Saturday, December 21, 2013

Song of the North

So to retest my digital painting skills and try out newly downloaded brushes, I decided to paint one of my favorite "summertime" birds, the white-throated sparrow. Hearing their song takes me on a trip to the north woods, camping under the stars amidst pine and birch, and waking up with the sun to hear these birds singing endlessly, amidst the branches and just out of sight, or so it is with my blurry morning eyes. 

I used a photo taken by David Speiser for reference, as I wanted to actually use my eyes accurately for once. It's not 100% the same as the photo, though I did my best to capture the appearance and markings of the species. The photo can be found at his gallery here.

Photoshop CS3, Wacom bamboo tablet. Hopefully the new year will bring more bird art!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Foolhardy Quest

"Foolhardy Quest" Watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and ink on Fabriano 140 lb hot press watercolor paper, 14 x 20" (35.56 x 50.8 cm) 

Finally, after nearly a month of straight painting in my free time, I have completed this piece, which I had showed a color sketch of earlier this year. Things changed quite a bit in terms of color, but I think for the better. 95% was painted using watercolors, with final adjustments in acrylic, gouache, and white ink. 

Bretonnian knights may not be the wisest, but they don't lack courage! The serpent was based on traditional sea serpent imagery, combined with the bioluminescence, jaws, and teeth of deep sea species while the orange fins were inspired by oarfish. (Which was said to have inspired the sea serpent legend in the first place!)

I'm planning on submitting this for this year's Spectrum, so wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

California Condor: Finished

"Fate of the Condor" 9x12" on cold pressed 140 lb watercolor paper. Watercolor, powdered graphite, charcoal, india ink, acrylic, and white acrylic ink.

I went with a less controlled approach for this piece, and relied on the wide variety of materials to bring their own character into the process. Of course, I wanted to bring a clearer detail to the condor's face, and further accentuated that with the sky halo about its head.

As a bonus, I will share some pictures I took as the painting progressed. A thousand apologies for the rather subpar lighting and inevitable blur that resulted! 

It's come a long way from the original sketch (thank goodness!) and turned out quite decently.

Friday, July 5, 2013

California Condor: Work in Progress

A preliminary sketch for a painting that I am contributing for a Kickstarter project, "Losing Altitude." The project is an illustrated collaboration from many artists featuring a large variety of endangered and threatened bird species from around the globe. You can find the project here:

Condors may be considered ugly by some, but I'll never see them as less than the magnificent birds they are.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Website Now Live!

I've decided to get a little help with self promotion and advertising this year (and next year, actually) by going through Serbin Communication's publication, the Directory of Illustration. As a result, I also have a more finished gallery where I can post work in a slightly more organized fashion. Check it out here:

I've been a bit busy as of late with moving and trying to get set up in the new house, so new art has been a bit slow. Long commutes and excessive cleaning take a lot of hours out of the day, it would seem. Hopefully I can get past this phase soon and get back to work!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Life of Pi

Here's a cover concept for Yann Martel's "Life of Pi." I tried to take a more metaphorical/conceptual approach to illustrating this, where the boat, ocean, tiger, and Pi are helplessly connected in their own universe. This was an excellent color exercise, and I worked to create a slightly different style while I was at it. 

Watercolor on coldpress 140 lb watercolor paper.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Adelaide: Refinished

It's good to revisit old works, time and again. I underwent such a project recently, the painting a 5 year old college project that was leaving many things to be desired. Thankfully, I was able to renew at least a small portion of it! 

The original is a far more complex piece, in watercolor and acrylic. Retouching/repainting was done in Photoshop CS3 with a Wacom Bamboo tablet.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Personal Novel Project: Now With Color!

I posted the original pencil sketch of this several months back, and decided to revisit it recently with some digital color. This was the end result, which I think turned out pretty well. I think my current digital method really benefits from having traditional materials as a large part of the finished piece, in this case, somewhat rendered pencils. I like that raw texture to come through in the original, as it gives the painting a more honest and tactile feel than say, a fully polished digital painting. But that's just my humble opinion.

As for Adelaide, our young heroine, she'll be quite alright after she gets over her fright. Lucky doesn't even begin to cover it!

Characters, creature concepts, and art © April Schumacher.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Foolhardy Defense Color Sketch

Sometimes, it's a good idea to throw together a color study before proceeding from sketch to finished piece. And by sometimes, I mean always. It's just I wouldn't recommend getting so carried away with one color concept, if you can help it.

(Un)fortunately, I can't take my own advice, and what was meant to be a quick digital color scribble evolved into the following: 

Bretonnian knights errant can be foolhardy at times, though I suppose if a sea serpent wrecks enough ships and eats enough people, one might need to (try) to do something about it!

Photoshop CS3, Wacom Bamboo tablet, and various teas and coffee for fuel. Art © April Schumacher. All rights reserved.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


A spontaneous project that I somehow managed to complete, despite the fact that I had little idea as to what I wanted for a final product. I would like to push my work a little more into stylized territory, but for now have some more "semi-realism" or whatever you'd like to call it.

I'd done many sketches of the mythical kelpie in the past, and always like the idea of a more or less approachable looking horse: Except, of course, for that terrifying, rotting skeletal head and writhing kelp-like... appendages? The (careless) victims don't know what they're sitting on until it's too late. How unpleasant!

Derwent Graphitint pencils, watercolor, and acrylic on Stonehenge, 4.75 x 10".