Friday, April 30, 2010

Alice, roughs 10/14

Note : I am posting the progression of these Alice pieces, start to finish. This stage is the rough + color study.

From Alice in Wonderland, Chapter 9, The Mock Turtle's Story :
"They very soon came upon a Gryphon, lying fast asleep in the sun. 'Up, lazy thing!' said the Queen, 'and take this young lady to see the Mock Turtle, and to hear his history. I must go back and see after some executions I have ordered'; and she walked off, leaving Alice alone with the Gryphon. Alice did not quite like the look of the creature, but on the whole she thought it would be quite as safe to stay with it as to go after that savage Queen: so she waited.

The Gryphon sat up and rubbed its eyes: then it watched the Queen till she was out of sight: then it chuckled. `What fun!' said the Gryphon, half to itself, half to Alice.

'What is the fun?' said Alice.

'Why, she,' said the Gryphon. 'It's all her fancy, that: they never executes nobody, you know. Come on!'

'Everybody says "come on!" here,' thought Alice, as she went slowly after it: 'I never was so ordered about in all my life, never!' "

The Gryphon.

This one is interesting in that I've already had a little practice with it, you might say. I took this thumbnail to completion back in February for the Gallery Nucleus Alice show, "Curiouser and Curiouser" I did the piece at 8x10 so, due to the size, it was difficult to get some things right. Things weren't meant to be drawn small.

All of these new pieces are 11x14, a much more agreeable size to my hand.

Here is the piece that went to the show.

Next post, Monday : "What is his sorrow?"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Alice, roughs 9/14

Note : I am posting the progression of these Alice pieces, start to finish. This stage is the rough + color study.

From Alice in Wonderland, Chapter, The Queen's Croquet-Ground :

"First came ten soldiers carrying clubs; these were all shaped like the three gardeners, oblong and flat, with their hands and feet at the corners: next the ten courtiers; these were ornamented all over with diamonds, and walked two and two, as the soldiers did. After these came the royal children; there were ten of them, and the little dears came jumping merrily along hand in hand, in couples: they were all ornamented with hearts. Next came the guests, mostly Kings and Queens, and among them Alice recognised the White Rabbit: it was talking in a hurried nervous manner, smiling at everything that was said, and went by without noticing her. Then followed the Knave of Hearts, carrying the King's crown on a crimson velvet cushion; and, last of all this grand procession, came the King and Queen of Hearts.

Alice was rather doubtful whether she ought not to lie down on her face like the three gardeners, but she could not remember ever having heard of such a rule at processions; `and besides, what would be the use of a procession,' thought she, ;if people had all to lie down upon their faces, so that they couldn't see it?' So she stood still where she was, and waited.

When the procession came opposite to Alice, they all stopped and looked at her, and the Queen said severely 'Who is this?' She said it to the Knave of Hearts, who only bowed and smiled in reply.

'Idiot!' said the Queen, tossing her head impatiently; and, turning to Alice, she went on, 'What's your name, child?'

'My name is Alice, so please your Majesty,' said Alice very politely; but she added, to herself, 'Why, they're only a pack of cards, after all. I needn't be afraid of them!'

'And who are these?' said the Queen, pointing to the three gardeners who were lying round the rosetree; for, you see, as they were lying on their faces, and the pattern on their backs was the same as the rest of the pack, she could not tell whether they were gardeners, or soldiers, or courtiers, or three of her own children.

'How should I know?' said Alice, surprised at her own courage. 'It's no business of mine.'

The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at her for a moment like a wild beast, screamed 'Off with her head! Off--'

'Nonsense!' said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent.


I'm pretty pleased with the color comp for this one. It came together after the pink sky. I'm looking forward to drawing this one.

Next post, Friday : The Gryphon

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Alice, roughs 8/14

Note : I am posting the progression of these Alice pieces, start to finish. This stage is the rough + color study.

From Alice in Wonderland, Chapter 7, A Mad Tea-Party :

"There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their elbows on it, and talking over its head. 'Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse,' thought Alice; 'only, as it's asleep, I suppose it doesn't mind.'

The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: 'No room! No room!' they cried out when they saw Alice coming. 'There's plenty of room!' said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.

'Have some wine,' the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.

Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. 'I don't see any wine,' she remarked.

'There isn't any,' said the March Hare.

'Then it wasn't very civil of you to offer it,' said Alice angrily.

