Sunday, 31 August 2008
Saturday, 30 August 2008
When Sophie put the goggles on and saw them clearly for the first time, her first thought was :
" The pictures in story books are all wrong, these creatures are all pointed teeth and gristle,"
Sophie stumbled on the rocks as they lead her into the tangled forest to find the buried artifacts.
Seen through the goggles, there was something horrible about the moonlight slanting through the trees. The ground was damp and sucked at her boots.
Friday, 29 August 2008
Up and down the coast fisherman had been having strange sightings and encounters. Clara had been called back from the north but there had been no answer. After the brutal murder of Dr. Howard in the Peruvian jungle it became obvious that there was something dark and powerful moving against the Queen and her secret consorts.
Thursday, 28 August 2008
No one knew where the Lost Boy's device had come from, who had made it or even why. All that was known was that when activated, there were suddenly doors where there had been no doors apparent. Dr. Howard believed that the doors had always been there and that the device revealed them.
The doors led to places of such an impossible nature that the mind reeled.
Luckily, Sophie was almost unflappable.
Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Number Forty Three longed to be back in the reassuring warmth of the swarm, but the Queen needed his eyes. The rat's whiskers twitched in response to all the alluring scents of a New England port-raw fish, spices, rum. It is easy for a rat to become distracted, no matter how intelligent. But the army known as The Queen's Mischief was focused on the task at hand. They must find the lost boy. A familiar note pulsed in number Forty Three's brain and he scurried down a dark alley way to respond.
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
In the woods of Northern Canada at Her Royal Majesty's behest , Clara searches for signs of wandering spirits or phantom armies. Her mount groaned and huffed, showing it's age. suddenly she became aware of a sound in the distance, like a strong wind that carried indecipherable words.
Monday, 25 August 2008
I had planned to post a new pen and ink drawing today but got totally sidetracked by a free trial of Corel Painter X. It's a pretty amazing program. First I'll tell you about the drawings above. The first one is the initial sketch in Rapidograph, scanned right from my sketch book. I thought it was a fun sketch, so I played with it Photoshop which is the second image. The colour and texture from the second image is from an abstract watercolour I made for that purpose. One of the benefits I find in working in Photoshop is my tendency to work right from a sketch, so I end up thinking more about drawing. And lastly is what i did with it in Painter X. My friend Brad told me you could get a free trial of Painter so I thought I'd give it a go and really, really enjoyed it. It's like oil or acrylic in that it's compulsive: you want to keep working and perfecting. It's a fun medium. I want to get it down the road. I think that's one of the things about digital art, it generally works best with several programs working with an original sketch. What does everyone think?
Sunday, 24 August 2008
Have you ever stumbled on something really cool and you can't believe you had never heard of it before? Something that seems tailored made for your interests? Sidebar Nation is like that for me.
Sidebar Nation is a website podcast all about art and comic books . It's two friends living in Atlanta Georgia, Swain hunt and Dwight Clark who share a love of this stuff and both have amazing taste. I had a short correspondence with Swain and he seemed like the nicest guy on the planet.
The best thing about Sidebar is the interviews they've had Jon Foster , Stephan Martiniere , James Jean and many more. These guys are amazing interviewers, they ask the exact questions you want to hear asked even if you didn't know you wanted hear it. And the site is lots of fun.
Saturday, 23 August 2008
This walrus painting is one of a bunch of tiny watercolour sketches I'm doing on breaks so I can play with them in photoshop. I finally received a photoshop textbook and that's helping too.
I'm reading a great book right now, in fact it's amazing. It's called Baltimore, Or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier And The Vampire by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden. I think the title sells it quite well. It's a horror story that combines the Hans Christian Andersen story The steadfast tin Soldier, World War One and Vampires. And it's illustrated. Very cool.
Thursday, 21 August 2008
I did this sketch of Julie at ten weeks ( she's 31 weeks now! ) and my friend Allegra Snyder photoshopped it into a shower invite card. Julie's due October twentieth. I'm kind of hoping it's a Hallowe'en baby, but as that would put the baby a little late I don't think Julie feels the same.
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
And here is my first experiment in digital media in a long time. I have to admit, it's a very compulsive thing to have this much control over an image and it actually reminds me of when I worked in oils, it can go on and on, you can retouch and perfect forever. The way i did this was I made a small gouache painting of the mermaid with fairly expressive marks. Initially the composition was the flipped but I scanned it in upside down and thought it looked much better. After elongating the composition I proceeded to collage on textures and darken and twist it. Lots of fun. While it's pretty sketchy, I feel very satisfied and happy with it. Click to enlarge.
