Wolf Girl Process

I wanted to continue trying out different techniques for drawing and illustration. This sketch was intended for a tattoo design that I wanted to get done. I may end up getting this put on my leg, it’s only a matter of time ūüėČ

Original sketch in all its messy glory

Okay, so I’m terrible when it comes to drawing symmetrical things. I’ll take shortcuts, or flat out avoid drawing symmetrical things when it comes down to it. I know, practice makes better and if you hate doing something, it usually means you need to practice at it. This time was an exception and I ended up drawing half of the picture. The drawing was scanned into my computer where I haphazardly mirrored it in Manga Studio. At a glance it seems like one whole drawing instead of a mirror lol.

Outlines
Outlines

Using the trusty symmetry tool in Manga Studio, I traced over the sketch using the pencil tool. I usually use the ‘darker pencil’ or ‘mechanical’ pencil so I don’t get lines that are too dark. This step took a couple hours since I focused on the line weights and made sure they all made sense.

Flats
Flats

I created new layers for each color I used and each feature. For instance, I made two separate layers for the whites of her eyes and her irises. If I needed to quickly change the hue of a specific thing I can easily mess around with the layer without worrying about disrupting the rest of the drawing. I ran every layer through different hues, saturation, brightness, and luminosity levels. Once satisfied, I began cell shading the different components of the piece. I actually forgot to grab a snapshot of the cell shading. Once I get started on something I seldom remember to stop for breaks and such.

Final
Final

Tweaked the hues a bit more and added some gradients to the cell shading to give it life. Although her face is basically expressionless lol, there’s still a lot to see when it comes to the overall piece. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out and can’t wait to send it in for printing. My goal it to create enough prints and other merch so I can debut at a convention as an artist. For now, I’m bulking up my portfolio and drawing on a daily basis.


 

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2nd Tattoo Design and Results (WIP)

So I caught the bug and ended up getting a second tattoo some time in February. This one meant a lot to me since it represented my grandmother. I used to live in Thailand with my grandparents when I was younger. We originally lived in the North, near Chiang Mai, but later on moved to the Khon Kaen province. Throughout the years my grandmother¬†called me Nu-Na, which translates to ‘field mouse’ in Thai. I never knew why she gave me that nickname…but I think it’s because I was small and hella brown as a child lol (I kind of sort of still am). She passed a couple years ago but I’, glad I was able to fly back from California to see her one last time in 2013. Every visit back home means the world to me. I’m at my second home with the entire side of my mother’s family. Plus food…omg…so much food.

Sketch of my tattoo design
Sketch of my tattoo design

Since this piece is going to start my whimsical woodland themed sleeve, I wanted it to be a well-rendered illustrative style. I also wanted something that would age well with me so overtly cartoonish, or Disney, styles were definitely out. I took heavy inspiration from a post I saw on Pinterest and adapted it into my design. Also of note, I wanted the mouse to look at me in a bubbly eyed kind of way as if to watch over me as my grandmother would. It wasn’t after I emailed the design to my tattoo artist that I decided to add forget me nots to the piece. You’ll always be in my heart, Grandma <3.

Results. Still in progress, I need to get the rest of the mouse filled in.
Results – still in progress, I need to get the rest of the mouse and flowers filled in. The start of a whimsical woodland themed sleeve ūüôā By – @ireneshiori

I visited the shop where an old buddy of mine from high school works. She’s really great and I highly recommend checking out her instagram (@ireneshiori). Her work is amazing and I swear getting tattooed by her hurt less.

This session took a total of 3 hours with 1 more session remaining. The next session will basically be spent filling in the rest of the mouse and flowers with¬†touch ups here and there. I was afraid I’d ruin the tattoo by going on vacation to Hawaii two weeks after getting it done. Prolonged sun exposure isn’t just bad for your skin, it may also affect the way your tattoo looks. Well, the vacation came and went. Thanks to layers and layers of sun screen, this little guy survived the trip unscathed.

To be honest, I was worried that the lighter colors wouldn’t show so well against my tanned complexion. My last tattoo artist advised against getting lighter, or even cool hues, because of my complexion. According to her, the cooler hues (blues, greens, purples, etc.) would take to my skin but the vibrancy would be muted on account of my tanned complexion. That’s the main reasoning behind the warmer palette for my first tattoo. When I went in to get the mouse tattoo, multiple artists had no issue with putting cooler hues and lighter colors on me.

