Thursday, December 26, 2013

Should I Call It a Thank You Sale?

Thank You to all of my followers/customers this year (and all years previous).
You are a BIG part of why I can continue making small things. And Illustrations. And artwork in general.

As Thanks, from now until the New Year, everyone is welcome to take 10% off orders placed at my Etsy shop.

At checkout, just enter coupon code: SAVE10TODAY

Etsy Shop;


I am planning on having an after the holidays catch up mega-post up soon (loaded with neat pictures and everything), but I didn't want any of my blog readers to miss hearing my Thank You, or the coupon. So you're getting this post first.

Talk to you all soon,


Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Curious Concepts Project: "Neil" - Painted and Ready For Proofing

Yay! I finished another illustration. 

The last time you saw this one, I was debating what to do about the eye in the shadows.
I went with the eye patch;

Now he's a space pirate.

A little cropping, and some more shading.

Even more shading-Annnnddd...Done.

Another illustration ready for a test print, and 3 more illustrations to go.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Special Holiday Offer!

 Just a head up, I don't plan on being online much this week. Working on some handmade Christmas gifts, (would love to show you, but can't until I give them out-It's not a surprise if the people I'm giving them to see their gifts online first) a few other things, and of course-Thanksgiving. So until I post again, please enjoy this mild attempt at online advertising;

For Artisan Miniatures, Art Prints, Postcards, Ornaments, and Jewelry-Check out my Etsy Shop;


***Hey Holiday Shoppers!***

From now until December 4th, 2013, Take $1.00 off of your order! At checkout, Just enter coupon code,


And along with this offer, while supplies last;

Purchase any Digital Art print or postcard from my Etsy shop, and receive a postcard, as a free Thank You gift with your order.


Purchase any miniature, jewelry piece, or ornament from my Etsy shop, and receive a small free mystery Thank You gift with your order. -Possible mystery gifts may include; a postcard, small crafting supplies, and miniatures, (items may be store bought or my own handmade creations not currently listed on Etsy)

(Offer expires on 12/4. Limit 1 per household, Thank you)


For Artisan Miniatures, Art Prints, Postcards, Ornaments, and Jewelry-Check out my Etsy Shop;

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Curious Concepts Project: "A Skydiver" - Painted and Ready For Proofing

For the first time in, oh, about two months, I wasn't up to my eyeballs in commissions, meetings, shows, or any other work that could take priority over this project. Don't get me wrong, I need all that art/design work to keep coming in, but I really, really wanted to keep going with this project. So the break was nice.

After working on A Skydiver for several hours I noticed that I was zoomed in 400% and painting in tiny details, which is a pretty good sign that I'm reaching the end of a digital painting. Yes, I still kept working on it, and I have a good feeling that I'm going to need to make some minor changes before I send this piece out to the printer, but for now, we're calling this one finished;


So, what has changed since the last update? Well...

First, I decided that something wasn't quite with the composition, and after sleeping on it, I figured out that there was just too much extra background space. Didn't need to be there, made it tougher to finish the composition, and after double checking the printer's size requirements I found out that my diensions were off by a half inch. I work in layers, so it was an easy fix. Added a temporary layer showing the new size and then re-sized/slide everything into its new space.

So that I didn't end up cropping out possibly still needed background painting, I created another temporary layer (the black section), so that I could see the final composition without being distracted by the extra pieces. Still sliding things around in this screenshot.

Still sliding things around here too.

This is the last round of shading on the individual skydivers. Now that the sun isn't being moved around anymore I could focus on creating a more realistic lighting effect. Had a slight problem with the black section, it was tough to gauge how dark to go with the shading with it there, so I changed it to what I like to call, "Photoshop Gray". It shows up here, but in Photoshop it looks just like the stage area of the program.


Finished up the shading on the skydivers, painted in the rest of the ground, added scales to the fish, did some more work on the whale, and finally painted in the lines attaching the skydivers to their parachutes.

Cropped off the extra space, and there we have it, 
A Skydiver.

Now that it's done I will be printing it with my basic home printer so that I can proof the colors, fix any rough spots that show up in print, and adjust anything that might still need it. Then off to the professional print service it goes.

