It has been one of those weeks that tumble slowly by but the tumbling has been a rough and jarring sort of tumbling. That's a roundabout way of saying that yours truly didn't create any interesting doodles this week. So, I found and old blog thing that was sitting in the corner by itself and here it is. "Alfred's Summer Sleep Wear" is its official title and it's a little uncomfortable to look at, but art is not always pretty.
The bonus scribble is Spider-Man! During an idle moment this week I sketched Spider-Man, Wolverine (80's Byrne version), the Rocketeer and a couple of Micronauts-- what a team-up THAT would have been! The only bit of it I finished was this.
As I sit waiting for dinner to cook I find this old doodle and I fiddle with the colors. I remove weird textures from it and redraw bits of it. I decide that I shouldn't have redrawn those bits. Undo. Undo. I put the textures back, but I scold and subdue them.
The colors are strange. I change them and suddenly I am bored with it. Undo. I'm not quite so bored. Maybe I'll post it now. Yes. There.
Wow, that's an inexplicable and embarrassing drawing. I hope nobody tunes into this frequency and has this as their first exposure to my work. If so, I hope they scroll down and find a reason to forgive me.
Perhaps I should take it down. Yes, maybe I'll just. . . something is burning. Gotta go.
This is Tuesday's entry after I finished coloring. I opted to give it a "crayon" look and I'm pretty happy with it. After doing a couple of test prints, though, I know that it will look awful in print without some major tweaking. It's far too colorful and saturated to print decently. I will "dry" it out a bit and probably knock the background to black. It won't look as nifty but it'll print better. Maybe. Side note: I see on-screen here that this looks likeit would be okay as far as reproduction, but the horrible truth of newspaper work is that it is printed by ancient presses on evil paper by a system that is not always compatible with the one I work with. This would be VERY dark and ugly.
I am slightly dissatisfied with the chemistry between the story and the art. I work with the writer all the time and his style is similar in tone to mine-- tending toward the humorous. Not that either of us don't have range, but it seems that, left to our own devices, we'd rather be smiling while we work than crying or sneering. This story, however, is pretty serious and I think I might have gone too far with the quirky/ugly look. My bad.
This happens from time to time and that's just part of the biz. We will have a meeting, the story will be pitched, the illustration idea will be approved and then writer and artist will go off to their respective corners and start working. The writer, during research and creation can discover something that wasn't expected and he will find his path steered off the charted course, and the same thing can happen to the art.
The writer and I were in conversation up until near the end and it sounded like we were really in sync but as I read the final draft and was adding the color... well, it felt a little off to me. Not horrible, but off. Still, it's a really good story and an okay illustration (I give myself a B to B-; probably B because I'm so easy to work with.)
I'll post the layout and final art on my website when I get all that together-- oh, probably this weekend or early next week.
I'm working on an illustration for work and this is how far I've gotten today. You probably can't quite tell what's going on yet but that's okay-- there's more drawing to be done and I hope it will stand on its own in the end. For now, it's just a cartoon to look at.
To see the final be sure to pick up your Oakland Tribune Sunday edition (or any of the bay area ANG family of newspapers) to see how it turns out. It will be printed on terrible paper by presses that are normally so far off-register that you might not be able to tell what the heck is going on.
I'll probably post it here or on my website after it runs.
I liked the quirkiness of my first version of this painting in it's rough-hewn and incomplete state (below.) I took the head and torso of the woman from one of my freelance roughs and built around that on the fly.
I was pretending that I was working for one of the old pulps. The editors had just gotten a good story for the next issue, and they needed the cover ready today! So, I spent five or six hours painting it during the past week's minor allotment of free time. I spent a lot longer trying to come up with a design for the cover text and logo.
Never one to let a sleeping dog finish his nap, I decided to work this painting over while experimenting with an eye toward imitating some techniques I've seen in the work of other digital artists.
