Here's the latest piece for Every Day Original! The painting goes up for sale at 10am EST tomorrow (Sunday the 16th). If you've been looking to get your hands on one of my tiny paintings, now is a good time, since I'll be taking a sabbatical from my EDO posting for a few months in order to wrangle some looming deadlines.
For my last piece (until such time as I can return - hopefully soon!) I wanted to give myself a good send-off with a really cool image AND try something a little different process-wise. I've often said that I don't care what color my paintings are, and I really do mean it - I usually feel like most of my pieces are "finished" once the drawing is complete; while the additional layers of color make things pretty to look at, I can tweak the Color Balance sliders for any of my paintings, and get half a dozen new color schemes that I would be equally happy with.
Lately, I've been indulging my love of less saturated colors with my playing card series; I'll admit I was a little insecure setting up my beige-ish display at Spectrum Live amidst all the candy-colored fantasy art, but to my surprise, I got a ton of compliments on my subdued color palette.
With this painting, I wanted to experiment with a painted final that was truer to the initial pencil drawing. To avoid obscuring the graphite & white charcoal, I skipped my usual intermediate watercolor stage, and instead worked directly over the sealed pencil drawing in oils, keeping things as minimal as possible - just a couple of layers of sepia-toned glazing with a few bright highlights painted in.
I really like the end result - no colors to distract from the flow of the line art. I'm dying to try something like this on a larger scale.
Good (and only slightly belated) news - I've finally set up an online shop!At the moment, most of the available prints & originals are from my current playing card series; but I'm slowly adding more standalone pieces from the past few years of work (especially pencil drawings, which I have TONS of in the archives). Keep an eye out for more additions in the coming weeks; and of course, if you've seen something you like that isn't in the shop yet, shoot me an email.
To be found among the offerings: the latest card illustrations for Wicked Kingdom, the Queens of Spades and Hearts. BEHOLD:
THE QUEEN OF SPADES, an herbalist and wood-witch with a knowledge of poisons and cures. She alone knows the secret names of every root and leaf in the four kingdoms; from a meaningless tumble of bracken, hers is the only hand that can pluck one shoot to sicken, one to restore, and one to grant uncommon visions.
It is said that death itself is the only ailment for which her gardens do not hold a cure; a reliable remedy for madness, though, is apparently beyond the powers of her tinctures and poultices, for her ministrations to the king have served only to hasten his decline.
THE QUEEN OF HEARTS: still as lovely as she was on that long-ago day when the old king brought her home from his conquests in foreign lands - a painted treasure with infant son in arms and a multitude of peculiar customs in tow. Since her widowhood, many suitors have sought her favor - drawn to her beauty, or her crown, or both - but to a man, have been met only with rejection.
She is said to prefer a life of ritual and solitude; outside of the increasingly rare occasions on which she holds court for her supplicants, she spends her days alone at her mirror, letting her son squander the kingdom's dwindling wealth with impunity. The curiously frequent disappearances of her handmaidens are seldom remarked upon in noble company; after all, the four kingdoms are known to be full of perils for the innocent.
The Wicked Kingdom (a href="http://www.patreon.com/wyliebeckert" target="_blank">Patreon has been picking up speed lately, making the decision to divert some time from "real" work (ie, that which pays) to my personal projects this year actually start to feel less like a wild gamble and more like the beginnings of something larger and more awesome. To celebrate, I subjected myself to the drudgery of filming my painting process for the Queen of Hearts. The complete video series is linked below - enjoy!
If you're tuning in late and wondering what the hell all of this is, you can find more info on my playing card project at www.wickedkingdomdeck.com.
Snow White, 11x17" oil, acrylic, and watercolor on paper
As usual, the more blogworthy stuff I have going on, the less time I have for writing blog posts. As such, much of what I've been up to over the past few months has failed to be immortalized. It's okay, though, because I keep seeing headlines like "BLOGGING IS DEAD!" insisting that social media is the wave of the future/present. I do tend to keep things (relatively) current on Facebook and Instagram, in case you like your updates shorter and louder.
In my absence, I've been:
• Attending SFAL! It was my second year exhibiting; this time around I shared a booth with fellow artist Sam Guay and got to room with also-fellow-artists Rovina Cai and Matt Lewis. In an insane twist, I also somehow picked up the Rising Star award! I'm now the proud owner of this awesome trophy sculpted by Kristine & Colin Poole. It's even more gorgeous in person!
• Appearing on the One Fantastic Week podcast! I got to chat with Pete Mohrbacher and Sam Flegal about my current project, the Wicked Kingdom illustrated playing card series.
• Setting up a shop! During my 1FW appearance, Sam and Pete talked me into launching prints for the series as I go, rather than waiting for the final Kickstarter campaign - I'll be putting together a formal shop announcement in coming days, but in the meantime, check out the available prints (and originals!) at www.wickedkingdomdeck.com/wkshop.
• Painting! (Obviously.) I have the good fortune of having a piece in the Mazza Museum's Enchanted Brush exhibition - a covet (accepted collective noun) of awesome fantasy artists creating their own interpretations of popular fairytales. Check out the rundown HERE, and if you're in Ohio, stop by the Mazza Museum to check out the work in person! My contribution to the show was Snow White (final image at the top of the post.)
The open theme left me free to try something a little more fine art/a little less illustrative in both process and content than my usual work. While I normally work over a print of my pencil art, this time around I painted directly over the pencil drawing - with some interesting results. You'll definitely be seeing more experiments along these lines in the future...
I've got a few other projects that I've been wrapping up over the past month (not the least being more work for Wicked Kingdom) - I'll try to get the site updated with some of the highlights as time permits.
This is a piece from a couple months back that never made it onto the blog: a painting for the Grimm show at Helikon Gallery. It's an illustration for the Grimm fairytale "Thousandfurs" (also known by its alternate title "The King who Wished to Marry His Daughter" - in case you were wondering whether or not this is one of the stories that Disney will reboot with cute animal sidekicks and catchy musical numbers).
The finished pencil art, 11x17"
Featured in the fairytale: a dress as golden as the sun; a dress as silver as the moon; a dress as bright as the stars; and a cloak made from the fur of every kind of animal (pictured!)
The show runs through July 10 in Denver - if you find yourself in the area, be sure to check it out in person!
The underpainting in progress
A photo posted by Wylie Beckert (@wyliebeckert) on
THE KING OF DIAMONDS, seeker of knowledge and bringer of light. Alongside his laboratories and the unimaginable libraries contained within, all other wonders of the four kingdoms pale.
It is the subject of some debate how many decades he spent shut up in the darkness, bent over scrolls and beakers - but legend generally puts the number between ten and fifteen. The fruit of his labors: a kingdom renowned for its ceaseless industry and unsurpassed wealth, whose heights and depths alike are perpetually illuminated by the harnessed light of alchemical fires.
Next up, I'll be starting the queens. Before I exposed the Wicked Kingdom project to the unforgiving light of day, I had all the kings thumbnailled out (and the pencil art already done for a few of them). The queens will be completely new territory - always nerve-wracking, but I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of it.
For those of you who are process-minded, $5 on Patreon will buy you access all my Wicked Kingdom process tutorials to date, with more to come soon.