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Howl and Calcifer by AnneCat Howl and Calcifer by AnneCat
The wizard Howl and the fire demon Calcifer, from the book Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Now in full color! (Okay, so he couldn't really hold his fire demon like that. Consider it artistic license.)

Despite being marked for "dry media," this illustration board worked out quite well with watercolor! Still, I think I prefer my trusty hot-press. The paint lifts off of this way too readily, making it hard to build layers.
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:icongothilalita:
GothiLalita Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2011
I love how you've (intentionally? Unintentionally?) made him look a bit like the Studio Ghibli version, but not quite. Because when I read the book, I was naturally influenced by the movie, and this is more or less how I always pictured him in my head! Good job!
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! I wasn't trying to make him look at all like the movie, just like how I picture him in my head... I'm not sure I quite got it, though. It's *close,* but I think maybe he doesn't look bony/aristocratic enough; this might be too "soft" for the way he's described in the story. Then again... maybe not. :-D
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:icongothilalita:
GothiLalita Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2011
I find it very hard to draw anything JUST the way I've imagined them. It will always be influenced by other things, in one way or another. So I guess that's life. :D
But to repeat myself, this is great!
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:icontweedandtea:
tweedandtea Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2011  Student Digital Artist
This looks lovely! The blue suit with the scalloped sleeves...I need to reread the book. It's about time. :)

His face (especially around the nose and eyes) is great. Keep up the good work!
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks so much! Glad you enjoy the picture. :)
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:icontweedandtea:
tweedandtea Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2011  Student Digital Artist
You're very welcome. :)
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:icondrchrissy:
DrChrissy Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Yay!! Howl! Very nice! He's quite the hottie. :)
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Knows it, too, doesn't he? ;)
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:iconhawaiiansockmonkey:
Hawaiiansockmonkey Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011  Professional Filmographer
nice! I like that you included earrings. :D And Calcifer looks fittingly evil.
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
:) Why thank you!
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:iconwingedlioness:
WingedLioness Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Yay! Howl!! :) thanks for drawing this!
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
You're welcome, and thanks for the fave! :):):) It was my pleasure. Really, Howl is hardly a chore to draw; he's so easy on the eyes. ;)
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:iconavthreads:
AVthreads Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2011  Student General Artist
This is really good, I love the details! I especially love his expression, he looks a bit mischievous!
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks very much! Glad he looks a bit mischievous; he certainly is, when it suits him.
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:iconavthreads:
AVthreads Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011  Student General Artist
You're welcome!
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:iconoboe-wan:
oboe-wan Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh Howl, going about with your bleached hair and your charmed suit, being utterly shameless! Utterly shameless! Also I like that he apparently dyes his eyebrows to match his hair. Nothing like attention to details! I would expect nothing less. I'm sure he smells like lilacs too.

Loving the border - the shading on each individual fieldstone of the Moving Castle is too lovely. Also, the falling star and the green slime (why green slime Howl, why?) are excellent, as is the doorknob. Knock at the Porthaven door! I like Calcifer as well, looking quite eerie and not entirely friendly there.
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Haha! You noticed the eyebrows! Yes, I paused for all of a moment while painting, thinking, "Oh, maybe the eyebrows should be brown," before my knowledge of Howl caught up with me. Only the best dye jobs for him!

I suppose if you're going to throw a tantrum anyway, you may as well make it one of epic proportions? Not that I support this logic, mind you. But Howl doesn't often do things by halves, so far as appearances are concerned. Or prima-donna-ish tendencies.
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:iconstarlene:
Starlene Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I know nothing of this book (I remember my friends fangirling over the anime some years ago, though :D), but the drawing is lovely. I especially like how the fire demon is coloured with cold tones - you wouldn't expect fire demon being blue, but it actually looks very good! Also, the borders of this look great.
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you very much! I can't take any credit for the color scheme, that's all the author. But I'm glad you like it! I heartily recommend the book; it's deliciously funny and complexly woven. The anime... is really not much like the book at all. So, if you see it first, it won't spoil the book! :-D
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:iconcharmquark:
CharmQuark Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011
Aww! Yep, that's them, alright! I love how you've done Calcifer--talk about an impossible concept to paint!--and Howl's hair, and the stones in the border.

