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About Varied / Professional PanSpecCanada Recent Activity
Deviant for 1 Year
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Statistics 48 Deviations 100 Comments 1,535 Pageviews

Newest Deviations

Colony :iconpanspec:PanSpec 6 0 Jyn Erso :iconpanspec:PanSpec 8 3 'Foragers on Algal Mat', Pelagea Character Concept :iconpanspec:PanSpec 4 0 Pilot Femme 5 :iconpanspec:PanSpec 4 0 Pilot Femme 4 :iconpanspec:PanSpec 2 0 'Edifice', Inktober 2016 #20 :iconpanspec:PanSpec 3 0 'Sword Lean' - Inktober 2016 #19 :iconpanspec:PanSpec 6 2 'Chocks Away', Inktober 2016 #18 :iconpanspec:PanSpec 5 0 'Weary Vikings', Inktober 2016, #17 :iconpanspec:PanSpec 6 0 'Myrkskog warrior', Inktober 2016, #16 :iconpanspec:PanSpec 3 0 'Tommy Canuck', Inktober 2016 #15 :iconpanspec:PanSpec 4 0 'Zero-G Free Float', Inktober 2016 #14 :iconpanspec:PanSpec 3 0 'Elric - Sitter of Rocks', Inktober 2016 #13 :iconpanspec:PanSpec 4 0 'Elric, The Last Dragon Prince', Inktober 2016 #12 :iconpanspec:PanSpec 4 0 Beer Slurp, Inktober 2016 #10 :iconpanspec:PanSpec 4 2 'Stuffed helmet', Inktober 2016 #11 :iconpanspec:PanSpec 6 0



Not dead yet, just been busy with certain projects. Hopefully will be posting more soon, but right now everything is either secret (!) or not quite finished yet.
The Colony of Ootmo, seen floating from beneath. This is an introductory image of the life-bearing environment from my project "Pelagea." 

In essence, it is a colony of many interdependent species, that form this massive thing, that floats across the surface of the world. As it floats, it absorbs sunlight through tons of algae, which creates food for the many species in its upper layers, which are in turn food for more further down. Underneath the algal mass, coral-like polyps form massive spheres that become home to even more species, and so on, all the way down. Towards the bottom, minerals, detritus and carcasses from above splinter from the colonial mass, dropping into the darkness below.  The tentacles, comprised of bundles of more delicate fibres, allow the colony to anchor to other colonies, grasp large (very large) hydrosaurs.  The idea is inspired by "Portugese Man-O-War" colonies that roam the oceans looking for food. These things are that evolutionary idea blown up to monstrous proportions - to such an extent, that they become an eco-system, amongst which my characters' story will unfold.

It was tough to show any kind of scale for the colony in context. My story calls for the colonies to be several kilometers across, and stretch to the deeps of a "standard" sea. Though they probably wouldn't stretch all the way to the seabed, or below (trenches), they would trail far below. The size meant that I couldn't paint the colours of the ocean to scale. In reality, most of the colony in the picture would be in total darkness, as light only penetrates the first few hundred meters, so I fudged it for aesthetics. Same goes for the scale of the fish (all those little dots near the top). Each of those dots should really be a shoal of fish, many thousands and millions in total, but they read more like individual fish.

Painted in watercolour and casein, 10x13"
Jyn Erso
I hope everyone has had a good Christmas and is looking forward to a New Year - hopefully 2017 will be much better than the last. Always hopeful. :)

For a very long time now, I've been following artist James Gurney's "The Gurney Journey" blog (which just hit its 10th anniversary). James is a big proponent of Casein as a medium, and the way he's been blogging about its qualities I lent myself toward trying it out. I've tried quite a lot of mediums over the years, but still haven't really found one that I'd call my favourite. Enthusiasm for a new experience drags me into a medium, the excitement builds and then as I put paint to canvas (or engraver to metal, tool to clay, knife to styrene, the list goes on) and I struggle with the complexities of that medium's "personality", I tend toward looking for another medium.

Casein in a milk-based medium - it works like goauche and can be applied in the same manner, is compatible with watercolour and gouache, can be used as an underpainting for oils. Its very versatile, and (apparently) can achieve rich colour depths. Its opaque, stinks like a candy-store steeped in antiseptic and has a nice brushfeel.

