I haven’t done a lot of commissions or design work recently (my full time job has kept me very busy, but I cannot complain, I enjoy it a lot). But when the girls contacted me about designing a pin for them, I said yes (I didn’t know what they wanted or anything except a pin, but I said yes).
This isn’t my first work for Book Box Club. I have desgined items for the before. But this is my first enamel pin design and it was very interesting to work on it.
I went overboard with my design. Of course. My take was, to celebrate Book Box Club and the fact you’ve been supporting them, I might as well do a “fun” take on some of the books we have had from them. Can you name them all?
My over the board pin had to be simplified, so I took the fun writings away. (It was then modified a bit more to fit the final one).
Then there was the backing card. I have a Book Box Club shelf on one of my bookcases, so I went with that because I wanted to make a backing card that was complimentary to the pin.
Of course some changes had to be made, as the “texture” was getting lost and it was too dark, but once again, can you name all the books in it?
As you may know, I collaborated with Book Box Club for their January Geeks Unite box.
The comission was to celebrate bookish life and what it means to be bookish. I had a LOT of ideas roaming in my head, but as I was flicking through my sketchbook I happened upon this piece and thought “I know what I will do*”.
You see this piece is a celebration of the characters that live with you, the ones that stay around and you just can’t help but have feelings for (whatever those feelings are).
It is no surprise that I have a tendency to start my sketch on traditional media (usually A5, it is rare I start a piece in anything bigger). This was already packed with details just as a linework so really, I should’ve seen the complexity of this coming…
Once I started working on it digitally, I kept despairing and loving it at the same time. Just look at ALL the layers I used:
And that’s not ALL of them. Because I do things like making sure the tattoo shows like a tatoo or that the glasses have “lenses”.
And since you’re looking at the close up, you can see the detail on the lips, and the shading and all the willy things that you wouldn’t be able to see in the calendar. It doesn’t matter that you don’t see it, when I am painting/illustrating/making this come to life, I have to do it right. That’s just who I am.
Of course, that meant I spent unnecessary amounts of time colouring lips, eyes and things like that that no one cares about except me, which meant I was struggling to finish on time but somehow it was all done (on the plus side, I now have a reference palette for a lot of my characters).
So now I will let you see the finished piece:
Starting from the main lady, and going clockwise:
Moon, the artist with all the lovely characters behind her, colouring and enriching her life. (Why am I talking of myself in the third person?)
Star Fawn, she is Moire’s companion and is part of the Deema universe.
Naj Reyals (the one in green), part of the Wig Bag Trio.
Dalv Le Wot, with Ink (the squid), also part of the Wig Bag Trio.
Knit, Mischief (the sheep), and The Captain, part of Wig Bag Trio.
Cyx Red, the Soul Collector, she jumps universes/stories and is kind of like a Goddess.
Child Knit. She is my out of canon character but I still want to draw her since Child Knit usually appears with things that connect her to The Captain despite never actually meeting him. **
The Lestrange Triplets. At the bottom with a red cross, Etan the healer. Enza, the activist/adventurer, and Edlyn, the creative and nurturing one. They are part of the Deema universe.
Jellyfish, because I like jellyfish***
Moire Fox, she’s a hunter and part of the Deema universe.
Vixy, my artwork logo and my cartoon alterego.
So, which characters would be behind your back?
*I would want to kill the past Moon who decided this was a good idea while I was sick and trying to meet the deadline.
**Theories say that she may be Knit’s subconscious.
So the first year I did Inktober was 2016 and I decided to do it last year (it feels so odd to say this about 2017). So here’s my round up of artwork (I did NOT complete the 31 days, but I am pleased with the ones I did do).
A swiftly jumping Moire Fox (this is kind of a rework of a previous sketch I had made but with a little more detail.
A cosy fox sleeping and enjoying time off.
Underwater kiss between Dalv Le Wot and Rose Vered. I had fun drawing this…
Long stretch of a fox.
