Photoshop Experiments

So the last couple of weeks, I’ve been playing around in Photoshop just trying to work out some different ways of working on things. They’re really just been experiments and trying out different techniques. I’ve been posting them on my Tumblr, but I thought I’d go ahead post them here, too.

The first couple were me doing some studies from photographs trying a more realistic and painterly approach.

samurai-test

channing-test

After that, I decided to really just take that more form-based approach and do some images that are a little closer to my normal style.

jester

self-portrait

I feel like I’ve plateaued a bit with my normal techniques and I have just wanted to find a way to change things up and evolve the art that I make. It’s been really good for me to be thinking in a different way – in shapes and not line – and I’ve had a lot of fun. It’s still a work in progress, and I don’t know how or if I will use this stuff. We’ll see. In the meantime, expect more pieces that look a little different from the stuff I normally do. I might not post all of them here, so if you’re interested, make sure to check out my Tumblr, where I have been posting a lot of these experiments and other pieces where I’m just goofing around.

Insurance Pools

I got some ‘wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am’ work for the Willamette Week this week. [As in, I got it at around noon and it needed to be done by 3:30 the same day].

It was a pretty dry article, and the illustration wasn’t that exciting, but I still had fun because I approached the work in a different way.

Kind of going with the flow of the goofing around I’ve been doing on the computer with coloring and thinking more in shapes, I decided to just pencil the work and not ink it. Then I took it into the computer and used it as a guideline and just made color shapes and cuts like I would normally do when coloring an ink drawing.

insurance-pool-pencils

ww-insurance-pool

Again, is it something that I want to keep doing? I don’t know. But it’s been fun to approach things in a different way. I want to change up and evolve my image-making and style, but I don’t really know how to approach that besides just throwing a bunch of things to the wall and seeing what sticks.

A Good Start

So a week of 2013 has passed, and I feel really good about it so far. I’ve managed to keep myself to a pretty simple schedule that’s basically involved me getting up early, free drawing in my sketchbook for half an hour and then setting out to tackle drawing projects throughout the day.

01-13-sketchbook-sample

I’ve drawn more this last week than I have in the last four months. I forgot how good it feels, and how much I need it. How I didn’t realize part of me was missing until my brush and pen were moving again.

I’ve also gotten to experiment with coloring a bit. It’s not really anything drastically different than I was doing before, but I’ve really just been playing around with thinking of shapes and not relying so much on line. It’s been interesting to approach it in a different way.

little-johnny-jump-up

Anyhow, outside of the doodling and the pieces I can’t share quite yet, I did do some quick character designs for a small project that MK is pitching that I figured I could tease.

dungeon-party

Let’s hope I can keep the rhythm and momentum up!

Doubling Down!

It’s two weeks* into my full-time art making adventure, and I thought it would be a good time to check in and let everyone know how it’s going.

After some mulling around at the beginning, I’ve decided that I am going to double down on storytelling and narrative opportunities and put the illustration work on the back burner. I feel like I’m twice the storyteller than I am illustrator, and it’s what I’m really good at, and in a perfect world, it’s what I would love to be doing. Not that there won’t be time down the road to focus a little more on illustration, but for right now, it’s trying to organize and crank out some ideas I’ve had floating around in my head for comics and books. The real focus the last couple of weeks of which has been trying to get the writing wrapped up for what I would like to be my next graphic novel, The Searchers.

I’ve managed to write out two more chapters, leaving only the last two and the epilogue to write. After which I’ll thumbnail it all out and do a bit of editing and rewriting in the process. to break it up a little bit, I’ve done a little drawing of some characters and environments. Here’s some images of what I’ve come up with.

Some of the proportions are off, specifically in the camping scene where the character to the right’s head is super, super big [it's supposed to be big, but not that big] and then the house in the final image is too small. That being said, the purpose of the drawings were to start to give myself a feel for the way things will look visually so I don’t have to come up with them on the fly when I start drawing.

So that’s where I’m at. I’ve had a bit of a hard time following the schedule that I had set up where I would be diversifying what I would be doing everyday, which I still think would be beneficial for me to be doing. Maybe once I get the writing done I will focus on that a little more. Stay tuned!

* this time frame of two weeks doesn’t count the week I took off for Jen’s birthday and then the last week I took off for camping for my birthday.

Thank You Strikes Again

So today was officially my first day devoted to freelancing! You wanna know what my amazing big project was – the one that was help me start off on the right track and really get momentum going?

Thank you cards!

Yeah, I know right? Not really exciting. Well, to be specific, I wanted to make thank you cards to send to all the family and friends that helped out when my dad was sick. It was a small project that I had been meaning to do since June, and I thought would be a good warm-up to get me into a little groove. It proved to be a little more difficult than I thought it would. You see, my first inclination is to make something funny and/or weird.

