Saturday, September 15, 2012

Time to Relocate!

This blog is on the move. You will now find posts from Manelle Oliphant Illustration at a new location.

I've moved the blog, the posts and was even able to take most of my subscribers. (I think, if you aren't getting the new feed in the feed reader let me know.)

So come on over and see me!

My most recent posts over there are all about my fun new website. They can be found at

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ruby and the Skateboard page 28

 << First page  < Previous PageNext Page >

Ruby and the skateboard updates every Tuesday and Thursday. (except this most recent Tuesday when I forgot as it was a Holiday here in Utah. I know it's unprofessional. sorry.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


This  post is just to let you all know that my Wednesday posts are going to be taking a short break while I finish up some things with my new website. This blog will also be getting a makeover and my new and fun things are being planned. So Sit tight and I'll have some more Wednesday posts ready for you in a few weeks. Don't worry Ruby and the Skateboard will continue to update every Tuesday and Thursday as normal.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Ruby and the Skateboard Page 23

 << First page  < Previous PageNext Page >

Normally Ruby and the skateboard updates every Tuesday and Thursday. This week there will not be a Thursday post nor will there be a Wednesday blog post. Happy Independence Day!

Love this art? Buy Prints or Cards and Gifts illustrated by Manelle.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

4 things you should know about color before you paint.

1. You need to know what the Primary and Secondary colors are. 
You probably learned this is elementary school but in case you forgot.
Red, Yellow and Blue are your primary colors

Red+Yellow= Orange
Yellow+Blue= Green
Blue+Red= Violet (or purple)

Orange, Green, and Violet are the secondary colors.
The colors mixed in between those are called tertiary colors.

(Note: Just in case you feel like being smart with me I'll point out that we are mixing paint, not light thank you very much. Find out more about mixing light here.)

2. You need to know that color has a temperature
When I think of color temperature I think of orange as the warmest and blue as the coolest and everything else is on a scale in between. Thus red can be warm or cool depending on how much orange or blue there is in it. Same with the other colors. There are other ways to explain this but my brain likes this way the best. If you have something to add feel free to comment below I'd love to hear other perspectives about temperature.

3. Color has opposites 
Look at the color wheel and pick a color. The color strait across the wheel from it would be it's opposite or complementary color. Red and green are complementary colors so are blue and yellow and yellow-orange and blue-violet. Get it?

Also if you mix a color with it's opposite you neutralize Them. This means you get a sort of grey or brown. If your getting muddy colors in your paint and you don't want them, make sure you are not mixing complementary colors. Likewise if you want a more subdued red see what adding green will do.

4. You need to know what a "shade" of color really is.
We often say "a shade of red" if we mean it is a red color but not red red, but that is incorrect use of the word.

Shade actually means a color that is mixed with black. So a shade of red would actually be a darker version of red like maroon.
A Tint is a color that is mixed with white. So pink could be considered a tint of red
A tone is a color mixed with gray. I don't have any color examples for this. Any ideas?

For more about color theory there is some pretty good stuff on Wikipedia. If you have any questions about what I've said or have anything to add that has helped you in painting with color leave me a comment.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Audiobook Recommendation: A Drowned Maiden's Hair

Hey blog reading friends. Today I just wanted to recommend this book/audiobook to you. Why recommend it on a blog about illustration? Well, when I'm painting or drawing I love to turn on a fun audiobook. This book is for younger readers but I really enjoyed it, twice.

A Drowned Maiden’s Hair
By Laura Amy Schilitz
Performed by Alma Ceurvo
9 hours

An 11 year old orphan Maud Flynn is adopted by three older ladies that insist she be their secret child. Maud can put up just fine being a secret for because she gets own room, and indoor plumbing, and many other luxuries she never had at the Barbary Asylum. Soon she finds out her roll in the house is to help con people out of their money by aiding Hyacinth with phony seances. How long can she fight her conscience to keep her new life?

This book is set in the early 20th century and shows an interesting view of life in that time. It's a fun story and full of imagination. Once you start it's hard to turn it off.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Peek behind the scenes of my new website

Hi all,
I've been working away on my plans for the new website that I am building and I wanted to share a bit of it with you. Above you can see a sketch for my new town which will be featured on the website. I hope it will be a place mostly for kids with fun things to download and how to draw movies. I'll also be able to share more about me and my books.

I'll post some more sketches for the site below in hopes you'll get a little excited about it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

On Art and Ears

"Draw from life" a phrase that every kind of artist, weather writing, dancing or drawing hears as they lean to create art.

It generally means that as we create art we need to see the life around us and put in what we create so there is truth in the stories we tell. Then people can relate to it, understand it, and probably love it.

But I want to talk about "drawing from life" in a slightly more literal sense.