This painting is a basic study/adaptation of a still from the movie "Rogue One." I was attracted to the photo because of its centered warm colours, contrasting with the drab and dark surroundings. It seemed like a good subject to get to know casein, and to try out a block of Arches 300lb watercolour paper (I've always stretched it in the past, but this is just a glued pad).  The window backdrop is a bunch of watercolour washes, and then I moved onto Jyn and the interior completely with casein, building up from thin washes, to thick opaques where necessary. I enjoyed the painting and made swift progress, though the fumes were a bit stifling, I did get used to it.  Two things I don't like about it, or rather, haven't gotten fully used to yet, is that its very hard to paint really thick opaques: getting the mixture of water to medium right enough so that it paints smoothly, yet opaquely, seems tough. Secondly, when wet, its much darker than it is when dry. I thought I'd be able to deal with this, since I've painted with gouache a lot on the past. Its fine to paint with on the first pass, but if you have to do a correction in the middle of a patch, or blend an area out, its very tough to gauge the surrounding colour and mix appropriately. You can only tell if its the right colour after its dry, and by then, its very difficult to life out with any accuracy as you can with watercolour (but you can still paint over, or glaze over).  I'm sure that with practice it won't be an issue.

I didn't want to slavishly reproduce the photo, though it is close to the finished product. I am quite pleased with my first outing, though its not a very technically finished piece, I completed the goals I set out to achieve with it.

Media: Richeson Casein on 300lb Arches watercolour paper, 8x10.


EDIT: After some semi-constructive feedback, I went back to the painting and refined some of Jyn's face, notably softening the eyes, areas around the lips and nose, and basically trying to smooth out her face. Casein isn't particularly helpful to doing patchwork - basically every colour you mix ends up looking the same, so you tend not to notice what colour you are laying down until its down on the board. So if its a wrong value, you have to patch it out again, and maybe the areas you are working with because they're different. I found out you can "lift" a little and blend by rubbing the area down pretty hard, but you definitely need a heavy support for this.  Anyway, for better or for worse, it has been updated.
'Foragers on Algal Mat', Pelagea Character Concept
So there you are, thinking, just what the hell is this?

Let me tell you that for the last year or so, so was I. Maybe I still am.

One of my most ambitious projects is "Pelagea", which is best described as The Dark Crystal meets Planet of the Apes meets Finding Nemo. Sort of. I'm not sure.  It takes place on a planet that is dominated by water - perhaps 99.9999% of the planet is covered by it. "Civilization" exists in the form of collaborative/symbiotic life forms, centered on massive polyp colonies/algal mats, which float about the world oceans, supporting a variety of life wherever it goes. These lifeforms are evolved for their niche, from the Forager species near the surface that collect free floating waste and food to farm the algal mats (and the trickle down of food/energy to the stratas/depths below), to the priest species that exist in the darkness and pressure beneath, all the way to the bottom, where the "Abyssal" creatures are revered as some kind of primitive gods, who accept sacrifices/donations of food from above. While the story is fantastical, I wanted it to be based on oceanic science as much as possible. Shades of "Watership Down" have peppered my imagination.

This picture features a bunch of "Foragers" snacking and swimming on the algal mat during their "time off."  I wanted to depict their species in context of their environment, doing things that they'd be doing naturally.  They are a mix of Crab, Shrimp and Octopus forms, having two walking claws, two grasping claws, and two finned-tentacles they use mostly for swimming. These are the heroes of my story. They are a dead end of biologic evolution, in terms of the Colony: they don't do their Foraging job as well as other forager species, but they are intelligent and emotional, values that are vitally important to their future (and to the story.)

The globules are a mixture of egg sacs, weed bladders and different forms of algae, that have clumped and grown over the years. The Colony rebuilds itself naturally through the process of encouraging other species to tend to it. In the Forager's case, they find animal/vegetable detritus and bring it to the Colony, where it provides food for the algae and the species under the floating polyp colonies.

The drawing was done traditionally, on basic bristol board with a writing pen nib and ink, then scanned and coloured digitally.

