One resignation, seven books and a christmas calendar later

My latest personal piece, a wolf painted just for fun!

It’s been a year since my last post, and I’m finally back.

It took some time to find a way to balance life and work in a healthier way, as I’ve been extremely busy this past year, barely leaving my workstation for months. I’ve finally had some down time this summer, and wow it feels surreal since I’ve been used to work wor work for so long.

I’m pretty sure that burying myself with work has been my way of dealing the the pandemic. Art was the only thing that I could control and it’s been nice to shut the world out and only worry about the next deadline closing in, preventing myself from geittng sucked into some sort of mental darkness.

This somewhat obsessive behaviour of mine has resulted in 7 children’s books already published so far this year, got the opportunity to illustrate this year’s Christmas calendar which is pretty big here in Sweden, and even more freelance gigs. Guess my freelancing career has really taken off, and nedless to say I’m incredibly grateful of that. I promise to share more later on!

Started by skethcing and painting the base in Procreate, but then I moved back to Photoshop for the finishing touches. Comfort zones ;)

I’ve also realized that I’m extremely good at being alone.

I can be social and I’m not so shy, but lately I’ve realized even more how introverted I really am. I’m actually able go full hermit from time to time if I need to, and that turned out to be really beneficial for me last year.

This pandemic has definitely reminded me of how much I love doing things all by myself. I’ve been running my freelancing business on the side for over ten years now while having a creative day job as well. But there has always been something that has felt a bit off. Let’s just say that my freelancing haven’t really been appreciated by some people at my day jobs through out the years. I tried my best to please them but no matter what I did it was never enough, It has finally taken a toll on me. I have a lot to say about this, so I’ll definitely try to collect my thoughts and write some more later.

Here are the steps as well, hopefully you’ll find them helpful.

Anyhow, last fall I finally took a big step as a fulltime freelancer. I’ve been loving it ever since. I love the freedom, I love all the creative space I’ve gained because of going solo. Why haven’t I done this sooner? Haha. Bow that I think of it, it’s probably the biggest change during this past year and I’m sure I’ll write more about this too in an near future. The ups and downs.

In the meantime I hope you’re doing well and I’d like to thank you for sticking around.

Talk to you later!

Something cool that I’m working on, right now

One of the books that’s currently in the making, has finally been announced, and it’s being illustrated by yours truly. This is quite of a surreal opportunity for me, and I’m very happy to be a part of this.

For those of you, who are reading my English version of this blog, I can explain really fast :)

There are these well known children’s books and TV shows in Sweden, that many people from my generation read and watched during 90’s. One story about a boy called “Bert”, and the other one called about a boy called “Sune”. However, they don’t have anything to do with each other, story- wise. These two characters been revamped, mostly through new movies a couple of times through out the years, and they’re still very well known, to this day. That was the short recap.

A fun fact, is that one of the authors, Sören, actually created and wrote the stories about Bert and Sune.

He, Martin and Leif are currently writing a new one together, as we speak, and I’ve been asked to illustrate their new book!

I’m so hyped, you guys!

The work is currently quite intense, and I’m dedicating a large amount of my freelancing hours to this book. Still got plenty of work left on it, but I have a good feeling.

In the meantime though, I can actually show you the jacket art.

Here it is again, plain, without the title.

I rarely paint night scenerey, so this was a nice challenge for me. It has to be colourful, yet not too dark, so that we won’t lose all the details when it goes to print. I think that this will work fine, though.

Look! It’s the very first thumbnails for the cover. So tiny and scribbly!

I often start thumbnailing on some random sheet of paper, with any pen or pencil that I can find. Keeping it super simple.

Some early character explorations

I wanted Luna to look a bit tomboyish, guess that’s just my personal taste when it comes to female characters ;) Not sure whether I can reveal too much of the story quite yet, but I can say that it’s a very special girl with magical ears, hehe.

I sketched three versions, and we went with the first one

I actually like the bottom one too though! But it’s probably, because it reminds me of that music video of that song “Sitting down here” by Lene Marlin. Which by the way, was one of my favorite songs during my teenage years :)

Throwing in some steps for you as well, to show the progress :)

  1. Greyscale sketch
  2. First color pass
  3. Adding more details to the colored sketch. Both line art and coloring.
  4. Starting to render everything, starting with the largest areas, and hiding all the layers with detailss for now.
  5. Adding more and more details and keep tweaking the colors as I work. Flattening all layers, and start with the final polishing on top.
  6. Done!

