Though sick, I managed one more outing as Basher this year. Went to a Halloween party with my partner in full orc costume. It was nice and cold outside, a little warm inside but we wowed them and won a costume contest. That being said, I think the highlight was the photos taken outside on the deck by the fire. My partner managed some really good shots, of which this is one. The costume is now officially away for another year.
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Haven't done a portrait in too long. I took some reference photos while in Boston, some snuck during lunch with my old boss, Tony Davis. Did something a little different with this; it's in very subdued colors, mostly blue-greys but then threw a layer of bright blue to bring up the overall contrast and tint it. Then went back and accentuated some things in the shirt. The hard part is to stop before it gets overworked. Might have gone half a step too far. But I am happy with it. Wanted it to have a kind of jazzy feel, as Tony is that kind of guy. We'll see what he says.
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Haven't really been drawing much since I got back from Boston. Feeling lazy and then sick, which I still am. Haven't done inktober but for the one quick sketch, which was satisfying in its own way. Haven't done a skater in forever. So I penciled something quick then photographed it and finished it in Procreate. This, too was satisfying. Not great, but something. I need to use the turpentine brush more, and in fact, this might help me on a portrait I was working on and struggling with. So, Smatt to the rescue.
Tuesday, October 01, 2019
This sort of counts as Inktober as the initial drawing here is a kind of ink. Trying to do a very large scale painting of Basher; 32x40 inches on canvas. This photo doesn't really give an idea of scale. Penciled a grid, did a sketch, inked with a kind of graffiti marker I ordered online called Krink. It's alcohol based, permanent and doesn't smell. I think the canvas really ripped up the felt head and I'm not sure how long it's supposed to last. I plan on taking this out to the garage and using house paint on it. We'll see.
Haven't touched real ink in probably a year. Maybe more. When I had cataracts, not having any depth perception made it almost impossible to ink with a brush or pen as I could never tell when they were about to touch the paper. Too frustrating. So I put my table and lamp away and went digital. I don't regret it and I don't regret doing work with the iPad. I've been able to grow and learn a lot that way and I'm not cluttering up the house with extra stuff I don't need. And I think my work has improved because of it. That being said, I do miss the brush, the black ink. So I pulled out the pad, pencil and brush and did a quick sketch from an old Frans Hals painting. I was very happy to find that I hadn't forgotten how to ink, that I could see just fine. I hadn't lost anything. Of course, I also smudged and got ink all over my fingers but that's part of the charm. Don't know how far I'll go with Inktober this year, but I'm glad I did at least one.
These are the final photos of cosplay this year at the local Renaissance Faire. That's me as Basher, the friendly orc that hands out treasures to kids and poses for photos. There's one in there with my partner, Corso. The armor is real and heavy. In the rain? Heavier and stinkier. The last day of the faire had pouring skies and we loved it, had a great time. People weren't leaving and kids that were sad were made just a little happier when the scary green guys handed them some trinkets and or took a photo with them. In one, Basher is pretending that he's friends with a mermaid. My favorite is the center one, taken in the parking lot just before we shucked the wet armor and went home. It was a great day and a lot of fun. That armor, 50-60 pounds and that mask, a full head, silicone job weigh a lot. It's still a good time and we had a lot of people tell us that they remembered us from previous years and/or show us photos from before. Very glad we did it and also glad it's over for the year. Wish it was cooler all around, but it's a blast. See you next year, Basher.
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Saturday, September 14, 2019
This post looks a lot like the last one. I did some touching up of areas that were not nearly dark enough. I didn't want to mess with the energy of the painting so really just sought to add to overall contrast. Didn't take long, but it was what the painting needed. 28"x52", latex paint on canvas.
Thursday, September 12, 2019
I've wanted to do this for a long time; go and get real paint, canvas and do something abstract and big. This isn't done but I had to stop to let it dry as all I was doing was making everything grey. Black and white house paint on canvas, roughly 28x56? Not sure. It's fun, daunting and awkward at the same time. No undo. Messy. I don't really have a proper studio for this, it's just the garage which is fine for now but in as little as a month won't be suitable. It was hard getting into the movement, getting what I wanted and I didn't think I even liked it all that much until I left it alone and walked away. Now, it's growing on me, showing me some of that graffiti-vibe I was hoping for. SO different from digital. Not better, worse, just different. Will take more photos when I've done more. Oh, and my drips are real, not added for effect.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Sometimes stuff just happens. I had an hour at work the other day where no one was coming in to learn, so I did one of my usual work demos. This was just messing about, doing some more graphic abstract stuff based on the old Lucco-speak. And I liked it. And I took the iPad I was using, put it back on the rack and forgot about it. And that image bothered me for two days until I went back and made sure to airdrop it to my own iPad and bring it home. I'm doing an experiment where I upped the DPI and am having a print made. It shouldn't work but the file looked ok. So we'll see. And if that's the case, that it does work, I have a couple others I thought couldn't be printed that will be.
