Monday, December 29, 2014

further progress on the astrodon page

It looks like I'm about halfway finished with my Astrodon story for the tenth issue of Magic Bullet, as the deadline fast approaches. Astrodon was both easy and challenging for the same reason - there really isn't much info at all about the mysterious suaropod, first discovered in Maryland, not far from the Washington, D.C. area. This also makes it both interesting and boring, for that same precise reason, but honestly, are dinosaurs ever really boring? I guess that would depend on who you ask.

I never really have ever considered myself a comic strip/book artist, though I've got some work published in some great books. It's just something I don't do consistently enough, which is why I actually enjoy the challenge of working on the occasional story for publications such as Magic Bullet. As difficult as it might be for me, I still like the old-school approach of doing it all hand-to-paper, even the writing, which is the toughest part of all, especially when applying it to the panels. Anyhow, I'm pretty pleased with the illustrative part so far - that portion I've enjoyed thoroughly, and it takes me back to my youth, this drawing of the dinosaurs again. Plus, I feel like I've learned something new, as I actually have done a bucket load of research, despite the very short narrative. I've honestly never heard of Astrodon, or some of the other dinos associated with it before, and I'm hoping, if anything, I'll invoke some curiosity, debate and discussion about it with my page. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

progress on astrodon

Currently I'm working on a story page about the official Maryland state dinosaur, known as Astrodon, named for its star-shaped teeth. I've been wanting to do a comic story for a long time, focusing on dinosaurs, so I thought choosing something local would be an appropriate fit for the upcoming tenth issue of DC's premier comics newspaper, Magic Bullet. This issue will also coincide with the tenth anniversary of the DC Conspiracy, a local comics-making collective founded by Matt Dembicki. I remember attending those first few meetings back in the day, so this will be a very special issue to be a part of. So far the progress is slow but steady.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

alchemical vessel, phase one

Earlier this morning I drove out to DC to the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts to pick up a blank, white bisque-fired ceramic bowl. I picked up the bowl because I was nominated to participate in the third annual Alchemical Vessel exhibit and fundraiser this coming spring. I sketched out some ideas today for my bowl's design, and I chose and researched some subject matter that related to strength and healing and resolve in times of crisis. I'll go more into this as I gradually post my progress on the bowl. Currently, however, despite completing the first phase, which is simply a sketched out idea, I'm still kind of blurry as to how to approach applying it to the bowl. My original idea was to use acrylic paints, but I'm drawn more to the notion of glazing the entire piece to add to the bowl's overall strength and visual aesthetic. I'm only minimally experienced in ceramics, though I've got enough of an idea of how things work and so far have had no problems when working with them in the classroom. So, I will most likely apply the image with an underglaze, which works like acrylics in that you can mix colors to create new ones. Then I would apply some clear coats of glaze on top and fire the piece. I'm already gaining a huge amount of respect for those who work with ceramics, as it's such an unpredictable artistic medium to employ. The only other idea I had was to do a detailed colored pencil application, which would create a flat, matte look to the piece. Still, glazing, despite the risk, looks like the way to go for a good number of reasons. 

I first learned of the Smith Center when I visited the Joan Hisoaka Gallery portion of the place during the summer of 2012. I went to see an exhibit focusing on Outsider and Visionary art at this beautiful space, hoping to see some works by artist JJ Cromer, in person. A year later I would acquire a piece from that exhibit by JJ Cromer, and in between that time, JJ and I collaborated on a mail art exchange that would later be exhibited at the neighboring Off Rhode Studio gallery portion of Art Enables. A little over a year later, Mary Liniger, executive director of Art Enables nominated me for the Alchemical Vessel exhibit -something I had wanted to try out for since I first heard about it a couple of years ago. It always amazes me how things sometimes work out this way, and it is a real honor to be a part of this awesome project, dear to my heart for a number of reasons. In the meantime, you can learn more about it HERE. Below is a video clip featuring work from a past exhibit. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

black and white photo challenge from november

I was tagged to participate in the black and white photo challenge for a second time in recent weeks. Of course I could not say no to a good creative challenge, so I decided to participate, again. What I loved about this challenge is that it forced me to go back into my photo archives and really look at a lot of photos (hundreds at least), and decide what would make a good b&w image. I looked for subject matter with good texture, shadow and contrast, as not any old image would suffice as decent b&w photography. Some are as recent early this year, while others go back as far as from a decade ago.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

the gift of nothing at the kennedy center, washington, dc

Yesterday I went with Kris to see The Gift of Nothing's worldwide premier performance at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. I also did a guest blog post about it HERE at the ComicsDC blog!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

last day to see outsider art inside the beltway at art enables!

If you can't make it to the Outsider Art Fair in NYC this January, why not stop by Art Enables to see what folks from all around the DC area are doing instead?  Today is the last day to catch their annual Outsider Art Inside the Beltway exhibit, which is indeed a spectacular show. I got a lot of shots from the exhibit, but as always, the art is well worth seeing in person. Plus, they're having a great workshop lined up today, for participants of all ages! If you're in the area, be sure not to miss it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

monster mash mail art

I think this year we'll be skipping the pumpkin carving, costumes and decor for Halloween, however, I did get into the spirit last Saturday and did some "monster mash" doodles on some mail I sent out to a couple friends. Hope they like the art work!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

grump returns to artisphere!

In time for the 2014 GRUMP holiday arts and crafts event at Artisphere, Arlington, VA, I made a couple of GRUMP yetis. The yeti is the official GRUMP mascot, so I tried my hand at a couple of different versions, the top one being a Splotch Yeti, while the bottom was more in a tattoo/street art style, with the clean lines and all. I really bombed the first time trying my hand at the bottom one - it turning out looking like some kind of strung out Charlie Manson, so that promptly was scrapped. I'm glad I hung in there and went back to the drawing board for a second attempt. The top one was made on some thick black paper with white watercolor ink only. I used the other end of my paint brush to poke out impressions for the eyes and mouth. He was more or less influenced by the big ol' Wampa from the Empire Strikes Back.  It took no more than about five-to-ten minutes to complete. The bottom one, showing a very grumpy grump of a yeti, who misplaced his present on the top of his head, took about three hours, if you include the first attempt, which involved lots of line work, only to get worse and worse as I added more and more lines and detail. My original intent was to keep it clean and minimal, but somehow I derailed and ultimately failed. During the second attempt, I made sure to stick to the initial plan, and pencil everything out first, while changing the facial features and overall look of the beast. In the meantime, my wife Kris (whose own grumpy yeti is down at the bottom of the post) will be selling work, as well as myself at GRUMP, whose official date is Sunday, December 14th, from 11am - 4pm.  It's going to be "super sized" this time, and a ton o' fun!