Friday, June 20, 2014

new studio set up

After nearly a year of living in our new home, I think I finally have a decent arrangement for where I'll focus on working on my art. Originally, I had my studio set up downstairs in the basement. While the basement is finished and carpeted and has lots of space, it was just too dark for making art, at least compared to where I now work, upstairs. Plus, it got really cold in the fall, winter and spring. The lighting upstairs is just right, and I'm next-door to Kris' studio room now, which is nice. 

The studio serves quite a few purposes, in addition to being a place where I work on art, it is an office, a personal library, a gallery where I display my collection of art by JJ Cromer, and it is where my good turtle-friend of eleven years, Gammera resides. One thing I made sure to do was find a place to frame my art collection that was affordable and good to work with. I found AC Moore the best place for this, as they provide UV proof, museum-quality glass for preserving art work, and have amazing deals on custom-framing, so over the course of the year, I went in and got an average of one or two pieces framed each month. I'm not one of those artists who has paint all over the walls or the floors, mainly because most of what I work on is smaller in scale, though lately, the larger stuff of recent weeks was made in the basement, where I can spread out some more. In the meantime, I won't do much more explaining and let the pictures speak for themselves. I look forward to getting a lot of work done in this small but inspiring space.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

sketch dump: 6/8 - 6/14/2014

So, this time around I felt the need to break away from the observational stuff and play around with line, shape and form, and basically doodle, for lack of a better term. On and off I've worked on these things I've called "scribble critters", which basically begin with a pretty random scribble, much like with the Splotch Monsters, only not with paint. I tend to outline the outer edge, or contour line of the form I've created to define it's shape some more, then I begin filling in the spaces within the forms, adding lines, patterns, whatever comes to mind, turning them into individual living organisms and entities. They tend to resemble something that is a cross between a robot and an alien when I'm finished with one. We had our last week of school with the kids, last week, and perhaps making these was a good, mindless way to handle some of the craziness that can come with the final week of school before summer break begins. The word "mindless" might not be accurate however, though I tend to try not to think and keep things at somewhat of a stream-of-conscious level, there is still, simultaneously, a good deal of deliberation and careful consideration when it comes to how and where I place things when drawing these. All of these can be starting points for something bigger, I feel, but for now they remain nothing more than freaky little doodles. In the meantime, some music that inspired these drawings brought to you by Jonah Sharp, aka Spacetime Continuum - a classic track from the 1996 album Emit Ecaps titled "Swing Fantasy", a perfect soundtrack to summer.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

wild ocean signing at the winchester book gallery & more!

Last Saturday Matt Dembicki, Andy Kettler and I did a book signing for Wild Ocean (Fulcrum Books) at the Winchester Book Gallery, in Winchester, Virginia. Christine, who runs the store, saw some copies that came in and invited us out to not only sign books for customers, but also to sign their author/illustrator wall, which was a real honor! It was good to see friends and folks come by and say hi and buy some copies of our book (thank you!!!), edited by Matt, who did a wonderful story about the hammerhead shark, beautifully colored by Jason E. Axtell, another D.C.-area artist.  At one point, my hand was getting a little cramped from signing books and posters even, which is a good thing I suppose. While the signing was great fun, I especially enjoyed the car ride to and fro, as Matt and Andy kicked some serious knowledge about comics and comic book art. I was especially surprised to find Andy was familiar with an old favorite I collected in the late-nineties called Akiko, by Mark Crilley, considering how young he is. They both mentioned wanting to explore a more freeform approach to comics art, and I suggested they check out The Overlords of Glee by Canadian artist,  Billy Mavreas, a prized-treasure I picked up at SPX back in 2006. I was glad I could at least offer a little something to the table during the drive back home. In the meantime, this Saturday is Art Enables' second Saturday workshop from 1-4 where you can design your own flag. It's also your last weekend to catch the Wild Ocean exhibit before it closes on the 20th. It's a fantastic show for an equally fantastic book, so check 'em both out while you can!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

sketch dump: 6/1 - 6/7/2014

With this past week's sketch dump it looks like I've either reverted back to my childhood or I've come full circle, with regards to both subject matter and materials. It was great using crayons again, as they're so versatile and easy to work with. As for the dinosaurs, finding actual subject matter to work from was kind of difficult since they're pretty much extinct and have been for quite some time. That's when I turned to a book I got for my twelfth birthday, an amazing book simply called The Dinosaurs, masterfully illustrated by William Stout.  Reading this book and seeing those illustrations takes one back to a time long before humans walked the earth, and using his work as loose reference made me realize how incredible Stout was, making me wonder if the guy secretly had a time machine and a camera back in the late seventies/early eighties. Anyhow, I've been pretty excited by an idea I'm going to pursue, and I couldn't think of  better reference material for inspiration.