I went to the printers yesterday! Well worth the drive too. I wanted to pick out some paper choices and make sure that the print is as accurate to the original as possible. I'm going with a square format. Between 8"x8" and 12"x12". Still deciding which is the best choice. These will be limited edition signed and numbered giclee archival prints. Fancy prints. I'll start building my Kickstarter campaign today. Do sign up for the Newsletter if you want a print. Or you can keep track with the Facebook Event Page.
I will be having 2 Kickstarters. The 1st will be a limited edition signed and numbered giclee print on run of a select illustration from the book. The Kickstarter will run from June 1st-30th, 2018. I'll have more annoucements about this as the date gets closer. I'm hoping this Kickstarter will help grow anticipation for Part 2: Little Mermaid Illustrated Book, give me experience running a Kickstarter, and help me purchase props and pay models for the references photos I'll need to take to complete the illustrations for Part 2: Little Mermaid Illustrated Book. Keep up to date with this project by checking out the Kickstarter Home Page and/ or signup for the quarterly Newsletter.
See the process and design notes behind illustrator Ashly Lovett's "Call Betelgeuse" chalk pastel drawing.Read More
Want to know what I've been up to with the Kickstarter?
You can read all about here in the Newsletter 01.
Things are starting to get goin' for this Kickstarter! I've updated the Home Page to include the latest information. I'll be having 2 Kickstarters. June 2018 will be a limited edition giclee print run to promote the book project. June 2019 will be the official launch date for the illustrated book.
Get updates by following my social media, RSS to My Blog or signing up for the Newsletter. Next newsletter goes out in May. Or pledging $2 a month on my Patreon to keep up with everything week by week.
How to Work with Models
I share my reference photos, process, and plans on a recent post on my Patreon. Open to any patron who pledges $2 a month.
Check it out here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/17972247
I'll continue to share process work on my Patreon. It's going to be a good few months working through these concepts to completeing final illustrations for the book.
I've officially started doing concept art for my Little Mermaid illustrated book that I'll take to Kickstarter in 2019. You can learn more about it AshlyLovett.com/kickstarter. At the moment I'm doing concept pieces to figure out my character. I've been pulling a lot of inspiration from around the internet.
I know I want her to glow. I imagine such a deep sea creature would have luminescent skin and hair, gills, and deep sea eyes. I was thinking something close to a ghost shark. This piece is the first in a several where I'll explore my character and her domain. In fact, this is just a cropped image of the piece for the moment. I'll keep working on this concept and share full version when it's completed.
Illustrators credits Eric Fortune, Travis Louie, Howard Pyle, and others.
If you'd like to see the full version and more of my process work, I suggest pledging $2 to my Patreon. All patrons get to see process work for this project. You can also see live demos for $6. Check it out and join me on the project that pushes me out of my comfort zone and challenges me.
This piece was created for Graphite Magazine's July 2018 issue. I did a tutorial on how to use chalk pastels. It was an interesting process scanning my piece in stages and thinking about what is most important to say. I've done plenty of live demos, but it's different when you have to break it down on paper. Plus, my technique involved reworking my subject several times over. I believe that the history left or the "ghost image" helps me define my best version of the illustration.
I wanted to use this piece as a chance to explore with my Kickstarter. I initially wanted a "darker" color palette similiar to what I want for my Kickstarter, but decided to go more whymiscal. And I wanted to explore what I could do with hair underwater. There is going to be A LOT of underwater hair action for the KS illustrated book and I don't want to do any typical shapes. Nope, I want to work with movement and really hone in on that light as a feather look. I feel I did accomplish that with this tutorial piece. I'm very happy! I even did some studies, which I'll show here as a little sneak peek for the tutorial. Some small gouache studies.
My next experiment will be a piece playing around with the color and tone. I think something more in the greenish-blue hue. I want it to feel "darker." I also need to figure out what our little mermaid is going to look like. I imagine white, nearly transparent skin and silver hair. I wonder if I should do a sculpt to keep me on track throughout the story illustrations? I'm hoping I can play this into a Month of Love piece too. I am taking baby steps. This project is dear to my heart and I want to make sure everything is done well and with a purpose.
