Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I like Blobs

I've always liked to draw blobs--some sort of offshoot of the Humpty Dumpty fixation that's been with me since long ago.

So that's what this short post (and the next) will be about.

Here's a detail of a few. I can't find the original--pretty sure I finished it in pen and ink. If I find it, the whole pic will show up next time.
Here's the latest in a string of recent blobs. Been drawing more than usual lately.

Thanks for checkin' them out!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Yep, Do it!

The truth about the arts as an occupation: You won't get rich. 
In fact, you most likely won't even make a living.

Recently, I read a great post by Noah Van Sciver, whose words were aimed at comic artists, but they resonated with me. He wrote:
"John Porcellino once told me that every "professional" [comic] artist has a secret of some kind. Something like their grandparents died and left them a lot of money, or their spouse has a great job and supports them."

I know a lot of artists who work at convincing their fans that they're amazingly successful doing art full-time. Maybe they believe that the truth would hurt their sales, or maybe it's just an ego thing. In either case, it's dishonest. If you're being helped along the way, fess-up to it.

 I agree with John Porcellino; every artist I know--without a day job--either has a trust fund, parental support, or a supportive spouse. Some have all three. In my case--day jobs all along the way,  and I have a supportive spouse.
And if you want to do the starving artist bit, that's fine with me--just fess-up to the "starving" part. In fact, I'da gone Bohemian for awhile if I hadn't wanted to get married. But to mislead others--especially young artists--well that's just not ethical.

 When I was an art teacher, many of my students would tell me that their parents wouldn't allow them to become artists, even to the point of pulling their college money if a "lucrative career" wasn't pursued. Sheesh!

I was lucky: When I told my pragmatic, scientist father that I wanted to be an illustrator, he gave me his blessing. "Do what you love," he said. He did not say anything about "money following"--he found the pursuit of money, and conversation regarding it, pointless and boring.

 Nobody would ever say that being an artist of any kind is easy. But in my case at least, not being one would have been a disaster. If I'd have chosen a more "lucrative" path, I'd have been miserable. 
No, a quantity of money didn't follow--but so what? My life probably hasn't been any harder than anyone else's. It's been good, actually--and I'll take quality over quantity anytime.

Anyway, click on the link below to check out Noah Van Sciver's full post. It's a good one (way wiser than mine, and the illustrations in it actually make sense)!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

An Illustration Sequence

For Rent (detail)
Mixed media (pen and ink, brush and ink, white acrylic gouache, acrylic inks; on brown paper).
This was a sketch done for a workshop demonstration a few years ago at Foothills Art Center. I'd brought it to a convention a few weeks ago, and a curious fellow asked about my thought process and sequence. Here is a step-by-step of the thought and work behind this picture:

1. Gesture. 
This was done on a scrap of paper--even before I had the complete idea for the finished piece. I was just trying to get a lively stance for the tree. At this point I knew I wanted a bowing Ent-like tree in the picture, but not much else. I like to let details emerge as I work.

2. Choosing forms
This is what's inside my head. After the gesture, I try to visualize the forms that will make up the picture. The idea for the bird arrived after the gestures. ( Again, I don't actually draw this onto the paper; here just trying to show my thought-process.)

3. Thinking about connection of forms
More progress inside my head as I piece the thing together. Sometimes I will actually draw this part--lightly--onto the gesture, especially if I'm unsure of the forms.

4. Pen and ink.
I draw it out with light pencil--I like H leads--then I often use a fine brush to outline the piece. Next, I begin cross-hatching the values with the crow quill pen.

5. White highlights.
When most of the values are established, the highlights are added with white acrylic gouache. In this case I wanted the light to come from the egg.

6. Colored acrylic inks. 
I thin them down a bit with water so they don't ruin the highlights. After the color dries, I go back in with pen and ink to deepen the dark areas if needed.  
Feel free to email me if any of this needs clarification. I definitely don't mean to leave out info or be purposely unclear or ambiguous.
Coming up: 
I'm doing a watercolor workshop in May--great for children's illustrators or anyone who wants to learn new watercolor techniques! Check it out here:
And thanks for reading!

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