Throwback Thursday – Volleyball

In 2003, I worked for a very small company called Fugitive Interactive on their first game. When I started working there, there was an artist and two programmers and no design doc. All we knew what that  we were working on a beach volleyball game on Pocket PC (yep, it’s that old.) Back then I had just two and half years experience in the gaming industry, but that was still more than all the others together (who had a total of 0 years of experience.)

So I started to create an art bible, wrote the specs and documentation, tried to manage the staff. It wasn’t easy and we had to let the artist go because he wanted to work on paper and have me scan everything. Imagine my surprise when I got started and he gave me the animations as a stack on index cards. Oh, and he refused to do anything other than manga style. In the end, I did all the art myself, we had to change programmers a few times but the game came out. We even worked on another game after that.

So for this Throwback Thursday, here are a few screenshots from the game that I put in my portfolio after that. I’m a bit embarrassed by them today, but it could have been worse.

Conventional Wisdom: Boreal 2014

I just got back from Quebec City where I attended my first Boreal convention. Boreal is a French language literary convention with a focus on science-fiction, fantasy and other speculative genres.  It has hopped about to different cities in Quebec, but this year it was in Quebec City.

Weirdly enough, due to my heavy networking on English language forums and attendance of events like Illuxcon and the IMC, most of my art and publishing contacts are American, or at least, not Quebecers. We have a thriving local industry and I wanted to learn more so I signed up! I also volunteered to take part in the programming and I ended up participating in three panels.

There is a side of me who feels like a fraud whenever I’m put in a position like that, but I manage to rationalize it. It turns out I had a ball. I really enjoyed myself and I was lucky to have fantastic co-panelists. One of the subjects was touchy (the one about misogyny) but I felt that there was respect all around, both at the panel table and in the audience. I also got to see Christian Sauvé’s conference about being a critic and a variety of panels, I visited the exhibitors room and met great people. I also had two original paintings with me, one of them being a cover for Solaris winter 2014, so I was told be a lot of people that they had recognized it, which always feels good, the other one was Un Bon Cygne.

It’s a fairly small scene but a lot of my fellow con-goers and all the staff and volunteers went out of their way to make me feel welcome.

As usual, my tips for anyone thinking of going to a small to medium-sized convention are the same:

  • Do it.
  • Wear your name tag, make sure it’s visible.
  • Bring a portfolio and business cards, take them everywhere with you.
  • Don’t be afraid to approach people and introduce yourself.
  • When it’s lunchtime and a lot of people are milling about, it’s ok to ask perfect strangers if you can join them. Eating with someone is a great way to get to know them.
  • Be nice and non-creepy.

Upcoming appearance: Boreal 2014

Next weekend is Congrès Boréal, it’s a small literary sci-fi/fantasy convention that’s been around since 1979. It’s in Québec City and I will attend for the first time. I will bring two paintings: SteelButt Jack, the cover I did for Solaris, and Un Bon Cygne, a new one that I’m going to show in public for the first time.

Un Bon Cygne, acrylic and copper leaf on mdf.

Un Bon Cygne, acrylic and copper leaf on mdf.Acrylique et feuille de cuivre sur mdf.

But I’m not just going to hang art and hang out there. I’m part of 3 round tables, 2 in French, 1 in English. So on Friday night, I will be in the “Fantasy et science-fiction dans les médias audio-visuels” panel from 9p.m. to 10 p.m.
On Saturday I will be on the “Fantasy et autres cultures” panel from 11a.m. to 12a.m. and on Sunday I will take part in the “To Speak and Be Heard: Geek Culture and Misogyny” panel from 10a.m. to 11a.m. I hope that my years in the video game industry and my experience as a genre illustrator will give me a perspective that attendees find interesting. I will also be found sitting on other panels, hanging out with my peers and can even be convinced to give a few portfolio critiques if you bring your work for review.

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Le Congrès Boréal aura lieu en fin de semaine prochaine, c’est un petit congrès littéraire sur la science-fiction et le fantastique et c’est en existence depuis 1979. C’est a Québec et j’y participerai pour la première fois. J’amènerai 2 peintures: Steelbutt Jack, la couverture que j’ai faite pour Solaris, et Un Bon Cygne, ma dernière oeuvre que je montrerai en public pour la première fois.

Mais je n’y serai pas que pour montrer de l’art et me divertir. Je prendrai part à 3 tables rondes, 2 en français et une en anglais. Vendredi soir, je serai à la table ronde “Fantasy et science-fiction dans les médias audio-visuels” de 21:00 à 22:00. Samedi, je serai à la table ronde “Fantasy et autres cultures” de 11:00 à 12:00 et dimanche, je participerai à celle intitulée “To Speak and Be Heard: Geek Culture and Misogyny” de 10:00 à 11:00. J’espère que mes années dans l’industrie du jeu vidéo et mon expérience comme illustratrice me donneront une perspective que les spectateurs trouveront intéressante. On me trouvera aussi dans l’auditoire d’autres tables rondes, à me mêler à mes pairs et je pourrais même être convaincue de donner quelques critiques de portfolio, si vous amenez vos œuvres avec vous.

