Working on some ideas for the skate deck. I'm thinking that it will be something like this one I circled, with a forest like the one I painted for the shoes recently. Took a bunch of photo reference. I have hundreds of embarrassing photos of myself like this, and some of my friends who were unlucky enough be be around when I needed some ref shots. You would think that by now I would have all the poses I could ever need, but no. I've been thinking a lot lately about improving my digital artwork, and doing more of it, so I worked on some textures today. I don't especially like working on the computer, but recently I've been seeing cool stuff done, and I could save an enormous amount of time. Art directors like digital artwork, I believe, because it's so much easier to change. Also, I'm starting to think it's hard to make your work look current without some digital elements. Naturally, I'm thinking of a traditional/digital hybrid which is really where it's at right now. My thoughts are still forming on this topic. Now that I think about it, I almost always have to work on my paintings digitally to correct changes the AD wants, so how traditional they are is debatable.
Watched this interview with Cheeks. More and more I think I should try to get into animation. Seems like every artist interview I hear, they all say that at one point or another they got a job in animation. http://chiustream.blogspot.com/2009/12/sean-cheeks-galloway-interview-by-bobby.html I think listening to interviews with artists is astoundingly helpful. I tell people to listen to Sidebar all the time. After listening to all of them over the summer, it helped me figure out some hangups in my work and process. Additionally, you can listen to them while you're working, which is always a plus.
So my secret project came out. They're custom shoes for Artsprojekt. You can see them here. I had to keep this under wraps because it's a new collaboration between Zazzle and Keds. They had womans Keds before, but now they have mens ProKeds. I got a pair to customize the old fashioned way, and I had to take a lot of photographs of the process to use in a video that goes along with the launch. I wasn't in love with the colors after painting the shoes and wearing them, they looked too loud, so when I did the painting I went for a more subtle palette. I'm happy with the way they came out. The shoes themselves can be customized in many different ways. This was just the setup I thought looked the best, but you can change all the different rubber parts, the stitching, the laces, etc.
Shoes are one of the only things I don't like illustrations on, which made this an interesting challenge. I typically wear simple shoes. I think it's easy for shoes to look tacky with drawings on them, like Ed Hardy territory. I had to come up with a way to avoid that at all costs. I wanted more of an illustrated design then my illustrations applied to a shoe. I suppose the difference is you want the drawings to be secondary to the design of the shoe, instead of overpowering it. I hope some folks buy these, I get a little cut of each pair sold, so uhhh...tell your friends :)
A really fantastic illustrator named Matt Taylor posted my work on this site today. I recently discovered his work through his twitter and I'm really into it. I especially like his film posters and book covers.
I've found a pretty interesting community of artists to talk with via twitter. It's nice to meet new talented artists, even if it's only through the internet.
Working on skateboard sketches today, but I don't have too much to show for now. I suppose my ideas are forming.
I'm starting a skate deck project today. I got an email from the Montana Skatepark Association a few weeks ago asking me if I'd contribute to their art show/auction to raise money for skateparks. I applied, was accepted, and got a deck in the mail a little while later. If you didn't see, I posted a link on my Facebook fan page, and at least one other person was accepted into the show as well. Cool stuff! I haven't painted a deck since I was a sophomore (I think?) in college. It's been a while, and I'm looking forward to making another one. It's not due for a while, but I like to be ahead of schedule, and it's still my most pressing deadline.
Today I worked on these shirt designs. The final version can be seen and purchased from my store here:www.zazzle.com/jeremyforson/tshirts. I was getting enough requests to make them into shirts that I obliged.
I posted a photo of the large drawings I made to make these shirts. I blew up the small drawings from my recent mash-up piece, and traced them with a sharpie. These are much larger than the maximum printing surface for these digitally made shirts, but I wanted them to shrink down and look sharp. I could have taken the original drawings and put them through a "Live Trace" in Adobe Illustrator, but I really don't like the way vector tracings look. So much so, in fact, that I'd rather redraw them and spend hours cleaning them up. I doubt that anybody else would care...at all...but it bothers me. I also tried redrawing them in Photoshop with a Wacom tablet, but I stopped pretty quickly. I'm still not comfortable with a tablet and stylus; I find them frustrating and slow. I used the tablet to fill in the blacks, and for knocking out large areas of flat color and such I think they are great, but drawing lines kills me.
I'm a little embarrassed about the state of my tracing paper, which I had spilled some inky water on years ago, and you can see how it seeped into the side of the pad. I don't use it that often.
Today I was painting stuff for a project I have to keep under wraps. These are annoying because I like showing what I'm working on, and often what I make under such situations never see the light of day, or they do, but after such a long time that you don't care about them anymore. This one, luckily, should be shown at the end of the month.
In the mean time, I thought I'd share this little texture image I used yesterday to complete the sixwordtales.com illustration. I've been haunting design related sites lately, and I'm finding the cross-pollination fruitful. I read this tutorial on blog.spoongraphics.co.uk, and thought I'd give it a try. I didn't really learn anything new about Photoshop, but I did learn a different way to use it and think about layering and light. Basically the first thing this tutorial calls for is a stock image of smoke, which I cannot afford and probably wouldn't buy anyway; I'm more of a hands on/DIY type of artist, and I like the control it affords me. I have a luxury that a lot of graphic designers don't, which is a wealth of art materials and old paper, and a place to get messy if I need to. Usually GD pros or production artists are at a desk all day and don't have the option of making their own textures, so they rely on stock images.
