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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Portfolio Class.....You Are STILL The Bane of My Existance

So, things aren't getting any easier.....I would still rather be writing resumes.

Really been feeling the stress of the planets falling into alignment as graduation looms nearer. So much to touch up, edit, design, ect...

And feeling the bite of being stuck between a rock and a hard place: creating the school GIP (<----General Illustration Portfolio), and the one that I want and need to focus on. On top of some other obligations as well, and me wanting to just sit here and let my mind melt away in the summer heat.

The process portfolio is just a pain in the rear and while I understand the school's wants for things I am getting pretty tired of constantly returning to it while the hoard of deadlines doesn't seem to be dwindling.

So for fun I am gonna NOT think about the process portfolio and focus on editing the things to go in my final portfolio and on my website as well. With Gen Con Indy only weeks away and portfolio reviews there I need to work a lot harder than my classmates. My exit interview with the school is the Monday before we leave for Indy and I have a number of things to turn into therm before I leave........then graduation only two weeks after I get back. 

The piece above is one of seven that I did as a line for the Seven Deadly Sins. Originally I had a few ideas for the application of the concepts but they were art directed the hell out of and got lost in a pile of mush. The one above is Sloth, and is the very first one that I did of the series and is one of my favorites. 

My concepts kinda spring boarded out of my sketchbook. The began as some pin ups of nothing in particular, then some conversations started up in class and somehow I was wondering what Death's girlfriends or possibly sisters would look like. From there I thought it would be cool to do the series for perfume or some such......possibly even just dolls. Each one would come in a coffin box with the art featured on the top or possibly even on the inside as a sticker you can take out and.......well, stick!

But things got nipped in the arse so they became merely pin ups. It was still a fun project to do, and the above is merely one! I plan to take on the seven virtues next. 

Well.....back to the portfolio ={

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Some Sketches

Got kicked out of the Barnes and Nobel at DePaul on State Street the other day. Been reading like two or three books during breaks between classes and I think they are mad I am not buying the books.

So with nothing to read I've been sketching a bit here and there on the train when the going isn't too bumpy. It's nice to just relax and not worry about what to do with my portfolio, edits to the process portfolio....ect, ect, ect.

For those who have met me in person or....somehow have seen a picture of me let me assure you that no, this sketch is not of myself on the train. Although I have been told she looks like me. 

Just a quick doodle I spent like 5 minutes on before she got off at her stop. Sometimes it's not so easy to draw on the train not because of the turbulence but because of the people. I've had some strange encounters from summer tourists wanting pics for free to a lady getting very upset at me doodling a nekkid pin up girl. 


This one was actually not on the train, but in class during a critique. I drew my friend Ammo who was sitting in a chair in front of me (I like to sit up high on desks and stuff), and was thinking about my Star Wars character Jynx. So it wound up as Jynx sitting in the gun well of a ship as she often does, being bored and with a data pad in her lap. 


These are of a character in a story that me and my friend of The Game Master Show, David Moore, are in the...well, not the middle exactly, but are in the sway of writing. A head turn around doodle (cause it's a sketch) of what her hair would look like. The character is around 27 years old and the face looks too young but it's just a sketch so.....


Some sketches of a piece I plan to revisit sometime soon. I wanted to do a concept of Quetzequatol (<---yes, that is probably spelled wrong). So I started out with some basic sketches of animals that had elements that I really enjoyed. Notice that most of them are not native to the Americas at all?


So I picked my favorites out at this point, combining some elements together of different animal species to create a new one. I liked the hollowness of bird skeletons, the shape of the impala, and the barbed teeth of the constrictor. I also liked some of the patterning of the impala. 


Here I drew out a little bigger head concept on some watercolor paper I had lying around just for fun. I used an Indian yellow and sepia micron pen to lay out the drawing and then colored it in with some watercolors and inks just to get a feel. 

Unfortunately my teacher art directed the final into something that got way off track of my original goal and I wound up hating the piece. But since I still have the early steps I am determined to do it justice the second time around. 

Well....I gotta get back to the ladies, who are waiting to be touched up in Photoshop.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Origins 2010

So, got back from Columbus, Ohio last night. The convention was great, despite being held up in the registration line by a very annoying gamer who wouldn't leave me alone. Ugh!

