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