Friday, June 21, 2013

Taking Care of My Mom . . .

Hello to all of you reading and following my blog. I hope I haven't driven anyone crazy with my recent absence from my blog, but life tends to throw curveballs wherever you go. Recently, this is due to my Mom's operation on her rotator cuff.
My Mom has a job tending to mentally handicapped adults and seniors at a home for the past five years. She enjoys taking care of them, even when they get too out-of-control. Nevertheless, she enjoys looking after others since one of her lifelong dreams was to become a nurse, but lacked all of the science and biology training to become one.
Last year, on Christmas, she was working in the morning to take care of the seniors. One of the adults that she was taking care of that day was trying to plop herself into a chair like she usually does, however, she was going to miss it and fall straight onto the floor. My Mom quickly tried to stop her from landing butt first on the hard ground, but she tore her arm muscle in the process. After that, she had been on sick relief, physiotherapy and on half-days for work. It was a big shock to us when we learned what happened that day. Since then, I've been taking care of my Mom, getting things for her and doing all sorts of things to help her ease the pain.
Two weeks ago, she finally got her operation on her rotator cuff to put the muscle back in place. It was a long wait to get the surgery all fixed up for her. The operation, despite having to go to Toronto in the morning and waiting for two hours for the surgery room to be prepared, went well and they were able to get the muscle back in place. For the first week, it hurt her to move her right arm the slightest bit and she had to be on Oxycodone to help numb the pain. I was basically at her side for those first two weeks, making her food, getting her drinks, bathing her and making sure that she was comfortable and had all of her medications. The roughest part was getting her into bed, since she has to be surrounded by pillows in order for her to sleep upright. After those two weeks were over, both of us can sleep just fine (I have to wake up in the middle of the night in case she needed anything) and it became easier to dress her and bathe her. We had to get her some long stretchy dresses for her to slip on so she can go out and do things. For that week, she wanted to go out and shop some more, which called for me to drive her everywhere . . . and get critiqued on my driving constantly. I had to avoid driving on deep bumps and holes since it shook the car and caused her shoulder severe pain. After about a week and a half of that, she's now able to drive with 1 1/2 arms (I have to turn the key and shift the gears for her). It was two days ago that she got her stitches and staples out of her and her scar is healing up nice and cleanly. She's now going through some more physiotherapy for the next three weeks before she can do light service at her job.
I'll be happy to see her shoulder mend up good as new and ready to work full time again when the time comes.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

More Chibi Greek Gods and Goddesses Coming Soon . . .

Hello to all of you out there in Internet-land!
As some of you might of guess that I haven't been putting up that many pictures as of late. This is due to my current focus on job searching. Although I would love to put up some sketches that I've done, I've been focusing my time to the pursuit of a job within my community. I know that the job market is still in a slump due to the ongoing recession, but I'm hopeful to get my foot in the door and help to provide for myself. Currently, I've been trying to put myself out there into social networking and reach out to others through blogger and other websites. I'll hopefully make a Twitter account and link it to my blogger page here. I've been meaning to post a Facebook page on my artwork, as well as input my artwork on deviantART to get some recognition. (Am I the only one surprised that I have more followers on deviantART than on my own blog?)
However, those of you who are looking forward to more Chibi Hermes and more Greek Gods and Goddesses, I've been making mental notes on how other deities like Zeus and Hades will look like. I just have to put that imagination to paper and then to Adobe Illustrator.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Illustration Friday - Storm

Keeping up with Illustration Fridays, one of the themes came up as 'Storm' and that got me back to my adorable Hermes again. It's his irresistible charm . . . I know it. But this also got me thinking about Hermes' backstory too, like it did with Wool. Hermes is the son of Zeus and one of the Greek Pleiades, Maia. Because if you know Greek mythology like I do, Zeus wasn't all that faithful to his wife Hera; because he was VERY promiscuous with other women. But when you think about it, Hermes must of had a lot of pressure on him with his daddy being Zeus, ruler of the Olympian Gods. In fact considering that he was responsible for a lot of children, you would think that he try to keep their acts together. Then again, he should try that tact on himself, too.
Thus, for the new theme of Storm, I thought that Hermes should be shown with something else . . . a storm cloud sent by his daddy to give him chase, punish him or just because he was annoyed with him for playing a prank. I doubt that poor Hermes will get away without getting his rear fried. Poor Hermes is not having the best of days.

