Monday, June 10, 2013


It's been quite a while since the last update. I'm sorry about that, guys!

The reason for this neglect is that I have to keep up to date our Artil Studio website, and quite frankly, I don't have the time or energy to update both that one and this blog... So if you'de like to see new stuff from me, I recommend you to head over there!

You'll notice a distinct style shift, though. Well, you've been seeing it here already for quite a while. I apologize to all those who liked my old, more manga-esque or cartoony style. It's not that I don't like it any more, or that I will never do anything like that again. But I'm trying to seriously make a living with this illustration business, and those images just don't... sell well. It's a shame, but I don't mind adapting a little to the market - I certainly still enjoy what I do!
And I hope you do, too. :)

So, anyway. Just wanted to let you know that I won't be around here as much as I used to. As I said, you can still get updates over at our Artil Studio page. ;)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Go, dog!

Here's something to get you in the spirit for Christmas time, and maybe even wish you all wonderful holidays in advance. :)

This was painted for our promo Christmas cards over at Artil Studio - I hope everyone who received one liked his or her postcard!
I went for a children's book style with this one, trying to avoid lines and using a watercolor base with colored pencils for the shading. I had so much fun painting this! The initial sketch was quite a challenge though, and underwent quite a few changes in composition and style until both I and Marc were satisfied with it.
I'd say the result turned out very cute, in the end!

And here's what I drew for the back of the postcard:

Over at our Facebook page you can see what the final postcards looked like all niecely printed.

So anyway, enjoy! ^^

Monday, October 29, 2012

Grow, little tree

I know this would be more fitting for spring than for autumn, but I just received my very first fruit tree for my garden!
You might know I'm a big fan of gardening, or maybe you don't. But I am. I enjoy designing my garden (permaculture ftw!), I enjoy working in it, and so I'm very excited about this first tree. I'm also excited because it's a very special tree: a PawPaw tree (Asimina triloba), to be precise.

I have never tasted a pawpaw fruit yet, but it's described to have a very tropical flavor, a mix of banana and mango and maybe some hint of vanilla and/or pineapple. The tree is native to North America and very resistant to frost, so needless to say, I just had to have one of those.

And now it's hereee, and what's even better, instead of the 50 cm baby tree I ordered I got one that's almost a meter tall, which means I'll get to harvest fruit much earlier. Whee!

So, yeah. This image came to my mind, so I drew it. Tried something a little different in terms of color and style, too. Hope you like it!

Monday, October 22, 2012


There's still over a week to go, but I felt like drawing something Halloween-related, so here it is. =D  I decided to keep it simple and not get into more layers and highlights and all that stuff. It's always very tempting to get more complicated, but sometimes simple just works better.

Who knew vampire noses were so hard to draw? In my original sketch it looked a little different, until my husband pointed out "that looks like a pig's snout". So I spent about an hour or so just trying to fix that nose! At least I'm happy with the final version.

Happy Halloween in advance!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy ferret

Another little children's book portfolio piece I did this week. It's rather simple, mostly because it's been a long time since I last painted with gouache. It was fun, I'll surely do it again!

And I like ferrets.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I don't want to be a princess!

On the Book Fair in Frankfurt Marc and I realized that our usual comic style is not very well received with children's book publishers (at least not in Germany), so we decided to make some pieces for our portfolio more suited for that market. After seeing all those pink and cheesy princess picture books for small girls (which I do not approve of), I doodled this little girl who would rather be a knight instead. I had so much fun with this, I'll have to paint more like it. I also like the chance to experiment with different techniques and styles.

This one might actually be still a little too comic-y for the publisher's taste, although the technique helps to make it more picture book-like. It was painted with a watercolor base, colored pencils for the shading and gouache for highlights.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Qilin process (2)

Right, so last time I showd you the steps I take to prepare a watercolor painting. Here's the actual watercolor process.

These are my beloved liquid watercolors. I have a couple of tones more (yellow, red and ocre), but for this illustration, these are all I'll use.

The first step is painting a light base layer which will give a tone to the whole piece. In this case, I picked a light blue and light green where the light sources will be.

I let it dry completely, and then I apply masking fluid. That's the darker blue-ish stuff you see on this photo. This is so I can paint the background without much trouble, so I mask off the edges where I don't want the paint to go in if I paint fast and sloppily.
Masking fluid is amazing, even though if I'm not careful to rinse the brush often with soapy water, it will destroy the brush because it sticks to it and is impossible to get off afterwards. So never use a good brush for applying masking fluid!

Here I start painting the background. I paint wet-in-wet at this stage, so I moisten everything I want to paint with water first and then apply the color.
I started with the firefly lights and went from light to dark. I'm leaving the ground out yet, because the color dries to fast to do it all at once.

Now the ground. Still, wet-in-wet technique, though I'm careful to not let any water touch the areas I had already painted. That would cause blotches.

I decided the background needed to be darker, so everything got a second layer. No wet-in-wet technique anymore.

After I'm satisfied with the background, it's time to rub off the masking fluid. I love doing that!
But before, I made the firefly-lights a bit greener.

Now, base layer for the foreground and the plants at the Qilin's feet.

And now for the Qilin itself.

First shading layer on the foreground. Here's when I start to flesh out the volume.

Annd first shading layer for the creature.

The second shading layer already adds SO much more depth.

More shading on the Qilin. This is starting to get somewhere.

Even more shading on the Qilin. Now it stars to look good.

Foreground also needs more shading. This is much better. Actually, I'm almost done!

Time to pull out my gouache colors to add some highlights. I mixed a yellowish light green which I used for everything except the eye (which needs pure white).
This is one of my favourite steps, it's like "bam!" and then it looks so much better. Especially adding a little highlight to the creature's eye gives so much life to it immediately.

Annnd it's done! =D
It turned out a lot more blue than planned, but who cares after 20 hours? XD

As a little extra, here's what the final finished painting looks like with the frame I had custom-made for it (please forgive the camera's flash) - I think it turned out lovely!

Process part 1
Finished piece

Monday, October 8, 2012

Qilin process (1)

While I did the illustration for my aunt's wedding, I decided to take pictures of the process to show you a step by step of my watercolor paintings. In case anyone's interested. Maybe it's helpful to someone in one way or another. :)

First things first, here's the rough sketch for the illustration. There are a few things I tweaked digitally after scanning the piece, like the Qilin's legs, which were a little too long.

After the sketch looks good enough, I print it with very high contrast so I can trace it onto watercolor paper. I trace very lightly first, and rather roughly, and after that go over the whole thing again, defining and detailing everything.

Finished pencil artwork.

Before doing anything with the watercolors yet, I do a very rough color test digitally. That way when I'm actually mixing the watercolors, I can just pick the color on the digital color key and mix accordingly - otherwise it happens that my eyes deceive me, because colors are perceived differently depending on the other colors surrounding it. It usually looks quite differentl in the end anyway (you might notice the final painting is a lot more blue-ish), but at least it gives me a starting point.

Just like the base colors, a quick digital shading test, so I know more or less where the lighting will be and all that.

Okay, these are the steps I do before any actual watercoloring - next post will cover that, it's too much for a single post! =D

Process part 2
Finished piece