To learn more about my Kickstarter and read more posts about it, click here.
Here is a small sample of inspirational imagery I've been collecting.
Work by Forest Rogers, Mira Nedyalkova, and Rebecca Guay.
I have a lot of questions to answer before I decided my launch date for The Little Mermaid Kickstarter. What dimension will the book be? How many pages? How many illustrations? Color or black and white or both? What time of year do I want to launch? What will my offers and goals be? And then there is all the fun logistic once I do decide on the look and size of the book.
I have decided that I want a long vertical book. Not a picture book, but an illustrated book. I'm pretty sure I want text on 2 pages and then full page spreads following. I think that would be fun. I could do a lot with that. I'll also have a few black and white spots.
I'm giving myself till Feb 1st to finalize the style and schedule for the book. I know I initially said Summer of 2018. I could either hold a limited edition print run of an illustration from the book in June. Basically a Phase 1 for the final book. And launch the book in 2019. That would give me a year or so to illustrate what I want with me doing 2 illustrations a month. That's in addition to other stuff I have going on. OR I could have the book 50% done and launch in July/Aug 2018. I'm not sure. So, my deadline to decide is Feb 1st.
I'll also be doing a tutorial for Graphite Magazine. That's due Jan 6th. I'll use that to decide on the style of the book. It'll be a portrait of our little mermaid.
To see more behind the scene sketches and get more involved in the making of this project, join my Patreon for $2 a month. You get to see all my thoughts and sketches while supporting my creation.
Chalk pastel on paper. A continuation of my Claire seres! Hope you enjoy. It's been on the back-burner for months.
It's my first experience working with a company to produce a limited edition print! I'm so very very excited. I got the proofs in and they look like the original. I'm very impressed.
Peony is now available at Rhino Barking Sparrow! 12x12” printed on Heavy Fine Arts 340 gsm paper limited run edition of 20. Love their gold hand embossed stamp. I held a vote across my social media between this piece and my most recent piece Vox. And it was so close. 53 against 57. Thank you everyone for voting and voicing your opinion! 😊🎁
Opening Nov 18th, 7pm at Gallery 1988 in LA.
7308 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Don't miss my chalk pastel pieces of Pan's Labyrinth ( El Laberinto del Fauno) on display with Gallery 1988's Crazy 4 Cult 11 Show opening tonight at 7pm. Chalk pastel on BFK Rives paper. Both artwork pieces measure 13x20". Matted and framed with UV museum glass. Total size 21x29". Also, 10 8x10 limited edition signed prints available too.
Time-lapse Videos. Chalk Pastel on Paper.
Why Pan's Labyrinth?
I first did The Pale Man as a live demo for my patrons and Patreon. I love the film so much that I wanted to make it a series for a show I was participating in with Gallery 1988 in LA. To get involved in my next fan art piece, joining my Patreon at Patreon.com/AshlyLovett.
Movie Plot Summary
In 1944, in the post-Civil War in Spain, rebels still fight in the mountains against the falangist troops. The young and imaginative Ofelia travels with her pregnant and sick mother Carmen Vidal to the country to meet and live with her stepfather, the sadistic and cruel Captain Vidal, in an old mill. During the night, Ofelia meets a fairy and together they go to a pit in the center of a maze where they meet a faun that tells that she is a princess from a kingdom in the underground. He also tells that her father is waiting for her, but she needs to accomplish three gruesome, tough and dangerous assignments first. Meanwhile, she becomes a friend of the servant Mercedes, who is the sister of one of the rebels and actually is giving support to the group. In a dark, harsh and violent world, Ofelia lives her magical world trying to survive her tasks and sees her father and king again. - Written by Caudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. IMDB.com
Process Work: Research Stage
With the beginning of each fan art piece, I start with my research behind my character and the story. I started with the color palette.
