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EDIT: Fixed the link! Go post your artwork for a free crit here:…. If you get a cookie error, you can post your artwork on my facebook page .

I turn the big 3 0 on Thursday. In celebration, I want to thank all who have followed me and my art throughout the years. On Thursday I am hosting a critique session for the first 10 followers who post artwork on my blog. Aren't following me yet? It's easy. Just like me on facebook or follow me on twitter to qualify. By staying informed, you can be the first to see my latest blog posts, articles, and artwork while also being eligible for future print giveaways.

  • First come, first serve
  • Must be a follower
  • One image per person
  • Keep it PG-13
  • Post your image on my blog
  • That's it!

I'll post the first five critiques on the 3rd and the rest, a week later on the 10th. I'd like to do crit sessions regularly if possible so be sure to follow my blog for future opportunities.


10 Time-saving Photoshop Shortcuts for Artists

Did you know the average person wastes a staggering 64 hours a year by neglecting to use keyboard shortcuts? Time is a precious resource. Don't squander it hunting for tools when you could be painting instead. Whether you're a novice or a seasoned pro, the time you invest in learning a few shortcuts will be well worth the added efficiency boost.

Chances are, you're familiar with the universal shortcuts: CTRL + S, CTRL + Z, CTRL + C, and CTRL + V (and if you're not, learn them now), but did you know nearly every key on your keyboard can access a shortcut in Photoshop?The full power of this incredible program is literally at one's fingertips, yet it's often underutilized. While looking at cheatsheets with a dizzying number of quick keys can be daunting, don't let Photoshop's complexity scare you. Start small with these 10 easy time-saving shortcuts for artists.  

1. Brush Tool

Mac: B
Windows: B
Press the letter 'B' and you've found the number one artist shortcut, the brush tool. Pressing one key is much faster than hunting.

2. Toggle Brushes

Mac: , / .
Windows: , / .
Like traditional artists, digital artists use various brushes to paint. Use the period and comma keys to toggle between them with ease.

3. Re-size Brush

Mac: [ / ]
Windows: [ / ]
Painting hair? No need to open the brush panel to get a smaller brush. Just use brackets to increase and decrease your brush size.

4. Increase / Decrease Hardness

Mac: { / }
Windows: { / }
Sometimes you need sharper details than your current brush offers. Increase or decrease the hardness of your brush by using curly brackets.
straightlinePRO TIP: To paint a straight line, select the brush tool, paint a dot, hold down 'shift', and paint another dot off to the side. Photoshop will connect them for you.

5. Select a New Color

Windows: ALT
Don't interrupt your work to find the eyedropper. Just hold down ALT / OPTION to pick a color. Photoshop will then go back to your previous tool.

6. Switch Foreground / Background

Mac: X
Windows: X
Quickly toggle between your foreground and background colors by pressing X.  (Press D to automatically select black and white ).

7. Zoom In / Out

Mac: SHIFT + Spacebar
Windows: SHIFT + Spacebar
A must for the digital artist—zoom in and out instantly by pressing SHIFT + spacebar and scrolling or moving the mouse or down (up zooms in, down zooms out). Let go to revert back to your last used tool.

8. Move / Hand Tool

Mac: CMD / Spacebar
Windows: CTRL / Spacebar
Don't bother with the move or hand tools. Just press and hold CTRL / CMD to move a layer or the spacebar to move the canvas inside the viewport. Release the button to go back to your previous tool.
fillPRO TIP: Fill the canvas (or current selection) by pressing ALT/OPTION + DELETE for the foreground color or CTRL/CMD + DELETE for the background color.

9. Create a Duplicate Merged Layer

Sometimes an artist needs a merged version of layers without flattening the file. Simply press CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + E or CMD + OPTION + SHIFT + E to create a duplicate merged layer on top of your work.