'It wasn't very civil of you to sit down without being invited,' said the March Hare.

'I didn't know it was your table,' said Alice; 'it's laid for a great many more than three.'

'Your hair wants cutting,' said the Hatter. He had been looking at Alice for some time with great curiosity, and this was his first speech.

'You should learn not to make personal remarks,' Alice said with some severity; 'it's very rude.' "

"Your hair wants cutting."

Next post, Thursday : "Nonsense!"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Alice, roughs 7/14

Note : I am posting the progression of these Alice pieces, start to finish. This stage is the rough + color study.

From Alice in Wonderland, Chapter 6, Pig and Pepper :
So she set the little creature down, and felt quite relieved to see it trot away quietly into the wood.' If it had grown up,' she said to herself, 'it would have made a dreadfully ugly child: but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think.' And she began thinking over other children she knew, who might do very well as pigs, and was just saying to herself, 'if one only knew the right way to change them--' when she was a little startled by seeing the Cheshire Cat sitting on a bough of a tree a few yards off.

The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-natured, she thought: still it had very long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.

'Cheshire Puss,' she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. 'Come, it's pleased so far,' thought Alice, and she went on.'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'

'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.

'I don't much care where--' said Alice.

'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.

'--so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation.

'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.'

Pretty straightforward, perhaps a little too green, but I'm pleased with the value study.

The Cheshire Cat is of course based on one of my own cats, my lab partner, James. You may remember this small piece from a couple months back,

Again, thank you all for the comments, I'm so glad to see that these progressions are helpful and enjoyable. Just wait until we get to the painting, then the fun is really going to start.

Next post, Wednesday : "Your hair wants cutting."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Alice, roughs 6/14

Note : I am posting the progression of these Alice pieces, start to finish. This stage is the rough + color study.

From Alice in Wonderland, Chapter 5, Advice from a Caterpillar :

The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.

'Who are you?' said the Caterpillar.

This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, 'I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'

'What do you mean by that?' said the Caterpillar sternly. 'Explain yourself!'

'I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, sir' said Alice, 'because I'm not myself, you see.'

'I don't see,' said the Caterpillar.

'I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly,' Alice replied very politely, 'for I can't understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.'

'It isn't,' said the Caterpillar.

'Well, perhaps you haven't found it so yet,' said Alice; 'but when you have to turn into a chrysalis--you will some day, you know--and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you'll feel it a little queer, won't you?'

'Not a bit,' said the Caterpillar.

'Well, perhaps your feelings may be different,' said Alice; 'all I know is, it would feel very queer to me.'

'You!' said the Caterpillar contemptuously. 'Who are you?'

Which brought them back again to the beginning of the conversation. Alice felt a little irritated at the Caterpillar's making such very short remarks, and she drew herself up and said, very gravely, 'I think, you ought to tell me who you are, first.'

'Why?' said the Caterpillar.

Here was another puzzling question; and as Alice could not think of any good reason, and as the Caterpillar seemed to be in a very unpleasant state of mind, she turned away.

'Come back!' the Caterpillar called after her. 'I've something important to say!'

This sounded promising, certainly: Alice turned and came back again.

'Keep your temper,' said the Caterpillar.

'Is that all?' said Alice, swallowing down her anger as well as she could.

'No,' said the Caterpillar.

This is one of the pieces I've most looked forward to making. I'm pretty pleased with the idea.

In real time update : Since this is an on-going project, building on stage after stage, I'll update you guys from time-to-time with where I'm at in real time. Last night I finished my "blue pencil drawings" for the first 6 final drawings. Typically I work in roughs/color studies (like above) from there I begin the final drawings with a lightly rendered blue pencil drawing. I get down all my shapes and everything and from there move on to the final drawing.

I always wonder how much preproduction, development work people would actually be interested to see, specifically whether or not it's even worth posting these little roughs/color studies. Does anybody get anything out of them? Is it aggravating to be on a weeks long journey, getting little snippets of pieces but not the payoff of a finished piece for weeks?

I occasionally get comments, ones that really confirm yes, this is helpful and possibly worthwhile for people. I'd like to post one in it's entirety from the previous week :
Rafael Kokiri said...

Corey, I'm seing your rough sketches, and crazy lines with some througts hidden, and it's all just awesome, really.
I'm kinda of an artist-wannabe ang get amazed by your works. just keep on posting it, please.
Maybe it's not much for you, but every single day I open your blog, see rough sketches or finisher masterpieces, it gives enough motivation to keep drawing and learning the rest of the week.
Congrats man.

