Tabitha Thorpe is a digital artist from South Yorkshire that is passionate about painting and loves the dark fantasy genre. She graduated with a BA Honours degree in Illustration from Doncaster College and University Centre at the age of 21. After the course she took a short break to decide on a career path, and in that time started to design and develop the idea of Frightlings with her family. The concept of Frightlings was well received and allowed her to continue to focus on what she loves the most, creating artwork.
How long have you been illustrating and what made you start?
I have always loved drawing ever since I can remember, it has been a passion of mine, which I had dreamt of pursuing as a career and encouraged to do so by my family. This led me onto taking a degree in Illustration & Game Art at 18, introducing me to photoshop and the world of digital painting, which I fell in love with and now cannot live without. After completing my degree, I started developing the idea of a Frightlings with my parents, a character-based jewellery brand, which focused on charms accompanied by illustrations & poetry. With Frightlings being so unique it started to gain a large following and continues to grow in popularity, not only for the quirky jewellery and gifts but for the illustrations.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I am heavily inspired by my three favourite genres: horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. I love reading about myths, legends, and folklore, this is where a lot of the ideas for Frightlings has spawned from, along with old wife’s tales. I am very much drawn to things that are unusual and out of the ordinary.
Where is your favourite place to illustrate?
My home office is my favourite place to illustrate, I feel the most comfortable there with everything I need, laid out just the way I like it. So, I can just relax and listen to music while I paint. I also enjoy painting in the evening on the iPad, all comfy on the sofa.
What are your illustrating/colouring material essentials?
As a digital artist my most essential tools for illustrating are photoshop and my Wacom tablet. I also have two large monitors; I usually have a mood board/reference up on one monitor for inspiration while painting in photoshop on the other. My favourite brushes in photoshop I use in all my paintings are the hard-round brush and the airbrush, I also make my own brushes sometimes to create textures for things like pebbles, grass, and clouds. Before I move my artwork into photoshop to start painting I always draw a rough sketch the traditional way with pencil and paper, which I feel is the easiest way to get my initial ideas down, but recently I have found that procreate on the iPad is also great for this.
What’s the piece of work that you’re most proud of or enjoyed doing the most?
The painting I am most proud of would have to be ‘The Fallen’ featuring Raven Fallen Angeling. The reason behind this is I felt my skills had vastly improved through the shading, detailing and the conveying of emotion on his sad little face. As an artist I’m always pushing for improvement and trying to make each painting better than the last. He’s number 7 of the Frightlings Halloween issue if you would like a go of colouring my favourite piece. Victor Vampling ‘I Stole Your Heart’ is a close second which I painted just after Raven (he’s number 27).
When in doubt use reference. Inspiration is taken from all around us if you are colouring clouds or trees don’t be afraid to refer to a photograph, it could really push your shading to the next level. Looking at the true form can help you understand shadows, lighting, and texture for more realistic shading. Also, when colouring in pencils or coloured crayons a good tip is to use blenders, they will help make your shading so smooth without the mess of smudging with your fingers. Keep a plain piece of paper handy to rest on, so you don’t smudge the sections you have already coloured