Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Figure Painting - round 2- studies!

"The Artist in her Natural Environment"

I like the studies I've done for this class much more than the in-class work, because I've been able to set them up how I wanted, for the most part. They're more personal, closer to me.

This first painting was one of my later ones, done after a tutorial by Jorge Benitez that made me really stoked about painting! I was so excited to do it, and the lighting was so great... it turned out really well. I think it's one of the best paintings I've done, and it was only 5 hours painting with a friend (thank you so much for sitting for me!)
Not only for the reason that I like it, and feel it's strong, this is posted first since, out of 4 paintings I submitted, this one was chosen to be in the Anderson Gallery show from our department! I'm so, so happy - I didn't expect anything of mine to make it in! This is the first time a piece of mine has gotten into a show like this!
The show opens tomorrow, 5-7 PM, at the Anderson Gallery on VCU Campus.

Now, for more studies..

"Self-portrait." A more conceptual self-portrait than my last, I was also portraying myself in a way that I'm not used to - with a more sexual tone. I painted this after looking up some things about Silent Hill 2, and I think it marks the beginning of that work's influence upon me, as well.
...I'm terribly fond of this one. XD

A study of my hair, which turned out to be a nice painting of my eye..!

A painting of a friend, with some awesome clothes and hair.

Study of strange lighting on a mannequin doll of mine, done... in the dark with a black light and a glow stick... D: I used a flashlight to check on the painting itself, and some finishing was done with the lights on. It was... rather strange, and I probably won't do something like that again, it's too imprecise...

Study of the stairs that WILL kill one of us eventually, in the Carriage House which we use for Honors studio. I had a lot of fun painting that wall! Just finding all of the colors that light makes on a white wall. It got frustrating, however, since the lighting changed twice! It's very interesting working with natural lighting, though.

Some of the criticism I've kept getting from my teacher, however, has been to watch the edges in my work - I like them being rough, but it wasn't PURPOSEFUL. Also, especially in class, the advice has been "USE MORE PAINT!" and so I've been working on these things as I keep going along, and it's helping quite a bit! The painting at the top was done being very mindful of edges and blending, and it shows.

A test of cool light and warm light. The one on the right was done first, when I was in a foul mood, and... that also shows. XD I'm calling it "Portrait of an Idiot." The second one I was much more composed. These didn't turn out as interesting as I'd hoped, unfortunately... but you can't always win.

I'll post more studies as I do them!

Figure Painting - round one!

This semester, I'm taking Figure painting with Danny Robbins. ( - he does some awesome stuff, and is having a show at Glave Kocen Gallery this month (opening Friday)!) He was my teacher last semester, and I wanted to keep up the painting, and I love love love working with the figure, so this was the perfect class.

The first half of the semester's been painting a model in class, and then wiping the canvas out, and for homework doing studies of specific assignments. Here's the first half, with all the paintings from class. They were all done within the 2 hour period of class.

4 quick studies, each about 20 minutes

One of two planned studies, that turned into... just one. XD (assigned that way, not on my accord.)

For this one, each stroke had to be mixed on its own, as a way of introducing more color. I got too focused in on the one area, though.

Classmates modelled for each other

A whack at doing a full composition

4 compositional studies of the same scene

A whole composition and start of a painting. I really love this one!

Another full composition

uhh... another one? Not too wild about the face, but the stomach's great.

No model this day, so two of the students went up and modelled for us - each for one half of class. Good clothes practice.

Finally, a two-day painting!! This was the start...

And this was the result!
It could be better, but it turned out pretty well. Not sure if I'm going to keep it as it is, or possibly work with the painting a bit...

Our next assignment, we're going to be working on for two weeks, so that's four classes and 8 hours! I've got to figure out a composition and build a panel for it this weekend, so it should be exciting to work on.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Unfinished business!

Here's the piece I started for typography that I mentioned a few posts back- a visual interpretation of the song "Bottom of the Death Valley" by Dir en Grey. It took a lot of work to get it to this stage - a challenge working in Illustrator, for one, and two, in order to get the effect and shapes I wanted- but it was well worth it.
(Credit goes to Hibbary on DA for the texture- really helped pull it together!!) Unfortunately... I didn't put it into type. I may sometime in the future, but I get the feeling it'll be difficult to translate into type? I do want to work with the lyrics though. The image was based mostly on how it looks to me musically (listen and guess which elements are what!) though no doubt the watery descent in the lyrics plays a part in the image too.