I understand where the last artist was coming from. Even though the lighting isn’t the greatest, notice the vibrancy of the red berries and the muted colors of the forget me nots? She drilled and drilled away at my arm to pack in the baby blue color of the forget me nots. ¬†The colors are a bit muted but you can see enough of the color once you’re close enough to see what’s going on. Ultimately, I’m ecstatic about how it’s coming out. Can’t wait to book my next appointment with her! ūüôā I’ll post results once everything is nice and done.

Overall time: 3 hours for first session

Pain: The levels of pain and where the pain most occurs is different for everyone. Tattoos hurt, no matter where you get them, but the levels of pain is different for everyone. Most of the tattoo can be described as a 5-6 on a scale of 1-10 for me. The only time it felt like it was becoming unbearable was when she started working on the tail. I’m a pretty bony person and that area sucked. Surprisingly, the leaves and berries by my armpit and clavicle didn’t hurt at all. This makes me want to get a chest piece now ūüôā


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Boots

 

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Was surfing around the internet when a particular pair of boots caught my eye. So… I had to draw it!

Only thing is, the original drawing consists of the entire person which can be seen here…

Boots

I’m not entirely happy with her upper half, if you will, because she’s kind of lifeless.¬†Boots face close up

Slowly but surely lvling up my portrait game


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Aquamarine

Space Rocks

 

Aquamarine evokes the purity of crystalline waters, and the exhilaration and relaxation of the sea. It is calming, soothing, and cleansing, and inspires truth, trust and letting go. In ancient lore, Aquamarine was believed to be the treasure of mermaids, and was used by sailors as a talisman of good luck, fearlessness and protection. It was also considered a stone of eternal youth and happiness. Today it protects all who travel by, over, or near water, and opens the channels of clear and heartfelt communication. Рcrystalvaults.com

 

One of my coworkers at my company brings an assortment of gemstones and minerals in a small pouch to work everyday. I would often see the gemstones scattered around his desk and marveled at the gleam and sparkles. I decided to try my hand at something new with my watercolors. I’m happy with the way this little quickie turned out!


 

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Starfire Sketch

 

Starfire sketchStarfire

A ‘before and after’ shot of the Starfire sketch. Pencils took about 3 hours total with the rather haphazard coloring done in less than¬†an hour. I wanted to keep the flowing energy of her fiery hair so I kept to loose brush strokes and plenty of layers set to different blending modes. Overall I’m happy with the way this neat little exercise came out. I might just go in and render this later on down the road.

More can be found here

 

 

Forget Me Not

Do you ever feel guilty for not using an item that’s been laying around for a while? Whether it’s tools, exercise equipment, electronics, or even art supplies? I’ve been feeling the itch to play around with my tablet recently and ended up creating a simple design. The design consists of simple line work with a contrasting outline and backgrounds.

The raw:

Forget me not raw

Materials used:

  • Mechanical pencil
  • Kuretake watercolor paints
  • Sakura Pigma Micron liner .08

I basically used the materials in this order as well. At first, I lightly sketched out the lines in pencil then followed with layers of watercolor. Kuretake paints are great for layering and has a smooth, matte finish. There are some fancy metallic colors in the set as well! So….shiny *_*. At least it did well in my Moleskine sketchbook which has paper thick enough to prevent my paints from bleeding,¬†but not thick enough to prevent buckling. Still, I was able to scan it to my laptop just fine but with a little bit of buckling. To finish off the sketch I outlined the flowers with my Micron pen and painted the background. The last touch is of course my old stamp I dug up last week.

 

Forget me NOT sil yellow

I didn’t take screenshots of the process, but I basically traced the painting on a new layer in Manga Studio 5, then filled it in on another layer beneath the outline. During the outlining process, I made sure to be as detailed as I could with the pen tool. Then I blacked it all out and erased any trace of my outlining! Not very smart lol. I could leave the flowers as they are now, but I think that if I’m going to just leave the silhouette that I could at least spruce things up a bit. Maybe I’ll leave the idea for another project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forget me not phone case¬†Being that Forget Me Nots are blue, I immediately went in that direction. ¬†The image just needs a little more tweaking ¬†since I’m personally not a fan of hot pink. To make sure I fill in every pixel of the image, I used the marquee tool to once again trace the outline before using the paint bucket to fill it in. I find that using the marquee tool is quicker and neater than using a brush to fill in large spaces. Brushes often leave small streaks of open space and I often spend time going back and cleaning it up later. Now that the flowers and stem are in color, the line work really shows. In retrospect, I really could have used bolder lines, but I was thinking of minimalism the whole time.

