Monday, June 28, 2010

"Too Feminine"

That parrot I drew for work hanging out in the hammock has been deemed too "gay" for the buyers' palate it seems. Again my boss tells me "much of the artwork coming from you is a bit too feminine." Imagine that. So why are we putting flowers on shirts at all? I guess there's an acceptable form of "tropical" that men are comfortable with I need to study more. In the mean time, I am trying to make my parrots a bit more masculine...or at least more neutral as in the revamped version of my parrot-in-a-hammock print in which an alternative parrot (which I also drew, but for something else) was pasted in. Looks drab to me. But you know, I'm not the boss:
I think the words are going to change too. So basically what's left of my original piece is the background and the foliage. On the other hand my boss really liked this piratey print I finished right after that first one:

Though honestly I liked my first idea more where it said "Cap'n Bluebeak" and "Freebird's Quest" and he had an eye patch. I'm not sure it makes sense for him to be on a treasure chest anymore (I tried to get him to add "Tropical Treasure Trove" at the bottom so it would be a bit more sensible), but oh well. Here is a close-up of the parrot so you can see how I work with a very limited color palette, yet still manage to pull off a nice enough level of detail:

And a third parrot print running in the same "escape" vein:

Used a little bit of a different technique on this one (a "chalk" brush) so it's a little more gritty.

Thought I might show off my most recent marlin also while I'm posting an update. I'm pretty happy with how he turned out:

Especially when compared to the first marlin I drew for this job in 2006...

And then lastly I'm throwing in a sketch of some moose that I drew when my pen pal Al in Alaska emailed me some photographs he took the other day just driving down the road. He is lucky to live in a place so filled with wildlife. Anyway when I saw them, I could not help but draw them in all their cartoonish lankiness.

Click for a larger view if you want. I'm not as paranoid about my sketches as I am about my professional work. :P

And that's my art dump for today! I'll be heading up to Yellowstone this upcoming week so I probably will not be updating at that time, but I will be sure to bring a sketchbook so I can draw some of the wildlife we see up there, and scan it for you all upon my return.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Finished At Last...

Ah! Finally I can sleep! It took staying up until after 2 every day of the week last week, but I got the book done! Friday night I finished up the smaller quick sketches (black and white) that would accompany the text in parts (might make them full-blown color images eventually), and then I drove to Staples where the guy there helped me out as the store was closing (which was very kind of him), but misprinted twice and then bound the last page (the part that says "The End") backwards so it was facing out instead of in. I also noticed two spelling mistakes and a missing line that I wrote in by hand later. So in the end it was by no means perfect, but my nephew liked it and so did my sister. She too seems excited at the idea of getting it published, and has a friend in the business she said she would have to show it to. Well we'll see how that goes.
I enjoy illustrating things for my own projects, and the only way I was really able to do this one for my mother was to make it my own (in other words - make them all animals instead of people!). If someone wanted me to illustrate a book that was about something I was completely disinterested in though, it would NOT be fun. But I guess that's part of what "work" is: #1, It's not play, and #2, your freedom and creativity are constrained by whoever is paying you the money. But you know, maybe it'd be a good thing for me. I mean, it would be basically like my current job (illustrating what someone else tells me to illustrate). But the nice thing about book illustration is that you don't have to be in any particular location to do it. No office. That'd be pretty long as I could make myself work...(which was the main issue with this project). I was able in the end to complete it by forcing a deadline upon myself, however - so maybe that's all I really need. Deadlines.
Except if I procrastinate until the last minute as I often do, I might give myself carpal tunnel. :P

Okay here are the rest of the pages, shrunk down as usual (for copyright reasons):

Monday, June 14, 2010

Venom Energy

It should not be a surprise, that after drinking 16.9 fl oz of "Killer Taipan Venom Energy + Mango" at 10:00 pm that I slept poorly. I was able to paint half a page (a weasel and a gopher), as well as listen to roughly 3 hours of theological exposition on the Olivet Discourse (which makes me kind of want to read Josephus's historical writings). Around 2 a.m. I thought it best that I go to sleep since I had work in the morning, but that turned out easier said than done. I have never found it so difficult to go to sleep in my life. My mind was racing, trying to solve the problem of cutting down the pages of the book, deciding whether my new hatchet could possibly be effective against a grizzly bear attack in Yellowstone (my answer was "no"), and thinking of all kinds of questions and topics I felt I needed to Google at 3, 4, and 5 a.m. (though I resisted the urges). I got up so many times my cat was confused (is it morning already?), and I realized that I could have worked on into the night (and even considered turning my computer back on to work some more). Little noises like a paper bag crackling from breezy ceiling fan gusts and my guinea pigs moving around in their cages woke me, and I felt itchy.
I think that if I ever drink another one of those things again, it will have to be either much earlier in the day or with the intention of pulling an all-nighter. Not simply for keeping myself up late. Maybe I should have only drank half the can...

That said, here are my most recent designs for our tropical brand:

That boring frond print I said I wouldn't post (oh well),

And The parrot print I mentioned on Friday.

Keep in mind - every single shirt design I create is required to utilize no more than eight colors. It can be quite a challenge! Especially when those colors cannot be "blended" (though I can use a spray airbrush tool to fake such an effect - as long as the dots are large enough).

Sunday, June 13, 2010


My progress is far too slow! I am going to have to either speed up or start cutting pages.

Here is page 8, though I skipped 6 & 7

I am considering an energy drink to keep me up long enough to finish at LEAST another page...

We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Slow Progress and Green Beans

Ah, finally finished my Monday page on Thursday. Hoping to catch up somehow over the weekend. At work I completed a boring frond print that I won't bother to post, and a parrot which I will post tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my tiny garden has produced some edible vegetables and I was able to eat a single serving of fresh green beans. They were very tasty, and it made me happy to snap them because it reminded me of my childhood when we would sit in front of the TV and snap loads of beans for my mother to can. To me, canning is like using cloth diapers though - the effort and discomfort dwarfs the savings you earn by doing it. It was fun to watch her though...pushing all the bubbles out with a butter knife along the sides, lifting out big jars from a giant steaming pot to line up on the counter top, and hoping they all seal. Good times.

We are flying my mother here at the end of July for her birthday. Should be fun. Perhaps I will plan a cake for her.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Art Update

I meant to complete another page for the book last night, but did not get to it. I did, however, enjoy a fun time at my sister's house where she had just brought home a new puppy from the humane society. He's a real cutie, but a bit strange in his behavior. She thinks he might have been born feral and hasn't quite learned how to interact with people. He seems to be catching on though, and with more focused attention than the shelter could provide, I think he'll learn.
In the mean time, here are some thumbs of pages 1-4:

I might add some more shading to some of these yet. And here also are some of my most recent T-shirt designs for Buckhorn River. Big numbers seem to be popular right now. If you see these in a store - let me know!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Grandmomma" Book Project

Today I decided to create a blog. I think it is a desperate attempt to do something this weekend aside from illustrating. Nose to the grinder as I churn out pages for my mother's gift book (She wrote it and I'm illustrating it for my nephew). The plan is to take it with me on my next visit in two weeks, but at the rate I'm going, I will be fortunate to get all 16 pages finished let alone bound and presentable by then. Page 4 took me 12 hours yesterday. Twelve! Well, at least it should look good, and it will be a nice addition to my portfolio.

Here is part of page 4: