My name is Talli. In my profession I illustrate, design, manipulate reality with the power of 3D software and Photoshop. Sometimes I like putting thoughts down on digital paper. I publish mainly for myself, but if you happen to drop by I will happily accept your visit in delight. I'll even offer you a warm beverage and a fun discussion on art, spirituality, creativity and even parenthood.
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All I wanted to do on a lazy autumn Saturday was to draw like old times . It’s been awhile and my sketch book had a few last pages. My daughter was kind enough to play on her own for a few minutes at a time. Between a batch of minutes here and there I sketched Eve. A character on my work in progress novel.
Last night I painted her in Photoshop and became so engaged in the process, I ended up staying up until 2 AM.
Putting her on paper in color or rather in monochrome was so helpful. Imagine getting a description of what someone ate for dinner. Then imagine being served that dinner. Two different experiences. That’s how it felt for me. Describing vs illustrating. I know her better now.
I’ll write her better now, which means I must draw all the characters in my book as soon as possible. There are a few more and more coming.
I want to illustrate all the creatures for that matter.
I’m apprenticing at the studio of an amazing teacher. I’ve taken on this course without really knowing what I was getting myself into. I just signed up thinking it’ll be pretty cool to be in that school. Maybe it was a resume thing. I wanted to buff it up. So it worked for a while, I was a superficial student for the first couple of years.
My junior years.
After the third year, like in Academia . It was time to specialize and then it got pretty serious. The teacher was pretty ruthless. I got no slack. Even when I wanted to relax and give my self a break, she never let me off the hook. There was no cheating, faking, or playing games in her classes. That was when she gave me the very best lessons.
I came into that course thinking I knew a thing or two about the material, but I learned that I knew nothing at all.
I learned to be present.
I learned about humility.
I learned about being patient.
I learned to put my ego aside.
I learned I can change my mind as much as I want.
I learned that I have a lot to learn.
I learned to suck at things and own it.
I learned that it’s OK to make mistakes.
I learned to think before I speak.
I learned that I have a happy place.
I learned that it’s fun to dance and sing in public.
I learned that being a mom is a spiritual practice.
Around 21:30 the house fell silent. Nothing is more pleasing to me lately than those quiet hours. I used to be so tired in the past. I guess I slept enough for a while. these days I’m vibrant as a vampire when the city rests.
It was time for some fun, but not in the bloody sense. Just geeky stuff.
Beginnings are so exciting. Aren’t they?. The middle is a bit muddled. So this post is refreshing for me in the sense that I found it so pleasing to quickly illustrate this character. To enjoy the beginning of the creative process which depicts the actual contrast of what it represents.
I’m in the midpoint of a novel I’m working on. half done and half more to go. The main character is Aora. She is a work in progress. It’s so fun to describe a character in words, when I’m so used to describing in color and form.
This girl is inspired by the looks of the beautiful Marina Nery. I sketched her in pencil first, just to get the feel of her. Color was done in Photoshop. The process began in a speed painting in my standards. by 23:30, 2 hours later I was happy to put my Wacom pen down and complete a “wip” version of my main character’s face. A few weeks later I came back and sat down to give her more attention and more detail.
This is a little sneak preview of my inner world. I love books. I love getting wrapped in a good story. I love science fiction. I love fantasy. I love dystopia. I love evolving with new ideas. I love a good journey. i’m on a journey here, venturing into a whole new realm.
There will be more work in progress art of this yet to be completed book as it comes along.
Designing character Mascots is a long winding process. The race to the finish line is full of sketching and going back and forth.
The brief can be an endless list of character traits , style, properties or what ever the client has a vision for. The end result is symbolizing the brand successfully. The process is the incubation period and the result is a cute little baby mascot. All shiny and new, ready to represent and reflect what it’s company stands for.
Sketching the first shapes and colors, the inspiration was from water creatures and balloons.
And then after a bit more exploring and doodling. It looks like we found her.
And then we get more specific and add variations, expressions and poses.
After the emotions are approved, comes the time to bring in the big guns. Maya and Photoshop combined. There you have it. A new Mascot is born!
I hope you like the process of my bubble girl. I sure had a blast.
Do you know that feeling. When your tummy twists in painful excitement. When your tongue is dry and it’s a nuisance to swallow…I’m talking about the torments of trying something new.
