Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Beautiful Day in the Studio

Hello Neighbor. Today, I would like to give you a tour of my studio. Prepare yourself. This is where the Magic happens. Welcome….to My World.

Ok, so if we could all look past the raw wood beams, exposed drywall, and plaster you can see my work place. A bedroom turned studio.

As you can see I’ve altered my art desk a bit to allow it to hold multiple desk lamps at a further distance from the table’s surface. This gives me more consistent lighting as opposed to hot spots and shadows from a lamp that is too close to the painting. It does make the desk a little top heavy so I’ve placed small weights on the bottom to help keep it grounded. Was it worth it? Perhaps.

I have another portable art desk in front of my main desk. It comes in handy when I need to lay out ref, other paintings, the cutting board etc. But it’s also great for when art friends stop by to paint and hang out i.e. mostly just hang out.

The rest of the room is mostly for my computer, printer, etc. and hanging files for organizing invoices, clients and the like. I hope it’s not too weird that I have a bunch of my own paintings on the wall. I really just don’t have a lot of room for them and thought they would be even more weird scattered all over my house. Plus I’m obsessed with my own work and spend most of my days staring at old paintings wondering where it all went wrong…

These are a few photos of my basic set up while working. I’m right handed so I keep most of the supplies on the right side of my desk for easy access. I like my light shining in at a slight angle from the left. The windows to the room are also on my left side so that during the day shadows from my hands aren’t being cast onto the area I’m working on. There’s a small Tupperware container which I store my paints in. I lay a paper towel at the bottom and then set my paints onto the towel. Every now and then the paints need to be sprayed with water to prevent them from drying out. In this way I can keep my paints usable for quite some time. I prefer a basic round water color palette for mixing. Fairly simple. Some things that you may not notice that are very helpful when painting: my hair dryer on the left of my desk, and my eye dropper for adding water to paint mixtures. I love my eyedropper. Perhaps someday I’ll do a “What if I won the Lottery Dream Studio Edition”. Or I can sand down the compound and just finish the walls that are already there. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed the visit.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Detail Update

Here's a little detail of what I've been working on lately. The figure is close to finish. I plan on working a lot on the background and hopefully finishing soon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Questions and an Update

"Just a few questions regarding how you got your start after school? and what route you took to get the publicity you have obtained this far. I am mainly a graphic style artist but I really don't know how to live the life of an illustrator. I have been out of school for about 3 months now and I have not been getting much work. I would just like to know what you did and how you occupied your time from day to day, for example how strict was your schedule? and how often do you abide to that schedule? to be more specific: how much time did you give your self to drawing personal work, how much time did you devote to freelance work, and was there a "normal" job in between?

I know this is a lot. But I just don't know how much time I should be devoting to what. I feel that I am drawing too much sometimes and it's mostly for myself. I dont know much about the life style of an illustrator/ artist other than its tough haha. I know I want to live the life of an illustrator I just haven't figured out how to live it yet. thanks for hearing me out. Hope to hear from you soon!"

Okay, so I'll give a little insight into my own personal experience directly after graduating art school. Apologies for those who are hearing this yet again. Drum roll.................. Not a whole lot. I got a few local freelance jobs right out of school and thought "okay, so far so good" and then absolutely nothing. But what did I expect? No one knew my work and I wasn't busy promoting myself. And the work I did get around to showing people was still college level work.

A year out of school a friend informed me of an opening at a local catalog company that used water color illustrations instead of photography. I surrounded myself with their catalogs and did some very specific art samples based on the type of art they used. Now this was not the type of work I wanted to be doing in the long run and it resembled absolutely nothing in my portfolio. However, getting paid to do any kind of artwork out of school is kind of nice. And it was for a full time position. Not to mention they had the most amazing potlucks! I never have potlucks in my current work place.

Thankfully, I got the position and did rather well at the company. My ruggedly handsome physique and witty humor allowed me to rise through the ranks to a Senior Illustrator position. When not at my 9 to 5 I tried to spend as much time as I could tolerate working on personal pieces to slowly replace the work in my portfolio or look up art directors to send samples to. I would also send jpgs of new work to former school mates and teachers I knew. At one point a group of my art friends and myself developed an art collaborative to split time, energy, and funds on promotion. It started off ok and some of us got some new clients to work for. Unfortunately, the work was inconsistent and some of the participants didn't always have new work for promotion. Promoting the same images only goes so far and eventually we disbanded.

A few years later one of the friends I had been sending new art updates to had forwarded some of those samples to his art rep. I was contacted by the rep and started to take on more steady freelance. I worked full time and freelanced for as long as I could and saved as much as possible for what I knew was to eventually happen. The jump into freelancing full time. This all happened over several years and a lot of effort. So try not to be too discouraged and work as hard as you can on your art and on promoting yourself. These things can take a very long time and obviously a lot of energy and persistence. Hope that helps or at the very least gives some of you realistic expectations for life as an artist after college.

Now for a little work in progress update.
Here as you can see is actually a halfway decent sketch. If you've seen some of my other sketches you know what I'm talking about.

After having a friend of mine get dressed up and levitate for photo reference you can see my final drawing here. I'm doing some shading where I feel it's necessary and sometimes a little more just because. I want my drawing to be as close to what I want prior to putting down paint as the first wash of paint will seal the graphite and make drastic changes almost impossible.

Here I've laid down a few thin washes of acrylic. While wet I took a paper towel and dabbed out the paint where the undershirt is because I know I want that to be a lighter area in the painting. At this point I also laid down some solid black where I knew it was going to get very dark. This black will be a great reference point for me to judge other dark areas of the work as I go. I also took a thinner version of the wash and reinforced some of my pencil work so that the information doesn't get lost in the following washes that will continue to darken the suit.

These last two shots are basically me laying down some thin flat washes. I then start to add a gradation by applying a mid tone wash and slowly diluting it by adding water to my brush as I pull the paint across the figure. On top of this I'm also using a dry brush technique to slowly build value as well. For a short painting demo you can view this video

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Feature in Musetouch

I'm currently featured in the 13th edition of Musetouch Magazine.  I found the juxtaposition of some of my imagery quite interesting as I haven't actually held them all next to each other.  Especially seeing "The Escapist" next to "Apart From Falling".  There's some other very cool imagery including the work of Nate Frizzell. Thanks to Maia for putting this all together!  You can see the issue here.