Monday, June 28, 2010

Dreamscapes: Myth & Magic - Accepting Orders!

175 pages, softcover. Dreamscapes: Myth & Magic.

When you purchase from Shadowscapes, the book is autographed, and you will receive a bonus signed print of The Dragon & the Hero, from the cover.

Impact Books says:

Continuing the journey of the original Dreamscapes, this second book by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law explores—in words and beautiful watercolor imagery—more legends of the sea, sky and earth. You will learn Stephanie’s secrets for calling forth maidens, mermaids and bewitching moonlight … for evoking dragons, enchantresses and tricksters … for turning seeds of legend and lore into spellbinding characters, creatures and settings.

• Use the sketches, color exercises and mini painting demos to warm up.
• Follow along with 13 full step-by-step painting demonstrations to create unicorns, tree spirits, witches and other iconic fantasy figures in watercolor.
• Discover a wealth of art techniques for painting mermaid scales, Phoenix feathers, glowing dragon eyes, flowing gowns, silken hair and a host of other dazzling effects.
• Get inspired by the ancient origins and folktales behind each mystical being.

Whether you paint fantasy or not, if you enjoy the magic of watercolor you will be inspired by the magic created on the pages of Dreamscapes: Myth & Magic

INATS & Colorado

Had a lovely trip out to Denver. My artist friend Sandra Santara was kind enough to show me around her local haunts. On our way to breakfast at a tasty Cajun joint in Boulder we stopped for a breath of fresh air at this lovely vantage point.
The recent rain made the wildflowers happy, and there was a glowing yellow spread of them carpeting the fields and leading up to the distant blue mountains.

Also took a brief detour to a neat little teahouse full of imported Mongolian decor. I found it interesting that the Mongolian motifs looked almost Celtic with the panels of interlacing, or Venetian in the coloring and swirls. Picked up some yummy teas while I was there: Blueberry Rooibos, and Lady Grey's Garden (Earl Grey with floral accents. Smells and tastes almost chocolaty!)
Back on the road, and we finally meandered back over to Denver to make it to INATS around noon. The signing was a success. Llewellyn folks were super friendly and welcoming to me.

As we drive back to the airport on Sunday, the "Demon Blue Stallion" (as Sandra dubs it) wishes you a safe journey (or something like that). Looks kinda ominous with those glowing red coal eyes and the lurking storms overhead huh?

Thursday, June 24, 2010


The Call
Medium: Watercolor
Size: 10x21 inches
Prints & Original: -here-
Details: -here-

* * *

The stars dream:
incandescent longings
spinning the threads of night
in a flurry of unseemly delight.

In the silent hours
in the doorways 'tween the worlds
in the endless frozen stillness
delineating dawn from dusk --

The padded footsteps flutter.
The moon-limned fur-lined streaks.
The secret heartbeats patter
As nocturnal denizens meet.

And golden glowing orbs
mini moons in each sly eye
slip through star-dreams and through star-light
like a star's elusive sigh.

* * *

Quite by accident, these past three paintings seem to have made a progression from golden-hazy dawn, through mid-day, and finally to twilight dusk. Not quite sure what the next piece will be, but I'll be flying out to Denver for INATS on Saturday. Though I usually hate travel (the actual travel. I always love the shows!) this time I don't have to lug all my stuff with me, and also I'm looking forward to having some time alone on the long flight to maybe do some sketching and brainstorming for some concepts I have tumbling through my head.

Anyway, do click on the link for the details up above so you can see the itty-bitty-kitty-cats!

Monday, June 21, 2010

and MORE spirals

Next up. Another piece that I'm basing on one of those minor arcana border ink drawings. This one should be fun.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Keyword Sketch Cards (and conventions)

A few convention notes:
* San Diego Comic-con appearance has been canceled. I decided that it was going to be a bit rough to take off from my family for a full week this year. I do want to get back to it next year though!
* INATS - I'll still be going to Denver,CO next weekend and will be doing signings in the Buyer's Lounge on Sunday June 27th from 2-3pm
* SFBATS - Something a bit closer to home than SDCC. I'll have a booth at this San Francisco show August 28-29.

Special Edition kits that are going out in the mail this week:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

White Gel Pens

Watercolor purists would never even think of using anything opaque. For the most part I am like minded. Once you start depending on being able to work light on top of dark, you lose a lot of the wonder and magic of watercolors. Part of the beauty of the medium is that transcendent glow that can only be achieved by working with the transparency of the colors.

There are times however when I find that using a touch of white can be useful and enhance a piece if used spareingly. There are numerous things you can use:

* white watercolor from a tube (but this is still fairly translucent)
* white gouache
* white-out (you can buy it in a pen-form)
* white gel pens (my personal favorite)
You can find white gel pens at stationary stores, (although unless it's a specialty store, the selection of brands will be limited) or art stores, or online ( is a site I love). My current favorite brand for the techniques I'm showing you here is Y&C Gel Xtreme.

Unfortunately I haven't located a good source for them online - I purchased mine from a local Kinokuniya store. I like this brand in particular because you'll find if you try this that various brands of gel pens will differ greatly in how easily they get clogged, how smoothly the ink rolls, as well as the opacity of the ink. Some brands are so translucent that it doesn't even feel worthwhile. The other brand I have in the picture above is uni-ball Signo. The ink is a bit less opaque, but it's serviceable.

You can click on the photos below to view them at high resolution. The details that I talk about are a little hard to see at smaller sizes.

