Wylie Beckert


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Spectrum 21! Posted on 12 Apr 2014

cover of Spectrum 21

An infographic utterly failing to convey my level of excitement.

I just received word this week that my illustration Hunt for the Black Lotus has been accepted into Spectrum 21 - confirming that my inclusion in the artist list was not, in fact, a typo, but rather a broader error in judgement and/or act of charity on the part of the jury. This will be my first year in Spectrum, and I'm thrilled to have been included.

Speaking of Spectrum and its many tentacles, Spectrum Fantastic Art Live is coming up in May, and I'll be exhibiting my work there for the first time ever (see? I've had a good reason for not posting any art lately - there are business cards to be designed and tablecloths to be purchased!) I'll be unveiling a new piece, giving away some prints, and hopefully putting my Standing Around Smiling skills to good use. If you find yourself in Kansas City from May 9-11, stop by the artists' alley at the Kansas City Convention Center and say hi!

New Work: Time Enough Posted on 03 Mar 2014

Illustration by artist Wylie Beckert: an old woman, her cat, and an urn of ashes are transported through the valley of death on the shell of a giant snail - for the 69 Love Songs challenge at Month of Love.
This piece is my fourth and final for the Month of Love blog.

This week, the challenge was to create an illustration inspired by one of the songs on the Magnetic Fields' "69 Love Songs" album. I chose to (tangentially) illustrate "Time Enough for Rocking When We're Old." The story the title put in my mind was that of an old woman in a travelling rocking chair, taking an urn of ashes (someone else's? her own?) on one final journey. I don't know where the road leads - she has all of the things she'll need along the way, but it seems unlikely that she will return. Inspired in no small part by the strange worlds of Jacek Yerka.

With my last challenge image finished, I finally have the leisure to go back and check out all of the other Month of Love pieces that I'd only gotten a chance to glimpse in passing before. I have too many favorites to post here - it seems like every week was packed with illustrations that were clever, beautiful, or both - but I still wanted to highlight a few of the images that caught my eye (because it can't always be all about Wylie...can it?) Check them out below the jump.



Month of Love - Fetish Posted on 23 Feb 2014

stygiophilia: arousal to the thought of hellfire and damnation - for Fetish Week at Month of Love.
Here's the latest piece for Month of Love. This week's theme was Fetish; I floundered a bit in trying to come up with a concept that wasn't entirely clichéd, incomprehensible, or pornographic; eventually, with the deadline lumbering past me, I chose to illustrate Stygiophilia ("arousal to the thought of hellfire and damnation.")

Not much to say about this one... I think it's peculiar enough to speak for itself.


New Work: Tam Lin Posted on 18 Feb 2014

Wylie Beckert illustrates the legend of Tam Lin for the 2014 Month of Love blog's favorite love story challenge
Here's another piece created for the Month of Love blog - the theme for week two was "favorite love story." I don't usually go in for love stories - they tend to have a sameness to them (generally ending in bland wedded bliss - or tragic, if predictable, death - for all parties) that bores me. The legend of Tam Lin (a Scottish ballad, I like this version by Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer) is one of the exceptions that I really like since, unlike your run-of-the-mill love story, it features an uncommonly cocky heroine and a lover transformed into a lion and wolf and bear (oh my).

Sadly, as is the case with so much of my personal work, there is no pretty set of thumbnails to share (although I can't pretend I wasn't tempted to fake a few after the fact). If you're curious what my thumbnail sketches actually look like at the early stages - the "I have no idea what I'm doing and my art license should be revoked" stage - this is it.


They are terrible to behold.

It probably goes without saying that none of these monstrosities particularly captured my sweeping vision for the piece. It was one of those concepts that was either going to look good as a final image, or it wasn't; I eventually gave up in annoyance and started drawing the way you're always told not to - by drawing a face in the middle of the page and building everything out from there. I got lucky and ended up with a piece I actually really liked.


The original pencil drawing. Compare it to the final, and you'll notice that I upcycled background elements from
my Whispers and Full Blooded pencil art out of sheer cussed laziness. Personal work FTW!

More good luck: over the course of this illustration, I stumbled across an awesome reference app for iPad, Skulls by Simon Winchester - which has something I've always wanted - 360° rotatable views of just about every animal skull you can think of and a few more that you can't. It has a few flaws as an art reference - the skulls snap back to their default rotation after a few seconds, for one, and the view rotates only in the horizontal axis - but everything is lit beautifully, and being able to visualize how all the pieces of the skull fit together in three dimensions makes this far and away superior to photo reference.

