Two Years Later

Dragon Con 2016Two years ago, around this same time, I was preparing for my first convention as an artist. I’m doing the same now, for the same convention–Dragon Con. Genre art (fantasy, science fiction, horror) for me at the time was still a relatively new venture. I grew up on late 70’s and 80’s genre films. As a teenager I was consumed by Stephen King and other speculative fiction authors. You’d think this would be reflected in my art, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I began letting myself explore. A wall in my psyche came down and my art evolved. Two years later I was at Dragon Con and now another two years later I’m returning. In that time, I’ve continued to explore, evolve and learn.

I began thinking about what I truly wanted. What did I want to create with my art? What did I want to say? Did I need to say anything? That introspection gave birth to Renascentia. She is the first painting I felt connected to on a deeper level and I realized I need that connection. It reminds me of this quote I heard recently:

If you don’t feel anything for the painting your working on, your viewers won’t either.

When I brought Renascentia to Jordan Con in 2015, I realized the truth of these words. However, I still hadn’t figured out what I wanted. The vision in my head was still veiled in mist. It took nearly another year for me to begin piecing together what I now call Earth Rituals. I’m creating a body of work around this idea of connecting with the earth, but it’s not the only art I plan to make. I will continue to make purely nature art, delve into Sci-Fi, and whatever else catches my fancy.

Dusk OwlBut what have I done and learned over the last two years?

  1. I learned how to create art from direction.
  2. I ran a successful kickstarter and printed a book.
  3. I won Judge’s Choice from Todd Lockwood. O_O
  4. I signed my first contract with a small games publisher.
  5. I knew this already, but it was reaffirmed–true friends are invaluable.
  6. I will break my no dancing rule if you give me mixed drinks.
  7. I learned I don’t really enjoy game illustration.
  8. I learned you can be a part of a large community and still feel utterly alone.
  9. I learned there’s an art to using Instagram.
  10. I enjoy licensing art for book covers more than custom commissions.
  11. I learned I just want to create my own art, on my own terms.
  12. I guided my daughter through her last year of high school and into her first year of college.
  13. I was invited to be a member of Changeling Artist Collective.
  14. I launched a Patreon campaign that’s still going.
  15. I rediscovered my love of graphite and drawing.
  16. I’ve had a taste of being an art director (large project in progress now).

Ultimately, I’ve realized I’m not an illustrator, nor do I really want to be. Sure, there may be some overlap occasionally. If a project fits my vision and my style I might jump on board. But at the end of the day, I’m an artist. I think my art will always hover between fine art and the fantastic. In some cases it will sway back and forth between the two. That’s okay.

Forest Dreams WIP

From my current work in progress, Forest Dreams.

Eerie, Haunting and Beautiful

It’s that time of year again… I hope you enjoy these fantastical artworks and have a delightfully dark Halloween!

 

Did you miss last year’s post Monsters, Magic and Moonlight?

2015 Artist Progress Report

There are only 4 months and a couple weeks left in this year. Whoa! I can’t believe how fast the year has flown by. I thought it was time for a progress report–a look at what I’ve accomplished, what I still have planned and a peek into 2016. Before 2014 ended, I had already begun thinking about what I wanted out of this year. At the time I was working on the first stages of Renascentia, compiling pages for my sketchbook Daydreams & Wanderings, and I had purchased my Art Show space for Jordan Con 2015. I had also stumbled across this video by Bobby Chiu. His wisdom urged me to take my 2015 goals more seriously than I have in the past.