10. Select the Layer Above or Below

Mac: OPTION + [ / ]
Windows: ALT + [ / ]
Press the ALT / OPTION key, then press the right bracket ] to select the layer above or the left bracket [ to select the layer below. Photoshop will automatically circle back around when you reach the top or bottom.

Final Notes

Notice there's no need to select the eyedropper tool (I), hand tool (H), or zoom tool (Z)--even with shortcuts. By temporarily switching to the function of that tool without deselecting your brush you can move much faster. The difference might seem minuscule, but it adds up. Imagine gaining 64 hours a year over a lifetime. The benefits are undeniable.

What are your favorite Photoshop shortcuts for painting? Share them in the comments below.


This article is from my art blog, For more like it, be sure to like me on facebook and follow me on twitter where I post art resources and industry secrets for aspiring illustrators.

The greatest asset of an artist seeking work is an outstanding portfolio. I can think of no other industry in which skill level can trump a degree to such an extent. Self taught? No problem. Prove you know what you're doing and you're hired. But how do you know what to include in your portfolio? Is it really that big of a deal?

Portfolios are an illustrator's resume, and therefore ought to be handled with as much precision and editing—“proofreading” if you will. Wonky anatomy, like spelling errors, can push away prospective employers. Before you show your masterpieces to the world ask yourself if what you've chosen is the best representation of what you have to offer, and soak in these expert tips from illustrators Donald Wu, Neil Swaab, and Chris Oatley:

1. Pick Only Your Best Work

According to children's illustrator, Donald Wu, a “portfolio is only as good as its weakest piece.” Nothing in your portfolio should be less than good. Otherwise clients will question your ability to deliver at the level they expect and that could cost you future work. Start your portfolio with a strong piece, and end it with a strong piece to leave a lasting impression.

2. Less is Better than Mediocre

Aim for ten to fifteen pieces to display—twenty at the most, but only if the work is good enough. “It’s better to only have five incredible pieces, than five incredible pieces and ten mediocre ones,” says art director, illustrator, and instructor Neil Swaab. Focus on quality over quantity, and take the time to create new pieces instead of using sub-par work as filler.

3. Show Professionalism

Showcase your work with care, whether that be in a nicely bound portfolio or a well-designed website. Also important—let your professionalism spread beyond your portfolio into your communications with prospective clients. Disney character designer Christ Oatley shares the industry's number one portfolio pitfall: unprofessional communication. “The animation industry is based on relationships. If we begin every potential relationship with an untidy, misspelled, poorly written, slang-laden communication, the relationship will last about as long as it takes the receiver to click “DELETE.”

4. Show Consistency

There's something to be said of an artist who can successfully execute several different styles, but in a portfolio setting show only the type of work you want to be doing. Hate doing environmental concept art? Weed it out. Not only will your work be more consistent, your style will be too. “An art director wants to know that, when they hire you for a job, they’re going to get exactly what they expect,” Swaab says. “If your work is all over the map, you’ll make the back of their neck hairs stand on end.”

5. Be Relevant

And finally, be mindful of whether or not your work matches the needs of recruiters and contacts. “If you are applying to work as a character designer but your portfolio is filled with logos you did for your grandma’s punk band, you will just waste the time of those generous enough to review your work,” Oatley says. Be sure you have examples of the type of work they need before you present yourself.

So get out those pruning shears and go to work to make your portfolio one stellar experience your clients won't forget. Time to do a bit of weeding myself.


Like me on facebook and follow me on twitter for the most up-to-date news and art tips.…

Sources:  5 Common Pitfalls Of Concept Art & Illustration Portfolios | Content and Your Illustration Portfolio | How to Build an Illustration Portfolio

To all my dolling friends, I am going to be deleting all of my bases in the next couple of weeks or so. If you want them, save them now. You are free to distribute them to whoever for whatever reason. Just credit this account. Dolling has been a wonderful springing board to help me into digital illustration and I will forever be grateful for the amazing community that has been a part of my life through the years. I am now at the point in my career where I am ready to move on. I am pruning my account of everything sub-par and plan on redoing my website as well. It's been great though.