I have been on a Horizon Zero Dawn loving rampage and so it took 3 days to actually finish this one (you can see the work in progress) but it was absolutely a pleasure to do it. The only thing is that I drew it in an A5 piece of paper, so the details are tiny!
This was an easy prompt to play with, Inej from Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom.
Another two day videogame inspired piece, this time it is about bioshock and it included several prompts. As you can see I enjoy steampunk/mechanical/techie bits as part of the challenge. (You can also see how small it is by comparing to the pens on the side).
This was the first videogame (not PC game) that spurred my love for them. Alice Madness Returns (there is a lot of violence, and difficult topics so it is for rated M/R).
This was a piece I had sketched in 2014 after some difficult events in my life, and it took a few days to complete too. It is meant to be me surrounded by my characters, the creations and stories that helped me stay sane and keep going.
See if you can name all of the characters found in this piece. A prize for the person that does.
On my previous post about Meet the Character, I introduced you to the Wig Bag Trio. So today I will expand on one of the characters from it.
World, meet Knit Anele (and Mischief).
The Wig Bag bestowed her with Mischief, and most of her powers are based on dreams and sleep. Anyone want to guess what Mischief does?
Do you maybe wanna count sheep?
Yes indeed! Mischief can “replicate” itself and as soon as Mischief (or any of the replicas) jumps in front of someone that person will fall asleep there and then. This can be toned down, but Mischief isn’t named Mischief because of its innocence. Life isn’t easy with Mischief around.
And to top that off, Knit’s powers mean she can affect the dreams of others. She can choose to give people certain dreams she must craft, maybe to remind them of something, to make them reflect on thigs, etc. And she also is in charge of keeping a record of their adventures.
This is Child Knit. She is a bit of a paradox. The real past Knit lived in a farm most of her life until she moved to the city to study and get a job. So her childhood involved farm animals, and fresh crops, and other settings. However, Child Knit as pictured above, is the paradox. She isn’t exactly part of the story but gets drawn when there are difficult topics to be dealt with.
In this particular depiction, she is wearing The Captain’s coat, which is odd, as they never meet and she shouldn’t have it at hand. (Enter paradox). She has also been drawn firing a gun towards the viewer. All in all, Child Knit represents the loss of innocence and growing up.
And Knit in general has a lot to work through, between trusting, carrying guilt and trying to become the superhero she is meant ot be, it is interesting to see her move around.
And of course, it doesn’t help that she has Mischief ‘helping’.
Keeping up with Meet The Character, I know I promised more Wig Bag Trio on my previous post, but I recently drew a “collection” of my characters so I thought it’d be a good quick introduction to them.
This piece shows all the characters that pop up most in my drawings (there are several missing).
First, let me show you a sketch. I drew this in October 2014, after a series of events that meant my first ever “I am unable to draw or create anything” (not artist’s block, but shock and PTSD). This particular sketch alongisde a counterpart where some of the first drawings I did once I could draw again..
And of course, I deviated from my Inktober prompts (the deviation started with drawing characters from games like Horizon Zero Dawn and Bioshock…) and had to sketch, and ink a fresh take on this.
This is the finished piece (it may be coloured at some point):
And now let’s meet the Characters!
The girl in the middle with a bee tattoo and glasses is actually me (so this is also a “meet the artist”). The idea is I am backed by all the characters and stories inside my head.
To the left, you can see Star Fawn kneeling. She is a Fasquee, part of the native species of Deema.
Behind her are Dalv and Naj (recognise them?) from Wig Bag Trio storyline. And then there’s Knit, Mischief (the lamb/sheep) and The Captain. Mischief is very mischievous so it keeps getting in the way, there’s a reason that it has that name.
Conjuring souls in the middle over my head is Cyx Red, The Collector. She featured in 2016’s Halloween-HQ event on DeviantArt (Sadly, you can’t play last year’s adventure but you can do this year’s. She features in several storylines so she is more of an “omniscient” flitting character.
