Stephanie Campbell

Stephanie Campbell

Stephanie Campbell shares with us the evolution of her beautiful pencil and gouache artwork, along with some thoughts on what can be learned from them. Stephanie can be found on deviantART and LiveJournal. Thank you for sharing your detailed thoughts, Stephanie!

Colors that look okay

'Colored Figures' Colored pencil – 2005

“Colored Figures” Colored pencil – 2005

The colors look okay, there’s some mixing of pencils, but for the most part it’s colors “straight out of the box.” The floor is nearly solid white, and there’s hardly any shadows. I was afraid to color things in darkly. (I’ve cropped off their heads because my teacher had redrawn them.)

'Color Study' Gouache – December 2008

“Color Study” Gouache – December 2008

Local color: the color something actually is. The highlights are a color, the Darks are a color, the greys are a color. There are no whites, and there was no black pigment used. Those copper pennies? Purple. You have to look at the colors of objects independent of the colors around them, and yet you still have to see where the surrounding colors influence their shade. the shadow on the book looks brown, but it’s actually green.

'The Young Girl With a Gap'

“The Young Girl With a Gap” colored pencil study of “Norman Rockwell’s Young Lady With a Shiner

A great way to understand the way your Media mixes is to do a study of a painting. All of the colors have been pre-translated to 2D for you, so all you need to concentrate on is matching the colors, mixing them properly, and creating the same effect.

Variations in line

'Line Still Life' – 2005

“Line Still Life” – 2005

Note the line, and how it doesn’t change widths, also note all the scribbley marks that look like hastily drawn scribbles. Can you tell the foreground from the background? Does it feel like everything is tilted up at you? Does it kind of hurt your eyes, because it hurts mine. Let’s move on…

'Finger Waltz' – February 2009

“Finger Waltz” – February 2009

Note the contrast in line thickness and darkness. See how even in a shallow depth of field (depth the composition includes), there can be volume. Greater contrast and sharpness in the foreground. Each line is premeditated, it has a purpose.

Eye paths

'Truths' Digital – 2006

“Truths” Digital – 2006

Okay, this is embarrassing. Look at how flat the characters feel. That guy only has one arm! They have no structure. They’re perfectly center, standing straight up, and really disproportionate.

'The Glass Slipper' Digital cover example – September 2008

“The Glass Slipper” Digital cover example – September 2008

Your eyes move around the page; they aren’t stuck anywhere, bored. They see the words, and then the girl, and they follow her eyes to the shoe. Nothing is pasted front and center. Important parts are the beginning point, and the path your eyes make tell a story. The subjects are placed at angles that are interesting, and give life to them.


'Nap In The Grass' – 2006

“Nap In The Grass” – 2006

So, this looked “alright” when it’s this direction. But, turn your head and look at his face upright. Hmm… Looking at things in the direction that they aren’t meant to be can really help out a lot.

'Portrait Study 2' – April 2009

“Portrait Study 2” – April 2009

Sometimes, just having a model there helps a lot. It also helps to know the proportions of the face and body (see: Cedarseed’s Big Guide to Drawing the Body), or even better yet have them memorized; Impress all your friends! How far is it from nose to ear in profile? The length from nose to chin!

Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice PRACTICE

'Jude and Giselle Doodle' – February 2006

“Jude and Giselle Doodle” – February 2006

Nobody ever got great on talent alone. Draw. Seriously, when you stop studying you don’t learn anything. Draw! The more you draw the more precise your mind, hand and eye become. DRAW.

'Daphne Sketch' – June 2009

“Daphne Sketch” – June 2009

Advice for people who want to make it in the art field:

Respect your teachers, even when they can’t help or don’t know how to answer your questions. Go beyond what’s asked of you. In High School, my art teachers didn’t really answer my questions, so I looked up help from online artists and tutorials a lot. If you want to make it in the Art field, you can’t just assume talent alone will get you there, research a little.

As a cartoonist/illustrator, you may not think that drawing realistically is of much benefit. But when you learn how things really look it can really help you understand better how to manipulate an image to better express the ideas you have in your imagination (same goes for 3D design class.) Education can only help not hinder.

Be yourself; don’t be anyone else. Be inspired, but don’t be a copycat. Love the way someone draws and learn from it, don’t try to reproduce it. If you want your style to be just like someone else’s you’ll never get your own recognition, you’ll only be the option for someone who can’t afford that famous artist.

Be flexible. If you get a job, you’re lucky and you have to give it your all, do what the person asks. But, at the same time, it’s good to know the reasons behind your work so you can argue your point when they want you to change something.

Sketch for yourself. If you want to draw something and then think “who will care?” you just lost an opportunity to keep at the top of your game, lost an opportunity to catalogue an idea that might come in handy later.

3 Responses to “Stephanie Campbell”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    The most stunning – Finger Waltz.
    So simple, yet it conveys the fragility of the moment.

  2. Chelsea says:

    This was a great read! 🙂 The Rockwell study is fabulous.

  3. Oreo says:

    Wow, this is amazing and great advice too!