Thursday, March 17, 2016

School Continues

Today is week 4 of class and I can’t believe how this drawing has progressed in such a short time. Granted it’s just a picture to learn from but I’m impressed with the results. Take a look below and I think you will agree.

First up on the top is my final value study as you compare it to the first one I showed you two weeks ago on the botton you can see a vast improvement in it. Amazing how much better my final study is from the original line drawing I did.(see post March 5, 2016)

After this, I did a hand full of quick color studies to see which color combinations I liked. My instructor told me to keep them loose and just go wild with the color, which I did. Some of the more crazy color schemes actually had the potential to be used as a final color study which surprised me a bit. In this third drawing, you can see the color study I picked. This picture was the one I sent in for my mid-week critique.

Overall I was happy with it but I still felt it could be tweak more. I asked my teacher what it was missing and replied back that it needed to play with the saturation and hue in the shadows and highlights and to add some saturation and color to the transition from light to shadow. So back to the drawing board, I went and messed around with it till I came up with what you see in the picture below.

This is the one I’m turning in today for a final critique on this project. It is by no means a finished illustration and was created as a means to learn and expand my skill set. This week though we get serious. It’s time to take what I’ve learned from this project and to put it to use in actually creating a finished illustration that is portfolio worthy.

I’m really in awe at how fast my tech has been able to get me to raise my skill level in such a short time. I hope I can continue to hone my craft as an illustrator in the weeks to come, time will tell. Stick around and see what I create next you just might like it. If you have any questions please fell free to ask in the comment section.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

School Begins

Well since my last post I’ve have learned a lot and I’ll let you be the judge of that by comparing two pics I’ve done, a before and after, my mid-week critique. It has been a week since I started back to school at Smarter Art School. The classes or so much better than I even thought they would be. I was able to sit in on all the instructors classes and just listen to their years of experience and picked up so much useful information that I had forgotten over the years or didn’t fully understand.

What I came away with was always use reference photos with good contrast, the more the better. Most stressed doing value studies called thumbnails sketches in order to work out your content and composition of your picture. There was plenty more information passed on but if you want to know all the facts take the course. Every instructor evaluated each of their students work in order to see where they were at presently, then asked them where they wanted to go with their work so that the teacher can guide them in that direction in the coming weeks ahead.

In my first class, my teacher also did the same evaluation asked me questions and looked at my website. He gave me clear feedback on my work and on my site. At the end of class, he gave us an assignment which you can see some of my progress below. Right now I think that I made the right choice in the instructor that I picked to study under and feel I will learn a lot to help me obtain my career goals in the future. Tonight I get to sit in on another class to listen and learn. This will be the class that I will monitor for the rest of the semester. Tomorrow is my class time, time to show my 1st drawing. l know that its not great but I think you’d agree it’s way better than my original line drawing I started with.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Back To School

Since my last post, I happened upon a really cool site, due to a Facebook group I’m in because it is just what I hopefully need to push my art in the right direction. The Site is called Smarter Art School and is run by Rebecca Guay a 20 year veteran in the art and illustration world.

I’m not sure if all the teachers are the same every semester or if they rotate, but this semester which starts next week and runs thru the end of May has some very impressive heavy hitters teaching.

The classes are very small no more than 10 people to a teacher which allows for a lot of one instruction time. Each person who signs up gets to choose who they want to study under. As I said it’s an impressive selection of talent from Traditional Fine Art painter Brad Kunkleto legendary fantasy painter Donato Giancola to Todd Lockwood who is a cornerstone of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy world. Then you have fame cover artist Scott Fischerand newcomer Dan dos Santos whose work can be seen on book covers, comics and in films. Lastly, you have Gregory Manchess, who is a celebrated artist in almost every area of of illustration. For those without any formal training in drawing or those who just have a basic understanding of figure drawing there is a Bootcamp Basics 101 and a Beginning Illustration102 class that are offered. Both are taught by Marc Scheff who runs his own Bootcamp along with Lauren Panepinto, who is the Creative Art director at Orbit Books.

It was sad having to just pick one person to study under but the course does offer you an observation seat in one other class. Even though you can’t participate, you just know you’re going to be able to pick up a lot of great information by just being there and listening. Each class will have a special guest, who will talk about the art and illustration field. Not only will they be a wealth of talent on hand but a treasure trove of information.

I'm really excited about it all, but then I wonder if I maybe reached to high on the class I picked and the teacher who I’ll be studying under. I just hope I don’t embarrass myself or waste his valuable time.

I invite you to tag along and see how much I improve in my overall style and approach to my work in the coming months. I will be posting a brief summary on wot I've been learning. and who knows you might too.

