Tag Archives: steampunk

At Long Last, Another Illustration Friday Post!

Wow, almost a month since my last post.  December happened with all its madness, relatives, travel and other excuses too numerous to mention (including the new Star Wars MMO, dammit!) I hadn’t even been doing any drawing, and getting back to it proved much more difficult than anticipated. I hope this will be a good motivator for not letting so much time pass with no art again anytime soon.  In any case, I managed the following, for Illustration Friday . The topic this week is “Grounded”:

Aviator Camel in Copics, "Grounded"

Derek, a veteran flyer of twenty-seven weeks, was somewhat peeved to find out he had been grounded for several weeks and required to re-take the Dirigible Flight Safety Class. I mean yes, he did come pretty close to clipping a stand of evergreens yesterday, and he did leave the engine running once last week.  Well, twice. But come on! Derek’s gaze lingered over the lovely dirigible for a few more moments before pulling off his jacket and trudging back to the flight school.

Despite the rather awful background, the too thick horizon line, the nose being too close in tone to the rest of the fur, and the fact I should have stuck to blue/brown/grey and avoided green, I am glad to finally finish something new.  And I do like ornery old Derek the aviator camel.  This is a 9″ x 6″ original illustration with Copic pens and markers. Here’s some progress pics:

IF Grounded, Sketch

IF Grounded, Inked

IF Grounded, Color 1

Aviator Camel in Copics, "Grounded"

I am very happy to be back. I look forward to looking at lots of other entries this week, making lots of comments and generally getting back in the swing of things.  Thank you so much for visiting!

Fancy Cows in Copic Markers for Illustration Friday

Costumed Cows, Copic Markers 8.5×11

So I left town for about 4 days and when I came back I started playing video games (Civilization 5, meh – I start over a lot because the beginning is more fun than the middle) and some tower defense games, all the while glancing worriedly in the general direction of my drawing table. Before I left, I had been completing two pieces a week, posting 2-3 times, getting right on the IF prompts and so forth.

When I finally sat down to draw a couple days ago I was not happy with anything and started over repeatedly. Then finally I glanced up at the Bonny Bovines and I was back in business. (The last sentence was brought to you by the letter “B” and curious cows everywhere.)

This week’s Illustration Friday topic is “separated” and Mavis and Bernie (above) have not been separated for more than four hours in the twenty-seven years they have been married. The four hours happened the first weekend their neighbor, a Shetland Pony, first brought home a small herd of miniature goats.  The goats promptly jumped the inadequate fence between their properties and proceeded to stamp across Bernie’s garden.

Bernie, with ineffective help from the pony,  gave chase and returned home with most of the goats four hours later.  He extracted a promise from his neighbor that the goats would be properly penned in. (It was not, of course, the last incident involving the goats. But that’s another story.)

Bernie and Mavis sat for an earlier portrait in one of my earliest pieces with Copic Markers, which can be found here. And now some progress pics!

Costumed Cows Initial Ink

Costumed Cows Color 1

Costumed Cows Color 2

Costumed Cows, Copic Markers 8.5×11

There is an ear overlap problem that I left alone. Bernie’s right ear (our left) should just have been angled backward more (and been smaller), but alas! Mavis’ nose got muddied up because I forgot I had used the Copic black marker rather than pen for some of the dark in her nostrils. (The marker is meant to blend and so smudges easily, unlike the pens.)

A final note about this pair. They were bickering at each other ALL DAY while I worked on this portrait. Bernie wanted to wear the mustache on his nose and Mavis told him not to be ridiculous because it is too small for his nose. He retorted that her headdress thingie was totally from the wrong time period if they were going to the costume party dressed as Victorian steampunks. (The party, incidentally, is at the shetland pony’s house. Apparently the goats have been dressed as Oompa Loompas and will be serving oat and carob snacks.)

It is Sunday evening and already 186 IF entries have been posted!  Thank you for stopping by to visit mine!

