book

I am a illustrator who has always drawn. I've been keeping a sketchbook since I was about 10 years old and can't imagine the thousands of pages I have filled. Lately I have been working in a new sketch book book, a brown toned hardcover book produced by Strathmore. I've been searching for months for a hard cover sketch book that is not white paper, I need something with a binding so I am not tempted to rip out a drawing and forget a failure. It's important to keep all the drawings to show the progression to a liked drawing. The nice thing about sketchbooks is its an exploration and doesn't have to be 'finished' like an illustration. It's about problem solving and not creating perfect images. So I've decided to share some pages of my sketchbook in hope to get others to fill some sketchbooks of there own.



Incase anyone was wondering I draw with a simple pen and use a white gel pen for the white ink.