Thanks for bearing with me over the past few days, it's been an amazing discussion and I've learned new things.I'm really grateful to have a forum to discuss things with other artists with different experiences and view points. It is a most amazing thing.
And on that subject I wanted to mention that this is my one year blogging anniversary-blogiversary?- and I wanted to thank everyone for following along and sharing their thoughts and knowledge. I've had well over 50,000 visitors this year, which makes me think there are a lot of you out there like me who feel creative endeavors are of the utmost importance and that striving to be a better artist is a very worthy thing.
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Finally, I'll get to the practical matter of what I plan to do and what I may never get to. I plan to finish my Scholastic book by September. And then there two major things I'll be working on, one is the Robot Museum. I want to do a ten page proposal for the museum. I'll keep working on after the proposal, trying to complete the comic and posting it online but I think ten pages is more than enough to give for editors to consider. The other big thing is portfolio pieces. I need to keep building my portfolio. I feel like my paintings keep getting better and are more fun to do than ever. Those are the two main projects.Then there are other things I'm working away on, there are two other proposals I've been playing with. One is developing Cecily Briggs into something. The other is a horror comic with one of my favorite writers. And finally is the illustrations for Sandra Kasturi's poetry. This is projecting ahead until maybe January, and I have such a hard time planning for next week!
Any way, I'm done ranting about goals for the time being, I'll tell you when I get my next crises.
Thanks for the question Vickie!
I'll post one more thing tomorrow on this subject.
Monday, 18 August 2008
My friend Bruce was by two days ago for coffee and to return my copy of Kirby's Mr. Miracle and over the course of the afternoon he asked two questions. One was "why aren't your paintings more dynamic?" and two was" why aren't you using photoshop?" Anyone who knows Bruce knows he's the nicest guy in the world and he didn't ask those questions that bluntly, I thought it was funnier to write them that way. So, I'm thinking about his questions, staring at the floor in shame and thinking He's right! I'm horrible! Which, of course he wasn't saying at all, just extremely helpful. so this has lead me to my next goal, which is to with with the art itself, I want to be bolder. So, don't laugh at me! Here are some photoshop doodles I attempted, I won't leave them up long because they're not very...good. But it felt really good to be doing something that was pushing the boundaries of my knowledge and abilities and to add another layer to my work. By bolder I mean I want to add new things and make my work more dynamic. If I don't get too frustrated I'll be posting more digital work, hopefully better. And if anyone wants to know the top picture is a portrait of young French pianist Lise da la Salle and the bottom picture is a very groggy Julie having her first coffee of the day. If you have any advice on photoshop or digital work, I'd be more than happy to hear it.
Sunday, 17 August 2008
Vickie at Whispers of inspiration asked me what my goals are in response to yesterdays post , which really got me thinking. Afterwards I was talking to Tara Chang about this subject and I came to this conclusion in our correspondence : "I've been writing in my sketchbook about it all evening.I find, for myself, it really comes down to my sense of identity. And I think of myself as a genre artist, not a strictly picture book artist. I reached this conclusion because all of my work has the fantastic in it, that's what I'm always drawn to.More so than picture books, though I love doing picture books ," Which sort of redirects Vickie's question I think, where I want to be is to be able to be the artist I know I am. I have more specific goals and I think I'll get to that tomorrow, but I thought I'd get to this first, because it's good to know who you are and where you are before you proceed.
Saturday, 16 August 2008
On another note I wanted clarify the "criticism" I received earlier in the week that I blogged about. It wasn't a critique about anything technical, it was about moving beyond children's literature. I was told my work was nice but too loose and not "gritty and realistic" enough to be consider in the fantasy and science fiction fields. I don't think it was meant as a harsh statement but I took it that way. He also pointed to artist like Jon Foster and Scott Gustafson who do work that is in a similar niche. I'm just super sensitive. I know my work isn't that popular dark realism, I just loose interest in it. That's why I started that thread on Tor.com about book covers, where I was able to more or less directly ask about how people feel about this. It's been interesting. Sometimes heartening other times disappointing I'll post about the thread in a week or so when it's slowed down enough that I can read it and draw some conclusions from it.
Friday, 15 August 2008
Over at Tor.com i started a thread on the community section of the site. It's a really interesting discussion on what you want in your book cover art. I know that Irene Gallo has had a peek at it(thanks Tara!) as she posted a link to it from her blog(www.igallo.blogspot.com) so this is a nice forum to speak to book art issues with the best people in the field.
