Wednesday, January 18, 2012

BBQ Logo Design:Two, Tangent Points

For the first post in this series click HERE

      It's been a while since the first post for this series as the client got really busy over the holidays and needed more time to respond than normal. Well they have now responded, so I was able to do a near final drawing. We've improved on many areas since the first drafts.
Sometimes I get a bit ahead of myself and do the final drawing before the sketch is really ready for it. I think that happened a bit with this image. A couple days after finishing the line drawing I realized there are some unnecessary tangent points in the image that draw too much attention. I think the one that gets the most on my nerves is where the VT shaped stake just barely touches his rolled up sleeve. So I will likely adjust them in the drawing or in the final illustration. I also noticed the pupils are different sizes and I'm not quit happy with the lines yet as there isn't a good pattern of thick and thin. Those will be easy to fix in the final art.
The red circles indicate some of the tangent points in the image. In general it's a good idea to try and eliminate tangent points like these as they can be a bit confusing. It's best to overlap shapes to help show what's in foreground and what's in the background and so there is no confusion as to where on abjects stops and another starts.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"A Cloudy Day" book Illustrations in Progress

I typically don't enjoy showing in progress work unless I'm able to show the finished product along with it but today I just felt like making an exception. These are still far from being done and are mostly in the under painting stage. everything is still pretty dark right now as acrylics usually work from dark to light.  An interesting fact for folks who live in this part of Vermont, the rolling hills in these images were inspired by Darling Hill Rd.  I knew i wanted to give off the feeling that the characters are on a roller coaster ride to add fun to the story and Darling Hill Rd. gives that feeling perfectly. The last image actually features a particular mountain that I'm sure some will recognize when I show the final art. You might need to right click and chose to view in a separate window to see them a bit better. Not sure why blogger recently made it harder to enlarge images.
Next week will be a huge leap from these rough under paintings to having 90% of the illustrations finished! Then probably one more week of doing fine detail work with the figures and faces.

As a reminder here's a shot of all the images in the final drawing stage.

I did some rough samples of the faces and the clouds too so the client would be able to get a feel for how those would be painted in the finals. Clients usually get a bit jumpy during the color sample and rough painting stage so it helps to have something a bit closer to a finished look for them to look at while waiting. the quarter and dime indicate the actual sizes I will be painting the original painted faces at. Luckily a few are much bigger to help add interest to the characters and really be able to see into their eyes. This story is just as much about the clouds as it is about the kids so we move the focus back and forth between them a bit.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cobblestone Magazine Illustrations: The Blizzard of 1888

This past month I was contacted by the art director for Cobblestone Magazine to do three illustrations for their March issue! This was a HUGE deal for me since in over four years of my full time professional illustration career this is the first time I was contacted by a brick and mortar publisher. I've had a ton of great projects with excellent clients over the years. However it has always been a goal of mine to eventually work for brick and mortar publishers as that is really the only possible way for me to stay in business long term. The art directors with Cobblestone were a pleasure to work with and they Loved the final illustrations. They didn't ask for any changes to the sketches or the final artwork!! So looking forward to working with them again if I ever have the chance. Get a copy of the march issue when it's available!

This first two page spread illustration depicts the School children's blizzard in 1888.
    I originally expected all of these illustrations to be simple as most of the image would be snow. I soon realized the complexities involved with any historical illustration. I had to research the style of clothing, what the haystacks looked like at that time period, and then one of the hardest aspects ended up being in how to depict a blinding snow and yet not have it overtake the image entirely, as we do still want to see the action. I ended up painting the entire image normally and then lost a lot of that detail once I started adding the snow with a fan brush.  I had to resist the urge to paint mountains into the image since this story takes place out on the prairie. Placing eight people into a tight composition with lots of text and a gutter was a whole nother challenge.

 The image above tells the story of one group of children and their teacher who survived the storm due to the quick thinking of one father. Many kids tried to walk home that day in the storm and died. But in this case a father fought his way to the school and told the teacher to keep the kids there for the night. They all survived as a result. For this image I researched one room school houses, stoves of the period, clothing, and I kept trying to figure out what sorts of colors might be used in the clothing back then. All the pictures are of course black and white and generally very poor quality so a large part of this project I had to use my imagination along with informed decisions.
This last illustration depicts another blizzard that took place a little later that same year only this time it effected eastern cities. I found out that this storm is one of the main reason eastern cities decided to push to have all water, electric and even trolley transportation moved underground when they realized how a storm like this could easily put these things out of commission for a while. I researched building styles, street lamps, trolleys, carriages, and even the telegraph poles. The storm dumped up to fifty inches of snow in some areas and Snow drifts reached up to the second stories of buildings.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Beauty and Pattern in Nature

Have you ever seen such a thing as what's displayed in the photos below? believe it or not these photos aren't taken at the Harvard Museum of Natural History or any other museum with magnificent collections of rocks and minerals for that matter. These are magnified photos of common sand! "Professor Gary Greenberg who has a PhD in biomedical research from University College London said: 'It is incredible to think when you are walking on the beach you are standing on these tiny treasures."

Read more:

Just last week I was watching tv and amazed all over again at seeing close up pictures of snowflakes. I'm sure we've all seen them at one point or another in our lives but it's easy to forget these kinds of things in our daily lives. So have another look! For more snow flake pics go to where these were taken from.