1 illustration down, 4 left to go. ^_^

Friday, November 8, 2013

The 2013 Mini Gingerbread House Series

Here they are, ~*~ The 2013 Mini Gingerbread House Series. ~*~ , by Kyle Lefort
(If you're new, I'm Kyle- hi)

The "Big" difference from the last two years-these are quarter scale.
Here, check out the size difference from last year;

One inch vs. Quarter inch. Neat, isn't it?

So why the dramatic scale change? Well, I sort of made an unofficial promise to some local people that I would give quarter scale a real try this year. And try I sure did. Consider this the official opening of the Quarter Inch Scale Minis section of my Etsy shop. Not sure if I'll have time to make anymore quarter scale anything for a while, but it's a start. ^_^

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Miniature Halloween Challenge ~ Collected Scenes 2013

Hey Everybody! Happy Halloween!

A couple weeks ago I posted the Miniature Halloween Challenge, and now it's time to show off everyone's wonderful scenes.

So without further delay,
Here are some of the Awesome Halloween Mini Scenes of 2013!
(posted in the order I received them, If I've missed anyone let me know)

Marisa's scene;

Lenore's scene;

Emily's scene;

Lisa's scene; 

My scene;

Jane's scene;

Thank you to everyone who participated, and Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to enjoy this collection of tiny Halloween scenes. 

I do encourage all of my readers to follow the links under each photo and visit the blogs of these talented people. If there are any scenes that you really like, I'm sure that the original creators would love to hear it.

Hope everyone has fun this year, eat lots of candy, carve a pumpkin, and run around in a costume-party or not. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Mini Halloween Scene - 2013

The big Halloween Challenge post will be up in a couple days, which means that it's time for me to post my Miniature Halloween Scene. ^_^

Didn't have a lot of free time this year, but I made a ton of real miniature leaves for local shows next year, so those became the inspiration for my scene. The Catrina and Octopus seem pretty happy dancing in the leaves, and I raided my Etsy Shop inventory for some pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns. Is it ever really Halloween without them?

Since I didn't even get a chance to make my scene until after my own deadline passed, I wouldn't be surprised if there are other people running late with their scenes too. If you had any interest in my, "Miniature Halloween Challenge!", I will be accepting late entries right up until I make the Challenge post on the 30th. If you already gave me your entry, it will be in the post, no worries.

Happy Halloween ^_^

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Curious Concepts Project: New Series Progress: "A Skydiver" and "Neil" Part 2

Time for a progress report on the Curious Concepts Project!

>>Click here to read the last project update first, if you haven't yet.<<

I was so focused on working on the new illustrations, I neglected to update sooner, so Illustration #1: Brandi's request, "A skydiver", has gone through quite of few changes since everyone last saw it;

Made some composition changes

Blocked out the colors

Painted in the Background


Still trying to figure out the whale

Starting to like the whale again, except it's too dark

Lightened up the whale

Shading all the little people, and the fish.

This one is taking longer than I thought it would, but it actually has a lot of little details, so I guess that was bound to happen. This is probably also going to be the largest illustration in the new series. I want to say it's almost done, but between still needing to draw in a plane and the rest of the rigging, I'm pretty sure this is only the half way point.
Illustration #2: Devon's request, "Neil".
Not as much progress with this one, but it is really close to being finished.
This is what it looked like last update,

And this is how it is now.
More shading and details. A few more left to do and then this piece is all done. I don't know if I've mentioned it before or not, but this composition's lighting blocks out one of the eyes-enough that I can't draw one in, but something needs to be there-So I was thinking about adding an eye patch, maybe. We'll see how it looks when I'm done shading, if the shadows aren't dark enough, eye patch it is.


That's where the project is now. I'm hoping to be much further along at the next update. I've been scrambling to keep inline with my planned schedule, but if you read the blog or even just talked to me in person then you know that October has been one of the busiest months I've ever had in terms of art and design, and that's actually a really good thing. It do need to stick to my personal commitments though, hence the scrambling.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Miniature Halloween Challenge!

