Illustration: Cookie Cutter Cat

Look what the cat dragged in!

Hello folks!
It's been a while since last we spoke, but now I emerged from my hole with some new art in tow! Check out Cookie Cutter Cat, my newest illustration for the game Catamancer!

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Catamancer is a free-to-play online card game centered around, you guessed it, cats! This little cutie pie is the third illustration I did for the game so far, after "Catsplosion" and "Cardboard Box".

None of the three cards are playable in the game so far (and neither is the secret fourth one I'm working on!), so you guys are getting an exclusive sneak peek!

See you again soon for the next adorable cat!

All the best,

joern.jpg

Illustration: Driftwood

Imagine yourself, if you will,...

...taking a leisurely stroll at the beach, the gently settling evening sun warming your skin, the crash of waves in your ears, the warm sands under your feet.

When you see something protruding from the sand, looking — at first glance — like an intricate entanglement of sun-bleached driftwood. You think about taking some of it as a souvenir, when, suddenly, the sands start to shift...

Deer God! (get it?)

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"Driftwood" is the newest story by author Manen Lyset, who is a very consistent contributor to the NoSleep Podcast.

So consistant, in fact, that his story "The Pigeons Around Here Aren't Real" was the very first story I illustrated for the podcast! That was three years ago already...man, time flies!

You can listen to the fantastic production of "Driftwood" here!.

Anyway, while I normally dive into research for inspiration when I start on an illustration, I started with a very clear picture in mind with this one: the deer creature was just too cool to not draw it!

I wanted to do a very illustrative style in either black and white or a very limited color palette.
In the end I opted for black and white because the color of the skull and the color of bleached driftwood is pretty close together, which would have left me with a flat-looking and boring picture.


 

More color! MORE COLOR!!!

The background originally started as a simple greyscale gradient with some texture painted into it because I wanted the skull to be the star of this image.

However, as the painting progressed, the composition looked a little tame, I spruced it up by adding the triangle and the "magic sigil" with a cool flame effect. Fun fact: the sigil was originally intended for another project that never came to pass, so it found its new home here and saved me some time!

 

Recording the process

Because Manen and I are friends, and because he expressed his interest when I told him I'm working on his story, I decided to record the whole process. Every single brushstroke, every art decision I made, all in a single video!

I'm currently in the process of mastering it (read: I am too dumb to master it and have to google and learn how to do it), but I will absolutely make sure to share the video here.

I hope you like the illustration as much as I do, because I'm really content with how it came out.

All the best,

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Illustration: BB-8 Birthday Card

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away...

...Jörn picked up a pencil to draw a traditional illustration! I know, it's rare, because I mostly work digital, but once in a while, it's a lot of fun. Pencils are my favorite traditional medium, mainly because I love the haptic feel of drawing on paper with a freshly sharpened pencil.

Please enjoy this BB-8 birthday card that I drew for my delightful girlfriend:

 When photographing artwork, it's — of course — *very* important to also include the tools you used!

When photographing artwork, it's — of course — *very* important to also include the tools you used!

You can think about Force Awakens what you want (some say it's a brilliant installment in the Star Wars series, some think it's a smoldering garbage fire), but I not only enjoyed the movie a lot, but also have found memories of because it's one of the first movies my girlfriend and I bonded over.

Furthermore, you just can't argue with the fact that BB-8 is simply the cutest.

The gift of art

I simply love drawing birthday cards. In fact, creating presents for people is one of the main reasons I became an artist in the first place.
After you reach a certain age (I'm old, shut up), birthday presents can quickly start to lose their meaning. Since we all make our own money, we might get used to simply clicking on an Amazon link instead of writing a wish list.

That's why I think it's extra important to give gifts with meaning. Trust me, I know how corny this sounds, but I take a deep delight in gifting something that I created myself and that is thus unique in the whole world.

No one else has this birthday card. There exists only one copy of it.

And that makes me happy.

Illustration: When the Stars Go Out

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star…

Hello lovelies!

While I still have a very secret NoSleep project that I'm not allowed to talk about (I know, NDAs suck, but I'll be ready to share it with you soon!), I also have a special illustration to share with you today.

You will recognize the movie poster format of this illustration from my illustration The Hidden Webpage, but while the latter was a Season Finale, the former is for the NoSleep Valentine's Special.

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All lovey-dovey for a change

As you can see on first glance, this is a change from my usual style of horror art. The Valentine's episode goes a slightly different route and tells the story of a tragic couple in love and the hardships they have to face.

I'm not giving too much away when I say the story has some very interesting turns and is a blast to read (seriously, you should check out the episode right now!).

Obviously, I had to change gears with this one a bit. It's not a horror story, it's a straight up drama story, so my illustrative style had to change to reflect that.

First, I took a look at movie posters for drama flicks, to get a sense of a general style.

(You can easily see I don't watch a lot of drama movies)

One design choice that stood out was that love stories tend to have the actors playing the couple at the top, sometimes looking wistfully at each other.