With the rough done, I went on to tracing him over in pencil on tracing paper. Again, you will see a little snippet that the scanner caught of another drawing that I made on the same paper. Don't worry, it won't show up in the finished product.
Just like the last works, this picture will be polished up in Adobe Illustrator. The pen tool lines will be edited later to look more refined.
Another screenshot of the picture with base colours. The cloud here might cause me some grief to match it up with Hermes' colour scheme, but then again these are the base colours.
With the flat colouring done, I moved on to adding highlights and shading to the picture. I changed the cloud's colour a couple of times to get the right look down.
Lastly, I added in the background on a separate layer behind the other two layers for the characters. I tend to make another starburst for the spot where the lighting is hitting Hermes for more affect and made the background a dark navy blue gradient to show difference between the foreground and background elements. Unlike the other starburst effects that I used for other Hermes pictures, this one has less spikes, to kinda give off that feel of cartoony lightning. I removed the speed marks because I thought that they really didn't go well with the shock effect in the background. Run Hermes, Run!
NOTE: Please leave a comment after reading this article. I appreciate any and all feedback on my artwork and any helpful tips from viewers. Spamming and trolling is forbidden.

Illustration Friday - Wings

Wings are probably one of the many themes that trigger many inspirations from nature to fantasy. However, when I thought about 'wings' my mind went back to my Hermes drawing for 'wool'. I enjoyed drawing that character to the point that I want to continue using him more. I can't help it, he's too cute! However, I wanted to incorporate him into his adult form, the adult Greek God that we recognize him as, while still keeping him cute and adorable like before. So I sat down and started to draw adult Hermes. What came out from it was actually pretty good and mimicked the style of my previous drawing and rendering.
Hermes, now in full God Mode, is wearing his distinct winged sandals, winged cap and chiton garments. In his left hand is his kerykeion or Caduceus, his sceptre that has become a popular symbol over time since antiquity. It is often mistaken for the Rod of Asclepius which is the symbol for medicinal practises. However, a caduceus has two snakes entwined around the rod while the Asclepius Rod has only one snake. For my rendition of the caduceus, I had the snakes start out as a rod and branch out into two heads, like a two-headed snake ((I find snakes to be fascinating, maybe it's because I'm an Earth Snake in the Chinese Zodiac; too bad my mom and my grandma are afraid of snakes)) with an orb where they meet and wings flanked on both sides. I gave Hermes an adorable wink, giving off that essence that despite being a God, he still has his mischievous side.
After making the rough, I traced over him into a cleaned up pencil drawing. Here in the next picture, there's a little snippet of another rendering that was caught on my scanner. I drew the roughs for the Wool, Wings and Storm themes together on the same page to save up some room on my drawing clipboard.

As with the other Hermes drawings, I decided to scan it into Adobe Illustrator to make the final picture. Here's a WIP of the rough outline which will be refined later.
Another screenshot of the picture, this time with some basic colouring. I'm hoping to make the colour scheme a bit brighter on this piece and hopefully add some shading and highlights. There are also some vectored shapes that need some refining which will me taken care of now that the colours are set in.
On a new layer, I added highlights and shading to the rest of the picture. All of the reflective parts of Hermes' body (eyes, hair, helmet, bracers and rod) are given white highlights. As for the rest of the body, I shaded using deeper colours that match the areas needed to be shaded. I don't like using black or grey for shading a bright picture like this, besides, the colours give it a more appealing feel to the composition.
After a few adjustments, I made a new layer behind the previous two and made the background to the picture with him in a clear sky with a starburst behind him. The picture is finally complete and a God is born!
NOTE: Please leave a comment after reading this article. I appreciate any and all feedback on my artwork and any helpful tips from viewers. Spamming and trolling is forbidden.

