BLOBS #65 RESULTS

Happy Friday!  We are so excited our holiday break is nearly here and hope you get time to relax and catch up with family/friends as well.

This week I'm including more process work.  Before I got into my color sketch, there was some design trial and error.  I had to decide what shapes worked best as well as set up the bones of a story.

But first - characters!  Scroll below to meet Gumdrop Bird, Ostrich, Giraffe Smelling Flowers and many more...enjoy.

 LEFT (GUMDROP BIRD), CENTER (PENGUIN), AMY's ON RIGHT (PENGUIN)

LEFT (GUMDROP BIRD), CENTER (PENGUIN), AMY's ON RIGHT (PENGUIN)

 LEFT (HEART BROKEN IN TO THREE PIECES), CENTER (BIRD), AMY's ON RIGHT (PARACHUTE WITH TREASURE)

LEFT (HEART BROKEN IN TO THREE PIECES), CENTER (BIRD), AMY's ON RIGHT (PARACHUTE WITH TREASURE)

 LEFT (GIRL WITH A LONG PONYTAIL), CENTER (OSTRICH), AMY's ON RIGHT (GIRAFFE SMELLING FLOWERS)

LEFT (GIRL WITH A LONG PONYTAIL), CENTER (OSTRICH), AMY's ON RIGHT (GIRAFFE SMELLING FLOWERS)

 LEFT (TURTLE WITH A REALLY LONG NECK), CENTER (SNAKE), AMY's ON RIGHT (MERMAID)

LEFT (TURTLE WITH A REALLY LONG NECK), CENTER (SNAKE), AMY's ON RIGHT (MERMAID)

Before I got into color work, I needed more details.  I picked my favorite, Giraffe Smelling Flowers,  then thought about questions that would help set my composition up.  With a little research, I was able to fill in the blanks...do giraffes eat flowers? What is the typical landscape they reside in?  What type of giraffe am I showing? (lots of subspecies listed on the Giraffe Conservation Foundation). 

To make my scene a little more interesting AND to suggest a story (with only one illustration), I decided to put a twist on things.  Why not change the color of my Giraffe's patches, to match the flower he/she is smelling?  Since Giraffes eat leaves, buds and branches, this character would never think of scarfing down a beautiful flower.  Maybe his/her love for smell has turned his patches...flowery?  Digging into my character's personality - helped my puzzle. He could be a sweet, gentle creature that yearns for gardens versus his plain savannah habitat.

I needed a perfumy type name for my giraffe.  A quick search for italian "G" names led me to Giorgio, Giovanna, Gabbi...and...I think I like Gabbi.  A giraffe with Italian flair!

With many possibilities to brainstorm, I stopped here for now and settled on the image that made my character pop in the first place.  Gabbi Loves to Smell. 

I experimented with different tree shapes (inspired by the cherry blossom, which Gabbi would never see in her native home - maybe she dreams about seeing and smelling it one day?).  My tree needed to be very fragrant looking.  Cotton candy-ish in style so the reader could almost smell it with her.  With lots of curves going on in my initial trees, I decided more contrast was needed. I flattened the bottom hoping it would bring more attention to her nose and leaning body.

 Gabbi and her dreamy cherry blossom-y  tree.

Gabbi and her dreamy cherry blossom-y  tree.

Does it look full of fragrance to you?  Maybe Gabbi will get her wish some day but for now, thanks for checking in!

BLOBS #64 RESULTS

Happy Friday and welcome to Results Day!  Today I'm touching a little more on process and decision making.  What did I do, why and more nitty gritty details about how character can lead to story.  Below you will find Porcupine, Snail Graduate, Giant Floor Sucking Creature and many more.  Enjoy!

 LEFT (TOADSTOOL HOUSE), CENTER (FISH), AMY's ON RIGHT (HOPPING BALL COMES TO LIFE)

LEFT (TOADSTOOL HOUSE), CENTER (FISH), AMY's ON RIGHT (HOPPING BALL COMES TO LIFE)

 LEFT (PORCUPINE), CENTER (SOCCER BALL), AMY's ON RIGHT (KING FISH)

LEFT (PORCUPINE), CENTER (SOCCER BALL), AMY's ON RIGHT (KING FISH)

 LEFT (SNAIL GRADUATE), CENTER (WORM), AMY's ON RIGHT (GIANT FLOOR SUCKING CREATURE)

LEFT (SNAIL GRADUATE), CENTER (WORM), AMY's ON RIGHT (GIANT FLOOR SUCKING CREATURE)

 LEFT (THREE-EYED MONSTER), CENTER (DOG), AMY's ON RIGHT (LITTLE DOG RUNNING AT HIGH SPEED)

LEFT (THREE-EYED MONSTER), CENTER (DOG), AMY's ON RIGHT (LITTLE DOG RUNNING AT HIGH SPEED)

After these were sketched out, it was color study time.  Which character did I want to get to know better?  I was torn between the GIANT FLOOR SUCKING CREATURE and the HOPPING BALL COMES TO LIFE character.  The GIANT FLOOR SUCKING CREATURE was just plain amusing to me.   What...was it even?  In the end though,  background - broke the tie.  I wasn't sure where I would put my floor creature....did it especially like to munch on carpet?  Or did it have a tinge of termite in him and preferred wood?  Would it appear on the school playground one day?  I just wasn't sure at 10pm-ish the Eve of my post so, I went the conservative route and colored the HOPPING BALL COMES TO LIFE.   An outdoor scene felt like a good way to go.

