Friday, December 21, 2012

SketchPage #0002

H'oh boy!  I've got a lot of work to do in the next little bit, so I'm pulling a sketch page from deep in the archives.  I'll have wonderful new work to share with you soon, I promise.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ms. Bunny

More doodling on the Cintiq; still trying to get the hang of it, but I think I'm dialing it in.  Either way, I'm sure I'll enjoy the process of experimentation.

Libra

I just realized it's been a while since I've posted any of my zodiac series.  I don't really have any good excuse as to why not,  so I'm just going to pick up where I left off as if nothing happened.  Okay?  Okay.

Next in line, if you're following along, is Libra.  A'int she cute?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sketchadoodle

I recently came into possession of a Cintiq tablet; I think this is going to be a game changer.  I can also safely kiss whatever social life I have goodbye.

Also, it feels really weird to create something digitally from scratch. It'll take some getting used to.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Basketball Jones

I've been looking at a lot of pin up art lately for some inexplicable reason.  And sometimes you've just got to draw a pin up. Also, if you're listening to the Space Jam soundtrack, the chances are slim that you'll draw anything but a basketball cutie.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Killer Bee

When I was doing my 4" x 6" drawings for Rose City Comic Con I used it as a perfect excuse to do loads of fan art.  Anything I would ever have wanted to draw but normally wouldn't have had much cause was up for grabs.  And that's the story of how I wound up drawing Cammy White.

To that end, for all of November, if you buy anything from my online store (http://vaughnbarkerillustration.bigcartel.com/) I'll include a free 4" x 6" drawing as my way of showing thanks.  If you spend $50 or more I'll even color it by hand for you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ms. Mustache

Portland may not have invented the hipster, but I think they're definitely more in love with the life style than any other city.  (Which is saying a lot since I moved up here from the San Francisco Bay area.)  And, what is no hipster without?

A mustache.

Again, something I don't quite understand, but I still couldn't pass up drawing it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I has all the cutes!

Apparently there was a kitten expo in town today.  I didn't get a chance to attend, but I imagine there was a lot of this type of daydreaming going on.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Young Jedi Tricks

Younglings and Padawans have to find some way to entertain themselves until their skills fully develop I suppose.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Heya, Half Pint!

I've been spending time at a local coffee shop when I have time in the mornings.  The barista there is kinda cute, so I couldn't stop myself from doing a drawing of her the other morning to break in my new sketchbook.  Then I brought it home and decided to try something other than my normal digital painting;  I pulled out and dusted off my markers and started having some fun.  I think more of these are in store for the days to come.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Victoria Cross

Meet Victoria Cross.  If all goes as planned, you'll be seeing a lot more of her in the future.  She's ready for an adventure, are you?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Go-Go-Gadget Gouache!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to take part in the Watercolor Society of Oregon's annual conference.  During some down time someone literally thrust a few tubes of gouache into my hands and told me to do a little painting.  After about ten (maybe fifteen?) minutes I had blocked this little heroine in and had to get back to my duties.

I'm thinking more of this kind of thing will be in my future.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Silk Spectre!

Or Sally Jupiter.  Really, you can take your pick, but you'd better be polite -- she looks rather sassy.

This is another of the sketch cards I did for the Rose City Comic Con.  Honestly, this might have been one of my favorite of the group.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jean Grey: Woman of Wonder

I just found out about this wonderful thing that happens in Portland, Oregon every year and I couldn't not participate!  It's called Women of Wonder Day, and it's a benefit for Domestic Violence programs in Portland, Oregon; Flemington, New Jersey; and San Antonio, Texas.  It's an auction, and the really wonderful thing is that 100% of the proceeds go to Domestic Violence charity programs.

Check out their website, and please, help out if you can!  If nothing else, there's going to be a lot of great art to look at.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Virgo

Virgo.  Virgo.  Virgo.  I think Virgo was the hardest zodiac in the series to complete.  As the "virgin maiden" she has no props or accoutrements that would help identify her immediately; still, I think she's pretty maiden-y, and I'm pleased with how she turned out -- especially in the series at large.

