Second and third griffin done

Got Don and Shona finished. Two characters for the price of one! Human faces are hard to draw, but I do better when I get reference.

And for the third griffin, I used a buff orpington as a reference.

Such a pretty golden color!

And a golden griffin the same color as the chicken. Who’d have thought that a chicken would make such a pretty color for a griffin? Too bad the griffin doesn’t have a red comb and wattles. They set off the chicken so nicely.

That golden griffin, Elda, is the same one as on the cover of the second Derkholm book, Year of the Griffin:

Isn’t that an atrocious picture? You can’t even tell what’s supposed to be happening. Anyway, same griffin. *points*



A person on DA kindly posted the actually description of Callette (whose name I’ve also been spelling wrong), and it turns out I’d made her waaaay too gray.

So I corrected her colors, but it kind of put me a day behind.

Much warmer now! She also doesn’t stand out from the other griffins quite so oddly anymore.

First griffin done

First griffin done!

I tackled Colette first, since she’s mostly gray. I used a goshawk as reference for her.

They’re gray with lots of pretty white and black markings on their underbellies. Except Colette is described as having brown eyes, not yellow or red, so she wound up looking a little more peregrine than I’d intended. I tried to make her look feminine around the eyes, but alas, the avian face just doesn’t convey gender the way a mammalian face does.

I shall continue to color griffins. 🙂

Commission: Derkholm griffins

My last commission got put in last place because it has seven characters in it.


Five of which are griffins.

With, like, feathers.


These are the kids from the book the Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones.

Click on it and look at the bigger version. From right to left is Colette, Don with Shona on his back, Elda, Lydda with Blade on her back, and Kit in the very back. They’re all brothers and sisters because their dad, Wizard Derk, is kind of a wizard genetic engineer. It’s a companion book to the Tough Guide to Fantasyland, and if you read them together, it’s hilarious.

Anyway, this is my latest project. Here’s hoping I can pull it off.

And here’s the colors all blocked in, coloring-book style.

You can see what colors the griffins are supposed to be now, more or less. I don’t know how to really make the males and females look different, though. There’s not a lot of gender distinction in the eagle/hawk face.

Commission for Helico

My next commission was to sort of invent a character for my commissioner. He wanted a sort of 1800s-era English gentleman, which I’ve never attempted, but figure I could take a shot at.

First the sketch:

It worked all right, except for some minor changes, like the elimination of the cane in his right hand.

Then I decided to put in some kind of blurry cityscape background to focus attention on the subject. I poked around and found this …

And painted it into the background with a big fuzzy airbrush.

Then I tackled the portrait itself. All the colors worked except for the purple jacket. It was just too purple. My commissioner agreed, and I changed it to blue.

Blue looks much nicer, doesn’t it? I also made his shoulders a little bit wider. I know the average human is 8 heads tall, but that still just looks like the head is too big to me.

And then … drumroll please … the details!

The gold braid wasn’t as painful to draw as I had been expecting. It helped that the guy isn’t very big and detailed. If it was a bust shot, the details would have killed me.

That is, unless my commissioner wants me to add more details. *whimpers*

How Kroft is coming

As you can see, the large blocks of color are coming along nicely, but I’m not finished yet.

And a day later, he’s all done!

For some reason, I just love the gear that he’s sitting on. I had so much fun drawing it, then making it all cracked and weathered, with grass and flowers and stuff growing up through it. Also, purple smoke for the win.

I’m taking the weekend off from commissions. I’m gonna draw something for fun before I tackle my last couple, or I’m gonna burn out something terrible.

Kroft the dragon

Here’s the next commission project I’m working on:

I’ve had the worst trouble on his face. I’ve erased it and redone it four or five times now. See, here’s my references here and here.

I didn’t think this would be very hard, but the likeness is what’s killing me. Sure, I can draw dragons. But making the dragon LOOK like somebody? That’s a little tougher!

As you can see, I still don’t have it pegged, but I’m closer.

Horrors! Anime

My next commission was to draw this girl from an anime called Bleach. Her name is Soi Fon and she fights with this dagger-like fist weapon.

I can’t draw anime.



So this commission unnerved me quite a bit.

First, I went hunting for pose reference. When Google turned up nothing, I went to deviantart and started hunting around in their stock photo section. Lo and behold, I found this. It was almost exactly what I needed.

So I did my first sketch.

I changed the position of her hands and her right leg, because I wanted her off the ground. You know how people in anime fly around in the sky when they’re fighting. That was the look I was going for. Also, this character wears these weird traditional-Japanese style clothes, so I roughed those in, too.

Then I dumped it to Illustrator.

Illustrator is a vector program, meaning that it draws images with mathematical points and lines. You can see the zillions of them in her face here.

This is how it turned out.

If I was really masochistic, I’d have done all the shading in Illustrator, too. But I’m far too lazy to be masochistic.

Next I dumped the file into Painter, and painted a sky with clouds. Don’t you love the way Painter makes it look like I used a real brush that was loaded up with thick, smeary paint?

Then I tossed it all into Photoshop for the final shading and details.

Tada! It was a ton of work, but I think I pulled off the anime look. It’s really hard to draw, not least of which because Japanese art in general has this obsession with perfection. And I’m not into perfection. I’m into getting it sort of close and calling it good.