I'm fond of a few home-made photoshop brushes that give me a faux pastel quality, and I've been using them at work and for my recent personal projects, but I feel that I'm relying on them too much and I want to learn more.
So, recently I've noticed artists who make good use of the smearing tool, a method I have overlooked/avoided thus far. With real-world art-- analog, whatever we call it now-- I don't really care for the look of smeared art; where you take your finger, or a stump and push lead/charcoal/whatever around. As a young artists I did a lot of smearing because it was an easy way to get a cool and smooth gradation when I was drawing floating eyeballs on my folders in high school. After I passed through that stage I found that I felt better about my work when it didn't have those smeary-spots and the accompanying difference in texture from the rest of the work; and my fingers weren't so dirty all the time.
I've tried smearing stuff in photoshop in the past but I never cared for the look of it; it seems as obvious in digital art as it is in analogue. So I put that away and never even thought about using it. But now, I've learned, you can make and use brushes to smear stuff. Ah. Okay, now I see how you can use it. And the finger-painting tool is handy, too.
With this new information I created a flurry of brushes for painting and blending, and it has been a week and a half of tedious trial and error, of painting and repainting and I've gotten to the point where I'm sick of looking at this thing and I want it to end. So I'm ending it. All that work to finish something that ends up unfinished.
I came close to solving a style or two that I tried to imitate and although I didn't quite get what I wanted I think I am learning how to go about getting it. Not so great to look at but working on it has taught me a few things; now the trick is not forgetting those things before I get around to trying it again!
Missed posting on a Sunday. Something I didn't want to do. I did post extra last week, so that's my excuse. Still working on a painting and maybe I've done a little too much to it-- that is to say over-worked it-- but I'll try to tidy it up and post it before the week is up.
And then I'll have something new and more substantial next Sunday. Not like this old doodle.
Here is an update (with tweaks and type) of the previous post.
This kind of thing is a lot of fun for me. It takes me back to that time in my youth (early teens) when I would draw pictures and write stories to go with them, or vice versa. I remember making a magazine cover like this featuring some characters I'd made up after seeing "Star Wars" and "The Rescuers" within a few days of each other ("Future Mice!") and I wrote teaser text like the ones in this picture.
And then I was compelled to create something for each teaser. There was a many-page interview with the mice themselves, a blueprint of their spaceship, a few pages of a comic adventure and a ten (or so) page text story of their first encounter with their robot sidekick. This was done on typing paper and stapled together, with about 30 staples if I remember correctly. Then I stuffed it into a folder that housed all of my favorite artworks. A PeeChee folder, of course.
I don't know where that folder is, but I wouldn't be surprised to find it in mom's attic. How embarrassing THAT would be.
Now, here I am, blankety-blank years later and I have this great idea for "The Matadors of Venus." Oh! if only I had a three month summer vacation like when I was 12! I would have the coolest poorly-stapled faux magazine to show you.
In my very first post I put this painting up here in a rough state and during the monologue I forgot to say anything about it. It is just another attempt at a faux sci-fi book cover, this time a pulp magazine as opposed to a regular novel. This was just for fun and practice. I decided that I would get it to the point where I started fiddling with details and then I would quit. So, there it was, and there it is, in my very first post-- check the archive if you must.
Well, I've decided to push a little and see if I can find freelance work doing these types of paintings. I don't have much experience with working for anyone outside of the newspaper biz, but I'd like to broaden my horizons and do sci-fi and/or fantasy work. Or comics. Anything, really.
I had one freelance gig last year for a game and it was terrific! It paid pretty well and if I could do that all the time I'd be happy, but it's been hard with my newspaper schedule to find the time to do more freelance. However, I'm determined that this is the year I start doing art for fun and profit.
So, with this goal in mind, I put a bit of polish on this painting, as I will do with some others, beefing up my portfolio of cool stuff-- cool meaning work that doesn't look like my newspaper illustrations.
Let me know if you like what I'm doing, and, of course, any criticism would be greatly appreciated.