Sunday, August 4, 2019

Elphaba + Glinda

"And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have rewritten mine by being my friend"

Available on RedBubble here.

It's rare for me, but this is one illustration I specifically drew to turn into products. Usually I work the other way around and try and figure out how to fit finished pieces into certain items. I'm very excited to get this made into what I have in mind, but in the meantime you can order it on a few bits on RedBubble. I've actually placed an order with RedBubble myself, so I'll be sure to report back with a review of their products soon!

Friday, July 12, 2019


These are a few Wicked pieces I've been working on that I'd forgotten to update with here, and will bring my blog up to date with my current work. I like to have it all over here as I can better record my thought processes than in a simple Instagram caption.

This is fairly straight forward, a scene from the musical after 'For Good'. I don't really consider it a spoiler as it happens in The Wizard of Oz too! I just think it's incredibly sad that, as far as Glinda is aware her best friend and only true ally is dead and she has to hide and pretend she isn't there whilst it happens. Glinda's story arc is so heartbreaking, and it's sad how she's so often dismissed as just being a ditz. Elphaba and Fiyero may be fugitives, but at least they get to go on and live their own lives together. Whereas Glinda's left thinking everyone she's ever loved is dead, and has to watch everyone celebrating that fact whilst keeping the lie alive.

This was drawn from a production still. I kind of set the wrong mood for it with them smiling, as they're literally plastering on smiles over their own heartbreaks BUT I drew this whilst watching Eurovision so I think you can understand why I was distracted from the tone. Also quite frankly I drew it as I wanted something cute and pretty of my favourite characters and wasn't trying to draw anything deep. It was my first go at colouring them with my Copic markers too, so that was fun trying to translate my digital palette.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Snow Queen

This is a bit of a throw back, but I realised when scrolling through my Instagram feed that there's a few pieces I forgot to share over here, so the next few posts will be of older pieces to get caught up.

For this post I just wanted to share this illustration from back in winter. I have a long personal history with the original story of The Snow Queen, certainly long before Frozen stole my heart. It's always been my favourite fairy tale for no deep reason other than it's a good adventure tale, and I've collected various book editions and film adaptations of it throughout the years. In my foundation degree back in 2010, to finish the course we had to write our own brief and mine was to illustrate a full 32 page book of The Snow Queen. Which ended up taking me on quite an adventure, as it even involved traveling around the country to see some real life reindeer to study as well as translating and condensing Andersen's original text whilst still keeping the integrity of the original story (as it was a picture book so had to be simplified)

I still have that book somewhere, and I have a lot of mixed feelings looking at it. I put so much work into it, but obviously being over 9 years ago now my style and ability has drastically improved so it's a little embarrassing in some respects. This piece was drawn straight into my iPad (I usually draw the initial sketch traditionally) and was just revisiting the character of The Snow Queen herself. I didn't put a whole lot of thought into it other than trying to improve upon my original idea, whilst also trying NOT to subconsciously make it resemble Elsa.

I'd love to finalise some designs some day, perhaps with Gerda and Kai too. Maybe I'll even redo my whole book!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Blue diamonds

Just a paint doodle that both provided practice with some different Procreate techniques, as well as exploring Fiyero's tattoo designs.

In the original novel Fiyero's marked with distinctive tattoos/body paint (it's described as both interchangeably so could be either), but other than being "a pattern of diamonds" and "sulfurous" blue and being on his face, chest and hands, there isn't much description as to what it actually looks like.

These are supposed to be tattoos that mark him to his specific tribe in the Vinkus, rather than tattooing for aesthetic purposes, and are really important to his character as it 'other's him and is one of the things he gets made fun of for. I did some research into body art in various indigenous cultures, including Native American (which I've always imagined to be Fiyero's ethnicity) and First Nations, Polynesian, Māori, and Inuit which was a little help. I couldn't find anything geometric enough to take direct inspiration from, but it certainly helped me consider placement (such as avoiding the chin which in various cultures around the world seems to be a feminine practice). Sometimes it's just really interesting the avenues art can take you down. This isn't finalised or anything, I'm just playing around and seeing what works. It's a lot harder than I thought it would be as it's so easy to make it look crap, I can see now why the musical scrapped it!

