July Hero Challenge Wrap-Up

Mock-artist-loish by reneedicherri

Did you take a dive into the deep blue? You can see all the entries here. 
Below, is loish 's favorites with her commentary. 


pedro8999   - favorite 
I love this striking and beautiful illustration. The first thing that caught my eye was the fantastic lighting - the way the fish is catching the light of the divers, and the light beams coming in from the surface. The luminescence of the fish really brings it forward, emphasizing its huge size. The perspective and sense of scale is wonderful. The whole image just conveys a sense of wonder and the excitement of discovering the creatures of the deep, and is wonderfully executed!





MBrainspaz  - runner up

 I love this amazingly detailed and gorgeous environment piece. The positioning and rendering of the creature brings so much movement to this piece, and the depth of field - using color perspective as well as a soft blur - really emphasizes the deep underwater feel. I can really picture this piece coming to life in a 3D animation. I also love the idea of an underwater city!



Deep Blue by V4lii


V4lii - runner up

What I really like about this image is how the mysterious creature is at the surface rather than deep in the water. The contrast helps accentuate the difference between the dark, scary water below and the bright light at the surface. We can only see her legs and arm, leaving us to wonder what kind of creature she is. Is she dangerous or will she help the character who is sinking down? I just love how this image tells a story but leaves a lot to your imagination.


Deep Blue by Lailamon


Lailamon - runner up

I think this piece is a really unique approach to the theme. I like that the creature is scary and beautiful at the same time, and that her power comes from within. The hair strands spreading out to the edge of the canvas, as well as the patterns and lines, add so much movement and intensity to the image. She has the allure and mystery of a mermaid without depending too heavily on mermaid/underwater tropes.


Her favorite will get a year worth of SketchBook membership & DeviantArt membership-  and an Intuos Pro Small with a SketchBook prize pack!  
Runners up, you'll get a three months of SketchBook MembershipDeviantArt Membership & SketchBook prize pack

Special thanks to our pals at Wacom for the tablets, and our friends here at DeviantArt for the memberships. 
An of course, a big thanks to loish for the inspiration!

Want more challenges? Get in the mood for love and get started on August's today!
Download SketchBook for free & try out a membership today!



Are you a mobile artist? Check out mDAC 2015 !

What is it?: On August 7th Mobile Art Academy will be unveiling the top 100 winners of the 2015 Mobile Digital Art & Creativity Exhibition from a stunning 1,230 entries from mobile photographers and iPad painters from all corners of the globe.  The exhibition will be on show at the Palo Alto Art Center for the remainder of August, giving people a chance to see some of the best of the best in this new art medium. This is the third such exhibition mounted by the Mobile Art Academy who has been championing the new art medium since their formation in 2013.

This opening is free to the public, and followed by a weekend long conference on digital art. The conference welcomes both new and experienced tablet and mobile artists for hands-on workshops led by internationally renowned experts. This year mDAC has invited an even wider variety of artists to participate in the conference representing a broad spectrum of art from abstract to extreme realism as well as 3D sculpting and even animation & music using just an iPad. 

Emphasizing the fact iPad art is here to stay, Connie Martinez, CEO of SV Creates, a non-profit championing the growth of arts in the Bay area, will open the conference as the keynote speaker.

Complete program is available on the site along with a list of expert speakers.  


Awaiting the Dawn - Artist's Progress by Gretchen Bartz

Gretchen Bartz is a SketchBook artist who comes from a background in traditonal media She created this amazing piece to contrIbute to the Art For Hope project. Purchase a print today and proceeds go directly to BuildChange. Tiger reference from Rob Bixby, via Flickr, Attribution 2.0 generic license

 I like to start with a background layer, and a dark base color layer for the subject that follows the basic outer outline of the reference. The base color in this case is a black. Not a preselect black, but a custom black from the color wheel.
I think this black was the darkest red value. I then lock this layer’s transparency. Next, I used small sized charcoal tool with medium opacity to start laying in some basic colors. My goal when starting my digital journey has been to use as little computer assistance as possible, so I select my own colors from the color wheel, rather than sampling from the photo. The eyes are a separate layer with locked transparency. This helps when adding the light and shade with airbrush, so it is even and I can work right up to the edge of the eyes.