What I’ve Tackled

  • Harbinger by Amanda MakepeaceI ran my first Kickstarter Campaign and as a result printed my first sketchbook. I’ve sold half of the books printed now. WooHoo! Check out my Flip-Through video for a look inside Daydreams & Wanderings.
  • I was a part of two local art exhibits, one a juried exhibition at the University of North Georgia.
  • I didn’t get into the Dragon Con 2015 Art Show, but Won Judge’s Choice at the Jordan Con Art Show!
  • I’ve completed my first freelance illustration work for Pelgrane Press. I can’t share that work yet–Three of the illustrations have been released! You can see them in my DeviantART Gallery and checkout Hideous Creatures: Wendigos on the Pelgrane Press site.
  • I’ve submitted my art for publication. It’s just a small feature, but I’ve been saying for the last year that my work wasn’t ready. Even after winning Judge’s Choice and working for Pelgrane Press, I was still saying, maybe next year. I finally had to slap myself upside the head.
  • I’ve submitted my art to a large competition. This was another big move for me. Even if my painting isn’t selected, it’s good to get past the fear of rejection.
  • I opened a new shop for selling my art and prints and upgraded my website to Squarespace. There’s also a semi-secret shop on my website called Five Dollars. Check it out!

 What I still Want to Tackle

I’m in the final stages of a large commission and once that’s off my ‘to do’ list I’ll be working on some new paintings for my personal portfolio. I have so many things I want to paint!! These new pieces will come with me to Jordan Con and they’ll be the work I submit for the Dragon Con jury process in March. First up will be finishing this drawing for The Bone Oracle before moving onto the painting.

Bone Oracle Wip

  • In September, I’ll start taking a class through Schoolism on color and light, which I hope will help take my painting skills to the next level. My subscription is from the Kickstarter campaign they ran this year. I can’t wait!!
  • I’m tentatively planning to sell my art at a small horror themed event in December, but that’s not a for sure thing yet.
  • Also, I’m giving some thought to entering and attending my first out-of-state art show for a convention in Tennessee next summer.

There’s have been a few moments this year where I’ve wondered if I’ve been doing enough. It helps to compile it all in one place, to see that I AM moving forward.  The year’s not over yet. Let’s see how much more creativity I can cram into 2015!

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amandamakepeace.com

Creative Interview with Illustrator/ Creative Designer Takeia Marie

For me, Facebook has become a great resource for finding great artistic talent, and Takeia Marie is one of my most favorite find’s. Takeia’s credits include work done with Food Network’s “Chopped” champion, Josetth “Josie” Gordon, CJ Fly of Pro Era, The American Physical Society as an animation consultant, while also contributing work as an editorial writer for The Hip Hop Speakeasy. Hailing from New York City, this gifted artist recently took time to speak with the Tessera Guild about her career, her process of creation, and how her home city influences her work.

angel_banner_sizeTell us about yourself, where you’re from and any training you’ve had in the visual arts, comics medium.

I am an illustrator from New York. I went to school for animation, but found myself more drawn to illustration, developing concepts and storytelling (mostly in comic books). I started teaching myself more about those things and the business behind illustration. I’m still learning more everyday.

What is the first thing you remember drawing?

The first thing I remember drawing seriously was Sonic The Hedgehog when I was younger. I was a huge Sonic fan from the first time I played the first Sonic game on the Sega Genesis back in the day. I had all the comics and loved the stories.

Can you tell us a little about your process and your choice of medium?

I always say I’m a hybrid of digital and traditional media when it comes to how I draw. It really depends on what I’m drawing and how I feel at the moment. But for the most part, I’ll use Photoshop or Manga Studio to lay out my work. Could be anything from a rough sketch to something more refined.

At that point, if I want something to be illustrated on paper or a client wants something tangible, I’ll print my rough and lightbox over it. Otherwise, I’ll digitally draw and color everything. If I’m doing graphic design work, I’ll usually sketch out an idea on paper and then, using my sketch as a guide, create everything in Illustrator. At the end of the day, though, I don’t think any one tool, whether it be digital or traditional, is better than any other. It’s about the artist and how he or she chooses to use it.

Are there themes and/or subjects you find yourself drawn to again and again in your art? Are there any particular artists who inspired you to work in the comic book medium?

