Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Room With A View... For Type

When designing paintings (or whatever your medium of choice may be) it's always a good idea to leave space for the eye to rest. This is especially true when designing covers for books, magazines, motivational pamphlets, and anything else that an illustration will have to share real estate with type. As an illustrator the last thing you'd want is for a designer to place type over some tasty bit of the image you worked hard to create. (And I hear the designers are none too happy when they aren't left room to work either...) To that end it's always a good idea to not only leave room for bleed (a topic I'll tackle in a later post) but to design for type as well. If for no other reason it'll show that you're capable of doing such and could lead to work in the future.

To that end, whenever I'm designing specifically for a cover I like to drop in type when I'm done to get a sense of what my image will look like all packaged up and sitting on a shelf. Since the book I recently re-imagined already exists I was able to use the copy that's already there. The design was just a really rough, really quick lay in. I'm sure a proper designer would do a much better job - I just had to know if the addition of type, and logos, and titles, and names would detract from my illustration.

Aaaaand, since I went through the bother of painting the image as a spread, I dropped in type and such on what would be the back cover as well. Again, using the basic design that's already in place, I just dropped in the information to make sure my image isn't ruined or too distracting for the type. Overall I'd say things worked out well. Even though it's a rough treatment for the type, I feel everything works together pretty harmoniously .

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Star Wars: Betrayal

It may be no secret that I'm a huge nerd. I literally wear this fact as a brand on my arm (and jacket, and car) for the world to see. However, it's been about five years since I've done a painting that's based in the Star Wars universe. I'm kind of ashamed. (Bad nerd! Bad!)

The Legacy of the Force is one of the most recent story arcs in the Star Wars universe of books (to which I'm a little more than addicted). It takes place about 40 years after A New Hope and follows the exploits of the Solo kids and Skywalker boy, blah blah blah. At any rate, I've decided to re-envision the covers for all nine books in the series as a self-promotional ploy. This is the first installment in the series; Betrayal.

This is the painting as it appears on the easel. I've dropped in a quick type treatment to give myself an idea of how it would look on the book shelves, and I'll post that tomorrow. Next in the series would be Bloodlines, but I may skip around a bit and work on something else for awhile.

Oil on canvas. 34" x 20 3/4"

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ugly Mug Mondays! #10 and #12

My lady has been on vacation for the past couple of days, which has made getting artwork done a lot more difficult than I had imagined. All of a sudden there are three furballs brawling it out for my undivided attention. Needless to say my concentration has been shot. Between that and struggling with my recent painting (which I'll post in a day or so) I've been off track on painting my ugly mug. I did this one earlier in the week, from life. The last few I've done have all been black and white over the white of the page, but I thought this time around I'd try it over a red ground. It's interesting, I think. We'll see where it leads.

Casein on canvas paper. 2.5" x 3.5"

This week's offering I kind of phoned in. I've been sketching a bit more again, so I wasn't really feeling sitting down with paints; and then there was the fuzzy coalition protesting in my apartment - one of whom is a really inquisitive cat that likes to get into everything. On more than one occasion he's jumped onto where my palette is kept and I have no desire to clean up a painted kitty. So I deferred to a quick pencil sketch.

Pencil on bristol. 2.5" x 3.5"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ugly Mug Mondays! #9 and #10

I kind of skipped last week's Ugly Mug Monday!. It was completely accidental, I swear. I was up late duking it out with the final drawing for my latest full scale illustration and by the time it occurred to me it was something like eight in the morning. Then I spent the past week wrestling said drawing into submission and before I knew it - POW! - it was time for a new week. So I did two portraits for this week, as a way to play catch up. This time 'round I tried working from photo reference instead of sitting in front of a mirror. I kind of felt it was cheating, as I usually (read: always) work from photos, but I stumbled across my senior portrait and couldn't resist.

Once upon a time I had an afro. I thought it was cool. What can I say? Also I have a gap in my teeth. It isn't nearly this bad, but i thought it was hilarious and just couldn't help but leave it. It was originally the center-line in the face and wound up being one of those happy accidents that end up making a picture just that much more whimsical and quirky.

I realized that with the exception of my first week's offering, all of the self-portraits in the Ugly Mug series have been in black and white. There are two reasons for this;

1. I look at things in terms of tone. The simplest way to do this is in black and white.

2. I only have three tubes of casein paint. Black. White. And red. As it would happen I've fallen in love with casein and I sort of naturally reach for them whenever it's time to paint my ugly mug.

That being said, someone once told me I was afraid of color. She was basing this on the fact that everything in my sketchbook was in black and white. Either pencil or pen and ink. I was taught fairly early on that "if it doesn't work in black and white, it isn't going to work in color" and "you choose a color for it's value". These are the two things I hear in the back of my mind whenever I'm painting. So a lot of the time yes, I do work in black and white, but I think it's ridiculous to say that I'm afraid of color. To prove it, I put some red in this one. Hope you like it.

As an aside I really like these two paintings. I think the economic use of brush strokes is pretty cool, and I'm quite fond of the purely implied expression - especially in the second one. I'm liking the direction these are heading in, I hope you good folks do too.