I did change things a bit from the original sketch to make the character work better.  My handle was getting a little elongated and the boy did not look far enough down on the hopping ball.  I moved him, then drew through my shapes to get his arms, legs and torso in position.  His feet are exaggerated a little more, but I was referencing myself to get the overall crossing correct. 

His curly hair didn't show enough movement, so I gave him flat black hair to get that lift effect going and make it look like the ball was really taking off on him.

I also played around with the background color to suggest more story.  I started off showing a bright and sunny day but adjusted color channels in Painter which led me to a darker scene.  Contrasting a gloomy day with a high energy toy that just came to life seemed to suggest a more interesting story...did the boy go out to play against his mother's wishes?  Did the toy beckon him through a window lonely outside in the rain, not being played with?  Was the boy just about to put his toy away when he felt raindrops and then, BOOM! the toy came to life?  Not sure.  But I liked the gloomier clouds.

hopper ballv5_FLATUSE_reduced_original color.jpg

Once I brought the image into Photoshop, I tweaked the color more to get a subtle shimmer...

Wah-LA!  A quick color study that could be a rough middle scene to a story.  Thanks for checking in and come back to get a fresh batch of BLOBS on Monday! 

BLOBS #63 RESULTS

Today's results will be a little different.  Some closure is due before BLOBS can resume as normal.  We had an absolutely terrific Thanksgiving weekend, however devastation hit when we returned...

We are small pet owners.  Years ago pets started trickling in as our kids grew older... first there were fish. Then crayfish.  Snails, and a friendly frog named Froggy.  All were nurtured at different points in time.   Many received secret life extensions, while others were honored with a quiet burial.  Lost pets were tearfully drawn and pictures posted next to beds. 

When my kids hit elementary school, our home was - petless.  We decided to upgrade in size but wanted these new pets to be earned.  A bigger creature needs more hands on deck, right?  If bedrooms were going to house a new guy,  tending turnaround needed to ramp up.  We posed a challenge.  After 60 consecutive days of clean rooms, we would welcome a new pet.  My daughter couldn't jump higher at the challenge.  She was totally in.  60 days flew by and...off to the pet store we went.  We had talked about getting a guinea pig, did some research and arrived, knowing we would be leaving with a furry friend. 

It was the most exciting visit to the pet store yet. The four of us formed a little circle in the back so we could pet and pass little baby guinea pigs smoothly.  My daughter eventually laid eyes on the one for her.  She named him Blueberry and that day forward he was her very best companion.

My son soon completed his 60 day challenge and Bilbo joined the household a month later.  We were a family of 6 now.  The guinea pigs couldn't get more attention...they saw every corner of our house, they picnicked outside in the summer, they were coddled daily and custom outfits were designed specifically for them.  Homemade guinea pig furniture was built for their cage and obstacles were created out of blocks to keep them physically fit.  They also had their very own stockings during Christmas and received gifts for their 1st birthday.  Blueberry and Bilbo were part of our home and their squeaks were the second language in the house. 

Whenever we went on vacation, they stayed at the pet store and this past Thanksgiving was no different.  Except, when I picked them up. 

Blueberry was alarmingly thinner.   I tried to feed him his favorite greens once we got home, but he did not devour them like the produce savage he becomes when a heap of lettuce graces his bowl.  

Throughout the day he would sleep and by early evening it was clear he was horribly sick.  Thankfully we have a dear friend who works at the animal hospital and Blueberry could be squeezed in to see the doctor that evening. 

Both kids had a friend over after school, so once my husband got home I slipped out with Blueberry.  When the vet saw him, poor Blueberry was painfully weak, squeaking at every soft touch we tried to mend him with.   An x-ray was taken and he was diagnosed with pneumonia.  The doctor gave him a dose of medicine, however was not "optimistic" he would make it through the night.

On the way home, I made a self-discovery.  I was pretty sure I could not be a source of strength for my kids with this very possible pet loss.  I was so sad and the magnitude of pain I knew my daughter was going to feel was tearing me up.

That night we talked about him being sick and that he needed to just rest. 

Sadly, Blueberry did not make it.  My husband and I checked on him in the middle of the night and found he had passed on. We decided to tell the kids after school the next day. 

The following 24 hours were filled with every measurement of grief possible.   My eyelids had inflated what felt like 10 times the size and I couldn't believe such a small, silent animal could fill a house and four hearts with such warmth.  That is why this story ends here before I make myself fall apart again...

As tough as that night was, Blueberry tightened and softened us at the same time.  One nightly ritual my daughter and I shared with him was reading before bedtime.  This is my tribute to Blueberry.  The last story he heard was The One and Only Ivan...and I think he liked it.  Rest in peace Blueberry... 


