Category Archives: art

I’ve been away a while

Screen Shot 2017-06-30 at 10.36.52 PM

Page 6, Panel 3

As usual, my process involved poor time management, overly complicating simple steps, and worrying a lot while checking out of the rest of life, but after 2 months of planning and 6 of work, here is one complete panel I like from “Close Encounters of the ∞ Kind.” This is why this blog looks like it’s been abandoned. I did draw 1 QvD comic in the last couple months but Miss Kitty thought it was a little morbid and anyway this is what I’ve been doing 25-30 hours a weeks for the last 3 months, a little piece of it. Hopefully, it all comes out looking as much like my imagination as this panel. There’s still at least a month of work before I’m happy with the entire comic, which will be 8 pages long.

So, this blog is not abandoned. It’s just on hiatus until I draw something I can share.

Perfectly Wonderful

wonderful_edited-1

I’m a tasteful nude.

This week has been pretty rough. Chronic pain is kicking my backside and I’m half the dragon I used to be. If that. It seemed like it would be fun to just color tonight but this took me 3 hours and the only part I like is the socks.

So, you know, art is about constantly exposing yourself. At least what I do is. Every night I sit here and ask myself, “Are you really going to share this with the world?” Yes. Yes, I am. That’s why I wear socks: so as not to get cold feet.

Here is the thing I drew tonight. People need to know that they’re OK the way they are. Exactly who they are. Dragons too. Even when they don’t feel OK.

Flying Sea Turtle Honeymoon Express Leaves Vancouver on Schedule

Everybody climb aboard the Flying Sea Turtle Honeymoon Express!

Everybody climb aboard the Flying Sea Turtle Honeymoon Express!

At last I can reveal what I’ve been doing with every free second in which I had the ability to focus during the last 10 days! It’s a mosaic collage for my sister and brother-in-law! The had a civil ceremony on Tuesday, and their big wedding is going to be tomorrow. I haven’t given them this gift yet, but I can’t imagine my sister will be spending a lot of time on the Internet the day before she gets married.

I had a bunch of other ideas for their gift, but everything fell through and making something cool was the only reasonable option. I chose a sea turtle because I know they like turtles, and a Vancouver-inspired backdrop because that’s where they live.

You can't really see my pencil marks but I assure you I wasn't making this up as I went along.

You can’t really see my pencil marks but I assure you I wasn’t making this up as I went along.

I started out by purchasing a bunch of origami paper and this 11×14 board. I sketch out the islands in pencil, tore up the blue paper, sketched out the turtle on notebook paper (you can see a bit of it in the upper right hand corner) and generally chose colors for things.

Scenery coming together.

Scenery coming together.

Using matte medium, I began to mount the squares onto the board to form a background representing mountainous islands and their reflection in the water. I used a bunch of metallic and foil papers, which don’t photograph that well, because their colors change depending on the light. I would sort of like to make a shirt out of this design, but I’m not certain how well it will translate.

The turtle isn't mounted yet, but I needed to keep checking that it fit.

The turtle isn’t mounted yet, but I needed to keep checking that it fit.

Then I began the turtle. Using my original sketch, I cut out a silhouette, and then I created stencils for the individual pieces of the turtle by slowing dismantling the sketch. You can see the diminished remains of the sketch to the right. The metallic background paper is orange, with green streaks if you turn it in the light.

IMG_4694

I’m a delightful creature!

Here, the turtle is complete. Just the details on each flipper took about 20 minutes. The turtle itself probably took 4 or 5 hours. It wasn’t as easy to do such fine work as it used to be; my body doesn’t want to sit for that long at a stretch, and my eyes don’t want to focus on tiny details, and my hands tire easily, especially cutting small pieces like the skin texture. Now the sketch is in 50 pieces scattered all over the office.

Somehow I neglected to photograph the process for the man and woman riding the turtle, but if you scroll back up you can see them, although I wonder if their colors ought to be brighter and more contrasting. Well, like everything, I learned a lot. If I did it again, it would be different and possibly better, but there’s no way I could do this again. Maybe another animal.

So, all in all, the completed project probably took close to 20 hours. I lose track of time when I’m working. Sometimes I have to keep Netflix playing, even though I’m not watching, just so I have a way to mark the passage of time and remind me how many hours I’ve been sitting there.

Congratulate my sister on her nuptials if you know her!

We are all connected

My blue period lasted until I was 35. Now I'm in my rainbow period.

My blue period lasted until I was 35. Now I’m in my rainbow period.

Here’s a few more sketchy flights of fancy from my Trickster’s Hat days. There’s something so soft about pencil drawings, and especially velvety about color pencil. When I was a teenager I used to spend a lot of babysitting money on artist quality colored pencils, but I think this drawing was done with school supplies. I used to covet colored pencil–any arts supplies–so badly. Now I have dozens of sets of colored pencils, and I spent most of my time on the tablet.

Don't mess with Little Red

Don’t mess with Little Red

Little Red Riding Hood again, this time a dark, brooding raven of a riding hood. Here’s one little girl who’s not afraid to walk through the forest. She’s more than a match for this brutally psychedelic world.

OK, back to the passion flower! When that’s finished, I may take a break from the tablet and get back to basics.

Zentanglement

All Sharpies, all the time: black, red, silver.

All Sharpies, all the time: black, red, silver.

I’ve seen some people call this kind of free form, stream of consciousness, space filling doodle a Zen Tangle, but I was doing them for decades before I realized that people outside my family drew like this. My mom doodled constantly on the backs of envelopes and the edges of calendars, in a style similar to this. Typically, it’s an absent-minded thing: I would mostly do it on the edge of school papers and the margins of notebooks. Supposedly it’s a soothing, centering thing, like a mandala, but without the rigidity and focus.

