Sunday, January 16, 2022

 Finally got a chance to finish the page today. There was a LOT of futzing around to get the logo to work on the shirt. Decorating the shows was more fun. It does what I want to do and I'm pretty happy with it. I want the rest of the song to start loosening up, so I will work on that, especially as the refrain is coming up which can represent a slight visual shift.

I want to do another video of "How NOT to Make Comics." My process is getting so piecemeal. This one page has 29 separate elements and it's not even one of the complex ones.

Friday, January 14, 2022

 Had to work today which gave me little time to do any art. That being said, I did do some stuff to the latest page. Exporting a WIP, I managed to get the text done and positioned, though I may re-color some of the words for emphasis. The purple overlay, which is the same as last page, is a place holder and I will likely change one or both. So far, I'm happy. I need to get Digby's logo onto the shirt and shoes and that will pretty much be it for this page. There's a couple layers of texture in there, a modified plywood scan and some graffiti I used for the recent doberman image. They add interest without being specific. I rather like them.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

 Getting to work on the next page of City Silent. The verse talks about putting a logo on shirt and shoes, so I wanted to be literal. Did some quick posing but shoes are complex enough that I needed to grid them out. While the sketch is kind of not great, it looks fine in vector. Sometimes that happens and I just have to trust that the sketch is a good foundation even if it's not a good drawing on its own.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

 I'm calling it done. I readjusted the leaf some so that all legs of the chair and his forward foot were actually ON the leaf. I also came up with a background that worked as well. I took one of the photos of a Hawaiian sunrise, vectorized it and 'dumbed' it down quite a bit. Also had to edit out some palm trees. They're clouds, but they're also somewhat nebulous, forming either horns or an imperfect halo around his head. I darkened the details of the face a little as well. There's symbolism here if one wants it; none of it was thought out ahead of time, but I can see where things can stand for other things.

The gesture could mean that he's directing people away, being dismissive or he's trying to draw attention away. The faded superman shirt could suggest someone who thought himself a hero but is fading along with his symbol. The chair is so much a throne, I couldn't have planned that if I tried. It suggests a king as does the red draped 'robe' on the back. The leaf, as a plinth is obviously delicate and tenuous. And the horns of the day, coming to an end, an imperfect halo could suggest the coming of the end of some kind. I can see where all these symbols could be interpreted in that manner. I honestly didn't choose any of them that way. My dad was dressed that way, in that chair. I did choose two photos where he's gesturing in one and looking away in another. I did position myself as I did, and I did choose the reference I did. This one just came together really well mostly on its own.

There's a lot of weight in this one, as it's my father. Our relationship, though he likely has no idea of this, has been troubled since I was little. I'm glad I did this, that I spent as much time as I did on it as well. I'm happy with it. All that remains is for it to be printed and framed, which I might do one day. I imagine it quite large, perhaps 2x4 feet or more. Likely, I never will print it but one never knows.

 Got a lot done today. A last detail, one I'd thought about using but wasn't sure was going to work was the leaf. I took a photo of this gargantuan leaf while walking through a park near my father's home in Hawaii. You never know when you're going to need or want reference like that. As soon as I decided to sit down and work on this, I knew it was going to be a part of this. Originally, it was just going to hang in the background. Then I thought about laying it down in perspective. I didn't remember it being so full of holes, so fragile, but that works to my advantage, though cutting all those damned holes out was a pain in the ass. To me it ads a sense of precariousness to the whole thing, perhaps evens suggesting that the solid chair/throne isn't sitting on something all that steady. Maybe its age. Or the reign won't last. Something like that. The only problem is that I think it leaves the upper background a bit too empty. I can also tell that this is a point where I should stop and step back, let it sit without me looking at it for awhile. Getting close, just not yet, I don't think.

 Progress. I got a lot filled in, but spent a lot of time going back and forth with the wrinkles on the shirt. I redid them entirely last night as I was not happy with the originals. I still wonder if they're too 'busy,' if they distract too much from the face. With the low contrast, I think it works ok. It's a lot closer to done than I thought I'd be. Last major part is the arms of the chair as they're carved lions. I want their suggestion without, again, distracting from the face. So, off to do them. I have done some tracing in this one and will do so with the lions along with a little freehand editing before making them in vectors. Always feel guilty about any tracing but then again, Warhol.

