1) General questions about my art
2) Questions about my art: Subject Matter
3) Questions about my art: Reference
4) Questions about my art: Lineart, scanner, and printer questions
5) Questions about my art: Colouring and watercolour technique
6) About using my art
7) About being an illustrator
8) Other (Personal life, name pronunciation and general weirdness) 1) General questions about my artHow long have you been drawing?
The cliché answer: since I could hold a pencil. I've always liked to draw, and I simply never stopped. I started working with watercolours in 1995, when I was twenty, and started dabbling with Photoshop and Painter in 2002.How do you become a great artist?
I wouldn't know.
In order to become good at anything, be it music, art or square dance, however, you need two things without which any endeavour is bound to fail: you need to invest a lot of time, and you'd better have fun doing it. 2) Questions about my art: Subject MatterWhat are those Rhyddion Chronicles anyway?
The Rhyddion Chronicles are a novel project that I've been working on since 2001. The first draft was scrapped completely; I'm currently on the third rewrite. The title is not set.Do you plan to publish the book? Do you have a publisher already?
I plan on publishing it eventually, but no, I don't have a publisher yet. I'm confident enough in the quality of my writing to think that it stands a chance; if it's not picked up, I'll go the lulu way and self-publish.What's it about?
It's a Historical Fantasy novel set in an alternate 13th century Wales (called Rhyddion) struggling with the expansion of a powerful neighbour (Saexony, which is obviously based on England). The protagonist, Aedan (previously Aidan) is a bastard of a noble house of Rhyddion, who finds himself in the middle of the war, while being targeted by the Church for his (very minor) magical powers. Hang on, I thought you were German? Where does all the Welsh love come from?
I've been fascinated with the history of Wales - particularly Llywelyn the Last - for nearly twenty years. Unfortunately, I've never even been to Wales (more embarrassingly, I've lived in Shropshire for almost a year and never managed to go to Wales!), all I know about the language I know from books. And I have a few people who have helped me with several aspects of the language. I like Welsh folk-bands (especially Gwerinos and Plethyn) from whom I got the proper pronunciation of the "ll" sound. When are you going to draw your next Harry Potter/Tolkien/Song of Ice and Fire/Drizzt/[insert fandom here] pic?
Obviously, I can't say. I draw things that fascinate me at any given time. There are fandoms that I have returned to again and again in my life - like Tolkien and Harry Potter - and there are a few that I've probably left for good (most notably, Drizzt). As for all the others, I can just say: It's possible that I'll draw more stuff about them sometime in the future, but I totally can't say for certain.Legolas/Fingolfin has blonde hair/Feanor has long hair/Gimli has red hair/Dwarf women have no beards/Sirius is a different breed of dog/insert other fandom-specific bit of nerdiness here
Please don't. Please, please don't.
(By the way, if you insist on getting nerdy on me: The most ridiculous comment in that regard that you'd have to strive for in order to impress me was: "A skilled artist thou art, though the tale wit thee not well; Fingolfin's mother, Indis the Fair, of the Vanyar was, and as her sons both, golden haired. And quoth I from the pages of the Quenta Silmarillion: [...] Wit I well the lore ancient, and speaketh (sic) I the truth; many an hour have I spent wandering o'er the pages of volumes long past writ. Learn thee (sic) the tales proper before again thou dost dare of them to speak.")
So, since this is pretty much all the idiocy you can attain in one life, there's no real point to try and top that. 3) Questions about my art: ReferenceDo you use models and references for your work?
I use a wide variety of reference, but very loosely for any given pic. Most poses that you see are without ref. For difficult poses, I google or do reference shots myself. For faces of my original characters, I sometimes use celebrities or people I know as a general idea. For horses, I have a small army of toy horses by the German company Schleich. They do terrifically realistic horses of all breeds in all sorts of poses. Wonderful reference. If only my daughter didn't keep borrowing them. 4) Questions about my art: Lineart, scanner, and printer questions How do you ink your pictures?
Usually, I "ink" with a HB or B mechanical pencil. How do you get such clean lineart on watercolour paper?
Not at all. I do the lineart (often after a looser digital sketch) on drawing board, scan it, and print it out on watercolour paper.How do you print lineart on watercolour paper?
I've been working with copied lineart since 2003. Initially, I had a HP printer which only dissolved ever so slightly, and took paper weights up to 250 gr if coaxed gently. Then I had a Canon, which has no waterproof ink, so I went to a copyshop to have my lineart printed onto watercolour paper there. In peak times, they saw me two to three times a week. They haven't seen me since the summer of 2010, however, since now I own a beautiful A3 size Epson B 1100 printer. It has absolutely waterproof ink and can handle paper weights of well over 300 gr. It truly has revolutionised my workflow!How do you scan your watercolours?
I've got a CanoScan Lide 90, which is great because it picks up everything. One of the tricks in scanning watercolours, I've found, is not to change the scanner settings at all. You get what it "sees", and then you can do any tweaking manually. I usually adjust the contrast slightly, tweak the colours if necessary, and turn up sharpness just a notch, and just for web viewing.
I scan my watercolours in three parts. I used to do it in two, but that leaves you with a line along the middle. If you scan the middle again, that doesn't happen.
There are new scanners that pick up things that don't lie flat against the paper - which sounds like a great idea for watercolour. I'll have to look into that at some point.5) Questions about my art: Colouring and watercolour techniqueHow did you colour this pic?
It should say under each of my pictures what was used to create it. Though it still amuses me if my digital images are being added to collections or even groups called "Traditional".