Such a wonderful book, and I actually loved the movie too, which is amazing since I always feel like movie adaptations replace my envisioning with something too specific and also too generic, or too fixed--sort of a The-Tao-that-can-be-named-is-not-the-eternal-Tao kind of thing. But my best friend dragged me to see that one, and he didn't have to drag me the next three times we went and saw it together. XD
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! Yes, Calcifer turned out pretty well, if a little plumper than I see him in my head... and oh, Howl, you and your slightly unnatural shades of hair.

I know what you mean about movies. Usually, I just end up loving the book best, and being annoyed at the film. With this one, though... on one hand, I was very frustrated that the book was mostly thrown out the window; BUT at the same time, I was glad, because that way it didn't change my mental images of the book or set anything in stone, in the way you're talking about. And there's something very mutable and dreamlike in Miyazaki films, in general, that keeps them from losing that level of freedom.
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:iconcharmquark:
CharmQuark Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011
That's actually the only Miyazaki movie I've seen... But yeah, there's something much less imaginatively tyrannical about a cartoon, and one that just chucks the book out the window, than, say, a neurotically faithful live-action epic like LOTR. I wish they had chucked the book and cartooned that one. I want MY Frodo back.

Also, I'm eavesdropping on your watercolor lessons there--THANK YOU for sharing that! I always thought the secret to watercolors was summoning demons and sacrificing virgins, not in getting the right paper! There may be hope for me yet... Though maybe not. Tis a beastly medium anyway that's not only completely unforgiving, but RUNNY.
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh, I totally agree! I enjoyed the first LOTR movie, before the characterizations got unfaithful, and yet... and yet... it just isn't how I SEE it. I don't want Gandalf to be whats-his-face in my mind forever, now, or for Frodo to be Elijah Wood. Frodo is plump and middle-aged and settled and hapless! And my impression of the elves, especially in Lothlorien, is so very different, too.

You're welcome! Definitely make sure you try the right paper and the right brushes before giving up on watercolor -- and if you're afraid of runny paint, you can always try tube watercolors, which start out paste-thick and you add water to thin them. Though I'm not saying yea or nay regarding the demons...
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:iconcharmquark:
CharmQuark Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2011
Yeah, young skinny wide-eyed Frodo WTF! There's really nothing all that hobbit-like about Elijah Wood...

I'm kind of curious to try watercolors again, now... The last time I used any color at all was pastels years ago so it's probably about time. What kind of ink do you use so that it doesn't bleed when you paint over it?
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
It is so much to ask for my hobbits to be, well... round? Ish?

I use Rapidograph pens, which are refillable with waterproof ink. They're a sort of technical pen, so the tips are metal and you have a lot of control, with even line widths. If you like a more flexible, markerlike tip, there are lots more of those out there -- Staedtler permanent Lumocolor, Sharpie markers of various sizes, etc. I know there are other waterproof pens that I just haven't tried yet. Make sure it says it's waterproof and you should be okay, though the Edding 1200 permanent markers are a LIE. (Nearly ruined a painting over that, I did!)
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:iconcharmquark:
CharmQuark Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2011
Ooh, Rapidograph pens sound about right--anything refillable with a metal tip has got to be fun (says the fountain pen addict). Thanks so much for all the tips! Looks like it's time for another pilgrimage to the local art supply mecca...
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Excellent... *rubs hands together ominously*

If you don't want to invest in a whole set, I recommend starting out with a size 0 or 1 pen. Those are nice, versatile fine tips. I do almost all my inking with those two sizes.
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011  Professional Writer
Love the way you did the hair and I have to say I'm suuuper impressed with the pain texture on the rocks and the way you did the folds in the sleeves. Fire demon is a little creepy.

As for the color, i'm not wild about this paper. I don't think it takes as smoothly as the hotpress, I feel like your other pictures have more bleed and thus better shading. But it could be the way it scanned or something. Anyway it's still good, nothing wrong with the art, I think I have become a paper snob via living with you.
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Hahaha! Good, the fire demon should look a bit creepy. (In the movie, he was unequivocally the cute factor -- so bizarre!)

