This is the first illustration of my daughter Lily Blu. I always wanted to include her into one of my paintings but she isn’t necessarily a patient model 🙂 It’s not that she needs to pose very long but only for a photo. I usually work with images/ photos as reference material. When I took this picture I instantly came up with the idea of placing her into a river surrounded by fish. Usually I take a picture for reference based on a rough sketch/ idea. So this illustration was created the other way around means I worked my idea around an existing picture. I ended up using barracudas as the fish surrounding her because I think that our world can be a dangerous place to live in especially for a little girl.
The following picture shows the digital sketch I based the final painting on:
The following picture was taken while the painting was in progress:
The text below the moon reads “good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite”. I thought this would just fit the image perfectly because it doesn’t fit at all. The image is a bit creepy while the well known lullaby is suppose to help little kids fall asleep. But on second thought it’s not so sweet at all because who wants to be bitten by bedbugs, right?
I recently finished this illustration of Keith Richards. To concentrate the focus on his face I added color only to this area. I kept the saturation low because otherwise the contrast of his colored face and his black and white hand would be too extreme. Besides it gives the painting an older appearance like an old photograph that is faded. Streaks of tears are colored black. I figured that all the black eyeliner probably would run in black streaks. I might have exaggerated it a bit…for effect. The painting shows Keith reminiscing about some good old times with the Stones.
While I was painting this illustration I took numerous shots of the painting in progress:
- sketch transferred onto illustration board
- adding prisma colors to show dark areas and outlines of his face
- adding “little Keith” in the bottom corner
- acrylic wash – covering the whole image
- watercolor wash – covering the whole image
- lifting off lighter areas/ uncovering the acrylic colors below the watercolor by using a wet brush
- oil wash – covering the whole illustration
- lifting off oil color by using a kneaded eraser – leaving only the dark areas covered
- adding highlights by using prisma colors
- layering prisma colors and acrylic colors to add detail
This was me right after doing a painting demo on “Focus” TV show. It will be broadcast 2-23-15 @ 8:00pm on the NASA channel (Florida). I was really nervous and kind of surprised how fast time went by. It is only a 30 min show and that isn’t a lot of time to show how to create an illustration. I did my best and just hope people will like it.
The print is done in three layers. The first layer is the blue wallpaper/ background. The second layer are the slightly darker blue roses and the last one is the “sleeping beauty” (black lines). It took me a while to figure out how to align the layers accurately …lots of coffee was involved! In the end it needed just little adjustments to make it the print I wanted.
Both relief prints are done on mulberry paper, size 24×35.5″ (printed area), limited edition 1/50 each.
These prints really were kind of difficult for me to print on my press because of the size and details. I wasn’t considering the size of my printing press when designing such large scale prints. They do fit on the printing press bed but the paper which has to be somehow larger than the print barely fit onto it which made it really difficult to handle everything. Besides it was challenging to get the paper that I wanted because most papers come in smaller sizes. I ended up cutting the sizes I needed from a paper roll. I still was limited to certain papers with barely any color choices. After printing a few test prints I ended up with a natural colored paper. Each print is manually worked on with either silver and blue or gold and red acrylics and watercolors.
Because I do work a little messy around all the ink (unfortunately) I do cover up all negative space (larger areas) on my lino cut with precisely cut tracing paper which keeps the paper clean from extra ink that’s not supposed to be there. Probably not the way to work but it helps me a lot.
I cannot really explain how I came up with the images but I was intrigued with bird cages and flowers. The first print was the caged woman with a flower dress (gold/ silver). My idea behind it was to make the woman and her outfit really beautiful comparable to an exotic beautiful bird that would be hold in a cage. The additional cages were added to fill up the negative space without taking the focus off the woman.
As soon as I was done creating this image I wanted something similar for another print. I came up with the lady on the staircase. To tie it to my first print I added the flower dress as well.
Both the staircase as well as the cages are simply structured lineal designs which I wanted as a contrast to the ‘busy’ organic shapes of the flowers.
Even though right now I would say “never again such a large scale print” I am really pleased with the results and maybe after finishing the full two editions I am experienced enough to go for another large design – maybe….
I printed it on sand colored paper that has a really coarse texture to it. This paper was the closest I could find that would remind me of real sand. But unfortunately it’s the worst paper to print on too. After each print the inked image had to be worked on because lots of paper fibers got stuck to the lino plate and therefore would miss on the printed image. I went back while the print was still wet and worked the missing areas slowly and very precisely back in.
The image shows three pair of feet of a two year old – my daughter Lily Blu. The flip-flop pair is worn the wrong way but that’s just how she likes it or rather how she puts them on.