Thursday, August 29, 2019
I am amazed this page came together as quickly as it did. I started it after dinner, after an episode of "Face-Off" with my partner and still got it done before 11. I did take a reference photo the day before, but still, I'm amazed. And I'm really happy with it. Even though it's a 'filler' page, one meant to show movement, action only and gives a break in the song, I like how it turned out without really any prior planning. The way things fit came as I made each piece. Once in awhile, things seem to just WORK.
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Six months between pages. Well, it happened in Tamino as well. Maybe I needed a break, maybe I needed to deal with things, maybe I had to wait for that fire to re-light itself. Don't know. While there's no audience for this comic, it's nothing new with the rest of the catalog either. Maybe I've come to better terms with that and can continue on. Because I want to see this done. I still believe that this will be my last long-form comic. This page is one of the reasons; consistency is not one of my strengths and the difference between this page and the last is rather stark. Looking back at the comic as a whole, it really stands out. Well, so be it. I'll embrace that. I changed materials; none of this was done on paper and it went a lot more easily. Procreate has become my main art-making tool. I'm sure at some point I'll have some kind of issue with that, like finding old drawings whose ink has faded or turned color. Nothing is forever. For now, I hope I can keep going with this. 61 pages in and I've only just got started.
Thursday, August 22, 2019
Late last night, morning abstract. Been watching people make abstracts on YouTube and I kind of missed it. I miss real paint a bit, too. While the iPad and Procreate are awesome, there are things that feel utterly different with paint. So there may be some rolled canvas and house paint in my future. My sister liked this well enough that she wants me to make a print of it for her. So... success?
Friday, August 16, 2019
It's Orc Season Eve! Tomorrow is the first day of the local Ren Faire. My partner and I will do our usual cosplay which is somewhat involved. For whatever reason, I've never documented the whole costume. I changed almost the whole thing from last year. The only parts that remain from the old costume are the pants, boots, mask, gauntlets, chain and goodie bag. The armor, kilt and shoulders are all new. This adds a lot of weight I managed to strip off but I think it helps Basher look more rough. The Lorica and cloak I had made him look too clean to me. We'll see how it goes. There's usually some adjustments along the way. The kilt is the only hand made part and it was a pain in the ass. My partner did most of it. He also did most of the initial grunt work in drilling holes to attack the yak and goat fur to the pauldrons as well as the padding that will make Basher look about twice as broad as he actually is. It's all good fun. And we get a lot of people who want photos. This year, we got one more fan than we knew about: the Faire itself. My partner texted me this poster the Faire is using to help sell tickets. Makes me kind of tingly to be noticed that much. And before anyone asks, no, there's no compensation for this and that's fine. We don't want to be beholden to the Faire in any way. Then they get to tell us where to be, what to do. We go as customers, not workers. That way, we're free to do what we want.
Sunday, August 11, 2019
Thursday, August 08, 2019
Finally finished this after having a whole day of bad attempts. I kind of wanted something very painterly but it just wasn't coming together. Sometimes I think the image knows what it really wants. After looking over my recent attempts at portraiture, I saw that I was going back to lines, something that has been central to what I do for a long time. So I inked the sketch instead of painting it. That was a misstep but I came back and inked it again and this time, I think it worked. Something came to me either in bed or the shower, two great places to get some thinking done. I decided to ink only him to help him stand out. All the rest of the shapes were done separately in Procreate to keep those nice, textured strokes. This tested Procreate as I went way past the limit of 14 layers at the size and DPI of the file I was making, so I had to keep making marks, exporting then clearing layers to get it done. In the end, the folder with stuff made for this holds 65 elements from original sketch and brushed shapes for shadows, highlights and details to the vectorized versions of the same. Once I got the process down, it actually went pretty quickly. I wanted to spend the most time on his face and make the rest of the details less defined. I think it works. For the palette, I sampled colors from one of Rembrandt's self-portraits. I do love brown but wouldn't have otherwise chosen it as with the inked style, I tend to lean towards brighter and less natural colors. I think the browns work well here, even if I cheat and use them for things they wouldn't really represent, like the lights. Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. Dr. Hutchinson, though, won't let me hang it in the house. :"D
Sunday, August 04, 2019
After having watched all those portrait shows, having ordered a really good book of contemporary portraits ("500 Portraits; 25 Years of the BP Portrait Award")I wanted to try something with a lot more background to it, something more of a scene. As it turned out, I had managed to snap a photo of my partner while on a crowded T train when we were visiting Boston last year. His expression seems rather vulnerable and candid. It's both him and not him and I really wanted to paint it. So I spent a bunch of today working on the drawing. Just had time to start with the digital paint tonight. I think it's going to be black and white with only slight color but we'll see. Here's the WIP.
