Friday, August 9, 2013

King of the Jungle

King of the Jungle

After nearly a year of traveling, hosting company and having my brother diagnosed with cancer, I finally had two weeks to do nothing but take care of myself and indulge in some art!  I started the month with a detox, (my hubby participated as well which made it much easier to stick to) eliminating coffee, tea, sugar, wheat and dairy. Treated myself to a couple of massages to help speed along the removal of toxins. Purchased a juicer, a Vitamix, dehydrator and a bread machine to make my own gluten-free flax-seed bread. All of this was spurred on by my trip this summer to the Pura Vida Spa in Costa Rica (I'll share photos of my trip in the next post). In the five days I spent there with my mom and my friend Phoebe, I ate a high alkaline diet, had body treatments and left feeling rejuvenated and a lightness of being. When I got back, the stress hit when my brother Ryan was diagnosed with a rare form of melanoma (his treatment is over, now it's just "wait and see"). Stress can take a toll, causing one (uh, yea, me) to indulge in sugary mojitos and sweets. Thus, the detox. Detoxing is suppose to clear your mind as well, improving focus and clarity. I took advantage of that and the free time to delve into some digital art, creating my third painting done entirely in Photoshop. 

Lita and I got together for a digital art Saturday a couple of weeks ago and each of us picked something to work on from a Photoshop Creative magazine. I decided on a tutorial by Emerald de Leeuw on painting animal portraits. Here's a tip: when following a tutorial where the skill level is "expert", it's probably a good idea to be an expert at Photoshop. Unfortunately, I am not, nor did I notice the skill level until after I started and got stuck trying to understand what the hell they were trying to tell me to do. I *almost* chucked the whole thing but later that night, at home, I decided to just do it on my own, feeling my way through an array of colors and brushes and applying learned oil painting techniques. 

It took me 10 days, 30 hours and 40 layers. Titled King of the Jungle, here's how I did it.

The first step was to roughly sketch out the lion. This need not be perfect, I just needed to get the placement of the eyes and mouth correct:
My starting sketch
Next, I blocked in colors. I chose a variety of yellows, oranges, deep reds and browns. I also started the eyes right away, figuring if I gave him a soul, he would stare at me and demand I finish him. :-)
Now, I used a smudge tool to blend some of the colors together and then brushed in hair using a smaller brush, also adding more definition to the eyes and mouth:
  
Now I blended all those strokes together using a smudge tool and different soft brushes:


Repeating the two previous steps:



Next it was time to start blending and adding in details:


Next I worked on mouth detail:


Now it was time to get rid of the "teddy-bear" ears by reshaping and continuing the detail work:



Finally added the whiskers and finished off detail work:


Lastly, I adjusted color balance and contrast to my liking:


I even did a version in black and white with selective color:


I could still continue to work on it, smoothing out hair, adding details but I'm pretty happy to call it done! It's come a long way from that sketch!


7 comments:

dinascitywildlife.com said...

Beautiful. Being in retail, I think "what a perfect piece of jewelry that would make." You are really talented.

Laura said...

Thank you so much Dina!

phoebe said...

That is absolutely amazing Laura! I'm blown away by the digital sketch alone...the finished product is just really, really fantastic.
And btw I am always in awe of how you decide that you're going to learn how to do something and you apply yourself and throw everything you've got into it and end up with a wonderful new skill and knowledge. You should be very proud of yourself my friend :)

Laura said...

Aww! Thanks Phoebe! That's so nice of you to say! xo

Nichole Renee said...

Seeing it all come together step by step?

Wow.

You are an amazing artist. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!!

Luke A. Bunker said...

Laura, you are so damn talented! I am so happy that you're doing artsy and blogsy things again! :-)

Destiny said...

Great to see you back on your blog! I hope your brother continues to do well.