Steampunk Collie in Copic Markers, Progress Pics

Steampunk Collie 9x6



Ugh, midnight and I must work early tomorrow and then board a plane for Florida. (Much cheaper tickets the week after a holiday.) But I’ve been meaning to finish this beast for days. Usually I start and finish one of these 8x10s or 9x6s in one night, or occasionally, two. So this one sitting for five or six days was an anomaly. And dammit I’m staying up to finish this post.

I fear he’s been a bit overworked. By the pen, not by his boss or something. I don’t know if he has a boss. Frankly, he’s been rather mysterious about his past. The only thing he will say for certain is that he is certainly NOT a collie. As you can see, these protestations have not led to my changing the title of this illustration or this post. And sure, he’s not a classic Lassie collie.

He’s also slightly standoffish, so I’m not actually sure if he’s wearing a fuzzy green coat, or that’s his actual dog coat. Although… it’s probably not fair to call him standoffish.  Deep in thought is much more likely. Inventor-types so often are.

I finally broke out a white gel pen I had picked up, but I really don’t know anything about how to best use it. I did some swirls on the cat part of the eyepiece (then went back over them in black because I didn’t love the look of it), and put a few swipes on his nostrils. (The eye is not gel pen, it was just not colored.) Anyway, progress pics!

Steampunk Collie Sketch

Steampunk Collie Color 1

Steampunk Collie Color 2

Steampunk Collie 9x6

Some combination of the second to last version and the final version would have been preferable, I think. I like some of the effects that were added, but it is too busy and I should have stopped sooner.

Overall I like him and despite the enormous number of outstanding dog/animal artists on Etsy, I must do more dog beasts. They are, if not the best kind of beast, then at least in the top 5% of beasts. Amirite? Thank you so much for dropping in!

Steampunk Magician Cat with Copics, and a Question About Art Bias

Magician Steampunk Cat


Hello! More Copics! Let’s face it – even if I was totally sick of them, an eventuality I do not predict, they cost too much to set aside.  Which is kind of funny and kind of rough. But that does lead to a question I have been asking myself lately, and that is, how much more is painting respected as an art form, than marker art? I think quite a lot, and that makes me feel like I should “eventually” be a painter.

I mean, I believe pen & ink art is a longstanding and respected art, but I still think people have a bias toward traditional painting. And markers to me seems even a step down from pen & ink. I mean, I think markers in the same way I think “crayons”, a bit. So if I have this bias, so must other people? Most people? What do you think? (I don’t know if the bias exists in regard to digital art, but I suspect in many circles it does, though less so than markers, I imagine!)

Ok, here’s some progress pics. I had planned on a steampunk cat. But steampunk cat turned into steampunk magician cat. I think it’s the big cape thing. Also his ability to shoot lasers from his claws. I was pretty pleased with the mouse-shaped eyepiece (with tail that can be used as a bottle opener!). I actually just started a dog (collie-ish) with an eyepiece in the shape of a cat.

Steampunk Cat sketch


Steampunk Cat ink

Steampunk Cat Color 1

Are those some crazy blues or what? Copics. Yup.

Steampunk Cat Color 2

Magician Steampunk Cat, 8 x 10 with Copics

Magician Steampunk Cat, Copics with Digital Background

I thought this cat would make a perfect Saturnalia or other holiday card, which it does! And can be found in my Etsy Shop. (I also have prints on order!)

Thanks for stopping in! Let me know what you think about that markers vs. painting thing.

Wild-Eyed Steampunk Aviator Emu with Copics

Steampunk Aviator Emu



I had a crisis during the production of this beast! If you’re only interested in the end result, look no further than this first, completed image.

He is known as Pippin Blue Eyes.  Yes, named for a particularly mischievous hobbit. Yes, I put a Tolkien reference on my blog.  So sorry. (Alternatively, you’re welcome!)

