You know it’s been a while when you can’t remember your login password. I’ve been really inconsistent going to drawing class so I went to TWO different ones last week. One, the open class I’ve been going to for years, and a second that just started up at my alma-mater Portfolio Center. Let’s see if I go to two in a row? Here are some drawings from the sessions. Range from 1 minute drawings to 30 mins.
Here is a sneak peek at one of the newest spreads for ‘Hug Something Horrible’ (see previous post for more). I actually started this painting about a year and half ago. It was packed up during a move and forgotten about. I started back up on it this weekend. It’s sort of odd picking up the same painting after such a long break, but I’m excited to be working on the book again.
I’m posting some photos of the process for this painting because this one took me back to my childhood and memories of a particular book I used to love as a kid. I wish I could remember the name of it. One of the pages that stands out so vividly depicted a dungeon cell with two huge, gnarly, monstrous feet poking out through the cell bars. The legs continued up for a way then disappeared into the darkness. It’s interesting to me that the most memorable image from that book was just the hint of something. My imagination ran wild wondering what awful beast belonged to those feet!
As you can see in some of the thumbnail sketches below, this particular illustration called for a very large monster as well. I played around with some different scenarios but in the end had to pay homage to the image I loved so much as a kid.
I would say my favorite project to have worked on in school was a collaborative children’s book effort entitled, ‘Hug Something Horrible’. Illustrators and writers were paired together and asked to create an original children’s book – anything we wanted. Together with writer, Craig Moyer, he and I came up with a book about learning to appreciate and accept others no matter how different they may appear; a book about monsters.
This project began half-way through my 2 years at Portfolio Center and was really a turning point for me as an illustrator. It was the first time pulling together everything learned up to that point. It was an incredibly ambitious project to tackle in one quarter – 28 full page illustrations – so, needless to say, it did not quite get finished. I’ve revisited the project several times since it was first started nearly 4 years ago. Unfortunately balancing full-time work, freelance work, personal projects, and life in general after school didn’t leave much time for completing the book.
This year, however, after a few encouraging reminders from former teachers and students, I have made a conscious effort to make time to finish the book. I worked through the remainder of my freelance queue and quit taking on new projects to focus on painting monsters for a while. Hopefully this summer will see the completion of ‘Hug Something Horrible’.
I drew constantly when I was younger. I drew mostly from books; mostly from other people’s drawings or paintings. I loved Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, M.C. Escher and these visual encyclopedias of animals we had in the house. I was originally drawn to these things because of the way they looked, and, looking back, I was exposing myself to a pretty awesome range of skills. I absolutely treasured the Calvin and Hobbes and Far Side books, all of which are still on my bookshelves today. I would spend hours and hours copying from their pages – literally until my eyes hurt from looking so hard. I loved the comic book style of Bill Watterson, the simple line drawings of Gary Larson, and the insane technical, mathematical renderings of Escher.
As I got older there was less and less copying from books. As you get older you learn to draw from life; still-life’s, landscapes, models. After you’ve got that down, and you want to become a professional illustrator, it’s time to start drawing from your imagination. I draw so much from my head these days that I forget how satisfying it is to sit down and draw from a book – to copy something, as it were. I don’t know if it’s satisfying because of the instant gratification (hey, my drawing looks like the picture I just drew from) or if it’s because it takes me back to all the hours I spent drawing as a kid. Either way, it’s still really enjoyable and I should make time to do it more often. Last night I drew from a book of bird paintings I own. I just sat down for an hour and drew. It felt like 5 minutes.
I got to be part of my first group show last night at the Young Blood Gallery. The theme was anything bike related and benefited SOPO bikes. Nearly 60 artists were represented by their cycling themed art. It was very cool seeing how 60 different brains interpreted the theme. The show is up through the end of the month. My contribution is below:
I decided 2010 would be the year I acted on a particular want of mine. I enjoy art museums and galleries just as every good little artist should. I appreciate all kinds of art: old to new, sculpture to painting, famous to up-and-coming. And as much as I enjoy the occasional stroll through these displays of talent there is usually a question raising its hand in the back of my mind: Why is your stuff not in here? You’re as good or better than some/most/all of these folks, right? This thought occurs on a sliding scale depending on location, of course. I mean, the bar raises and lowers from MOMA to ‘Carl’s coffee and art bistro’. I don’t think the thought comes from a place of entitlement or arrogance either. I think it’s just a natural desire as an artist. Writers get to publish their words, musicians get to perform their songs, chefs get to serve their creations. I just want to hang mine on a wall. Sure, grandma’s fridge has been very accommodating for years, but I’m almost 30 here and the cousins wedding pictures have to go somewhere too. It seems so achievable. I don’t even have to worry about misspelled words, my voice cracking, or under-cooking the chicken; I just have to make sure the frame is hanging straight.