First freelance gig of the year

Let’s do this. Started the day with coffee in my favorite cup, the one with blue clovers on it. And warmed up with a sketch I’ve been working on to save for something fun later. I’ll never stop loving drawing our pets. My head explodes with ideas whenever I look at these cuties.

sketch by Andrea Femerstrand

hope you had a fantastic New Years eve! Ready to take on 2018? I know I am, pretty excited actually. Got some goals I’m planning to present to you in a bit, and this time I’m gonna accomplish them.

Plus. I already landed my first freelance gig of the year. I’m gonna illustrate a new children’s book. Joy! Already read some of the script, and really liked it. Can’t wait to show you the final result later this spring. Gotta keep it as a secret until then ;)

sketch freelance gig

Allright. I know what you’re thinking

I blamed my busy year on freelancing not so long ago. And you’re probably sick of me repeating “this time will be different” over and over again.

I giggle nervously, while you roll your eyes at me. We know the drill ;)

But! I really want to try harder now, to find the right balance. It’s so easy to fall for tempting offers, and accidentally say “yes” to too many things at the same time. Is it even possible to master the skill to estimate properly, or is all hope lost already? There has to be a way :D

Zimba ipad procreate

Today is a good day though. There’s plenty of time to snuggle up and sketch. I’m gonna continue reading the rest of the script, and start sketching for the book, while juggling a clingy kitteh(Zimba has decided to move in underneath my shirt today…) See if I can find a nice audiobook to have running in the background. Dang, I really love doing this after all. 


How do manage balancing work and life?

My successes and setbacks in 2017

The year is coming to an end. So what has happened?
It feels like the shortest year ever. I mostly remember endless cups of coffee, back pain, lack of sleep and some frustration. It has not been only misery though, that’s for sure.

Let’s have a look at the setbacks real quick

Well. My biggest one this year that I haven’t been straight enough with myself. I fell into the freelance swamp. In general, there were endless projects, contracts that you never saw, misunderstandings, and so on. I’ve learned a few lessons. This forced me to drop everything else around me, which made me lose focus. My personal projects, like this blog, my youtube channel and my own art had to suffer.

That was enough. I’m going to be very strict from now on. Especially regarding my own terms and conditions. I’m going to start working on my own contract, and take help from lawyers. It should be super clear, and measurable. Everything that will make both parties happy and protected. Freelancing should be pleasant and fair for both sides, and that’s totally something I’m going to aim for in 2018.

And now, here’s some of my successes in 2017

3Dtotal books

Got published in two new books

This year I had the great opportunity to work with 3Dtotal, on their two new books that got released this year. I contributed with two articles, one for each. The books turned out awesome, so pretty! I feel very honored and humbled to be among such great artists. Some of them already familiar, and a bunch who I just discovered.

  • Character Design Quarterly – Vol 2
    I wrote about my approach on how I would design a guilty dog. Had a blast working on it, especially when I researched videos of dogs doing naughty things. Gosh they’re so cute, it’s hard not to laugh.
  • Mythical Beasts
    Among all the beasts, I got the chance to do my interpretation of the werewolf. Showing a bit of my workflow. It was quite a challenge, yet lots of fun!

I’ve been teaching

This year I’ve been both talking, and mentoring. Really enjoyed it, and I hope to get more opportunities next year. Even though public speaking is not my strongest side, I still feel motivated to learn how to do good talks. Imagine how cool it would feel to get rid of that stage fright, and actually enjoy standing on a stage. I’m so happy I said yes when I got the offer.

One of my videos went somewhat viral

Suddenly, earlier this spring, my inbox started to get flooded with notifications. People started commenting like crazy on one of my videos. The one above to be exact. It had a couple of thousand views, then suddenly spiked up to 30k within a few hours. Today, as we speak, it got over 400k views and still counting. Whoah. Thank you so much. At the same time, it’s been so frustrating not having time to make new ones. I’m currently planning to producing videos again, so it’s good to know that many of you appreciate my tutorials and walk throughs :) Can’t wait until I can start uploading again.

