My beautiful redhead


I have spent many many months painting a portrait of my boyfriend. Not only do I think he’s gorgeous but he also presents a great artistic challenge. Personally I’d be weirded out if someone decided to make a portrait of me. But he doesn’t seem to mind (though I didn’t tell him about it until I was sure it wasn’t a complete failure…)

I’ve never attempted a beard before and really struggled with it. Nothing was working! I eventually realised that I couldn’t handle the structure and colour of the hair simultaneously. By ignoring colour and painting in grey I was finally able to make it work. I used the same strategy for the rest of the hair, which I’ve spent the last three days working on during annual leave. I am so sick of his hair.

One thing that I think has made a difference is Clip Studio Paint. I did not like the program when I first tried it a few years ago but now I absolutely love it. I’ve only ever used Photoshop Elements because it came free with my tablet and Photoshop is too expensive for me (I know nowadays there is a monthly subscription but I don’t use programs frequently enough to justify it). The standard version of Clip Studio Paint is a great price and offers so much more than Photoshop Elements. I wish I had discovered the program earlier. It certainly made squishing his face late in the process much easier.

And here’s some screenshots of my progress from “WTF is this ugly thing?” to “I survived making a thing that looks pretty good”:



Can I Pixel That?

I grew up with pixellated computer games, Super Nintendo, and Game Boy and have always been drawn to the pixel style. I remember one game I would constantly talk to a non playable character just so I could watch the tiny pixel person flick her pixel hair. I love the precision of pixel art – how changing the position of a single pixel can dramatically impact an image and how careful colour selection can create a stunning piece.

I don’t believe that I will ever fully develop my skills to the level of the pixel artists I admire but still I strive to create and to improve. The past few years I have been moving away from pixel art but sometimes over the past few years I’ll look at one of my photos and think to myself: “that’s pretty. I wonder if I can turn it into pixel art?”





One problem I have had with these images is that I focus all my energy on the focal image and then look at the background and think “nope, not attempting that”. So for my latest piece I focused on scenery. It was almost a year ago that I had a mini holiday at the Great Ocean Road and I was struck by the colours. The blues and oranges together were stunning. Of course I had to try and capture it in pixel form! I may have changed a few things but I’m very pleased with my efforts. And it has reminded me of how much I love pixels. I want to keep creating.






This has been in the works for way too long. I had hoped to finish it during annual leave in March but got tonsillitis and spent a lot of time on the couch. I’ve never had tonsillitis before and hope to never have it again. Then I was swept up in a month of dog/house sitting. But finally I have finished and can spend ‘too long’ on something else (except I have no idea what to do next).

This was my first time using Clip Studio Paint since the short class I took last year. It took a long time to get a feel for the brushes. I was getting so frustrated that they wouldn’t do what I wanted. Then somehow it all started to work and now I love the program. It is so much better than my crappy free Photoshop Elements. The program also made editing the picture much easier, which was fortunate as I made a lot of changes throughout the process. Aside from “window” and “purple”, I had no clear idea of what I wanted. And I kept fiddling with the proportions.

I can’t stop staring at it thinking “shit, did I make that?” It really does seem a big step above the last thing I made. How did that happen? I’m been spending less time on digital art, not more. I feel like I should be losing my skills.

This is the pattern I used on the corset. Other images that I used for reference are saved to my Pinterest board.


Digital Painting Class

For the past month I’ve been attending a digital painting class on backgrounds. Four hours over four weeks and only a 20min walk from my house. It cost a bit more than I would like to spend but I’ve really wanted to improve my backgrounds and I’m really amazed that something like this is being held in my outer suburb.

The program we used was Clip Studio Paint. I was hesitant to buy an art program I might never use again so I downloaded the trial version. I didn’t even bother to try and familiarise myself with the program. That was a big mistake!

The teacher went fast. Very fast. I struggled to keep up. I felt like I was out of my depth and didn’t belong there. I felt bad interrupting her to ask where the ruler button was. Then I discovered that the trial version of the program couldn’t do things like copy or save. At that point I gave up trying to keep up and focused on what the teacher was saying.

Back at home I purchased the program and got down work. Following the lesson tasks at my own pace was easy and much more satisfying as I was able to think about my design. Unfortunately, I was overambitious and went a more complicated design than was practical for a beginner.


The second week focused on greyscale lightsourcing.


The third week focused on picking colours using the Yummy colour wheel. To be honest, I tend to ignore colour wheel theory and just go with whatever colour I want. But this class has changed my mind. The teacher recommended a colour theory book by James Gurney and I am eagerly awaiting my copy in the mail.

This week also made realise that my rough sketch was much rougher than it should be and my design far too ambitious to render in a week whilst working full time. It didn’t help


In the final class we were taught how to make our own brushes (for things like trees) and other cool effects, most of which I couldn’t apply to my own picture (partially because my layers are poorly organised). But at this point I hated my picture anyway…


I have no intention of ever finishing this. But I did learn a lot and am keen to keep practicing. Just as soon as I finish the pictures that I’ve had in the works for months…


Bubblegum WIP

Last post was very gloomy so here’s something bright and pink. I’m making some fanart of Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time. It’s so engrossing that I keep forgetting to eat.
I really like seeing fanart based on classic paintings so I thought I’d give it a go. The painting I used is a portrait of EugĂ©nie de Montijo. It’s certainly a challenge to blend in realism with saturated cartoon candy. I foresee a lot of tweaking down the track.