2014 Bolder Boulder Poster by Steve Lowtwait

As an illustrator, I feel it's important to explore different paths of my creativity. It's how I grow as an artist and what keeps me inspired. While I enjoy working in a variety of aesthetics, I must balance that desire with clients that commission me for the style they know I do. Every so often, I take a chance.

Illustrated with Sketch.

The 2014 Bolder Boulder poster is a new visual style combining angular shapes inspired by Art Deco design with complex color gradients made possible by digital illustration tools.

The shapes of the runners were meticulously crafted with stark, straight lines, yet maintain the organic movement of their stride. Trees, of which I usually illustrate with silhouettes, are built with elaborate flowing shapes to give them depth and light. And the Flatirons, of which I've drawn over 40 times, take on a look I've not done before.

This is a style I'd been longing to explore for a while, and the Bolder Boulder poster was the perfect project for it. I used to utilize color gradients very sparingly but in this piece, nearly every shape has a noticeable gradient. Despite its freshness, the poster still falls comfortably into my body of work.

Last year, I tried something new by creating the 2013 race poster on my iPad. The tool of creation was different but the style was more typical of my portfolio.

I may not be running the race, but this year I broke a new record with the Bolder Boulder. I plan to create more artwork in this style and get better at it.

Purchase this poster here.

Dracula by Steve Lowtwait

Once again, I'm using Sketch Dailies as a vehicle for experimenting with different styles of illustration. The topic: Dracula.

The Process:

Illustrated on my iPad, I started with a rough sketch. Then I drew all the shapes in white over a black background. I finished it by applying color to only the white brushwork. The final result feels somewhat like scratchboard art.

The Cutest Valkyrie by Steve Lowtwait

In Norse mythology, the valkyrie decides which soldiers will die in battle. I decided to drop all the drama and bloodshed in order to illustrate a cute valkyrie. She's just having too much fun.

Drawn on my iPad with the Procreate app and a Jot Touch stylus.

Drawn on my iPad with the Procreate app and a Jot Touch stylus.

Hey Arnold Background Designs by Steve Lowtwait

Every new location in Hey Arnold! had to be designed before the final background layouts were drawn with clean pencil lines. These designs were based on the story in the script, how characters were to interact in the location, and the mood of the scenes. When designing new places, I typically drew in a faster, rougher style than the finished background layouts.

Newly added backgrounds to the Hey Arnold! gallery:

Cartoony Tarzan by Steve Lowtwait

This drawing of Tarzan is far more cartoony than my usual cartoon work. It's fun to push the limits of the art form. I enjoyed mixing the bulbous body with limbs that have resemblance to human structure. I used that odd cartooning cheat where the arm is not seen behind the open mouth, but the drawing works like that.

Can you spot the mistake? The answer is below.

Tarzan.jpg

The mistake:

Tarzan has two right feet. I originally drew the extended leg as his right leg. When I redrew the connection to his left hip, I forgot to go back and fix the foot. Because this is just a drawing for fun, not publication, I'll leave it as is. Do you think he'll stumble upon landing?

Shetland Pony Storyboard by Steve Lowtwait

I decided to try something new for Sketch Dailies on Twitter. Instead of doing a single drawing of the daily topic, I created a short storyboard. The subject is 'My Cool Little Shetland Pony', a take on the My Little Pony franchise. Here's a brief story incorporating cool, a Shetland pony, and My Little Pony.

Here are the quick thumbnail sketches where I figured out the story.

Disney's King Louie by Steve Lowtwait

Yesterday's daily topic on @Sketch_Dailies was "Monkey King", a warrior monkey from Chinese folklore. Warriors aren't my thing so I thought of another monkey king that I do like: King Louie from the Jungle Book. I sketched this based on two different original animation drawings by Frank Thomas, therefore it's not a pose directly out of the film.

40 Flatirons of Boulder, Colorado by Steve Lowtwait

The_Flatirons_banner.JPG

Boulder's famous landmark is its Flatirons rock formations. Their geography rises above the town inspiring locals and visitors with their beauty.

Being that I live here, it's the most common thing I get commissioned to illustrate. I've drawn them so many times, I no longer require photo reference. Below are all of the Flatirons I've created professionally over the years. These can be found on travel posters, murals, websites, event posters, comics, food packaging, and t-shirts. Most are in my common poster style but I've also experimented with different aesthetics.

40 Flatirons:

Many of these Flatirons can be found in my Boulder travel posters.

Art Makes Friends With Phones by Steve Lowtwait

 
 

Since launching the redesign and rebranding of my site last month, I've seen an increase in mobile browsing.

The template for my new site is so mobile friendly that my artwork shines on the little screen in your hand. Every aspect of the site has been optimized for mobile browsing, from the galleries to the poster shop.