 

 

 

 

 

Forget me NOT sil yellow

With ¬†just a little more tweaking I ended up with the colors I liked. The lines pop to me and the bright background doesn’t bother me or make my eyes feel like they’re going to bleed lol. This image is¬†available as a print¬†here¬†and will soon be available on other products here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would it be Worth Dying My Hair Again?

A little backstory…

I used to peruse around the internet for pictures of girls with all sorts of crazy colors in their hair. My favorite to look at were pastels, silvers, reds, and ‘galaxy’ hair which were combinations of darker hues. I have to admit I was suckered into the glam without thinking of what it takes to get to any particular color. Youtube videos, Pinterest boards, and Tumblr feeds all make DIY dye jobs look like a breeze. The girls in the photos or videos seemingly had healthy hair after a rather quick process. In some videos, girls who had jet black hair bleached and dyed it a super bright color within a matter of a few weeks. They would then flaunt and flip their mane while swearing up and down that their hair was still healthy and all that jazz. So I thought, “If their hair looks this good after bleaching and coloring, then I must be in the clear as well.”

I drove to the nearest Sally’s Beauty Supply and bought a few supplies for bleaching hair. With only the knowledge of a few internet resources under my belt, I left the store somewhat confident in my purchase. Once home, I immediately changed into an old shirt and mixed equal parts of the developer and bleach powder. The stench burned my nose and I didn’t want to imagine being surrounded by it once it was on my head. I had a friend help brush the mixture onto my hair. I guess you’re supposed to start at the ends then work your way up, but we did it from root to tip. My friend also scrubbed the bleach mixture into my scalp to really get to the roots-which is probably the reason why my hair hasn’t grown back the same since.

The 30 to 45 minutes of waiting felt like an eternity. When I finally rinsed the bleach out of my hair, I was left with what looked like a golden hen color….only a little more copper. It wasn’t quite the blonde I wanted, so I bleached it again just two weeks later. At that point I figured that was as blonde as I was going to get without completely ruining my hair. I took another trip to Sally’s Beauty Supply and got what I needed to have fire engine red hair. For some reason, red was just the right color to help me slowly transition to more outrageous colors later on.

It was fun having red hair, while it lasted. The bright red color was entirely different from what I was used to, I even had to do double takes when I walked by mirrors. But the reality of having that particular color starting creeping up on me with every discovery I made shortly after.

  1. Stained bathroom. My bathtub, shower walls, sink, an bathroom floor were stained pink for a while because of the dye and red products I used. I bought a couple bottles of shampoo and conditioner that deposited red pigments from Sally’s to prevent the color from fading away. Well, needless to say, it also prevented the color from fading from my bathroom surfaces.
  2. Stained sheets and pillowcases. I ruined a few pillowcases because of my hair dye. Pro tip: Sleep with old pillowcases or fit a ruined shirt over them if you don’t have any pillowcases to spare.
  3. Ruined ends. I don’t care how many Youtubers bleach their own hair with perfect results, home bleaching kits fry your hair. Period. Yes, there is still going to be damage even when a professional bleaches hair. However, the amount of damage and the overall quality makes a huge difference worth shelling out the extra cash for. And at least they’ll clip off the fried ends and not let you walk out with a colorful tumbleweed on your head.

A couple of months later, the red faded to a blondish-pink color. Not a pastel rose-gold color like one would expect, it was more like as if someone threw pink chalk onto a dead bush then proceeded to rub it in. That’s what my hair looked like. I’m not entirely sure why I was so against going to a salon to have it fixed. I guess that’s what happens when you’re young, fairly poor, but still want colored hair lol. My next venture into color involved having royal purple hair. Another trip to Sally’s, more hair products, and yet another bout of stained bathroom surfaces.

At this point my hair simply couldn’t take anymore color due to the sheer amount of damage and prior processing. I actually lost so much hair that I could actually see through my hair to my scalp in some places. That was when I decided I was going to do a hard reset and chop off my hair. I didn’t really have a particular style I wanted to cut it, I just wanted all the damage lengths off so I could begin the healing process.

A quick visit to the salon and I returned home with what was basically a pixie cut. That was the shortest my hair has ever been in my life. It felt strange not having anything touch my neck and shoulders. I could feel every breeze and every piece of material that brushed against the back of my neck. I. hated. it. I love short hair on other people, but I had somewhat long hair my entire life and this was so new to me.

