Wylie Beckert

Illustration

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Art Director Challenge/Short Fiction Posted on 28 Jun 2013


No pictures for you today - posting will be a bit sparse this month, since in addition to my usual art regimen, I'm going to be taking SmArt School's Art Director Challenge course. I've been coveting these mentorship programs for a while now as a compromise between my raging desire to attend IMC and my pathological reluctance to leave my house; when I saw that both Marc Scheff (AD/all-around awesome artist) and Lauren Panepinto (Orbit Books) were heading a course, I knew I had to be part of it. Work starts on July 1st - there's still space in what looks like it's going to be a very awesome course with a very small class size- I'd encourage anyone who's interested to check it out.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with an excerpt from a rad piece of short fiction by Mark A. Sargent, based in part on my recent piece Whispers:

"They’d all heard the stories about the Bramblewood. They were the stories told by their mothers to keep children from wandering too far in. Stories told by older siblings just to scare them. Stories told by friends as they dared each other to venture just a little farther from town. The Bramblewood was haunted, they said. Or cursed. Or sometimes both, depending on who was doing the telling..."

Check out the complete short story at Mark A. Sargent's website - it's well written and definitely worth a read (and, of course, it's beautifully illustrated).


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Exposé 11 Master Award Posted on 21 Jun 2013



I'm thrilled to announce that my piece Summer Wine has won me a coveted Master Award in Exposé 11.

Exposé is an illustration annual put out by Ballistic Publishing, showcasing a huge range of amazing digital artists for eleven years running. This year, I was lucky enough to take the Master's Award for the Comic/Manga category - I'm psyched to have my art featured in the newest volume, and am insanely honored to know that my work stood out to the judges among so many other fantastic pieces.

ballistic publishing's expose 11 master award lineup
On a more serious note, It's also given me the chance to taunt my resident MS/PhD with a gleeful "Oh, you have a master's in Spatial Informatics? How nice. Mine is in digital art." They hate that.


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New Work: Whispers Posted on 04 Jun 2013


Illustration by artist Wylie Elise Beckert: a dark haired young girl in a white dress with a sword listens to the whispers of two spectral apparitions.
Much as I prefer making the initial drawing for a piece on toned paper, I do get nostalgic for plain ol' white paper and, since I still have tons of nice quality Bristol lying around from when I used it exclusively, I thought I'd try doing something with a straightforward pencil on paper underdrawing.

Pencil sketch by artist Wylie Elise Beckert: a dark haired young girl in a white dress with a sword listens to the whispers of two spectral apparitions.
My feelings are mixed. The good: the white paper "takes" digital color better - the colors are more vibrant (which shouldn't surprise me because they haven't been muddled with gray paper tones) and the result has a watercolor effect that I really like.

The bad: building up large areas of tone in pencil takes for.ever. This is a small piece (8x10"), but after I finished pencilling it, I had to take a break and subject my drawing hand to bracing and ice packs for a few days. Admittedly the ergonomics of my workspace aren't beyond reproach, but I'm thinking that the convenience of the ready-made midtones that colored paper provides will probably save me some serious repetitive stress injuries in the long run.

Most likely my issues with coloring toned paper drawings digitally come from 1) the slight Kraft-paper texture of the Strathmore stuff I'm using, which looks much rougher and fibrous when scanned, and 2) using gray instead of a more saturated color (tan, pink, etc), which automatically dulls down whatever colors are applied over it. I'll have to begin the hunt for some warmer, more uniform tinted drawing paper - if anyone has any favorites, I'd welcome suggestions.

Meanwhile - enjoy the full view of the finished piece in the gallery.


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New Work: Pointless Quest Posted on 26 May 2013


Illustration by artist Wylie Elise Beckert: a girl with a teapot pursuing a snail with a teacup for a shell.
This image is based on one of last month's daily sketches that I'd wanted to revisit as a final image. I was thinking of Magic: the Gathering card illustrations with this layout - a horizontal image that's moderately detailled, but still readable on a tiny (2") scale.
Check out the full view in the gallery.

sketch by artist Wylie Elise Beckert: a snail teacup.

(The pencil & white charcoal sketch.)

It's also an experiment with pushing the rendering further at the pencil stage of a piece (darker darks! lighter lights! and plenty of smudgy blending!) - and, as I suspected, the end result is a bit more polished, and much more in line with the finished look I'm always aiming for. I'll definitely be continuing along this path (and seeing how much further I can take it) for future pieces.


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New Work: The Turnip Keeper's Lantern Posted on 20 May 2013


I've always wanted to illustrate the folktale behind the modern tradition of the jack-o-lantern - the story of a drunken sinner who, through trickery, extracts a promise from the devil never to claim his soul and is subsequently forced to wander the earth with a carved turnip containing an ember from the fires of hell to light his lonely way.

Illustration by artist Wylie Elise Beckert: the turnip keeper's lantern.

(The pencil & white charcoal sketch.)


I thought all that accursed wandering might be rendered pleasanter and more efficient with the addition of a bicycle. Unfortunately, bikes are one of those things that are both hard to draw properly from imagination AND suitably large and cumbersome that dragging an actual one up from the basement for reference purposes isn't entirely practical. My solution:

cardboard bike model
Viewing my creation, it may not alarm my readers to learn that my exemplary marks at art school were marred by a few D's in Sculpture; however, this crude model is something of a marvel of hidden engineering. Standing a full 3.5" high, it features sturdy cocktail skewer & hot glue construction and (wonder of wonders) a fully articulated front fork and handlebars for lifelike handling.

The completion of this piece also marks the happy occasion of having enough reasonable examples of my current working style that I feel comfortable starting to knock some of the older, more cartoony stuff out of my portfolio in favor of the new pieces. I always advise illustrators just starting out to chisel their portfolios down to the bare relevant minimum, but for some reason I have a hard time doing it myself until I have something better to replace it with.

On the bright side, it's nice to be able to look at my current work against stuff from 2011/2012 and see a marked improvement - it gives me hope for 2014 and beyond.


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RECENT POSTS

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
Materials & a Work in Progress: Wolf Boy

30 Mar 2013
New Work: February Sky

08 Mar 2013
From the Sketchbook: Whiskey Foot Party

04 Mar 2013
New Work: Summer Wine

05 Dec 2012
From the Sketchbook: Disgruntled Cocktail Rabbit

15 Nov 2012
From the Sketchbook: Kindred

15 Sep 2012
PigPen Theatre/Buffalo Picture House: Bremen

01 Aug 2012
From the Sketchbook: Mohawk Boy

25 Apr 2012
New Work 1/21 - Bad Fish

21 Jan 2012
The Slow, Halting March of Progress

20 Oct 2011
News? Cute.

10 Jul 2011