The first person who inspired me to draw comics was my cousin. He is an artist too, and is the person I credit with getting me into anime and the comic book medium. Before, I didn’t realize that it was possible to actually draw for a living. From there, I kept reading comic books, studying them, and getting how-to books to learn the depths of drawing comics.

As for themes – the thing is, I’m drawn to anything that has a good story and interesting characters. I get excited about drawing characters who are dynamic and stories with interesting and diverse worlds. For the most part, if  I can get excited about a story or the nature of the characters in it, it really doesn’t matter the genre or particular subject matter, so long as it sparks something that I can relate to.

You’re a native New Yorker. Do you find that your city informs your work in any way, or are there elements throughout your day that you find might creep its way into your work?

I find myself drawn to work that is very sketchy or gritty and energetic, as opposed to work that is super clean. I think that comes from the grittiness of New York, and the kinetic movement you’ll find in the graffiti that has just become a part of the iconic look of NYC. I enjoy drawing odd little things like buildings and streets or the cracks in a concrete sidewalk -anything that feels dirty or imperfect.  I’m also a huge Hip-Hop fan, and I find myself trying to integrate that raw, aggressive energy that you find in the music into some of my work. Growing up in New York has definitely had a big influence on me artistically.

What are you working on now? Where can we go to view/purchase your work?

I’ve actually been trying to branch out from just staying in the comic book/illustration world (even though I still enjoy doing those things very much). Right now I’m working with iSojah, a Hip-Hop artist out of Columbus, Ohio, on some of the design portions of his Klasik Media imprint, which will be a go-to place for up and coming hip-hop artists and musicians, fashion designers, and entertainers who need help getting started.

war_paint_low_resIn between client work, I’m also working on my own project, The Forgotten. Something totally unrelated to art – I’m a contributing editorial writer for The Hip-Hop Speakeasy, a Hip-Hop blog that is dedicated to covering independent and slept-on Hip-Hop artists and bringing their music to the forefront.

People can view my work here:

www.takeiamarie.com

www.atomiclattestudio.com

Twitter: @KiaPeya

 

 

 

One Fantastic Week

One Fantastic Week

 

I’ve been featured this week on One Fantastic Week, a weekly web show run by Sam Flegal and Pete Mohrbacher. Each week, Sam and Pete (and a guest artist) talk about life as a self-employed artist, illustration, game art, conventions and more. Once a month they interview one of their supporters, old school, with a post on their website.

Check out my interview on 1FW!

Bookmarks for the Fantasy Artist Part I

I’m a tab collector. As of this minute I have twenty-seven tabs open in Google Chrome (including this one). They range from Kickstarter campaigns to Art Show info for various conventions. Some of these tabs have been open for more than week because they need somewhat immediate attention and I don’t want them to get lost in my bookmarks. Others I will bookmark for later. I have a lot of bookmarks, more like a museum worth. I imagine I’m not the only creative person with a bookmarks folder like this one–folders within folders.

My Library of Bookmarks

 

Yeah. I might have a problem. At least it’s organized (for the most part). I thought I’d share some of my most valuable bookmarks in an on going (no where near regular) blog series. For this first post I’m going to share one of my smaller folders.

Informative BlogsInformative Blogs

I don’t follow a lot of Art or Fantasy/SciFi Illustration blogs. If I followed all of them I’d spend all my time reading blogs instead of painting. Some of these I’m subscribed to and others I rely on either myself to check them or Facebook to let me know there’s new content. Two of the sites I have bookmarked are open in my browser tabs right now.

The ArtOrder – Jon Schindehette’s fab website. “ArtOrder is a community of artists dedicated to the education and mentoring of the art community.”

His blog posts cover creativity, portfolio tips, business guides for artists, illustration goodies and more. He also conducts challenges/contests. That’s how my little phoenix painting ended up at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live this year.

One Fantastic Week – A weekly web show hosted by Sam Flegal and Pete Morhbacher.