Illustration Friday - Wool

For one of the Illustration Friday topics that recently came up, I was quite surprised that I found 'Wool' as the theme. Really, 'Wool'? Well, if you say so. This one made me go into thinking mode for a while. What can I link my art into that has to do with the theme of wool? Well, wool comes from sheep, maybe I can do something with sheep since they are the main source for wool besides goats, llamas, camels and the like. But then I looked at my current artwork and thought to myself, how can I link this to the myth/fantasy theme that I have going at the moment? So I went into my Rodin's The Thinker pose and tried to remember what kind of mythological or fantasy-like aspects that I can link with wool in mind. Then it hit me . . . Hermes!
Hermes is probably one of the more well-rounded of the Greek Gods that is not only the messenger of the Gods, but also the Greek God of trade, commerce, luck, transitions and boundaries. He also was more involved with mortal affairs and was the patron God of travellers, herdsmen, thieves, orators inventors, tricksters and so on. In his youth, he was a trickster and love to steal sheep as a mischievous prank to play on herders. Ergo, for this topic, I chose to draw a young, cartoony Hermes playing with some sheep. Here, little Hermes is lifting up one of the sheep near him as if he's a strongman. Also, he's wearing what I call a wool loincloth. Can't have him running around naked like a little jaybird! He's drawn using a blue drawing pencil on paper.

After getting the concept on paper, I decided to clean up and transfer the drawing by tracing over it into pencil. Not to mention trying to do the finished project with a light blue pencil drawing as a base is hard on the eyes. Here, all of the structural guide lines are removed for a more polished piece.
For this work, I chose to make the completed work on Adobe Illustrator. I outlined the drawing with the pen tool and took into all of the curves and shapes. This is a WIP of the rough outline, I'll edit the shapes as I do the colouring.
Here's a screen capture of the basic colouring of the drawing. So far the colours look alright to move on with, however I want to make adjustments to the piece later.

With a few tweaks to the vector shapes, I made a new layer and added the highlights and shading to the characters. I changed a few colours here and there to help balance the colourful composition.
With the characters set, I now complete the image with a background. Little Hermes is on a hill, showing off his strength by holding up a sheep like a strongman. Way to go, Little Hermes!
NOTE: Please leave a comment after reading this article. I appreciate any and all feedback on my artwork and any helpful tips from viewers. Spamming and trolling is forbidden.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Illustration Friday - Myth