Pippin has a quick temper but it rarely escalates beyond (what he thinks are) proper British exclamations such as  Bugger it!, Absolute rubbish!, and Flibberty Gidget! So he’s really both mild-mannered and cranky, a bit like a Caractacus Potts.

And since Caractacus Potts came up in another description recently, I must have Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on the brain. Which I do.  And the reason I do is that I stumbled upon the blog of German artist Iris Luckhaus through Illustration Friday, and after an exchange about Mary Poppins I mentioned the aformentioned, and she had never seen it!  And was excited to see it!  I hope to hear from her, actually, once she’s seen it. (Tschitti Tschitti Bäng Bäng, if you wondered.)

Holy cow, can I ramble. I promised you a crisis:


Aviator Emu Sketch

Aviator Emu Color 1

Aviator Emu Color 2

Aviator Emu, Disaster!











Though I don’t recommend it, you are welcome to click on that 4th scan, the disaster. His cheeks, see, were accidentally covered with two very bad and ugly patterns. Then I tried to fix it but made it worse. <dramatic music>  And I almost abandoned poor Pip right then and there! Then I decided to try and cover it, because Copics do tend to cover well with darker colors over lighter ones.  I worried about the fine liners I had used!

But I believe I was, in fact, saved by RV17 – Deep Magenta (after two slightly lighter colors failed in the same pursuit). Crisis averted! I added the sky digitally and the next day, I came here to tell you about it.

Steampunk Aviator Emu

Steampunk Aviator Emu











Steampunk Aviator Emu Pippin is an 8″ x 10″ original illustration with copic pens and markers on 150 lb. smooth drawing paper. Thank you for coming! I’m so sorry we were out of pumpkin bread and tea. Maybe next time?

Steampunk Otter, Copic Markers, with Progress Pics

Steampunk Otter with Copics

I believe I like this fellow. But of course I will tell you the problems I see!

Steampunk Otter Sketch

The sketch.  Unlike the last rodent, a ferret, this one actually looks like an otter.  Also, a ferret. Or mongoose, or mink or muskrat?  Actually, what does a muskrat look like? Ah ha! A muskrat looks like a beaver.  So, I don’t think this sketch looks like a muskrat.

Steampunk Otter Color 1

I had decided on pink/peach because so far most of the steampunk beasts have been blue or green. And I have so many shades of pink and peach and purple markers that it had to be done.  The ear on the left does not look right, alas.

Steampunk Otter Color 2

So once you decide on a beast’s color, you have to then decide on accessory colors. Looking back I should have gone with green and purple, or maybe just greens, but I like the idea of limiting the color palette (something many folks doing Illustration Friday challenges do quite well!)

Steampunk Otter with Copics

I like the furry feel of the swirl. Not sure about the scarf/giant ascot/blanket thingie. But I like this one better than the anteater. Look at the glowy purple through the top of his hat!  Go go, Copic Markers!

Thank you for dropping in! Drop a note so I can go visit your place. ;)

Stripe and Bustle for IF Friday with Progress Pics

Stripe and Bustle

Busy, stripey, slightly mysterious thing for the Illustration Friday topic “Stripes”.  I have wanted to do a bustle for ages but was afraid.  Pfft, was not very hard and I am quite happy with it.  Still avoiding faces though, which led to a cool and successful hairdo. The stripey beast is rather flat, which was the original intention, but it doesn’t seem to go with the rest. Also, did a pretty bad job on his eye.  Arrrgh! Progress photos below.

Stripe and Bustle Sketched

Stripe and Bustle Color 1

Stripe and Bustle Color 2

Stripe and Bustle With Copics, 8x10 Illustration

No story at the moment, though I may yet add one. Thank you for visiting!  Did you do Illustration Friday this week?  Drop a line so I can go see.  ;)

One Dapper Monkey for November Whimsy

It’s Whimsy time again, and this month’s prompt is “panache”. I wondered if it might have a less well-known definition I could use.  Well as it happens, it does! (Although it isn’t such a stretch from the original meaning, as evidenced in the dapper creature below.)

panache – 2. an ornamental plume of feathers, tassels, or the like, especially one worn on a helmet or cap. (Thanks, dictionary.com!)