So, now with Virgo, we've made it half way through the zodiac.  Six down; six to go.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Willendorf?

I've been a little distracted this week, but the good news is I should have two projects to announce in the not-too-distant future!  In the meantime, I offer you this little Earth goddess-type lady.  She's another from the set of 4" x 6" drawings I took with me to the Rose City Comic Con.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Shadow Cat and Colossus

Since I've been showing pretty steady updates of the Shadow Cat and Colossus piece I thought it'd be fun to put it all in an animated gif.  From thumbnail to final, you can watch the piece come together one step at a time.

On a related note:  I installed the demo of Adobe Captivate so that I can film myself working on my next piece -- I just have to decide what that's going to be.  To that end, I may post some candidates over the next week and let the good people of the internet weigh in.

Exciting!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Shadow Cat and Colossus: Part V

After staring at it all day, I really only found a few small (but critical) moves to make to bring this piece to a satisfactory finish.  Of course the more I look at it the more I'll find that I want to change, but I have to let go sometime.  The work is never really good enough and that's okay.  That's what keeps driving many of us forward.

May the images your mind is capable of conceiving forever be better than what your hands are capable of constructing.

Shadow Cat and Colossus: Part IV

I think this piece may be done, but I'm going to sleep on it.  Chances are I'll find a few things here and there to fiddle with to make the piece stronger -- I usually do.  (Well, I usually fiddle at any rate.)

This is kind of the most important step in many ways.  Sometimes you've gotta paint, and sometimes you've got to walk away to gain some distance and perspective.  I'll do whatever fine tuning I need to do tomorrow when I'm able to see things more clearly.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Shadow Cat and Colossus: Part III

After a little more time things are looking pretty solid.  If I had to guess, I'd say I'm about halfway done at this point.  But sadly it's the back half that -- as I slow down to make better choices and fine tune the details -- takes the longest amount of time.  I have a vague idea of what I want to do with the background, but haven't really begun to think about it with any amount of seriousness.

Backgrounds: ugh.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Shadow Cat and Colossus: Part II

Here's the first in progress shot as I was plugging away at this piece.  Most of the hard work with these is figuring out the value strings -- once that's done it's just a matter of rendering, which, really, is the easy part.  At this stage I can also tell if my color sensibilities are WAY off, so it's in my best interest to kind of knock things in.

As far as roughing-in goes, this one went pretty quickly.  Next up: the fun stuff!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Shadow Cat and Colossus: Part I

I'm going to try something new over the next couple of days; I feel as if I've been posting a lot of sketch work recently, and not a whole lot of finishes.  So, I'm going to post some progress shots of a new piece I'm working on.  It might also inspire me to get myself in gear and finish it up.

Have a good week, everyone.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Leo

Continuing with the celestial cuties that comprise the zodiac, here's Leo.  She wound up being one of the more challenging pieces to complete since I knew there was going to be a lot of yellow and light colors in general.  Of course since I was most worried about getting this piece right, it wound up being one of my favorites in the end.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tall Bikes

Tall bikes.

It's a Portland thing.

Can't say I really understand it, myself, but there you have it.  I can say, however, that I relished the challenge of drawing one.  They are kind of neat -- even if they are a bit silly.

Without you this is impossible

When I was sixteen (seventeen?) I was invited to take part in a portfolio review day at the California College of Arts and Crafts.  To say that I was excited would be an understatement.  With the tireless help of my high school art teacher, Mrs. Alsobrook, I assembled a portfolio -- okay, let's be honest, it was a photo album of 4"x6" pictures of some of the paintings I had done -- and gathered the better of my sketchbooks.  With wares in hand I prepared to trundle off to the big city and make my way into art school.  I even took my friends Irene and Kevin along for moral support.  (Read: I was scared out of my wits.)

