Cephalopod



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Apple by Meg Lyman

6×6″ oil on board

Varnished on top; unvarnished on bottom

SOLD

I’ve always simply imagined lighting for my cephalopod paintings – since I don’t have an actual octopus to paint and I’m idealizing them anyway, it seemed the best course. I have a good general idea of light and shade principles from life drawing – good enough to get away with anyway. But when I got it into my head to paint an apple octopus (like you do), I figured I should give the still life test a try.

Painting the apple still life was hard enough, but then incorporating imaginary bumps and nooks made this extra challenging. The apple part looks serviceable, but without an actual applepus to paint, it’s hard to get the lighting down. Maybe next time I will sculpt eye nubs out of play-doh or spitballs or whatever and stick them on the apple. Either way, I am reasonably happy with the result and I learned a lot from it. That means the painting was successful, right? Right.

I also did some interesting color mixing for this one. I made up “color strings” – a James Gurney term meaning different values of the colors I planned to use. I need to work on the whole “changing value without changing chroma and hue” thing, but that’s another post.

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My tube colors for this were, left to right, Quinacridone Red (M. Graham), Golden Barok Red (Old Holland), Cad Yellow Golden (Michael Harding), and Nickel Yellow (Williamsburg). I used white and black to mix the bottom 3 piles of varying values of grey (OK OK, bluish grey), then used those plus titanium white to darken or lighten the tube colors. The hue shift with Cad Yellow and black is very green, and fun to play with. The Quin Red strayed into blue territory and I didn’t use much of its mixes. I have so much to learn! I feel like I’m at a stage in my learning where I’m going way faster than I realized. That is good but kinda overwhelming.

Aside: the board I started with was some amalgam of leftover colors that I slathered on with a palette knife months ago. I have no idea what they were, but I chose my apple colors so they’d work well with it. Gives a nice texture, too, no?

A final note: see how sunken in oils can get when they dry to the touch? Especially the darks. Varnishing makes them look all rich and shiny again. Magic!


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I’ll have a bunch of originals, Star Wars themed cephalopod stickers, and tons of prints, including Octotoro and Squees. Come say hi!


One time I was ordering illustration board online and forgot which brand I liked. I bought some thick, many-ply Crescent, the one-sided kind. I promptly got distracted and forgot about it.

I found it recently and thought, “quit being wasteful with your business resources,” and cut some up into standard sized bits. It had warped badly in the intervening years, and it submitted to my paper cutter only with a lot of muscle. (Note to self: sharpen paper cutter.) I set out to paint a cephalopod with a background, trying to actually Do A Background, Damnit like my to-do list says. I toned the inked drawing with watery gouache, tentatively laying in values. I’ve done this before, and it usually involves quite a bit of water. The Crescent wasn’t having any of that.

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That picture was taken while it was still damp, and I had already tried to smooth out the bubbles by gently pushing them flat. The wrinkles almost made me give up altogether, nevermind the fraying ply edges and the warping. I had to pull up the top ply and re-lay it, and the adhesive between plies is obviously weak, but nonetheless yucky.

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But… I persevered, thinking, how am I going to learn if I don’t try to salvage this? Also I was thinking, what am I going to do with half a dozen sheets of worthless illustration board? For this painting style anyway. And after a few more layers of water and paint – although none so watery as the first layer – it actually smoothed out and looked OK. You can still see the wrinkle if you look hard enough, but I think it gives it character. And I had to bend the board pretty strenuously to flatten out the colossal warp it developed.

Lesson learned – do not use a lot of watery paint on Crescent illustration board. Maybe my beloved Strathmore can take it better… but that’s another post for another time.

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Totoro by Meg Lyman

6×12″ gouache and ink on illustration board

$120 – Etsy link


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Axe Cop by Meg Lyman

6×12″ gouache and ink on illustration board

Etsy link

If you haven’t seen the show (or comic) Axe Cop, you’re missing out on one of life’s finest experiences. That is, if you’re a 30-something and grew up watching dumb cartoons.

The characters are: Sockarang, Wexter, Axe Cop, Baby Man, Unibaby, and Flute Cop. This is my first time putting a moustache on an octopus… feel free to judge me for that.


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Purple Cuttlefish by Meg Lyman

ACEO gouache and ink on illustration board

Etsy link

Another case of leftover paint needing a home. What better home than a cute cuttlefish?


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Ewoktopus by Meg Lyman

Indeterminate but small size, gouache and ink on paper

SOLD

A fun commission from a convention last year! Sorry for the cell phone photo quality. I’m cleaning out some older art to post for y’all while I’m working on some larger projects, and a few long how-to posts. Lucky y’all.


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Happy Wedding!

8×10″ gouache and ink


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Blue Ring Bear by Meg Lyman

5×7″ gouache and ink on paper

SOLD

Another fun commission. Finally actually practicing backgrounds. Revelatory.


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The Admiral by Meg Lyman

Gouache and ink on ACEO

Etsy link

It wasn’t much of a stretch, really. Time to get working on 2015 calendar art!


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Everyone have a fantastic holiday season! The days are getting longer now. That’s my favorite thing about this time of year. How about yours?

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