Anaïs Birdsong — D&D Character Concept

When I met Amelia, I was working through my Krystalline Kweens tarot series. A die-hard Dungeons & Dragons fan, she immediately fell in love with the elegant femininity I brought to each of my portraits and wanted to see herself or one of her D&D characters portrayed in such a light.

After much consideration, she ended up deciding that she wanted me to portray her character Anaïs Birdsong, a half-elf bard and servant of the Lady of Light. She had reluctance about being ready for me to do a portrait of her, but the more she described her character the more I realized that in her mind the character shared similarities with her physical appearance.

When I asked about the character’s style, she cited female indie-folk musician Lenka and specifically her song Trouble is a Friend. I used the singer’s style and the mood of the song to influence the clothing and attitude for the character, incorporating Amelia’s favorite color: a vibrant blue. She used this character in an adventuring party, traveling from town-to-town, playing in taverns and dreaming of greater fame, so I kept the clothing choices both practical and stylish.

In the stained glass window of the church, I incorporated the transgender flag colors. On her guitar, I added a peacock feather decoration reflecting her favorite color, while the peacock symbolizes a spiritual awakening and, in many cultures, is connected to the transformational phoenix. The rolling hills in the background harken back to the scenic vistas of her birth state, Arkansas.

The final version of this 5″x7″ D&D character portrait was drawn using a mix of Copic markers, Micron fineliners, and Gelly Roll pens on Strathmore smooth bristol paper.

If you’d like to commission your own D&D character portrait, click here to see my rates and make a request!

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11

After the success of my RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 4 series, I decided to continue through with a memento portrait for each queen as they were eliminated.

To warm up for this personal art challenge, I drew each of the newly-announced queens faces in my sketchbook after the RuVeal Special. This warm-up piece was done entirely in fineliner felt-tip pens.

S11 RuVeal Runway Looks Sketchbook Page

Since their brands are not as established as the All-Stars queens, I decided to go with a simpler layout. As each was eliminated, I did a portrait of my favorite look from the season, including one brand “altar” item and a scroll with their name, and cycled through the colors of the rainbow for the background across the series.

Each 4″x6″ card was drawn on smooth bristol paper using a mix of Copic markers, Micron fineliners, and Gelly Roll pens. They each took around 6-8 hours to complete and you can check out the full series below:

Follow me on Instagram (@samsoper.art) to keep up with my latest projects and Drag Race fan art! I’m planning on tackling a Legends series in my downtime before All-Stars 5 starts up again.

Tim Riggins & Lyla Garrity — Pet Portrait

Tim Riggins & Lyla Garrity Pet Portrait

When Cass became the Director of Digital Marketing for Nulo Pet Food, she wanted to show off her beautiful fur-babies, Tim Riggins and Lyla Garrity, by decorating her desk with a pet portrait.

Unfortunately, she has a problem getting her babes to sit still for a portrait, so she reached out to me for an uniquely illustrated pet portrait of her very active pups.

After gathering several reference photos of her pups, I gave Cass three thumbnail concept options for how they could be positioned in the portrait. Once a thumbnail concept was selected, I did a quick close-up color draft to ensure that I could capture both pup’s unique expressions (see Sketchbook Concepts below).

The final version of this 8″x10″ pet portrait took me around 12 hours to complete (+3-4 hours for the concept sketches and drafts). It was drawn using a mix of Copic markers, Micron fineliners, and Gelly Roll pens on Strathmore smooth bristol paper.

If you’d like to commission your own pet portrait, click here to see my rates and make a request!

RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 4

RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars 4

As RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 4 was airing, I got the idea to do a portrait of each queens as they were voted off, featuring my favorite looks from the season.

Since they all have established brands and quotable phrases, I wanted to incorporate some of these elements into the portrait. My formula for this series was a solid colored background with some sort of boundary breaking brand element, three “altar” items collected below, and one of their quotes.

Check out the full series below (in rainbow order):

Follow me on Instagram (@samsoper.art) to keep up with the latest drawings of the season 11 queens. It’s going to be elevengendary.

Dave Grohl & Andrew — Fan Portrait

Dave Grohl & Andrew Lawther Illustration

This year, when my friend Jacque’s hubby met his idol, the fantastic Dave Grohl, she knew of the perfect gift for him to honor this exciting moment.

She had seen the black ink drawings I did in preparation for the Afterhours Canvas Battle and commissioned me to help capture this moment in a similar style.

Overall, this 11″x14″ piece took around 6 hours to complete, done entirely in black ink with Micron and Stabilo fineliners with Sharpie and Copic markers on Strathmore smooth bristol paper.

If you’d like to commission your own fan portrait, click here to see my rates and make a request!

Inktober 2018

Inktober 2018 Postcards

Inktober is a drawing challenge started by illustrator Jake Parker in 2009. My first Inktober was in 2017 and I decided to join in the fun this year, as well!

This year, I did 31 character designs with Copic markers and Micron and Gelly Roll pens on 4″x 6″ cards. Additionally, I did 3 different character illustrations on my Wacom tablet in Photoshop for the AdobeMAX Inktober contest.

If you are looking to grow your audience, get your work seen, and meet new artists across the world, joining in existing social drawing challenges, like Inktober or MerMay, is a great way to increase your impressions (views) and following!

If you’re interested in owning one of these Inktober originals, I’ll be giving them away to Raven-level patrons, so please subscribe to my Patreon.

Tarot Series I — Krystalline Kweens

This first series in my eventual full tarot deck, titled Krystalline Kweens, debuted at the 2018 Chocolate and Art Show in Austin.

Each portrait is inspired by a card from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, as well as the model herself. The crystal growth on each queen aligns with the stones associated with the card.

Major Arcana

Minor Arcana

If you want to support me in creating a full tarot deck, please subscribe to my Patreon.