*grin* Join the ranks of paper snobbery! I mean, people complain about how much good paper costs, but it DOES make a difference, really! You're absolutely right, this paper just didn't have the proper absorbency for watercolor; it made it difficult to shade, as the paint could be lifted back off too readily. Or, perhaps I needed to wait longer between layers for them to dry.

It does look a lot better in person, though. I couldn't for the life of me get this one to scan well. Both green and violet hues ended up horribly understated and faded. The background is really much more lavender-grey, and his eyes and the slime are a stronger green. His suit and the smoke should have a violet tinge, as well. And the shading on his face came out quite well, but you can't tell from this scan. I wonder if the paper itself didn't scan so well -- as if it's too reflective somehow?
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011  Professional Writer
Clearly, it is just not up to our standards *nose in air*
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:iconentirelyinsane:
EntirelyInsane Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011
Colored! Eeeeee!

Very nicely done, m'dear. I like his hair. And the doublet, again.

Have no idea what you're talking about with dry media and hot press and stuff. Technical terms, huh.
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! I'm happy with how his skin shading came out, particularly. The scan didn't go so well, though -- the colors are much nicer in the original.

Technical stuff indeed! Would you like a lesson? I hope so, because you're getting one. :-D If you are not interested, just ignore the following!

The medium is what you use to make the art. So, dry media are things like pencils, crayons, pastels, and charcoal. Wet media are ink, paint, and *especially* watercolor. Watercolor requires certain types of paper or it won't behave properly. Watercolor paper contains something called sizing, either gelatin or an equivalent, that maintains the proper balance of holding the water out for a bit, then allowing it to soak in. (Gelatin sizing gives the paper a very *interesting* smell when you get it sopping wet!) Plus, the paper itself has to be absorbent.

Hence, I was afraid that, since my illustration board was labelled as "for dry media," it would react badly to paints. Either the paint would be absorbed right away with no time to work it, or it would lose transparency, or bleed rather than keep crisp edges, or some other problem. However, my main problem was that the illustration board wasn't very absorbent, so that I could lift off layers of paint a little too easily -- I kept doing it by accident when what I really wanted was to add new paint on top of old.

Watercolor paper is typically finished in one of 3 ways: rough, cold-press, and hot-press. Rough is when it's left exactly as it was completed, with a very uneven surface. Cold-press is pressed between layers of felt, and ends up with a more evenly-textured surface. Hot-press paper is cold-pressed, but then passed through hot rollers that remove the texture and make it relatively smooth. My paper of choice is hot-press, because I like to ink my work first, and smooth paper works best with ink. A rough paper can easily get snagged in the tips of my technical pens.
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:iconentirelyinsane:
EntirelyInsane Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011
Yeah, scans screw up colors. It's horrible. Mine makes my colored pencil look all weird and smudgy, and it took all the detail out of that painting of Feuilly's death.

Yep, yep, yep! Yay, lessons!

Oh, yeah, I know what the medium is. But that's where what I knew stopped. 'Kay.

...OH. MAYBE THAT'S WHY MY WATERCOLORS NEVER WORK OUT WELL. I PROBABLY HAVE THE WRONG PAPER.
I just use regular paper. So I need a more absorbent paper, huh? Go figure. Wow.
That would actually explain a LOT. My watercolor fails always end up all blotchy. EPIPHANY.
See, you always bring light into my life, Anne. ignore how weirdly sappy that sounded.

Ah, I see. Yeah, I can see why smooth would be best. But is there a difference between the hot-press and cold-press paper in the final product, or only in how it's made?
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:iconannecat:
AnneCat Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Darned scanner. I just don't know what to adjust -- you can do a lot of tweaking the settings before you scan, and that makes a world of difference, but this painting seems to have more issues than most of the ones I scan.

OH! Yes, by all means, get some actual watercolor paper! Drawing paper does NOT work properly! You will be amazed at the difference. I'm honoured to bring light into your life. *beams?*

Cold-press paper is textured, while hot-press is smooth. Rough is even more uneven and textured than cold-press. Cold-press is the most "typical" or popular watercolor paper, I think, though I prefer hot-press. You can see more of the natural tendencies of the paint with cold-press; which ones are grainier or smoother, how it pools, etc., because the paint will collect in the little divots on the paper. Hot-press *seems* to hold out the paint for the longest, though that might just be my impression of it.
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