Below is an example of how my shadows get muddy when I push towards a more realistic approach. I hope to vastly improve on this problem once I finish this class.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Directions

Last week I got my evaluation back about my website and illustrative style, as well as a few other areas, from Alex Mathers who runs the Red Lemon Club. It had very useful advice and made clear for me some issues that I have been unsure about in the past. It has set me on a new direction in which to pursue this coming year. I plan on incorporating many of his great ideas into my website and art. The biggest take away for me was the issue of my style, was it professional enough, was it marketable enough, if so what markets. I found out sadly to say that I’m not ready for primetime, which doesn’t mean I can’t get illustrative projects. It's just that those projects won’t be with top tier clients, yet.

My style, according to Alex, seems lost in a limbo world somewhere between abstract and realistic. He suggests that I push it one way or the other and I agree with him. People I’ve read say always play to your strengths, well realistic isn’t me, trust me I’ve been trying. Just to clarify, we are talking style here, not me personally. That leaves me with exploring a more abstract approach to my style this new year. Making my women more simplified in shape might just make their differences stand out even more, which will cause them to be more intriguing.

I haven’t done any new art with this thought in mind but as the year goes forth I’d be interested in hearing what you think of this new direction. Below is an unfinished piece I’ve been working on.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Holiday Treat

Over the Holidays, on Christmas Eve morning, I had a few unexpected visitors show up at my house. Actually, they were hanging about in my back yard when I woke up and my wife told me they here there. At first, I thought they had a faulty GPS system due to the fact they were so far south. I couldn't imagine how they got so turned around in their directions especially at this time of year. I mean these guys had a serious gig to get to in less than 12 hours and if they were a no show, not only would their manager be very upset, but their millions and millions of fans all across the world would be devastated, to say the least. As my brain woke up more I realized that they weren’t actually Santa’s reindeer but just white tail deer that we have been seeing on and off running about our neighborhood. There they were five of them. Some grazing on our grass and other assorted goodies nature has put in our yard and others were reclining in it. The most we have seen to date, at any one time, is twelve that hightailed it across our street. I live in a city with of over 750,000 people so seeing 5 deer show up in my yard was a real holiday treat.

You may be thinking to yourselves well that’s really nice and all but what does it got to do with art. Well, it just goes to show you one never knows where one may find inspiration or build a little library of reference pictures that can be used in the future. Trust me I took lots of pics on my phone of these visitors so if I ever figure a way to incorporate them into a drawing or two I won't have to search too hard.

If you’re wondering what happened to my visitors that morning they fled for their lives when my neighbor let his dogs out into their yard. As of yet, they haven’t made a return visit.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mouth Watering Recipes and Eye-Popping Art

Soo you like to cook do ya, so do I. There’s just something relaxing, almost meditative at times I find when I cook. I get in that “Zone” doing the prep work of washing, cutting, slicing, dicing, mixing ok you get the picture. Then turning on da burners and pulling out the pots and pans, adding water to some, oil to others. Then the magic happens all the spices and seasonings start to jell with the vegs and meat or what every it is your cooking at the moment. The aroma builds and tingles your senses of smell and taste. You just can’t wait to dig in and chow down on your latest creation, even if it is only eggs and bacon with toast.

Well, what if I told you that there was a site out there that did just that, tingled your senses of sight, smell, and taste. Its call They Draw and Cook, which is run by Salli Swindle and her brother Nate Padavik. Not only are the recipes delish but the artwork depicting them is even better. As you sit there in front of your screen scrolling through the recipes, reading the ingredients, you eyes are assaulted by the wonderful colorful art that brings them to life. Just as there is an array of recipes to choose from, there’s even more of one in illustrative styles. It's a feast to behold.

So next time you're hungry and in need of a recipe or just looking for some great art to enjoy, stop on over at They Draw and Cook. Even better if you have a recipe that you’d like to draw and submit I’m sure Salli and Nate would be more than happy to post it right along with all the others. Submission details are on the site, so be sure to read and follow them before you start.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How I Generate Ideas for My Drawings

Every once and a while I draw a blank when I sit in front of my computer with Wacom tablet in hand. It seems no matter how hard I try to conjure up an image none appear in my mind. At times like these I use a few different techniques that help me be creative again. Hopefully, they will help you if you ever find yourself staring a blank sheet of paper without a clue as to what to draw on it.

I. I pick a subject, say woman’s fashion, then I’ll surf the net for as many images that I can find that have possibilities. After I gather my selections I go through them and decide which ones I can seriously use as a springboard for new images. I usually find a certain pose or look in the picture that draws my attention to it, but I see it in a whole different context that I want to explore.

2. Other times I use songs, I once did a spin off series from the Kinks song “Celluloid Heros” about Hollywood Starlets of the Silver Screen. I have all so done drawings of Superman and Captain America based off Kinks songs. Seems I must have been on a Kinks fixation.

3.And of course, some ideas just seem to pop up inside my head. These I write down no matter how stupid they may seem at first and return to them later when I’m at a lost as to what to draw. I find that after a little sketching and playing around with the idea I can usually find something I like to draw.

If you’d like to share some of your methods on how you generate ideas for drawings please do so in the comments area, I’d love to read ‘em.