Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Illustration Friday-Mail

Here was my image for the topic. This is oils on illustration board. Working on movement and expression. Fun to do.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Illustration Friday: Mail

Will wonders never cease, I have something to critique!! Ha ha. Anyway, I did this sketch for Illustration Friday but want to paint it (hopefully digitally if I can figure all that out) and would love some pointers on anything it might need.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

If - Topic Phenomenon

I did this recently and put it up on the Illustration Friday blog for the topic, phenomenon. This was done in oils on board. I love painting people and animals so this was a lot of fun.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

...And another update! Also, great illustration tips series link.

It's about time I checked in here as well... I feel bad for my prolonged absence! Anyway, I wanted to share this in case anyone here doesn't follow Holli Conger's blog -- she's doing an "Illustration Tips" series every day this month of December and it's really good so far:


Since getting married in June, my husband and I sold our house and moved across the country to South Dakota! It's been some crazy months, heheh. Oh yes, and I took my husband's name so I'm in the process of re-inventing my art business under Carmen Medlin now instead of Carmen Keys. (Which means my portfolio website has changed to www.carmenmedlin.com!) It just felt better to me to do it that way, even though I know I have to re-market. Hopefully I've made it relatively easy to still find me if searching for my maiden name.
Most of the artwork I've been doing these days has been for licensing or commissions, so I haven't had much to critique lately. I'm not used to not being able to show very much work publicly, at least before it is released. I'm starting to look at doing more and more work digitally, especially since my husband just gave me Painter for a surprise (yay!). I have already transitioned into digital for the licensing work I'm doing and it's really helped with the revisions and such. Now, to learn how to use Painter for my other children's illustrations! I feel optimistic about the new direction and really getting my feet wet working with an art director.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Hi guys, I keep thinking I am going to get more together and get some more samples posted in here and I do have some for the private blog coming very soon...I swear it. LOL

We moved not too long ago (it has been a few months already) and I started a new business in May and I feel like I have been sinking ever since. LOL Mostly in a good way, but my illustrations have turned into portrait-style stamps and not so much into finished illustrations that I would be proud to post. It is quite a dilemnia.

I do have a book coming out soon...or so they say. LOL
Here is the link to Oogle Flip.

Here are some line drawings that have a tiny bit of action, but I need more if I am going to try to get published some more..... LOL  I just haven't had any real finished color work now for almost 6 months, so this is what I have to share...happy to take thoughts on them though. :)

Here are two colored pieces I made just for fun...They are both done digitally in PS.

Thanks for any comments or suggestions. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bobble head

I've been sitting on this for 2-3 weeks now. It started out as an excercise where I don't think ahead and I just draw, but as usual I started overthinking, and ended up experimenting with textures using soft pastels and a brush...And that's where I got stuck because afterwards, it was as if I woke up from a trance and said, "Oh, where was I going with this?" I'm sure you know the feeling :)

Close-up so you can see the brushwork.

I'm not feeling the blue on our right side of her face, but now that I'm looking at a picture of my drawing (and it doesn't look too bad), I have some ideas about where to go.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My NEW book ships tomorrow

So after the success of my first book, Drawing Animals With Numbers I was able to use the money I made on that book to print Drawing Monsters With Letters. I am really excited about this book. After learning so much about self publishing I was able to loosen up and have more fun with this book. The other nice thing was getting orders for the book a month before it came out. People really liked the first book and that only makes it easier to sell the next book. I have had a blast promoting the books all over the Mid West and talking to so many kids and sharing my love of drawing with them.