 LEFT (HELICOPTER), CENTER (BIRD), AMY's ON RIGHT (CROOKED BEAKED BIRD)

LEFT (HELICOPTER), CENTER (BIRD), AMY's ON RIGHT (CROOKED BEAKED BIRD)

 LEFT (A TOOTH), CENTER (FISH), AMY's ON RIGHT (FAMILY VISITING CHRISTMAS TREE PATCH)

LEFT (A TOOTH), CENTER (FISH), AMY's ON RIGHT (FAMILY VISITING CHRISTMAS TREE PATCH)

 LEFT (FLOWER), CENTER (GLASS), AMY's ON RIGHT (FANCY WORM)

LEFT (FLOWER), CENTER (GLASS), AMY's ON RIGHT (FANCY WORM)

 LEFT (DUDE DOING PULL UPS), CENTER (THING), AMY's ON RIGHT (TOURING SUBMARINE)

LEFT (DUDE DOING PULL UPS), CENTER (THING), AMY's ON RIGHT (TOURING SUBMARINE)

BLOBS #62 RESULTS

The Traverse City Children's Book Festival was a blast!  Not only were we nestled in the city's elegant Opera House, but my table was nestled between the fabulous author, Anya Damiron who traveled all the way from the Dominican Republic and illustrator, Lisa Cairn Santoro who was sharing her book "Fascinating Animals from A-Z". 

Why are they fabulous?  Anya's spreading the word on inclusion and encouraging every child to discover (and celebrate!) not only their superpower but others.  Lisa's use of acrylic lived on her animals as if the coats of fur kept growing in the book.  Honored.

And back to BLOBS...I did try to spread the word about my weekly on-goings at the bookfest, therefore if you are a new visitor - welcome! 

Some of the characters you'll find below...Nonhappy Bunnies, Fearless Poodle and Snail with Mohawk.  A fun color and style study, caps them all off.  Enjoy!

 LEFT (SPIKY HAIRED BABY), CENTER (SNAIL WITH MOHAWK), AMY's ON RIGHT (FRED FLINTSTONE'S LONG LOST BROTHER TED, WTH DAUGHTER GEM)

LEFT (SPIKY HAIRED BABY), CENTER (SNAIL WITH MOHAWK), AMY's ON RIGHT (FRED FLINTSTONE'S LONG LOST BROTHER TED, WTH DAUGHTER GEM)

 LEFT (SOCK PUPPET), CENTER (DISTORTED SUNGLASSES), AMY's ON RIGHT (OTTER BASKING IN SUN)

LEFT (SOCK PUPPET), CENTER (DISTORTED SUNGLASSES), AMY's ON RIGHT (OTTER BASKING IN SUN)

 LEFT (SAD THING), CENTER (BIG NOSE DUDE), AMY's ON RIGHT (FEARLESS POODLE)

LEFT (SAD THING), CENTER (BIG NOSE DUDE), AMY's ON RIGHT (FEARLESS POODLE)

 LEFT (NONHAPPY BUNNIES), CENTER (THING), AMY's ON RIGHT ( MOUFLON -ESQUE CREATURE)

LEFT (NONHAPPY BUNNIES), CENTER (THING), AMY's ON RIGHT (MOUFLON-ESQUE CREATURE)

I decided to clean up Ted Flintstone (the jeweler) and his daughter Gem in the style of Hanna Barbera.  I have to admit, by the time I got to Gem's feet my line maintenance was starting to go downhill.   I prefer sketching at a much faster pace.  BUT, I got through!  Let me know what you think! 

BLOBS #61 RESULTS

It is FRIDAY, my favorite day of the week!  What is yours?  With Halloween in the past now, there is so much to look forward to in the days ahead.  One particular character that brings barrels of Christmas spirit each year to our household was recreated via a BLOB this week.  Find below Piggies Playing Tug-a-War, Fred the Bird and Elf on not a shelf but....a Mr.Helf.  Enjoy.

 LEFT (FRED THE BIRD), CENTER (CANDLE GIRL), AMY's ON RIGHT (ELF ON A SHELF)

LEFT (FRED THE BIRD), CENTER (CANDLE GIRL), AMY's ON RIGHT (ELF ON A SHELF)

 LEFT (BUG IN A SUIT), CENTER (RHINO), AMY's ON RIGHT (SHARK DOG'S FRIEND)

LEFT (BUG IN A SUIT), CENTER (RHINO), AMY's ON RIGHT (SHARK DOG'S FRIEND)

 LEFT (PIGGIES BY A FENCE PLAYING TUG-A-WAR), CENTER (2 PIGS HOLDING HANDS), AMY's ON RIGHT (BEACH BALL BUDDIES AND THEIR PET TURTLE)

LEFT (PIGGIES BY A FENCE PLAYING TUG-A-WAR), CENTER (2 PIGS HOLDING HANDS), AMY's ON RIGHT (BEACH BALL BUDDIES AND THEIR PET TURTLE)

 LEFT (ACROBATIC MAN), CENTER (DISCO DUDE), AMY's ON RIGHT (ICE SKATER)

LEFT (ACROBATIC MAN), CENTER (DISCO DUDE), AMY's ON RIGHT (ICE SKATER)

And introducing Mr.Helf...!