Sunday, January 09, 2022

 Work proceeds. I did some fiddling with the face and then decided I could move onto the body. They're done on different sheets and are different scales, but it was easy enough to paste a copy of the head onto the body file and resize it as I had left myself marks. Something I've been thinking about is the idea that a lot of the details just wouldn't be obvious until you stepped closer to the work, which is made possible by the low contrast. That means it still needs to 'read' properly from a distance. It also might mean that people just glancing will think they've seen all there is to see. I might be ok with that. It's an invitation to look closer and a reward for those that do. Sort of. Regardless, I made some progress. The chair is going to be a pain in the ass as there's a lot of detail. It's carved with designs that make it seem like a throne which is the point. There will also be a lot of adjusting of colors as things go on. But so far, it's going where I want it to go.

 Some progress. The hair took me a really long time as I decided to draw a fair amount of wispiness in it. So far, I think I have the likeness down pretty well, which is good. The colors are not final but do have the low contrast I was looking for. There will be lots of fiddling down the line.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

 Started work on the next portrait today. This one will be a full figure but I wanted the face to be much more detailed than the rest of the body so I zoomed in to do what will be an insert for the final piece. Before I went to Hawaii, I knew I was going to take photos to do a portrait of my father. It's almost a compulsion though he and I have never been close. It had been over 30 years since I'd seen him face to face and mentally, he hasn't changed at all. Physically, that's a different story. The setup could not have been more perfect as it will feel like there's a lot of symbolism in it though none of it was my choice. Still, I did choose the pose and which 'costume' he will be wearing, or, rather, which day's photo will make the best composition. I think it's going to be very low contrast which will enhance the feeling of age. From here, I'll work up a second grid for the figure then try and decide what the background should be. I have an idea or two, but we'll see if they work. This will be a big one.

Sunday, January 02, 2022

 Still not feeling well, but my Covid test came up negative. So far. We'll see. Slept til noon and am headed back to bed now, but I managed to get the page done. The colors changed a lot but I think they work. The outline is new, but is going to be a part of the continued dance of Digby so I think it'll transition ok. I do think I should go back and put his little logo in the previous pages and will likely do that. Later. Still, here's a page done for '22.

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Couldn't resist making at least one post on the first of the year. I did some work yesterday, wanted to get more done today, but after Covid exposure, today I felt kind of crappy and spent most of my time sleeping. Won't know til after a test tomorrow morning if it's the big C or not. Might just be a cold. I'm vaxxed and boostered so if it is C, it'll likely be mild. Regardless, I started a new page. Did something a little tricky and instead of trying to warp the drawing, I just took the photo at an extreme angle. Worked like a charm. More later.


Friday, December 31, 2021

 This is my personal best of '21. I was pretty happy with the number of entries here this year and, in general the amount of work until I realized I only completed one song for "The City Silent" this year. That means I have 20 to go and, at that rate, it'll take me 20 years. Gah. I was hoping more for three. Well, my mind wanders and I get interested in portraiture, I get lazy, work makes me tired, etc. Excuses. That being said, I really liked how Smatt's Crew's song came out. I have hopes for Digby's as well. And, in general, I think this year's portraits are better than those that came before.

I have pretty much fully embraced digital art making. There's not a single, 'real media' image in the bunch. That being said, I think everyone one of these started as a pencil sketch. I'm learning to play more to my strengths, and pencil is one of those. For some reason, sketching on the iPad doesn't yield the same results, so I'll try and remember that, making it a sure part of my process. In the portraits of Greyson Perry, lower right, I manage to mix pencil, vector and a flourish of Procreate. The center self portrait I did three times until I got something that worked.