That’s all for now. This is a large part of my freelance life at the moment. I hang out a lot with Luna, trying to explore her characteristics, and the world she live in. Really trying my best to enrich the story around her, I really hope that I can pull it off.

You’ll probably see more of her, later this year :)

I illustrated the monthly calendar for Kamratposten this year

Had the opportunity to illustrate this year’s calendar for Kamratposten. I think it’s a super fun gig, maybe I should make my own calendar in the future? Perhaps one with foxes? ;)

Here’s the one for July. There’s nothing better than taking a bath in one of the lakes during the hottest(and oh, so rare) summer days in Sweden. Gosh, I’m really longing for when it’s safe to freely stroll around again. Feels like this summer got cancelled.

However, I learned a lot while working on this calendar. Color harmony, especially. Was struggling a bit during last year, while I subconsciously made my illustrations way too saturated. I thought that I had it all figured out, but nope.

Yay for progress pics! Here’s the initial sketsch and the color scheme, that I used as reference.

Then, when I worked on this piece, something just clicked. I slowly learned how to control my colors better, without sweating it. Still not entirely sure, whether I know exactly what I’m doing. But perhaps I could cover this in a future post, once I gain better understanding of it. All i know is that it’s way easier now!

Got 5 more illustrations to show, as I made one for each month. Next one will be posted in the beginning of August :)

When do you consider a painting finished?

How do you consider a painting finished? Got this question a few days ago, and thought that it was a really good question. When are you actually done, and when is it time to drop that brush and move on to a new piece?

Been thinking about this for a while now, and frankly, it’s super hard to give a short, straight answer.

I’m mainly focusing on personal art right now, as client work involves more people than just the artist itself.

In my case, it’s a lot about gut feeling. I continue working on a piece, as long as there are mistakes left to fix. Iike weird proportions, strange colour schemes, annoying details, and so on. Decluttering. I also try to stick to main idea, of what I’d like to say with the piece.

Then one has to know when to let go, before overly detailing the piece. That’s a tricky balance! This part has gotten easier, the older I get. I’ve become better at accepting that I won’t be able to fix everything, all at once. Every painting you make, is a part of a larger picture. Gosh, I know. It’s super cheezy but, it’s true, hehe.

However, this mindset definitely helps me when I paint. When I look at older paintings, I spot flaws everywhere. So many annoying details that I’d like to fix. But, I’ve learned to accepts those mistakes, as beauty spots. Then I keep my fingers crossed, that nobody else will notice them, except me ;)

What are your thoughts on this? When do you consider a painting finished?

Quick tip for sketching: check your shapes, all the time

Thought I could share my thoughts and tips, since my main focus right while I work nowadays, is based on shapes. Maybe some of you would find this helpful too?

Let’s start with this scibbly little fox, that I doodled during one of my coffee breaks. It’s super tiny, and would fit on a post -it.

Here’s how I usually did the line art

I went ahead and created a new empty layer. Then simply drew the lines on top of the scribble. I know many amazing artists who could do this in their sleep, and the line art will turn out perfect every time. Well, I am not one of those artists, hehe… I’m never happy with the line art at this stage. The shapes and roportions aren’t as good as in the initial scribble, and I end up in a never ending loop of fixing mistakes, during the rendering stage.

Instead, I skip this step for now, and focus entirely on the overall silhouette

Here’s what I meant with starting outside, and to work inwards. I correct the shapes, remove tangents, and polish everything until I got something that I really like.

I check my shapes against the scribble all the time, since I already solved lots of things at that stage already.

Allright. Now I have a silhouette that I feel content with, and a nice foundation to start with the actual line art.

Here’s the final line art! Big difference compared to that first attempt.

You can save so much time this way, even though it feels like such an obvious tip. It took me a while before I started connecting the dots. Better late than never!

Here’s a little bonus as well. I enjoyed drawing this fox so much, that I decided to color it. Enjoy!

Hope you found this post helpful! If you have any good tips when making line art, feel free to leave a comment!

