Thursday, May 30, 2019


Digital collage. This is a bit of an off one, and the first time doing something ALIEN based. I've wanted to a do a Xenomorph collage for awhile, what images I was going to use, or how I was going to go about that was something I was unsure on.

I may have some extra ideas in mind besides this theme, but one night I had thought to myself how a Xenomorph might actually seem less scary if were made of cooked shrimp.

Xenomorphs were based off some combinations of Geiger's nightmarish paintings and some microscopic aquatic life. Making a picture of something resembling one, only entirely made out of shrimp and barnacles was fitting in a way.

The barnacles served as odd tubes on the body, and the nest. Shrimp made up most of the body excluding the mouth which was a selected image of an angler fish. I worked over the base of a Xenomorph statue image to try and get the details accurate.

Warm and cooked shrimp version (left). Raw shrimp version (right).

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Mermay- Tail of Gold

Mermay- Tail of Gold, a gold koi mermaid, inspired by a perfume ad (Glow- Jennifer Lopez). Digital collage, I stuck to using pictures that all had a yellow color to them. Also worked between giving her a fin crown or no crown.

Story(something I just thought up for fun):
Sailors say there's a mermaid in the sea whose tail is made of solid gold. A legend formed that the greedy who sought her would perish to the ocean, but the poor man who chanced to save her and bestowed kindness to living creatures would be granted eternal wealth. She is a mermaid of light.
Sun glow versions.
I played with making the scene larger than 8.5 x 11 in. too. These are 12x12 versions.

Mermay- Mariah Mermaid

Mariah Mermaid.

Digital collage, main element was a Mariah Cary Ulta perfume ad. I made the up close version first, then played around with a vignette.

I chose a fish that seemed to match well with the colors of the sky.
She comes from the sea, and returns to the lighthouse when she sees it glow. A structure by men who walk the land, what do they do in such a strange tower that glows like a deep sea fish? Often she will watch it flash as she wades and lays in the shallows where the sand is soft and the rocks hide her from view. Few would notice the shimmer of her colors when she blends so well with the ocean and the setting sun.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Mermay- Blackwater mermaid

Yin Mermaid

Digital collage, combination of drawn, painted, and photographed imagery. A continuation of mermaid themed digital collage inspired by perfume ads.

Yin, I'm calling her that because her tail came from a painting of koi fish in the shape of yin yang. Yin happens to be the dark female side of yang. 
Like many mermaids she enjoys hoarding and collecting things, but she's much darker than certain others. Her hobby is to collect the bodies of drowned men from sinking or wrecked ships. She then ties them to the gate of her personal sunken ship hide out and watches them deteriorate till there's only bone, sometimes enjoying how fish nibble on them. She keeps their bones as treasures, finding the human skeleton interesting. 

Yin has two white spots on either hip, and her tail often has some blood residue coating it considering where there are ship wrecks there are sharks, and sharks make big red messes.

Main version has no filters. I played further with the two below.
Bloody waters (left). Water overlay (right).

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Mermay- Cokoi mermaids

Cokoi Mermaids

Series of digital collages depicting koi themed mermaids. (basic left, water overlay version right). Cokoi as a name came from combining the name of the perfume combined with the word koi. The white speckled mermaid was made using an image from a Chanel Coco Mademoiselle ad.

I will make a note that none of the images I've used in the mermay series were collected from scans of magazines or fliers. I got the elements for each picture by browsing online.

Mermaids of the big koi pond. The one is much more interested in petting her fish friends, leaving the white speckled mermaid feeling disappointed they're not doing something more interesting. These friends have some tension between them.

I played with different settings for the two mermaids, and gave them both their own spotlight. This is Madam koi and her koi friends. I felt the background helped her stand out more. (Water overlay version-right, it's very subtle).
Koi Mother

Though big in the first version of madam koi, this version shows her as being the same size as a koi fish, a truly little mermaid. She's rather nurturing to the other fish in the pond, her favorite being the bright orange and white one which comes to greet her and be pet.
Pearl Koi Mermaid

Pearl koi seems like a pure mermaid, but she grows impatient of guarding the magic pearl of the pond. (Water overlay version- right).
Reef Perfume

Since all of the mermaids were derived from perfume ads, I decided to makes a silly perfume ad of my own with pearl koi as a promoter. Reef perfume, by Shelly. 

