Cover by Laura Pelick

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Printed Anthologies
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June 2010

June 2010 -- Earth

Gallery

Columns

  • Wombat Droppings:
    Ursula's Thoughts On Fan Fic
  • Behind the Art:
    Earth Creature
  • Artist Spotlight:
    Interview with Patrick McEvoy
  • Ask an Artist:
    How To Remove Pencil Lines
  • EMG News:
    News for June

    Features

  • Storybook Walkthrough

    Fiction

  • Poem: Turbulent Earth


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  • Storybook Walkthrough
    by Ellen Million

    The challenge? To reproduce a piece I'd done in the past and prove that I'm actually making artistic progress. I couldn't decide what art to re-do, so I pointed people to my webpage and asked them to choose. Several people went waaaay back into my archives, and selected a particular favorite.

    I looked at the date and clutched my chest a little to realize that it had been 20 years since I did that piece.



    There is actually a lot of chest-clutching to do with this piece - the figure is stiff, the perspective is bad, the color is weak, there's no contrast... still, there was something appealing about the story it was telling, some feeling of anticipation and mystery, that I felt compelled to revisit.



    I wanted to keep as many of the original elements as possible: the vines, the owl, the snakes, and the spider. I couldn't resolve the nice organic vines with the steps and carpet, so I tweaked it to be a tunnel through a hedge. It gave my princess something to go towards, and framed the teeny spider better.

    I refined the figure significantly, bold enough after 20 years of practice to un-hide her hand, and give the body some better flow. The puffed sleeves got toned down, and the hair got less forced-looking.




    I start the shading with cross-hatching, not too careful yet, just trying to block in which areas will become the darkest.

    I use a semi-soft pencil at this stage, 4B.



    By this point, I've sharped that 4B half away. The details are teeny enough that I have to maintain a sharp tip, and I frequently come back in with a kneaded eraser twisted to a point to clean up edges of vines and the spider web lines.

    I also found a reference for the owl, and made it look less cartoony.



    More details and refinement. I alternate between pencils, 4B, 2B, even 6B sometimes, depending, mostly, on what I have on hand.



    I actually thought I was finished at this stage, then realized that no, the contrast just wasn't what it could be, yet.



    Here is half of the picture with more contrast. I'm using very, very sharp 6B pencils at this point, and the kneaded eraser to keep edges sharp.



    And finally, it's really finished.

    Ellen Million has always had a passion for projects. Visit her site for prints and embarrassing archives.
    Would you like to support our contributors? As a subscriber, you could use your subscription fee to pay this author for their work, as well as receive lots of extra subscriber perks!



    Fantasy coloring books from Ellen Million Graphics Get a pre-made portrait, ready to go! A 48 hour creative jam for artists An e-zine for fantasy artists and writers A shared world adventure

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