Give a warm welcome to our new bunny

This little cutie moved in last summer. I’ve always had a soft spot for bunnies, as I had one as a kid. Been thinking about getting one again, so when I got asked if I wanted to adopt Pärlan(means “The Pearl” in Swedish), I couldn’t resist. And I haven’t regret it :) Now we have two cats and one bunny at home. She’s a free range bunny, and roams in the living room. I let her hop around as she pleases, and she comes to us by herself for cuddles. Zimba is jealous of course but they get along most of the time. He will always be my number one though, or else he’ll have a nervous breakdown or something ;D

From fulltime to part time

This was probably the best decision so far. Last spring I got an opportunity for a new job, where they let me work part time. Now I work 3 days a week there, and spend the rest of the time on freelancing or personal stuff. Working from home. This lifestyle fits a social introvert like me perfectly. Being both available and productive has always been a real challenge for me. How do people do it? There’s been a huge difference these past months in my workflow, thanks to space I’ve been given. I’m a lot happier and effective. Life is good. Hope this way of working gets normalized and socially accepted in the future, I think everyone can benefit from it long term.

Despite 2017 being so busy, I still feel that it’s has been a great one. I’ve grown even more as a person, and learned a lot. Here’s to 2018, I think it’s gonna be fun. Won’t aim too high though, as I barely fulfilled any of the goals I had for this year ;)


That was it, how has your 2017 been?

Christmas coziness and Procreate love

Happy Holidays!

Hope you had a nice and cozy Christmas. Spending quality time with your loved ones, and bingeing yummy food until you pass out, all warm and fuzzy. I’m slowly coming back to reality. Feels like I’ve been hibernating, and despite a cold from hell, things have been just perfect. I’m currently finishing the last bits of christmas snacks and beverage. Slacker style.

Procreate sketch by Noukah

A date with Procreate

I’m so happy right now, got the best christmas gift ever from D. The Apple Pencil, so I can borrow his iPad for drawing. I’m really impressed I must say! Been lying on the couch, while constantly blowing my nose, playing around in Procreate. Insane, how much it reminds you of Photoshop. It has all the features I usually want when I paint digitally. Some of you may know that I’m not an easy person to convince when it comes to styluses. But this time. Wow, my mind is blown. Painted this foxy while getting familiar with all the functions, plus, I love the neat feature that lets you record your painting process. Sure, there’s still a long way to go before this replaces a descent computer, but just being able to casually sit here, scribbling down ideas feels amazing.

“The christmas tree will tip over”

Oh by the way! This is the first time ever that we have an actual full size Christmas tree. We’ve had a tiny one before, that we had to place somewhere high, due to curious cats. But this year, we thought “Let’s go wild!” and get a real one! Sure it’s plastic, but still ;) Anyway, we prepared ourselves mentally, imagining all the broken decoration we’ll have to clean up. All the frustration and f-words when the Christmas tree tips over for the 187265th time, and so on.

And guess what. The tree has been untouched ever wince we got it. All the worrying for nothing. Our pets have been little angels.

I’m planning to kickstart again tomorrow. I feel well enough to take care of the last stuff before the new year. I still need to post a summary of this year, so I can move on to the best part – planning for 2018. I’m really excited.

 

Wishing you all the best, talk to you soon 

Had a workshop at Futuregames

Painted this little fox during a lecture earlier in November.

Feels so awesome. Had this presentation and painting demo at Futuregames here in Stockholm a few weeks ago. It’s a school that focuses 2D, 3D and Game Design.

If you remember my goals for 2017, you may have remembered that I wanted to get better at public speaking. So when I got this offer, the timing was perfect. It felt scary as hell, of course. But I mean, the year was ending. I just HAD to do this.

I barely slept the night before, my heart just kept beating super hard. Total fight or flight mode. I had prepared my self to the teeth, wanted to be clear and deliver something good. Damn, I’m such a hopeless control freak.