You may remember that this was originally drawn for the great folks at First Second after Americus came out to thank them for being so great to work with. I liked the lizard man one so much, I had some printed out for whenever I needed a thank you card.

But that card wasn’t going to cut it for this. I wanted to do something special for these folks because they really, really came through for me and my brothers for when we needed love and support the most. I needed these cards to be a little more subdued and classy.

After a long day of brainstorming, thumbnailing, drawing, and then scrapping ideas, these are the ones that made it to the final stages. I finished them up only to realize that I would scrap them, too.

I got this first one done and liked it, only to realize I was totally just copying my friend Meg’s visual style.

So I changes it to make it more simple, only to have it be too plain.

And then this last one just ended up looking like something you would give your doctor or dentist after you got an x-ray.

I actually really like the image, but I think it ended up looking too weird. The concept I was going for was some sort of ‘Thank you from deep inside’. Sigh.

Anyhow, after being completely, totally frustrated with all the false finishes, I came up with one last one. It’s might seem a little sentimental, but I think it strikes a balance of being heartfelt and classy, while still portraying the sense of gratitude towards the people that have helped us out.

The front:

And the inside:

I’m going to get these printed up tomorrow so I can send them out three months late, eek! Better late than never, right? And despite my frustration, it felt good to just be focuses and be working all day, and to play around with some hand lettering and design, even if it wasn’t super-successful.

If you’re interested, I’ve posted scans of some of the sketchbook pages of thumbnails and assorted drawings that came out of the whole process over on my Tumblr site.

Out of the funk and into the fire

As you have probably noticed, it’s been a bit of a deserted wastleland here so far this year. I was still in that creative funk I mentioned in my 2011 review post for most of January, and kind of depressed because of it, and instead of busting my ass and getting out of it, I was drowning myself in Skyrim.

At the beginning of February I was able to snap out of it. Things went from ‘eh’ to wicked-busy real fast, which is just what I needed - I am always better and more focused the more I have going on. The two most pressing things were a big illustration project with a deadline on the horizon and then my class at OCAC that started the beginning of the month, which has been really amazing and so much fun, but a monster to prep for.

Anyhow, since I’m back to actually being productive, I thought I’d go ahead and share some process. Here’s some of the stages for the back side of the map:

It’s a map of the city of San Jose, Costa Rica [duh. I guess it says it right on there] for the next ICANN conference that’s coming up. They saw the map I did at Powell’s, and wanted something similar, but with functional maps of the venue space on one side and the downtown area map for people attending the conference to use on the other side.

It was a pretty challenging project because of all the parts to think of and layout and actually drawing a concise map of a city. But in the end, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Something that was interesting for me was that I ended up turning my handwriting into a font, a process that has mixed results. In the end, I don’t like it all, and would prefer to always hand letter things, and there is still a good amount of hand lettering mixed into the project. But I won’t deny the amount of time having my own font saved when typing up the street, restaurant, and location names and having to fix and rewrite them.

That’s it for now! I just wanted to share finishing up that big project. I’ll try to update more things that have been going on over the course of this coming week.

‘Pressure & Release’ linework preview

So there’s an art show happening next month at the Local 5 gallery featuring art by people that work at Powell’s. The theme is ‘Pressure & Release’ and people were asked to give an honest portrayal of ones working experience.

I’m doing a piece, and I’m going to try to paint it with some simple washes. With high probability that I will screw it up, I scanned it in as insurance so that if worse comes to worse, I can color it digitally.

Anyhow, here’s the linework. I’ll post the finished piece, whether it turns out well or not, just so everyone can see how it went.

Also: There are still a lot of great pieces available at the auction for WSD. The auction got extended another week, too! Check it out.

Last minute Americus pencils

So like I mentioned before, I had to do some last minute editing changes for Americus this week. Some of that included drawing new pages. I had to send them pencils to make sure that everything was exactly how they wanted it to save myself some redrawing if it wasn’t. It’s not very often that I document pencils, so I thought I would share them here.

I know, they’re pretty boring and look just like my inks. Ha. I guess there’s a reason I don’t really document them.

[Note: These pages will be added to the end of the climax of Chapter 2. If you want to read the entirety of this scene, you can read it online here.]

In case you were wondering, there was one last change that had to be made, and that’s the portrait in panel 5 on the first page. It needed to be a more natural picture showing the Burns family happy, not a posed family portrait.

Also, if you haven’t gotten the chance, Jason & I played the casting call game with Americus the last two weeks on the Save Apathea blog. We have an both indie and Hollywood versions of the film. He made two really awesome posters for each version. I can’t express how awesome they are. Check them out. They’re good for a laugh.