Wylie Beckert


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New Work: Bottle Quest Posted on 12 Sep 2014

illustration by artist Wylie Beckert - ghostly hands reach up from the dark waters to offer a scarab in a glowing bottle to a girl with a crow on her shoulder.
If this piece looks familiar, it's because it's based on one of my sketches from long ago. I like revisiting old ideas - having some of the kinks worked out in advance makes the process kind of like assembling an illustration from a do-it-yourself kit in an afternoon... especially now that the passage of time has granted me slightly better rendering skills, and a slightly better idea of how a face is assembled.

pencil drawing by artist Wylie Beckert - ghostly hands reach up from the dark waters to offer a scarab in a glowing bottle to a girl with a crow on her shoulder.
In other news, Illuxcon is upon us again! I'll be exhibiting my work in the showcase (the evenings of Friday, September 19th and Saturday, September 20th) - I've got a couple of new traditional paintings along with some of my original pencil art, a handful of tiny drawings, and my usual binder of digital fare. Come visit me if you're in Allentown!


Tiny Art Compilation Posted on 06 Aug 2014

a tiny 3x3
Poor neglected blog - I've been busy, y'know, making art and stuff. Amazing traditional media things are afoot! But in the meantime, in an effort to appease the hungry Blog Gods, I give you a host of tiny originals - a few from SFAL that I've already posted elsewhere, and some commissioned ones that should be new to most. All are 3x3 inches, drawn in pencil/white charcoal on tinted paper... Although I think at least some of these are dying to be colored up into tiny paintings. To be continued??

a tiny 3x3
a tiny 3x3
a tiny 3x3
a tiny 3x3

a tiny 3x3

They mat up pretty, too!


Illustration Master Class 2014: Cold Wind Posted on 07 Jul 2014

Wylie Beckert's illustration for Cold Wind from Illustration Master Class 2014: a jaguar shapeshifter hunts a deer woman, trailing drapery and animal skulls.

My finished painting from IMC! Acrylic ink and oil, 16x24."

It seems like only a few days ago that I returned home from IMC - in actuality, it's been three weeks, but I'm still a bit numb from the excitement (and the sleep deprivation). Over the course of one very intense week at Amherst College I got to meet a slew of awesome artists, get direct art instruction from some of my illustration idols... oh, and I painted something!

detail of Wylie Beckert's painting for Illustration Master Class 2014.
At 16x24", this painting (an illustration for the short story "Cold Wind") is one of the larger pieces I've worked on so far; it's also my second serious foray into traditional media this year. I learned a lot from this piece - mainly that my style doesn't translate well into direct oil painting. This time around, I wanted to let the pencil underdrawing show through in the finished piece to create a look more reminiscent of my digital work. This worked out reasonably well - I used my pencil drawing as the starting point for a transparent acrylic ink underpainting, then tinted it up with layers of oil glazes and a few touches of opaque paint towards the end.

thumbnail sketch for Illustration Master Class 2014.

Thumbnail (3x3") and rough sketch (7x10.")

I came to IMC with a fairly developed sketch (above right), since I knew time would be limited and I was pretty confident in my chosen thumbnail. The IMC faculty (I was in the group headed by Rebecca Guay, Greg Manchess, Scott Fischer, Mike Mignola, and Iain McCaig) had a few key suggestions that really strengthened the image - most notably rearranging the scattered animal skulls, and adjusting the angle of Deer Woman's head so that she's staring down her attacker.

finished pencil sketch for Illustration Master Class 2014.

Finished pencil/white charcoal drawing on toned paper (16x24.")

I originally planned to paint directly on top of my pencil art - but finally had some sense talked into me by artists who clearly knew better. So instead, I scanned the pencil art, printed a copy on white Bristol paper, and used that as the base for my painting.

acrylic ink underpainting for Illustration Master Class 2014.

Touching up the acrylic ink underpainting with pencil & white charcoal.

I saw the wisdom of this as soon as I started the acrylic underpainting - which ended up obscuring a good deal of the pencil art. The piece needed additional work in pencil and white charcoal before I moved on to the oil stage, which allayed my fears that working over a printed sketch would render the finished piece a Kinkadian "hand-embellished" print.

Wylie Beckert works on her painting at Illustration Master Class 2014.

Working on my painting in the IMC studio on Day 6.

