New Sketches for Dynamic Book Illustration

Will these sell? Do my lines catch and keep your eye? If I ink and/or paint the following sketches, would you be proud to hang them up as a poster or send them out as postcards? I believe my art belongs in books, not galleries — do you agree?  What about other subject material? Should I (since this is a blog where I feature my true life experiences as a practicing Witch) delve into more Witchcraft and magic themes? Or should I keep to my graphic novel style roots? I ask these questions because I’m at a point where all I know is to keep producing work whether or not there is a need for it. Basically… I don’t know what I’m supposed to do anymore as an artist. I am seeking a purpose, connection with the rest of the world, and not stay stuck in worlds of my own making. I want to create with meaning… I’m tired of doing this lonely.

I am so full of words, my voice cannot spit them out fast enough to catch up with the thousands of ideas that form in my mind. Since I can tell stories in words and images, I often have to take a break from one to do the other, this means I take even longer to finish projects I start, or take too long to start things I have great ideas for. Sometimes I wish I had some more collaborators in my life, but *sighs* that just isn’t always possible because it’s just as hard to find the right creative partner as it is for me to find a date! For now, it is just me wearing a lot of different hats with many mixed-matching (or is that miss-matched?) sets of jewelry and other exotic accessories. Like an aging spinster sitting at her drawing desk, I dream of gaining can audience, especially a paying audience, as if a hope for attracting an army of suitors, but I do not know how to gain that momentum just yet. Darn. Want a taste of what I wish to serve? Let your eye open up wide to what I’ve got on my plate:


Inspired by Gail Carriger‘s series The Parasol Protectorate and all things proper Victorian. I am obsessed with period costume, lust after parasols, and unwind with a nice cup of tea. Even more perfect: letting the steam from a steeping cup of lemon-mint tea fill the space in front of me as I sit down to draw.


I’m not sure what inspired this. I’ve always had a sharp-dressed secret agent type character in my mind, someone ruthless and on the verge of no longer being in control. I plan on transferring this drawing to bristol paper and inking it. However, I love the way my pencil marks sculpted his features, and I’m especially proud of his hair.  Besides drawing folds of fabric, I love drawing hair the most.

The following features, once again, my obsession with swords… and studying ways to draw how swords are held, how they move with the human figure, and just capturing the ways in which metal and flesh contrast.


So, how do you hold your sword?


She seemed wistful, coy, dreamy, perhaps a little sad, but when I look into her eyes, I feel like I drew her to cheer myself up.


If I find myself lacking joy, I must create it!


A little self-portrait never hurt anyone.

She’s not me.  She’s a lady wearing a cloak.  I was studying the ways in which flesh and fabric shadow each other.

Flower petals are sometimes tricky to draw.  They’re a different kind of flesh.


Besides giving it a title that makes this drawing sound like the name of a band, The Unrequited is a collage of faces I first drew on vellum separately, but when I put them together in this composition, they all told a story. I see this as a book cover or movie poster for a gay love story. One of the characters, the one at the bottom smoking the cigarette, seems to be the narrator, perhaps the one who has loved and lost the most. Who knows? It would be nice to provide a good and worthy writer some great art.

I may only be dreaming now, but someday…

You get the idea.

So, what’s it gonna take for you to hire me to illustrate your book?

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4 comments on “New Sketches for Dynamic Book Illustration

  1. ebbtide says:

    You have an incredible talent! Yes, I believe your art is very suited to illustration – picturing now a graphic novel a la Parasol Protectorate. 🙂

    • That would be excellent! Thank you. It has been mentioned to me many times I need to team up with Gail. A friend of a friend tells me I need to meet her. From what I’ve read about her, she and I would get along famously. I just have to catch up reading all her books!

  2. Drew Jacob says:

    Hi Val. I think the art looks amazing. I especially love the coy female figure with her head tilted, and the first swordsman. I feel the body language is perfect on them. I like the others too, but something about the second swordsman’s face is off to me. I don’t think his face muscles are moving with the rest of his body. Or else he’s just quirky. But I really love the work, please keep them coming!

    • Thank you, Drew, much appreciated. I was hoping you’d give me some pointers on the swordsman. I was working from photographs of a model, but the way he had posed with the sword was “off” because I could tell he was not familiar with the sword. I had to fix it. That could be why the face wasn’t as smooth going with the body. What is lovely is that these are sketches, I can go back and transfer them to vellum and later correct everything when I decide to use these studies for a more polished piece.

      I totally agree about the coy female, too. I like the tilt of the head and how minimal I made her figure, like the page is wrapped up around/up to her shoulder. My intent was to make her seem like she’s wearing the page.

      I plan on posting sketches once a week.
      Also will continue to post photography once a weekend in my ongoing series “Postcards from Home” (home being Wisconsin, so if you ever get homesick for the northwoods, you’re welcome to visit my blog and get a cure for the blues). Til we talk again, peace, love, and blessings!!!

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