One of the things I love about the dollhouse miniatures blogging community is the occasional friendly blog challenge. Read through my reading list of blogs that I follow and I haven't seen any for Halloween yet this year, so maybe that just means that it's my turn to host one. ^_^

I don't have much time for miniatures this month, so I'm just going to have to enjoy the hobby by encouraging you guys. This is a really informal challenge, so don't go crazy with it, just have fun!

(And this isn't a requirement, but if you're reading this and want to post a link to this challenge on your blog/sidebar so more people will see it, I would really appreciate it.)

Here's how it works;

1. Make a miniature scene for Halloween.
-You can make miniatures, buy them, re-purpose stuff you have lying aroung-Use whatever you want.
-Scale does not matter, but your work has to clearly be in miniature.

2. Take a picture.
-You can keep your work, we all just want to see it.

3. Leave a comment for me at the bottom of THIS POST, where I can find it.
-I need your name/screen name,
-a link to the photo you want me to post,
-and a link to your blog or website (if you have one)

4. I will make a super special Halloween post displaying all of your wonderful work.

No prizes or anything, this is just for fun. ^_^
-If you needed an excuse to make something for Halloween-You've got one now.
-This is a great way to advertise your blog/website-links will be publicly posted under your photo.
-And if you aren't a miniature artist, but maybe want to give it a try, this is a great no pressure way to start.

DEADLINE: Sunday October 27th. 
----Edit since even I am running late, I will definitely accept late entries.
I'm in New York, so remember that there's a time difference if you live somewhere else, if you live west of here, get your entry in early. I will accept entries if they're a little late, but on time works sooo much better.
I plan on having the entries all posted by the 30th. 1 photo/entry per person, please.

And a quick note about Copyright (I'm a designer, I can't help it);
By giving me any photos/info to post on my blog, A). You are guaranteeing that it is your work to post and in good faith I will post it as such. B). You are giving me permission to use your photo/entry on my blog. Aside from back linking to the Halloween post in the future, or otherwise using post content like any responsible blogger would, I'm not going to use your work without further permission. You will be credited for your work, and you remain the Copyright holder of your scene design and the photo that you took.

That said, this is the internet, so you are more than welcome to add a watermark to your photo-Just don't make it so distracting that we can't enjoy your work.

For some mini inspiration, here is a photo of my entry for Mini Mod Pod's Halloween Challenge last year;

You've still got about a week, so get creating!
Can't wait to see what you guys come up with. ^_^

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Nice Fall Weekend

I've been working on various art/design projects lately, and this weekend was no different. But after finishing up a week's worth of outdoor painting, in some of the nicest fall weather one could ever hope for, I sort of got a couple days off. And I have photos.

Saturday evening was a backyard bonfire with a few of my friends. It was so warm out I didn't need a coat or even a sweater. It was midnight before anyone commented about being cold. And a screech owl stopped by to say "Hello", which is pretty neat to hear when you're just sitting in your backyard.

Sunday I headed an hour south with my mom and little brother for some volunteering at Beaver Meadow.
Most of my family went to day camp out there during our summers growing up, and clearly we love the place because now we head out there to volunteer when ever we can.

^^^This is their Nature Center 

They have a fall event called, "The Enchanted Forest", which is really cute and a ton of fun for the kids. Out in the woods, at night, throughout Columbus Day weekend some of the animals become "Enchanted" and start talking. A bit of a spoiler alert here: They're people in costumes. Naturalists and a few really dedicated volunteers take on animal characters to teach people about the nocturnal wildlife in the area. I've only ever gotten to see the show as a "Firefly" (guides that take groups through the event trail-They wear all black and carry lanterns), but even knowing who's wearing the costumes I'm pretty impressed by how into their acts these people get.

Last year I was stuck out in a snack tent and it was so cold and rainy that I had a surprisingly bad night that turned into a terrible cold, which of course I whined about on the blog, but really, I do love volunteering at this thing. To keep it that way my family made sure that we got to spend the night inside for once-call it a recovery year. My brother somehow ended up in the reptile room handling snakes.

My mom and I worked the craft room. We helped the kids make owls out of toilet paper rolls and paper. No idea who came up with the design, but how cute are these?

I named mine Hootington.

3 hours of crafting is not a bad way to spend the evening especially when it helps out a group of people who've been working very hard to make this a great event all weekend. And it was nice seeing a bunch of our nature friends again.