Fast forward a few years comprised of air drying, no processing, and oil treatments. My hair eventually returned to its old luster since I didn’t dry it out as much. Currently it’s resting at my shoulder blades. But…I can feel the old urges of dying my hair again. Especially now that my coworker wants to get our hair colored together. I’m not against dying my hair again, but I am against DIY hair coloring. Losing my hair wasn’t worth it and I probably spent the same amount of money attempting to repair my hair as I would have spent just getting it professionally done.

Now for that galaxy hair…or mermaid hair…whatever. I just want something bright. Oh, my moment of weakness!

Photo: hairchalk.co
Photo: hairchalk.co

 

Designing My First Tattoo

Being a proud owner of ink was something I’ve always wanted since my teenage years. I saw it as a form of self expression, a form of wearing your heart on your sleeves. And to be truthful, I enjoy going against the grain in my own (not so) subtle way. Being my younger-self, I wanted just about everything under the sun tattooed on my flesh.¬†I was deep¬†into the anime, manga, and video game scenes back then and they all had a heavy influence on my tattoo ideas. One day I’d want every Sailor Scouts’ symbols, the next day I’d die for Revy’s tribal shoulder piece, and¬†later¬†on I thought I wanted a giant Shenron scaling down my back.¬†I was young, easily impressionable, but luckily patient enough to wait on a design that would truly age with me.¬†To be honest, I’d probably still get the sailor scouts symbols lol….along with chakras…but that’s for another story.

I started off by searching the internet for ideas and inspirations. I searched through tumblr, pinterest, google images, and other sites for things like, “rose lace”, “lace design”, ” or “dream catcher”. For the most part, I didn’t want to end up with a “cookie cutter” type of design where it looks like another generic flower and rose tattoo….so I decided to draw it myself. I figured it would mean a lot more to me that way since I made the original design.

 

Rose Lace Dreamcatcher Sketch

 

As you can see, I fancy a little lace, so I went with a dream catcher inspired design. It’s in no way an actual dream catcher, I just wanted something to symbolize the catching and letting go of adverse thoughts and emotions. The three roses symbolize myself, my mother, and my younger brother, who are both very dear to me.

The sketch itself took just under an hour due to my indecisiveness regarding size and placement. I ended up getting rid of the feathers and replaced it with a larger “dangle”, as my tattoo artist called it. In the end, I gave the artist full reign of the design. I told her that she can change the style of lace and improve the roses as she sees fit, I just wanted it to resemble the original drawing. She surprised me by saying the sketch was fine and that she wouldn’t change much about it. All the sketch needed was to be cleaned up and detailed a bit more. To be honest, I was smiling like crazy inside. What a compliment!

And now for the process…

After going in for a consultation, estimate, and an appointment booking, I was ready for my first tattoo. I was nervous as hell y’all. Nervous. I did what every sensible person do AFTER booking a tattoo appointment and researched the process. I already knew that getting a tattoo basically involved repeatedly getting stabbed thousands of times by tiny needles…but knowing that didn’t calm my nerves at all.

To be honest, the outline was the easiest and least painful part of the whole process. A lot of people would disagree, but there were some parts of the outlining that I didn’t even feel. Here’s the result.

 

Second session.

Pretty happy so far ūüėÄ Two weeks later, after healing and gross peeling, I was back in the shop for some shading. Okay….on a scale of 1 to 10, black and white shading landed at about 6-7 in pain. Before coloring, she did some preliminary black and white shading to capture the values, or the difference between light and dark. She then went back over the shading with an overlay of color and adjusted hues from there. This part sucked y’all, it really did. Call me a pansy but the tattoo was on a pretty tender area of my body. And it turned out to be pretty damn big considering I’m only 5’2″.

Tattoo begin coloring

The second session took around two hours. I tried sitting as long as I could but the pain became overwhelming once she started packing in the color. My friend who accompanied me said that I began to bleed but that’s to be expected when getting a colored tattoo. Another rescheduling, another healing and gross peeling process, and yet again I’m back in the shop. This time I’m going to finish it off and not bitch out. I think I’ve gained the title “bitch boy” at the shop thanks to my lovely friend.

Third session. Finished…sort of.

tatoo sort of finish

Tada! Here’s the somewhat completed piece. My skin became pretty raw during the last session and it turned out I bled quite a bit. Since I haven’t completely healed from the last session, the tattoo artist told me to wait another 2 to 3 weeks to schedule a touch up. During that time she’ll deepen the flowers and I’m thinking about asking her to fill in the lace with light shading just to tie everything together. The lace as it is sort of looks incomplete and just a little bit of grey filler will add just the right effect!

That’s it for now, will update after touch ups!