Eventually, the lecture went awesome. I had such a fun time, felt like I talked for 20 minutes, but I think I kept demoing for about 3 hours.
I talked a bit about my professional background, showcased some work I’ve done through out these years, and talked a bit about why there’s mostly personal art into my portfolio. I could cover this part in another post later on, if somebody is curious about that part :)

Some steps of my fox painting

  1. Line art
  2. Block in local colors
  3. Add light, shadows, and some reflective light(perhaps from the sky)
  4. Final polish

Something has happened lately. I think that I’ve stepped up my game a bit. This painting went surprisingly fast to make, compared to before. Think that I’ve found new ways in my workflow that has made me work even smarter, instead of harder. I can relax more, and just trust the process. Feels fantastic, actually!

I can get back to talking about my current workflow as well, as it seems that I tweak it for every year :)

And speaking of lectures. Wouldn’t it be awesome to become really pro at public speaking? I’m gonna look for some courses in 2018, I wanna improve and gain those skills. One more step towards crushing that stage fear for good.


Thanks again Futuregames, for having me!

Where did I go?

Yeah, in my face. Anyone remembering what I said at the beginning of this year? That I would do less freelance, and focus mor on personal projects? Yes?

Well, guess why I’ve been silent for the past months. Yup. I’ve been stuck with freelancing. Every time I think for myself: “Never again!” But chanches, are that I will end up there again. Swamped with tons of work. I never learn.

This is pretty much what my days has been like. Me crunching away in my corner of the bedroom, having deadlines breathing down my neck with a clingy Zimba on my shoulders. Been consuming lots of coffe, and have binged all my favorite TV shows in the background while painting.
I wrapped up the last gig maybe two weeks ago, and I still barely get that I actually have quality time for myself now! Wow. Now what?

Time to plan 2018

I want to revive my Youtube channel, stuff this blog with tons of new posts, spend as much time as possible on my personal projects(childrens books? Graphic novels? I got ideas for stories, but haven’t decided on which format yet..)

But first I’d like to make some recaps about things that has been going on lately. And write some goals for 2018. Trying to make them eh.. More realistic this time(having possible future freelance gigs in mind).

Something else that’s new – I’ve decided to start blogging in Swedish as well. Again. The reason for that is simply so comforting to write in your own language as well(well technically I’m Hungarian, but use Swedish the most since I live here). I have followers from all over the world, which is very humbling and awesome. It’s just that it would be fun to also discuss Digital Art and stuff with fellow Swedes. I know you’re out there, and are just like me. Who love animals and painting in Photoshop. Would be great to also join in on discussions about things happening in Sweden. Well, let’s see :)

Hope I manage to keep posting regularly from now on.


Thanks again, for sticking around.

The making of my Photoshop painting “Moose Crossing”

Oh hai!

Sorry for my absence, usually I don’t have any good excuses other than life. I haven’t been slacking, I promise ;)

Been busy at my daytime job at King, writing articles for Shutterstock (which I’m really excited about! I’ll keep you updated :) ), planning new videos, and having a toe surgery(ouch). I’m slowly getting back on track.

I just finished another painting, I’m really into the Scandinavian theme at the moment. I live in a big city, so I don’t have much access to deep forests and all the magic that comes with them. I’ll just have to try and paint it instead ♡

Some close ups:

It’s based on one of my ink sketches that I made during Inktober 2016

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Juanbi flipped through my sketchbook, and commented on this page with the moose. He really liked the little thumbnail with the fox sitting on top of his back. So I thought “Yeah, what the heck” and made an illustration based on it :)

Made a few iterations before settling with a design. The final sketch ended up like this:

The more I look at the final painting, the stronger urge I get to go further and develop a story around these two little foxes.

What’s their journey?
Where are they going?
Why are they crossing the lake?

Ghah. So many ideas, so little time. Wish I could just sit here all day, develop my own stories and make art along with them. Do it full-time. You gotta dream big :P Maybe one day…

The making of my Photoshop painting “Moose Crossing” in photoshop

I did myself the favor to record a time lapse of this illustration, as a reminder to my future self during the days when I’ll forget how to paint ;) Hope you appreciate it too, and find it helpful! I used the same approach as before: Starting with grayscale, adding a gradient map as an under painting and then started coloring. Gosh, I’m still so happy with how things have finally clicked! :D

Hope you liked this little post :)

Got some more stuff in the loop, such as some thoughts on art vs life that I’ve been thinking about recently, a post about my Photoshop brushes as requested and some life updates. Stay tuned, amigos. If there’s anything else you’d like me to write about, let me know. I’m doing this for You.


