Wylie Beckert


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SmArt School Project 2: Gaslight Dogs Posted on 06 Aug 2013

Illustration by artist Wylie Elise Beckert for Gaslight Dogs by Orbit Books: a steampunk inuit girl with a knife and a glowing spirit dog
I've just wrapped up the second & final image for SmArt School's 2013 Art Director Challenge - another book cover, this time for Karin Lowachee's artic steampunk fantasy Gaslight Dogs, another Orbit Books title.

pencil art by Wylie Elise Beckert for Gaslight Dogs by Orbit Books: a steampunk inuit girl with a knife and a glowing spirit dog
Following the decent results I'd had with the Full Blooded cover, I ditched my usual toned paper and tackled the initial drawing with pencil and powdered graphite on white Bristol board. While this is admittedly a bit more work than starting with toned paper, I'm beginning to realize that having the pencil art on white paper is a huge plus when it comes to coloring a piece digitally - especially if the end result needs to be highly saturated. On the plus side, I'm getting a little faster at this; the piece above is 11x14" and I was able to hammer it out in the same amount of time it normally takes me to do an 8x10. Powdered graphite (tutorial coming soon, I promise) was once again a huge help in getting this done.

illustration concept thumbnails

(Above: my thumbnail concepts.)

Despite my sadness that this course has come to an end (working with Marc & Lauren = fun fun fun!) it's awesome to have tried some new techniques, gotten some valuable external input on my art, and found a more solid direction in which to start taking my work. It's also had the side effect of making me reeeeally want to attend Illustration Master Class next summer... hopefully I'll have accumulated enough nickels in the swear jar by the fall registration deadline to make it happen.

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As I said on your Facebook, this is amazing. I also really like the last thumbnail you posted.

06 Aug 2013 06:50 pm

Wylie Elise Beckert:

Thanks Kelley, I'm glad you like it! I was actually thinking of your work when I was painting this one - I got ragged on pretty hard throughout the first piece for my tendency to paint things super desaturated, and your work is one of the first things that jumped to mind as a good role model for using clear, saturated colors without being garish. So yeah, I'M PIRATING ALL YOUR COLORS HAHAHA!

That last thumb was one of my favorites too, and one of the alternate concepts that Marc & Lauren selected for a possible final image - I'm hoping I'll get around to finishing it out someday when I'm not quite so burned out on the girl/wolf theme.

06 Aug 2013 09:16 pm


Oh man, you're becoming better than me and I helped you do it. >.< Nooooooo

08 Aug 2013 02:58 pm

Wylie Elise Beckert:


08 Aug 2013 06:19 pm

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