The moment I walked into the main hall of the San Francisco campus I was devastated.  All around me were very professional looking adults with large (very large) portfolios of good (very good) work and here I was, a teenager with a photo album purchased at the local Michaels Arts and Crafts store tucked under my arm.  I almost turned around and walked out.  I was fully prepared to throw in the towel and go home; it wouldn't be until years later that I would realize this was a pivotal moment in my life.  Had I walked out I'd be an entirely different person than I am today.  I don't know who that guy would have been, but I know that it wouldn't have been the person that I am now -- and I'm rather fond of the person that I am now.  The point is, if it weren't for the insistence of my friends Irene and Kevin to see it through to the end, I wouldn't have gone to art school.  This is a fact.

As it turns out, the portfolio review day was for potential graduate students.  Through some mishap in administration I was the only undergrad invited to this event, which is why I was thoroughly outclassed.    That day I met Ms. Sizemore -- a woman who would not only prove instrumental in my acceptance to art school (there was something about the work that I showed that she fell in love with), but would keep tabs on me throughout my academic career and lend encouragement when I needed it.  All in all it was the love and support of four people who would change my life for the better.  I hope you won't take this as hyperbole, but I wouldn't be who I am now if it weren't for them.

This past weekend was another pivotal moment in my life as an artist: my first time tabling as an artist at a convention.  I never for a moment suspected that I would make my fortune the first time out, but I also know that I didn't achieve the success that I did without help.  A lot of help.  I don't know that I ever thanked Mrs. Alsobrook, Irene, Kevin, or Ms. Sizemore properly, but I don't want to miss that opportunity again.  I would like to thank the following individuals for their efforts in helping me not only survive, but thrive in my artistic endeavors.  I know that I couldn't do what I do without them.  So, in no particular order:

My mother: for your unconditional and completely unwavering support in all that I do, no matter how unfeasible or irrational it might be.  I have a lot of eccentric ideas and I appreciate that you never shoot any of them down outright.  Thank you.

Ben: for believing I'm better than I am.  You're constantly suggesting things with just the right level of complication to hook my interest and I suspect you know how complicated they can be; it means the world to me that you believe in me enough to know that I'll be able to pull them off.

Abigail: for pushing me and fighting with me to take the plunge and start running the convention circuit. I know I can be my own worst enemy and it means the world to me that you get in my own way for the sake of stopping that fight.  It also doesn't hurt that you ask what I'm getting up to and get thoroughly excited when I answer.

Jenna: for the long discussions on art and life that you trick me into leaving the house for.  I can very easily get in my own way and I love that you talked me out of the house and further lured me out of my own head. It's important to take breaks and I'm glad that you're smarter than I am and convinced me to take them.

Matthew: for having a wonderfully untrained eye.  I spend so much time hunched over my work that I forget sometimes that what I do has to appeal to the uninitiated.  I may give you a lot of flak for not being a huge nerd, but it's important and it helped keep me even.  Also, thank you for helping keep the bad days tolerable.

Maya: for being a huge nerd.  And, you know, for geeking out with me and getting excited, but not flamboyant over the work that I was doing.  I trust you'd never let me go astray.

Lucy: for reinitiating me into the world of comics and comic artists.  I spend a lot of time talking to fine artists and illustrators, so it's great to talk to people who are dedicated but don't take it so seriously.  I can't wait to see what mischief we'll get up to.

Jake: for getting it.  You know what I mean; for just getting it.

Brittain: for sharing a truth with me that was so simple and so pure that it couldn't possibly be ignored. Your loving words did more good than you could possibly know in saving me from myself at a critical moment.

Jory: for insisting that I take a break when that's the very last thing I wanted to do.  Two days before the con, with so much work left to do, it was important that I take a moment to step back and relax.  Without your prodding I wouldn't have taken a break and would likely have caused myself serious harm.

