blog.billet-deaux

Muckin’ around with new brushes and character designs.

Muckin’ around with new brushes and character designs.

Illustration for Our Fair City: Season Five, Episode Nine (A Single Twisted Spoke)

This makes three for three things I’ve done for OFC that are basically just me drawing lots and lots of plants.  I’m not sure how this happened…!

I got a new day job recently and it is delightfully corporate and boring.  (Compared to my last job and the past eight years I’ve worked in hellish retail, it’s A HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF.)

I am feeling the fanciest today because I am running around at the office being important, just because I am not working from home and sitting around in my underwear, as I usually do.

I got a new day job recently and it is delightfully corporate and boring. (Compared to my last job and the past eight years I’ve worked in hellish retail, it’s A HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF.)

I am feeling the fanciest today because I am running around at the office being important, just because I am not working from home and sitting around in my underwear, as I usually do.

I actually finished this comic quiiiiite a while ago, but I finally remembered to get this posted!  My friends at Our Fair City do regular comic anthologies now on top of the whole awesome podcast thing, so I was super honored to be apart of this collection.  Especially when I got to work on this story that David Rheinstrom (OFC writer, friend, most excellent human being) wrote.

So!  Here it is: “Greenhouse Blues”!  It’s got romance!  Mystery!  Suspense!  Algae!  We also had the strange honor of being the one story in the whole anthology with an unambiguously optimistic ending, so…hooray!

Even though I’m posting this here, you should really go purchase the entire anthology here—including an instant PDF download for the sweet, low price of 99 cents.  It has so many good things in there, you guys.  If you don’t get a copy, you’re just missing out.

Here’s a peek at a Mass Effect playing card illustration I was working on this month! Sadly, the project got canned, so this will likely remain forever unfinished, whomp whomp.

(Yeeeeeah I’ve been watching an absurd amount of the X-Files lately…)
Working on a couple of projects, mostly under NDAs, so soon I’ll have something more exciting to show you guys~

(Yeeeeeah I’ve been watching an absurd amount of the X-Files lately…)

Working on a couple of projects, mostly under NDAs, so soon I’ll have something more exciting to show you guys~

artendurance asked: Hello my name is Chelsea Robbins, I absolutely love your art. I actually have the tomb raider poster of yours. Very inspiring work. I just always wanted to know if you color the photos by hand or by computer?

Aw, thank you!

My color is all digital! Everything up to that point, though, I do with traditional media.

Promised process post!

Trailblazer went through a lot of changes, ultimately all of them for the better.  I gathered up all the process pieces I have (which is hard to remember to do when working under a non-disclosure agreement, mainly because I can’t share them with anyone), because I am on a mission to keep talking about process whenever I can.  Mostly because it’s fun to do, and no one can stop me from writing small novels about it.  Mu hu hu.

Lately I have been utilizing pinterest boards to collect my inspiration and reference all in one easy place.  Before, I would throw it all into a folder on my desktop and work from that.  Now, having a fancy wizard phone and often working from places away from my desktop, I needed a way to access this folder remotely, yet keep it private because NDAs were involved.  I tried dropbox and google drive, but both of their apps were clunky and not suited for viewing files in a slideshow format, which I needed to click around quickly between images.  So pinterest it was!

I made my board for this piece public on pinterest now, so check it out, if you’re into that sort of thing!

You’ll probably notice that my board goes from reference images from the source material into completely unrelated illustrations by various artists.  Around there, I started thinking of how I wanted this poster to look, what concepts I wanted to work with, and how I wanted these concepts to feel, so I began looking up and into artists that did these things.  A lesson I learned long ago at the Illustration Academy: if you want to illustrate something, there’s at least five other illustrators who have already illustrated that thing and done so brilliantly, so go learn from them.

I also learned a very important lesson about sketches with this project, especially when proposing ideas to clients: they’ll get back to you a lot faster and be more assertive in their choices when your sketches are not vague, scribbly thumbnails.  The first image is what I originally proposed; the second is what the idea evolved into, at the urging of my excellent art director, Marc Scheff.

Plus, cleaning up my concept like this made my work so much easier on my behalf.  Everything in the image was depicted; my tonal balance was more or less figured out.  It was fifty times easier to go to final with this sketch, as opposed to going to final from the scribbly thumbnails.  The point is: don’t be lazy with your concepts.

I originally imagined the negative space in the composition around our lone hero as an extension of the Shishkebab’s flame.  All jagged shapes and whatnot.  Heavily leaning on the Mignola influence.  Now, I realize how unclear that shape was and was yet again thankful for aforementioned excellent art director, because it was Marc’s suggestion to make that space look like smoke.  (Why I never thought of that myself, I don’t know.  Too obvious, I guess??)

Anyway, one simple suggestion changed this illustration—and changed it for me—entirely.  I went from being simply okay with the composition to absolutely falling in love with it.  Which is why critique is so valuable to me, and why I try to involve as many other minds in my creative process when I can.  Also, a good art director is priceless.

Also: bonus image!

Color scheme that I never submitted, for good reason; it was too muddy, was too harsh in contrast, and the vibrant yet dark colors would have been difficult to reproduce accurately as a screenprint.  It did have a darker, apocalyptic feel going for it, but I ultimately went with the final red-orange color scheme!

So the fine folks over at Treehouse Brand Stores picked another franchise for me to illustrate: none other than Fallout.  These last couple of weeks have been particularly grueling for my (im)patience, because good lord I was so thrilled with how this came out and I wanted to share it immediately with EVERYONE.

And now I can!

Trailblazer is up for presale at the Bethesda Store!  This is a 18x24 inch five-color limited-edition screenprint, each individually numbered and printed on French paper.

If you have questions about buying or shipping this poster, please direct them to the lovely folks running the Bethesda store, because I probably won’t know!  Anything else, though, the ask box is always open.  Except for what my favorite weapon from the series is, because that much should be obvious.

I’ll be posting a bit of process on this one in a bit, so keep an eye out for that!  This piece definitely went through some changes along the way, but all of them for the better.

Thanks to Treehouse and especially art director Marc Scheff for their awesomeness and continuing to give me assignments that are less ‘work’ and more ‘hell yes’.  I love when the thirteen-year-old kid in me is like I WANNA DRAW THE RIDICULOUS FLAMING SWORD and then they totally let me get away with it.