Sunday, 12 March 2017

Family Tree

This illustration probably took me over a year to actually finish, because I gave up on it for a while and got busy with other things.  But I'm very happy I got back to it.  It was a lot of fun to add all the detail.  I was definitely inspired by Jill Barklem's Brambly Hedge stories that I read as a child.  If you don't know these books,  I strongly suggest finding them.  They are wonderful.  Anyway, it feels likes it's been a long winter, and with spring around the corner (I hope) here's one last cozy, wintery thing to enjoy.

Family Tree by Vanessa MacLeod

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Pennies - A comic by Vanessa MacLeod

This is a short comic inspired by something that happened when my sister and I were little.  It's a story that my sister has a memory of, but honestly, I only remember being told the story by my sister, though, I feel like I can remember what the lawn looked like, the feeling of the day, the weather.  It sometimes makes me wonder what is actually a real memory, and what is just some weird distortion that my brain has come up with; kind of like a dream you might have had as a kid, but it feels like something that actually happened to you.  The older I get, the more my childhood is fading, and becoming more dream-like so it was fun to explore this story, my relationship with my sister,  and put it down into a comic.
This is for you, Jenny!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Still trying to figure it all out...

  This summer, while on a camping trip, I had the privilege of observing my niece getting into the "drawing zone."  I had brought my paints and sketchbook along, and while doing a little painting on the beach she asked if she could do some after I was done.  Of course, I happily obliged and she sat down, set herself up, and probably for a good hour (at least), maintained an amazing focus.  Drowning out the world around her.  She didn't stop until she was finished.  It was inspiring.  She did that for about three different drawings.

For myself lately, I've been experimenting with different drawing styles and techniques.  Still trying to figure out what I really want to say.  I know I often over-think everything, and sometimes getting too caught up in every line being perfect (it will never be), or wanting to start over if I'm not happy.  This is all stuff I have to work on.

I'd like to use my little niece as inspiration for the next time I draw.  Live in the moment.  Don't worry.  Just have fun.

My niece working on one of her paintings.

I redid this page twice and still wasn't happy.  Concerning myself with every line being perfect sucked the joy
and soul out of it.  

After feeling discouraged, I decided to try a more freestyle comic.  Not concerning myself with
perfection.  It was fun, and a good exercise.  Ink on watercolour paper.

This illustration was a fun combination of the cartoon style I've been enjoying,
along with some of the more light watercolour for the background.  Ink on watercolour paper.

I tried to pull inspiration from own cartoons as a kid and just have fun with
the colouring and details.  Pencil crayon, ink pens.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

19th Century Daguerreotypes!

It's so much fun doing research for my comic; which takes place in the mid-19th century.  I happened to come across a really cool collection of Daguerreotypes from the Library of Congress website and thought I'd share a few of my favourite ones.  I've attached a link to the site (at the bottom of this paragraph), if anyone would like to use it as a research tool.  There's over 700 images available in this collection.  Have fun!
19th Century Daguerreotypes

Young Woman smiling, 1844

Young man, 1840

Young Woman, about 20 years old, 1844

Woman in profile, 1844

Man, 1844 

William Cranch, 1844

Man in profile, 1844

Man with glasses, 1844

Woman with book, 1846

Man, 1844

Asher Brown Durand, 1845

Man with his cat, 1840

Young man, 1844

Sheperd Knapp, 1844

Man, 1844

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Baby Birds in Springtime

About four years ago, when I was still living in a small town in Saskatchewan, I happened to notice a little robins nest inside an old hanging flower basket.  I was so enamored by the gorgeous blue, almost turquoise colour of the eggs.  It surprised me, as the basket was hanging from an old laundry post and was quite low to the ground.  I immediately worried that something would happen to the eggs, or the parents would be easy prey to cats or other predators. 

 In short, I became kind of obsessed with these eggs and their parents, and watched them either from my kitchen window or from a spot outside.  Because of their location, I was able to take a few pictures, but tried my best not to interfere with the parents duties and was sure to never touch the eggs or the nest.

It was May, and over the course of that month, I watched the eggs hatch (one never did) and the babies grow, the Mom and Dad come and go; feeding and keeping their young warm, sometimes they'd squawk at my son if he was playing on the swing-set in the backyard (doing what bird parents do to protect),  until one day the babies were no longer in the nest.  I could see them standing among the grass, waiting patiently for their food to be brought to them; their Mom and Dad used the empty dirt lot beside our house to find worms and bugs.

And then, one day, I could no longer spot the babies in the grass.  Or see the parents worm-hunting in close proximity.

Just like that, their distinct presence had disappeared; blending into the trees and sky from which they came.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Fall catch-up with Diary Comics

Well, it seems it's been a while since my last post.  It's been a very busy autumn.  Productive in many ways.  I've been doing a lot of researching, drawing, experimenting, practicing, trying out different techniques and styles.  Clearly, still trying to figure it out.
My goal is to one day feel settled and satisfied with a style.  I think I just want to start feeling that there's a little more "smooth sailing" with my drawing process.  That I feel a bit more settled in and comfortable with what I'm doing, I guess.  Though, hopefully, you don't stop getting better!

Here's are a couple short Diary Comics that I did in the summer/fall.  It was really fun to do these.  I didn't worry too much about drawing everything perfectly which was quite freeing.  And it was cool to write about my son, who definitely got a kick out of these.  In a way, these two stories are a good "day in the life."  When I'm not drawing, or procrastinating.

*For your reading pleasure, you can click on image to make it larger.

By Vanessa MacLeod

By Vanessa MacLeod

Friday, 14 August 2015

Lucy and Medo Illustration and Colouring Process

While I settle in to finish writing my second issue of Next To Nothing (then draw it), I've been having fun doing some stand-alone illustrations of my main characters, Lucy and Medo.  

I thought it might be interesting to show some of the stages of my colouring process.

Photoshop is still a bit of a wonder to me, and I'm certainly learning as I go.  For the most part, it's fun to do.  And I think the better my understanding of the program, the more fun and creative control I can have with it.

Drawing started with blue pencil, then regular lead pencil over top of that, THEN inked with a brush. (for smaller details I used a Staedtler Fineliner pen)

Here I tried to get the basic colouring done first, added some contrast on the trees.  At this stage, I wasn't sure how I was going to tackle the waterfalls, and the water was (IS) a big challenge.

Here I added more contrast (shadows, highlights etc), some water reflection, and detail on the rocks, as well as the background (behind the trees)

I wasn't happy with the overall colour, it was too cold, so I added a bit of warmth to it, as well as warmer highlights on the rocks, and on Lucy and Medo.  I also tried to make the waterfalls look more splashy and watery.  

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