Most weeks they have a guest artist that joins them in talking about fantasy illustration, conventions, marketing, and of course, their week. I’ve been catching up on the previous episodes and learning a ton! I’ve also started blocking out one hour on Tuesday mornings to watch the show live.

******

The other websites in that folder are just as information, but I’m going to leave that up to you to discover.

Muddy Colors – There’s an incredible Game of Thrones painting in today’s post.

Kelley McMorris – Kelley’s blog has supplied me with many excellent convention tips.

Gurney Journey – Doesn’t this need an explanation? It’s James Gurney’s blog. The creator of Dinotopia!

PACT – Professional Artist Client Tookit. This is a subscription site, but they do have free articles you can read.

CtrlPaint.com – I’ve mentioned this site in the past because of the amazing video library, but the blog is a great too!

Kiri Østergaard Leonard – If I was a better blogger my own blog would look more like Kiri’s. I’ve gleamed some valuable information from her posts.

As I mentioned, I can’t read all the blogs. But I do sometimes wonder, am I missing out? Is there a blog I should add to this folder? If you know of one, share it in the comments!

amandamakepeace.com

 

Painting a Hollow Empire

You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!

Okay. That might be an exaggeration, but you’re still about to see raw sketches and studies that until now only a few have been privy. Last November I met up with John R McGuire and J Edward Neill to discuss a project they were writing together, post-apocalypse fiction set in medieval times, aptly named Hollow Empire. This was to be a big project and it began like all projects do with a lot of brainstorming, sketches, and research. I read small portions from story, explored images of medieval town and cities, and began envisioning the world they had created. One aspect key to the cover was a city in partial ruins. Here are three sketches from the early stages, click through to see larger images.

From there we ended up going with the first sketch after we discussed the need for graves. Many graves.

Hollow Empire SketchI still like this sketch quite a lot, but as I began painting I realized it just didn’t work. Sometimes that happens. Thankfully, I felt comfortable enough to approach John and J Edward with my concerns. Before doing so, I began reworking the idea and incorporating elements from those early first designs. I also took inspiration from the medieval ghost town of Craco. If it looks familiar you’ve probably seen it in a film or documentary. Craco was abandoned after an earthquake in 1980, but it had already been on the decline due to poor agriculture, landslides and flooding. When I approached the author duo again, I presented them with two quick studies, the original idea and my Craco study.

Lucky for my muse and I, we were all on the same page. They too went for my Craco idea and I spent the next four weeks developing that world. One feature I was happy to see return was the gravestone from one of the original sketches. Sometimes things stick with you and for whatever reason I couldn’t shake that gravestone from my mind. This is the final painting without the extra bits.

Hollow Empire Painting by Amanda MakepeaceHollow Empire by John R McGuire and J Edward Neill will be available in the coming weeks! Subscribe to our blog in the sidebar to stay in the loop.

 amandamakepeace.com

Things that Have Never Been

Things that Have Never Been

 

I’m a bit superstitious when it comes to discussing big projects, and I have a Big Project planned for 2014. I hope to create many things that have never been, but I also hope to grow as an artist and continue develop my skills. Besides the big mysterious project, I have several paintings already planned, personal works for my portfolio, and I’m hoping to attend my first convention as an artist in an art show. Fingers crossed!

Till then, I will exit right, under an enigmatic veil of smoke…. Poof!

😉

amandamakepeace.com

Art Print Sale on Etsy

Makepeace Studios

Everything in my Etsy shop is marked down 25% off! That includes all art prints, pendants, canvas prints, framed art and my newly listed bookmarks. If you follow my Facebook Page then you may have a coupon code you can use too! I’ve listed my sale with Etsy on Sale. Follow this link: http://www.etsyonsale.com/shop/makepeacestudios to see the before and after prices for every item in my shop.

Art Bookmarks by Amanda Makepeace

 

Sale ends January 2nd at midnight.