We decided to spend Columbus Day at Letchworth State park again this year, so instead of going all the way back home, we stayed at a nearby hotel.

The hotel is in the middle of a golf course, so the landscaping outside is just beautiful, especially since it's Fall.

 And this is on a cloudy day.

After I was done marveling at the pretty trees next to the parking lot, we headed out for a drive through a very rural portion of New York. Stopped in Varysburg for lunch and then we were off to Letchworth.
My brother started off the weekend with a cold, so we couldn't do as much hiking as last year, and it was much cloudier, but still I got some great photos.

There was a train!

And I'm not saying a troll lives in that little tunnel, but I dunno
...lawn gnome maybe?

We also went through a museum at the park. Stuff behind glass usually doesn't photograph well, so please forgive the image quality of these two.

The original headstone of Mary Jemison.
If you ever got the chance to read, "Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison", in school-This was Corn Tassel. If you didn't read that book, don't worry because it's, "Highly fictionalized", and won't really teach you who Mary Jemison was. (It would be like reading, "The Crucible", to learn about the Salem witch hunt-you get the gist of it, but the details are really skewed) I know enough about the woman to think this was neat though.

And here we have a Mastodon skull. How cool is that?
They dug it up somewhere nearby.

On the way home we ended up driving through the Iroquois Nature Preserve. Beaver Meadow is part of the Buffalo Audubon, and Letchworth is a State park, but as it turns out
Iroquois is a National Wildlife Refuge. So while the lookout spot we usually stop at wasn't blocked or anything, this was tacked onto a railing;

My mom, brother, and I all took photos because an example of what happens when the U.S. government decides to act like spoiled children is worth documenting. Last I heard, the Republicans finally caved before they accidentally ran this country over another financial cliff, but I still felt like I should post this. Never forget, right?

And so ended my weekend. Politics aside, it was great and I had fun. I love the Fall and trips like this are a big part of how I manage to really enjoy it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Undersized Urbanite 2014 - My House

Undersized Urbanite officially started up again last week, but like a lot of the entrants this year-I'm off to a late start. Granted, I think I joined in a month late last time, but last time I wasn't getting the newsletter telling me the start date.

To give you some back story as to what's been going on this past week: No internet for a day + I really need to finish up The Curious Concepts Project + I got approved to do something awesome in Buffalo this week (You can see it on my FB page for now) + Still posting new things up on Etsy = October is turning into a very busy month for me. In a good way.

All that said, I am entering this year and will be diving in as soon as I can. So it's time for my first post.
I've talked about it before, this is my house for the year;

(That blue disk is a "Lazy Susan" base for the house)

Haven't touched it since it was given to me over the summer, so the first WIP post will probably be about how I scrubbed it down with dish soap and/or vinegar, and fixed the Lazy Susan so that the base isn't just sitting in the top floor.

Last year I struggled designing my house at the start because I didn't zero in on a theme right away. It turned out pretty well (Click here to see my Steapunk House), but I want to start off with a real plan this time. Fortunately, this isn't just a white house and all I have to do is decide what stays and what needs to go.

My first thought was, "Flowers. I can do a garden-themed house". There's a few problems though. 1. I didn't paint any of those flowers and I feel like no matter how many times I say that, people are going to think that is some of my work. 2. That painting is painfully out of scale and needs things, like a door. 3. Upon further thought I realized that I don't really want to make a garden house. Gardens are for yards, greenhouses, or at least a scene that's going to have actual windows. And I already decided to make a garden for another house, but I haven't really gotten to it yet-that should be a sign that I don't want to do an entire house of flowers. So why was I even thinking about designing around something I didn't even like that much? I'm a designer, and I don't have to actually like something to make it look awesome. This is a personal project though, so I'm not tied to any restrictions because, hey, I made them up here.

The other theme I can pull from this house, is birds. Or at least a birdhouse. Tough to see in the photos, but at the very top floor there is a birdhouse door/opening. I like that it's there and it would be a pain to design around if I tried to make it not a birdhouse, so something bird themed is probably a good way to go.