Now imagine being a designer and working a certain way for ages. Imagine having a comforting professional routine. Then imagine turning your world upside down and working differently. Different hours. Different design projects. Different deadlines and most importantly different clients. Some of you may have a boss. So now imagine having loads of different bosses, and now the catch! You may or may not get payed for your hard work.
No, I’m not talking about freelancing with bad contracts and cheeky clients, although it may sound the same. That’s a post i’ll write some other day.
I’m talking about 99d – 99 designs. Yes I have been testing this thing. love it and hate it. What is 99 designs? I like to think of it an international design bidding platform.
I first heard of it when I was still employed full time and daydreaming about freelancing. I thought to my self. “Here’s a seductive concept. I just log in. Look for a cool project and submit my design/ illustration/ sketch and get payed”
There may be over 300,000 happy customers. But there are even more designers and the playground is a jungle of hungry predictors circling a juicy brief.
Why do they do it? Why do I do it?
It’s not the pay. The money is not guaranteed and you may find your self working hours and hours and the client tosses your beloved piece of art out the window.
What?! You put your heart and soul into your creation and someone has the nerve to say they don’t like it and won’t pay for it?!
Yes. And it’s Horrible. But it is also awesome. It’s all about accountability. How many times have you vowed to yourself to start a personal project. How many times do you have an itch to boost a certain aspect of your portfolio. I think most of us have the “want it” part but not the “work it” part. Not all of us are type A people who put our mind to a project and just give it our all even though it’s off hours and totally unpaid for. It’s hard to work for yourself when you don’t have accountability. You lack the motivation. You suffer from procrastination. “Shall I design a cool retro poster?…oh..look…Back to the future trilogy”
As a designer & an illustrator I log on to 99d to look for cool briefs to enhance my portfolio and shake the dust off my wacom. I essentially go into a deadline and critique simulation of the real world. Iv’e been submitting projects on and off for about two months. Iv’e been a finalist a few times. Which means the client likes what I did but wants to choose between me and a few other designers after eliminating tens of others. The first time I was chosen as a finalist I felt great, I did a little victory dance in my office/ bedroom. The joy was short lived. I pulled an all nighter . I remember sitting red eyed from fatigue and looking at the clock closing in on the deadline for all finalists. Submitted my final final final design at the last minute only to be informed in the morning that the client went with another designer. “Thanks for all the hard work, but no thanks.”
It was discouraging, I admit. But the sooner I tried again the pain got a bit more bearable with the second rejection. The pain of failing and getting a bad critique is hard on any designer. It is also a school of life. It taught me something I forgot. The real world has many opinions and many tastes. I might not be the right taste for those clients. It also taught me not to get too attached to my baby. Yes I gave birth to it. But as soon as I put it out there, it’s on it’s own. Elizabeth Gillbert said it and I concur.
And as soon as it’s out there, In the words of the very wise Seth Godin “it might not work”.
Up until this very moment I have been trying and designing and working against the clock. Each attempt makes me stronger in some ways and discourages in others. I feel like a student again. I have a few years of experience behind me and yet I feel like i’m at square one. To be perfectly frank. The internet is a much more vicious arena than the university. No one is nice and they don’t always give a hoot about the right critique etiquette. Even in my fully employed days I have been given softer sugar coated comments and remarks about my work. People on the internet don’t see me. They don’t see my gender, my religion or my country if I choose not to show it. They see my stuff. They are less sensitive to my efforts and in some ways I’m sure they feel the same. They are the client and they are not seen. All they are to me is a message. I don’t try to please them with my personality, but rather with my ideas | designs | illustration. It’s a whole new way of working.
They might be in the US or somewhere in Dubai. I don’t care who they are. I just care about the project. I don’t even care that much about the price they’re offering. I see designers working just as hard on low paying projects.
There are other ways of finding good briefs, sure. Pro Bono projects, charity, Online challenges. But 99d is another way. It may not work for most, it may be a bloodsucking creativity monster. But for now…it brought something alive in me. I was reminded why I love the field. I have yet to see the fruits, but I’ll keep harvesting just a little tiny bit longer. Winter is coming.
What about you? Have you tried it yet? I dare you. I double dare you!
This is how it feels like when i’m being curious. How does it feel and look like to you?