One Dapper Monkey

Sadly, I forgot about the tassels until I was too far in.  Also, I probably should have left Wilbert a fluffier/fuzzier type of dapper monkey (instead of a monkey who could possibly be wearing a blue bike or space helmet, or shower cap.)

Wilbert is quite a world traveler and loves to visit local markets in all the corners of the world.  He keeps a home in Scotland because he has approximately two and one half rooms full of hats, most with panache! One of his traveling hobbies is collecting feathers from the wilds of the world.  He only uses found feathers (as in, not currently being used/worn by a bird), and has perfected a method of cleaning them and returning them to their full glory.  Determining which hat a particular feather suits best takes an average of three weeks.

Dapper Monkey and Thai Monkey

I found the inspirational Monkey photo at deviantART (photographer: AndersMarius). He met this fine monkey in Thailand. Doesn’t he look wise? And slightly amused? And nice. (Though he may be none of these things.)

Dapper Monkey Color 1

One Dapper Monkey

Original 9″ x 6″ original illustration with Copic markers. I finally did a background! (Partly because the background was much smaller than with previous projects, and would not use up so much marker fluid.  I was going to pattern the background but decided for now there is enough pattern on Mr. Dapper.)

Thank you for visiting.  My goodness I have been posting like a fiend recently.  It probably won’t last!  Need sleep.  Thank you for stopping in!

Steampunk Horse with Copic Markers

Steampunk Donkey Horse Original Art


Seriously cool update: Ok, so the seriously cool Copic folks actually used this post (most of it, plus some other things) as a tutorial on Copic’s official site!

More steampunk.  More Copics.  Another progression photo post! As you can see, the colors are somewhat more subdued than they have been, which was a conscious choice in an effort to replicate a little bit of the flavor of older, maybe even colorized, photography.  This horse is not living in modern times, after all!

Figure One - Steampunk Donkey Horse Ink

I was referencing a photo of a donkey but as I said in the last post, the narrowing of the face seems to have made a horse instead. I added a pipe but I was not sold on it yet, so it isn’t actually inked in Figure One. (Ha!  Figure One!  Delusions of text-bookishness? I think I will use it for the whole post and try to decide its dork quotient.)

Initial ink with a 0.1 multiliner SP. I actually had to replace the nib in my 0.1 after using it for about a day, but I learned my lesson! It seems I’m rather hard on all my pens and markers, which seems to be part of my style, but I don’t recommend it.

Figure Two. Steampunk Horse Color One

Figure two.  Initial application of Copic color.  I don’t own as many greys as I would like (are you a “gray” or a “grey” person?). This will be N1 and N4, and the browns and blues are Y26 (Mustard, love it!), Yr24, E35, B04 and BG000. The peachy color is E93 (Tea Rose, another favorite).

Figure 3. Steampunk Horse Color 2

More of the same colors, with a couple more greys C-3 and C-5 (but I only have Ciaos and they are running out!) I started using the Colorless Blender (Sketch size, which I believe I got in the Blending set.  Used a 40% off one item coupon at Blick’s for that set!) You can’t buy the Sketch size Colorless Blender, just the Ciao (at my Blick’s, anyway).

Added some YR12 and YR23 to the E93 try to capture that strange reddish, yellowish tinge to a donkey’s face.  Yes, I’m still working with a photo of a donkey for my horse.

Figure 4. Steampunk Horse Ink 2

One of my favorite parts is the initial outline with a 0.8 multiliner when the drawing begins to come more to life. Also 0.3 and 0.1 for some details – and inked the pipe so now I’m stuck with it! It’s a little too low in the frame and I wish I had more space for more of the barrel of the pipe.