Played some games, hung out in good company with some friends. Made some new ones....

And networked. The main plan for the con was to get information to help me out in the long run as an illustrator. For portfolio class we have to put together a list of 50 contacts in the field(s) we want to get into. I was able to add a few new ones to my list at this con, but also to talk with people there about employment possibilities. 

One such being with Reaper Minis, who after a quick 5 minute talk got me some contact information to their art director for both concept illustrations for character turn arounds as well as illustration work. Not to mention that I was able to get information for a friend of mine who does coloring work for comics, since they were also interested in, something for me and something to help out a friend. 

Secondly was speaking with a very successful artist, Echo Chernik. Her work is awesome! She took a look at some of the things I had including a WIP I was working on while at the con, between games and networking....

She did the new art for Shadowrun (and some of the old art too). Speaking with her was awesome, she was very nice and a total joy and fount of knowledge.

Her husband is an art director and between them both I was able to pick up a lot of information about the industry that I wasn't aware of, tips to help me build a portfolio and present one, and some other things to consider. 

Brian O'Halloran was there as well, who plays Dante Hicks in Clerks. 

He was a real cool guy to talk to and was giving out free hugs. Sometimes it pays to be a fan girl....I told him he was my nerd crush and it wan't in a creepy way so I didn't get thrown out by security. 

Lastly my friend David Moore of The Game Master Show was able to introduce me to Fred Hicks of Evil Hat Productions, who took a look at my work and had some great things to say. 

All in all things went over pretty well for social networking and it's important with Gen Con Indy just ahead in August. Lots of work to do before then. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hittin The Road

So we head out tomorrow morning to Origins 2010, a game fair in Ohio. I've never been before and am pretty excited about it despite the long drive and a few other wrenches thrown into the gears and cogs of life. Nevertheless I am going....

What to do? Play some games, kick back from school stuff, have some drinks and enjoy the exceptional company of friends (<----yes, exceptional company). A nice way to get over those midterm jitters!

I was looking at their website a little bit today, looking for anything art related in particular as well as looking for some possible places to work in the not so distant future. I was surprised to find that Larry Elmore will be in attendance....a legend in the Fantasy field. And also, Echo Chernick who does amazing Art Nouveau pieces (I saw her name and think I almost had a heart attack, she is that awesome!). I am  also pretty thrilled to see that they will be holding some open studio sessions at the keeping a pretty open schedule all of a sudden looks a whole lot better than it did.

Ok, I'll be honest that I do have my watercolor block and some paints packed for the trip...I can't leave my art stuff's like leaving your kids at home without a sitter (<----I am told by people who are actual parents that this is false but I beg to differ).

I'll be bringing my camera along for the rare chance that I will use it to snap pictures of places, things, people....stuff in general that I find odd or amusing.'s 5 after 12 here....gotta catch some shut eye.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Process Portfolio, You ARE The Bane Of My Existance

So, midterm is this week and our process portfolios are due on Monday for critique before a final print out...

Let me just say now how infuriating it can be to put one of these together. Going through my process work is like excavating an archeological site. Some pieces have tons of stuff in the beginning stages before I lay out the final piece, others have very little to nothing. Keeping a consistent theme from page to page is hard when each art piece was handled in a slightly different way. 

Now that's not to say that I do each piece of art in a brand new way. The approach is the same, but the number of steps it takes to reach a final piece varies. A piece I am doing that I know I will struggle with takes longer and more planning than one that springs forth from whimsy. 

The piece featured above was a school project in my advanced illustration class last term, intended to be an interior illustration for the Greek tragedy of Arachnia. The process for this can be seen on the left hand 'page' of the layout. It began with some initial sketches on tracing paper (<---something I almost never use) as no bigger than 5x5in scribbles to help me get a better feel for the composition.

From there I doodled out a figure standing trying to figure out how a toga would work, and having difficulty imagining this prompted me to then consider gathering reference materials from books and online sources.

This is a big step for me, reference materials. Normally I create file folders full of pictures to help me think. For this piece I looked at well over 50 pictures of different things from  togas to jewelry and also spent some time at the museum observing things in the Greek/Roman wing (obviously this is undocumented). Some of the reference proved useful so I weeded out some things that really came forward to highlight.

