Friday, December 18, 2009

red pencil drawings and new scanner

I've always liked the look of "old master" drawings of red chalk on toned paper highlighted with white. I've never been satisfied with any of the combinations of materials I've tried up to this point to achieve this look... the pencils broke too easily, the paper was too fragile or bumpy, etc.

One tiny trend I spotted at Illuxcon was an increasing use of this look for preliminaries; giving development drawings a more fine-art aesthetic and thus chance for further sales.
In a conversation with one artist, he told me the materails he used so I went out and bought them and they are the closest thing yet to being practical for my use: the pencils sharpen and erase easily, and the white is opaque enough for the needed contrast. I would still like to look around more, as I think the paper could be darker and the red pencil darker as well.

"old master" drawing materials suitable for detailed fantasy art development work:
  • Col-erase Tuscan red pencil
  • Generals white charcoal pencil
  • kneaded eraser

  • Stonehenge "fawn" toned paper

I just scanned these recent test drawings of my parents in with my new el-cheapo scanner:

After a bit of research I found this large-format 11x17" scanner can be had for as little as $150; the ususal price for this type of equipment is $600-$1000. It has some dubious reviews but I'm taking my chances.

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Dragon magazine illustration

A crystal golem and 2 "fell taints" (my designs).
They are the "aberrants" or crazy monsters that are gonna get ya if you dont watch out!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The virtual studio

One discussion/lecture that I missed at Illuxcon was on the topic of virtual studios. For some reason I misjudged what this was going to be about, and I'm very sorry I missed the information. From what I've gathered, a virtual studio is using digital tools to recreate the feel and communication of a physical, shared creative space where a number of artists are in close contact and able to bounce ideas off one another. Because illustration is often a lonely profession where one works from home, there is a real need to be in touch with other artists for feedback and critique. Forming a virtual studio with like-minded artists is also a great way to share information on professional issues and opportunities.

At Illuxcon I was lucky to meet a great group of young, brilliant and promising illustrators who are deeply plugged into the scene and the tools. In the past few days we have set up a virtual studio using a program called Google Wave. This is a collaboration/communication tool that is working brilliantly for us to share ideas and get instant feedback. The tool works like a cross between instant messaging and facebook, where you can have real-time conversations about images. All this is easily organized into topics and the discussion members can be conrolled by the topic starter. While I'e only used this for a few days, so far it is a wonderful way to get much needed feedback. I reccommend using Google Chrome as your browser if you intend to use Wave, as the program seems to work better with that application.