" I used the angular, cold world of fascist-era Spain to represent reality, and a very rounded and uterine world to represent the fantasy that the child escapes into. I guess you could say that I am obsessed with images of stillborn things, and seduced by the idea that the womb is the most comfortable place to be." - The Guardian (article link here)
I also found this fascinating article about the lighting objectives and how they worked with the film's low budget and struggled with their environment:
"'The initial color differentiation between the film’s two worlds was simple: Ofelia’s fantasy world would feature mainly warm colors, primarily “deep crimsons and golden ambers, almost like amniotic fluids,' notes Del Toro....In the Pale Man’s intensely warm environment, which is dominated by red tones and a blazing fire..." -American Society of Cinematography (article link here)
The Pale Man represents all institutional evil feeding on the helpless. In fact, this character is inspired by Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco Goya. In an interview with Screen Anarchy Del Toro says, " The Pale Man represents the Church for me, y'know? [He] represents fascism and the Church eating the children when they have a perversely abundant banquet in front of them. There is almost a hunger to eat innocence."
It was also intended to be an old wrinkly man. However, during the sculpting stage, Del Toro wanted it more humanoid and suggested shapes similar to a manta ray. The creepiness factor went way up and they went with it. Read about it here.
Process Work: Sketch Phase
After getting a feel for the look and reason behind the character, I started sketching from the movie to get to know Mr. Pale Man better. I knew I had to include his eye hands in some way. It is a key feature of his character. Now how to do it best?
I didn't want to just take a screenshot straight from the movie. That's too easy and has been done time and time again. I wanted to showcase his wrinkles, the translucent skin, the blue veins, and I knew I wanted a long verticle to compliment his skinny form. I was lucky enough to come across David Marti's Instagram. He is the Co-owner of DDTSFX with Montse, the production company responsible for the prosthetics used for Pan's Labyrinth. There I pulled tons of reference from photos and videos. They were very helpful in understanding The Pale Man's body. I eventually found this gem of a photo on Google images searching "the pale man makeup team." (Side Note: Muddycolors.com put together an excellent post about googling references photos. Click here to read)
I did some Photoshopping-Frankeisteining and came up with a fabulous reference photo for my final illustration. From there I tapped 16x21 piece of BFK Rives paper onto my drawing board and went to town.
Process Work: Final Drawing
I work with chalk pastels on BFK Rives printmaking paper. The biggest challenge for this piece was controlling my values. I had to make a decision to either apply my details in the areas cast in light or shadow. Doing both would only make the piece overworked. Both sides would fight for interest. I chose the lighted areas. The second biggest challenge was designing the forms. This character doesn't have normal features (duh.) Normally I love working with the hair and the plains of the face to create depth, form, interest, and flow. I didn't have that option here, so I had to take great care with carefully placed shadows and highlights to show form.
The most fun was adding the highlights on his hands. It really helped it pop! I also enjoyed adding green throughout the piece to help bring out the reds since they are complimentary colors. Finding places to add subtle blues and purples was a fun challenge too. I didn't want it to be just reds, blacks, and yellows. I needed warm browns and other colors to liven up the overall palette. I used cold medium grey for the veins on his skull, arms, and chest.
Below are process images, close-ups, and 2 time-lapse videos of the making of this piece. I originally offered the time-lapse videos to my patrons, but I really wanted to share it for this blog post. So enjoy!
The final illustration measures 13"x21". Click the images to zoom.
I'm a big fan of Del Toro's work. My first fan art piece was of Crimson Peak (right.) Later this year I plan to do a Hellboy and another Pan's Labyrinth piece featuring the faun. I just need to put aside the time for this kind of personal work since I really enjoy it.
In 2014 I was building a portfolio geared towards children's books. I found the 1830s original version of The Little Mermaid and wanted to adapt it myself to practices more narrative pieces and add work to my portfolio. I ended up dropping the project since it was so dark. Now, 3 years later I'm pulling that old folder from my external hard drive. The tone of the story is perfect for the work I love doing now. I thought it would be a perfect story for my Kickstarter. I gave a lot of thought about my work and my self this past week at Illuxcon. And I know that this is the right project because it's something I'd want to do regardless of making money.
Part of my push to do this story was also attributed to when I explored full figure narrative pieces with chalk pastel and chalk pastel pencils during May 2017 for #MerMay. I was trying to work with this media at no larger than 9"x12". I think there was some success here. However, I feel I'll likely work larger for the book. It's more obvious what media I'm using with these pieces due to the small size. I think there is more of a mystery to the process when I work at a more comfortable size and I like that. That may mean some reeeeally big chalk pastel pieces, which is fine by me.
