Joined April 2009

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I’m trying to get more color work into my illustration portfolio to jump to the big time. I’ve been doing small press work and it’s pretty brutal. In the last 18 months I’ve done over 600 illustrations, seriously, but only been paid about $2500. For those of you thinking to go this route, it’s harder than doing the gallery thing. I had my best experience just selling on the street; sold 40 paintings in 2 months. I really just wanted to give them to people who wanted them—I’m not a good salesman!

This little girl turned out so well that I wanted to add here here as another “illustration” of what I mean by skin color. I just hate the way that most people do skin tones in reddish browns from that pasty-looking color all of us “white” folks are supposed to be (and no one is) to the coffee and cream color that everyone else is (and is not.) Human skin like flower petals is about the hardest thing to duplicate. Poser is an example of the worst in digital solutions. It takes as long to do skin tones digitally as by hand, so there are NO shortcuts. Well, maybe sticking to black and white, but, even then, people overwhelm skin tones with too much contrast.

For many Africans and Indians and Australians, the underlying tone of the skin is violet with either a gold cast or reddish cast or sometimes a more yellow cast, depending on skin thickness. In interesting areas like the US and North Africa, you get a range of olive tones butting in as well as the pinks of Europe when skin is very thin and the blood tones are making it more red. But the worst faux pas is usually in trying to do the First Peoples of the US because some European idiot called them “redskins.” They are very like Mongolians and other northern Siberians with different noses.

Morgan suggests that the original human look was a very high-bridged nose, very dark skin, and long, straight black hair. Very much like people in Southern India. She says that whorled hair, padded sinuses and eye sockets, and light hair and skin were later adaptations to local climate variations. Padding the sinuses for cold, whorled hair to cool the head, light skin to get more vitamin D.

When I did this girl in pastel, I stuck to the violet undertones and was able to convey her “dark” skin without washing her out in umber shadow. The high reflectivity of her skin is not overwhelmed by contrast, but is suggested in the cyan tones over the gold/orange “color.” She has a reddish cast to her hair which is not uncommon since red is on a different gene than brown.

This is for a book called “If I Were a Girl.” It’s a book for pre-schoolers giving the inspiration of growing up in a world where curiosity and knowledge is welcome and revered. Too often we get “I’ll grow up to be a fireman or a teacher” books rather than books that convey the joy of knowing. The verse for this is:

“If I were a girl out in the world,
I’d know the name of every blossom of every bee
Of every plant and every tree that grew so tall,
Surrounded, they would hold me in a blanket of delight.”

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portrait child color pastel african

Artwork Comments

  • MoonSpiral
  • MoonSpiral
  • Derek Stewart
  • Gabby87
  • carlinecasey
  • Kathleen Donnelly
  • dorina costras
  • redqueenself
  • armadillozenith
  • cerphotography
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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