Focusing on the shapes

The inspiration for blogging is flooding right now. Writing that recent post seems to have been all that I needed, to spark something again. Gotta stay put, so that I don’t publish 10 posts a day though, haha. I don’t want to spam you guys.

As I mentioned earlier, I got several books in the making. Yes, you read it correctly.

Books.

They will keep me occupied through out the year, and even the beginning of next year.

Oddly, I don’t really feel intimidated by how much work that lies ahead of me. I’m actually quite pumped! I see a huge opportunity to hone in on my skills to sketch smarter. Become faster.

About working smarter

I’ve been struggling a bit with my sketches, and haven’t felt that I was quite at the level that I wanted to be. Besides, are you ever fully satisfied? Probably not. However, the sketching phase has always felt really daunting for me, whenever I’m starting a new project. Thumbnailing is fine, but my line art always felt stiff and kind of dead. I kept fixing all the mistakes, then eventually I ended up with art that still felt rather “blah”.

Something clicked quite recently. Or, at least I leveled up one step. It’s easier said than done, but I think that I’ve FINALLY connected the dots in regards of focusing on the main shapes of my subjects. And since then, sketching has been such a joy! Stop obsessing to find that perfect line, and think bigger. Think about the silhouette. Your taste when it comes to shape language is more important than one may think.

Outside and inwards

Start outside, and work yourself inwards, when refining a sketch. Look for that perfect balance with the shapes you lay down.

So, yeah. I’m very happy. The books will only give me the perfect excuse to sketch a lot, and keep exploring shape language. Those of you who know me, probably know by now, how much I love repetition.

An illustrator in hibernation

Hello, anybody here? Ghah, I promised too much. I keep mentioning that I’ll post more frequently, and once again, the months just fly by. I miss this place though!

Things are quite fine over here, despite all the chaos that came with 2020.

Been distracting myself with playing Animal Crossing every day. I dicsovered it this year, best game ever!

And then, I’ve been working of course. Same old :) Currently working on several children’s books, that I’m super hyped about. Can’t wait to show you once they’re ready! I love drawing story-driven stuff so much.

In the meantime, here’s a cover illustration done for Kamratposten last year. I had the opportunity to work on an article about feeling left out. It’s probably one of my favorite pieces that I made last year.


Talk to you soon. Thanks for sticking around, and feel free to leave a life sign in the comments below!

A little sketch dump inbetween work

Hey! How are things?

This year has been so busy. I’ve been occupied with lots of freelance work, a lot more than last year. I really enjoy it though, and I feel that I’m slowly finding a healthy balance between work and rest.

I take a lot of breaks inbetween work, and lately I allowed myself to fine-tune my cats. And other cute stuff that I’ve found interesting at the moment.

It’s hard, but I think it’s moving forward. I’m using this method a lot.

tiger sketches procreate

Studying photos, our own cats and how my idols solve their designs.

tiger sketches

The goal with my studies? To fine-tune my knowledge of animals further, and find more time efficient ways to draw them. In return, my personal style will hopefully grow with it.

Here are some more recent sketches. These are just directly out of my head.

animals sketches dogs bunnies cats

A mix of stuff :)


Thanks for viewing! Are you practicing anything right now?

Long time no see

Wow, hi.

I’ve missed this place and you so much lately. Thanks for sticking around, despite one and a half year of complete scilence.

Time to revive this place.

Lots have happened since last time I wrote something here.

I could start by showing the jacket art of the latest book I’m currently working on. The remaining illustrations inside the book need to be done very soon, so I better get going. Really looking forward to share everything once it’s published!

Hope that this will do for now :)

Got lots of thoughts and things I’de like to share with you, so let’s do this.

Talk to you soon!

A new painting video is up!

End of the weekend already.
fox sketch digital art photoshop
I’ve felt such urge to color a fox sketch, that’s been collecting dust on my drive for a couple of weeks.

Took me about an hour, maybe. Photoshop. I borrowed the colorscheme from my previous speed painting. I love painting warm lighting so much, I could do this all day.

Oh and I remembered to make a new time lapse for Youtube – feel free to check it out.

Hope you liked it! I’ll have some rest now. Time for evening snacks and watching some TV series.