Tag Archives: studies

Make-up test

Those of you following me on tumblr will have seen this image come up again…and again…and again…at various stages in the process. This was a test on two things: to create a mostly realistic portrait of one of my characters, and to finally get around to doing an improved version of the previous make-up test, this time by giving myself a base face, and then painting on top of that, with the final goal of getting something looking like a fashion shoot.

Here’s a quick summary of the things I learned/did:

  • I like to refine a picture.
  • It’s hard to see in the web-friendly versions, but for the top two faces I textured the skin by running a dry-brush over it, following the main muscles. This had the side effect of lightening the skin and unifying the colour – and I also used it to exaggerate the saturation in some parts. Next time I’ll try using a sponge instead.
  • I’m a bit less apprehensive of soft-edge, glazy brushes now. This picture made much more use of soft gradations and gentler edges than what I’m normally used to.

Your daily dose of SpÆ

I’ll be posting another piece tomorrow, so here’s something to build up the anticipation:

While SpAEmakesArt.com remains my primary blog and website, I’ve been posting doodles and sketches over on tumblr. If you’d like to see some more sketches, work in progress shots and unfinished things that don’t land up here, go take a peek over there. But don’t forget here.

Here’s an example of something I’m working on:

Monsters and composition


Before the first strike

Those of you following my tumblr blog may have seen a couple of work-in-progress shots of this. I’ve found my happy place working on several paintings and sketches lately, and this has been the second biggest (and tied for first-most compelling) piece I’ve been doing.

I started this piece to explore the following ideas/tick them off in my folio:

  • a quick and rough-but-complete looking concept illustration (check – I even learned a bit more about using the palette knife!)
  • a complete scene (check – this piece isn’t just another portrait with a background)
  • composition (check that too – I had only a rough idea of what I wanted to do when I started, so I plotted it all out using divine proportion and kept those principles in the front of my mind throughout the painting)
  • values (yep – learned very, very quickly to stick to a distint and set value range for each ground)
  • working from a gamut mask (check and mate!)

I think I achieved most of what I set out to do. I feel the picture does look rough and concept-y enough. The one rude surprise I had working on the painting stemmed from point one: I’d started with a very small to print canvas, as I’d only intended to do a light digital sketch. My very patient partner, who provided critique and a fresh set of eyes throughout the process*, mentioned he wanted a print of the picture when I was done with it. Lucky for me, that got me looking at the picture dimensions and I blew it up just in time to put in the colour.

* as fresh as they could be when I was messaging him every ten minutes to show off a new development in the painting, anyway.

And there was plenty of my favourite part of painting: finding the mistakes myself and correcting them. A fun exercise where I learn a bit and get a painting at the end of it? Sense of achievement, fulfilled!


This is a concept illustration for a project I’ve got on the go at the moment. TTTSNB readers may already find the heroine familiar. And, dear readers of this blog, you’ll likely be seeing much more of her (and the Sweet cast) on this blog in the future.


She can’t eat neatly with that helmet on

June is for concepts and livestreaming

This month will be full of writing, planning and concept work!

Here’s a quick environment painting from imagination. Restricted myself to four tones for use throughout the image. Don’t think I quite got it, so I’ve set up a palette for my next black and white environment sketch that allows for three tones within three separate planes (nine tones total. Nine! I’ll be thoroughly spoilt.)

Also, here’s what that concept work looks like. I’m leaving this character’s weapon mutable, and I’ve left out some of the studies I did to get her to that broad silhouette. Readers of The Thing That Should Not Be might recognise this character…

And here’s a not terribly quick speedpaint. I referenced a shot of BigBang’s Daesung from the Monster music video.

I used to be a reluctant k-pop fan, and then I saw how awesome YG music videos were :B

Technical painting talk: Restricted myself to four tones for the initial value painting, then allowed to play a little bit more once I started laying down the colours. Also the first time I’ve worked from a gamut, which was very exciting! Overall painting took maybe two hours. I need to get back into painting more quickly and more often! I’ve livestreamed most of this painting, which you can find at my livestream channel here. Warning for length, this one clocks in at an hour and a half. I hope to do another livestream soon! 🙂

Almost forgotten paintings from 2012

For tonight, two illustrations I kind of forgot about for a minute:

Quick sketch, featuring artistic input by AusTerror.

Present for an absolutely awesome family 🙂 This was the last pushed painting I did, and it was a lot of fun: keeping things reasonably smooth and finished looking, having a fairly clear idea from the get-go of what I was trying to do and fixing little things along the way.