Figure 5. Steampunk Horse Color 3

Additional browns added: E08 and E53. Although I always do the swirl pattern, I often add some flowers.  I decided to forego the flowers this time and see about doing only swirl patterns – the idea being that the eye piece, the goggles, the pipe and the tubing would be enough in the way of finer detail. Started adding even finer detail with the 0.05 multiliner SP (I have a few SPs, but mostly the disposal multiliners currently.)  You can see the 0.05 in the horizontal lines on the goggle lenses and on the eyepiece.

Figure 6. Steampunk Donkey Horse Original Art

Went a little swirl-nutty.  One effect I particularly like is a colored multiliner over marker from the same color family, like on the bird’s body of the eyepiece.  Also used some sepia multiliner on the goggles. I added a little B02 (Robin’s Egg Blue) to add a little depth to the blue. Tightened up some more details, then did the swirl thing with the 0.3, 0.1 and 0.05. Sometimes in the same place, if the color effect wasn’t as dark as I wanted. And though I usually leave some light spots with no swirls, the swirl-nutty fever was on me and I swirled the whole damn thing up (with the minor exceptions of the goggle band and metal tubing.)

I like the effect of the subdued colors. As usual I am not sure about whether I want a background. At one point toward the end, I had actually sketched out a stripey design for the background, intending to use only black multiliner detail for the entire background, but then I decided against it. Holy cow, long post. Thank you for sticking around! What do you think, compared to my others (if you’ve seen them)?

Steampunk ACEO Beasts, Copic Markers

Well, I’m not sick of steampunk yet!  In fact, at the end of this post I’ll post the initial sketch for my next 8 x 10.  But mostly I wanted to post some ACEOs I’ve completed since the steampunk bug hit.  And their intensely engrossing stories, of course (*cough*).

Original ACEO Steampunk Llama

Chaz the blue llama is an inventor, first. The bird shaped device he is wearing over one eye is made of leather, brass and various other metals. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, he is particularly proud of the tiny wing fashioned from an orange washer. The mechanism, with a cable connected to a power source in his front pocket, has both long-focus and enhanced night vision capabilities.

Original ACEO Steampunk Goat

Dean starting inventing eyepieces in seventh grade. The first had a rudimentary long-focus device which he made in order to better see Eliza, a popular and adorable Nubian, across the playground. Yes, of course they had a playground in seventh grade. These are farmyard type creatures, after all. Need their sunshine. Just like people actually, but that’s another story, isn’t it?

It is many years later now, and in that funny way life has of going in circles, Dean and Eliza are now dating. She doesn’t even remember him from seventh grade. Which he couldn’t be happier about.

Dean is also Chaz’s roommate (see above). They have a blue and green cat named Phil who has about as much interest in their inventions as he has in other cats, which is to say, absolutely none.

Phil the Cat, Original ACEO

It may be no surprise to many that I am a dog person, and as such have been somewhat hesitant about drawing cats. Cats have an extremely long history in art (see Bast ).  Anyway, I wouldn’t say Phil has a particularly animated expression.  But sometimes that’s the way it is, with cats.

Original ACEO Steampunk Ferret

The very latest is this fine steampunk ferret. Or possibly a related rodent of indeterminate origin – which is to say – I’m not sure it looks exactly like a ferret (color notwithstanding).  He is a terribly friendly fellow, but I haven’t been able to make heads or tails of his squeaky language.  Anyone speak ferret?

And finally, the next steampunk beast. It was modeled on a donkey but the cheeks kept getting narrower so it may be a horse. With very tall ears.

Steampunk Donkey Horse Sketch

Decided to do goggles (currently quite lopsided).  Continued attempts to make quasi-mechanical seeming devices in the shapes of birds.  Added a pipe.  Not sure about the pipe.  :)  Thank you lovely people for stopping in!