Monday, May 30, 2011

bring your record player

Another painting for the Norman Rockwell show in July!  It is the horizontal sister to the other painting of teenagers.  I took these pictures really quickly and sloppily immediately after I finished it, and then I packed it up and sent it on its way.  

This is my favorite part.  

A portable record player is a good thing to have.  I've got one.  It's not pink though, unfortunately.  

A big gross mess!  I used that brown paper (actually cut up Trader Joe's bags) to wrap up the two paintings.  Recycle and stuff!

I kind of went with a different process for this painting than I did for the other.  I didn't really make an initial sketch, instead I did some little studies and then drew the sketch directly onto the primed board.  Then I scanned it (in pieces...I hate doing that) and did a digital color key.  I always like the way the sloppy color pass looks better than the finished painting.  It has more something.  I'm not sure what.  

I'm not quite as pleased with this one as I was with the other one, but c'est la vie.  I was also in a tremendous hurry to get this one done, and I'm sure that had something to do with it.  Working under pressure is tricky.  Sometimes it forces you to be more awesome in a smaller amount of time, and at the end you are so happy and you feel like you WON!  But other times you can't escape that gross feeling that you really just don't have enough time and what you're trying to do isn't going to happen, and you go into lazy auto-pilot mode.  

In any case, it's time for me to drink an iced coffee, so til next time!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

this painting has no name

The finished painting!  I realized as I was writing this post that I haven't yet named it.  I've been trying to stay looser in my paintings, and let go of that holding-your-breath-trying-to-make-it-just-so feeling.  It's bunches more fun if you are not freaked out every time you pick your brush up.

Sorry about the quality of these images.  I don't have a real camera (these are iphone pics) and the painting is too big for my scanner.  Yes I know I could scan it in pieces and all that jazz, but who has time for that?! (I do I type this I ought to be working on something else, but I get excited when I finish something!)

I know you guys like seeing the painting surrounded by the chaos of my table top...

That thing in the upper left corner is my color work book.  I had to paint what felt like a billion swatches of different color combinations, plus shades and tints for each combo, for a painting class I took at city college.  The class itself was pretty useless, but I've kept and used that color work book ever since.  It's a super helpful thing to have, if you  have the patience to make one.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

doodle explosion

I've been doodling a lot lately.  I'm in this Norman Rockwell tribute show in July, and I'm doing a couple paintings for it.  I'm using one of my favorite (and one of Rockwell's, too) subject matters:  teenagers.  They are pretty wonderful.  This is my very sloppy color sketch for one of said paintings.  

Here are some sketches that I coughed up in preparation for this piece.  I decided not to edit them or make them pretty, so, what you see is how they were drawn on the page. 


Some of these were done from photos.  It is hard to find good photos of teenagers.  The best way to observe them is in their natural habitat: walking home from school.  In photos they either look like children dressed as adults or they are trying very hard to appear attractive.  In person they can't hide all their appealing imperfections though.  

Most of these are not even whole ideas.  I just needed to warm up.  I tend to give up on a drawing half way through if I think it's not going where I want it to.  That's probably not a good habit.  But I keep doing it anyway.  

Even though this was drawn on a huge slice of 16 field animation paper, somehow my favorite drawings are squashed up against, and cut off by, the bottom of the page.  Mer.

This girl is a prototype of the one from the color sketch.  I think I  did a bazillion drawings of her before I found one that I really liked.  My thought process was something like "This girl will have cute short hair.  What kind of shirt would a short-haired girl wear?  She will wear a skirt because she's afraid people might think she's a boy if she doesn't, because she doesn't know how cute and girly she is.  She wears a lot of necklaces for the same reason..." etc. etc.  Yes it's fun to invent people.  

That head right in the the middle is my favorite thing that I've drawn in a long time.  I like that shoe too.  I considered giving her motorcycle boots, but I like cowboy boots better.  Plus it fits the 'Americana' theme of the show.  

I like that girl on the left a lot.  I wish I hadn't drawn that creepy man head so close to her.  It looks like he's trying to smell her hair or something.  Gross!

I hope you still like me now that you know I do lots of ugly and awkward drawings before I get to a good one.  

(Whoooooaaa blogger is all different now!  I like it.) 

Till next time, when I will have a lovely finished painting to show off!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

my fun fun fashion blog

I started a style/fashion/clothing/I'm obsessed with shoes blog with my good former classmate/hilarious friend/fellow artist ED Juan!

We really just started it for fun, and because we are both constantly and consistently preoccupied with clothes. It's been getting a pretty positive response from our friends and the like, so I thought I'd share it on my 'real' blog.

What's on it, you ask? Stuff like this:

Drawings of my outfits...

Cute pictures of my mom from the 60's...

Very poorly taken iphone photos of my clothes...

It's located right HERE!

It's been a ton of fun to update. Good times.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

twelve dancing princesses

My book Twelve Dancing Princesses is out this week, officially, in the world, for you to buy, and love and cherish!

So I thought I'd go back in time to when the book wasn't finished, to when it was barely just started, because it didn't just materialize out of thin air and Photoshop. Like most big projects, it developed in phases and rather slowly. There was lots of sketching and doodling and revising and things that didn't really look like anything that I'm surprised my editor could even understand!

Let's start at the beginning, when I chose what era I ought to place this far away kingdom in. I did NOT want to just do whatever-fantasy-far-far-away-princess-royalty-mashup. I love fashion history, and costumes, so I had to be specific. I liked the idea of doing an 18th century Mary Antoinette fanciful French style, but that has been done, and very beautifully, and one of my own favorite illustrators Kay Nielson, and I can't front Kay. I chose the 1830's-40's, because the kings were dapper, the ladies had big fantastic hoop dresses, and the shoes were appropriately similar to ballet slippers!


I love how GIANT the dresses in that era were! Can you imagine wearing something that big? Everyday? Fitting through doorways in it? Going to the bathroom in it??

I did a few very rough and tumble character designs, for proportion and stuff. All twelve princesses are basically the same princess with different hair and dresses. To design and re-draw and remember all the puny details of twelve separate princesses sounded very not fun to me. It was challenging enough just fitting all twelve into each composition!

Since the story was already written and given the a-okay by my editor, I moved along to thumbnail sketches. They are very rough, and very small: I drew them on 1"x1.5" post-it notes. I did that so that I could doodle a composition and then if I didn't care for it immediately peel it away and draw another one. I went through an enormous stack of tiny post-it's in such a way. The compositions changed very little from what you see here.

This is the whole book in post-its!

I did all the final illustrations in Photoshop. I had to BUY Photoshop, because I had previously had only bootlegged versions of it (from being a student and to be fair, no student can afford that schnazz), and it kept crashing and asking me for serial numbers, and finally just wouldn't open at all. SOOOO expensive, but worth it in the end for a version that actually WORKS. It was a serious crisis for me for about 3 days, back when I was just beginning to work on the final art.

Yes there's like 100 layers, and they are all labeled appropriately. Virgo style.

What I take away from making this book is basically this: I really love making books. I'm beginning work on a new one...but that's for later!