Several colouring techniques I've used over the years: Watercolour/Photoshop [link]
This one still puzzles people. Around 2003-2005, I painted my watercolours in black watercolour only, and then "tinted" the pieces in Photoshop. I haven't done that for several years now. All my recent watercolours are "real" watercolours.Digital
I used a lot of digital techniques between 2005 and 2009, with a few watercolours thrown in every now and then. I have an Intuos 3 graphics tablet, and Photoshop 6.0. *sound of dinosaur stomping past*Where can I download Photoshop, so I can create the same sort of art that you do?
(1) You don't download it, you buy it. Older versions are cheaper. And if you seriously thought it was freeware, you'd better not ask what the newer ones cost.
(2) It's probably the most cherished pet peeve of every digital artist that people who are NOT digital artists think that all you need to re-create jaw-dropping stuff is the same software. Funny that nobody ever thinks that using the same pencils that da Vinci used will result in the same artwork.What materials do you use for watercolour?
Paints: Schmincke, full pans
Paper: Canson or Hahnemühle
Brushes: daVinci, synthetic rounds
For more information on how I use watercolours and what I use, also step-by steps, see my tutorial section: [link]6) About using my artMay I use your art for ...
...Avatars: Please don't. My pics depict certain characters, and I don't want them to represent anyone else.
...Something related to what they depict: Probably yes. Please note me if you're not sure. If Aragorn stays Aragorn and Harry Potter stays Harry Potter, then yes. As long as it stays true to canon, it's probably fine. Please make sure you credit me and link back to me.
...Photomanips including horrible cropping, "canvas" filters, rainbow-coloured stars and hair colour changed to green? ... ... 7) About being an illustratorHow do you become an illustrator?
I'm afraid I don't have a satisfactory answer for that. I've had several galleries on the net for years now - since 2002/3, I think - and the first requests came in the same year. Usually, my customers contact me, not the other way round. That said, I don't do a lot of high-profile work. My style and level of skill isn't really suitable for much of the concept-art heavy, very realistically rendered type of illustrations that's prominent in Fantasy today. Most of my customers are private clients.
Nevertheless, a few tips:
Get yourself out there. Show your work on artist sites and in well-presented online portfolios. Connect yourself with other artists, show your face, make yourself known, and more importantly: make your style known.
Go to cons or book fairs and show your work. Talk to people who can look at your stuff and give you brutal critique because they already are in the biz, and who can be honest with you because they don't know you. Talk to the people who offer the jobs, and ask them if their work is what they're looking for. Also ask them why it's not what they're looking for.How much should I ask for commissions?
I see so many people - especially on dA - selling themselves tragically cheap. You spend eight hours on a commission? Then don't ask $10 for it! Set yourself a minimum hourly pay and stick with it. Don't partake in price-dumping. An appropriate hourly
pay for illustration work shouldn't be less than $20.8) OtherWhat do you teach?
I teach English and Latin at Gymnasium (Grammar school/High School, approximately) in Germany. I teach ages eleven to nineteen. I've also taught Art on occasion as a substitute teacher and hope I'll be getting a History class one day...You're a teacher, you illustrate, and you have two kids how do you manage that?
I don't teach full-time, and don't take on many commissions during the school terms. I do not have much free time, though.
On a side note: Yes, I'm married too. To some people, that seems to matter. Where does your username come from?
From a Star Wars role-playing game - I played a female Y-Wing pilot whose callsign was Gold Seven.
That was ages ago, but it has stuck as my username pretty much everywhere online. It replaced the previous PinxitJenny, which I sometimes wish I'd kept. I really liked being called Pinx. Who's that in your avatar? Is it you?
No, it's Jon Snow, from George R. R. Martins Fantasy Saga "A Song of Ice and Fire". The picture the avatar is from is this one: [link]
I've been using this one for ages everywhere and still like it.How do you pronounce your name?
Yenny Dolphin. But don't worry, even colleagues who've worked with me for ten years still get it wrong and say "Jenny". (Yenny is an old Northern German/Scandinavian pronuciation.)(For Germans) Can I say "du"?
On the Internet - feel free! Unless you're a student of mine, I guess in that case we should stick with the formal "Sie". On the other hand, a lot of people mistake me for about half my age and frequently say "du" in the street, but I have to confess I find this rather flattering.Ai! laurie lantar lassi surinen, yeni unotime ve ramar aldaron!
Fennas nogothrim, lasto beth lammen!
Orn dos jal fridj sevir uns'aa maglust qualla!
I do NOT speak Quenya, Sindarin, and much less Drow. And I will be slightly cross if you assume that I do. I'm not that much of a nerd.
If you assume that I speak Welsh and address me in that language, on the other hand, I will feel highly flattered, but you still won't get much more back than a "diolch yn fawr" because that's really all I can do WOoooooooaaaww is dis painter or PS coz ifzt PS iwanna no hw u use it i cant us it atall tellme PLZ ty cu bye.
Make an effort, OK? Why did you reject the inclusion of "It's no use" into my Yaoi group? You're a homophobe!
Please see here for a full coverage of that matter. [link]Related question: Why won't you join my LOTR slash group/Why can't I add your picture to my Draco/Ginny fan group/Why may I not include your picture in my group "sexy testosterone grenades"/Why did you refuse my invitation to my "Weird guys and gals who draw disgusting stuff" group?
Very probably because the thought made me feel queasy.
Watercolour Tutorial Part 1: Materials [link]
Watercolour Tutorial Part 2: Painting Basics [link]
Watercolour Tutorial Part 3: Tricks of the Trade [link]
Not a watercolour tutorial [link]
Watercolour steps [link]
Chainmail tutorial [link]
NEW Photoshop tutorial [link]
OLD Photoshop tutorial [link]
My OLD Watercolour/Photoshop technique [link]
Pimp my sketch! (Parchment technique) [link]