From sketchbook to finished artwork


November 29 , 2017


This week I have been pushing towards a deadline to finish one of my 
illustration projects. 
In order to do something different I made a free flowing short session 
panting as a sketchbook exercise.
I wanted to explore the subject I started in that earlier "Head" painting.  
And to look into the colors and the negative space 
possibilities and explore them more.

Sketchbook moment


I mounted both pieces on 8"x8" wood boards and now they look 
like a perfect pair.

From sketchbook to finished


Sketchbook moments


November 21 , 2017


Another ongoing project I have been keeping on lately 
is loosely painted scenes that are inspired 
by fashion magazines. 
There are great images in every fashion magazine 
with artistic photography, rich textures and colors.
Endless inspiration and a chance to practice some 
people and animal sketching. 

Sketchbook moment


Sketchbook moment

Baba Yaga story


November 17 , 2017


I am working on a personal project to create illustrations 
to this dark and creepy story based on Russian folklore.
The story is about a little girl and an evil step mother. 
There is a Baba Yaga character in it that brings even 
darker and creepier feeling. 
I really like how it goes, more to come.

working on some scary stuff


To the Baba Yaga story

New art 

children's illustration


November 10, 2017


Work in progress

Something I finished these few weeks.

First one is a painting I made for little Sasha 
(my friend's daughter) for her 3d BD last week. 
She is a lot of fun and reminds me a little bunny.
So, I painted Sasha with bunnies at a cabbage patch.


I also completed 5 weeks Lilla Rogers online course this week
and these two works are what came out the most successful.
Because the class was very intensive (as always!)I have not
 completely finished 
some illustrations the way I wanted 
and I will have to return to working on some of them.
Here are a book cover and an inside illustration for 
Zoe Tucker's story. 

Cover proposal


book illustration

Halloween : fun monsters and a spooky spider


October 31, 2017



I took some time between projects to participate in the 
Halloween themed drawings/ sketching on Instagram. 
I now wish I made more monsters as it turned  out to be 
the most fun.


Happy Halloween!


monster


monster


I will get back to it next year for sure!

Fun patterns : new notebooks


October 20, 2017



I had so much fun with the last week's "Leo and butterflies" painting 
that I needed to make a coordinating pattern! 

Both designs made fun covers for notebooks 
that you can find in my <Etsy shop>.

Pattern fun


Hand made notebooks





New : a painting and prints


October 13, 2017



I finished a new painting this week and 
added two new art prints to my shop



Leo and butterflies


Leo and butterflies prints are in



Blue ghost prints are in

Book illustration  : characters


October 9, 2017



I am taking Lilla Rogers' illustration class and this is the first week's assignment.

I have decided to write about this class and my experience on the blog, 
because first of all I need to talk things over with myself 
and see the overall picture better.
And I invite you to read my ramblings and see the behind the scenes 
bits and pieces!

book illustration

First week of the 5-week class was about developing the main character for the story. 
I selected to work on a story about a little turtle searching the moon light. 
It has a lot for imagination, and what I like the most that there are countless 
possibilities to illustrate landscapes, seascapes, forests and all kinds of plants and flowers. 

The text is written by Zoe Tucker, one of the class instructor and an art director. 

I am going to share my final submission for each week as well as work-in-progress pictures. 
I will be working on certain techniques and hopefully come up with a way that is 
most suitable for my style. 

So, first of all, I have decided to start with a mini sketch/painting of a general view 
and to see what colors would work for this story and what ideas
would pop up in my mind.
I let the objects and characters work on themselves, 
talk to each other and have their own life.
This is how my brain works, apparently. 


Even though this is week's piece has been submitted to the gallery, 
I already see what I want to change. 
I start learning to have a clearer image in my mind 
and it is big step forward.
So, back to work and see you next time with the new illustration to this story!

Before and after


October 6, 2017



I really like to see when artists show how their style changed/progressed 
over the years. Not many people share these things, though.

First years of student work could be something to hide or destroy. 
I cleaned my studio space recently and threw away boxes of old papers. 
I kept only a small stack and some sketchbooks that contain ideas
that I can re-use somehow later.

But it was fun to compare my two works on a same subject.


Robot
Graphite and watercolor on paper, 2013.


I have been interested in this human/abstract/fantasy nature mixture
and attempted to draw this robot head, struggling with 
the medium, color and the story. 
I have found my medium.
The color is ever changing, but it is not a foreign language anymore. 
The story is always here, I just need to tune in.



head

Acrylic on paper, 2017.

October  :  haunted 


October 1, 2017



October. It is my favorite month.
Not only do I love the weather, but the haunted feeling is very exciting. 
I think I could go on and on painting ghosts in white dresses,
but I will be taking the online school next 5 weeks and probably will 
have to take a brake from finished works.


Haunted room

9"x12" acrylic on paper


More ghosts in the woods

Cute  :  card design  



September 26, 2017



I felt like the bunny from my previous 
painting needed more attention and play a bigger role.
May be I should make a card with this character?