I decided to portray Brian and Robin, the main couple, at a happy moment in their life, and made special effort to make Brian as wistful as I could.

Brian's grasping hand at the bottom, as well as the heartrate element hint at specific points in the story I won't spoil for you here.

Test driving a new style

While I am aware that switching up your style while working on a polished drawing is not the best choice, I did it anyway. :D

The style I used for the illustration leans towards comics much more than usual. If you look closely, for example, you can see it has solid color lines, something I usually don't do in my drawings.

Also, I made it a point to not blend my brushstrokes too much to give it a more illustrative and less realistic look.

This poster illustration was a lot of work, but I am very happy with the result and am grateful I can share it with you guys here.

As always, until we meet again, take care, my lovelies.

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Illustration: The Forest of a Thousand Legs 🕷

Little Lucy Lockhart ran
From her daddy’s frying pan
The Forest of a Thousand Legs
Killed her and then laid their eggs
— Rex Lovezinski

This eerie children's rhyme starts off the very aptly named story “The Forest of a Thousand Legs” by author Rex Lovezinski, the story I chose to illustrate for this week's episode of the NoSleep podcast.

The “thousand legs” part refers — of course — to our animal friends of the small and eight-legged variety, so if you're creeped out by spiders or other crawling creates, I'm sorry.1

What to draw, what to draw…

After NoSleep's executive assistant, the ever-lovely Violet, shared this story with me, I was at a loss, at first.

There were a lot of elements that feature prominently in the tale, but I wasn't sure they would lend themselves to an illustration that has to work as a podcast cover.

My first idea was to draw the forest itself, because Rex' description of the creepy place really sent shivers up my spine. I saw, before my minds eye, tall, ancient trees, almost monumental, casting a shade that was hardly ever pierced by the day's light, all covered by a thick, sticky membrane of old spider webs.

The problem with that? Drawing trees is not really my forte, and I would have to really draw a lot of details to aptly communicate the image I had in my head.

Okay, back to the (literal) drawing board

I hope I'm being vague enough in telling you the story features a certain monster creature, as many NoSleep stories are wont to do.

I always enjoy painting those monsters and thus bringing them to life, as I did — for example — with the wonderful Skinny Rogue episode.

The problem with that, of course, is that revealing the monster in art form before the listener even started the story, is that it takes away from the storie's suspense, so in my recent works for NoSleep, I tried to stay away from that.

So, no monsters, no forest…

Then I had the idea of illustrating different insects and spiders that feature in the story, since it mentioned one of the characters owning a collection of rare insects.

As soon as I grabbed my stylus and started working, I knew I was in for a treat. Painting those little guys, especially the shiny jewel beetle, was time-consuming, but a lot of fun.

I decided to add the graphic effect to really draw the listener into the story and make the illustration more enthralling, graphically speaking.

I hope you like the illustration, and I'll see you soon with the next one!

Take care!


1 I'm not really. :P

Illustration: Catamancer — Catsplosion

Hi peeps, guess what I got?

New client, that's what. The lovely folks over at http://catamancer.com commissioned me to paint one of their cards called Catsplosion (and yes, before you ask, it's exactly what you think it is).

Catamancer is a mobile game centering around the theme of — you guessed it — cats.

  Exploding Kittens  has nothing on this.

Exploding Kittens has nothing on this.

Getting started

It was really fun to explore the cartoon look of it while still paying attention to texture.

Because I really wanted to get the form of the mushroom cloud right, I started out with a reference photo of a nuclear explosion and drew my initial sketch right on top of it.

Color inspiration came from a picture of cotton candy, and I achieved the texture by using the watercolor brushes from Kyle T Webster.

Hope you have as much fun looking at the Catsplosion as I had painting it.

Illustration: Wolf — Custom MtG Token

Oh boy, howdy!

This weekend contained a pretty nifty bank holiday in Germany, so I was able to kick back, go outside and relax a bit in the warm summer sun.

Kidding. I spent it painting instead!

“That's a pretty neat wolf,” I hear you saying. “What are you gonna use it for?”

Glad you asked! I assume you guys are familiar with the vastly successful trading card game Magic: The Gathering. If you're not a massive nerd like me and spent the better part of your youth playing it, I'm pretty sure you at least heard of it here and there.

Anyway.

Some Magic cards have a special effect that creates so-called "Tokens", game elements that are not directly represented by a particular card.

In order to keep track of those tokens, many players carry extra cards with nifty illustrations on them to act as a placeholder. Those may look like this!

Nifty, huh?

I'm currently thinking selling those token illustrations at a fair price...but, sadly, not yet. Shipping the cards all over the world would be an absolute hassle from Germany, so I'm not sure how I will tackle that, yet.

But fear not! I already have some ideas, and you guys will be the first to know...as always.

Take care, my lovelies!

- Jörn