Monday, February 24, 2014

Drawn Together: Preserving a Hand-Made Craft
Animator Tony White's passion is hand-drawn animation, something that is fast becoming a lost art--especially in its native USA. So he put together a worthy project to "preserve, teach, and evolve" 2D animation. For more information on the project, and the book above, check out this link

For the book, Tony gathered the hand-drawn work of 222 artists, illustrators, animators, and fans. The book also contains each contributor's personal expressions of love for traditional animation, and an original animated cartoon by Tony White!

The masterful Elwood Smith contributed this one!

Not a purist by any means, I've nothing against digital works. I love much that I see coming from this exciting medium. 
I do, however, dislike the predictable, fart-joke-ridden, big budget, digital Hollywood offerings. Shiny, plasticky, and bland; they offer little for my imagination--both visually and musically.
One of my favorites from the book--this one by Paul Shardlow.

Like most artists, my own imagination as a kid was stimulated by the classic Disney films. Each one had its own visual personality. Whether it was the sinister, watercolored environments of Snow White, the dramatic, gouache settings of Pinocchio, or the brittle xerox-y atmosphere of 101 Dalmations, the films carried the distinct personalities of the artists.

Even more, the black and white Merrie Melodies of the 20s and 30s charged me with creative excitement. I plowed through reams of paper drawing my own personal characters, filmed my own stop-motion cartoon as a 16 year old kid, and continue my career in art as an adult. 
Beyond the Disney films, Merrie Melodies, or the thousands of relatively unseen, hand-drawn films, non-digital animation is bursting with the spirit I see contained in the original drawings, paintings, and illustrations in any art museum.
I'll leave you with my contribution to the book, and this:

My hat's off to Tony White and his ongoing quest to promote the value of this legendary medium. If you love the craft as well, and don't want to see it driven to extinction by corporate uniformity, please support 2DLIB and Drawn Together.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Unconventional Kirkland Museum

The Kirkland Museum now. 
If you're in Denver, don't miss the chance to see it 
in this original location. It's...

An Unconventional Museum Experience
"The three principal collections make the Kirkland unique, and the unusual method of display further sets the museum apart nationally. The Colorado Collection and Vance Kirkland Collection are always displayed in salon style with the International Decorative Art Collection. This provides a unique museum experience to visitors with fine art being shown in the same galleries with decorative art. Comparative displays are done with more than one art style in a gallery and vignettes are often arranged with vintage furniture along with a period radio, lamp and phone, as if you had walked into a person’s home."

A great place to visit; full of fascinating objects and artworks to draw. And covet.

This is one I covet, and drew it on my last visit.

My second approach.

The museum's going to have a new, expanded home. Looking forward to seeing the greater quantities of art the new space will allow, and hoping the current, unique style of display is preserved.

Conceptual rendering as of January 2014 by Olson Kundig Architects

But my major worry: 
What will happen to the old building? Denver has it's own brand of 
history--pretty much erasing it with bulldozers. But Hugh Grant, the Kirkland's director, is actually going to move it--at least the North wing studio part, right down Broadway, for preservation's sake. The Kirkland's collection was always proof of Grant's creativity and forethought, and this seals it!


The top photo and reassurance about the building courtesy of Westword

Thanks for the visit--now check out the Museum!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Art Makers Denver

I'm very excited to be an instructor at the first annual Art Makers Denver!
Artwise, there's not much I enjoy more than sharing knowledge and technique in a workshop situation. Denver is exploding with new art-learning opportunities, and Art Makers Denver is pulling out all the stops to make their September event friendly, affordable, and invaluable.

From their website:

"ArtMakers Denver presents three days of innovative art workshops to “creatives” worldwide.
Attendees will experience an artistic “broadening”, learning from a hand-picked faculty of renowned art instructors. Experience the spirit of artistic discovery in a variety of mediums and materials, while exploring a wide range of techniques."

It will be in the historic McNichols Civic Center Building, right across the park from the Denver Art Museum and Denver Public Library. Read all about it at

...and you've got until the end of February to take advantage of their Early Bird Special!

There are great workshop offerings from an amazing group of instructors.
For my part, I'll be teaching three different workshops that can be taken individually, or as a three-day sequence designed to help you build your illustrative style.

“Workshops will begin at 9a.m. and run until 4 p.m. each day.
All workshops are one full glorious day of art making with your favorite instructors!
There will be an hour break for a scrumptious catered box lunch on Sunday and Monday.
On Tuesday lunch will come to you—some of Denver’s finest food trucks line up right outside our door in Civic Center Park! Vouchers will be provided—this is a real treat, but the trick will be deciding whose lunch fare to try!
At 4 p.m. we mix—we mingle—we show off our creations of the day!
Then you’re on your own to dine and take in the sights and sounds of our beautiful downtown Denver!”

Find Art Makers Denver on Facebook:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Skull-Fellows: A How-To (and some Materials)
A short but kind email with questions prompted me to post this long answer:
The process of a media combination that's been occupying me for some time.
It's pretty easy and a lot of fun!

First I drew a few thumbnails (they got me through the unending train of commercials
during the playoff game). 
Here are some details:

This one took on a fairly nice Frankenstein quality, but outgrew the square.
I had to pump up the contrast on these examples as they were all done on tracing vellum--hence the weird smeariness. (There's no particular reason that I used tracing vellum for these sketches, other than I had the pad in my pack, and wasn't at home when I drew them.)
Finally, the game ended and I went back to the studio.

Two bone-head ideas leaned forward out of the small crowd of sketches. 
For this one, I carefully and lightly drew it freehand onto a piece of toned paper.
(Sometimes I transfer a completed drawing onto the final paper, but not in this case--the final skull sort of morphed from all of the sketches as I drew it.) 

A small brush dipped in India ink was used to outline, and when it was dry the pencil was erased. 
Using a combination of  a crow quill nib and a Rapidograph pen, I layered up the values with India ink...

...then added highlights using waterproof white ink and some gesso too.
I often go back and forth at this stage, working in more dark values, and adding more white.

The colors are acrylic inks, mixed together and diluted, then washed in with a brush. These details are blown up quite a bit--the original is only 3" x 3".

I used an Alvin Pro-Matic pencil with H graphite
Winsor & Newton University Series brush #0 for the outline (a #3 was used for the color)
Rapidograph with a .25 nib
Hunts Crow quill #102 nib
The paper is Kona Classic Premium Toned paper (a favorite because it takes liquid well)
The India and colored inks are Daler Rowney FW Acrylic inks

The complete, tiny piece:

Here's the other little bone-head; this time on watercolor paper.
Now I need to make time to paint it.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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