Thanks to some ground rules I set for myself with this whole dollhouse thing that I've been doing, here are some extra guidelines I have to follow (along with the Undersized Urbanite rules, of course);

*So that it doesn't end up looking like any other of my projects, the exterior of this house can't be the color green, a Brownstone, or a Cobblestone. Actually, I think stone/brick is out completely because I really need a ton of egg carton for the Van Buren (which I have been working on over the summer, btw)

*Steampunk, beach/summer/vacation home,  and refurbished old building have all been used and can't be main themes.

*I kind of don't want this project to just be a house. A cafe or a store maybe?

*Bright colors are a must because everything I've made after "Billy" has been darker builds and it's starting to look a little gloomy around here.

*I need to figure out a way to put in some doors/windows so that this looks like a building instead of a rectangle with a roof. I've done fake doors before, windows are going to be the challenge.

It's going to be a while before I can really get started, but I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

So How Did the Show Go?

I still have to post about Undersized Urbanite, The Curious Concepts Project, and maybe another neat project in the works, But before I get any more behind on my blog this week;

So How Did the Show Go?

Pretty good. Since it was my first time selling my miniatures at an actual dollhouse miniatures show (and I really only had a month to prepare for it/and I never went to this or any miniatures show beforehand) , I was expecting a learning curve. So I was considering the entry fee "advertising money" and if I managed to make some sales-yay me. My main goal was to inform as many interested western New Yorkers as possible that I exist and that I have creative miniatures available online-year round. Pretty sure I did that, so I'm calling this a success.

Despite my optimism about shows, no matter what the outcome, yes I have been really disappointed with some of the shows/sales I've gone to-Not this one though. A lot of good things cam out of this show;

*I met pretty much all of the WNY Miniature Enthusiasts. A nice bunch of people. This is the first show I've ever gone to where I was given a bag of snacks. I already knew one of the members, but even the people I hadn't met before were checking in on me and stopped to talk a few times throughout the day.

*People were taking my business cards. That is super important because it's pretty much the only way to get the urls for my etsy shop and website (which sadly, is never 100% up to date, but it does link to everything else online) without having to stumble onto the links online somewhere.

*I got to meet a ton of local people that are into dollhouses, and we talked. I learned about a few peoples' projects, I explained how I made a few things, I tried to help fix a few creative/supply dilemmas, and I found out that 1/4 scale is really popular here. Also, the micro mini pumpkins I made a while back, are 1/4 scale (I'm starting to run out of those now).

*I didn't turn a profit this time around, but I sold a lot of miniatures compared to the other local sales, so it's a start.

*Because people who are really into dollhouse miniatures are also for some reason, some of the nicest complete strangers you will ever run into, I ended up with some good advice from a couple of the other sellers. The woman in the booth next to mine even gave me tips for marketing the new furniture I've been working on.

Pretty happy with how the whole thing went, and yes, I plan to be at this show next year.
Thank you to all of my blog readers that wished me well, thanks to everyone that stopped at my table at the show, and thank you to anyone who found there way to my blog. Much appreciated. ^_^

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Time For the Show!

This is just a quick post to let everyone know that this weekend is,  

The 33rd Annual Dollhouse Miniatures Show and Sale!

Again for anyone interested:
It’s being held by the WNY Miniature Enthusiasts at the
Hearthstone Manor in Depew, NY
- September 29, 2013. 10am-4pm.
(their website;  

I just closed up my Etsy shop for the weekend, and am currently in the middle of getting everything together and packed up for Sunday.

Haven't had the chance to respond to any of the comments I've received since my last post, but I read a few in my inbox. It sounds like I might be visited by some of you at the show (awesome), so if you are planning on going to the show here are some things you might want to know;

1. If you read my blog you will probably know which booth is mine
   (The Steampunk House will be there, and my name will be on all sorts of stuff)

2. There are going to be two women at my booth (my mother volunteered to be my helper this weekend) If you're wondering which one is me-I'll be the younger, less talkative one that looks like she's been up late working on miniatures the past few nights. Apologies in advance if I come across as grumpy. (I'm also not a morning person, but I'm hoping my excitement for this show keeps me friendly all day)

3. Since many of my blog readers aren't using their real names/real photos - If you stop at my booth to say Hi, I'm 99% sure I will not know who you are. So feel free to mention that you read the blog. ^_^

I'm trying to photograph everything that I've made, new for the show, but that hasn't really happened yet. What I have managed to photograph so far is already in my DevianArt gallery for those interested. Maybe I'll make another blog post full of photos tomorrow, we'll see. For now though, it's back to getting ready for Sunday!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The 33rd Annual Dollhouse Miniatures Show and Sale - I Will Be There!

