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

Did a test fit tonight. This is the new Basher, minus the black makeup around the eyes and mouth. It's HEAVY. Think it looks good, though. I'll do a follow up tomorrow after I've died. :"D

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

I started re-reading the Sandman comics. It's been a long time. Decided I wanted to do a quick sketch of Dream. Since I'm the easiest model for me to use, I used me. Quick, easy sketch and it worked out pretty well.

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

Two alternate views of the Straker image. One has just the grey parts, each used for a different color in the final, and the other has the grays and the black lines of the portrait. There's something to be said for all of them.

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

Third time's the charm. Never got Andy exactly as I wanted him. This is a lot closer.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

And one more for the day before work. This is my partner in his orc mask, portraying his character, "Corso." Had to mess with the eyes just a little to make them Corso's and not something obviously behind a mask. We'll see if he likes it.

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

Another in the current series, Chris, someone I know. I think I liked it better than the subject. And that's ok.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Another in the recent approach/style. I will say, it's simple and fast. That being said, I wonder if it's a bit too cold, impersonal. It think it works, and if it was a large scale print or painting, I think it would have presence. Just not sure...

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Ok, THIS is what I had in mind.

Two not so successful attempts today. But that's fine. I think they've given me a direction that I'm going to try next...

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

Another day, another Warhol. Different approach. I like something different about each one.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

One more for the day; Andy Warhol. While I don't think the likeness is spot on, I like the image. Got some prints back from the nice giclee people and they look fantastic.

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.

Morning warmup with me and an Oswald hat.

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.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Portrait practice, actor Richard Deacon or Mel Coolie. Did a lifeless version which I kind of like as well. Had a promo 8x10 glossy as reference which would not have been my first pick. Still, good practice.

Friday, June 28, 2019

The earlier selfie was a decent image but didn't look that much like me, just as Vince said. :"D I decided to rework it. While I used the same photo for reference, in the first version, I used a quick trick which usually helps me get a likeness; I take 30 seconds to very roughly outline the head and make notches where the eyes, nose and mouth are. I then complete the image freehand. For some reason, it didn't work so well. This time, I did the entire thing freehand and I got a better likeness, which is weird. Maybe I should trust my eye more than I do. I then purposefully distorted the image to emphasize the expression. I think it -just- borders on caricature but not so much that it would dismiss the image. Having recently had a print made at 16x20 of the Weezil's portrait, I can say that this is a very viable workflow. The giclee prints look great, organic and even a bit like paint.

I also recently finished watching all of the "Portrait Artist of the Year" shows and am already missing seeing all those folks paint. What a great and inspiring show. I only wish the British channel that made them, Sky, would actually SELL them so people like myself might get a better chance of catching them.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

There are some books I own that I've forgotten because I can't easily get to them. And there are some books that have had a huge influence on me. This one is both of those things. I can't remember where I got this; some used book store somewhere. It's almost entirely black and white, dates from 1949 but has some amazing art in it. The sense of layout and design feels like what we think of as being 1950s but this is the end of the 40s which means it's not experimental; it's already accepted and worked through. The influence from fine art is obvious but so is cartooning and back and forth and back again. I have no idea if they still make these things or even if they're worth looking at. This one is all I need as it speaks to me. It's that movie that's nearly perfect and doesn't need a sequel. Then again, I might be missing out on all sorts of stuff. For now, this is it.

Oh yah, also did this one yesterday. Portraits. Self. Me.

Been binge-watching a British show called "Portrait Artist of the Year," which is a tv show made especially for me. Don't know how I've not heard of this but then again, British TV has done this before and they don't make their shows available outside the UK on any format which is maddening to say the least. Each week, they take 9-21 (depending on the season) portrait artists, split them between three different sitters and have them paint portraits in four hours which is a reasonable amount of time to get something pretty damned good. And this isn't amateur trash, this is real stuff. The winner gets a 10k commission for a portrait of someone famous that will be hung in a permanent collection in a major institution, like the Scottish Portrait Gallery. So yah, my head's been back in portraits, which I do love. This is my buddy the Weezil, who I've painted before but whom I've never really managed to capture all that well. This one is a good step closer. I was also smart enough to make it big enough to print out. The Weez, who didn't know I'd snapped the photo awhile back when we were out at karaoke, was happy with it, which makes it all the better.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A quick work demo using an old sketch. Tried to take a different approach, not using inked lines at all. Was pretty pleased with the results, so took it home.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