After the charcoal tool, I use a small size round blender on high opacity and apply it in a back and forth motion through the black and orange markings, making sure they follow the stroke of the fur. This gives more of a realistic look and weaves the colors into each other, as fur would do.


Moving down, I put in the nose and whiskers. The whiskers are on a separate layer, so I can still work on the tiger layer without disturbing them. Whiskers are just about the only feature I draw with the pencil tool, and when I lock their transparency, I can airbrush over certain parts of them to add the color variations that whiskers have. Also, the tips can be tapered and made less sharp by using a soft eraser on low opacity (with the layer transparency unlocked).


I did some more blocking in and some refining of features. A large sized airbrush on low opacity can be used to change some of the color and value without disturbing the stroke of the charcoal. I changed the background to a cool green with blue in airbrush to complement the reddish orange on the tiger and to give the look of light filtered through foliage. The shoulder side of the cat is airbrushed to give that fuzzy receding look of distance, keeping the focus on the face.

I unlocked the transparency of the tiger layer so I could pull out some hairs and soften the edges of the face. Again, here, I used the small blender brush, at high opacity, so it could really pull the color into fine hair. A few long ones are pencil, but then soft eraser used at the tips.


Working on the cheek fur, I cut a piece of the reference photo for viewing. Having just a piece of the photo really helps when I have to work zoomed in and need to see my reference at the same time.


Check out the final 'Awaiting the Dawn' and purchase prints to support Nepal.


Draw Manga in Autodesk SketchBook Pro

Our friend Ippus made this adorable bunny girl in SketchBook Pro.


Give it a watch & get inspired on how to draw manga & anime style. Try SketchBook for free for 15 days across all your devices - download desktop & activate your membership trial now!


Creating 'Ray of Hope' by Emily Fay Lunn


Emily Fay Lunn is an Editorial Assistant at Gollancz, working on the SF Gateway. She describes herself as a freelance artist, avid reader, and aspiring crazy cat lady. 


Here's some of the planning stages for the picture I did for charity project ART FOR HOPE: NEPAL. I’ve added a bit of commentary to the images in the photoset for those interested.

The prompt was “strength, hope and rebirth” and at the start I really wanted to emphasise the rebirth aspect, hence my initial ideas with the seedling plant and the sunlight. In the end that changed somewhat and I ended up drawing a lot of my inspiration from the flag of Nepal, with the sun and moon motifs and the symbolism of the colours, but this is how I got there! 

Because this was such a big project for me, typically I spent most of my time before the deadline panicking and procrastinating. It was a self-destructive cycle that I’m unfortunately prone to falling into and meant my early attempts were complete false starts. I knew what I wanted to achieve, but I wasted so much energy worrying about it not being good enough rather than cracking on that I made everything 1000% more stressful. 

In the end I had to sit myself down and have a stern word, asking myself what I’m really good at (ridiculously long hair and flowing dresses), and to use that as a starting point. In the end, I’m glad I scrapped my first few attempts despite being like, three days away from the deadline. I ended up with a much stronger picture for it.

Attempt one, not very successful - it didn't convey what I wanted and was far too stiff. Got as far as inking before I scrapped it. Then I started to panic because...deadline.

After faffing around for ages I developed a more solid idea, but sketching it out digitally wasn't working for me - again, it lacked the life and energy I wanted to convey. Still panicking.

In the end I scribbled on paper after asking myself what I'm REALLY best at, which is ridiculous hair and long flowing lines. Much happier with the initial sketch.

Instead if re-sizing and diving straight in with the inks, I worked on a thumbnail canvas (420x320px) - this really helped keep the energy of the sketch, which I tend to lose with digital work.

Still working on the small canvas, I planned out the colours. Initially I wanted a really warm feel, like the picture was bathed in sunlight.


Slowly, slowly getting there! I was more happy with the colour balance in this version. Tip for those using Photoshop: you can bring your SketchBook file in as a PSD. Then try Image > Adjustments > Variations to see different color effects, and choose the best one.

Eventually the background colours changed quite dramatically, but the early planning stages using a small canvas were crucial, particularly for preserving the flow of the pose/lines.  

Check out the final 'Ray of Hope' and purchase prints to support Nepal.

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