Working Into Wet
(1) This is a technique I like to use. I start by painting the area that I'm working in, shading normally and using the transparency of the watercolors. Note that with these gel pen techniques I'm talking about here I'm not replacing the transparency of the paints or compensating for "forgetting" to leave whites. I feel it is more of a complement to the other techniques being employed.
(2) While the area is still wet I add in some scribbled highlights. As it dries the wetness of the underpaint leaches the white out a little bit, softening the edges.
(3) I go back in after it has dried and brighten up some areas with a second layer of gelpen on the dry surface.

Working Into Dry
(4) For harder more defined edges I just draw directly into dried areas.
(5) (6) You can see I've done this in numerous places in this piece.
(7) After drawing some loose textures with the pen, I go back in with dark color on a brush and paint in some more layers of color around the pen lines. This makes the white really pop out some more by contrast. I also sometimes brush clean water along the edges of where I've drawn the white to blend it out into the surrounding colors a bit better and make the transitions more subtle. You can even just use your finger to blend a little bit right after you've drawn, while the ink is still wet - smear it outwards a bit.


Size: 20x10 inches
Medium: Watercolors
Details: -here-
Prints & Original painting: -here-

Gyral spiral turn and coil.
Reflecting inward, ever on.
The churning, burning mind;
coiled tight like a chameleon's tail.
Weathered stone beating
with a rhythm of the world-dragon's heartbeat:
Granite etchings - the slow meticulous hand of artisan rain
crying inverse stone tears.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Stuck on Spirals

I seem to be on a spiral kick lately (more so than usual even), both in the ink drawings I've been doing, as well as the paintings. This is another one that is stemming from what was originally a finished ink drawing. One of the really nice parts about doing all these inks lately over such a short period of time is that they're serving the purpose my sketchbook used to -- basically massive idea-dumping. I have a ready pool of concepts to pull from whenever a spare moment strikes. It's one of the benefits of daily sketching and keeping a sketchbook.

I've mentioned this before, but I'll reiterate: the best way to never have artist's block is to just always draw. When you're stumped, flip through the pages of sketches and something is bound to strike a spark of inspiration.

You may also notice that there have been many landscape oriented pieces (I mean the horizontal orientation, not subject matter). This is for a much more practical reason.... Little Claire loves to be carried around in a sling. It's extremely hard to reach to top of a portrait-oriented piece if it's sprawled across my desk 20 inches away + Claire!

And anyway it's a nice change from the years of tarot sized pieces! This particular piece is 10x20 inches again like the last one.

Dreamscapes: Myth & Magic

I got my advanced copies in the mail the other day! Excitement! It's always fun to see the final results of all the labor. Even more so when the work was completed a year ago, and then you just have to settle down and tell yourself to forget about it for a few months because the cogs of publishing take quite a while to bring a book to fruition. You learn how to be patient in this business!

As usual, I'll be selling these from Shadowscapes autographed, along with a signed print of the cover image. Official release date is mid July, so just a few more weeks!

Some sneak peaks into the pages. The graphic designers at Impact Books did a lovely job once again. I'm very pleased with what they've done, and the editors are great to work with as well.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Keyword Sketch Cards

Going out in the mail this week:
Wombats are almost too cute for words!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Keyword Sketch Cards

The last few from this first set of orders! I'll be slowly starting to take orders from the waitlist now, but it will only be about 10 at a time. If you're requesting to be added to the waitlist at this time, please be aware that it is currently at about a month lead time. For waitlist request, go through -this form-. You won't be added if you just respond in the comments on this note.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

When Dragons Dream

Medium: Watercolor
Size 10x20 inches
-prints and original available here-
-detail closeups-

* * *

While they sleep the seasons turn.
The leaves burst green then burn gold
and fall to crisp upon the ground.
The sun sings of how she yearns
to sleep in the dusky hours
when damp night mists
swallow all sound.

While they sleep men tread upon
the worn pathways along the plated spines,
weaving tales of what has gone,
piping tunes of what has been,
and what will be -
The cadences rise and fall
and drift between the scales and shifting seams;
melodies for sleeping giants' dreams.

* * *

When I showed Dana the sketch for this piece, his comment was, "You paint that tableau a lot." He said it was as if I had seen this place once upon a dream and now it continually tried to push through my subconscious onto the paper. As if I struggled over and over to capture the essence of this vision I had glimpsed.

In a way, isn't that what all artists do? Isn't it always the goal to somehow capture onto paper an elusive spark of an idea? It might be inspired by something very tangible and real as recording the lines of the body of a live model; or as fleetingly obtuse as the conveyance of a concept - a smell, a color, a glint of light, a phrase. Whatever the source, once internalized it takes on the presence of a dream. It becomes its own being within the interpretations and confines of the mind. It is this transmuted version that wants to make its way to the paper, demanding Existence!

By that definition then though I may not have seen this scene in my sleeping dreams, nor visited it in another life, I have created a waking dream. And from that source springs this flow of inspiration that demands to be given a pulse and a breath and a voice.

* * *

At first I thought Dana meant the fantastical Tree; but though I do paint those quite often I realized on reflection that he actually meant more specifically the sleeping dragons coiled along the earth's lifelines with their spines writhing upon the crenellated hillsides. Some previous incarnations of this concept, starting from 1999 with "Otherworld" - which coincidentally has very similar colors to this latest piece of green, gold, and violet: