A nice little reward! :)

8 10 2010

Earlier this year I decided that it was time to take the scary step of start to participate in real contests, not the fun friendly ones thrown by friends, but real ones posed by unknown people. This way I can challenge myself and start measuring me against others, something I don’t do enough!

Last weekend I went to a work retreat, that is they put us in a secluded place in the middle of the woods, next to a lake. Sounds nice, right? And it is, but you also keep a very intense work regime, getting up at 7 (as late) to breakfast and then go to the talks that are scheduled and the rest of the activities for the weekend (work-related, of course). So I was rather dead when I came back and it is taking me a while to get into the art world again.


The rescue (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus 2010.

I was pleasantly surprised though when I noticed that a piece of mine had won a contest! The contest was held by White Wing Stock et al. and the theme was “sexy mermaids and puffy pirates”. I did have a great time working on the piece and though I think I could have pushed it further, paid commissions got in the way and took priority, so I had to set a limit on how much I wanted to fiddle with it.


The stock I used can be seen here and here. I learned much through this piece and I am very satisfied with it, since it has a nice setting and characters interacting! As you can notice, I did not use the stock as is, but more as a guideline for pose and anatomy, which is what I usually do.

It is really rewarding to find that I am growing as an artist and that comes accompanied by this little surprises 🙂

The generous artists: stock accounts

15 06 2010

Many times we find ourselves in the need to reference an object or a difficult pose, and most times we do not have that availability at home! Who has a stash of weapons, horses, muscular guys and gorgeous vixens at home? Not me!

This is when the stock photographers fulfill a wonderful role, they give us the great opportunity of referencing almost anything we can think of. The next problem arises in the cost of stock photography, most times we cannot afford (I know *I* can’t) the many dollars that would cost to buy photographs from different photographers. For example, I have referenced from about 20 photos for one image (lighting, hair, landscape, pose, clothing, environment, frame) because I like to not just copy as it is. And this is when the Deviantart community shows how wonderful they truly are. Of course you will find the odd exhibitionist that spreads her legs, take a shot and calls that ‘stock’ and ‘art’, and while the art argument would never find a resolution, the stock argument does.

Stock photography has to be good quality, have good lighting, and if possible a neutral indistinct background. Fortunately there are a lot of good stock artists in Deviantart, artists that put a lot of effort into providing good quality needed stock… for free!! Now, each artist has their own rules, and you should check for them, usually  they are in the front page, in the journals. Some of them allow for commercial usage, while others do not. An exception to the neutral background is, of course, nature stock.

Let me give you a list of stock artists that can be useful for you:


Female stock

Almudena (Also objects and places)

Ana (Also objects and places)

Angela Sasser


Cat stock by Constanza Ehrenhaus (c) 2009

Hoai Minh

Ida Walker



Marcus Ranum


Male stock


Danger stock

Felix D’eon

William (also places and objects)



White Wing (also female)


Animals, plats, flowers and places

Constanza Ehrenhaus



If you have a stock account and would like to share, post it in the comments, I will add it to the list.

Stock account

6 02 2010

I know there is a certain trend out there by which an artist “should never ever ever EVER! use a reference… jeez, that is cheating! That is like tracing!! and those that do it are criminals and should be shunned from the art community and incarcerated!!!” Well… maybe not that much, but you get the idea. Certain people believe that the use of reference is wrong. It pains me more when this comes from artists themselves that also look down on artists that do use reference and consider them ‘not good enough, not virtuoso’.

Well, I have learned loads since I started using reference, and yes, I also talk about copying with learning in mind. Using references allowed me to see, really see color interactions, folds, anatomy poses, so much!

Rose at Dawn by Constanza Ehrenhaus

And when I need references I find my self going over and again to Deviantart. Deviantart for all its faults is a place that has a big base of stock artists that generously provide their work for others to use at no charge. I encourage you to browse through it, it holds a bunch of jewels that will have exactly what you had in mind!

As soon as I started to use stock images I felt that I should at least try to give back part of what I was receiving so I opened my own stock account. It is mostly dedicated to natural elements, such as (but not limited to) flowers, landscapes, animals and trees. Truth is that I am not terrible active because sometimes months can pass before I have something worth of uploading, especially when I exhaust the theme around my house 🙂 but I do have a nice collection of hundreds of images and I enjoy very much when people uses them.

So if you are in search of nature-related images, please pass by CotyStock.deviantart.com and see if I have what you need.