Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Personal Work: Summer at Bag-End

I mentioned briefly on this blog that I am currently traveling around New Zealand. Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Hobbiton movie set on a bright, sunny day. (As I type this, it is a rainy, stormy, grey day and I am wistfully remembering my afternoon in the Shire.)

This painting is inspired by the incredible colors I saw there. I was very impressed by the amount of detail in the sets - the weathered wood, the worn-down grass, the potted plants and climbing vines and little birdhouses and lamps. Each hobbit hole had its own personality.

I wanted to take advantage of the fact that I now had my own original photo references to work from, and decided to put together my own scene rather than working from a movie still.

For Bilbo and Gandalf's poses, I looked online for photos of men smoking pipes. I liked the photo of the cowboy lighting up because he's sitting low to the ground; as Gandalf would have to sit on a hobbit-sized bench.

At first I had Gandalf's hands in the same "lighting up" pose as the cowboy. But then someone pointed out that, from a distance, it looked like Gandalf was texting.

"u shall not pass"

So I moved one hand so it was resting on his staff.

I have to admit, I could spend many more hours on this scene! I am forcing myself to call it done!

(True story: immediately after typing that sentence, I went back to the image to touch it up a little. Argh! Ok it's done now, for reals this time!)

I used Kyle Webster's gouache brushes. I love using these; they have such a nice painterly feel to them.

Until our next meeting. Namarie.


  1. Hi Kelly. I've been following your blog this year; there's always something useful, so thanks for posting up your process!

    I noticed you're travelling around NZ and Australia. I'm based in Perth in Western Australia, and I'm the illustrator coordinator for the local chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. I know a bunch of children's illustrators over east too, in Sydney/Brisbane/Melbourne, so if you need contacts for local artists to hang out with, happy to help.

    Thanks again, and keep up the great posts!


    1. Thanks for the comment, James! I'm going to be in Melbourne around February; I'll let you know! I'd love to hang out with some Aussie illustrators.

  2. This is really wonderful! I love how you incorporate your surroundings and places you visit into your illustrations.


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