Then you can see Child Knit, she doesn’t really feature in the main WBT storyline but appears in my sketches, usually wearing The Captain’s jacket which is a paradox since she couldn’t have met him as a child.
Then under Child Knit, are the Lestrange triplets. They do not feature as much in my sketches, but are part of the Eveniengate and Deema storylines (Eveniengate occurs within Deema). They are probably the oldest characters in this drawing (they came to life around 2004-2006).
The “archer” is Moire Fox, another Fasquee. She is the second oldest here, as her story came to me around 2007. She is the character that has had the most name changes since her conception. At first she was “Fox Girl”, then Unay, which became She Without A Name, then Ella, and finally Moire Fox.
Underneath Moire is Vixy/Little Fox, this is one of the position I first tried as a logo, but that slowly evolved into my logo. She is also quite old, 2007-2008 I think.
Missing in this picture are most of Eveniengate storyline characters (very few of them have actually been drawn), MD the queen of the dream world, Yves Oswald, Oniria & Insomnio, Kit (Black Cat design for a video game), Rose Vered and Ava from WBT, and Moire’s younger sister Roisin.
So there we go. Which character are you most excited to learn more about?
I know I haven’t done one of these in a while, but life has kept me a bit tangled up and I wanted to give my characters a good post rather than a rushed one.
In this edition we meet the WBT (Wig Bag Trio).
The WBT are a trio of friends who receive a mysterious package (one for each) that has a strange bag that looks like a wig. Included with the bag is a note mentioning some cryptic responsibilities and warnings.
Turns out that once they wear the bag, they receive some “superpowers”. Mind you, not the usual super hero powers, but rather powers that can be blessings or curses all in one. Their story follows the trio as they try to figure out how to use their powers (there is quite a bit of humour about this). Of course, with the superpowers comes a strange Headquarters base that is basically set in another planet/dimension. As such, the base sends them out on missions to help out all kinds of creatures and through time.
So let’s meet the trio (there will be a separate edition for each character):
Knit Anele is the youngest of the group, and her superpowers grant her tale records, a mischievous lamb called Mischief, and the power over dreams.
Then there is Dalv Le Wot, he is Knit’s older brother and both and artist in his real life and as part of his superpowers. He receives a magic paintbrush and a squid companion.
Finally, we have Naj Reyals, his superpowers challenge his moral compass, as he is the only one who receives a weapon, arrows that will always fly true, and an ocarina he can play to control nature.
The trio was born out of crazy skype chats with two of my friends, and confusing a backpack for a wig. It was meant initially just as a joke, but we all loved the idea so much it had it’s own life pretty quickly.
The plan was to make their comic and have it online, sadly life has been in the way so the comic is just in draft form at the moment. But, the characters appear frequently in my sketches (specially Knit and the Captain) so part of their story is revealed as I draw them more and more.
Hopefully they have intrigued you enough so you’d look out for the next Meet the Character edition, where I’ll talk about Knit Anele.
On part 1, I showed the penciled sketches for the bookmarks, which didn’t have the right proportions for bookmark sizing nor did they include a hidden fox .
After some working on them, a few progress shots shared through my Instagram stories, and several late nights and early mornings working on them, they are finally done.
Each one has elements from the book they are based from, and elements based on the theme of the box they were featured in. Each one also has the hidden fox logo in them (in some it is very easy to spot in some it isn’t as easy).
Pictured above are the first four bookmarks. Enchanted Forest (The Call), Freedom Squad (The Hypnotist), Secrets & Sisterhood (The Stranger Game) and Magic by Night (Bone Gap).
The completion of them also means some news, the opening of my shop! At the moment the only thing available is a preorder of the bookmarks. The preorder closes on the 15th of October. That week, the bookmarks will be shipped to all those that preordered. After that preorder, bookmarks will be made available for individual purchase (so if you only want one bookmark or one of the designs, you can choose that particular one).
Immortal Stories (Ink), Troublemakers (All About Mia), Time Travel (Waking in Time), and Belles & Beasts (Hunted).