While I don't plan on packing my portfolio to the gills with animal skulls, I'm looking forward to having this app around for everyday use - I generally start animal drawings by trying to get a hang of the skull's structure, which often makes the difference between a vaguely accurate representation and something that looks like a toilet paper tube taped to the end of a milk carton.

I didn't have the sense of planning to stumble across this app before I drew all the skulls for this piece (naturally), but I know the next time I have to draw a two-headed calf, say, or an armadillo lizard, I'll be SET.

armadillo lizard skull

OMG, there are things out there that look like this on the inside.

Full view in the gallery; more favorite love stories over at the Month of Love blog.


New Work: Easley's Gryphon Posted on 09 Feb 2014

oil painting by Wylie Beckert - a girl and a golden gryphon.
Here's a quick painting I did for the ArtOrder's Jeff Easley challenge (which you can read about here.)

This piece almost didn't happen - I bookmarked the Jeff Easley challenge when it first came out, and then promptly forgot about it until three days before the deadline, at which point all seemed to be lost - I'm not a particularly fast worker when it comes to personal projects, and I didn't even have a plan in mind. Nonetheless, I absentmindedly clicked over to Jeff's portfolio to take one last shot at getting inspired before admitting defeat. One of his paintings - a girl with a spiderweb tiara in her rockin 80's hair, riding a golden gryphon - caught my eye instantly:

jeff easley's gryphon painting

Without much time to spare, I skipped my usual tedious thumbnail stage and just started sketching on a sheet of gessoed paper. I knew that I wanted to show the character sitting with the wings of the gryphon enfolding her, and the narrative (an artist cutting a gryphon-quill pen!) developed on the fly. Once I had something I liked, I sealed the sketch with Workable Fixatif and applied a second layer of gesso (which knocks back the contrast, but leaves a faintly visible drawing to guide the painting). I first came across this trick on Kim Kincaid's blog, and I absolutely love it - it helps the energy of the sketch carry over to the finished piece and, if you want to preserve the original sketch, it works equally well over a digital print.

oil painting by Wylie Beckert - a girl and a golden gryphon.
Since oil paint dries quickly for no man, I stuck to a monochromatic underpainting, which I then photographed and colored digitally. I'm surprisingly happy with how this piece turned out given the limited time I allowed myself - and it was refreshing to work on a project that was begun and finished in the same two-day span. Using an oil underpainting as the base for digital color turned out to be SO MUCH FASTER than my usual pencil methods. The effort saved by painting directly on top of the sloppy initial sketch (rather than painstakingly tracing and re-rendering it into a tight pencil drawing) makes me want to seriously reconsider my working process.

In other oil painting news, I just finished the larger piece I posted a snapshot of in my 2013 wrap-up; I'll be posting that one as soon as I can get a decent photo of it.

For now, check out a full view of this one in the gallery.


<< Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next >>


Spectrum 21!

12 Apr 2014
New Work: Time Enough

03 Mar 2014
Month of Love - Fetish

23 Feb 2014
New Work: Tam Lin

18 Feb 2014
New Work: Easley's Gryphon

09 Feb 2014
Month of Love - #nofilter valentine

07 Feb 2014
New Work: ImagineFX

04 Feb 2014
Month of Love

29 Jan 2014
A Fashionably Late Wrap-Up of 2013

13 Jan 2014
ImagineFX Rising Stars 2013

06 Dec 2013
New Work: Hunt for the Black Lotus

17 Nov 2013
Painting (Now With Real Paint!)

26 Oct 2013
Illustrious Interview

18 Sep 2013

11 Sep 2013
New Work: Sword and Sorcery

01 Sep 2013
Tutorial: Powdered Graphite

14 Aug 2013
SmArt School Project 2: Gaslight Dogs

06 Aug 2013
Art Director Challenge/Short Fiction

28 Jun 2013
Exposé 11 Master Award

21 Jun 2013
New Work: Whispers

04 Jun 2013
New Work: Pointless Quest

26 May 2013
New Work: The Turnip Keeper's Lantern

20 May 2013
New Work: Nest

12 May 2013
Some Daily Sketches

20 Apr 2013
New Work: The Fold

09 Apr 2013


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