Forest Scouts - Behind the Scenes

Forest Scouts is my latest painting for the Bird Whisperer Project. I knew from the moment I saw the reference photo for December’s bird, a stunning Stellar’s Jay, that he would become part of a fantasy world. I envision him and his little rider as part of a team of scouts that keep watch from the tree tops.

As you can see, I took my inspiration from the reference photo but it’s far from a copy. I always try to focus on capturing an essence instead of being exact. My goal is to transform what I see in the reference photo into my own vision. Here’s a process gif, showing the evolution from drawing to finished painting.

ScoutsProcess.gif

My Brushes

Brushes.jpg

Digital painting can seem like magic, but in some ways it’s no different than any other painting medium. You have to do the work. These were the main brushes I used for this painting. I don’t tend to use many—you don’t need many. If I’m working on a watercolor or an acrylic painting, I use about the same number. These are brushes I use in all of my digital work.

All of my digital paintings begin with a drawing. I like to have the reference photo open in Photoshop alongside my canvas. Then I pick up my stylus and begin drawing with my Wacom Inutos.

ScoutWip1b.jpg

Here are 5 process shots I took from the GIF image above (you can click on the first one and scroll through them). Besides filling in the background with the paint-bucket tool, everything is painted by hand. The more detailed the painting, the more realistic I want it to be, the longer it takes. I like to block in basic colors and then I try to focus on the background first. When I need a break from that I start focusing on other parts.

There are usually parts of my drawing that I keep simplified, especially when it comes to bird feathers. I prefer to focus on these as I paint. Here’s a look at that with this month’s Stellar’s Jay.

ReferenceWip2.jpg

As you can see, it’s still not exact, just my own interpretation—an essence. Sometimes, I have to take a break from the most tedious parts so I don’t lose focus. More often than not, when I return to them I see something I missed or want to change.

I’m hoping in 2019 to begin recording my painting process—snippets of it at least. Then you can see paint in real time. Stay tuned!

Art for Olde Fae

For the last two years, Rachel Quinlan, friend, artist and founder of the Changeling Artist Collective has been developing a card game. Olde Fae may be based on the classic children’s game, Old Maid, but the artists of the collective have transformed it into something magical! Each artist chose a symbol and will come to no surprise I chose the Owl for my pair of fae. I decided I wanted my Owl fae to be more owl than humanoid. The result is a little creepy, which is in keeping with the nature of the fae.

Seelie Owl Fae - Sun Keeper

From Portrait Sketch to Card

Unseelie Owl Fae - Moon Keeper

From Portrait Sketch to Card

The Kickstarter campaign for Olde Fae is nearing it’s 4th Stretch Goal! Don’t miss out! As of now, we do not have plans to run a second printing of the game. You can reserve your copy on Kickstarter here: http://kck.st/2D5W8u0

Art for Licensing

The artworks below are available to license for book covers and other publications. Please contact me to discuss rates at makepeace.arts@gmail.com.

Diabolical Plots Year Three: The Art

This Spring I had the pleasure of creating the cover art for Diabolical Plots: Year Three, an ebook anthology of stories from Diabolical Plots, an online magazine of science fiction and fantasy. The editor, David Steffen, was fantastic to work with and it's my hope we will work on future projects. He previously licensed The Alchemist for the cover of the Long List Anthology Volume 3.

For this new anthology I created an original illustration inspired one of the stories in the book. For Now, Sideways by A Merc Rustad is a beautiful, emotionally charged story about a woman at the end of a war on an alien planet. It's not your typical military science fiction and I didn't want the art to be either. The painting is as much telling a story, through the characters, as it is expressing an emotion through color palette. 

Maybe Tomorrow  by Amanda Makepeace

Maybe Tomorrow by Amanda Makepeace

Prints of Maybe Tomorrow are now available in my store. I'll also have some with me this summer at LibertyCon and DragonCon. Interested in reading the story that inspired the cover? The ebook is available for preorder from Amazon for only $2.99!!

Diabolical Plots: Year Three (Diabolical Plots Anthology Series Book 2) 
by David Steffen et al. 
Link: http://a.co/4ECK8lp