Monday, May 25, 2015

Cupboard Goblin: Process

Work on a series of paintings for prints led me to the idea of this little goblin-thief, surprised in the act of pilfering something from a household. Here's the road to completion:

 The earliest sketch that's survived shows a bit of my initial idea. But I needed some help with the pose, among other things... this mannequin ended up posing for me--in a drawer.
My first thought was that the little fellow would be medieval-ish and stealing some liquor, but this bottle would have been goblin-sized, not human-sized. So I modified it to be a ring, and changed the face...
...and changed it some more. Also bumped the clothing to Victorian.
I traced up the border and cupboard sketch, with a back door in the cupboard...

 ...which didn't work; too much clutter. So here's the final inked line drawing, without the back door, ready for paint.
A detail of the lettering, and egg-and-dart-woodwork.

And a closer look at a detail of the completed work.

Had him (and a few others) printed up as affordable, premium-quality posters and cards. If you like them, please click on the link below and check 'em out at my online store--I appreciate your support!

Thanks for the visit!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

On Elbert Hubbard and his Beautiful Book

While looking for a blank ledger in a used bookstore, I ran across this beautiful book published in 1923 by The Roycrofters, a printing press within the Roycroft Arts and Crafts movement community which Hubbard founded in 1895.

I love beautifully crafted books, and this title page has gorgeous font, typeface, decoration, and overall design.

 The pages are a warm-toned paper, each organized like this...

......with wonderful detail.

The book is a compilation of the quotes and poems that Hubbard collected over his lifetime--writings that inspired his aesthetic, social, and political beliefs. I have found many of them inspiring as well--and have discovered writers with whom I was heretofore unfamiliar.

Elbert Hubbard was an influential and controversial figure in his own time as well, and was a self-proclaimed anarchist. He died at age 58, along with his wife, on the torpedoed RMS Lusitania, in 1915.

"I am an Anarchist. All good men are Anarchists. All cultured, kindly men; all gentlemen, all just men are Anarchists. Jesus was an Anarchist." --Elbert Hubbard

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 11, 2015

My Art-Path (so far) in Thirteen Pictures
Like most artists, I am a work in progress, and still on the trail.

Recently received an email from a high school student, asking about my art-learning path--choices, schools, teachers--what led me along the way.  Admittedly, mostly what led me was luck, and those who taught me (and continue to teach me) the most: My peers. 
But here's the short, illustrated, and comic evolution of a man pretty much without a plan:

 I drew constantly as a kid--that act was as much a part of my life as eating or breathing. These ads, found on matchbook covers and magazines, lit up the idea that making art could be a career.

Books were gods to me (and still are). As sophomores in high school, a friend and I found this one. It was full of amazing pictures--not the kind I'd seen in art history books--but a different, amazing kind. We copied them during lunch periods, and decided we'd become illustrators.

I sent a rag-tag bunch of smeary, goofy artworks to Whitman Publishing Company, certain they'd make me famous and wealthy. The rejection letter gently suggested art school.

My parents could afford a state college in Durango, not art school, and two years later I enrolled as a biology major. (?)

Biology was not to be, especially after meeting a fellow student (in the green hat). A great artist already, he tutored me in drawing, and I realized that creating more than smeary, goofy artworks was a possibility. We decided to go to Pratt the following year.

Financial considerations prevailed, and I enrolled at the University of Northern Colorado instead.

My dorm room desk  illustrates not only a lack of organization, but a lack of maturity. I disliked the art courses, and instead pursued lit classes and drinking parties. Somehow managed to graduate with an art degree and a singular lack of art skills. First art job out of college: Drawing auto parts (badly) for warehouse catalogs. 

 But I did save up enough money for a local art school. Having grown a bit wiser, it was a beginning at least.

Valuable to me both personally, and for my art learning, were two fellow students--both of whom are now accomplished and amazing artists. Together, we taught each other. And even though I'm pretending to play the guitar here, we were not pretending or playing around with art, but seriously trying to obtain and share as much information as we could.

We studied and shared books...

...and Andrew Loomis' books in particular allowed me to find a process that finally freed images from my head and onto paper--
--images like this.

But, a work in progress, I'll never be done. I continue to grow my skills by taking workshops and classes, and learning from peers.

And there it is. Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 4, 2015

New Perks for Strange Conversation Supporters
 This little guy is cropped from a larger preliminary sketch, which will be part of the upcoming Strange Conversations show about which I've posted before here Strange Conversations Post
The fellow above is a crop from the final painting. Before I came up with it, I needed at least four characters for the piece, and I did a lot of thinking, pacing, and sketching before they really came alive in my mind.

But the real point: Because we've hit our crowd-funding goal, and the sketch-with-book perks of mine have all been pre-sold, I (along with my fellow artists-of-the-project) am offering three signed-prints-with-book perks. And the print... from a preliminary sketch of one of the creatures in my final painting. 
This dapper fellow is 5" x 7", and will be hand-signed by me and ready to frame!
Want one? Here's the link: Strange Conversations  (Once you are at the IndieGoGo site, scroll all the way down to find the perk).

And while you are scrolling, check out all the perks by every wonderful participating artist--there are still some original sketches-with-books available, as well as many new print-perks!
Here's a detail of the "Watcher".
 I drew many thumbnails and sketches, and they--yep, the originals--will be framed up and be part of the show. 
Where did these little figures come from? I've always been fascinated with tiny goblins, elves, and gnome-like creatures. I draw them all the time in my sketchbooks. When I was trying to come up with creatures that fit the phrase "They were always watching, waiting for a change", the vision that rose into my mind was one of creepy, amphibious goblins. So I worked on them until they suited me and my take on that phrase.

We artists are excited to offer this fantastical project, and your support of the arts--and Strange Conversations--is much appreciated.
Thank you!

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