Sunday, December 31, 2006

Painting Procedural pt. 4

Okay, so back to the painting. I'm continuing to lay in the local color in transparent watercolor washes. Local color is the color that we think things are (the trees are brown, the grass is green, et cetera), without the impositions of, say, the color of the light sources and shadows, and reflected light bouncing around between surfaces.

The previous three posts showed work done during classes while the students were busy doing whatever it is students do. But then the weekend came, and so I'm in the home studio for these shots. I wait for each wash to dry before laying down a new one to prevent them from bleeding into each other or washing each other away (heavier pigments will push lighter ones out of their way). This means there's a lot of down-time, which makes it the perfect activity to intersperse through a day of house cleaning.

The local colors are now pretty much established. But, obviously, there's still an awful lot of painting to do.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays! Let's drink turpentine!


The lovely wife and I seem to be developing an annual tradition of spending way too much time and effort making presents that we could have bought for a quarter the price (Oh, Mr. Smith, when will we learn?). This year, it's flavored liquers. "Liquers" is the polite word. "Combustibles" might be the accurate one.


For me, this project was all about getting to make stamps for the labels. We had a lot of fun looking up old snake oil and voodoo labels for reference.

Of course, now our brew is all bottled and ready to go out the door, to bring happiness to our friends and all their furniture-stripping needs, but we still have these groovy-but-project-specific stamps.

I should find another use for them. Maybe a comic strip starring a sailor named "Scurvy Abater" and his hard-nosed pal, "Gut Tonic." "Piquant Tipple" would be the would be the foppish hobo who lives in the alley behind their house with his scruffy dog, "Floor Wash." And on Saturday, they all go to see their favorite band, "Vanilla Cure & Catharsis."

Anyway, Happiest of Happies, y'all. See you in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Painting Procedural pt. 3

Having established a basic value scheme, I start to add color. First, I lay down a wash of yellow with a mop brush. Yellow is a near-compliment of blue, so it kind of tones down and grays out the blue. Orange is the actual compliment of blue, but full compliments are often too harsh and "vibratey."

And then I start dropping in the local color. I'm not mixing the paints so much as laying down transparent washes of straight paint over one another. The base of yellow and blue will make all of the colors relate to one another

There will be more images of this once I find the cable for my digital camera.

Also, if'n yer innerested: apparently MySpace and LiveJournal just aren't geeky enough. There is now ComicSpace. I just signed up with it, because I thought Dean Trippe would make fun of me if I didn't. I'm not sure I really get the whole social networking thing, though. As near as I can tell, it's like Pokemon, only instead of collecting images of fantastic creatures, you collect images of people who draw fantastic creatures.

I just can't figure out how you win.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Painting Procedural pt. 2

This is an Art-O-Graph, although I've always known it as a "Lucy." I suppose this moniker is derived from camera lucida. I found it in the back of a junk closet at school, along with an waxing machine and other artifacts of the predigital era of Design Arts. At least once a year I have to keep someone from hauling it away as garbage. It works a like an inverted opaque projector: you put an image in a lit chamber above a pair of sliding lenses; then, you adjust the lenses until the image is projected at the size and clarity you want on the table below. In this instance, I stuck my original pencil drawing in the chamber, and projected it onto a block of Arches 140 lb. Cold-press watercolor paper.

This is the tracing of the projected drawing, darkened via Photoshop for your ease of viewing. The idea is to actually have a very light drawing, so that it won't show through the paint.

If I were at home, I might have just redrawn the sketch at a larger size by hand, or blown it up on a xerox machine and traced it with my shoestring light box (a pane of glass balanced on my lap and a desk lamp between my feet). Or made the xerox into a sheet of carbon paper by rubbing the back with graphite and transfering it.

And then I restablished my line drawing with a thin painted line, and blocked in the basic value scheme. The paint I'm using is about half Prussian Blue and half Payne's Gray. I think I meant to just use Payne's Gray, but grabbed the Prussian Blue by accident, and thought Huh, okay. At this stage, the color doesn't matter as much as the value.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Painting Procedural pt. 1

One of my favorite things on the internet are art tutorials. This is my little contribution to the genre. Except, I'm calling mine a "procedural," because I'm not sure anyone should tutor themselves in my process. See, despite years and years of art school, I didn't take a class that was actually about how to paint until I was well into my freelance career. So, in my ignorance, I cobbled together a relatively consistent way of making my way through a painting. It works for me, but there are probably much smarter ways to go about it.

This particular painting is not a commission. This is my little way of celebrating the end of the McGraw-Hill jobs. That had kept me so busy that I hadn't really painted for the past two years. As a result, I've been a bit fiddlier with this painting than usual. This is partly because I'm a little rusty, partly because I'm self-concious about presenting it as a tutorial, but mostly because I'm just having too danged much fun playing with the colorful wet stuff.

Here's a quick sketch, drawn out on xerox paper. Why xerox paper? 'Cuz it's cheap, and plentiful, and quality is not an issue at this stage.

Costume reference, and inspiration. How could I resist drawing a get-up like this?


A xerox of my xerox, which then becomes a value study with the application of a little more pencil. I would normally do this on the original sketch, but I was working at school, so it wasn't much effort to make a copy. This preserved the original as a line drawing, which will be useful at the next stage.

Friday, December 01, 2006

More Gormenghast

The Ladies Clarice and Cora.

It's very hard to come up with your own images for characters after you've seen someone else's version. Frodo used to look like a Rankin and Bass drawing. Now he looks like Elijah Wood. I started drawing the Gormenghast sketches in order to drive the images from the BBC television production out of me head. They were interferring with my enjoyment of the book. But, I loved the depiction of Clarice and Cora, and, will continue to hear the actor's voices in my head when I read chapters in which the twins appear.