After about 2 years of saying, "I need to get into some [dollhouse/miniatures] shows", I was finally directed to one within driving distance here in  western New York. I think it was a relative's coworker that knew about this one (my local miniatures network seems to be growing).

The 33rd Annual Dollhouse Miniatures Show and Sale!

It’s being held by the WNY Miniature Enthusiasts at the
Hearthstone Manor in Depew, NY
- September 29, 2013. 10am-4pm.

(Here's their website;

I found out about the show in August, so I figured that I was too late for this year, but after talking to two very nice ladies involved with the show-they found room for me, so I'm in! I will be one of the vendors at this year's show. ^_^

As soon as I thought that there might be a chance to be a part of this show, I started working on some new miniatures. I was getting a bit anxious waiting to hear back, I'll admit to that. If you're following me on Tumblr, you probably saw the post I made about making things and going sir crazy, so it's not like that was some big secret. Once I got the official notice that my application was accepted I posted again on Tumblr and Facebook, but I held off on the blog until I had something new and finished to show off.


1:12 scale pumpkins were going to happen with or without this show,
but the pottery is definitely a new addition.
I have dozens of bowls already, and I always planned on making more of this pottery because everyone seems to like it. Finally had the motivation.

There are also white pumpkins on the way, a few more pottery pieces waiting to be sealed, some furniture (some I made, some I'm painting), and whatever else I manage to turn out in the next week or two. I've got 8 feet of space to fill, but only about 3 feet worth of sale ready miniatures (inventory + my Etsy listings). So the more I can make the better. Every miniature thing I'm working on right now is strictly for the show, and oh, a quick heads up ---> My Etsy Shop will be closed the during the show (Sept. 29th).

I'm making plans to take The Steampunk House with me this year too. Provided I have room for it. Not for sale of course, I love it too much. I just think that some display pieces would be a good idea, and it's been packed up in the basement all summer. It would be nice to put in on display somewhere for a while.
(btw - Undersized Urbanite starts Sept. 30th this year, the day after this show-Good timing Christina ^_^ )

I've got a ton of work to do, so I'm going to get back to that. If you're going to be in the area, miniature show, September 29th - You should go. :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Curious Concepts Project: Reward Drawings & New Series Progress: "A Skydiver" and "Neil"

After a pile of minor delays, a couple of weeks of trying to get back on track and another week or two of  drawing/digital painting:

At long last it's time to post a blog update on how the new series of illustrations is going.

First up, If you're following this project through KS or FB then you've seen the previews of the already finished "Haiku Letter Drawings". After sending them out, I did post some photos of them on DeviantArt so that any curious followers could get the chance to see what they looked like. Click on the links to read their descriptions over at DA. (But come right back here, because there's more new work to see!)

N.C. Sailor Boy - Haiku Letter Drawing by ~Kyle-Lefort on deviantART
Bubbly Frog - Haiku Letter Drawing by ~Kyle-Lefort on deviantART

Now for my progress on the new series;

Illustration #1: Brandi's request, "A skydiver".

Here's the full description she gave me to work off of;

"I'm not talking about a literal skydiver jumping out of an airplane, but the spirit of a skydiver. I know people are sick to death of me talking about skydiving and no one wants to hear it anymore...but it is something that transformed and redefined my life so it is incredibly important to me. Skydiving is freedom and clarity and peace. It is a rebirth, a transformation, like a phoenix rising from the ashes as cliche as that might sound. When you finally become a skydiver, after all of the time and training and work, you're not the person you used to be anymore. You have a new sense of purpose and a completely different outlook on you life. Skydiving is friends, family, community. It's a sense of belonging I can't really put into words, a kinship you feel for complete strangers because you share something that sets you so apart from most of the people you know.
Give me something that means to you everything skydiving means to me ok? Something other than the typical symbols you'd see like the phoenix or a butterfly, lol."