Below is my old process work from 2013 as a student. You can tell I was a bit wet behind the ears still (pun intended, hahahaha.) I did have a successful piece, which is the first image. It was a combination of a scanned drawing, a scanned chalk pastel texture, and a lot of digital work in Photoshop. I played with this technique for a while, but decided I hated grueling away at a computer screen. I eventually exclusively worked with chalk pastels soon after and you can learn more about that in an interview I did in 2016.
I'm officially announcing that I will be doing a Kickstarter and I'm giving out postcards at the Illuxcon Convention next week. I'm really looking forward to this challenge. It began with #Mermay and my love of this dark tale of The Little Mermaid.
I'll be starting my sketches and thumbnails in Nov. I'll post periodically on my social media, but it's my Patreon where you can truly follow this project as it unfolds for $2 a month. I also encourage you to sign-up for the official Newsletter to get updates on the project as it gets closer.
I look forward to sharing this journey!
2017 Month of Fear Goal:
1. Do book cover formats.
2. Include male characters.
So, I give you Week 1: Howl.
It's back! My favorite event every year! I'm going to try my best to do a piece for each week, but I do have a lot of traveling coming up. Going to Detroit to give a talk and I'm doing Illuxcon Convention at the end of the month. Fingers crossed I can squeeze in at least 4 pieces. That's why all of them will be black and white.
Week 1 word prompt is "Howl"
My initial thoughts were werewolf, which could have been fun. But I wanted to think further to have imagery that's different. I've been thinking back to my first 2015 MoF ( Reflection and Trial ) and my first 2 illustrations were about different ways to die. That lead my brain to think of being fed to the wolves. So my character will be tied to a tree and left for dead. Initially I thought I could do a MEGA wolf like in Princess Mononoke or include a bunch of eyes in the darkness. I ended up wanting something more personal and one on one. I wanted a conversation between the wolf and victim. The final piece measures 14" x 18" . Below is some of my inspiration from Edward Kinsella and Miranda Meeks.
Some of the references I pulled from the internet and reference I took of my good ol' cousin. I don't have as much process work for this one because I only had a few days to pull this together. I did listen to the movie "The Revanant" to get myself into the proper mood for this piece. And later listen to the original soundtrack. Love that film.
"If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It" is a chalk pastel original created for 30 Years Later at Gallery 1988 in LA.
You can purchase the framed original here in Gallery 1988's Store.
I start every illustration with thumbnails. These were done in acrylic paint in my sketchbook. This guy was pretty complicated, so I rented the movie and pulled references from it. I also looked up sculptures, behind the scenes photos, and even looked up collectors edition toys since they provided lots of photos and angles. I also watched a documentary about the film and it's characters to get to know what I was drawing. I didn't realize that they had a different monster in mind before the final Predator character. It's actually pretty funny looking.
I originally featured a full face drawing of Predator, but I was not satisfied with it. It didn't have a strong enough "bad ass" feel to to it. I decided to crop the image in to help showcase the blood. Cropping the image leaves more to the viewer's imagination and gives a creepier lurking feeling. The image on the left is good, but the image on the right is better. Cropping can have a very powerful affect on your work. This is something you should always consider even if it means covering up hours and hours of work.
My husband and I FINALLY found a house! First time home buyers :). I'm trying to clear inventory and help pay for our move. I'm offer all my prints on discount and I've added new items.
Free shipping on US order over $30 (discount International orders.)
And all $40 get a free postcard pack.
Once this sale is over, I wont be offering a lot of these items for a while. Instead, I'll have random 48 hour sales during the year for my prints. So, this may be your last opportunity to get certain prints. Sale ends July 24th.
Go shopping in The Store
Here are some showcased products
I was featured along side the other nominees for the Spectrum Fantasy Art Live Rising Star Award! Check it out here: http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2017/07/rising-stars.html
And here is my monthly newsletter giving a breakdown of what's happened! Click the image.