This one I did in a single sitting. It took an hour, and it seems kind of threadbare to me, but it was definitely helpful in terms of getting my head out of video mode and into art mode. Usually, when I’m just doing it absent mindedly, a lot more ink gets on the page.

If there’s a pen in my hand, I want to use it, even if I’m just drawing hearts or writing the alphabet over and over. It feels good to draw

Further adventures in line drawing

Two more examples: on the left, black and silver Sharpies; on the right, the back of a save the date card from our wedding.

If you can’t make something representative, at least you can make something.

I’m working on a new T-shirt design, which should be pretty stunning when it’s done. When I started I said, “Hey, you can pull this off in a night.” After 3 days of drawing, I’m about halfway done. It will be a digital painting of a passion flower, which is an astonishingly bizarre sight, and more so because they only bloom a couple days out of the year. So that will be exciting. It’s been a while since I’ve uploaded a new design.

Yesterday, by the way, I sold 2 giralicorn pillows. They look like this:

This is what a giralicorn throw pillow looks like.

This is what a giralicorn throw pillow looks like.

I wish I could meet the customer who made this purchase. I imagine the person who wants to decorate their home with not one, but 2 of these creations, is probably a fairly interesting individual. Perhaps even more interesting than I am, because I drew this picture, but don’t see any way in which an item like this would fit in with my home decor.

My Nephew Goes Wading, Take 2

My brother emailed me asking if I could send him a high-res version of “My Nephew Goes Wading,” the little doodle I scrawled out a while back when I was working on “My Sister and Brother-in-Law Look to the Future.” I sent him the files but really, it was just a scribble. I always meant to paint it. He wanted an art print or something! It was just a few lines. So, the last few days have been dedicated to fleshing it out.

It's hard to capture the joy on her face.

It’s hard to  accurately capture the joy on his face.

It’s not quite 100% satisfactory yet. In small format it looks good but for a blown up version it’s not quite there. Maybe in the next day or so.

Digital paint has a lot of advantages over real paint; it’s less messy, and it’s easier to take back, paint over, or adjust mistakes. It’s cheaper. It smells better. But…it’s still nice to have real materials (which I can’t afford right now so whatever). Painting is for the wealthy, or for people with patrons.

Anyway, “My Nephew Goes Wading, Redux.” I can get better with practice. I know I can.

Paint It Whatever Color

Papier-mâché is an interesting looking word if you spell it with the French accents. There’s something both gratifying and disgusting about the process of creating it, though. Although I am far from fastidious in my personal habits, I despise being actively, tackily sticky or dirty, particularly when it involves my hands and arms. But for certain things, like baking bread or making papier-mâché, I’m willing to make an exception.

Family photo, Montezuma Castle

Family photo, Montezuma Castle

The 9-year-old came home a couple weeks back with an assignment to build an ancient Indian dwelling based on the design of some group of people who lived in Arizona, and her first choice of dwelling was Montezuma Castle, the most striking ruins site we visited on our recent tour of Arizona. Immediately, my brain started kicking the idea around. How could this idea come to fruition?

Papier-mâché was the answer.

I can’t really count this piece as my art. I designed it, and I told the kid how to make it, and I made her do most of the work—say, about 90%—without my interference, although I did come to her rescue when something was beyond her ability, and I stepped in for some of the fine detail work: cutting windows out with a scalpel, the parts that entailed using India ink, and placing the buildings in the cave. I also mixed her paint colors. Otherwise, she was in charge of creating this thing.

This seems like a pretty successful project to my eyes!

Montezuma Castle, executed in paper and paste: probably the best ancient Indian dwelling in all of 4th grade.

 

I confess that she was having so much fun painting that I couldn’t stop myself from helping. Anyway, it was getting late and she’s so meticulous and I needed to clean up and make dinner. I especially love the little accents I did on the front when she pointed out the real cliff had a lot more texture. I love painting and am certain that I would not suck at it if given half a chance.

Later that night, after the kids went to their mom’s, The Man was fooling around with the leftover materials, specifically the other half of the balloon shape we used to create the cave.

The other half of the cave. Note its specific shape.

The other half of the cave. Note its specific shape.

“It fits perfectly on your head,” he declared after determining that it was too small for his gigantic noggin. Then he stuck it on my head. In fact, it did fit perfectly.

Now, if you’re like me, in the sense that you really like dragons, and art, and the Internet, and have a lot of friends, you have probably seen/been sent this time lapse video of papier-mâché dragon being built. While I am not as good as the professional guy in the video (yet), I am not bad either, and after the second time the video appeared on my Facebook feed, and after wearing this paper hat around for a while, I decided to create a dragon hat. Yesterday I started the horns; today I hope to finish them and affix them, and then turn my attention to the problem of building something to fit over my head when I haven’t got a mold of my face and I’m not willing to get flour paste in my hair.

Of course, now the girl wants a Maleficent headdress  executed in the same style.

Since I didn’t really show you any of my actual work today, here’s another picture from earlier in the year, which was a request from some good friends who were getting married and wanted an agave sign for outside the venue. Aside from the Trickster’s Hat stuff, it’s really the only painting I’ve done in a long time. I’d love to learn more about the craft.

Their colors were springtime green and bubblegum pink.

Their colors were springtime green and bubblegum pink. It was windy on the hill; here we see the “ring bear” affixing the sign to the easel to keep it from blowing away.