This is a wet-on-wet ink wash, sprinkled with some salt for the white spots. I actually have a lot of textures I've made over the years for use in digital artwork. Spray-paint, spatters, ink washes, all kinds of papers, wood grains, etc. They're always good to have on-hand.
Today I had jury duty, so much of my day was ruined. It's even more inconvenient when you're self-employed. Normally your job would be required to pay you, even though you're not there. Another example of how freelancers are neglected and overlooked. I did get this guy polished today and ready to ship off. Words written by Stiles White, art/design ma'self.
I have a portfolio on theispot.com now - www.theispot.com/artist/jforson. I spent today setting it up, resizing images etc. Hopefully I won't get lost in the mix. One thing I noticed about the site, like most illustration venues, my work doesn't seem to fit the mold. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. On one hand I think it's good. It could mean that my work is original and breaks from the conventional. On the other hand it could mean I have a style that doesn't attract clients. I think a lot of illustrators compromise their artistic integrity in order to have a more salable service, and attract those ever lucrative advertising budgets. I'm not willing to go there just yet. Maybe when I have kids to feed or something, but for now I'd rather do work I'm proud of.
Something I've been irritated with for a few years has been how my images look when I save them for the web. I spend a lot of time getting them just how I want in Photoshop, then I save for web, and suddenly they look washed out and dead! I thought this was just because they were being compressed, and that was the nature of the beast, so I would up the contrast and saturation before saving them for web to counter this phenomenon. Well, yesterday I did some digging, and found out that there IS a solution! It has to do with the color profile, something I knew nothing about until I read this creativepro.com article. I read it, I tried it, it worked beautifully. I love finding the answer to an annoying problem!
I've been out for a little while because my Grandpa passed away, and I had to go back to my home town. Now that I've returned to San Francisco I'm working on getting back up to speed. Today I joined theispot.com. I've got to format 24 illustrations to fit their specs, but I'll be displaying my stuff soon. Being a member of this site was recommended to me by some of my peers, but I've been putting it off until I was sure that it was worth it. Oddly, the biggest job I had this year came from theispot.com, even though I wasn't a member. I got the job because somebody wanted to contract a friend of mine off the site, but he was too busy (with a different job he got from there) so he passed the client my information, and I got the job! This speaks well for the theispot. If you think about it, it makes sense. Say you want to hire an illustrator, but you don't know of one, or they aren't available, what do you do? You can't google "an illustrator who I like" or just "illustrator" and go through the thousands of pages one-by-one, so you need to find a place with a lot of talent you can sift through. Why this simple idea never dawned on me is a mystery. Maybe because I follow art and illustration so closely, it's hard for me to look at it like a potential client. I can hardly imagine not knowing a single illustrator, but there's people out there like that who need a person with drawing talents.
Also, thanks to booooooom.com for showing my work. I got quite a spike in my site traffic today!
***Sorry if this post is odd. I'm having an allergic reaction to gluten, and I had to take a Benadryl.***
The show is installed and everything is lookin nice. Here's some photos ryan took of the installing process. http://www.doublepunch.com/?p=1475. Come out tonight if you can! 7 till late. There are paintings, sketches, and prints for sale. I'm excited!
In other news I got a blank skate deck from the Montana Skatepark Association and I'm going to be working on that soon. I haven't painted a deck in many years. Looking forward to it.
Sometimes paintings do not go the way you hope. This was one of those paintings. Although it can be frustrating, I know that it's where I learn the most, and it shows that I'm pushing myself out of my comfort zone. That's how we grow! The main hangup with this one is the glowing and soft blurs I wanted. It's so easy to do in photoshop, but that doesn't help me since the goal for all my work is to be able to show it in a gallery, even if it's an illustration like this one. Besides that, I think that it's always better to do as much as you can by hand. I've been trying and failing to achieve a foggy haunted effect for months. When I was painting San Francisco houses with women I wanted to paint the ever-present fog, but it's difficult to do in acrylic. I finally understand out how to do it from studying Eric Fortune and Sam Weber, but that's something I'll be working on in the coming months. Too late for this piece. I got some soft edges with the spraypaint I used in the background, but I got lucky with the overspray, and some parts had to be painted over. Too unpredictable, and painting over it can be tricky. I posted the original scan of the painting, and then the final after I worked on it in PS. In this case I had to repair it in PS, and that's never good.
A few months ago I was contacted by a writer named Stiles White who has a blog called Six Word Tales. Basically, he writes stories that are six words long, and has an illustrator make an image for it. I would normally turn down things like this, but he lets the artists "do their thing" and I actually really like the tales. I read a bunch of them, and felt my creativity firing up! That doesn't happen a lot, so I decided to pursue it. The final words are not settled, but I was going off of "They finally captured the shadow boy." Fun stuff!
Hope some of this makes sense. I've been sick the last few days and I'm kinda loopy.
I've got to install the show on Thursday, so it looks like this is going to to the show as I've still got to frame the sketches. Doublepunch is a small gallery space, so I'm hoping this will be the right amount of paintings for it. I did a Munny because Doublepunch is half toy store after all, but I don't know if I'll be able to show it due to a conflict of interest that I didn't foresee. Word to the wise: Don't expect to get a lot of work done during the holidays. I'm not even a heavily festive person, but I still lost many working hours to family obligations and Christmas shopping. Creativity is like a train that takes a long time to get up to speed, so having to stop and start over and over is very disruptive.
The painting in the top left might be unfamiliar, I've been toying with it for a couple months because it wasn't coming together and I have yet to scan it. I think I'll do that now actually....