Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weird Mediums Three

I started this series called "Weird Mediums" as I learned of a couple of artists doing some very unique and entertaining art that I wanted to share with others. I've previously done two posts HERE  and HERE . Below are some of my more recent discoveries I'm sure you'll enjoy.

Xiaonan Sun is a fantastic portrait artist who I first learned about in viewing his time lapse video of him doing a portrait in salt. Since then I’ve seen a couple of other artists use that technique but I think Xiaonan is worth a mention because he’s younger than me and does amazing portrait art which I know from experience is difficult to get a Likeness. His video on YouTube

His personal website

The first book carver I ever heard of was Brian dettmer. He uses old books as his medium and carefully carves images and sculptures into the books in great detail and precision. You can view a ton of his work on his website at

For some other weird uses for books check out this website which shows books used to make a building, a chair, a kindle case etc.

I first learned about this next fellow through his video in which he paints on a black board with glue and then throws dirt against that in the end to reveal the image. Kind of reminds me of those sand art images I used to do as a kid. Michael Raivard also does various other kinds of performance painting with great flare and energy. Fun to watch!

This next one is also quite fascinating to watch and has an a stounding result. This artist drops paint into water to create water paintings, a process called “ebru”, and then captures the final image on paper. Unfortunately I can’t figure out who the artist is but here’s a video of him at work on YouTube.
Just yesterday I was reading James Gurney’s blog and he posted a very interesting series of talks by various artists. One was Vic Muniz who uses tons of creativity and weird mediums in his art. Everything from doing line drawings of cartoony clouds in the sky with a plane to a skull of a clown which of course has a bulbed nose bone.

I found him entertaining to listen to.

This next one I’m not sure qualifies for weird mediums as it’s fairly typical to use found objects in sculpture but none the less I loved his work and it certainly is weird! So here’s a video of some of Daniel Proulx’s steam punk jewelry.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Watercolor Landscape: Calm before the Storm

There was plenty to be done in preparation for Hurricane Irene. In particular I was concerned simply because I had no idea what to expect, so I didn't know if I needed to put boards over my studio windows to protect my art, should I pick the rest of my tomatoes even though there are about thirty green ones? should I put sandbags at the base of the garage door to protect my fathers camaro that we just had brought up to this house?, or the 48 oldsmobile that has been sitting here for years? In the end I just picked up the larger objects in the yard and didn't worry too much about all the extra stuff. I did however find myself at the church helping the nights of Columbus cut down a bunch of brush and trees and tear down and old fence. There's nothing quit like a gathering of ten men with trucks, chainsaws, weedwhackers a heavy duty chain and an old wheathered fence. Whoever put those fence posts two and a half feet into the ground, to insure they wouldn't fall over, certainly didn't have us in mind as the ones who would be ripping them out!

     Before all of the fun began, I found myself with an hour or so of quiet misty morning light in the church parking lot alone, as I had to drop my mom off to work early in the day. So I brought my watercolor sketching supplies along and did the image above. As this was one day before Hurricane Irene I'm calling it "The Calm Before the Storm". It was an interesting feeling to be working on such a calm scene a day before destruction and chaos was predicted to hit the area.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Should Modern Illustrations Use Older Designs?

This is a question that's come up a number of times for me as I illustrate various books. For my first book I was faced with the issue of whether I should use an older model fire truck. If I remember correctly, the client liked the older fire trucks and wanted one of those to represent the small town. I think that worked fine. However a lot more of my illustrations have gadgets like phones, tv's, clocks, cars, etc. which raise  a question for me. Sometimes the more modern designs are so sleek and so small and simply not as illustrator friendly as the older models.
          I'll give you one example that comes to mind. I'm currently doing a book that will have an alarm clock on various pages. My concern with the newer clocks is that they may not be as easy to illustrate as a recognizable object if it's further in the background. When you see an older model alarm clock with the round face and the bells on top it is easily recognizable as a small suggested shape or close up.

    For a different book I had to show a girl in a crosswalk with a cell phone. The trouble was how to illustrate that because modern cell phones are tiny or even just hang on the ear. SO I ended up oversizing it a bit so it wouldn't just look like she had her hand on her head.  When I look into the future I see this becoming more and more of an issue for illustrators as I fully expect we will need to rely on older models to get our points across. Imagine having to illustrate a guy reading a newspaper in a time period where physical paper newspapers have been replaced by digital readers. You would have this slim piece of plastic in his hands that could be mistaken for any number of other objects. Not the same as a good ole black and white newspaper with all of it's glorious creases, fold and the shear size and shape of it. We've gone from record players to tape players, to CD players and now into the tiny MP3 players.

    So I wonder how other's generally address this issue.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Monster Book Cover Design: Two

A few months back I posted the initial thumbnail sketches for the cover design of my new Children's book "Allegra Friend of All Monsters" HERE  . From that series of thumbnails the client chose number four as our starting point.
Eventually we ended up incorporating more background stuff into the image.

Then I finally tightened it up borrowing heavily from an internal image while simplifying things a bit to better suit the cover design. Then I did  asuper quick color sample. I was kind of tiered of doing samples by that point and just wanted to get into the final artwork.

I then did the final artwork and did a super rough layout.

Now all of the artwork is finished for the book and our graphic designer is doing the final internal layout. Below are some rough cover sample layouts I've been working on to try and figure out which direction to take it in. I'll play around more with the back cover color later but for now I'm trying to ge tmy initial title concepts on paper (so to speek). I think I have apersonal favorite out of these and others I'm seeing might not work as well as they did in my head. I'm hoping the graphic desiigner will be interested at giving it her best shot as well, so we can get a large range of ideas to chose from. Fonts and text deffinetly aren't my area of expertise I also don't have a large font database available to me. Anyway, which direction do you think I should head with these?

This book is expected to be published by the end of September. My previouse book just came out and is available on Amazon! The Little Boy Without a Name and Without a Birthday