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Submitted on
December 19, 2013
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Flamma Vitae by rachaelm5 Flamma Vitae by rachaelm5

This is a commission/trade piece for my sister.  She likes my Stone Dragons and wanted me to do a quetzlcoatl-themed pair using ruby and peridot as the stone bases (her husband's and her birthstones, respectively).  The trick was to keep the picture from coming across as too "Christmassy", since I'd planned from the beginning to work in a lot of gold with the red and green.  The addition of a good deal of blue addressed this issue nicely.  :D

The color work was done entirely with Prismacolor pencils, and there are Swarovski crystals on the dragons' foreheads.

Image size: 12x18 inches. 

Original art:  sold.

Matted prints, edition of 150 (shipping included in US):

16x20 inches for $50
11x14 inches for $30
8x10 inches for $15
5x7 inches for $10

Progress bar:

Flamma Vitae pencil by rachaelm5  Flamma Vitae color teaser by rachaelm5  Flamma Vitae color WIP 02 by rachaelm5  Flamma Vitae color WIP 03 by rachaelm5

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rachaelm5 21 hours ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Good depth sense along with perception of flow.
rachaelm5 3 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you.
rhoftonwriting Jan 26, 2014  Student General Artist
rachaelm5 Jan 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you.  :-)
It's really neat to see the progress pictures--I wouldn't have guessed you bring each little section to completion before moving on to the next. Somehow I figured you would lightly lay out all the colours first over the whole picture before getting in all the lights and darks and shiny bits.

Do you use a lightbox to transfer a new, clean pencil sketch from the original lines, or do you just do it all on one paper?

I'm suddenly struck with the urge to go draw something obscenely colourful XD
rachaelm5 Jan 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

The progress shots were less to show technique and more to reassure my sister that even though she hadn't heard from me in weeks, I was still alive and working on her project.  ;-)

I do use a shading progression on individual sections, usually starting with a small area so as to test out the particular color range that I plan to use.  I want to see if what I can do with the pencils will match or trump the color scheme I see in my head, and if it works, I then progress with the dark-to-light value range throughout the whole area that will have that particular color.  Whatever color range will dominate the picture, I usually color that - in full - first.  Then I plan everything - shading, highlighting, and contrast - around that color.  In this case, it was actually the green dragon's body that drove the color scheme, even though I did her wings first.  I just kept that bright yellow-green in my mind's eye while working on the other areas and testing out the other color combinations I wanted to try to use.

No lightbox for me - The original pencil drawing is on the illustration board designated for the project.  I erase the pencil lines as I go, and clean up, change, or eliminate lines as I go as well.  The extra time spent drawing clean linework has never struck me as necessary for this kind of project since I'll just end up changing things anyway. 

Yes!  Go draw Day-Glo!

I guess that's a pretty similar process to what I do when I'm painting sculpture. I lay down a base coat first, then I start working up the areas where I'm certain of the colours I want to use, and slowly get into the "I haven't quite decided about these bits yet."

For a drawing like what you do, I imagine a lightbox would be superfluous anyway. Transfering drawings is kind of not fun...especially when they're this complex! I've used them occasionally for my ink work, back before I switched soley to illustration board (and by "light box", I mean "stuck a piece of picture frame glass on the backs of two chairs with a lamp under it" ;D Same principle, costs nothing)It sort of slips past me that you don't ink in your lines on your drawings as you colour them in, but it certainly makes for a nicer look without big black lines between everything.

And if I come up with a DayGlo, eye-searing bright design I'll be sure to share it!
giadrosich Jan 15, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Beautifully rendered! :D
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