Mermay-Stripeba Mermaid

Without water overlay.

Stripeba, the striped bass mermaid. A digital collage merging together several kinds of elements and again using a perfume ad for the mermaid.

I liked the colors of the striped bass picture, it seemed to match. Stripeba is a combination name of striped bass. She's a mischievous mermaid who liked to hang out in the coral reefs and play games of tag, sometimes daring others to catch her and giving them a chance by placing her hands on the racing rock, the meet up point for tag.

I couldn't decide whether I liked her more with or without pearls, so I made both. The first version is basic without any overlay filters.
With water overlay.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Mermay-Little Mermaid

Little mermaid- "My secret collection, my favorite statue. Oh dear prince, how I worship your FEET."

First picture for the theme #Mermay. I had mentioned before how I wanted to make some digital collage and remembered that the theme of this month was mermaids. Mermaids fit the theme of the following months too for the summer.

The little mermaid was the first thing I wanted to try since there was this perfect perfume ad that inspired it. I tried to stick to making it as collage like as I could and didn't add shading or anything, just cut and paste pictures, resized a few things.

For a digital collage I'm pretty happy with it. I did make some adjustments to the guy since I wanted him to be a statue. That required a few filters in PSE, but in the end an adjusted image could be printed out and used to make a paper collage.

I tried to think of what all to put in the treasure trove, and stuck to coins, chests, pearls, bottles, forks, mirrors, bowls, and cups. The statue is her favorite thing obviously.
I added a seaweed shawl to hide some lettering on the cut outs.

There are two versions, one without a water effect (left) and one with a water effect (right). I don't know which one I like better, but a water effect makes more sense despite the fact that effect wouldn't have been achievable if it were a paper collage.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Mermay Month

This is an introduction for posts to follow. I had almost forgotten that the theme that has gone around for this month is for mermaids, hence the name Mermay.

After a long process of going through my flier images and scanning them for later use, I had to come to terms with skipping doing most of that work and continue purging them till there's nothing left.

I like the charm of real collage, something not entirely seamless or clear, but I'm discovering that paper products from my area are contaminated before they ever reach the kitchen table. Flier bags and newspapers seems to sit around outside just long enough that a mold in the air takes residents on them and doesn't go away.

It can cause itching and tickles, which means I can't use clip art selected from fliers to make actual collage spreads or for just making a journal page with a few elements. I now realize that unless I print my own elements or get a magazine I know is absolutely new and hasn't been sitting outside, I can't make real collage without facing the issue of mold spores.

This realization lead me to researching the images I tend to collect for collage and see what I could find online. Though it seems to lack a certain charm, digital collage is the cleanest and easiest form of collage I can do at the moment.
During my search I was delighted to find so many of the flier images I gravitate towards available online, and so much more to play with too. Some things I know are royalty free if they're old, while others aren't, but regardless I wasn't planning on selling pictures made from the images that give me ideas. I'm more about embracing ideas and making digital collages that fuel my creative drive.

The main pictures that have given me many ideas for mermaids are perfume ads. The more I looked at perfume ads, the more ideas I've gotten, and I started exploring digital collage again trying to figure out how to make it look like a real collage, something not so perfect.

I realized that digital collage is technically what every person using photoshop is doing, putting together images to make a new image. Some call it photo manipulation, others just call it photoshopping.

I had decided I wanted to make mermaid collages using perfume ads as inspiration. Later after making several I saw the ad above of a mermaid and perfume. Not a new idea, but I was interested in seeing an advertisement that combined images together to promote a perfume. I saved it as a reminder that that image is probably somewhat of a digital collage, I think the only difference is that when you're trying to make everything blend you add shadows where there originally were none.

