Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Here is a little Easter illustration based off a doodle in my sketchbook. I didn't mind grabbing a chocolate rabbit (or two) for reference :) Hope everyone is having a beautiful Easter weekend. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Some character sketches of ladies ready for hot summer days!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone! This red heart monster had the best intentions... thinking of you, then thinking of him, then thinking of you again. Don't forget to treat yo self this year ;)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cafe Sketching

I used to hate coffee. I didn't even like coffee ice cream. It's been a long road to get here, but I really enjoy sitting in cafes and sketching with a nice espresso drink (meaning one with sugar and crap added in it). I recently got a recycled paper sketchbook and new prismacolor pencils and try to go out at least once a week to draw. 

I definitely need to work on including more full figures and poses, but I do love a good face. It is especially fun pushing the shapes of profiles - so much negative space to play with in the silhouette.

I find it helpful to look at someone, get an impression of their personality/pose/shape- and then immediately look away. From there I gather what about them I want to share; what is their story, how can I make the shapes more interesting, do they remind me of an animal? I try not to spend too much more time staring at them after that initial impression, partly because I can fall into an old habit of copying exactly what I see, and partly because I do not want to get caught :)

It is also fun to see what you can come up with if you restrict yourself to simple shapes. So many characters are waiting to say hi :)

Friday, February 1, 2013


I have liked the 49ers since all the way back when Steve Young was quarterback, probably since I was in 4th grade. I got a 49ers Calendar each year for Christmas from my Dad, and after moving to San Francisco 4 years ago, wore my 49ers sweatshirt on every chilly day (even when at the time I was probably the only person sporting one). Heck, I am wearing it right now.

Since last year's close run, and of course this year making it to Sunday's game... everyone in the city is super excited. The SF Giants have won two World Series in the last 3 seasons and it would be amazing to celebrate a 49er victory this time around!

A (Baltimore) friend of mine encouraged me to work on a facebook banner sized illustration for both 49ers and Ravens fans to share and celebrate the big game! I was super busy at first and did not think I would have time for a bonus fun piece, but once the ideas were flowing I was inspired to stay up and work on it!

There were a lot of images floating around on the internet of the two Harbaugh brothers squaring off, or screaming at each other or raising fists. I knew I wanted to do something different, something with a New Orleans specific theme, and just make it fun and hilarious.

When looking for references one thing was clear... they provided all the character, pretty much making crazy faces all the time....

Due to all the mouth open shots, I was thinking maybe stick some food in their hands??... maybe Jim going crazy over crawfish, and John eating a beignet all classy with his pinky up. I enjoyed doing this layout sketch, but it did not have that competitive Superbowl spirit. They were too disconnected from each other and it was missing a point.

My boyfriend Chris recalled that game where you fold up paper into a triangular football and try to score goals on one another by flicking it through an arm shaped post. . . Brilliant! Luckily I was able to use the same expression on Jim's face, and no work was lost there. I kept the crawfish and beignets (instead of pizza and wings), and this .png below is in Facebook Banner dimensions,  here to download, in case anyone wants to share:) Who are you rooting for this Sunday?!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bruce Campbell

Earlier this year, a facebook fan shared with me that actor Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Burn Notice) was using my illustration of him as his Twitter avatar! I was totally surprised and honored, and would have had no clue if they hadn't messaged me.

Seeing as I hadn't posted this on my blog yet, I thought I would share a few stages of sketch to final.

Below were some initial, very rough, ideas. I knew I wanted to incorporate elements from his horror movies into an illustration inspired by his current look and role on Burn Notice. Being that I am from Florida, I went with the Miami, poolside scene :)

I did a quick black and white value study first, and as a result wasn't really sure I liked the skeletons tightly squeezed under the lounge chair and thought they were probably too jumbled/cramped to read.

Ultimately, per recommendation of a friend, I went with the simpler, fist clutching an eyeball :)

I'm going to try to be more active on twitter in the new year, so if you would like to say hi I'm @kaceyschwartz. See ya there!

Sunday, December 9, 2012


 Recently I've gotten into instagram! It is a fun way for me to share photos of what I'm currently painting on my screen, rough sketches of people while at coffee shops, photos while on trips, and of course, of food ;)

Hope to see you there!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a Happy New Year from their tropical, post-Christmas vacation, are the sun-kissed and relaxed Claus duo! For this illustration I referenced vintage beach/resort post cards, and tried to use some of the same aged colors. 

Hoping all of you have a great winter and amazing 2013!

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Holiday Card Design

For a snowman, winter can be just as tough to survive at night, as it is during a hot sunny day! Although they may look cute, snow bunnies get hungry too! 

This seasonal card is now available in my online shop

Monday, October 1, 2012

Charlie Chaplin

Here is another late night paint sketch, with my old laptop and wacom intuos 3 tablet. My intuos no longer reads my stylus accurately, all while my laptop makes noise like an old junk car trying to start up. This saddens me because at the end of the day I really love to switch things up from sitting at the desk, and work in a more relaxed setting.... lol bed.