This is as raw as I get. Did this comic today after feeling shitty for a couple. I just sat, drew a panel, added a layer, drew another panel. I didn't hide anything, didn't cross anything out, didn't ink, no editing, nothing. And I toyed with actually posting it. And then I did. On Facebook and tumblr. I got one response on FB. That's it. And here I thought I was dropping a bomb that might upset people. Strangely, I'm ok with it now though it still bugs me that only one person bothered to even read the comic. The worst were the little thumbs up symbols which meant that someone just clicked it without even looking. Well, I can't be more plain than this.

Friday, May 31, 2019

One of the websites I've been watching the longest (20 years or so) announced a contest this morning. What they're looking for is designs for a new series of woodblock prints that involve cats and a list of eight depictions that are traditional in ukiyo-e. One of them is night rain, and since I did an image of Tamino in the rain recently, this seemed kind of perfect. So far, all one has to do is submit a rough sketch which I've done. Then I inked it, because. That's what's here. I won't win, but I might have a chance to have my work seen. And it's a sign that I haven't given up, which is important to some people, including me.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Used my Memorial Day fairly well. Started off cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, which doesn't need images. Then I sat down and started and finished another Ghiroy page. Then I napped. Played some Zelda, made dinner and am now writing this. The comic's coming along. I wish it could go even faster. I only feel this way as I recently watched a fantasy cartoon series on Netflix, got through the whole first season in two days, and wished I had an 'instant' story like that. Yes, I know that a whole group of people worked for years to make that, it's just there's this pressure to have something in a huge chunk RIGHT NOW these days. I'm not sure an audience is patient enough for bits and pieces. There's enough evidence of this in the comics world. Hell, that's how I read my comics. An issue at a time is for chumps. When did we become so greedy? I'm just as guilty as anyone else. But I want a whole story, not a piece of it and I'm sure anyone I'd want to read this or any comic by me would want the same thing. So I get it. And, as fast as I can be with Ghiroy, I can't be fast enough. Maybe around page 100 or so, I'll get some attention. Only 90 pages to go to reach that milestone. :"D

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Been awhile since I did a page of this. Some of it was various visits and surgeries, some of it was likely laziness and distraction. That being said, I do like this comic. I like making it, I like the characters. I only wish it took even less time to make. I'd love it if it were already 100 pages on or so. Seeing as I can get a new page done in generally just a day, start to finish, I shouldn't complain.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Took some time to enter a little contest. "Tales of Alethrion" is a web animation series I helped kickstart a few years ago. They're trying for a season two the same way, and I certainly hope they make it. In any case, they started a character design contest where you could try posting a pair of characters that, if you won and if they make it to season two, would show up in the show. So I repurposed Digby, mashing him up with the early design of Crow from "Ghiroy," gave him Mikilo as a partner in crime, giving the elf blue skin and Estarion's beard and tried out a version of the style they use for the cartoon. The style was surprisingly fun to draw in. Like I need another one of those. Still, Procreate to the rescue again. Here's hoping.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Second eye surgery seems successful. Also had a vacation in Boston right before. Both of those things together means that I don't do any art. Which might be fine in that I'm losing a lot of faith in Art in general. Too much to go into here and would be a total rant. That being said, might become a practice that I do self portraits when I just can't say what I want. Sure, this isn't the spitting image, but I don't really care. It expresses what I want it to and there's a surface resemblance. And it made my hand feel good to draw.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Another quickie on the iPad. Smatt is getting nastier looking all the time. I can totally see this style being used for a short comic. And it's fun to do.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Two quick Procreate sketches today, same style different approaches. I think I like the rougher Smatt better than the slicker, more 'realistic' Terry but that's ok. Both were fun to do and I got some art done. Also did another episode of the podcast. We approach our 50th episode which is kind of crazy. Means we've been at this for almost a year. I do feel good about that.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

A quick before work sketch of the skater mice. The current sub-style works well for some characters, less well for others. The monkey doesn't really work with this but Digby and the mice seem to. Just a simple image to see how they'd work. They really lend themselves to be rendered in a much rougher fashion.