So how do you make a digital collage look more like an imperfect real collage. It's a question I've asked myself for awhile, and I think I may have found a few ways of getting closer to making something look less digital.

Step 1: Using scanned images works because the paper texture is already there and the digital collage will look like its made of real material. When working digitally the one thing to remember is not to add shadows or use too many filters than you normally wouldn't have access to when making a paper collage.

Step 2: When using perfect digital images, they have no grain or paper fraying. When you cut out an image for real it will generally have a white edge since the image is ink that's printed on top of white paper. To get that look don't try to be too perfect in cutting out your picture digitally. It's possible to get every last little spot using an eraser tool, but in real life those ever so small spots in an image are generally too hard to cut out or will be imperfect even if you do cut out some of the background.

Step 3: Paste your imperfectly selected image onto a white backdrop, merge it with the white and use the wand tool to cut it out again.This will leave an ever so slight white edge. You would only need to do this for some details, the white edge isn't always noticeable on every element you glue down in a real collage.

Step 4: Use a grain filter (access- filter, texture, grain). Using a grain filter on select pieces, changing up the grain size, or even applying it to the entire image as one particle size will give you just enough of a real paper look to make it seem less perfect. When you scan an actual collage there tends to be a graininess to it, the look of different sized images on different kinds of paper with different bleeds of ink have a fuzzy look to them.

Step 5: Finally, use a texture overlay and put it to multiply to create the look of glue bubbles. You don't actually want to have glue bubbles in a real collage, but glue still kind of expands and may create a somewhat lumpy surface on certain thinner papers even when dry. To get that look you can use a white image of paint bubbles on a wall to get that somewhat lumpy look, like bubbled paper.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Lotus Symmetry

During a sketch dump in Firealpaca using the symmetry brush, I was surprised to suddenly find myself drawing Lotus from Warframe. At first it was unintentional, a sketch I made had a shape to it that reminded me of Lotus, and then I added some extra features to bring out the idea. 

the second attempt was done purposely, and at first was just the top half resembling Lotus partially, but not completely the same to the actual design of her character from the game. I added to the bust I had drawn by merging another symmetry sketch I had done of an armored torso. Both examples shown above and left.

I didn't use the full armor design at first, I only selected the lower part. I was liking the more elegant upper body of the first design.

Once I was satisfied with the outline, I started on making some different variations of an illustration. I used gradients for the background, some selected wispy brush designs, painted under the outline and hoped for the best. 

A small fact, the gold details on the lower sleeves of Lotus are actually from a new set of dot letters I drew myself, and used a site called Calligraphr to make my own text. I found the text was better as a texture, not as something readable. I really like it. Details and line work were tweaked along the way.

I experimented with different looks for the poster. The main one was with the fully outlined and detailed Lotus on a gradient background of contrasting neon purple shades. I used some selected fantasy brushes to make the wisps, then played around with adding a circular frame behind Lotus.

There are two kinds of backgrounds, one with a neon glow in a diamond shape, the other a basic flat gradient that goes from light to dark (shown right).

I also played around with overlay and color burn options of Lotus on the two different backgrounds. The results of these two might just be my favorites. 
They have a more atmospheric feel, like you're on Lotus's ship, walking down that big, spooky hallway to her throne room.

The second versions of the poster are of just the color without outlines, and the form was kept as is instead of slightly stretched to make it taller.

I played with a diamond shape as a frame for the painted version.

Last design is of Lotus in armor. I decided to fully merge the outlines I had shown at the beginning. I actually think this design might be pretty cool in more detail. It might be on my idea list of fashion design sometime.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Pearllight Plasma Signs

To mark my birthday, I decided to make a quick painting of Pearllight. My character grows with me, we're one of the same. She's existed for nearly 13 years and I've been around for two and a half decades. Here's to the magical memories of being me, of being Pearllight.

I experimented with light gray or a semi golden backdrop. I settled with the light gray as the official one. The style was actually experimental, I've been trying to play with some different brushes and practice lighting.