Go ahead, load up SteveLowtwait.com on your phone and tap around.

 

Sketch Dailies Roundup #1 by Steve Lowtwait

@Sketch_Dailies is a Twitter account that posts a new topic every weekday. Thousands of artists of all skill levels participate by drawing the subject and sharing it on Twitter. Sketch Dailies retweets their favorites.

I've drawn most of the subjects over the last two weeks. Sometimes I did a quick drawing, and other times I've created a more polished illustration. Since these are for fun and practice, I've experimented with a variety of visual styles. See more of my daily sketches on Twitter here: @Lowtwait

Click to enlarge:

Bonnie and Clyde, Jessica Rabbit, Ursula, Robin Hood, Billy the Kid, Blackbeard, Big Bad Wolf, Centaur, Jackalope with a jackknife in his jacket jackhammering jacks from a Jacksonville jack-in-the-box.

Goodbye Adobe Creative Suite/Cloud by Steve Lowtwait

This cemetery piece is my first full digital illustration created in 1990 using Photoshop 2.1 and drawn with a mouse.

After decades of using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator as my primary creative tools, I'm ditching them.

I first discovered digital art in high school using Photoshop 1.0. From there, I kept experimenting and learning more. Through art school, I used Adobe's apps as they grew, and I grew with them. In the years I worked in animation, I used Photoshop and Illustrator less frequently. However, when I later became a professional freelance illustrator, I embraced them and became heavily steeped in Adobe's Creative Suite. It was my means to creating art.

Recently, Adobe switched their business model to a subscription service now called Creative Cloud. You subscribe to monthly access to the apps instead of purchasing them. The pros and cons of this move can be found in debates across the web.

For me, I agree with some of the arguments against it. I believe Adobe overprices themselves. The apps are bloated with features and can be slow. I've faced some serious technical issues. But mainly, I want to own the tools I use to do my most important work, not rent them. It's as simple as that.


 

Pixelmator is my replacement for Photoshop.

Pixelmator 3

 

Sketch is my replacement for Illustrator.

Sketch 2


It took research and experimentation with free trials of many apps before I settled on these two. Neither is as feature rich as Photoshop or Illustrator, but I didn't use most of what Adobe offered. In some places, Pixelmator and Sketch lack tools or shortcuts I'm used to having. However, they are not just capable apps, but in several areas offer much more efficient ways of working.

It's also a good feeling to support the underdog software developers going up against the big Adobe. I don't dislike Adobe, rather I found solutions that nowadays work better for me. Sketch in particular is such a vast departure from Illustrator, that it really shows where they've improved upon usability.

I'm just starting out but I look forward to becoming more fluent with these powerful tools. I will create great artwork with them!

New Poster Series: Historic Schools by Steve Lowtwait

I created a series of seven of posters of historic schools in and around Boulder, Colorado, commissioned as a fundraiser for the Boulder Valley School District. Each features a great, old house of learning with its inspirational architecture. All proceeds from sales will go toward the school district.

Share • Tweet

Casey Middle School
from 25.00
Size:
Quantity:
Add To Cart
Boulder High School
from 25.00
Size:
Quantity:
Add To Cart

I've been pushing my poster style away from flat colors to nuanced use of gradients. I still work with the same kind of simplified shapes I've been creating for years. I merely color them differently. With advanced gradients, I can achieve a richer sense of light and depth in my art. This series gave me the opportunity to really explore this transformation of my aesthetic.


University Hill Elementary School
from 25.00
Size:
Quantity:
Add To Cart
Pioneer Elementary School
from 25.00
Size:
Quantity:
Add To Cart
Gold Hill Elementary School
from 25.00
Size:
Quantity:
Add To Cart
Mapleton Early Childhood Center
from 25.00
Size:
Quantity:
Add To Cart
Whittier Elementary School
from 25.00
Size:
Quantity:
Add To Cart
All Historic Schools
from 25.00
Size:
Quantity:
Add To Cart

Rebranding Myself as Myself by Steve Lowtwait

Introducing SteveLowtwait.com. With the new name of my portfolio site comes the 4th major redesign since it launched as CampSteve.com in 2002. The site's contemporary design features my artwork in full-browser/full-screen splendor. The galleries display the images larger making it easier and more fun to browse. The store is simplified with all posters on one page. And the site is more social making it easier to share art.

Please click around.

CampSteve was the name of my personal brand as an artist for the past twelve years. I chose it because people often find my last name complex, and I like camping. The first few versions of my site were themed like a national park camp. It was fun.

As it turned out, most people disregarded the brand and associated my name with my artwork. I experienced this when I talked with people, and I could see it in web data like search terms. Because my name is singularly unique, I decided to rebrand myself as myself.

Welcome to the new SteveLowtwait.com. Share • Tweet