Thursday, August 01, 2019
As per the advice, and my own feelings about those textures, I decided to plan a portrait out with the idea of using the textures ahead of time. This meant a different approach, not unlike, I'm guessing, setting up a silk screen print. I did all the main work in Procreate, using a grid and reference photo. Then I inked the lines. After, I made a new layer for each color, filling them in with black so that I could vectorize the results without trouble. Pulling it all into AD, I had to play with each layer to get what I wanted and even then, I think, in the future, I will stick to fewer textures or at least try and get a better idea of how they all work. For my first real attempt at doing something like this, I'm pretty happy with it and think it would print well. Might be worth finding out.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Bought this pack of style-stuff for use with AD on the advice of my pal, Vince. Never tried this stuff before. While it's fun to play with and does add a certain modernity to my stuff, part of me wonders if it's just surface-level flash. Does it actually ADD anything to the portrait in question? Is it valid? It certainly makes the image more eye-grabbing, I think. Something to think about.
Sunday, July 28, 2019
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
My sister, Val. She's been a big supporter of my recent stuff and stuff in general over on FB so I thought I'd see if she'd like me to do her. This one was more of a struggle but I'm pretty happy with the outcome. Smiling and teeth are harder and I don't generally depict women, so there's that, too. The lyrics are hers. I think it has a sort of rock poster feel to it, which wasn't intended but is fine.
Friday, July 19, 2019
Thursday, July 18, 2019
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
This is actually one of many tries at Peter Falk today. None of the rest were really worth anything and this one is borderline caricature, too far in my opinion. I think it still works, but it's not as arty as I'd like. This is sometimes what happens when I use really crappy photos as reference. Not trying to use that as an excuse because some days, I just can't art. So, there's this at least. I think it's worth remembering failures as there's still something to be learned here.
Monday, July 15, 2019
Sunday, July 14, 2019
Wanted to do a portrait of David Hockney on his birthday but I didn't like the one I did that day. Had some more time today, so did one today. While I don't always like his work, I love his inventiveness and his keen mind when it comes to art. He's written some books that I would highly recommend if not make required reading for artists.
Friday, July 12, 2019
Ki-Mar, King of Martians from "Santa Clause Conquers the Martians." I had to do this three times and I'm still not sure about it. Part of me is worried about it not being seen as 'serious' enough. Then again, look who I chose to use as a subject. I actually tried to capture a little of the sadness that actually wasn't in the photo, expecting the goofiness of the costume to balance it out. While the first two were totally done on the iPad, it ran out of juice and I took to the drawing pad where I whipped out my favorite drawing of the three in about 20 minutes. That's the way it goes.
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
Still working with this 'pose' in my quest for style. One of the things I envy about other artists is that they tend to work in one style, have been doing so most of their careers and as such, are more or less comfortable with that set of filters. I have too many interests and as such, change how I approach things all the time. I've been told that this is a strength. I don't think that's true. So I will continue to attack this selfie with various approaches until I feel comfortable with an approach that, to me, feels like a 'modern' approach to doing portraits. I like this one though I worry that it leans a little too far into caricature. This was something I saw worrying the judges in "Portrait Artist of the Year." And yet there is occasional hints of street art influence, something I think is important. Likely, I'm too old to be any kind of leader in this so I'll just have to keep making these for me. The last few I did, the Mel Coolie, the Anton Karidian and the slightly elongated one of me I had printed out and are coming in the mail. This will be the final test to see if this is something I could do more or less professionally.
Tuesday, July 02, 2019
More portrait practice. This time, a character from an old Star Trek episode. I collect little snapshots of people and actors that I mean to paint later. This was one of those. Had some trouble and had to approach this a couple of times, finally using a grid, which I don't often do. That's fine, it worked. Also, wasn't using the inked lines until it became obvious that I needed to. So. Each one has to be approached differently.