Monday, February 28, 2011

Art Blocks

I had the privilege to be included in the incredible line up of artists donating work to Art Blocks for Ghana. They recently had the first of their shows in NYC.

Presented for your consideration is the invitation and some pictures of the event. To see more visit their site as well as Facebook page.

(And my piece is the top left corner square on the back of the card.)

(You can see my piece [alarmingly] right in the spotlight on the left, top row.)

Unfortunately for me I wasn't able to make it to the opening but nonetheless I'm very glad to have been among those asked to contribute.

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Here are the stages of my piece.

These pictures are the highlights of the different stages, to see it all check out my collection of Art Block posts from November.

Friday, February 25, 2011

bit and run - originals

In my free time between other personal and client work I've been putting together this new project I'm calling bit and run - originals. They will be a collection of Nintendo inspired drawings. Some of them are like portraits, other just simple moments, or little comics in and of themselves. The drawings are on Rives BFK a very nice, heavy watercolor paper and will be matted 5" x 7" -- much like my "bit and run" drawing giveaway back in October.

All of the drawings will be $50 each and will be posted on my shop in time for next week, Friday March 4th (going up sometime late Thursday night / early Friday morning just like in the olden days with the "bit and run" comics.)

It's been too long since I got to draw and play in a world inspired by Nintendo and I guess this is the form my enthusiasm has taken this time. I hope you guys will enjoy the result!

I'll see you next Friday with bit and run - originals!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

9 Degrees North: The ABCs of Northern Ghana

Here's my piece for the charity picture book project by the Tools for Schools Africa Foundation. My friend Mike Boldt is a co-organizer on the project and he's pulled together some pretty great stuff for this book.

Here's my piece.

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You can learn more and visit site here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

old man troll pt.5 - final

We've arrived at the final, digitally finished piece. For the most part I used Photoshop exactly the way it was intended, as a color adjustment tool rather than a painting tool.

My next step with this piece is going to be using the finished watercolor painting as an under-painting, varnish, and then keeping my digital stage in mind (as an exploration) go to an oil finished piece. This'll be a little while off, I've got several deadlines right at the end of the month here but I'll be back to it as soon as a I can.

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Speaking of deadlines and projects, I've got a cool one involving "bit and run" in the works for March 1. No, it's not Volume Three but I do think you'll enjoy it. I'll be certain to post more in a week.

Friday, February 18, 2011

old man troll pt.4

Now we're on to the watercolor stage of this old troll. I'm pleased with the way it turned out. As usual I'm torn between the control, general super powers of digital medium and the desire to have a finished painting that I can hold. My goal with these recent new (and future) pieces is to continue to steadily move in the direction I've been pushing the last couple years, that is create to the fullest of my powers an original piece, a piece that's worth keeping around and at the same time push my digital powers. What it looks like practically is this -- a finished drawing, watercolor, digital finish as a study for oil.

So now you know my plans. On to the thing.

Next post, Monday. The finished thing!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

old man troll pt.3

Here is the final drawing stage for this old man troll. At this point I go in and tighten up the line work from my under-drawing stage.

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Next post, Friday. Paint!

Monday, February 14, 2011

old man troll pt.2

Here is an example of my typical stages of drawing, I've got three.

Light rough, under-drawing, final pencil. This post covers the first two.

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Old man troll pt. 1

Using my thumbnail/digital rough as a guide I lightly rough in all of my shapes with a Col-Erase brown pencil.

After this is complete, I move to the under-drawing where I use a regular pencil.

The under-drawing stages lets me choose my lines and figure more of the piece, I narrow my choices until I get there. I prefer this rather than diving right in going straight to final drawing.

After this stage is the third part, the final pencil.

Next post, Wednesday. Final line work.

Friday, February 11, 2011

old man troll

Behold, old man troll.

Above is the rough, over the next few posts we'll see him come to life in all his irritable glory.

Calling this sort of work "portfolio" stuff feels a little more crass than I mean it to sound, like I'm just doing it out of duty or something when the truth is the exact opposite, I do this work because I just enjoy doing it.

These are individual pieces, not part of a project and I just like making them.

That said, I do try to reorganize and inject new life into my portfolio every 6 months to a year with new personal projects and new individual pieces.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Scissorhands - process

Here's a look at the process behind making my piece for Scissorhands 20th.

After playing with a few different thumbnails I settled on one. I then scanned it and tightened it up, digitally.

Danny Elfman's music is enchanting, in the truest sense of the word, in that you can be enchanted and transported by it. The score is one of the all time great soundtracks but the "Ice Dance" is especially beautiful.

Above. The thing is, there's no possible way to make anything that is better than this music.

I ended up with two variations of the "Ice Dance" moment from the film. I settled on the one on the right and from there went about to make the final piece.

Here is the original drawing and watercolor underpainting.

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And for the final, gallery show-able piece I decided to finish it in oil. Mostly because I can only get the watercolor so dark before it starts looking dead or I lose what I like of my linework too much. Either way a few simple oil washes give it a glow that doesn't come through in the scan. You can catch a little bit of magic in oil that I think has to do with the layers of paint trapping light in them. In any case I went to the idea in my original thumbnails of setting the scene in a snow globe.

Even this scan doesn't look as good as it might since the oil was still a little wet so the light from the scanner reflected off it and also I had it raised a little of the glass and that affects it some as well. I can't always say this but the original painting looks better than the pictures show. A lot of the time my drawings and paintings are a means to an end and in that sense the "originals" are pretty disposable. I have no problem with that. Whatever it takes to tell the story of the piece. As always, my ultimate goal is a well told piece in any medium.

Monday, February 07, 2011

snow globe

My friend Seb has put together a tribute for 20th anniversary of Edwards Scissorhands over at the appropriately named Scissorhands 20th blog.

Here is my piece for it. I watched Edwards Scissorhands again (twice) while I was working on it and I'm always struck by how much I like that movie. Every last part of it is great, from the music to the design to the story itself, I love it.

Next post, Wednesday. The planning stages and final execution of the piece.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Old Mother Troll 3/3

Here are the final stages of this piece.

Old Mother Troll 1/3

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I gave a the drawing one coat of spray fixative to help keep the pencil in place.

From there I painted. Surprisingly, following the exact wording of the spray fix directions worked perfect. I usually have to deal with some pencil bleeding but I decided to just do it exactly like the can says it was perfect. Pencil didn't move or float at all.

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I have white florescent lights on my desk and they wash out the color in the photographs, the scan (below) is truer to the actual painting.

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From there I began my usual working method of finishing the piece digitally.

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All in all this was a test. A test to see how I might work in oil. I treated the digital stage almost like a test ground for what I will do with the oil. Unfortunately for my curiosity, my deadlines and projects have resumed a more regular, hectic schedule so this test has been put on hold for the time being. I did some similar experiments back during my Alice show, the most successful being the Prologue piece and the Dodo. Basically it's a matter of taking a drawing or watercolor and varnishing it and a variety of other dark magics and then it's ready to paint in oil. So with this working method the digital stage functions as a figuring out stage and I'll then implement them into the more controllable oil arena for the final, final.

Next post, Monday. Scissorhands!