Thanks for viewing! 

More on adding color to a grayscale painting + a video

Wohoo, the hype is real! I’m still so excited about all the fresh knowledge that I’ve gained these past weeks. I’m not sure if it’s currently me, or the Red Bull speaking(yeah, I know I keep saying that I’m gonna stay away from that stuff, but it’s my first Red Bull in YEARS, hehhehehehe) I feel like I wanna join Zimba and bounce around in the apartment parkour style. He just discovered rubber bands. You should see him right now, cats are so easily amused. Actually, we’re equally excited.

Because I’ve discovered my own answer to rubber bands!

Yes, I’m talking about me finally figuring out how to add color to a grayscale painting. Like, actually making the colors work. Without turning all dirty and muddy. You probably know what I mean, my fellow digital artist amigo.

Seriously, it blows my mind how fast I can paint now, compared to before.

I love efficiency.
I love figuring out ways to work smarter instead of harder.
Painting without the “pain”. Get it? Pain-ting! Haha oh god Andrea, SHUT UP.

adding color to a grayscale painting

So I posted that tutorial last weekend, which you seem to be appreciating a lot.

THANK YOU!
So many new blog visitors!
WELCOME!

Yeah, thought that I should make some more stuff covering this topic. Give back. I just published a new time lapse where I took the same approach, thought it could be interesting to see. Plus, I can go back during my crappy days and remind myself of how I did it. Win – win!

Adding color to a grayscale painting

On a side note. I know the painting is very New Age, haha! I think that the 11 year old me took over for a moment and art directed me. I loved airbrushed animals, space, dolphins and stuff. WHO DIDN’T LOVE ALL THAT AT? Some of us may still do, hohoho.

Laters, amigos ◠◡◠


Thank you so much for sticking around

A guide on how to color a black and white sketch in Photoshop

My lovely amigos!

I’m so excited! Painted this shiba-wolf-fox wannabe the other day and had a minor break through, I must say. Been making several attempts through the years but whenever I’ve tried it, the colors always seem muddy and boring.

Not this time!

No seriously, I’m so excited. I actually managed to save the steps of this painting so I though that I might share it with you ◠◡◠

I gave this method another shot, after ranting a bit about my recent struggle with one of my latest paintings. And I’ll be damned, it worked this time! Now I wanna tell the whole world what I’ve learned, haha.

How to color a black and white sketch in Photoshop

Shibafoxwolf steps in Photoshop

This painting consists of 8 steps, feel free to try it out:

 1. Line Drawing
Pretty self-explanatory, I would say ◠◡◠ I start with a white background, then create an empty layer on top and draw a little sketch.

2. Black and white sketch
Then I create another layer underneath, block in a huge shape, lock the transparency of the layer and start fleshing it out using dark and light values. Feels so good to be able to focus on one thing at a time!

3. Gradient map
Oh, this was one of the tricks I learned! Create an adjustment layer set to Gradient Map, and create a clipping mask. Pick a suitable color scheme. This will then serve as an underpainting and prevent the colors to seem dirty. Wohoo! Picked it up from one of Stanley Lau’s videos(also known as Artgerm), so creds to him!

4. Color
Now create another layer on top, and add to the clipping mask. Start coloring. Double click the layer and adjust the underlying layer. Make a smoother transition by holding down alt.

Shibafoxwolf steps in Photoshop

5. Overlay
Same thing here. Paint, paint, paint and adjust underlying layer if you want. This layer helps to make your colors even richer.

6. Shadows
When you’re happy with the colors, move on to the shadows. Create another layer, and add to the clipping mask. Set it to “Multiply”. Pick colors and paint them in, on the entire subject(I picked light blue/violet for the white areas and local colors for the rest). Create a mask and start erasing parts where the light is hitting your object or character.

