Wylie Beckert

Illustration

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Materials & a Work in Progress: Wolf Boy Posted on 30 Mar 2013


Sketch of a boy in a wolf-ear hoodie.
Since I've started doing more traditional media, I've had a few artists ask about the toned paper, pencils, etc. that I'm using and where to find them.

They are:

  • Smooth toned paper - Strathmore toned sketch paper in gray, product page here - this seems to be a fairly new item, but is available at most online art retailers. It's what I used in the sketch above.

  • Textured toned paper - Strathmore charcoal paper in any of the lighter tints (pencil lines get lost in the darker tones). I used this in my Summer Wine illustration, among others.

  • Charcoal White pencils - the ones I use are Generals brand, available here and at even the most podunk local art supply store.

  • White Sewline pencil - Something unusual: a white-lead mechanical pencil intended for fabric marking, which I use for fine lines & details. Product info here - I haven't yet found "artists'" white mechanical pencil leads, but these seem to do the trick and can be found at most fabric/quilt shops. They seem to be better for smooth shading than the white charcoal pencils.

  • Regular-ass pencils of the mechanical variety (0.3 and 0.5mm being my go-to).


The wolfboy above is a detail from a project I've been working on this week, and a pretty good example of the process I use when working with these materials. Shading large areas in pencil is something I dearly loathe, so I can't recommend a nice mid-tone paper like Strathmore's enough.


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New Work: February Sky Posted on 08 Mar 2013


Illustration by artist Wylie Elise Beckert for Neil Gaiman's Calendar of Tales project via Blackberry's Keep Moving: a girl in a yellow raincoat swims into the sky with whales; an old woman with a yellow umbrella looks on.

(This illustration is available as a print in my Etsy shop.)



This illustration started out with the grand plan of being my very first oil painting (or at least, my very first oil painting since the class I took in college, which is now far enough in the past that I can safely say I have forgotten everything I learned or accomplished therein).

My acquisition of oil paints happily coincided with Neil Gaiman's call for artists for the Calendar of Tales project, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to start re-learning oils with a small painting inspired by Gaiman's February tale. I started out as I usually do nowadays, with a sketch on gray paper:
Sketch by artist Wylie Elise Beckert for Neil Gaiman's Calendar of Tales project via Blackberry's Keep Moving: a girl in a yellow raincoat swims into the sky with whales; an old woman with a yellow umbrella looks on.

When I started the oil painting itself, I realized I had no idea what I was doing. Apparently the old masters' technique was not, in fact, to randomly spackel paint in all directions and pray. Additionally, it turns out that oil paint takes a long time to dry. I had been aware of this on an academic level, of course, but deep down inside I must have believed that I'd be able to slap down eight or ten layers of it before the due date. Turns out, the laws of physics do, in fact, apply to me, and as a result this painting wasn't going to be presentable anytime close to the cutoff. As such, with three days to go and little more than an underpainting in hand, I decided to finish the image out digitally. The end result is above, and while it has the oil painting incorporated into it in some transparent layers, it's primarily based on the pencil drawing, in keeping with how I usually work.

I toyed with the idea of posting the awkward, unfinished oil painting here, but have decided against it. I think the temporary amusement it would provide viewers would be outweighed by the long-term cost of giving it eternal life on the internet. No oil paintings for you, internet, until I've had a chance to take a more academic approach to the medium.

Check out the gallery for a larger view.


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From the Sketchbook: Whiskey Foot Party Posted on 04 Mar 2013


Sketch by artist Wylie Elise Beckert. An empty airplane whiskey bottle, some miscellaneous creatures, foot studies.

Life, as always, has dragged me inexorably away from regular blog posting. If you're wondering where I've been and what I've been doing for the past month, I have been:

  • Visiting Los Angeles and meeting with the fantastic people at the DeviantArt headquarters (thanks again for the hospitality, guys!)
  • Taking up oils for the first time since college, and as a result making some laughably bad oil paintings
  • Illustrating away into the wee small hours.

Hopefully this flurry of activity will eventually yield some new work to post; in the meantime here's an amalgamation of some recent sketchbook pages. The empty whiskey bottle, belonging to and emptied by my lefthand seatmate, was drawn during the flight to LA.


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New Work: Summer Wine Posted on 05 Dec 2012


Illustration by artist Wylie Elise Beckert, based on Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra's song Summer Wine: a saloon girl tries on her new boots & spurs while a dead cowboy pickles in a jar of wine.

Strawberries, cherries and an angel's kiss in spring

My summer wine is really made from all these things.

Take off your silver spurs and help me pass the time

And I will give to you... summer wine.


Since 2012 is wrapping up soon, I'm starting to plan some new pieces for next year to replace my existing portfolio, which is starting to look a little out of sync with the work I'm doing now (and hoping to continue doing in the future). Here's a new piece originally inspired by Lee Hazlewood's Summer Wine, one of the finest songs ever penned about grape juice and petty larceny.

I used a slightly different process from my usual by working the piece up to a pretty high level of finish (in pencil and white charcoal on tinted paper) before switching to Photoshop for the color. (A lot of my initial line art is pretty rough, and gets done on tiled 8.5x11 printer paper for ease of scanning. It's not very pretty and usually gets thrown away. I want to start doing more permanent work in traditional media - this was my first attempt, and I'm quite happy with how it turned out.)

Here's the finished 11x14 pencil art on tinted Strathmore charcoal paper, awaiting its wash of glorious digital color:

Pencil art by illustrator Wylie Elise Beckert, based on Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra's song Summer Wine: a saloon girl tries on her new boots & spurs while a dead cowboy pickles in a jar of wine.

Check out a larger view in the gallery; this illustration is available as a print in my Etsy shop.


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From the Sketchbook: Disgruntled Cocktail Rabbit Posted on 15 Nov 2012


Illustration by Wylie Elise Beckert: a disgruntled cocktail waitress in a Playboy Bunny costume with a samurai sword and a demonic rabbit hand puppet.
In between jobs I've been forcing myself to brush up on my sadly lacking art education, so posting will be sporadic while I bury myself in anatomy books and attempt to reconfigure the linear perspective of my workspace (that's how these things work, right?)

In the meantime, why not have a cocktail? I think I see a waitress headed our way...


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RECENT POSTS

Materials & a Work in Progress: Wolf Boy

30 Mar 2013
New Work: February Sky

08 Mar 2013
From the Sketchbook: Whiskey Foot Party

04 Mar 2013
New Work: Summer Wine

05 Dec 2012
From the Sketchbook: Disgruntled Cocktail Rabbit

15 Nov 2012
From the Sketchbook: Kindred

15 Sep 2012
PigPen Theatre/Buffalo Picture House: Bremen

01 Aug 2012
From the Sketchbook: Mohawk Boy

25 Apr 2012
New Work 1/21 - Bad Fish

21 Jan 2012
The Slow, Halting March of Progress

20 Oct 2011
News? Cute.

10 Jul 2011