Here's another drawing that I'm working on for Illustration Friday, doing with one of the other weekly suggestions, Myth. Wow, did my mind go wild for this one. I was thinking of all sorts of mythological creatures and beings for this one . . . but not mermaids. I don't want to repeat myself with the same subject.
In order to level out my thoughts for this one, I considered what kind of mythological creatures that I've seen recently to get inspiration. For this I looked at what books I've read, what movies I've seen, what kind of art that I viewed recently. In January, I went to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with a few others and I kinda enjoyed it. I don't think I need to toot my own horn, but I thought the dwarves were awesome. So I thought to myself, dwarves have been in mythology since forever in Tolkien's  mythology and in Germanic mythology, so I thought that would be a good way to start it.
Click Here for Dwarf Article.
To begin, I started with a rough drawing of a head and sculpted out how it would look. Dwarves usually are very hardy, strong and live in mountains but short and have rather long lives. I drew the head to be somewhat old, but have strong characteristics like a strong chin and a round bald head. I later added in his nose, heavy eyebrows, flat lips, the old ears with big earlobes and baggy eyes to flesh out his face. Then came the beard, that's where I was having the most fun. Filling out all of the hairs on the chin face and how they would rearrange was very free-flowing, lust letting the strokes take shape. Lastly, I added some embellishments to his ear by adding an earring, bushy eyebrows and a few scars for decoration. When I scanned it, I changed it to grayscale since all of it was done via blue drawing pencil. Light blue doesn't really show that well when scanned in.
After doing the rough, I went to the next stage and started to clean up the original. Here I erased the chin and jawline to the dwarf and continued to flesh out the hairs on the body. When you see someone with a full beard, it hides his jawline with all of that hair, unless the hair is very fine. However, for this dwarf, he has a thick, long and almost bushy beard to stand out with. In the left hand corner, I tried to write 'dwarf' in Tolkien's dwarf language, but please excuse me Tolkien fans for my negligence for keeping up with his lore and proper dwarf language.
With the clean-up done, I went on to tracing him. I taped a page of tracing paper over him and started to drawing him out with ball-point pen. I always felt more comfortable doing ink drawing with ball-point pen since it doesn't cut into thin paper and I would like that I don't ruin the original drawing with a blot if ink. With that in mind, I added a few more embellishments to the dwarf, like wrinkles and moles to his skin. Seeing that he has a scar on his right eye, I made his right eye blind and white with the left one normal to give him a cold unusual look. Now my dwarf is done!
NOTE: Please leave a comment after reading this article. I appreciate any and all feedback on my artwork and any helpful tips from viewers. Spamming and trolling is forbidden.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Creative Fridays - Ocean

For those of you who don't know, I tend to follow Illustration Friday to help apply my creative edge to making some of my artwork. For those of you who don't know, Illustration Friday is a blog where people from all over the world design art that follows the 'Word of the Week'. The word for this week is 'Myth'.
To look up on Illustration Friday website, click the following link here.
Click Me
I sat down and thought about it for a moment on what I want to do with this design. When I was thinking about that ocean, I started thinking about ancient gods who had powers over the ocean. One of them was Poseidon, the ancient Olympian God of the Ocean. I wanted to keep him in the similar style as my Chibi Hermes pictures (that's what I've been calling them to myself), since I would like to continue a series of drawings of Greek Gods an Goddesses. Here, I drew Poseidon riding his seahorse chariot through the cresting waves. Since antiquity, Poseidon has always been portrayed with a trident, a tool used for fishing. I made Poseidon's hair and beard long and wavy to mimic long waves. I hope to make Zeus and Hades in the future, who are also depicted with long hair and beards, but they will have different styles to tell them apart.
After creating the rough drawing, I taped a page of tracing paper over the image to make a cleaned-up rough for scanning into Adobe Illustrator. Here, Poseidon is more structured and without all those pesky rough lines.
On a new layer, I traced out the picture with the pen tool. Some of the lines that I make the first time seem a bit off at first. I'll be adjusting them accordingly as I add the flat colours in the next stage.
I did some more line refining with the direct selection tool to get out some bad curves and kinks in the line work. With that done, I added in the flat base colours to the picture. These will eventually change when I get to making the highlights and shading on the next layer but this is a working process so eventually, things change throughout production. I want to create this picture with colours of the ocean and sea life to match with Poseidon's godly powers over the sea. I'll look up some different seahorse pictures to find a colour that'll go with them nicely and not mesh into the waves because of their similar colours.
On the new layer, I created the shading and highlights to the objects on the image. I changed the seahorses to an orange colouring so that they would make a good complimentary colour to the waves and help stand out more. Another change of colouring was to Poseidon's hair, which I made 5% darker to help the white highlights to show.
Finally, I used the layer below to create the background. I made a nice sky gradient in the background with a starburst pattern behind Poseidon, his godly glow shinning upon the cresting waves. All hail Poseidon, God of the Seas!
NOTE: Please leave a comment after reading this article. I appreciate any and all feedback on my artwork and any helpful tips from viewers. Spamming and trolling is forbidden.