This is the first fully rendered piece of artwork I've done for Pelagea. I've done a whole whack of sketches, including some watercolour paintings, but this is the first one that illustrates the world. Hopefully, it won't be the last.
Pilot Femme 5
This was a test of the Japanese style quill nibs I had acquired. Over the years, I'd seen a lot of recommendations for G-Pen, Mapping pens and the like that Mangaka use - everyone seemed to swear by their quality, but since I could never locate them in nearby stores, I stuck with my scratchy Hunt nibs. Since Inktober got me doing experiments with new tools, I ordered some, starting with Deleter's Manga pen starter kit, which gives you 3 nibs (Maru (mapping), Saji (spoon) & G-Pen), a bright yellow holder (that I really wanted) and some sample manga paper/bristol board, for about $10. Needless to say, when I ordered them, I didn't realize they'd take a month and half to get to me, so obviously I missed them for Inktober.

Still, I wanted to use them, so flubbed this pic together as an excuse to use them. The reviewers and recommendations were spot on. The ink flows so beautifully from all of them, and clean up nicely. The nibs were responsive to get line variety, but stiff enough to give contol. I genuinely wanted to use them more!  Only complaint, if I can call it that, is that the G-Pen, which I used to do this pic entirely, can hold a lot of ink, but not... safely. Several times, with only a drop on the nib, dropped a lot of that ink onto my drawing, almost randomly: no great shock to the pen, just gloooOOP!  A Hunt 102 has a cylindrical shape, so ink tends to stay inside, sucked to the cylinder. With the G-Pen, there's not a lot for the ink to be held onto. You need to be extra careful with it, and not load up too much at a time.

The image itself is another pic of my Pilot Femme. Her costume offered a nice range of textures and surfaces, but there's not much to be said about it. The airplane is just a background gimmick. Its got a bit of several planes in it, but owes no real rhyme nor reason. Every time I do a drawing like this, and last week's gouache sketch, I feel like I should invest the time in doing a much larger, detailed version, with an implied narrative behind it, but the whole idea feels derivative, so I settle for these.
When I started out in Inktober, I sort of knew I would be able to devote the resources toward it across the whole month, but I am surprised that I got through 20 entries. Most of my entries started out with the idea of being an hour long project, maybe two, and quite a few of them ended up being 4-6 hours, so became more of a grind than perhaps they should have been. As stated in my earlier journal entry, Inktober was more of an excuse to try different tools and techniques, and in that, I don't regret any of it. I feel that on a personal level, there were some big successes and some big flops as well, and oddly sometimes in the same piece. Now that the grind is over, I don't want to really end it, so I will likely do a few more "Inktober" pieces on my own schedule.

For those favouriting my Inktober pieces, thank you for your interest and support. I'm not sure what you got out of the pieces, but I'm glad you saw something - the scarce wheat amongst the proliferating chaff.


PanSpec's Profile Picture

Artist | Professional | Varied
Emergent Freelancer, hoping to specialize in original Graphic Novels.


Add a Comment:
glasslinger Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016  Professional Artisan Crafter
Hi Pan. You've very cool work in your gallery! Have a great finish to your week..
PanSpec Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016  Professional General Artist
Thanks dude! Looks like you do some very cool work as well. I messed around with some glass in College many years ago, but I couldn't hack it (literally, the cutting was too frustrating for me, and I was just doing square pieces to paint on!) I've long since given up on the idea of creating a masterpiece, and instead focusing on trying to get my drawings to evoke a story.
R9A Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2016
Thank you for watching! :halfliquid:
PanSpec Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2016  Professional General Artist
No worries dude. You have some fascinating works! Looking forward to more!
R9A Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2016
I'm glad you like them! :ahoy:
Trevor-Nielson Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2016  Professional Artist
Thanks for the fave on Conan, Empire of the Beast Kings. Make sure you check out the color version...Conan, MAN-BEAST EMPIRE!. I don't do a lot of color work or pin-ups so it's nice to feel some appreciation for my work when I do it.

PanSpec Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2016  Professional General Artist
No worries! Credit where credit is due. Its a fine piece! I did check out the colour version, but I think the B/W has a lot more impact though. When I saw it, I was tempted to have a go at colouring it myself!
Trevor-Nielson Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2016  Professional Artist
Go right ahead! I'll send you the jpg if you like... just note me an E-mail
PanSpec Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2016  Professional General Artist
Yeah, okay, I'll give it a shot. No idea how long it will take me, but it'll make for a good side project. Thanks!  Can you send it to

(1 Reply)
Trevor-Nielson Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2016  Professional Artist
Thanks for the fave on... Conflict Resolution your appreciation for my work flatters me.

Thank you,
Trevor Nielson
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