If you haven't already, please like me on facebook and follow me on twitter for the most up-to-date news and projects in the works!…
  • Listening to: Piano Guys
  • Reading: Soul Thief: A Demon Trappers Novel

Hello, hello. Just dropping in to announce that I will be increasing my online presence. If you are interested in art tips, how-to blogs, photo shop shortcuts, or just want to see a sneak peek of my upcoming artwork, I encourage you to follow me on Facebook (ashleywaltersillustration) and Twitter (@AshWaltersArt). I'll be doing some print giveaways in the future.

Life has been great. I've been exploring many different creative outlets and have discovered more of myself in the process. Many of you might not know it, but I am a classically trained singer, and I've been getting into the writing scene (courtesy of the prodding of a dear client of mine). I'll be performing Brahms Requiem next month with the local symphony and entering a writing contest. The past few months have taught me that art can be found in many forms. You may find that in the future, I will be sharing tidbits and experiences that I have learned across all avenues of artistic expression.

Right now, I am working on a fun little project during my off time. Here's a sneak peek. I hope to do a blog entry soon on creating depth in portrait work. Specifically on how to blend shadows, different types of shadows, and how being confident in your lighting creates a more lifelike piece.
Elfpreview by lithriel

In the commercial realm, I've been working working working. I'm keeping a tight lid on things, but sufficeth to say, I've been loving branching out and putting the pretty elves and fairies to the side. Here's a hint of some of my recent work:

Overwarden Orc II by lithriel Overwarden Orc by lithriel

  • Listening to: Piano Guys
  • Reading: Soul Thief: A Demon Trappers Novel
Hello all! If you would like a step by step tutorial of how I created my image Steampunk Dragon you can find it in the current issue of Advanced Photoshop Magazine (Issue 112 page 72):

Steampunk Dragon Trinket by lithriel

In this you'll find how to gather reference, draw things without reference, the fundamentals of light, how to paint shiny versus dull surfaces, etc.  I also have support files included on the CD for you to open and play. I was very excited to be contacted by such a well known and respected magazine so if you have time, stop by your local bookstore and pick it up!…

Also for potential clients: I am officially back into the illustration game after a brief maternity leave. Please contact me via note if you are interested in working with me. I've been working diligently behind the scenes on several book covers and the next edition of Clockhaven Chronicles but working working working! 

Thanks so much to all for the birthday wishes as well!

Ashley Walters (aka Lithriel)
Hello and surprise!  I actually created a new journal entry.  Shocking, I know!  

So I just had baby number three two weeks ago today!  She is precious and taking up all of mommy's extra time.  She came a week early and I wasn't expecting that at all (both my others weren't early).  My son (who is 4) went to an Easter egg hunt, ingested a penny from one of the eggs, went to the ER, had to be sent out of town to see a GI specialist via ambulance, and the stress seemed to have sent me into early labor.  So I had the baby without my husband who was tending to my son 2 hours away.  It was crazy to show up at the ER twice within only a few hours.  I was the talk of the hospital that night.  =O

That being said, I couldn't be happier.  She is dang cute and would you believe it, actually has pointy ears.  She'll probably grow out of them but for now I tease her about being a hobbit.  She's always wanting second breakfast after all.

FYI- I've had a lot of commercial inquires and thought it prudent to write this journal entry.  If you are interested in commissioning me for work be aware that I am unavailable until summer as I take some time off for the baby.  I understand this may result in me missing some opportunities but having this information on my front page may be a way for potential clients to know my schedule.

