Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Current Work: The Elf Thief

by Justin Gerard

This is the drawing for a painting that I am currently working on.  It still has a ways to go, but today instead of showing a bunch of static images of the work in progress thus far, I have made a magical internet image.  One that moves....

This GIF, (a word that I am pronouncing as "Jiff" by the way, because listen: my last name is Gerard. And that G is actually a J, so that my name is actually pronounced Jay-Rard, not Guh-Rah-Rah-Rard. Why?  Because it's a french name and the french don't care about phonetics. They'll pronounce things however they please and the world can just deal with it. Anyway, because of this I pronounce all words that begin with G as if they begin with a J as my revenge. So yes, that's right. "Goose" is actually pronounced "Juice.")


Now, this GIF, shows how I work when I work digitally.

I really like the girl in the drawing, but when I started to add color, it just didn't work. I tried a lot of things, but ultimately had to concede that it just wasn't right and I needed to rework it. So I repainted it in Photoshop from the ground up. I don't like doing this, but sometimes you have to throw the cat in the trash if it isn't working.  Wait, that isn't right... hmmm.. Anyway, sometimes you have to just rework a part of the image in order to save the whole image.

We will see if it was the right decision next time...


  1. Soooo... we're not to call you Justin Gerard with both words starting with a 'G' like 'gold?'
    Oh yeah, that could be the best thing I've ever seen you draw, by the way, Gustin. Can't wait to see how it comes out.

  2. Hi Justin, your drawing is really nice and i look forward to see the final (i love the design of the two wolves and yeah this owl is definitely cute ^_^).

    I think you're absolutely right about remaking things, it really free your mind from the struggle and you can start again aiming a better result (this time with all the frustration gone).
    At some point i think you can also be faster remaking things than trying to fix the first draft during dozen of hours.

    I hope you will share the final picture with us next time ;), courage!

  3. i really like the spritely characteristics of the pencil drawn elf. The painted on in the jiff looks too... womanly? Too clean and matriarch-ish for a thief who probably had to sneak in through the sewer? Anyhoo, what do i know? i thought your name was Jszhoosteen Szheerahrdt.

    1. Another scruffy interested in fantasy art? Scruffy the Tolkien lovin' dog is going to want a throw down!

      I think the drawing is incredible. IMO I think the somewhat jarring/big change is that the color GIF loses some a lot of what reads "elf" - the eyes get proportionally smaller, chin appears rounder/bigger, lips get fuller, and even the tell-tale ear is now hidden behind the hood. So it does look more "womanly" and less "elfy". On the other hand, what kind of thief goes around with her ear sticking out, isn't that what a hood is meant to cover? So maybe it is an intentional change for realism...I'm in the same boat, what do I know? Jack squat!

      I have no doubt the painting will turn out great...Justin's the man, I love his posts here.

  4. Good grief Justin! This drawing is absolutely killer. Looking mighty fine.


  5. Actually, in French, the G in front of e and i IS a soft G (pronounced J) so you are entirely right. And we add a u if we want to turn it into a hard G (such as in Bouguereau). So JIF it is.

    1. It's pronounced "jiff" according to the original patent paperwork. The creator of the file format insists it's pronounced "jiff". Even in the news recently: http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/creator-gif-files-insists-its-jif-internet-turmoil-f6C10020905

      Soft "g", as in the name "Gob". Heh. Heheh.

  6. Pretty sure it's *supposed* to be pronounced jif, it's just people got used to calling it gif without realising that. The guy who invented the standard has said that in the past anyway

  7. I love this piece. Were you inspired by Piranesi's "Carceri" series? http://exhibits.slpl.org/steedman/data/Steedman240092845.asp

    1. Whoa! No I hadn't been thinking of these, and can't say that I had ever even seen all of them before. Thanks for sharing the link, these are gorgeous!

  8. Spectacular drawing, Justin! Can't wait to see the final piece.

  9. Thanks for all the encouragement guys! And thank you as well for the knowledge bombs letting me know that I've been right all along about how to say Gif. Nothing brightens a man's day like learning he was right all along.

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