All in all, a good year except for quantity. Here's hoping I can continue to grow in '22 and make things that I like. Can't really concentrate on other people liking it or I'll never get anything done. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

 A little sketch, using a photo my partner sent me of someone's doberman in a hoodie. I thought it looked kind of cool and I had time to do something quick, so there it is. Feels solid enough if unremarkable. Don't like using that much of someone else's photo but as I don't plan to post this anywhere else or do anything with it, no biggie.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

 Here's a few more. I got a couple in the airplane that didn't turn out too badly. They feel to me as if I'm flying over Star Wars. The flowers were just two random from the bunch. Orchids just grow all over the place there. The red one... no idea what it is but it was really interesting. The other two were taken at the top of the volcano at a National Park. It was a beautiful day. I would certainly go back. My little iPhone SE takes pretty decent photos, though I could wish for a higher resolution. And the zoom isn't worth crap. Still, it handles color and contrast better than my Nikon.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

 I don't usually post this kind of thing, but I had a recent trip to Hawaii and my buddy Vince had one to Boston. He posted his photos which were very cool, so I thought I'd post a few of mine. These are just a few, taken with my camera. There are more I took with my phone, some of which are better. But this will give an idea of what we experienced and saw. There's tons more, some of LA as well which I might post. I love taking photos on vacation, better than pretty much anything else. Don't really want souvenirs, just want photos. So, well, here are some. I did also take a few for reference of my 86 year old father who I hadn't seen in over 30 years. Portraits are forthcoming.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

 Here's all the stuff that went into the latest image. At the top is the pencil sketch. I didn't want to use a grid or anything as I wanted it to be slightly quirky (or, "off"). I was happy enough with the sketch knowing that I didn't want to include all the lines in the final. As I tried to make this image work with the style of the last one, I just kept getting frustrated. Made two separate tries and neither felt right. I then realized that there was nothing rough or random about her; she felt very "precise." So I went back to the straight forward AD style and it fell right into place. I don't mind posting some failures as it's all just stuff that took me, eventually in the right direction. It's the failures that just plain fail that I keep to myself.

This is the third try for this woman. She's another model from my favorite painting show (I really need to find out her name). As an older woman, I wanted to keep some of her age but not be cruel. I think I managed a minimum of detail to suggest without using things unneeded. I honestly think she's lovely though I know nothing about here. I wanted to suggest a beauty somehow. I tried the same approach as I did with the last portrait and it simply didn't work. It just looked a mess. Suddenly, I thought about just making things more precise and I think that was the right decision. It's not the most flattering thing ever, perhaps, but I think there's some truth and a bit of beauty in there. Or maybe it's just the sake.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

 Final version. I like this one a lot better but I don't think I caught the likeness. I'm struggling too much with this one and I think I'm done. There was even one more version I didn't complete. I like the image, just not as a portrait. Still, it's me progressing, so it's ok.

Friday, November 26, 2021

 I used a screen grab from an episode of Portrait Artist of the Year to make another portrait while I wait to be able to corral the next victim. I'm trying to keep things as minimal as possible while retaining likeness. I think there is some, but I would never have chosen this as a pose to work from. It's so dull. Then again, I could work on this more and get more of a likeness. Maybe I will. I already see things I'd change. The sketch, though was totally without tracing, which does make me happy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

 Final version of this one. I wouldn't have wanted him to be my sitter, at least not in this pose. His face is not very distinctive at least in this pose. He's a British actor of some sort; no idea who. I redid the whole thing but kept the original skin tone area which specifically did not match the rest, which I liked. Likeness is really hard with something so minimalist but I really like the simplicity. Guess it's not for every subject. Still, it was fun to play.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

 Working on a portrait based on a screen capture from Portrait Artist of the Year. This was one of the sitters. I was having trouble with it when I suddenly just cut down the number of colors I was using and then it came together. Not quite done, I don't think but a lot further along than I thought.

Friday, November 19, 2021

 This is the final. There were minor tweaks done to the shadows, the shoulder and the mouth. It is not perfect, none of my stuff ever is. But I like it. It would look best at full size, which is 16x16 or even bigger. But the experiment did what I wanted it to do and I look forward to doing this again with another subject.