A Memory
When I was in college we often had professional artists come to visit to teach us stuff, be cool and generally inspire us with the awe of what we could become. One of those was Walter Rane. It's safe to say he is my favorite artist today who paints religious themed paintings. I recommended giving his site a look

As part of his visit he attended my figure drawing class and drew with us. I remember the moment I sneaked up a little ways behind him with my friends and had a look at his drawing. He had chosen a spot to sit that gave him a view of the model's back, and  more importantly the back of her head. This is a place that we as students probably had shunned wanting to draw interesting things like the face.

I remember looking at that drawing and seeing how he had drawn the back of the model's ear. It was amazing! In that moment I realized that even though I often drew while looking at the model I let my brain fill in the pieces it wanted to with out really seeing the full of life details that were right in front of me. I was drawing ears from my head. Lame.

This Sunday
I was at church drawing the people around me. Something I often do as I listen, but this week I decided to focus on certain details. I started with hair and moved onto ears. That's when I remembered my ear experience from college. I don't know how well I've applied this lesson to my art. I hope I can do a much better job "drawing from life" as I move forward as an artist.

Here is the sketchbook page from Sunday

"Draw from life"
For the visual artists the phrase has two meanings and if we take full advantage of both of them I think we can't help but create amazing art.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Short-y About Facebook Pages

Last week my wonderful artist friend Shawna directed me to this post about Facebook Pages.

I've been on the fence about creating a page for a while but it helped me make up my mind.

Here is my new page


I have some pretty fun things planned for it and my website. I'm planning some fun thing especially for kids so if you know one keep them in mind and stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday Hiatus

My Wednesday blog posts will be taking a two week break starting today. (this doesn't count as a real post).

On June 6th they will resume with a lot of new fun stuff. (I'm pretty excited about my plans)

Ruby and the Skateboard will continue to update as usual.

Thanks all

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Building a Character: The Wicked Queen

I'm not anything like a professional character designer but when creating picture books you do your fair share. Today I'll talk you through the process I used to create the wicked queen for my upcoming Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs ebook.

First there is always a process that goes on in my head. I think about what that character is like and how to express those traits physically. This often takes time but there isn't anything to show. It's all in my head at that point.

After I have an idea I start drawing. These are some of the first drawings I did of the queen. 

They aren't great. The characters are stiff. I was only barely thinking about the overall shape and gesture which are pretty darn important for a great character.  Things I like in these first sketches are the angular face, the flowy sleeve, and some of the other costume elements.

I kept going and here are some of the next sketches.

They are more fun. You can see I did a lot better with shape and gesture. I  also started thinking about how the queen will look when she goes to Snow-white in disguise. In the original story she goes three times in three different disguises. I started looking for a way to say "this is the queen even though it doesn't look like it".

Here is a sketch from the book of the finished character.

I decided to keep it simple and make the necklace the giveaway that we are seeing the queen.

Here she is in two of her disguises.

For more about character design I recommend the Character Design blog.  It's chalk full of artist interviews about designing characters. I've learned a lot from it, and refer back to it often.

Love this art? Buy Prints or Cards and Gifts illustrated by Manelle.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

From Thumbnail to Sketch

Weeks ago I did a couple posts about the thumbnail process. (Post 1, Post 2)

Now I'll show you how I translate the thumbnail drawing into a sketch that will later be the drawing for the final paining.

There is always a lot of stuff to figure out in the thumbnail process. I decided for this project to go with a portrait orientation because it works better for to format the eBook for all devices. After making that decision it was much easier to work out the composition for each page. (composition= how you arrange the elements on the page)

For example if we take the first part of the Snow-white story the good queen pricks her finger, there are a lot of different ways to show this. Here are some of my ideas. (also seen in previous thumbnail post #2)

I decided to go with the circled one because I liked the gesture and the framing of the queen. I also felt it was a good way to open almost like you are coming into the story through the window. The story doesn't specifically say if the queen is already pregnant but it implies she is and I went with it.

After I get the thumbnail drawing I like I draw it larger. In art school they taught us to create a rough drawing next. Basically a larger version of the thumbnail but still really rough. This process hasn't really worked for me, I needed to be more attached to what I was drawing to get something I liked in the end.

So, I usually jump into what often becomes the finished drawing. But I always have in the back of my mind that I might have to redraw the whole thing. So there is an attachment balance somewhere. I have to love it enough to put my all into the drawing, and be ready to scrap the whole thing if need be.

Here is the finished drawing that goes with this thumbnail.

There is a possibility I will make some slight changes before I go to painting but for the most part this drawing will be what becomes the final art.

Love this art? Buy Prints or Cards and Gifts illustrated by Manelle.


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