Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Gleaming Mountain

The fourth piece in my series of watercolors inspired by Tolkien's illustrations.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

House Over Waterfall

A third piece inspired by Tolkien's artwork. This one depicts a plateau with a small house overlooking a gigantic waterfall.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Land of Five Suns

This is another piece inspired by Tolkien's illustrations. I wanted it to be a scene from another planet, though, so I gave it five suns and tried to make the land a bit otherworldly.

Friday, May 8, 2015

River and Mountains

Few are aware that J. R. R. Tolkien was as great an artist as a writer. His art is incredibly inspiring. It inspired me to paint this piece.

This is the first of a new series of mine of paintings inspired by Tolkien's drawings and paintings. This piece is called River and Mountains.

If you're not familiar with Tolkien's visual art, go check out my Pinterest board of his illustrations to learn more.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Flowers and a Blue Potato

There's a really nice illustration by Chris Foss that I've been particularly inspired by: the cover art for Philip K. Dick's A Handful of Darkness. I'm a bit obsessed with that piece. I've created a few tributes to it involving rainbows shooting out of the asteroid.

Here I've painted yet another tribute. This version has flowers instead of an explosion, and the asteroid is actually a blue potato.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hand Lettering for Two Scoops 1.8

I've been doing hand lettering for a long time as a side hobby. You might have seen some of my lettering before, including the famous Pyladies script logo.

For the entire Two Scoops of Django series, I've worked first in pen and ink. This gives the letters a slightly wobbly feel. 

My hands are not very steady due to years of carpal tunnel, so I hold my right arm with my left hand as I draw the letters with a pen. If I don't do this, the lines really go all over the place.

Drawing lines with a ruler helps, but it can sometimes make the letters look a bit too regular. Here's the non-ruler version.

I also experimented with a calligraphy lettering style, but I didn't use it in the end because block lettering tends to be more legible than script. Here is a sample that I did with a brush pen.

The nice thing about mixing pen-and-ink with digital graphics is that it's easy to mix and match different kinds of lettering. In the end, the final piece was a composite SVG of many separate vector-traced pieces of lettering and illustration.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Early Watercolor of the Two Scoops 1.8 Cover

Here's an earlier snapshot of a work-in-progress version of the Two Scoops of Django 1.8 book cover. This one was a watercolor painting.

In this variation, I opted for less distinctive lettering in order to focus the viewer's attention on the surrounding plants.

The black strokes aren't pen-and-ink here, although the original was. At this point I had vectorized the line drawings in Inkscape, and this was a printout on white cardstock.

I wanted to post this and other in-progress artwork sooner! But I didn't want to spoil the surprise. More in-progress Two Scoops 1.8 art to come.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Cover Art for Two Scoops of Django 1.8

Here's the cover illustration for our latest book, Two Scoops of Django: Best Practices for Django 1.8. It depicts vines growing ice cream cones.

I did the cover by hand with pen and ink, scanning and converting my drawings to vector art and then coloring them digitally. For all the digital work, I used Inkscape.

The colors stand out on tablets quite nicely.

I also did the 50+ interior illustrations and wrote half the book. I'll be posting more about the art in the coming weeks.

The early release PDF is now available here: http://twoscoopspress.org/products/two-scoops-of-django-1-8