I don't mean to say that these are the only people worth thanking, but these are the people that did the most (and all of the small stuff), in helping me prepare on every level to walk into the Rose City ComicCon and not feel like that sixteen year-old kid.  No man is an island and nothing happens in a vacuum.  I couldn't possibly do what I do without them; I just hope they know it.  They all took on the burden of me and mostly saved me from myself.  Without their love and support I wouldn't have been able to face this pivotal moment in my life.

Thank you, one and all.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Stop! Hammer-and-Sickle time!

When I drew this little Soviet sweetheart, I envisioned she'd be standing on something.  I never quite got around to deciding what that something would be.  So for now (and likely forever more) she'll be standing on... nothing.  I can live with that.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wooooo!

Now that Rose City ComicCon is over I won't feel bad about posting all of the drawings I did in preparation I did for it.  (There's no longer any surprise to ruin, is there?)  This was one of many 4"x6" drawings I had in my arsenal.  I find it interesting that it was also the first drawing to sell.

Hey, when you gotta party, you gotta party.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Happy Monday

This past weekend was the Rose City ComicCon and I managed to survive.  It was a trial, more in the getting ready than the doing, but that's not unfamiliar territory for me.  I'm still processing all that occurred (I had a very good time) so I'm going to hold off on a recap for a few more days until the dust completely settles.

In the mean time I'll leave you with my most popular piece from the Con.  And, since it's a Monday, I hope today was tolerable.  Hang in there, dear readers, this week will be over before you know it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cancer

I'll be setting up at the Rose City Comic Con in roughly six hours -- which means I'll be dealing with the public in about eight -- and I'm still up working on stuff, but that's normal, yeah?

Until next time take a gander at the celestial beauty of Cancer.

-Valentine

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

When in doubt, bout it out!

Sixteen days.  Rose City Comic Con.  Too much still not done.  Back to work.

-Valentine

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Advertisment!

We got a bunch of books in the store the other day and we thought it'd be fun if we spiced up the announcement a little bit.  I figured since they were mostly art-instruction and art-inspiration books it only made sense to draw a budding artist.  I don't recommend trying to paint while looking at a book -- but that doesn't mean I don't do it all the time.  My only regret was our lack of a white chalk marker.  Oh well.

-Valentine

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Slow and Steady


The days are slipping away towards Rose City Comic Con a lot faster than I'm getting things done; there are just never enough hours in the day.  I don't think I'm going to be able to get all the work done that I wanted to, but I think as long as I get this one handled I'll be alright.

So enjoy this sneak peek, and hopefully I'll have something more resolved to show you soon.  (Well, not too soon, you might have to come see me at the Rose City con if you want to see it.)

-Valentine

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Oppan Gangnam Style!

So, I've become addicted to this song and this is the kind of thing that happens when I become addicted to something.

-Valentine

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Different Way of Thinking.

I forgot to post this last night -- and of course by "forgot" I mean I was up too late and I got too tired to do anything except crawl into bed.

I have a tendency to think of things from dark to light and opaquely.  I understand glazing and other optical mixing techniques, but I never really use them.  So I've never really understood how to make watercolor look good.  With all of the dark-to-light work I've got coming up, I thought (as I often do) it's good to flex those creative muscles and try something completely different for awhile -- I'll be experimenting with a light-to-dark approach in my free time. 

I'll let you know what I come up with.

-Valentine

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Good bye, Sanity!

There are thirty-seven days left until the Rose City Comic Con, and last week I was concerned that I wasn't going to have enough to show.

My original plan was to spend the last two weeks in July drawing and then spend all of August coloring what I had done.  However, in those two weeks I managed to do twenty-four new drawings (pictured here) ; if that wasn't enough to keep me busy there are about forty-three drawings from my sketchbook I'd like to do -- and another seventeen or so that a friend suggested.