I tried to keep this one quick and loose, while paying extra attention to the face/eyes, and overall body shape. Details are so much fun to add, and it can be easy to get carried away and overwork a painting. If the entire subject/illustration is painted with the same level of detail, the viewer's eye won't know where to go, and the drawing will lack focus!

Once I determine where I want to lead the viewers' eye, that is where I'll spend extra time on the details.  For instance, if I want the main focus to be on the eyes, I won't add equal/more detail and contrast to the ears. That way the eyes will not have to fight for attention. See what results when you play with well defined edges, tighter details, sharp highlights against soft/blurred edges, neutral values and loose strokes. You will find that your eye will be drawn to areas with high value contrast, sharpness, and you'll stay and linger where there are more details to explore. A good thing to remember is that when objects recede into the background, contrast btwn darks and lights decreases due to atmospheric perspective. Features with higher contrast will appear to jump forward, and tend to grab more attention in comparison.

To help myself from getting detail-happy, I try not to zoom in too closely on my canvas right away. By working small, in addition to sticking with a larger brush size, I will be less inclined to paint every stitch in the pants, or each scuff on the shoes...especially before having my composition, main shapes and values worked out. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wedding Invite Commission and Feature

Last year I was asked to do a custom map illustration for Christina and Rabbit's super fun Las Vegas destination wedding!  I am happy to be able to share the final work, and its inclusion in 'Destination I Do' magazine!

 The cute couple . . . and a pig!! 

Special icons included are famous neon signs, their white chapel, playing cards with their wedding date, and let's not forget Elvis :) 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Commissioned Portrait, Jayden

Overcast lighting may at first appear a bit dull to paint, but due to the diffused light source, there is a resulting softness (low contrast and faint/indistinct shadows) while colors appear more saturated, making for nice accents in an overall gray scheme.

As with a few recent commissions, this digital painting was delivered as a hi resolution digital file and then printed on a large canvas at a printer of the owner's choosing. I'd love to see a finished canvas print sometime because everyone who has done this approach has later told me how pleased they were with the result. I think one of the advantages of a large scale print, is that the brushwork and details are more apparent then when printing it really small.

Though it seems people have been happy choosing their own means of printing commissions (it removes shipping and handling costs), I hope to soon offer final archival prints of custom illustrations from my own home to those interested. Until then, if you don't want to worry about finding your own printing service, I have a great local place that I go to, and can add the printing cost + shipping to your final order :) Please don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Frida Kahlo

Wow, it is already June. I have just returned from an awesome vacation to Italy, running around seeing incredible works of feet have never hated me so much, but it was worth it! Have yet to shuffle through all the photos, but when I get a chance I'll find some favorites to share:)

When working on this digital painting of Frida Kahlo, I focused on color, shape and feeling. It is my interpretation of her, and less tied to getting an exact likeness and more about developing a character. The values are not as accurate as I normally try to achieve, but I am happy with the luminance to the overall painting. 

I've also included my reference board to show my influence for this painting. The photograph is just a launching point . . .try not to limit your inspiration to one source. What a great exercise it is to work from an old photo and develop a new color scheme. I've done it once before and it is definitely a challenge! I drew color influence from the work of Frida herself by playing with the yellow/orange cast to her skin, as seen in a lot of her work. I also included signature Frida elements such as; a monkey (recurring in a lot of her portraits), an outfit I liked the colors of, ribbon in her hair and roses too. 

It is tricky knowing when to call something finished(subject of a future post) but for now I am happy with the result and definitely learned a lot along the way:) 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tommy Lee Jones

Here is a b/w digital painting I did of Tommy Lee Jones(plus alien guns). His head is pretty bobbly. Am I the only person on the planet who has not seen MIB?! Hopefully shooting aliens on the MIB ride at Universal was sufficient reference.

I'd also like to welcome you to visit
my facebook art page, where you can find posts of what I'm currently working on and albums of various finished/unfinished works! Thanks for all of your support!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Andy Serkis

Painted with Wacom Intuos 3 and Photoshop.

This one was definitely tricky and went through a few unsightly stages early on. Flipping it horizontally before I finished helped a ton, not just with anatomical and structural issues but also with softening/adjusting values that were jumping out too boldly where they shouldn't. It was a fun process though, and I am happy with how it evolved!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

No Shave November

Hey Everyone! Don't forget that it is "Movember" and to rock your 'staches proud for prostate cancer/men's health awareness! Representing below are three awesome CDI team members who totally look exactly like this...didn't exaggerate any of their facial features whatsoever :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Norman Rockwell

I tried something new for this digital painting. For my main reference I chose a black and white photo, and didn't use any color references. I always create my own color palette but in this case I didn't want to have other images influencing me in any one direction. I also did my best to stick to only those colors throughout the entire painting. I have gotten quite comfortable with painting b/w or monochromatic value paintings, probably to the point of it being a crutch. I think it is due to my limited traditional painting experience/mixing colors that intimidates me from starting a painting with a wider range of colors(this is still a limited palette, but a step in that direction). Moving forward I am going to try and be less uptight about color from the get go. Best way to learn is by doing...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jason Segel

Created this digital painting for another CS3000 challenge a few weeks ago on facebook and won second place! Inspired by the Muppets Movie to be released later this year:)