Alright, so I'm going to be honest here: I've never even flown in a plane. I'm out of my element here, and no amount of reference material is going to get me to really, fully understand what skydiving is to someone who's really into skydiving. And that last line, "Give me something that means to you everything skydiving means to me ok? Something other than the typical symbols you'd see like the phoenix or a butterfly, lol.", actually made things kind of tough because not only do I not know what the skydiving experience is, but I also had to try and figure out what the typical artsy depictions of it were too.

I was stuck, but then I thought about it. What do I understand well enough that I could make a comparison to Skydiving without it being a hopeless typical depiction of it? Swimming. You're not on the ground anymore, you and gravity end up playing out a love/hate relationship unlike what you would experience on the ground, you're suddenly a lot more aware of the air around you, and if you're really into what you're doing-the line separating you and "crazy" can be very hard see. Fun times.

I wanted to make it a little more interesting than that though, so after getting the ok from Brandi to work a little more surreal that I originally thought I would, I started adding in the ocean. Actually, I promised Brandi a skydiving whale once that didn't pan out, so this is sort of a throwback to that too, I guess.

^^^Rough thumbnail sketch^^^

^^^A whale to prove that I can actually draw this thing^^^

And a sloppy layout/mock-up composition 
that looks like it was made by a 5 year old.  

Believe it or not, I used Photoshop for this.
-Proof that Photoshop doesn't magically make things perfect.
I hand draw my compositions and then adjust the sizing/layout on the computer, so my "Digital paintings", are surprisingly traditional in technique. This colorful explosion was just to help me figure out where the skydivers were going BEFORE I spent hours drawing in all of the detail.

You saw the whale though, so you know it's going to get better.

See? Already much better. Told you.
Printed out a gray-scale version of that mock-up and drew in the actual details.

Almost ready to start the digital painting on this one. I just need to finish the already landed Skydiver (should be bigger) and actually draw out the plane where I wrote the word, "Plane", up at the top. And I think I have over-sized the whale well beyond a believable size. Feel free to let me know whether or not you agree with that statement. I'll probably shrink it back down a little before I start the painting.

And it may not make much sense in writing, but the plan is to blur the 'water' theme with the subject of Skydiving. This is very much happening in the sky, but the enigma of being in the depths of the ocean is a big part of this illustration too. You'll see what I'm talking about later on.

Illustration #2: Devon's request, "Neil".

I'm really not sure what to say about this one...
...Because requests were open to anyone in the U.S., and things like model releases would have made this project way more complicated than it needed to be, I made the rule that I wasn't going to be drawing any actual people.

Well either Devon didn't read that part of the KS campaign page, or he ignored it-He requested that I illustrate, "Neil".  FYI, Neil's my brother, not the one that gets me to do things like make miniature riker mounts, a different brother.
A much different brother.

I asked for some reference photos, but was told just to take something off of his Facebook account, so I did.

He's been in a couple of obscure community theater projects, one of which was a Star Wars parody title, "A New, New Hope", and  I'm positive that's where this photo came from.  He was mostly the play's version of, "Chewbacca", who does not fly in an X-Wing starfighter so this is either set building or a rehearsal, but a photo of Neil trying to fly something worked for me, so this is the photo I chose.

Thanks to some voluntary portrait practice I did (you can see those on DA, if you want), I know that I'm not really much of the portrait making type and that if there's a photo available, I'm better off working directly from it. So the first thing I did was go into Photoshop and blocked out the different colors and layers that I would be working with, right over top of the photo.

^^^It looks like this now^^^

Then I did some basic shading with the burn tool, 
and used some faux-texture brushes to make, well, textures.

More burn tool shading, some new layers, 
the paintbrush tool, and a few blur filters-Here we are now.

It still needs a lot of work, but after only spending one late night working on this, I gotta say-This one's going pretty well so far.

That is all of my progress on this project so far, more updates, of course, are on the way.


You might be wondering the specifics on how I do all of this digital painting stuff, if so you're not alone. I was asked several times by members on DeviantArt to show my process, which led to a semi-formal WIP post-Just click here to see it over at my DA gallery.