Needless to say, I won't be able to color eighty-four drawings in thirty-seven days, but it will be interesting to see how many I can get done.  So much for feeling like I didn't have enough work to show.

-Valentine

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Law 'Round These Parts

Drawings for the pending Con are coming along at a steady clip, but I still don't want to tip my hand and show them off quite yet.  I've been doing drawings that (largely) have nothing to do with comics to warm up and get ready for the day's nerdy drawings. 

If all goes well and I have a hefty stack of them come September, the plan is to sell them at my table.  I'll let you know how it goes.

-Valentine

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Run, Fat Girl, Run.

Drawings for Con are coming along... well... they're coming along.  I made a list of all the drawings I wanted to get done and it was a lot longer on paper than it was in my head.  So now I'm frantically trying to get as many of them done as I can.  And find time to sleep.

This is a revisit of a very early drawing.  Maybe someday I'll post the first version.  Maybe.

-Valentine

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Con Preview

It's getting harder and harder to share things without spoiling the surprise for Rose City Comic Con, but I just finished this drawing and I'm too excited not to share it! 

I'm in for quite the challenge finishing this piece and I couldn't be more thrilled!

-Valentine

Monday, July 23, 2012

Taurus

As more and more projects jockey for my attention, I managed to let my poor blog become neglected.  Poor, poor blog.

Next up in the Zodiac is Taurus.  Doesn't she just look stubborn as all get out?

Con update:  Original 4" x 6" drawings are coming along at a rate of about two per day, I have about a half-dozen larger projects drawn, and a long list of one-offs I want to do between now and September.  I'm going to be a busy little bee, but I think I'll have a good showing.  Fingers crossed.

-Valentine

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Finding Your Center

I'm ramping things up for the Rose City Comic Con here in fifty-three days, so I'm kind of in over-achiever mode.  I'm wanting to keep most of what I'm doing secret, so I'll likely be posting a lot of doodles from the archives until then.  I only wish there were more hours in the day or that I didn't have to sleep.  C'mon, science, help me out.

-Valentine

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Synchronosity

If you're going to wait for the planets to align, the least you can do is have the right tool to enjoy the show.

-Valentine

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Aries

Well, a few weeks ago I gave you a sneak peek, so I figured it was time to draw back the curtain and reveal, one at a time, what I had been working on: the zodiac!

First up is Aries.

-Valentine

Friday, July 6, 2012

Celestial Bodies


I've been talking a lot about something I've been working on, but I haven't said much anything as to what that something has been.  Well here it is: the zodiac.  I've known many people in my life who have tried to get me to illustrate the twelve signs of the zodiac and for whatever reason I've always refused.  I guess I had to come to it on my own.  Anyway, the show is hanged and I think it looks pretty good.  Now, on to the next big thing -- as soon as I figure out what that will be.

Oh, and here's another, more direct, shot.  You know, just in case.


-Valentine

Thursday, July 5, 2012

People Watching

The last few days have been a whirlwind of activity and adventures in the real world; the next few days should prove to be very much the same.  However, I did find time to sit down and doodle in my doodle book; public festivals are great places for people watching.

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable fourth of July.

-Valentine

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sketch Page #0001

I'm taking a day or two to relax and kind of just play this week (I've got a lot to celebrate) but I'll be back to the grindstone before too long.  I've been making a list of things I want to do for the Con in September and it's already kind of daunting.  But I'm oh so excited!

-Valentine

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Bronze Venus

I put my show up today; I think it looks pretty nifty, but there's no time to rest!  I plan on attending a local comic-con as a seller in a couple of months, so I've got to get back to work!  When I got home from hanging my show I flipped through every drawing I've done in the last few months and scanned the ones worth scanning -- and that still left me with sixty-four pages to scan.  So, I'm going to be a busy little bee for the next little bit.  Hopefully some exciting things happen!

Meanwhile, here's Josephine Baker.  Because, hey, why not?

-Valentine