7. Bounce light
Create one more layer set to “Screen” and add to the clipping mask. Pick a dark blue/grey color add it where you think the lights will bounce. I imagined the blue sky to bounce off this little pooch, hence the blue tone.

8. Final touch ups
Create a final layer and finish the painting by adding some details where needed.

And it’s done ◠◡◠

That’s it! Compared to earlier, I managed to slap this together in no time. I’m blown away by how efficient this method is when one has figured it out. Helps you work smarter and not harder. I love it.

Then of course, you still need to know the fundamentals, in order to put down as much information as possible in a short amount of time. I have many miles of brush strokes behind me, hard(and smart) work and repetition pays off in the long run!

One more thing! I’ll post a time lapse video next Tuesday where I use the same approach for that painting I talked about. Stay tuned!


 Cheers! 

◠◡◠

Tip on how to get inspired by your “bad” drawings

 

So far I’ve kept up my promise to publish new videos on a weekly basis, woop woop! I’m so glad that I started doing this, now I’m definitely a few steps closer to beat my stage fear for good. Can’t wait until I feel completely relaxed and confident!

This time it’s about bad drawing days, since I’ve been struggling a bit with a current painting that I plan to show a screen recording of next week. It went all nice and smooth in the sketch phase, but then when starting coloring… It went bleh.

Things just felt harder than it has to be, and I felt that I was missing some significant steps towards working as efficient as possible.

I got really discouraged when it got to this stage:

Now what?!

Well, I had a typical bad drawing day. When everything you draw just turns out “ugly”. Well, that’s how it felt anyway. 

Sure, it looks ok, but I just didn’t feel that my approach was efficient enough. I’m always looking for smarter ways to work, since it’s nice when arting  feels effective and relaxing, instead of being painful. I’ll show you an update and talk more about this next week.

Made me think of something though, recording your struggles might actually work as inspiration next time you feel stuck. And that’s what I’m covering in this video below, that also happened to be a painting of a tiger. I’m definitely turning into a crazy cat lady for real!

This painting, as I mention in the video, is definitely one of my all time favorite paintings. It would be awesome to come up with something as fun again. I love silliness!

Oh, and here are some of the drawings that I also talk about:

……

I’m such a jerk.

 


Do you have any tips on how to handle “bad” drawings?

 

Time to turn it up a notch with 100 cats

 

I got some new exciting ideas that involves cats. But one thing bugs me. I’m quite ok at drawing them, but I still feel that hmm.. They’re not quite there yet. I’m especially uncomfortable with my own style. Painted a cat a while back, my kitteh Zimba to be exact. It looked like this:

Oh my gawd. Disaster. I’m uncomfortable as hell when it comes to drawing and painting cats. I think that this one looks like.. A bad Disney imitation? Not sure. Nothing wrong with Disney though! I love Disney. But I’m currently striving for a different, more personal, mature art style as well, if you know what I mean? Combining cute and bubbly with seriousness.  And to widen my artistic library, so I don’t draw them the same way over and over again. But this painting above, ghah. Just nope.

Getting back to basics with 100 cats

In order to solve this minor issue of mine, I’ll have to step up my game big time.

I love setting up personal goals, especially measurable ones. As you may know, it’s not enough to just set “Getting better at blablabla” as a goal. Regarding art, a popular way to get better is to draw 100. Works the same way as putting 10.000 hours into something you want to become good at. So yeah you guessed it! I’m gonna draw 100 cats.

I’ve already started! On my 28th cat so far. At first I thought that could draw 10 cats a day but ehehehehm… Nah. It will take longer than 10 days to finish this challenge. But I’m determent to make it.

Quality over quantity. Gonna be SO worth it!

Some kittehs that I’ve done so far:

 

I’ll do a follow up as soon as I’m done with all 100 ◠◡◠

Here’s a little video that goes along with this post, with some extended talking. Managed to record a time lapse of one of the cats, ha! Tigers count, mjehe. It’s been a while since my latest video, so glad I’m slowly getting back on track with that as well.


What are your current artistic struggles?