Thanks, Rafael.

I post all that to say, I hope these are helpful for you in someway, to get a glimpse into the process I typically work with. Maybe it would work for you too.

Next post, Tuesday : The Cheshire Cat

Friday, April 23, 2010

Alice, roughs 5/14

Note : I am posting the progression of these Alice pieces, start to finish. This stage is the rough + color study.

From Alice in Wonderland, Chapter 4, The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill :

'The first thing I've got to do,' said Alice to herself, as she wandered about in the wood, 'is to grow to my right size again; and the second thing is to find my way into that lovely garden. I think that will be the best plan.'

It sounded an excellent plan, no doubt, and very neatly and simply arranged; the only difficulty was, that she had not the smallest idea how to set about it; and while she was peering about anxiously among the trees, a little sharp bark just over her head made her look up in a great hurry.

An enormous puppy was looking down at her with large round eyes, and feebly stretching out one paw, trying to touch her. 'Poor little thing!' said Alice, in a coaxing tone, and she tried hard to whistle to it; but she was terribly frightened all the time at the thought that it might be hungry, in which case it would be very likely to eat her up in spite of all her coaxing.

Hardly knowing what she did, she picked up a little bit of stick, and held it out to the puppy; whereupon the puppy jumped into the air off all its feet at once, with a yelp of delight, and rushed at the stick, and made believe to worry it; then Alice dodged behind a great thistle, to keep herself from being run over; and the moment she appeared on the other side, the puppy made another rush at the stick, and tumbled head over heels in its hurry to get hold of it; then Alice, thinking it was very like having a game of play with a cart-horse, and expecting every moment to be trampled under its feet, ran round the thistle again; then the puppy began a series of short charges at the stick, running a very little way forwards each time and a long way back, and barking hoarsely all the while, till at last it sat down a good way off, panting, with its tongue hanging out of its mouth, and its great eyes half shut.

This seemed to Alice a good opportunity for making her escape; so she set off at once, and ran till she was quite tired and out of breath, and till the puppy's bark sounded quite faint in the distance."

This is probably the one you're just going to have to trust me on. This chapter, 4, was the problem chapter for me, deciding what I wanted to do. Nothing about the early parts of the chapter struck me. So instead of Alice stuck in the house, I decided to go with a lesser (at least in my estimation) a lesser remembered moment where Alice hides from a puppy behind a thistle right at the end of the chapter. This was once of the instances where forward momentum carried the decision. If you second guess yourself you're not going to accomplish anything. In my limited experience, if you mentally flutter around thinking about something, or worse if you talk about an idea you have you're that much the less likely to ever get around to accomplishing it. In the words of General George S. Patton :
"A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week."
Well. All that said, the rough is very rough. I don't even know if it makes sense to anyone else. I'm almost not sure why I'm showing all these roughs, since the payoff for them won't be for weeks, but nonetheless, I've started so here we are. Again, I do think of this blog as a workbench that anyone can come over and take a look over my shoulder so in that respect it makes sense. I do hope you'll hold fast until the reveal of the final art.

Next post, Monday : The Caterpillar

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Alice, roughs 4/14

From Alice in Wonderland, Chapter 3, A Caucus Race and a Long Tail :

"First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, ('the exact shape doesn't matter,' it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there. There was no 'One, two, three, and away,' but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out `The race is over!' and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, `But who has won?'

This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought, and it sat for a long time with one finger pressed upon its forehead (the position in which you usually see Shakespeare, in the pictures of him), while the rest waited in silence. At last the Dodo said, 'Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.'

'But who is to give the prizes?' quite a chorus of voices asked.

'Why, she, of course,' said the Dodo, pointing to Alice with one finger; and the whole party at once crowded round her, calling out in a confused way, 'Prizes! Prizes!'

Alice had no idea what to do, and in despair she put her hand in her pocket, and pulled out a box of comfits, (luckily the salt water had not got into it), and handed them round as prizes. There was exactly one a-piece all round.

'But she must have a prize herself, you know,' said the Mouse.

'Of course,' the Dodo replied very gravely. 'What else have you got in your pocket?' he went on, turning to Alice.

'Only a thimble,' said Alice sadly.

'Hand it over here,' said the Dodo.