The designs have been digitally inked and done at high resolution (1200dpi) to ensure high quality when printing. They are one sided so that any art supply can be used without feeling guilty about it bleeding to the other side (not that it should since it is cardstock but it may).
Wizards at War (Spellslinger), Schoolroom Scandals (One of Us is Lying), Spells & Remedies (The Disappearances) and Fearless Females (Things A Bright Girl Can Do).
I enjoyed doing them and have plans for making one per box coming out. There is also the availability of custom colouring designs if you want to promote your book or are just a big fan of certain series.
So this month, Book Box Club is celebrating their first anniversary and while commenting on Maja’s instagram, the idea came of making a colouring bookmark for them. Of course, me being me, one colouring bookmark to celebrate the occasion became 12 bookmarks. Why not? This is the moment I have to tell myself that I already add so many details to any design I make, so 12 is not a good idea, but hey ho!
It took a bit of brainstorming with myself to decide what exactly I was going to do. I knew I wanted one bookmark per box and for it to match the theme of the box. But then, that is such a broad idea, so what else?
I dug out all my “theme cards” and suddenly the sparks came. I could not only base it on the theme, but make sure they were a very commemorative exclusive design. Add to the design kudos to items included in the box, or Easter Eggs regarding the book included.
And so, 12 designs were born. (Feel free to guess the book if you didn’t get the box or have fun finding the Easter Eggs if you did).
You can see Enchanted Forest (September 2016), Freedom Squad (October 2016), Secrets & Sisterhood (November 2016), and Magic by Night (December 2016) above. Followed by Immortal Stories (January 2017), Troublemakers (February 2017), Time Travel (March 2017) and Belles & Beasts (April 2017).
Finally, we have the last four designs: Wizards at War (May 2017), Schoolroom Scandals (June 2017), Spells & Remedies (July 2017) and Fearless Females (August 2017).
So what do you think of the designs?
They are in the process of being inked digitally (Part 2 post will show more about how this went) and should be available soon. If you are interested in buying a set please let me know as they are an exclusive design and will only be available for a short period of time.
Hi and welcome to a new series in my blog, Meet the Character.
As you may (or not) know, I am not only a reader, but I am also a creator and artist (and engineer but that one has not much to do here). And I have several characters that pop up in my drawings relatively frequently (some do more than others). If you follow me on Instagram you may already be familiar with some of them.
The idea behind this series is to give you a little of their story, and to let you know more about them.
This means that each Meet the Character post will include several of my sketches and illustrations that portray that particular character. There will also be some trivia information. For example, my character Moire (a Fasquee) was developed during my time at uni and has gone through several redesigns to get to her current name and design.
There may also be a palette included, and the inspiration behind the character. Maybe there will also be an explanation as to the particular times that character gets drawn or what usually prompts me to choose that particular character for a sketch. (Some characters I only draw when I am feeling in a certain way, some are my go to character to draw when I want to sketch, like Knit or Vixy/MoonKestrel logo fox).
To make this post a little less empty, I can make a short introduction to a “character”, my logo.
Meet the Character: The Flying Bean + Little Fox/Vixy
My first official watermark/logo was The Flying Bean. This started as a joke with a friend, where I was arguing that you could add wings to anything and make it look interesting/cool. You can guess what item they suggested… a bean. So I added some wings and flourishes and it became my logo.
Fun Fact: During the time this was my watermark, by coincidence I would place it on the character’s shoulder and it looked like a tattoo. To commemorate this, I have it as a tattoo on my shoulder.
I never really planned to change The Flying Bean, but one of my doodling sessions I doodled a sleeping fox and really liked it so I kept refining it until I reached the current logo I use a lot here (it is the one I use for my rating system and my banner).
Being associated with a fox is not new, and we would all draw me as a fox in any caricature we did during school (the earliest drawn record I have of me as a “fox” is from 2005-2006). During my time in uni I would draw short caricatures of friends and me and I started drawing Little Fox (that’s what it was called at the time).