As always, thank you all for your continued support.
Hello my friends!  Time for an update- I've been working like crazy behind the shadowy curtain.  Usually I have a much greater presence on DA but lately when given the choice to either work or lurk I've been choosing the former.  Of course that is good for my clients because I have enough work to last me for months.  No I take that back, my recurring projects have endless amounts of work to be done, lol.  That means that my tutorials and brushes and all around artsy articles on my blog have been pushed to the side lately.  I want to amp things back up again.  While it's easy to get lost in a pit of work, networking is just about as important as the portfolio in the art world.  And who needs to watch old episodes of Whose Line is it Anyway on youtube at midnight anyway?  Why not write artsy things instead?!  

So things are good.  I'm going to have a piece in this upcoming edition of Expose 10 by Ballistic… .  When they sent it over for proofing I noticed the coloring was completely off so it may print like crap but hey at least I've got my name in the book amiright?  They said they'll send a message about it to the dude in charge of that but who knows.  Either way it's an honor.

Steampunk Dragon Trinket by lithriel

In other news I have been contacted by some bigger clients and I am way excited!  I feel like I am stepping into the big leagues now.  That's amazing because if you don't remember, I've only been doing this seriously for just under a year.  I don't regret my decision to switch from design to illustration one bit.

In an effort to kick-start my web presence and interaction with my watchers, if you have any topics you would like me to cover in a blog article make a comment below.  I'll make a poll of some of the responses I like and address the one with the most votes.  Topic ideas could be the art industry as a whole, a lighting tutorial, or how to use reference or something.  Or maybe something on brushes and settings and such.  Thanks for your input!
Yesterday I saw that I had my 4000th watcher and as I imagined an assembly of 4000 people all there to see me I was humbled and awed.  You guys are great, you really are.  You inspire me to keep moving and keep striving.  I can't believe I am about to break 100,000 views.  I kid you not- I had only 19,000 two years ago.  It has been an explosion and I am honored that you guys have found me worthy to watch as I grow and improve as an artist.  So yes, I am still alive and working harder than I have ever worked before.  Work has picked up so much I have had little time to do personal projects and what commercial works I do have have been under non-disclosure but I can't wait to show you guys some of the concept art I have been working on.  It has been a blast!  I truly have found my calling in life being an artist.  These last few months have been hard but I have never felt so fulfilled!  

Speaking of which, I just got my copy of Exotique 7 two days ago and I am patiently waiting to open it Christmas Day.  When I submitted my walkthrough I heard back from them and they told me it was the best walkthrough they had ever received.  This is Ballistic Publishing folks!  To say I was happy would be an understatement.  By the way, if you go on their website now you will see a lovely new section of the bottom talking about the walkthroughs and they call me a master artist!  ~_~  I was so giddy when I saw that.… you guys want an in-depth explanation of what I do and the purposes behind it I highly recommend watching this tutorial.  I wish I had time to do more.  

There has been soooo much going on in life, not just work.  For those of you who recall, I was working on a costume for my husband for DragonCon last year.  I finished it in time for Halloween thanks to the pestering of my husband, but it nearly did me in because he only gave me two weeks notice.  I had to freaking sculpt body armor.  Then people kept punching him in the chest because they thought it was some store bought armor when in fact it was made of paperclay.   Thank goodness for the resin coating I gave it for strength.  It was so dang hard, I simply must show it off here.  That is if I can get the pictures to show up:

It's nice to pick up sculpting tools every now and then, but it was so stressful I could use a long hiatus before attempting it again.  I wish I was as motivated as my brother and his wife who come up with new costumes every convention.  I did however have time to turn my baby into a moogle for halloween!

And I didn't have time to make myself anything for Halloween so I threw on a Japanese dress I had bought at a ren fair for something like $10, threw on some eye lashes, and took a fan.  Don't ask me what I am really supposed to be, because I don't really know.  It was a last minute decision.  I tried clown makeup at first.  It looked awful up close.  The second time I just used some concealer over my whole face.  It looked much better.  And yes, my arms and legs are really that pale and my hair that dark.  