Art geeks

When people think of geeks, they often think about people who play video games, read comic books and wear thick glasses. Even though being geek is now more mainstream and some people revel in telling everyone that they are geeks, the stereotypes haven’t changed that much.

That said, there are people who are geeks about anything. Firearms geeks, politic geeks, medieval music geeks. Art geeks.

And it’s so hard to find some types of geeks. Like art geeks. One of the biggest joy of going to events like Illuxcon and the Illustration Master Class is to hang out with art geeks. I really miss this when I’m home and it was one of my motivations for joining DrinkAndDrawMtl. You learn a lot from other artists, you can get contacts, tips, critiques, hear about good supply stores and discover new artists, but mostly it’s fun and motivating.

So if you are an art geek, speak up! If you are in Montreal, contact me! If not, start your own art geek gatherings!

Throwback Thursday – Gryphon

In the 90′s, I was really into colored ink. It was almost all I did. I used Ecoline on watercolor paper, and later on illustration board. This is probably the best piece I have left from that time. It’s from 1997. The colors suffered a bit from the scanning, but I think it’s fair to say that Ecoline doesn’t suffer from the washed out colors problem that plagues watercolorists.

gryphons

My new Etsy store!

The reflections on the Jade Lion.

The reflections on the Jade Lion.

I have done it. I have considered starting an Etsy store for a long time, but it’s on now! One of my problems is that sometimes I have trouble having enough paintings in stock at the same time. So I’ll have to paint more.

You can see it here: Qitsune’s painterly meditations on Etsy

Right now I have a few paintings but I will also make it possible to commission custom art and to buy prints.

I’m very late on updating this blog, so I  decided to use the occasion to feature some art that’s in the Etsy store that I never talked about here. Like the Jade Lion, based on the Lion of Belfort statue that’s in Dorchester Square.

This tiny 5"x7" painting features green metal leaf details.

This tiny 5″x7″ painting features green metal leaf details.

I found this photograph on Pinterest and  I loved it. I wanted to paint it, but I don’t use other people’s pictures, at least, not directly, I need to transform them enough to make them my own.

The birth of Oversight

The birth of Oversight

So I dug around my photographs of angels, found a photo of a niche that worked with it, composited both together, painted on top to change the lighting and added the leaves in Photoshop. The result was the black, white and yellow image which I then transferred to my varnished MDF. For that, I used a sheet of tracing paper covered in compressed charcoal. So it’s like handmade artsy carbon paper. The result is often messy, but then I lightly wipe it with a dry rag and only the lines that I wanted there remain. I then painted using raw umber and unbleached titanium acrylic paints. When most of the painting was done, I started applying the imitation gold and (real) copper leaf to the painting. I added a bit of acrylic on some of the leaves, to push them back in the shade, then put even more gold leaves on top.

I finished the painting with several coats of spray on acrylic varnish.

Now it glows and shimmers in the light, I’m very happy with it.

You can see it here on Etsy

 

 

Throwback Thrusday – Avatars

Many years ago, I wanted to make mobile games. Now I am not a programmer but I had been in the industry for some years. We thought we’d start small and make a tiny avatar maker, since it was something that was part of bigger games at the time. You’d play a PS2 game and make yourself an avatar from different pieces and use that. Since the ability to associate a picture to a phone number was starting to be available on phones, but cameras were not yet in the picture (heh) we wanted people to be able to make composite funny portraits of their friends. Turns out that the selling and porting back then was much more complicated than today, you had to go through phone companies so that project was short lived. But all the tiny tiny art was made and I still think it’s hilarious.

What could have been...

What could have been…

Access to MBAM’s permanent collections is no longer free

Header of Hornestein pavillion of MBAM

Access to MBAM’s permanent collections is no longer free if you are over 30 (why 30? Beats me), and that makes me sad. I know that the MBAM is a fantastic museum and that we have been lucky to have free had access for so long. But I am still sad.

Fine art intimidates many people, they are afraid they aren’t going to get it, they are afraid that others will know they aren’t going to get it. Free entry was a risk free way for me to initiate neophytes to art and it’s a resource that will be harder to access.

There will still be time for free access. Here is the information:

The Collections and Discovery Exhibitions

Ticket grants access to the whole Museum, except for the Major Exhibitions

Ages 31 and up: $12
Ages 30 and under: Free
VIP members: Free

Access to the Collections and Discovery Exhibitions is free for:

• All those who purchase a ticket to a Major Exhibitions
• People aged 30 and under
• Ages 65 and up every Thursday
• The General public: the last Sunday of every month
• The General public during the Holiday season – December 26 to January 2 and Spring Break.
• Art teachers and their students (upon presentation of their school card)
• All holders of membership cards from our cultural partners will enjoy the same discounts as applicable to admission to Major Exhibitions.

As always, you can find more on the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal’s website.