For the longest time, when I didn't know the words (and even now), what stood out was the repeated "I, I, I, I." I thought it was the word "ai" for love (which for all I know could be a play on words..) I just love it how this man's voice is able to express such heart-wrenching emotion.. I wish to do that with my art - Kyo gave me a goal.
I don't know if this piece succeeds at that, but it's my tribute nonetheless.

This is a test

So... I came to realize I hadn't drawn any of my characters in the style I use in SOCA - Society of Communication Artists, in which we do figure drawing every Friday. I've developed a watercolor-and-brush-pen method that works really well for me, and I like experimenting with the colors, line width, using blacks as shadows, blending the lines with more colors, etc. But I rarely use this for anything other than at SOCA, instead opting to do clean pencil work of my characters. I think it's one part I'm afraid of the paper in my 'fun' sketchbook bleeding, and... well, ruining the picture. I attended a demo by Sterling Hundley, who's working on a whole "controlled chaos" theory, and totally destroyed his drawing... which I think made this whole thing click.

Also, talking with my friend Erin about the topic brought up the fact that you often want to show precisely what that character is when you draw them - there's a certain fear in obscuring the features, etc. It's rather interesting...

These first two were my first attempts at applying this technique to fictional images, done about a month ago as studies for a painting (which I may or may not do) for honors. The first was just goofing around, the second being the real idea. I was surprised to find it that she looked like she was laughing...

The first attempt today. It's Sean, and I was going at it half-heartedly. (only doing it in ink...) And even though his face isn't showing, it's still so much Sean. It's one of those where I didn't like it too much when I did it, but now I do - I especially like his hair, and its emotion quite a bit.

Trigger!! I was listening to Lady Gaga, and for some reason, Trigger thought he'd show his fantabulous self. :P I hated how this one started, but I kept painting over it, and it developed into this. The hair and anatomy are way off (wtf are those shoulders???), but I like how lively a portrait it became. It's pretty close to accurate for how he looks.... I think...

And more Trigger! I love how this one turned out so much. Trigger is a demon, and can shape shift- so here, he's taking a form somewhere between demon and human, hamming it up. The anatomy's off, again, but I'm really happy with the looser coloring. And I need to draw Trigger like this more often! I love exploring all the different forms he could take.

We'll see where this method takes me. It's in its infancy, and these were all very quickly done, so I'm curious as to how a more planned-out piece would turn out!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Digital Drawing

This semester, I'm taking a digital drawing course from Tin Salamunic - so I'll be posting here a few of the exercises and assignments that I do for that class.

Our first assignment was to do a self portrait.
Having just finished one, I was slightly bummed, but alright with the idea, since it was a different media. These were both done from the webcam on my laptop, not photos.

This was the realistic one. I did it using both the knowledge I gained in painting, as well as some helpful advice from a friend - use 100% opacity!! I was driving myself nuts trying to use different opacity brushes. It's like the digital equivalent of my painting teacher's oft-given advice - "use more paint!" It works beautifully, but for this one I got a bit carried away with the harsh lines.

This was the more abstract version. I drew myself with the hair I soon imagined I'd have (and now do have) - a short, spiky 'do - and did the style in mimicry of Patrick Nagel's work (which has been ripped off a million times by nail salons.) Very 80's work, but you should check him out if you don't know about him - very clean, dynamic, sexy work. Of course, mine is somewhat silly, and using colors that are brighter and more to my liking... though my teacher said "Tank Girl?" about it. It wasn't intentional, but there is some sort of odd similarity there.

Then, there's some in-class work.

These two were the most impressive ones from a series of exercises from photos.

Kikuchiyo from Seven Samurai!
We had to draw this one using only shapes of black, and we could erase out as well. The next one, (a drawing of Mad Max) we had to do using only line. Tin said artists were either line people, or shape people - and thought more in line or shape. I'm DEFINITELY a shape person! I realized that's why I like painting, and why my drawings are so sketchy - I build up shape, and then outline it. (Though I don't need as much building up as I used to!)

Alfred Hitchcock!
We could use different opacity brushes on this one.

From a different day, a still life from objects we brought in.
My favorite part, hands down, is the hard drive, particularly the glow on it! The glowstick itself, however, gave me absolute hell. I have to study glowing objects some more!
The texture is of particle board, for the table, distorted in PS. I don't have the source, sorry!!