And since then I have moved, been in several performances including Handel's Messiah (which I only had like a week to learn the entire 200 page score), and had to get my husband's parents house ready for them to move back in (we had been house sitting).  

Tomorrow is my 5th year anniversary, and then there is Christmas, and then the welcome home party for the in-laws, and then... JANUARY!  Ah blissful peaceful laid back January, you cannot come soon enough!

So that's what's been up.  I'll be writting a blog entry soon to talk about some of the amazing resources I have found lately so stay tuned!

Crit Day- Thanks for the Birthday Wishes

Journal Entry: Sat Sep 3, 2011, 12:47 PM

First of all, let me just thank you to the many who have posted comments on my profile.  It's been a lovely day so far and I'm in a giving mood.  As mentioned in my last journal I am putting together a crit day over on my art blog-…

It's my way of saying thank you to you all for supporting me and taking an interest in my artwork.  So if you link to an original artwork of yours on my blog within a week, I will critic it for you.  Critic has helped me personally immensely and I hope you all will find it beneficial as well.  

Thanks so much!

Exotique 7, and Life as a Freelance Illustrator

Journal Entry: Fri Aug 26, 2011, 6:25 AM

It's official!  I will be featured in Exotique 7!  :D

These pieces have been chosen:
The First Snow by lithriel Hidden Amongst the Stars by lithriel Elven Concept by lithriel

I was just asked if I would be willing to recreate elven concept as a walk-through for those who pre-order as well, and barring any unforeseen circumstances I will try to get it in amongst my other jobs.

Yes, jobs, as in I am actually illustrating full time now!  ^_^  I can't tell you how great it feels.  I've already done one book cover and I am currently working on another project which includes 3 total illustrations.   I can't post what I have been working on quite yet but know that I have been working hard!  Yep, I'm up at 5:45am of my own accord.  I must love this job.

If you would like more info on how I have made the transition into doing art full time, take a peek at my latest blog post on the subject.

And very soon I will be posting a blog offering my services for a critique day of sorts.  I want to give back.  It's my hope to make this a regular occurrence for my watchers and followers on blogspot.  

Well, I best get back to work!  All the best!

Greetings greetings my minions I mean uh... followers...  ;)

I wanted to put a plug in for my new art website .  Bookmark it if you can as that is where I will put a lot of my resources in the future.  I've been talking to a friend about putting together tutorial videos (she knows how to do all the production on them) and I am looking into doing some live streams.  

I've got some art floating around on an ImagineFX DVD but I don't know which issue.  I think it's issue 69 or 70.  Anyone know for sure?  I tried looking at the local store and they didn't have it so I want to know the issue number so I can buy it online.

And just so ya know, I have entered some pieces in Exotique 7.  I'm crossing my fingers that I will have at least something get through.  I can't tell you how stoked I would be to have such a lovely book on my shelf.

And just so you people know, I am available for concept work but I don't work for free.  I've had a couple of people ask and then laugh at me for wanting pay, but I am a serious artist and I need to eat.  :p  I mean, is it so out of the ordinary to ask pay for labor?  I mean really?

Anyway, I am on and I put up a sketchbook recently if you guys want to say hi and get a sneak peek on some stuff I may not post here:…

And I forgot to add, have you guys heard of skin graft?  I just discovered their stuff and it absolutely amazing!  I am thinking of doing some paintings inspired by their style.…

And I would just like to say thanks for being there for me guys.  It means a lot to have all my helpful watchers and I hope you have enjoyed watching my transformation here in the past year.  It has been an incredible journey.  I try to comment whenever someone posts on my profile and usually check out other people's profiles.  If I didn't get to your comment, know that I read it and thank you.  I am to the point where I can't say thanks for every message, I'm up to 12000 in my message center again (time to clean them out).  Lazy excuse I know, but thanks again.

Awesome underexposed art:

Violet Space by Vetrova Alien by NightshadeBerry Angel by drbjrart Brothers in Arms by auspiciouspanda :thumb216756842:


So many exciting new things- Please follow my blog

Journal Entry: Tue May 17, 2011, 10:38 AM

Hello all!  I have so many exciting things to tell you all!  First, thanks for the DD feature last week.  It was such a great surprise.  In case you missed it, I silently updated that very image as it was very low resolution (prints are now available fyi).

Dragon Soceress by lithriel

Second of all, this same image won Image of the Day over at ImagineFx ( on May 3rd which I just found out about like 3 days ago (so out of the loop), and lastly, I just got an email from one of the editors of the Magazine asking me if I want my work featured on their next DVD.  UM YES PLZ!  ^_^

So which pieces should I feature?  Obviously the image of the day must be featured, and my current project I hope to feature as well, but of these pieces which one should I enter? (I am looking for something with more of an illustrative feel, not just a pretty portrait that's why I have only chosen these):

Elven Concept by lithriel   Spaceport Invasion by lithriel

ALSO, as I am officially a freelance illustrator now I am upping my game.  I'll be posting sketches, finished pieces, and links to great art resources on my awesome art blog at… follow me (puppy dog eyes).  I will be posting my own tutorials, brush techniques and packs, live stream videos, and talking about the latest art news.  I also want to feature you guys!  If you have an art blog I want to network.  It's all about helping each other out.

And last but not least, I am about to unveil my new and improved website.  (Yes, I have one.  I didn't tell you because it sucked.  But not anymore!)

Yeah, I planned that one just right, I need to send the link to ImagineFX anyway.  So yes honey, I did stay up until nearly 2am coding the rollover navigation images in css last night, but I don't feel bad about it anymore.   Good thing the baby already sleeps through the night :D

Baby number two has arrived!

Journal Entry: Tue Mar 22, 2011, 6:02 PM

So you may or may not have noticed that I have been missing from the DA scene for a bit.  I had quite a few projects to get done before my due date.  Well I will continue to be absent for a little while as baby number two has arrived!  =D Brittany was born Sunday March 13th 7 pounds 2 ounces.  She and I are both healthy- aside from mommy having a head cold.  

So now I enter what I consider to be the hardest part of early parenthood- the sleepless nights and up and down emotional roller coaster that follows the first few weeks after delivery.  I won't be making art during this time but I will be back, once the little one learns to sleep longer stretches at night.  Until then, I'll be lurking and occasionally answering questions and replying to comments.  

I did catch my 2000th watcher.  Thanks Ariake-chan! :iconariake-chan:  Check out her art if you have a minute!  She also has some fun final fantasy fan art (which the world will never have enough of).  :D

Turquoise Glow by Ariake-chan   Realistic Artwork by Ariake-chan

My First Tutorial is Up!

Journal Entry: Thu Nov 18, 2010, 6:47 AM

In case you didn't notice, I finally got up that tutorial!  I hope you all find it helpful.  Originally I was going to start with more basic principles but I let you all vote on it so here it is!

Digital Painting Tutorial Pt I by lithriel Digital Painting Tutorial Pt 2 by lithriel Tutorial Example by lithriel

The people have spoken!

Now as I look back on it, I see all sorts of things I would like to change, but sometimes you just have to learn to let go and put something down.  A lot of times I tend to get caught up in details and the endless tweaking begins!  Hours later I realize I hadn't gotten anything else down, I just moved the eyes 100 times.  :/  

I have people ask me all the time how they can learn to paint like me.  This is surprising, because I have a lot to learn about painting digitally, I really do.  Especially the illustration and story-telling of the whole process, but what I do have is a solid grasp of anatomy.  That I gained from endless hours of drawing portraits at age 11 up until now.  In college I majored in art with lots and lots of portrait drawing and figure drawing courses under my belt.  Sure, it helps a lot but anyone can learn to draw without classes.  What makes a piece good?  Time.  Anyone can draw something amazing if they work on it long enough.  So the best advice I can give you is keep drawing.  Draw from life.  Draw figures, they tend to help train your eye the best because once you get that down everything else is easier.  And love what you do.

Oh, and before I forget, I am nearing 2000 watchers.  If I can catch 'em, my 2000th watcher will be featured (hopefully they have some work in their gallery, lol.)  Thanks all!

Here are some underexposed recent favs of mine.  Hope you enjoy!
:thumb177641944:  :thumb155599351:  :thumb125206339:   Forever by mckadesinsanity

Thanks for the DD

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 28, 2010, 11:55 AM

First of all, thanks for all the birthday wishes!  I was overwhelmed by you all.  DragonCon was epic and it was the best birthday present I could hope for.  I was so inspired by the amazing art I saw there, and it has really motivated me to beef up my portfolio so that I can be in their shoes one day. I bought two souvenirs, a digital painter's calendar, and a yoshi stuff animal for the little one.  =D I didn't dress up because I didn't get my costume finished in time as I was sick with the pregnancy.  But I was so happy that I didn't get sick the whole week on vacation until after we landed the plane back in Washington, lol!

Thanks *tincek-marincek and ^Voyager212 for the DD today.  It truly is an honor to have my first digital painting DD.  I hope it is an inspiration to everyone out there who wants to become a digital artist, because I had only been painting for 6 months when I completed that image.  You can do anything you put your mind to.  It's been a long and hard road, but the progress I have made amazes even me.  I couldn't have done it without the support and inspiration of my fellow artists here on DA and over at ImagineFX.  You guys are great.  Thanks so much for everything!

Spaceport Invasion by lithriel

I am working hard on another commission for Mooseaxe, and I have another to follow after at.  Look for them soon!

Here are my recent underexposed favs:

Venus is back by LorenzoDiMauro :thumb168655641: Inexplicable Feeling by luffie (final feature removed do to art theft)

Thanks everyone!

Guess who's pregnant?

Journal Entry: Tue Aug 10, 2010, 1:16 PM


Yep, baby number two is on the way!  I am very excited.  The hubby and I can't wait for our 2 year old son to have a playmate.  That being said, I am quite sick now.  The first bit is always the hardest for me.  I've been sluggish in getting up more art because of the morning sickness, but I have a slew of commissions I'll be doing here shortly.  I don't have a due date yet but I am thinking march.  I'll be in to see the doctor in a week.  

Also, I just barely joined livestream.  My friend :iconsugarpoultry: was doing it and I thought it was the neatest thing.  I'll definitely have to do a few sessions for you guys if anybody is interested once I figure out how to work it. O_o  Anybody else into live streaming?

It will be great to do some tutorials that way as well.  Hope you guys are well!  Here are some of my recent under exposed favs:

Pepper and Miniwanda by Imagnosis Lady Amber by Imagnosis DANCE OF THE ASSASSIN by BAKART

Some Suprising News

Journal Entry: Mon Jul 26, 2010, 10:23 AM

I won a weekly challenge over at ImagineFX for my "Control" piece!  

Control by lithriel

Soon after, I received an email saying that my image was the overall forum image winner of the month.  I was very surprised.  They asked for a high res image of it, but I may have submitted it to them too late (they are in the UK and I'm all the way out in pacific time).  Soooo.... I haven't heard back from them, but this may be my first magazine publication.  If not, well I'll keep doing some challenges and eventually I may win another one.