But when I lose it, it takes me a little while to notice, because I get numb like a drunk lizard in the winter. I get easily distracted, checking messages on my phone every other minute or looking through Facebook at peoples last vacation pics. I eat without being hungry.
I get restless and compensate with an extra cup of coffee, I don’t really need. Note to self – stop drinking coffee! When that happens, my days are long and I get home after work feeling especially tired. On days I do get curious or engaged . Oh boy. That’s when I loose track of time. That’s when I forget about my troubles. That’s when I’m focused. That’s when I’m most optimistic.
Truth be told…I need to watch out because I could forget to eat or put off taking breaks. Not a good thing to totally forget yourself. Working in a creative industry I sometimes feel like I don’t have a good excuse for getting bored. So when it does happen it worries me. I feel like I lost the spark or that I’m in the wrong field. Even the most creative endeavor can get old if it’s repeated enough times.
Even the animation industry has it’s share of boring gigs. I can work on a cool project one day with cute furry creatures and the next day it would be a shampoo ad.
So that’s when it’s time to get up and shake off the dust. Draw, write, play, sing…what ever makes you feel alive.
The secret to a good mood in my book, is to keep on engaging in my most favorite thing. The things I would do for free.
There’s a thing about creation or any form of art. Putting your art out there into the world may seem like a narcissistic thing to do. But I would rather see it as a way to connect. Because that’s what it’s all about at the end.
Reflecting on an idea, sharing, connecting, even if you don’t like it. That just gives us a trigger for a conversation. Otherwise life is a little boring.
Now just to be a bit specific. This is the first time I think I ever posted female frontal nudity…I wonder why. Speed painted in Photoshop. It took around 3 hours. That’s really fast for me! I have not painted in a while to say the least.
“Welcome back Talli.”
“Gee…thanks, nice to be here, slightly more exposed.”
A few months ago I was approached by 2 lovely ladies from Oregon, Melanie Loveland and Virginia Neil. They were working on a very personal children’s book and wanted me on board. I was pretty excited at the prospect and the project began with establishing how the main star…a ginger tabby cat, should look like. Guess which one was eventually chosen?
Well. Classic tabby was chosen for the lead “Coconut Jack” – the coconut loving, playfully curious, stubby tailed, ginger tabby. So to avoid spoilers here are a few selected spreads…
The book is available and you can buy the book here. so go on! and don’t forget to write a review.
I recently started a short art course in a cool place called Hatahana (the station). It’s a figurative art school offering non academic art courses. The course I started is hosted by the extremely talented David Nipo.It’s only the beginning and it’s been anything but easy. It’s a completely new way of drawing for me. This made me understand I’ve had it too easy with digital painting. I realized even more actually! That I have probably been going at it the wrong way…it was hard for me to grasp after years of drawing, but I needed some dust shaken off my fingers. My target here is to post work and see the progress, learn from mistakes and have fun!
20*28 oil on paper (250 gram)
Here is an early work on the course. I was given a charcoal painting called Nadia by Damir Simic. An amazing Croatian artist. Drawing from a 2D image is much easier than drawing a 3 dimensional model. easier by far. The main difficulty of capturing a model or still life is understanding the depth and than translating it to 2D. Drawing from an image is almost mathematicle. All that’s needed is to construct a grid on the original using a soft pencil, duplicate it on your own paper and ta-da!!! you’re ready to go, almost like coloring between the lines, you can even see the lines on my drawing. What really helped me on this was a good tip from David Nipo. Some of you may know this…but squinting your eyes and looking at the photo as a hazy blur, really helps capture some of the darker and lighter shapes. this is not unlike sharpening the image bit bit as you up the resolution of your painting. This took me about 8 hours to complete.
16*25 oil on paper (300 gram) .The course is mostly staring a live model, I do a horrible job at it so far…too embarrasing to post 🙂 I gave my self some homework in the form of still life of a dental cast. I stuck to a monochrome of Whites and Raw Umber, It took abou 5 hours from start to finish and i hope to move on to colors when the time is right.
Pencil goes first and then a pen to mark the outlines a bit since i know the oil will erase the pencil and i need a placeholder. First the oils are applied in general. like the effect of averaging out the tones. Detail comes later. this is the bit I’m struggling with since i have an urge to beautify every inch before moving on. Note to self – ugly is ok!
Some work in action… starting to enjoy the smell of oil and terpentine 🙂