Then they all crowded round her once more, while the Dodo solemnly presented the thimble, saying 'We beg your acceptance of this elegant thimble'; and, when it had finished this short speech, they all cheered."

The Thimble.

Next post, Friday : The Puppy and Thistle

I am posting the progression of these Alice pieces, start to finish.
This stage is the rough + color study.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Alice, roughs 3/14

From Alice in Wonderland, Chapter 2, The Pool of Tears :

"As she said these words her foot slipped, and in another moment, splash! she was up to her chin in salt water. Her first idea was that she had somehow fallen into the sea, 'and in that case I can go back by railway,' she said to herself. (Alice had been to the seaside once in her life, and had come to the general conclusion, that wherever you go to on the English coast you find a number of bathing machines in the sea, some children digging in the sand with wooden spades, then a row of lodging houses, and behind them a railway station.) However, she soon made out that she was in the pool of tears which she had wept when she was nine feet high.

'I wish I hadn't cried so much!' said Alice, as she swam about, trying to find her way out. 'I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears! That will be a queer thing, to be sure! However, everything is queer to-day.'

Just then she heard something splashing about in the pool a little way off, and she swam nearer to make out what it was: at first she thought it must be a walrus or hippopotamus, but then she remembered how small she was now, and she soon made out that it was only a mouse that had slipped in like herself."

"I wish I hadn't cried so much!"

Next post, Thursday : The thimble

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Alice, rough 2/14

From Alice in Wonderland, Chapter 1, Down the Rabbit-Hole :
"Suddenly she came upon a little three-legged table, all made of solid glass; there was nothing on it except a tiny golden key, and Alice's first thought was that it might belong to one of the doors of the hall; but, alas! either the locks were too large, or the key was too small, but at any rate it would not open any of them. However, on the second time round, she came upon a low curtain she had not noticed before, and behind it was a little door about fifteen inches high: she tried the little golden key in the lock, and to her great delight it fitted!"

The Glass Table.

Alice in Wonderland has been done so many times by so many brilliant artists that I think the temptation can go both ways -- an illustrated moment works so you go with that even if it's familiar. It's worked for 150 years because it's good. Or you go the complete unconventional route. Which I'm sure some people to make work but for me that felt like I was trying too hard, it needed to be more natural. What I've tried to do with all of these pieces is strike a balance between familiar characters and moments and other moments, like the Glass Table, that I don't remember ever seeing illustrated before. Either way it's terribly difficult to go wrong with subject matter as captivating as this.

Here's an alternate coloring study for this one. It's possible for this one that when I come to drawing the final I think I might tighten up the focus on Alice and the table, bring it in a little closer.

Next post, Wednesday : "I wish I hadn't cried so much!"

Monday, April 19, 2010

Alice, roughs 1/14

Back in October of last year I began putting together roughs for my next personal project, illustrating Alice in Wonderland. After many weeks and months of sitting on the back burner, Alice has finally come to front.

I've spent some of my free time these last few days taking the completed roughs turning those into color studies. Every day (weekday) for the next couple of weeks I am going to post the next rough/color study in the series. After that we'll move on to the drawings, and finally the paintings. I hope you will enjoy.

I've put together 14 illustrations : 12 chapters illustrations + prologue and epilogue pieces.

So, without further ado, here is the rough and color study for the prologue.

Daisy chains.

Next post, Tuesday. "The Glass Table"

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rep's new site + animation I show you in confidence.

First of all, my rep, Matthew Silver, has got a new site! Check out me and my friends.

Now below is a piece of animation you'll find on the site. It is not complete. Truthfully Danny and I were working on it when the massive client animation project (remember me talking about that way back when? I still haven't gotten the final word about posting it yet, sorry) so all that to say, it's really one of our first passes at this method of animation. We've since worked on two more large client animation projects and we're looking forward to going back and revisiting this. I mean, it's nearly a year old. You'll see the problems, no doubt, just understand it's a work in progress. I show you this the strictest of confidences.

I've been on the fence about posting the incomplete piece but I look at my blog this way --

It's basically a workbench. It's a table I set up in the middle of the internet and anyone can come over and take a peek at the work that's going on with me both professionally and personally. I show paintings in stages, why not show animation in stages. I think it's the progression of things that I enjoy seeing on other people's blogs.

So with all that packed in mind, here's the first pass at The Mountain King :

Oh yeah! And Danny McNight, Portland Studios animator has got a blog now! Read it and weep.

