It's that time again! Here is my summary of art for 2017!
Read more to see the highlights of my year's progress in art!
This was really the year for digital art. While 2016 was really my first full year doing digital art, 2017 seems to be where I am coming into my own. I remember being incredibly intimidated when I was working on January's piece. It wasn't my first fully rendered illustration, but it was the first with a lot more backstory and a lot less focus on the character itself. I felt like I was illustrating a page in a children's story book, rather than a single commission for a single client. Although I haven't done many other similar commissions since then, it really reminded me that I do have a dream of illustrating a book, something that has stuck with me during every other piece since then. That reminder has definitely been inspirational to say the least. It was probably also the piece I learned the most from this year. I was incredibly proud of it when I first finished it, but the fact that I can look back and see what I would do differently now speaks volumes for how far my abilities have come along this year.
May was another large turning point. Like January's piece, May's piece was another full illustration, although this one more heavily focused on the character. I remember I was given pretty much free reign with this piece: my only guides were the character's reference sheet and "Florida beaches." I had a ton of fun creating this piece, especially getting the texture of the clouds and the sand juuuuust right. I was so proud of myself for those clouds and how they not only look like Florida coastal clouds, but how they also draw the eye to the face without being too much like arrows! I also experimented with non-black lines to mixed success. I have since played with using other colors for some of my lines, but I'm still not sure how I feel about them... Maybe 2018 will be the year of them!
However, I think the biggest take away from this piece is my change in how I shade. For the most part prior to this piece, I had been focused on achieving a smooth gradient. This piece was where I really decided that creating a smooth gradient by hand was ridiculous. My background is in traditional media, so why should I try to make my work look so perfect? (If there is a theme to this year, this is it). While I had drawn some pieces with more painterly shading, this was where I decided that I was going to stick to it. I have been so much happier with my work since I made my decision!
October brought us to Inktober, which I unfortunately didn't manage to complete... again. However, I learned a lot doing it as well. I chose my Halloween card piece for my October piece to highlight this fact. Inktober was a month of using just lines to convey everything I could otherwise show with color, or at least shading, so I was obviously incredibly focused on lines. I've already done a full reflection on what I learned from Inktober here, so I won't go into it again. Suffice it to say that I came out a much stronger artist because of it.
I also really just love this piece in general. I think I really nailed the colors and the textures to give that creepy-cute vibe I love so much! If you're interested, you can also see the full walk-through on how I made this piece here.
And finally, we come to December. My last piece of the year. Compared to some of my other pieces of the year, it isn't some big, extraordinary piece: it doesn't have a background to show composition, it doesn't have really much shading to speak of, and the lines aren't overly bold, but it does subtly include these things that I worked so hard on learning throughout the year (ok, maybe not the composition at all since it's just a character standing there...). What really stands out to me about this piece isn't actually the fact that it shows what I learned, but that it shows what I am going to be striving to achieve in the future. This time, I was focused on making a flat-color piece stand out on it's own. I have never been happy with how I would handle characters' markings in flat-color pieces, and I think this piece is more of the direction I want to go. Just like the pieces throughout 2017 that pushed my art further, this piece shows that I won't stop learning just because it is the end of the year. It's not an end, it's the continuation of my progress as an artist!
If you want to see the full images of the rest of the pieces in my 2017 Summary of Art, they're all in my gallery!