In other news, I am officially going to attend Dragon Con this year.  Anyone else going to be there?  My husband has been playing his KOTOR games and we decided to go as Darth Revan and Bastila (one sith and one jedi who inadvertently fall in love).  XD

Darth Revan by sade75311   Bastila Shan 2 by intrepid1708 Bastila and Revan by ShadowbladeRavyn

OMGSH my eyes are falling out of my head...  The costumes are fun and everything, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Lol, it doesn't help that I don't know how to sew.  But I do have creativity on my side.  That being said, it is taking up all of my free time. I made a mask out of wireform, paper mache, and paper clay.  Then I covered it with fiberglass resin, only to paint it and realize that I don't like it.... Sigh.  So I plan on adding more paperclay and doing a better sanding job next time around.  But first, I am going to do the rest of the costume.  My brother and his wife are really into cosplay.  It could be a fun hobby.  If nothing else I'll have epic reference for some epic fan art...  XD  I'll post pics once everything is done!  

And if you see a Bastila/Revan couple at DC, it's me!!!  Share your con cosplay pics!  I'd like to see them!

A couple of almost wins...

Journal Entry: Fri Jun 25, 2010, 9:30 AM

Hello all!  Heard back from that contest, I tied for third place.… I would be like, hey cool!  But I actually didn't get anything whatsoever, so really, it feels like I just lost, especially with the tie.  *Sighs*  My entry:

Lady Lithriel by lithriel

And I came in an extremely close second over at imaginefx for their may monthly challenge.  It was off by like 2 votes.  And actually, how they have it set up is they have you rate your votes and pick three people.  I was consistently ranked 1, but I found out after the fact that it has no meaning.  So, meh.  Just missed my break through opportunity.  Yeah, that one stung friends.  And on top of that, my fez entry tanked. Lol, you would think I have learned my lesson, wouldn't you?  But no, I just get a message about another imaginefx opportunity for people under 25 and now I am like trying to figure out how many portfolio pieces I can do in a week in between my graphic design work for local clients.

My entries:

Spaceport Invasion by lithriel   Dragon Soceress by lithriel

I am going to kill myself with all of these passionate efforts and then total defeats.  =o   But you know? I just started digital painting.  I need to keep telling myself that I will achieve everything I want to, it will just take time.  Just the fact that I am already getting so close is an achievement in and of itself.

Anyway, I recently came across some wonderful digital painting tutorials.  They have already made a difference in how I do contrast-  … hope you guys enjoy them.

Speaking of tuts, I was hoping to do that portrait tutorial soon but it's probably going to be another month as I try to get things ready for that imaginefx thingy and finish up all the design work I have.  Until then, I wish you all the best!


Journal Entry: Mon May 17, 2010, 12:44 PM

Still haven't heard back about that contest.  Seems the person who put it together has dropped off of the map, which is frustrating because I want to get a watermark on that image and I can't because of the rules of the contest.  I hope I hear back.  If I threw a contest and promised the winner around $200 and got hundreds upon hundreds of entries, I wouldn't want to let everyone down.

In other news, I have been getting very serious about my career.  I am picking up some more graphic design work while my book project is on hold (I have been laying out a book for someone for months now).  I am also trying to get together a portfolio of good solid art illustrations to better promote myself.  Currently, I am working on an ImagineFX monthly challenge which again, has brought me into a new level of illustration.  I can't wait to post my next work.  I have been a professional artist for years, but it's been a little of this and that- mostly graphic design work which I haven't posted, and now I am very motivated to pursue more opportunities more aggressively.  With the drastic improvements I have made in the past 6 months I feel like digital painting is a wonderful possibility as a career as well.  

I have played with a few techniques, and I think it is just about time for a tutorial.  However, it won't be for beginners, unless I break up the techniques into more basic aspects- lighting, color balance, figure proportion, contrast, etc.  We'll have to see.  

And here are some features of digital work made to look traditional. I love this kind of style.  I want to play around with some fun looks like this some time.  I hope you find them inspiring as well:
beauty in the darkness by kir-tat La fille au bonnet by charlesvinh Illumination by zhuzhu Ballet Dancer by zhuzhu

And thanks to everyone who helped me with ideas for auditions a couple of months ago.  I had my concert Saturday night and it was an amazing experience.  My throat is good and sore because of all the rehearsing last week, but it was an experience I will never forget!