Honey bunny

Colors of this week :  turquoise and purple  



September 22, 2017



These are my happy colors.
 They are the key that open that door.


Blue Ghost


Blue Ghost

I was very excited this week mixing cadmium red, violet and turquoise.
Adding little white and black paint into the mix was giving 
delicate shades of purple from warm grey to cold blueberry.  
I don't even know why I need characters when there are colors like this.
But then the ghost came over and I let her stay.


Filling in the sketchbook page with florals was easy and relaxing.


Free flowing floral page



Then just shapes.

colors

Children's books :  cover illustrations  



September 18, 2017



These book coves were made during MATS classes I took as a part of
 Lilla Rogers' online school.
I am preparing to take another very intense 5 week illustration
 class in October, cleaning up my entire studio, 
going through loads of paper and supplies.
Below I am sharing my thoughts about the class.

Book cover design

Book cover design


Lilla's classes are very intense and could bring you up on a new level but you need to have a clear idea where you want to go during these 5 weeks. 

But be prepared to change styles, mediums and art tools in the middle of the class and if you are stuck, ask questions in a Facebook group. 

The decisions you make during the class help you grow as an illustrator. Try new ways to paint/draw traditionally or digitally, explore something different. Go outside the box!
In my case I tried and loved using paper collage for one of the final pieces. 

If you use traditional painting/drawing techniques it is very helpful to have knowledge of Photoshop basics, know how to do a mockup, how to add lettering to your image, color manipulation, image cropping and resizing, etc. 

What I do before the class and it is something I like to do periodically is to line up what I think my most successful recent pieces in front of me and analyze them in regard of all points the illustrations are judged by. 

My list consists of : colors, composition, overall style, mood, textures, use of lettering, character's facial expressions, movement, how the characters interact, so on. 

I take notes what qualities I want to keep in my next series of illustrations and what I want to get rid of.

I also have a digital folder where I keep inspirational art I need for motivating myself. 

It is also helpful to have your own little library of ready to use Photoshop textures, icons, your own font or lettering samples to grab really fast for the assignment.

Going through loads of favorite illustrated books is a good idea to get inspired and to see what techniques are used.

After the class is over, you will end up with millions new ideas, sketches, finished and unfinished pieces. 
Many things will look not so scary any more and you will have a big appetite to go forward and try new things. 
You might be even ready to put your portfolio together and make a pitch to a publisher!

Both times I took the class I started with one style and ended with something completely different. And this unexpected new result is the best part of this Lille's class, this is something I really wanted - to come up with a new and better work.
 My pieces were reviewed by Lilla and Zoe most of the times and this part was the most valuable.
My cover designs as the final assignment
brought together everything I learned during the 5 weeks and my covers do look kind of close to what I envisioned in the beginning, but I still don't have a cohesive look of all my class works.
I was going back and forth between paints and Photoshop and had to make really fast and sometimes not best decisions on the final look.
I re- did most of the work after the class, though and was amazed by how much I liked my illustrations after that. 


So this time around I am taking my time and preparing for the October class already. 

It is going to be so much fun and hard work, and lots of new things will sprout from there. 
See you in the class!
-Sofia








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Sketchbook :  review and thoughts   



September 15, 2017



This week I chewed on some ideas in my sketchbook.

Sketchbook moment


Mostly I wanted to see what colors would look the best as the contrasting background 
for the little pinkish figures. 
These are the ideas for my series that I call "Enchanted garden" for now.
The second and the third sketchbook spread are in more green/blue shade 
and have a bit wrong mood. 
I don't know. They look more cheerful and spring-y when I wanted to have heavier 
and kind of ominous and threatening emotion coming 
from the color combination. 
I think, I am going to keep the dark blue/grey palette for this series and 
leave the light green/turquoise combination for spring! 

Sketchbook moment


Sketchbook moment

Last week :  what was on 



September 11, 2017

Last week I posted on Instagram some of my progress pictures as well as finished works.

Daydream


I am going to try and sync my blogging with Instagram feed so that I have 
a better record of everything I have been doing lately and give little more 
explanation for those of you who follow me on both platforms.
Instagram is not meant for long texts under the images,
when the blogging is good exactly for this purpose (too bad it is getting less popular).


These works here don't have clear titles, because they are mostly 
color and shapes explorations. 
Woods painting in progress

I started with mixing paint to see what color palette I was going to like 
based on green/ grey/ brown shades. 

Woods painting in progress

Then the characters took place.
They are parts of some story that I don't really have control over, 
the images just visit me when I am ready to place them on prepared backgrounds 
and they tell me how they want to be shown.
Untitled 12"x9"

in progress

I have been trying to keep some kind of consistency of my artwork lately 
in regards of a subject as well as colors and techniques.
I look at it as a step forward and also the consistency makes my practice little easier. 
For quite sometime I felt like all over the place in my painting/drawing style and it was frustrating. 
Now I can understand that probably it is just a phase that I need to go through and it is quite typical for artists. 

Thank you for visiting my blog!
Talk to you later.
Sofia