My iPad drawings

I created these on my iPad in Sketchbook Pro on Thanksgiving Day.
The iPad is not an easy thing to draw on. It's like drawing on glass with a marshmallow tipped pencil. But Sketchbook Pro is the bomb! For iPad it works great and on my computer it's the closest thing to drawing on paper.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

staying fresh

i painted this gal before (you can see the acrylic version on my personal blog) but wanted to see how she would look utilizing some of the more gestural painting techniques i've been employing lately. its faster, messier, and riskier (for me, anyways) - but i enjoy it!

color continues to be a challenge. i want to get to a point where i'm developing shadows from other hues, rather than the standard darker version of the local color. back to the drawing board!

lions, tigers, and bears...oh my!

the wizard of oz reference in this painting was completely inadvertent but really funny when i made the connection! and, yes, i live in kansas, so maybe its something ingrained...

anyway, here's part 3. i'm currently trying to figure out how to get these three on the mailer. i'm very guilty of not having the card design in mind first, but oh well.

hope everyone had a great thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Illustration Friday Topic-Burning

I just added this image to Illustration Friday's blog for the topic, Burning. This is in oils on a gessoed board.

Friday, November 12, 2010

what's wrong with this turtle?

I went ahead and colored it - and I really like how it turned out!  It might be the bg color and sky that's a little more colorful than my usual blue/white...I think the turtle looks more turtly when done.

I'm working with a writer who's coming up with a concept for the square animals...and she suggested a turtle character, so I thought I'd work one out to add to the list of characters I already have.  I'm still open to suggestions, if you have any things that might make it a stronger character...and now Ill even take color suggestions!
Finished Color

First pass at color

Thursday, November 11, 2010

what could possibly happen next?

one more to painting to go...then it's mailer time yet again! thanks go to steve for suggesting the 3 part illo on the next postcard. any and all crits welcome!

thank a vet today!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Illustration Friday Topic-Afterwards

I just submitted this image for the Illustration Friday Topic of Afterwards.

Monday, November 1, 2010

gesture painting (oil)

so i'm delving further into the realm of gesture painting. rules of the game? pick a portrait, landscape, or still life and paint as much as you can in 30 minutes. i'm impressed with how quickly the time goes and how tempting it is to keep painting even when the timer says, "stop." also, no predrawing - just a quick painted sketch and then block in color like a madman!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Woah, guys! Easy...don't critique this one!

Here's the cover for my first children's book! It's at the printers as we speak!
It's a really great story about a lazy dog who learns to get fit from an energetic elephant. I like that the story fits a niche market - we see lots in the news about kids needing to be more active and I have great hopes that this book will find its way into many school libraries.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

what do you give a guy who can't fly for his birthday?

here's the latest. i found myself wanting more animals in the portfolio, so went this route. feels unfinished to me so i'm happy to get input on what you think it may be missing.
(oil on illustration board)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Santa Panda's Sleigh

Now don't pay too much attention to the color, I actually did each of the reindeer on it's own layer in illustrator so that way, once it's colored, I could still move them around and even use each deer individually, if I want to...

But composition - whatcha think?  Oh, and the blue ones for the reins are all very simply done and aren't finished...

This is the same thing with better color:

I think the trees will be a little more green with snow on top...I'm working on putting a sort of square feel to everything (even the trees and bushes), so each drawing I do will probably have a different bg look, while I try out different looks (for the different bg elements).

And this is it in Photoshop with all the revisions but without texture and fully rendered color:
nuts...I just noticed an ear tangent...

And here's the final illustration:

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

its all about the garnish!

watch out! BEAR! ...making dessert... carefully.

Monday, August 30, 2010

can you pickle a star?

well, here it is...oil on canvas. i finished last week and am working on making it into a postcard today. i like how it ended up and decided to make it my next mailer. here's to finding a big-time publisher to fulfill my dreams! :)

hope all is well with everybody!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Squaremania - title page

So I have a couple of variations - any thoughts?  I think it's done, but I would like suggestions on which one is stronger...

The last two are pretty much the same, but the title is a different color...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

something borrowed...and something original...

I did the copycat picture (above) from "The Frog Prince Continued" (illo by Steve Johnson/words by Scieszka). This one was a challenge to copy because the reference was tiny. If you have Salisbury's "Illustrating Children's Books" you can find this image on page 17. The reference was about 3" X 4" which I exploded out to around 9" X 12". For the life of me, I couldn't mix turquoise for her dress...amazingly frustrating. Anyone know how to get a bright saturated turquoise from the old palette? Probably would be easiest from the tube, I guess...