Going along with more exercises, here's some more recent ones.

A geisha from a photo, colored cel-shaded style, with a color palette from a Mucha piece. Definitely not as clean as I'd like, but it's still fairly nice.

Old man, also from a photo! We had to use custom brushes, and this was really my first time experimenting with them. I made my own, some of which were more useful than others. Not finished, but it got really entertaining playing around with the brushes for different effects!

Now for some more finished work!

This was an image of my character Madge, a 1950's... entrepreneur, let's call her, that I did for a tutorial showing how I work. It's a picture I've wanted to do for awhile, so I was glad to get it done. She needed a glamour shot - she was a glamorous woman!
The image was for an icon for use on the forum for the RP.
Photo texture/image was free-for-use stock from texturestockbyhjs on DA.

Vault billboard, which went from concept sketches to final. My idea was to market the soda more towards women, or be more gender-neutral, anyway, without alienating the current audience. Not hugely satisfied with it, I need to fix the text so that it's smaller, and I want to hand letter it so it's wispy like her, and the figure needs more tweaking and refinement as well.

Casablanca poster - we had to redesign a movie poster. The sketch got approved Tuesday, and this was turned in that Thursday! Short turnaround! I still haven't gotten my critique back on it, but I can see a couple of things that need tweaking (like the oddly placed windows that make "Ingrid" hard to read, tangents... that design around the lettering...) The idea was to do it more like paper cutouts, evoking more of a 1960's design/illustration vibe.
Texture by pareeerica on flickr. I really, really need to use textures more inventively. This one was just to get the look of it being old and printed, but I'd also like to try different textures on the cutouts themselves..

Anyway, more work will be posted as I make it! No more art dumps! Sorry about that!

Final paintings

I forgot to post the finals of these paintings!

Here's the self portrait, all finished. So much work went into this... it's crazy. I'm very proud of what I did, but.. I do want to move on from it!

This is more of a tentative "final." It's as far as I got by the end of the semester. Perhaps I'll pick it up and finish it sometime, but not now!

I got extremely frustrated, somehow, with these portraits at the time. I was trying to force too much from them, instead of letting them be. I was way too stiff, and way too straightforward. This semester, I'm working on curing that!

Winter Break!

Winter break was fairly productive artistically! I got really into actually working on things I was interested in again. I felt like I hadn't made anything that was from my stories or, more importantly, from the depths of my heart in a long time (as corny as that sounds) and these resulted:

"...What do I do now?"

"In a time like this, where is God? For all of their fuss, where are the powers at play? They are not here. Here is a forgotten child.

There is no right and there is no wrong - there are no excuses. There are only reasons.
Nothing will absolve you of this. But there is plenty to explain it."

A storyboard sketch, as it were, of a scene from a story I wrote/ended up finishing off over the break. It's not perfect, but it got me started.

"Why so sad, fair maiden?"

What is she about to say? She seems afraid...

I did what started as another sketch of Strych... and I let it come out as she wanted, instead of forcing it.

I also did this as a digital inking practice, trying to get it very, very clean - because my previous work was extremely sketchy, often left at the pencil sketch if scnanned.

I'm playing around with the ideas of how to do animation cels, in the 'true colors' of an object (like if it was in bright white light,) then adding shadows and light in different colors, and seeing what texture could do.

Texture from hibbary on DA

Black or White?

I always was really hesitant to make Strychnine super white.
I knew she wasn't the same skin tone as Sean, but the yellow-ish weird color I made her never seemed to fit right...

I think she's actually mixed... her mom being a redhead, of Appalachian Scotch-Irish origin, and her dad being from a middle-class suburban African American family... though I'm pondering if his dad might have been from another country...
They were both hippies, I've known that from the start. And her dad had dreads. :D Probably still does.

But now, looking at it, I feel so much more comfortable looking at the black Strychnine.
That's how she should be. A lot of sketches I've done of her, she looked more black. But I was too afraid to write someone of a different race than my own, too afraid I'd fuck it up.

And I'm not saying I won't, but I'll try not to.

(Texture also from Hibbary. XD)

Lastly, we have a trade! This was done as a secret santa for flarekitty on DA, of her character Blink. I also had a lot of fun with this one, doing really clean line work and such, and playing around with different color inking.

You can read the full descriptions and see some older work over at the DA page: