Raccoon and Frog

raccoonThe first image I completed for my portfolio is this raccoon and frog. Is the raccoon stalking the frog or just being friendly? The frog isn’t sure.

The first project my mentor, Travis Foster, gave me was to look at the portfolios of hundreds of illustrators on several illustrator advertising websites. The point was to look at the various styles of currently working illustrator and decide what I liked and what I didn’t. Through this exercise I discovered that I really like watercolor illustrations more than any other medium. Second would be illustrations colored with the computer. The illustrators I liked the most were Brian Ajhar and Peter de Sève. If you look at them both, their watercoloring and drawing styles are very similar. Their artwork tends to look like watercolors on top of pencil drawings, with very complex colors created by many layers of various watercolor washes. Travis was able to show me a bit about their watercoloring process, which I then tried to apply to this raccoon and frog.

Here is one of my early pencil sketches for this illustration:

As you can see, in the final version I made the frog larger, the raccoon thinner, and changed the shape of the dark areas around the eyes. I also changed the details of the rocks around him, and, in turn, his pose so that he has a bit more personality and so that there is a bit more of a story in the illustration.

– eli

Introductions…

Hello, and welcome to my blog!

I feel like I should start off with a little bit about myself, rather than jumping right in with pictures or something. This is going to primarily be an art blog, with the purpose of chronicling my development as an illustrator.

My name is Eli Moody, and I’m currently an employee at Peabody Library, Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, TN. I’m a library assistant and my primary duties are scanning and posting documents online for professors, and dealing with our periodical collection in various ways. They are both pretty boring duties, and I am fortunate that my bosses have so far been supportive in my pursuits to add some creativity to my job duties. I’m a very creative person, and I’ve drawn and doodled most of my life, but I’ve never seriously pursued any formal artistic training, preferring to think of it as a hobby. I’ve been able to flex my creative muscles in the midst of this tedious job by creating video tutorials, making signs and posters for library events, and creating personal pieces of artwork for my co-workers. The library bought copies of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop for me to use in these pursuits, and I’ve learned to use them because of the library, for which I’ll always be grateful. However, through these fun projects and activities I’ve realized that I would much rather be creating artwork than scanning articles, and for the past few years I’ve been trying to figure out how to make that happen practically.

My first step was to create art with greater frequency, and try to branch out into as many styles and mediums as I could, trying to figure out what I liked or felt natural at. I started posting artwork on Facebook, and as a result began getting some commissioned work. I was excited about this, but felt pretty lost too, like I was just stabbing in the dark. About a year ago though, something happened that changed my outlook and sense of direction…I met an actual illustrator.

Travis Foster has been a free-lance illustrator for over 23 years, and lives just north of Nashville. A friend of mine put me in contact with him last summer, and after talking with him, he kindly agreed to take me under his wing and help me learn to be an illustrator in my own right. I was able to go to his studio and watch as he created watercolor illustrations, look through his original art to see his artistic progression over the years, and get a list of materials he uses. He also coached me in my watercolor technique and gave me a lot of pointers. My next step was to work on creating 20-25 illustrations to serve as a portfolio for prospective clients, which is what I’m in the midst of doing now.

This blog will be a chronicle of my creation of these portfolio images, and beyond. I have a lot to share and am looking forward to getting this blog going. Welcome to my site and please look around.

eli