Saturday, October 5, 2013

Mr Tabby

Something a little more realistic today. I've challenge myself with colouring a tabby cat. This one has ginger tips and light markings around the chin and bib. I firstly sketched with a Copic Multiliner 1.0 pen. The first colour I applied was Copic E50, then shading of the light areas with E51. Next I used YR24 for the ginger contrast. I then made the markings and shading with W3 and W5. The nose is R02. YG61 and YG 63, with a touch of BG05 and Y35, are the eye colours. And YR00 is used inside the ears. Here is the base colouring for the cat.

I got to that point at midnight last night so I decided to come back to it with a fresh approach today. I began to do the dark marking in W7, but these ended up looking too gray. I have a selection of browns and it was difficult to make a decision as to which I should use. I went with E25, 27 and 29. To get the effect of fur I did very fine strokes in the same direction and then very carefully toned it all down with a light blend of W5. This is how it developed:

I could have left it as finished at this point but I went back after a break and added a little more definition with the browns and W5 and W7. Overall I'm pleased with the tabby's markings. It's been enjoyable drawing more true to life than my regular cartoons.

This cat is available to buy - please join my facebook page if you are interested in this or other commissions:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Cats with character

These two cats are from the same family. I kept both of the poses from the photos I was sent as they work well together. The cat on the left looks like it has some personality!

I use my sketch book each time before I do my finished piece. This was another sketch that I thought worked out well enough I could have used it for the finished copy. They only take a few moments to draw but it helps me find the animal's character and posture.

I ended up using Copic Warm Grays for the cats' colour. The difficulty with black is that the detail from the line drawing can get lost if the colour is too heavy. I left brush strokes in the fluffy cat's fur - only minimal blending and a few strokes once the ink had dried also.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Two wee chaps

Today I started on an order for a Jack Russell and a Fox Terrier. The only photo I had were in these sitting positions which makes it a bit tricky for grounding the dogs but some shadows balanced them when I added colour. 

I was really happy with the final piece.

This is how the art looks once framed.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Balls of Fluff

I was lucky to acquire an art order a couple of weeks ago when I was purchasing new frames for my work. The salesgirl was interested in why I was ordering such a number of frames so I passed over my business card and invited her to look up my Facebook page. 

I heard from her within the hour and she sent a photo of her mum's two cats, Floyd and Zorro.

These are the sketches I did in my sketch book. Having one of these books is indispensable. I use it mainly to get the postures and faces sorted and sometimes, like this sketch, I get it right straight off. Then I wish that I'd just drawn it straight on my good paper.

And these are the final two fluff balls. I'm happy with my day's work.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Exciting news!

I can reveal some exciting news today. I have been invited to be the art expert for the Artfull Crafts team. Artfull Crafts is New Zealand's largest scrapbooking retail and online store. You can find the online store here

If you have been directed from the Artfull Crafts blog, welcome to my blog! 

It started as a blog to showcase my annual Gingerbread Christmas house (check out November and December posts from past years), then I began posting my favourite gluten free recipes and it has developed to promote my art. If I'd thought harder about this, it probably would have made more sense to write three different blogs as it has become quite an eclectic mix!

If you are a Pinterest addict (I adore this site - so much inspiration!) you can find me here : Diana Steven.

My latest art illustrates two dogs - an old golden lab and a whippet. This is the photo I was sent of the dogs, and below is what I drew. Follow my facebook page : Diana Steven - Illustrator for my regular updates. If you wish to place an order this is the easiest way to contact me.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A quirky house

This is a mixed media canvas I did as a one off order. It is a house warming present with the key and no.44 representing the couple's first house. I really love the mustard, teal and raspberry together.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Two friends update

These dogs are smaller than they may look. The beagle's head is only 2.5cm across. There was not much forgiveness for an unsteady hand!

And these are the completed dogs!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Two friends

I've had an order this week for an illustration of a family's German Pointer and Beagle. Apparently these two are inseparable so I wanted the dogs to have a look of where-you-go-I-go about them.

So far this is what I have sketched. I'm away for a few day but I will update with the finished version soon.

Another dog drawing

Dogs have great expressions. That's one of the reasons why I enjoy depicting them.You can just about guess what they are thinking or feeling...

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Dog Days (are not over)

Who me?

I've just finished this border collie for a commissioned order. For those of you who follow my blog, it's the same idea as the labrador from a few weeks back. That sold for a crazy price at an auction and I picked up several requests from the unsuccessful bidders to do their own dogs. It's beginning to look like dogs are my niche.

Who would have thought? Being a cat lady and all....

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Welcome baby

A sweet little family portrait welcoming a new baby.

Drawing family groups like this were the start of my return to illustrating over two years ago, and I never tire of them.

Welcome baby

What's new pussy cat?

I'm unashamedly a cat person. Cats are easy care, they don't smell and they are cuddly. I grew up with both cats and dogs (our ginger female Cindy made the front page of the local paper in 1977 having produced an amazing total of 118 kittens). The dogs were working farm dogs and we never had them in the house.

For the past five years I've had Burmese cats. This is Spike and Milly from a post two years ago. It was ridiculously expensive to buy pedigree cats but I think they are an amazing breed. Too smart for their own good sometimes and they rule the house, but they are well loved members of our household.

Today I did some experimenting capturing the look of Milly, our chocolate Burmese. The first is a cartoon version. She is a bit of a pouty, the-world-has-done-me-wrong cat and I think her face says that.

The next drawing was more of a realistic portrayal. I used a different style with dotting. This is the cat before I coloured her.

And the final illustration, coloured with Copics. It is amazing how the cat comes to life with shading and colour.

I've started a facebook page for my art if you are interested in keeping up with what I'm working on. You can also place an order for your own 'Life As I Know It' original through messaging to it. I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Life as I Know It

When I started illustrated my 'Life As I Know It' series I thought long and hard about the style I was going to draw. My aim was to create characters that people identified as my work and this is what eventuated - very simple full bodied/skinny limbed figures with only dots for eyes. It never fails to amaze me how much expression I can convey with so little to show it.

Shopping Day

Off We Go

Thursday, July 4, 2013


I am not even going to start with the excuses of why the blog has lay dormant for so long. Just one word maybe...BUSY.

I'm still very involved with Christchurch City Chorus and Sweet Adelines. We are competing in Hawaii in November 2013. Over the last 9 months I've also been singing lead in a new quartet so twice as many rehearsals as normal, and a lot of travelling. I've gone through 15 000 km since Christmas. Yikes.

There are some changes afoot in my life. I've decided to follow my passions and take them to the next level. Exciting times! More soon...

Last weekend I had some artworks in an exhibition. They all sold well so I was very happy about that. I've also got a few commissions as a result. Here is one of my illustrations. I called it 'Sorry'.