dara

Come Visit Me at Toronto Comic Con 2017

Stay up to date with current works in progress on my facebook page and on twitter! You can also get tea stains on mugs, pillows and other goodies on my store.

Come see me at Fan Days 2016

Stay up to date with current works in progress on my facebook page and on twitter! You can also get tea stains on mugs, pillows and other goodies on my store.

Come see me at HalCon!

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Stay up to date with current works in progress on my facebook page and on twitter! You can also get tea stains on mugs, pillows and other goodies on my store.

Fan Expo 2016

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As always you can check keep up to date with all my new art on my facebook page and on twitter.

And there is always more to find on my store.

Toronto Comic Con 2016

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As always you can check keep up to date with all my new art on my facebook page and on twitter.

And there is always more to find on my store.

How to paint an Arthur background

The backgrounds in older seasons of the animated series Arthur featured real water colour images. I recently had the opportunity to work on the series. It was my job to replicate that painted-feel digitally for season 18 of the show.

old_arthur

 

To start every artist on the background team was given a style guide to work from. This included how to set up files for the animators, which digital brushes to use, notes on how to keep the image looking light (not to muddy or streaky), picking a light source and adding the tell tale conté crayon lines to the finished painting to really give it that “Arthur” feel.

 

The painting I’m going to walk you through is a shot from the interior of a store looking out onto the street. The characters are seen through the window. To make this work the interior (overlay) is painted first.  Once complete both the interior and exterior backgrounds (underlay) are kept as separate layers within the animation program so that the characters can be animated in between them. Think of the layers like a sandwich. The overlay is the top piece of bread, the animation is the yummy filling and the underlay is the bottom piece of of the sandwich.

 

Every background starts with the line art from the layout department.

 

step1 copy

 

The first step for the painter is to block in the base colours. For this background I was tasked with matching an existing background from an older hand-painted season.  I picked the colours from the existing painting to match it as closely as possible. The blocking stage is also when you clearly define areas of light and shadow. I chose the outside to be the source of light. I also made sure to keep the paint for the window pane set at a low opacity so that the characters and underlay could be seen through it. This will become evident in the later stages of the painting.

 

step2 copy

 

Once the base colours are added it’s time to start texturing. All of the flat colours get painted over with a combination of digitally created water colour brushes. I like to pick a slightly lighter and darker tone of each colour and brush them over the top of the flat paint. To make the image feel like water colours it was important to emphasize the light tones on every colour. On Arthur this was often achieved with lots of layering,  leaving triangle shapes of the base colour showing through. This replicates how the tone of the paper adds highlights and softness in hand painted watercolours.

 

step3 copy

 

The final step is adding shadow and conté lines. I love this part of the painting process because the whole image really starts to come to life! This is achieved by adding in the cast shadows on all the surfaces, and really emphasizing those triangles of light. The final signature Arthur touch is adding the conté crayon all over the image. The conté colour is created on a separate layer on top of all the paint. I used black set at a low opacity so that it would stand out and pick up the tones of the painting underneath.

 

step4 copy

 

Here’s what the painting looks like without the layout drawing imposed on top. Hiding the drawing is a great way to check and see that the lights and darks are fully realized. The painting shouldn’t look flat without the line work.

 

step4.5 copy

 

And now for the underlay! Same as before it starts with the layout drawing.

 

step5 copy

 

Then the colours are blocked in, paying close attention to areas of light and dark.

 

step6 copy

 

Texture texture texture! Build up the layers with multiple shades of the base colour and leave triangles EVERYWHERE.

 

step7 copy

 

The best part – shadows and conté lines!

 

step8 copy

 

Once last check to make sure the painting looks good without the line work.

 

step9 copy

 

And finally we can see the complete image, with the overlay (and lower opacity windows) on top of the underlay. The painting is now ready to send off to the animators.

 

step10 copy

 

I hope you enjoyed that little foray into backgrounds! I hope to share some more step by step posts in the future.

Until then you can keep up with me on Facebook and Twitter. I also have an online shop where you can find art prints and mugs oh my!

Until next time,

Dara

Fan Days 2015 presented by Toronto Comic Con

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As always you can check keep up to date with all my new art on my facebook page and on twitter.

And there is always more to find on my store.

Fan Expo 2015

Its convention time!

Its convention time!

Niagara Falls Comic Book Convention

I’m super excited to announce that I will be tabling in the Artist Alley at this years Niagara Falls Comic Con! It will be the first convention I take my wares to outside of Toronto – so I’m crossing my fingers that it’s the start of traveling to a lot more conventions across Canada and beyond!

You can find out info about all the amazing artists here.

The Convention takes place Friday June 5th through Sunday June 7th at the Scotia Bank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls Ontario.

I’ve restocked my animal tea stain posters, and I’ll be debuting a large tea sloth poster print at the show.

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There will also be a whack of new fan art mini teas.

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A smashing good time!

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And lust after sexy zombies.

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Totoro teas!

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Sassy Spidey (smells delicious)

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Why so serious?

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Sally tea

I’ll have posters, prints and postcards. Shiny things, mini teas, big tea stains and on the spot commissions.

Tea art galore will be at table A23. And on top of that, on Sunday I will be giving a talk on Art Direction in Indie video games! So if you happen to be at the show, come out say hello and ask questions about games, how to get into them, or what exactly an art director does for independent games.

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The full floor plan and schedule for panels and talks can be found here.

And last but not least, here’s a video preview of the show!

Hope to see you there!

And as always you can keep up to date with me on facebook, twitter and on my Society 6 store.

Toronto Comic Con 2015

Spring is around the corner, and that means it’s the start of convention season! I love comic book conventions and I cannot wait to spend time amidst the many talented illustrators and artisans in the Artist Alley. If I could say only one thing about Toronto it would be that we have one of the best Artist Alleys to be found at any comic or pop culture convention. So even if you’re not that into comics, or the plethora of guests who will be making an appearance, come out for the indie artists. You won’t be disappointed!

You can come visit me March 20th -22nd at Toronto Comic Con 2015. I’ll be at table A227 in Hall E.

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I will have new goodies, fresh from the printing presses and tea pot. My newest Mass Effect and Guardians of the Galaxy glossy post card prints have arrived.

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I’ve also printed brand new posters of some of my animal tea stains. 11×17 inches of glossy goodness!

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And I’ve made a slew of new mini tea stains. Some based on pop culture, and others totally inspired by the shape of the tea.

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So if you’re at the con, come say hello! I have so many new things to share with you.

And as always you can stay in touch with me and keep up to date on current art on my facebook and twitter. I also have an online store with pillows, mugs tote bags and more.