Monday, November 26, 2012

Turkey Day Draw Time with Uncle Christopher

My nieces and nephews range in age from 2 to 13 (and a half, she would like you to know). Every holiday we are together we gather around the table, pull out the drawing supplies at hand, and draw together. It's always a lot of fun. I am related to some very talented artists. Here are my efforts from that day.
Crayon, which I rarely work in. Rose Art's black will draw on top of the other colors, but tends to get on your hands.

A bear. A baseball bear. (Drawn with my markers.)

The family pets.

Monday, November 12, 2012

From Rough to Final : Anatomy of an Election Editorial Illustration

Here's a shot of an illustration I did for the Fort Worth Star Telegram. the article was about how to host a bi-partisan election night watch party.  (I don't live in Fort Worth, but a friend was nice enough to take the photo and send it to me.)  
As always, click the illustrations to see them bigger.

Here's the final. 
(They cropped off the right side, which was what I wanted.)

The original rough sent to the client. They liked it, but needed it to be more tall than wide. In the final I changed all of the character drawings but the male donkey.

With the female elephant coming in from the right, and her donkey pal across the illustration from her, they needed a relationship, some reason to interact. "He's got her flag," was my solution. Note also, the switch from the elephant grabbing the Tasty Snack with his hand, to a more natural for elephants with-his-trunk action.

On my way from the elephant above to the elephant used in the final, there was brief stop here. This was from photo reference, so the elephant is more representational than my style.
(Though I still really like him.)

Here's Mr. Final Elephant.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Kids and Traditional Media

The above is a screen shot from a commercial (for a Microsoft product*) I find terrifying and sad. Little girl sets computer up on her easel and paints on it. What, no real paints for kids anymore?

Which I posted on Facebook. And people responded. Nice people who are my friends. People with kids talking about how this was good as there was no mess and the images could be sent to grandmother right away.

And so I said this to them, I say it to you:

Let me break down my position here. I am glad kids can have their digital paintings and grandma can have her artwork. It is handy to not have a gigantic box of a thousand kid paintings to keep track of. It is also super nice to not have a mess in the house. I appreciate all of these things.

But ... BUT ...

Gone--GONE!--is the tactile. Gone is the smell and the grittiness of tempura paint on paper. Gone is the way crayons kind of don't work when you try to pile color on top of color. Gone is watercolor paint running amok, escaping across the paper and bending it, soaking through. Gone is salt in that paint, spreading it, and creating weird effects. Gone is the pencil lead and the funky smell of markers. Gone is understanding why the media on the computer mimics what it does. Don't take real media away from your kids, especially if they are artistically inclined. The key element of art is the experience of all of those things. It's messy and weird and amazing. This is learning art. This is what art should be for children. (And adults too.)*

Admittedly, there is some irony here as I work digitally.  But, I still do all of my under drawing in non-photo blue pencil (items that are getting harder to find) and my line with B leads in my mechanical pencils on 50lb Canson paper. The lead is soft, almost buttery, as I turn my pencil for fat or thin lines. The paper pulls and tugs as I draw, spinning the paper around to get the right movement of the line or follow the angle of the shape I am drawing.

I got here through the journey through traditional media and they are still my favorite way to work. They are dear to me. As a kid, each time at the table with paints, pencils, or crayons were keystone moments of discovery in my development. Were I to not have had them, there would be a large absence from my life. You would be taking away one of the greatest loves I have.

* Copyright Microsoft 2012, used without permission