I can't resist the urge to do something of my own lately, so I'm cheating on my plan a bit here. This one is for IF (Illustration Friday). The topic is "star gazing." I spent some time mulling it over and came up with the the notion of having some weird alien smitten by our local star...and just enough so that it decides to jar it up and take it home. Those surrounding circles are the planets and there will be a pretty developed asteroid belt and nebula in the background. Its early to post, but what the heck...I'll never meet the Friday deadline anyways. This will be my largest oil painting yet (14" X 15"). I hope to refine it to great detail. See anything major needing refinement?

I have about 3 paintings going at once now. Thanks to Isaac for suggesting multiple works...that's a great solution.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shy Monster

I never know what to title my art. I hate trying to come up with new names for illustrations so let me know if you have a better name for this piece.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

peter paul rubens...

oil on paper
Selection from "St. Ambrose and Emperor Theodosius" (a MUCH larger work)
Peter Paul Rubens

I'm still amazed at the youtube oil painters who work alla prima. For example, this guy...


It takes lots of confidence to lay in the proper colors on the first stroke like Greg Manchess. Practice, practice, practice.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Hi there folks,

This is an illustration I'm working on - it's going to be the title page or whatever (the front image?) that I'm going to be sending to licensing agents (and, if they all say no, then to potential licensees)...any thoughts?  Obviously it needs color - and I'm thinking that the blocks with the letters in them are going to need lines (as they kind of stand out for not having lines while everything else does)...

Friday, August 13, 2010


This was posted on the illustration board I'm on and if you are a fan of David Weisner as I am you'll enjoy! _http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuIsAIKiNgY_

Monday, August 9, 2010

My book's video trailer

Just thought I'd share.

Smoky and the Feast of Mabon

Still working on goaty pirates.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Feed back appreciated

Just finished this piece and would like to hear some comments. Good or bad.

to license or what...?

So I've been researching licensing all week long - thanks to some links from Patti I've had quite a lot to go through.  My first try will be to find a licensing agent (I have a list of 3 of my dream choices, followed by 3 or 4 second tier ones...and then a bunch of 'if I can't find anything better' types)...and go from there.  If the agent doesn't work, then I'll attempt to license them myself and if I have any success with that, then I'll reattempt to contact an agent.

But going into this I have a prominent animation producer who says he likes the characters so much he 'wants to eat them up' and the president of nickelodeon said they were a breath of fresh air.  So I'm going to be overusing those two quotes as much as possible until someone of prominence sees these and does something financially fantastic (for me) with them.

At least that's the idea...

I'm still putting together a title page and a little blurb about them...so those are the final hurdles...I should be finished with it in the next week and a half or so...and then I'll be casting it out and we'll see if I have any bites...

Landscape study

Just finished my landscape study, focusing on color matching/mixing.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


color study
oil on paper
from "Ichabod Crane" (N. Rockwell)

Here's my latest copy. Rockwell is no easy guy to copy...there are such complexities in the way he uses color. I find myself wanting to work bigger and bigger (mine is about 11 X 11 inches - I'm sure Rockwell's was much larger) to accommodate all the details. Its hard to match all those colors when my smallest brush is still too big. Oh well, it was still fun to develop. The likeness to the actual/original is not that close again.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

another cat and dog drawing

I don't know if you remember me posting a picture of the cat and dog in the trunk as a plane flying marshmallows towards the sun...well that was their imagination - and this is the reality.  I finally got around to drawing and coloring it.

alla prima #2

Here's my second alla prima, with more emphasis on accuracy. I'm still learning on the colors and will probably be making one of those color referencing gadgets (basically a black and white card with a hole punched out) to reference color more accurately. There were so many tints shades of blue and green in this one that I started to get lost! I'd say total time was near 3 hours.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Promo Postcard pencil

Comments, suggestions and gentle criticism welcome.