Toddler Octopus by Meg Lyman
8×10″ gouache and ink on Canson board
Knight Nautilus by Meg Lyman
Ink and pencil on ACEO paper
Wonders by Meg Lyman
Metallic ink on ACEO
I feel like this toucan today. There is inspiration in the air. It’s probably because it was a beautiful, full-blown spring weekend, the sun was out, the daffodils were peeking up through the pine needles, and I spent yesterday afternoon out in that beauty, arms deep in my car’s engine compartment. Ahh, spring. Too bad it’s going to get cold and nasty again this week.
I haven’t done much art the last few months, and let’s face it, the end of February is a bit late to be planning the year. The weather is partially to blame. But I also think I needed a break to decide the direction I want to go with my art, which is why it has taken so long to figure out what I want to do with this year.
I doubt now that art is ever going to be my main source of income, and I’m OK with that. A lot of my inspiration isn’t terribly marketable, and I just don’t want to paint things for other people for the rest of my life. Luckily, all my commission work has involved cephalopods so far, which makes it enjoyable, but 1) it doesn’t pay very well and 2) it’s hard to knuckle down and do it when you have a dozen more inspiring ideas clamoring for space in your head. Because of this realization, I decided to do fewer conventions this year. After two years on the circuit, I know which ones are money makers and which are the most fun with friends. I’ll stick to those, and probably mail in art to the rest. Note that most of those I’m attending are in Atlanta, or nearby, which cuts down on expenses.
2010 Convention Schedule
Other than conventions, I of course want to keep improving my art. I also want to focus my inspiration more in order to refine my style and start giving my art more meaning. Just because I have a vision of a tractor tire nautilus shell doesn’t mean that anyone will buy it. It needs to tell a story or make a point… otherwise, it’s just my subconscious barfing on the canvas. As fun as that is for me, very few other people dig it enough to pay for it.
I’m using mind-mapping to help me focus. Specifically, I’m using the tool “VYM” for Linux. If you are having problems with art block or with inspiration, check out mind mapping. It can be done with a pen and paper, and can really help you filter through your ideas and pick the ones that will take you somewhere. Without it, I probably wouldn’t have posted this plan until July.
Glow-in-the-Dark Shark by Meg Lyman
Poison Dart Octopus by Meg Lyman
I’m going on a blogging hiatus for a month or so. My house sold and I’m about to buy a new one and move! If everything goes smoothly, you should see more art and posts from me in less than a month.
Wish me luck!
Cosmic Koi by Meg Lyman
11×14″ gouache and ink on illustration board
This was another fun experiment! I used a large ink brush by Pentel – the kind you have to squeeze to get the ink flowing – to do the outline. I painted the koi with gouache and scanned it so it could be used as a tattoo. Then I colored the background, using salt and a white ink pen to make “stars.” This is pretty much backwards from how I usually work. Finally, I went over the ink again. It was challenging, but fun.
Also, I was out of big black mats, so I painted a beige mat with black gouache. It’s quite absorbent, so it worked well with only one coat… but the black gouache came off on my fingers if I rubbed it. Solution: frame or put in a ClearBag.
Another quick step-by-step demo, on a simpler piece. This technique is quick and easy and I can do it in my sleep now. When convention time rolls around and I have to do dozens of these, it comes in handy… but it gets old. Makes me want to break out the oils, or at least do a complicated gouache piece with a full background an no outlines.
Luckily I have a dozen of those complicated kinds of pieces I have to get ready for Dragon*Con, which is in a month. A MONTH. Pardon while I go panic and paint all day.
Step 1: Sketch, transfer.
Step 2: Since this is on dark-ish paper and the character is yellow, I lay down a white base layer. Without it, the yellows end up very dark and neutral. My advice when painting on dark paper: do a test sheet so you know what colors might need assistance.
Won’t you be mine?
Woo, sorry it’s been so long since I gave you some how-tos. It’s tough getting the gumption to explain art techniques when you see PHP code in your sleep; I’m haunted by semicolons.
BUT! I want to say that I love my new white gel pen, put to good use in this piece. Magic white dots, immediately visible! Even better than chocolate.