Little Fox evolved to become Vixy (short of Vixen) and appear all over my sketchbooks as a quick way of materialising my feelings or ordering the chaos in my head.
Then the logo came to life and somehow I knew it was me, and it was the perfect fit. The logo is a curled up sleeping fox that fits the concept of “Full Moon, Crescent Moon”, has a Vixy/Little Fox and my handle “Moon Kestrel”.
I turned it into a logo when I decided to take the plunge and buy an embosser by Ladd Designs (I have not regretted this at all, the embosser is a magical tool, perfect for books, stickers and any other idea that comes to mind). The original logo was all in Black, and there was a lot of changing the thickness of the lines and figuring the right way to make the design work well with the embosser. I now use it in a tone of orange or a light grey.
So there you have it, an introductory Meet the Character. Hope you enjoyed it.
The next installment will introduce you to the Wig Bag Trio.
Disclaimer: All of the artwork belongs to me and has been created by myself unless otherwise stated. Ladd Designs have not paid me to promote them and I do not benefit from this in any way (unless you’d like me to design your logo for your embosser/stamp/wax seal).
Let’s talk art again and in this case, also books, because today I’ll cover how the illustration on the pocket mirror for Book Box Club came to be.
It all started with a quick description of what they’d like for me to do. The girls explained it was meant to be a pocket mirror and that they wanted a girl/woman reading in a romantic setting with lots of nature and to fit the theme of the box, Spells and Remedies.
There was no hint as to the actual book included.
The description was easy and quite open so I went and did some research in all my reference books and my own knowledge about what I could consider fitting for the theme. I knew I had to include some chamomile, maybe some dandelion and oak and a few other plants because of their healing and also I knew they were used in hedge witchcraft. This led to a search through tumblr and google (and my own books at home) for more on herbs and their uses, and which plants are used in spells most frequently.
After that, I sat down on the couch (there are two ‘desks’ I can use for drawing but I end up doing most of my sketches sitting on the couch, it means company both from bf and puppy) and sketched several options of poses thinking of how they’d fit the pocket mirror and theme.
Which one do you like best?
The girls got back to me on which one they liked most and what they’d like to change, so I took that into account and did a cleaner drawing (all of this done on paper with a mechanical pencil, my favourite drawing tool).
I had intended to be fancy and lightbox my sketch then scan it, but because I had made the original drawing quite detailed on thick paper, it was very fiddly and the results wasn’t as good as I had hoped for. So smart me scanned both (pencil and ink) and opened both to decide which one would be better. Pencil sketch won and it soon started taking shape in Clip Studio Paint (I use several art programs depending on the effects I want to achieve, CSP is my prefered one for inking a scanned sketch).
Lots of little details, including my signature as the book cover
The original plan was that the girls would then colour it however they saw fit and that was it, but when they returned their version of it, I wanted to try to colour it myself (I hadn’t realised I already had a coloured version inside my head). So I spent my Friday evening well past midnight colouring in extreme detail the drawing, despite knowing that it wouldn’t show well on the pocket mirror. For example, her eyes are light grey/blue with golden specks and the tree trunk has relief on the bark and the grass also has a lovely effect same as most of the individual leaves drawn that have a gradual colouring or shading effect.
Ample non detailed background to account for wrap around and bleed
Still, I completed the colouring and sent it away for the girls to approve, which they did of course. They also kindly informed me that I had done a lot of detail that wouldn’t show on the finished mirror, but I did not care, because I knew that if I had sent anything less I wouldn’t have been happy with myself and would’ve felt as if I had done a bad illustration for a customer.
After that it was just a matter of keeping the secret about the design (which I wanted to share) and waiting for the boxes to start arriving before I could disclose details about it.
If you liked this process of an artwork, there may be more to come, since I am currently working on designing 13 ‘colouring’ bookmarks to celebrate the anniversary of Book Box Club this September. Details on how to get your hands on them are still to come, but if you’re interested let me know.