Although most of my Wicked art is based in the world of the musical, I really want to explore scenes from the book more, especially as it was what made me really fall in love with these characters more so than the musical. I want to eventually come to place where the two are kind of blended together seamlessly, which is why I still drew Fiyero in his outfit from the musical.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Poppy Fields

Elphaba: "Can I say one more thing? You could have walked away back there."
Fiyero: "So?"
Elphaba: "So no matter how shallow and self-absorbed you pretend to be—"
Fiyero: "Excuse me, there’s no pretense here: I happen to be genuinely self-absorbed and deeply shallow."
Elphaba: "No you’re not. Or you wouldn’t be so unhappy."
Fiyero: "Fine if you don’t want my help—"
Elphaba: "No, I do! ... His heart is pounding. I didn’t mean to frighten him."
Fiyero: "What did you mean to do? And why was I the only one you didn’t do it to?"
Elphaba: "Oh look, you're must have scratched you."
Fiyero: "Yeah...or maybe it scratched me or something."

I saw Wicked again on Saturday, and then spent Sunday in a coffee shop finishing off this drawing that's been in my drafts for about 6 months. It was actually one of the very first illustrations I did of Wicked, and spent ages as a hastily sketched thumbnail on my phone. I'd been working on it intermittently to get it finished recently, but seeing the show gave me the push I needed to get it completed. I'm trying to clear out a lot of my backlog as I have so many ideas lately and not enough time to see everything through to completion! Which isn't a situation I'm complaining about in the slightest, after the amount of art block I've had it feels great.

I really love this scene in the musical. I have a lot of feelings about Fiyero, and as much as I love it the musical really does him a huge disservice. I kind of get that they don't want to spend much stage time developing him as he's not the focus of the narrative, but there's no reason to make him a bit of a jackass at the beginning. In the book he's a tribal person of colour seeking an education so he can integrate better with the people of Oz and help his people in the modern age, and is generally a fish out of water who doesn't feel comfortable at Shiz and gets picked on for being brown and having tribal tattoos. And as much as Dancing Through Life is a bop, it's kind of insulting that he got reduced to a spoiled rich kid bouncing from boarding school to boarding school. And I like this scene because they make an attempt to tear that image down a little and show that he's a bit deeper than he seemed five minutes ago, and hint at the deep connection he and Elphaba share in the book.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Aaron Tveit

I've been experimenting with drawing with a simple Bic Original Fine ballpoint pen, and really enjoying it! I was originally inspired by a video by DrawingWiffWaffles where she mentioned that she went through a period of only drawing with ballpoint pen and she felt it helped her to improve her work due to the permanence of the marks forcing her to be more light handed with her sketching. It makes a lot of sense, right? I've also felt heavily inspired by TheGothicAlice's sketchbook tours (and I kind of credit her with getting me out of my art block tbh, whenever I feel uninspired I rewatch those videos and it reminds me of my purpose for drawing in the first place). TheGothicAlice does a lot of pen work too, often portraits, and as I've drawn a lot of portraits in the past and it's something I'm comfortable doing I figured trying it in ballpoint pen would make it a new challenge for me.

The first time I sat down to draw with the pen I was suddenly terrified of getting it wrong (which is pretty silly, it's only in my sketchbook and it's only experimentation anyway). The issue was I'd never used a pen for anything other than writing and outlining and didn't really know how to make it do anything else. So I did what I usually do in these moments and turned to YouTube for instruction and discovered Alphonso Dunn's channel - this guy is not only an incredible artist, but I really love his no frills approach. The trouble with YouTube is there's too many tutorials by people who don't know how to teach and too busy trying to be a personality, so you end up just watching them do the thing and feel no more knowledgeable at the end of it than before you watched it. Alphonso really explains what he's doing, and also the why and the art theory behind what he's telling you so it makes sense and you end up with the background knowledge to be able to transfer the skills to your own work.

Basically I entirely credit this guy with teaching me the skills to create this portrait. Also this is the second ever portrait I've drawn with a ballpoint, so I'm pretty proud of it just for that. My first one is a bit of a mess in comparison, but it obviously paid off as an experiment - which is why it's so important to create imperfect art.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Anna and Kristoff

I basically just felt like drawing something cute, and really there's nothing cuter than these two together. I also realised when drawing it that it's the first time I've ever drawn Kristoff, so that was fun. He doesn't get much love from me, but I do really like him as a character. I think the trouble with Frozen is that the characters are so strongly developed that you can't help but pick your favourites and the others end up falling by the wayside a little.

One thing I liked about drawing this is it's a much brighter colour scheme than I usually use. I realised this when I uploaded it to my grid on Instagram. I don't work with white backgrounds much, but I love how it's come out so I might have to do more of it!
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