All these last few posts feel like the calm before the storm to me. They've all been small, minor updates -- but -- in the next few weeks I've got several series of posts; a July feature (a two week long series on a theme) Alice oil work, series of posts about my Flight 7 story, the massive animation project (whenever I get permission for it, incidentally it was for Prudential) and of course all the new work for San Diego Comic-Con 2010.

It's a busy next couple months. Pull up a chair.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

doodles and a hobbit

Not a large post today, or anything all that significant, just a few doodles from last night. And a hobbit in the second page. I think it looks like Sam.

Also, I've got my "Alice" prints in and they turned out very nice. Of course they don't photograph very well through the plastic sleeve. All the same, if you'd like one you can find them here. Only 14 left.


Here's a scan of the piece and a much more true indication of the colors and values than the above photograph.

Monday, April 12, 2010

erin's blog

My lovely wife, Erin has finally begun a blog. I say finally because it's something I thought she should have started a while ago. She's such a brilliant interior designer, hostess, and planner that it seemed like a natural outlet for all of those talents. She took her sweet time getting it in gear but, finally,
has landed. I created the banner illustration of houses and did what I could to help make the blog.
Not only does Erin design rooms that are wonderful to be in, host great parties, and cook wonderful food, she's also funny. She has amazing color sense, an eye for good design, and great taste. Plus, she gets this attitude about her when she gets around machinery or technology that makes me laugh a lot.

She'll be posting about books, gardening, home decor, design, recipes, event planning, projects she has... the list goes on and on. Things that I, initially, might take for granted, but when viewed through her lens and her blog take on such an admirable quality and life.

All that to say, 17 Dove Street, is a great place that I'm going to hang out. I hope you'll take a moment to stop by.

* * *

Here's a little larger view of a slice of the houses. They were fun to do.

Friday, April 09, 2010

alice, final + new print

Well! We've finally arrived at the end of this excursion into Acrylic and watercolor washes.

Again, overall I'm very pleased with the way it works and I see working like it more in the future. Towards the end I started messing around with it and doing things I ought not (painting gouache and then Acrylic on top) ought not, in the sense that it made it more difficult than it needed to be, an Acrylic wash wouldn't come up but a gouache wash would so I had to deal with that.

So to take us back to the beginning, here's the drawing,

And finally the final piece,

Lighting isn't the best in the above piece, it's a little dark.

This is much more accurate, color and value-wise.

* * *

Here's a scan of the piece.

And since it's been way too long since I've posted anything new to my shop so I've got a limited run of this piece, only 15 of them.

Also, here's a link to the original painting available on my shop.


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

alice 3

Ok, so we're getting close to wrapping this little experiment up. It's been an enjoyable method to play with and I can see doing more with it in the future. The color is just a touch richer in the original, in these photographs the paint was still wet and shiny.

My goal is to have this complete by Friday's post, I think that's pretty doable. The next few steps are to paint in the lighter squares with white gouache and a few more over all washes.

previous alice posts :

alice 1 - drawing

alice 2 - first washes

And this is the little piece I just got got from Jordie Bellaire. She is a real good drawer, you should check her out.


Monday, April 05, 2010


This is a small book of poetry I had the pleasure of illustrating sometime a several months ago.

It was one of those enjoyable rediscoveries when they showed up because I think the illustrations work well, especially in the slightly smaller format. There are 14 interior pieces in total.

It's a great looking little book designed by my friend Matt Mantooth.

And this is the small piece I bought from my sister-in-law, Annie. You should just go ahead and do yourself a favor and buy a painting of hers.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Victorian Gentleman Dragon

I've got a big deadline (due today) that I've been working toward so I haven't made much more progress on that Alice test piece from the previous two posts.

Instead for today here's a quick photoshop piece that I did the other night. I don't know if you've seen but a friend of mine Bobby Chiu does these great interviews and giveaways. The theme was "Goth Dragon." I don't have too much interest in goth but Victorian, that's practically the forebear of goth right? So I did a Victorian dragon.

Monday I'll have the completed Alice piece to post. It's progressed more since the last post on Wednesday but I don't think enough to warrant it's own post.

Also, April marks the month that I am going to begin my Alice pieces for my next personal project. 14 pieces, 12 chapter illustrations + a prologue and epilogue.

I should be able to start these up this next week.