Next came the actual pencil. I had a composition drawn out earlier in a thumbnail, but while drawing the final I ran into some issues. So I asked a friend to model for me on the steps at school and from there was able to solve those issues.

I worked the final drawing up as l ayers on tracing paper (<----again not something I normally do). I didn't do color studies for this piece since I had decided early on to work in a palette I was already familiar with using. Early on in the color stage I scanned in my piece and did a greyscale study to help me figure out tonal issues, then continued on to finish the piece.

All of this is clearly laid out in the process pages above, with the left page being the process part and the right page the final image. Because I don't have a set template of how I am working on a layout I needed to tie things together through common elements. Talking this over with one of my teachers it was decided to scan in actual images of my sketchbook pages and use that as a background, and type and arrows as well.

This (I hope) lends to a more personal feel for what my sketchbook looks like.

This piece was much simpler in some ways than the Arachnia piece. The Girl With The Sleeve was a personal piece created from whimsy with no real application in mind at all but expressing some of the feelings I was going through at the time. She started out simply as a ballpoint pen drawing in my moleskin watercolor sketchbook. Really the only things I needed help with was coming up with the armature. 

I found a picture early on to help me support the rest of my drawing, using the pose for the image and only that, while taking what I needed to help push my own thoughts forward with the other reference material. 

Again I didn't do color comps. This was a bit freer than normal, though laying in the colors was influenced partly by the watercolor and figure studies class I am currently in. From there it was a matter of building up on the piece and bringing it to a state I am content with. 

This goes to show that the only elements tying my art together in my process portfolio is the background, type...and I suppose the actual process itself. 

There are only six images required for this portfolio, which focuses on the way we come to finish our work, as opposed to our final portfolio in which case only the finished pieces are shown. 

This is all driving me absolutely bonkers! I can't wait to put this behind me, though I know I will have to update this portfolio from time to time. And it's interesting to note my own changes in how I work and struggle with issues given how involved I was, how much feed back went back and forth, and also depending on media. There are a few pieces that were done strictly traditionally in watercolor, some that combine traditional with digital, and others done completely in Photoshop. Kinda like a diary I suppose....

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fire and Ice

So I've also been working on a piece for Fire and Ice, a convention that happens every Feb. I looked at past art for the conventions and saw a lot of it was fire vs ice kind of thing, and while there is normally a theme this year it's open to interpretation. I wanted to do something a bit more balanced, and maybe unexpected, combing fire and ice together in one. Here I started a lose sketch of a figure, taking into consideration certain elements in the composition. 

Movement is very important to me in a piece, so it is usually the main focus as here. The little arrows I drew in are lead lines for which way the wind will be kicking up. Yep, even that is an important part. 

So here I've used sepia to start blocking in more of the figure and then going in with the eraser and bringing back my lights. It's working opposite of how I am used to in the comp since in traditional watercolor we paint from light to dark. But, since I have some issues getting contrast, I find this is a much needed step. 

Here I've also taken some consideration into her clothing. In my head I know what she is going to wear, even though it's not flushed out yet. I also made the skull and tusks of the walrus pike longer and bigger to help lead the eye in and around the piece. 

Here I threw a little bit of color into the image to see what it's going to look like as a pallet. This is very basic, and I want to keep to an earthy palette and allow the warm and cool colors to do their thing. 

A thought came to me looking at the end of this step that I could probably continue to digitally render this  piece with the ease it is coming along at, since I still have a personal piece I want to paint in. But it's still early...

The Girl With The Sleeve

Things have been kind...meh. Decided to take some time out today and work on a more personal piece for a change.

Sometimes it's nice to not have to think about anything....deadlines, application, ect.

The Girl With A Sleeve it kinda a narrative being told by the figure. She slowly developed over the span of the day from some gesture sketches into a figure. I did use some picture reference for the final pencil, which was done in ballpoint in my watercolour moleskin block. If anything drawing her arm took forever, just about the entire day.

Anyways, I had a point in mind with her, but I won't divulge what that is just yet.....she still needs to be painted in.