Friday, 11 November 2016

Steampunk Playing Cards part 3.

Ready for the third (and yet the last) post about "Steampunk Plaing Cards" made for a Polish playing card company "TREFL"? It took me about two months to prepare the whole deck, so regardless your answer let me present clubs and spades!

Just in case you missed the previous two parts of presentation, here they are: part1 and part2.

Clubs were meant to refer to technological and scientific aspects of Steampunk. Strange, exaggerated glasses and lences are such a typical feature of Steampunk styliscs, that I couldn't resist choosing observatory for a building representing the ace of clubs.

According to my own guidelines jacks should be robots, which are technological achievements itself. But the jack of clubs should express the scientific atmosphere even harder. That's why I designed him as a mix of a microscope, oscilloscope and... some other parts.

From the 'Did you know' series: in Poland clubs are colloquially called "żołędzie" which means "acorns". That's why the jack of clubs is examining an acorn.

And now, last but not least: spades. Spades are related with exploring secrets of the sea (a distant echo of Jules Verne's 20000 Leagues Under the Sea). These pirates obviously know many sea mysteries:

What about the rest of the cards? Let them remain a mystery... unless someone has a deck in his/her hands :)

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

“One is expected to show a bit of eccentricity to be interesting. Otherwise one is simply a sad old crone, and no one wants that, you know.” 
"The Ice Princess", Camilla Läckberg

Today I'm celebrating 50.000 views of my blog! I thought that it might be an occasion for you- dear readers and watchers- to "get to know" me a little better. So! Somewhere in the top left corner of your screens you can see me working hard. And below you can read Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions  (questions I've been asked by wonderfully inquiring people who stumbled upon my works or under interviews) along with my answers. Maybe you'll find them interesting or useful:

1. When did you start to be interested in illustrating?

Since childhood I've been surrounded by books about art (very classic, traditional art to be precise).  I really loved to browse through them. However it was a "passive" interest.

My "active" interest in making illustrations began when I came into contact with fantasy games and books in a high school.

2. Where and when did you learn drawing?

I began to learn drawing at the age of 18 (some of you may think that it's quite late). I was attending drawing classes to pass entrance exams for Warsaw Faculty of Architecture. Then, during studies I had a broad spectrum of art classes (drawing, painting, sculpting, study of colors, digital graphics etc). It was a valuable base for practicing at home. Even more important were classes from architectural design and history of architecture. These enabled me to draw detailed buildings and landscapes from imagination.

3. For how long have you been working as a freelance illustrator?

I'm a freelance illustrator since graduating from Faculty of Architecture (2011).

4. Which artists inspire you most?

Old masters:  L. da Vinci, A. Dürer and G. B. Piranesi. Their sketches brilliantly presented the whole process of "constructing" their works (the visible guide lines). On the other hand my favorite painter is Zdzisław Beksiński. He was able to create a mood which can be easily felt, even though it can be hardly described with words.

5. What are your other inspirations:

On the first place I'd say long walks. My thoughts flow the most freely when I'm walking. Moreover: dark and melodic music, fantasy books, historical buildings.

6. What techniques/tools do you use in creating your work?

-watercolor paper: yellowish Canson Colorline and white Daler-Rowney (300g)
- watercolors (in tubes and bars)

-a waterproof Faber-Castell's "PITT artist pen", size S

- Rotring's Artpens, various sizes. They're quite handy and allow to draw fine, stylish lines

- mechanical pencil, size 0.5

- After scanning I use Photoshop, mostly to set the colors/contrasts and add a text

7. What does your creative process look like? 

1. Usually the first step is "brainstorming". In a relatively short period of time I browse through plenty of photos and illustrations related somehow to my task. The purpose is being in the right creative mood, not searching particular references.

2. Then I make about dozen of thumbnail sketches just for myself. If it's a commission I often send about 3 more detailed sketches to the customer to get a better idea of his/her expectations.

 3. And then the whole fun begins. A delicate pencil sketch helps me to set the right composition. Then it's time for a more precise pen drawing and finally watercolors can be used.

4. Sometimes it happens that I'm not really satisfied with the color scheme and I need to redraw the whole work.

 5. If the original looks fine, it is scanned and edited digitally to prepare it for example for printing.

What can be said in few sentences may actually take me several days.

8. What are the biggest advantages of being a freelance illustrator?

1. The most important for me: continuous development of skills.

2. A very positive feedback from foreign people from various parts of the world. It's really motivating and uplifting.

3. Quite low level of stress.

4. Freedom in managing time.

9. What are the biggest disadvantages of being a freelance illustrator?

1. Uncertainty in economic matters. Very low earnings at the beginning (at least in case of the vast majority of cases).

2. Sporadic direct contact with other people. My contact with customers is usually limited to e-mails, less often to Skype talks.

Not so many after all :)

10. Did you always wanted to be an artist? What would you be doing if you weren't an illustrator?

For a short period of time I  wanted to be a garbage collector (big cars + working in the open air). Then I wanted to be an archeologist or paleontologist as I'm fascinated by the past.

If I weren't an illustrator, I'd be an architect as that's my learned profession.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Steampunk Playing Cards part 2.

Time for the second portion of Steampunk cards created in an old school, traditional way (ink and watercolors). Today I'll focus on the red suits - hearts and diamonds.

"Hearts" were meant to represent the cultural and elegant side of Steampunk. Top hats, victorian fans and lace should be a good fit here. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the Queen and the King of Hearts:


Now we are leaving salons to meet the darker side of Victorian era - decadence and pests especially decimating industrial areas. My favorite card - Jack of Diamonds as known as a "Pest Doctor" (in a steampunk style):

And which vehicle could represent this group better than a hearse? A steampunk hearse of course :D

I hope that these few illustrations managed to arouse your curiosity and that you'll be willing to see steampunk pirates and inventors in the next blog post!

The deck was created for a Polish playing card company "Trefl".

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Steampunk Playing Cards part 1.

 “Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.”
George R. R. Martin, "A Game of Thrones"

For some strange and unexplained reason I'm working mostly on graphic designs and environment/architectural designs, which means that I'm using only pens/pencils and graphic tablet on daily basis.
As the time went by I began to suspect, that I'm going to forget how to make watercolor illustrations until one day...
a proposal from one of the leading Polish card manufacturer ("Trefl") came.
The offer concerned making set of cards in a Steampunk style. Handmade, watercolor technique, victorian aesthetics, steampunk subjects - PERFECT!
Some of my previously done artworks were also welcome to be part of the deck (ie "Train", "Steampunk Landscape").

Working process started with thinking (what a surprise!).

CONCLUSION 1 - Jokers could be presented as goblins, Aces as buildings, Kings could be portrayed as bearded guys, Queens as cute ladies (congrats Evi, how unusual) and Jacks could be robots. After discussion with the client  we decided to put vehicles on cards with numbers.

CONCLUSION 2 - each color could be designed as a to put it right... subculture?
hearts would be members of the "upper classes" , clubs should be inventors/researchers fascinated with steampunk technical achievements, spades could be pirates or sea travelers and diamonds could be a charming mix of goths and dandies with a touch of decadence.

That's just a little sample of what you can expect to see in the deck. Next posts will reveal more :)