Go to www.tor.com and click on "community" and find conversations and you'll find the conversation going on there. Or, simply click on this posts title.
The above image is by one of my favorites, Jon Foster.
Thursday, 14 August 2008
(A T.V. show maybe?)
Wednesday, 13 August 2008
On a brighter note I just discovered these amazing podcasts: Podcastle and Escape Pod, free fantasy and science fiction short stories. Amazing high quality work, for free!
I've been listening to story after story as I work.
And on an unrelated note, I started a thread about book covers on Tor.com. Go here:
and look for my thread, "Grim And Gritty Or Charming, How Do You Like Your Book Covers?"
Sunday, 10 August 2008
Finally! Here's all the info you need to attend this amazing event and get an original piece of art...maybe mine!
Totoro Forest Project Tickets Available Monday 8/11 10:00am Pacific Time!
Many of you have been wondering when and how you can buy tickets for the upcoming Totoro Forest Art Auction Benefit Event to be held here at Pixar on September 6th. Finally we are ready to start selling these online! The first pre-sale will start monday 8/11 at 10am. Here's the options available - Please note that all tickets include the stunning Art of Totoro Forest Book (worth $40)
Forest Friend - 100$ regular admission + book.
Forest Sponsor - 200$ includes admission + book + signed limited edition print
Forest Champion - $300 includes middle VIP live auction seating + book + signed limited edition print + gift certificate to Blowfish Sushi
Forest Hero - $500 includes front VIP live auction seating + book + an original drawing by one of the artists
Tickets will go on sale at this LINK exactly at 10AM Monday! We have a rather limited numbers of tickets so we suggest acting quickly if you want to be part of this event. Remember many of the donating artists will be in attendance, this will be a night to remember!! All the "Totoro inspired" art is up for preview at TotoroForestProject.org. All proceed will be donated to the Totoro Forest Foundation!! Let me know if you have any questions.
Please check out Paul's fantastic new book The Joy Of Spooking at http://www.pjbracegirdle.com/
And Susan has a ton of amazing books to enjoy, she's at http://www.itsawhimsicallife.blogspot.com/
Saturday, 9 August 2008
Friday, 8 August 2008
In his email he discussed technique and agents, helping me clarify where my art needs work and giving a balanced opinion on agencies. He says the web site is the most important aspect of self promotion. It rally has the longest reach. He talked about networking at conventions and how it is getting more difficult as the focus of conventions is shifting toward the products being sold.
He recommends the web site www.childrensillustrators.com as a great place to get exposure, as well as annuals like spectrum. Essentially, perfecting your work and getting your name out there are top priorities.
Please check out Scott's work at www.scottaltmann.com
Wednesday, 6 August 2008
And here's the final piece, Green Skies. I think it's funny that this still looks a bit like a kid's book. I don't think I'll ever reach further than YA in my paintings, which is fine with me of course. Note that the birds are a last minute addition and are pretty conventional in their other- worldliness I think, I mean that in a good way. I was thinking of some pretty standard SF illustrators while doing this piece. Virgil Finlay, Hannes Bok. Finlay in particular.
But I was also thinking of more contemporary work like Jon Foster and Rick Berry.
and I really wanted the black water to be creepy. have you ever looked into the water whaiole sailing at night? Creepy... I'm going to leave this up until the weekend.
Tuesday, 5 August 2008
Monday, 4 August 2008
This is something I rarely do, a colour rough. I saw another illustrator doing this and thought I'd give it a go and it really helped. There's always something I forget about when working out a composition , something that could trip me up when working on the final and I found a number of unresolved issues here. Interestingly the painting continued to evolve and change at every point. It never got totally locked down. I found this a helpful step and will likely continue to use it.
Sunday, 3 August 2008
Saturday, 2 August 2008
Here are some of the pencil sketches and thumbnails that led to the final painting. I left out a lot, there were piles of drawings for this one. I really spent a lot of time exploring this image and changing things around. Even up to the final painting I was still changing elements. The initial idea here was for a girl and a bright pink robot in a boat together. Afterwards I had no idea where this came from but during the process it felt like I was chasing a definite narrative. I knew I wanted a different robot. More organic and filled with ambiguity. I wanted people to wonder about whether it was a machine or not. I instantly liked the heroine, a young girl in some sort of space suit. I felt right off that she was the kind of person who has adventures.
Friday, 1 August 2008
Little Brother-Cory Doctorow
A Wolf In The Door-Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Four And Twenty Blackbirds-Cherie Priest
Please check out Orvis, it's pretty close to the aesthetic I'm going for in Robot Museum.