I documented the entire process in photos for an article in ImagineFX - so if you're interested in seeing a complete rundown of the (many!) steps I went through to replicate my digital process in paint, keep an eye on future issues of the magazine for more process pics, supply list, and of course an extra dose of my own ramblings about art.

UPDATE: Issue #112 featuring my complete rundown of the process is now available over at the ImagineFX store!

ImagineFX traditional media workshop preview


New Work: Y&R Beijing/Penguin Audiobooks Posted on 20 Jun 2014

Wylie Beckert's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland illustration for Y&R Beijing's Mic ad campaign for Penguin Audiobooks
Normally I despair a little bit when the release date for a project is X months out from when I complete the illustration - I'm in a transitional period and the type of work I'm pursuing is changing so quickly that often when a release date rolls around, a piece that may have been my most relevant work a few months ago no longer quite fits in my portfolio.

THIS IS NOT THAT PIECE. I'm still as excited about this image as I was when I turned it in a few months back; because when you sit down to draw a ceiling like that, you have to either fall in love with it completely or suffer an abrupt descent into madness.

This illustration was created for Y&R Beijing as part of an ad campaign for Penguin Audiobooks; the concept was famous stories (in this case, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) being captured live in audio by an intrepid penguin mic operator.

Wylie Beckert's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland illustration for Y&R Beijing's Mic ad campaign for Penguin Audiobooks
As a bonus, I just got the awesome news from Y&R that this ad won a Cannes Gold Lion in the Press category, two Silver Lions in the Outdoor category, and an additional Bronze Lion in the press category.

Wylie Beckert's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland illustration for Y&R Beijing's Mic ad campaign for Penguin Audiobooks
I used my usual process to create this image - digital color over a tight pencil/powdered graphite drawing. The pencil drawing is larger than I generally work - around 18x24" - to accommodate the level of detail I wanted to include. To save myself some headaches laying out the perspective by hand, I created a mockup of the scene in Google Sketchup to get a handle on the general positions of characters and architectural elements. I then printed out the mockup and built my rough sketch on multiple layers of tracing paper before working up the final pencil drawing over a non-photo blue printout of the rough sketch.

Wylie Beckert's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland illustration for Y&R Beijing's Mic ad campaign for Penguin Audiobooks

Wylie Beckert's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland illustration for Y&R Beijing's Mic ad campaign for Penguin Audiobooks
I also designed a banner and some hand-lettered text that didn't make it into the final (shown above on the left - Penguin's final print ad on the right). I wish I'd gotten to see this ad in print or on display (the campaign has, predictably, not made it to Bangor Maine) - so if any of my readers in China happen to spot it in the wild, I'll pay a handsome bounty of art prints to anyone who can send me a snapshot.


From the Sketchbook: Literary Octopus Posted on 26 May 2014

tiny octopus painting in progress
I have nothing intelligent to blog about, so here's a tiny octopus. At SFAL, a number of my betters were kind enough to offer their critiques on my oil paintings - and the general consensus was that they weren't as successful as my pencil & digital pieces (which probably makes sense, given the grand total of two paintings I've done so far). Looking at them next to my digital work, it seems that something is definitely lost when the pencil underdrawing (the one stage I actually like the look of) gets buried under layers of paint.

tiny octopus painting in progress
To that end, I'm trying to nail down a traditional process that preserves the pencils a bit better; tiny paintings (this one's 3x3") seem to be the only way I'm able to trick myself into practicing. This octopus started out as a pencil drawing, tinted with acrylic ink and brushed with a solid layer of oil paint. Lifting the paint out of the light areas with solvent brought back the details of the underpainting, which I finished off with opaque highlights applied as sparingly as my conscience would allow.

I think the process has potential; hopefully I'll get a chance to test it out on something larger before flinging myself into the fray of traditional artists at IMC in a couple of weeks.


<< Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Next >>


New Work: Bottle Quest

12 Sep 2014
Tiny Art Compilation

06 Aug 2014
Illustration Master Class 2014: Cold Wind

07 Jul 2014
New Work: Y&R Beijing/Penguin Audiobooks

20 Jun 2014
From the Sketchbook: Literary Octopus

26 May 2014
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 3 (was awesome).

14 May 2014
Spectrum 21!

12 Apr 2014
New Work: Time Enough

03 Mar 2014
Month of Love - Fetish

23 Feb 2014
New Work: Tam Lin

18 Feb 2014