Jessie Gillespie
Art Geek. Geek Art.
RARR! (Hello world!)

Greetings.

Here is neither the best nor the first post on the interwebs, but I will endeavor to entertain you while I share with you my artwork. You see, I started my artistic life as a graphic designer – which I still do – but I’m finding that I need new mediums to explore and new challenges to pursue. To that end, I’m just going to be a jerk of all trades. I’m currently working on a mural at Wandering Havoc Games in Marysville, WA – I thought I’d share some of my progress with you.

I have some photos of the dragon floating around on Facebook and my other blog, Gillespieclan (can anyone say subdomain?), but I’ve collected them all here so you can see some of the progression. Unfortunately, I’ve been rather sparse in the photos I’ve taken since I’ve been so busy painting (and I apologize in advance; all photos were taken with my MyTouch phone, which has a resolution of a stunning 380×450). Here, though, is the dragon’s inception: the proposal sketch.

Prismacolor markers will sell anything, man. This wasn’t exactly the most polished sketch I’ve ever produced, but it was just something to wave at the folks at Wandering Havoc and see what they thought. Their reaction was unexpectedly and enthusiastically positive, and we decided that THIS was our dragon. The only changes they really wanted were some words above him saying, ‘Better roll high… I’m getting hungry!’ and have him throwing some dice. Both were excellent suggestions, so I began the process of (haha) cleaning up the design for when I’d project it onto the wall.

I laugh at ‘clean up,’ because the next photo is what I consider appropriate prep work. Yes, that’s my final draft for projection. if you examine exhibit B, you will notice the finely-detailed MS Paint-style lines demonstrating where the edges of the dragon that didn’t scan go, or where I adjusted the perspective on his throwin’ arm. Another example of high levels of professionalism is the scan of a hand I did on legal paper (one of many iterations of that hand, I assure you).

O yeah, and don’t forget the ghetto smoke lines that make it look like he’s smoking a cigarette. Family store, schmamily store! Dragons are all natural smokers – they’re born that way! Don’t judge them. They can’t help the way they are. Last but not least by any stretch is the photo (this will play into my adventure later) of the D20 he’s rolling – that little bugger caused me more irritation and commentary from passersby than anything except for dragon taxonomy.

Dragon taxonomy, you ask? Does it even matter? It’s a mythical creature! Apparently, it matters hard to some people. For example, one gentleman asserted that it was a female dragon, because females have vestigial fans on their heads in place of upward curving horns like the males. Another gentleman insisted it was not, in fact, a dragon at all but a drake due to its lack of wings. Another politely posited that it was actually a wyvern because of its snakelike body shape (which… you can’t even see…?) Still others notified me that it could not actually be Bahamut because of its coloration, or that it could not be Tiamat because it was not a very queenly dragon. Almost everyone who had something to say about it were a little… confused when I said that it was just an amalgamation of details I like about dragons. Granted, none of this was particularly surprising to me – we geeks love us some consistency in any given set of rules, setting or canon – but it made for some very interesting afternoons.

Dragon in Beta PhaseUnfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of the underpainting phase; but I can tell you that it made everyone nervous for a while. ^_^ “Why is she painting a big brown splotch onto the wall?! Where’s the red? Why is she painting PINK in there?” I worked really hard to assuage their fears and get a nice, deep rich color to the red at the same time. After all, if you paint red directly onto (unsealed) drywall, it will disappear into a gnarly pink color. So anyway, I digress. I finally won everyone’s trust again when Big Red came out with flesh that didn’t look flat and gross or the slightest bit pink. The bumps on his skin were, however, originally highlighted with white, which led some of the WHGer’s to chuckle about it being a strawberry dragon. Now he’s got a very definite gold cast to those bumps, yessir.

And now, the dice. First of all, do you think you would notice an unfinished D20 versus a large, detailed dragon on the wall? I didn’t think anyone would, but they did. And you would think that a dice directly traced from a photo would be pretty realistic, right? Wrong. Apparently, it is missing two planes even though it’s traced from a photo – and a gentleman passerby insisted I had the numbers on the wrong planes. This led to a genteel discussion between the WHG store minion and the gentleman about the difference between legal PnP dice and Spindown dice used in Magic: The Gathering to keep track of life points, and a discussion between myself and both minion and gentleman about perspective and how our minds ‘know’ something should be there versus actually seeing it (you know a horse has four legs, right? What if one of the legs overlapped and hid the other?). Regardless, we all came away from that with new information and a renewed vigor for intellectual discourse. Or I might have gotten grumpy, but that’s neither here nor there.

This is the last in-progress photo I have, but it’s still not finished yet! Remember the beard from the initial concept sketch? That made it in. For the kiddies, I made the smoke coming out of the dragon’s nose – hopefully they won’t notice that he swallowed the cigarette because he didn’t want them to see him with it. And you see that lush, beautiful beard and tail? My friend Cassie showed me how to paint hair/fur, and while this grasshopper has not yet surpassed the master, it’s feelin’ pretty good about itself right about now. Also, you might notice that I invented two planes for the D20 to make it look ‘right.’ There is also a D6 and a D8 – I can’t wait to get another photo up here of this bidness, because I’m really proud of how I (sort of) solved the perspective problem on the D6.

All I have left to do on the mural is finish the ‘busting out of the wall’ cracklies (oh, you don’t see them in the photos? That’s because they were a last minute addition!), cleanup around the edges/finish painting the yellow tint on the whole wall, give the dice and dragon some shadow so that he pops out of the wall a bit better. I will be taking a nice, high-resolution photo of this business when I’m done, and Wandering Havoc and I are pleased to announce that we will be selling prints of the piece on-site. More to come when I get my derriere into gear and take more photos!

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