Thursday, March 25, 2010

10 tips for young (and old!) artists

I may be teaching a fantasy illustration class for teens this summer in my area. Thinking about what my best advice would be I came up with this top-ten list. At this point in my career, its what has served me well.. however the order is arbitrary..

Draw -try for at least an hour or more a day. Be consi
  1. Challenge yourself with what you draw. Your progress is dictated by your challenges. Always challenge yourself with tasks that are beyond your abilities… you will eventually gain those abilities if you do this, and always working within your comfort zone will limit your skills.
  2. Study the masters. Always be looking at pre-20th century art and study what those artists did. Probe these images for compositional thinking and choices made.
  3. Experiment with as many techniques and processes as you can. Don’t be just an illustrator be a painter, photographer, lighting technician, sculptor, teacher…etc
  4. Practice structure, precision, finish, technique.
  5. Practice feeling, emotion, mood, creativity.
  6. Read as many art books as you can. Read old art books. Read stuff on the internet. Reading is cheap and effective.
  7. Draw and paint from life. Learn what reality looks like. It is too easy to be led astray by always consulting other art and photos instead of going to the source.
  8. Seek out those that know. Take workshops, visit studios and talk to the people who are already doing the work you aspire to. These people know the answers, so they are your best resource for information.
  9. Have Fun! Although an illustration career can be a lot of work, if you enjoy what you are doing it doesn’t seem like work at all. Your passion is the fuel for your product, and your love of your work will show in the results.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dead mouse

Yesterday a mouse died on my driveway... and was promptly painted.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Another Andromeda; just for fun.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New daily painting and workshop.

Attention burnt-out tech workers in Edmonton! Does your life's work in digital media fit on the head of a pin? Are you yearning to create artwork that can be given to your grandchildren and admired for the ages? Look no further, friend for opportunity is here!

On March 20-21st I will be holding my second "daily painting still-life" workshop at the Paint Spot in Edmonton.
We need 2 more bodies to sign up for this to go ahead, so if interested, I strongly recommend to call the Store and book it. I guarantee fun and learnin'... more than perhaps you can take. Some pics from the last workshop can be found on this blog post:

Anyhow, I haven't done any daily paintings in quite a few months. Here is one I just finished and took a bad photo of with my cheap point-and-shoot camera. I'm lying about the daily painting part for this one, as it took me 13 hours over a few evenings... but close enough!

Monday, March 1, 2010

sea monster tests and more notes on materials

Did some sea monster studies to try and figure out where I want to take it. The traditional look is like a "sea-dog" with a snout face and fins from the jaw area. I don't think there is any sense in being naive with the design, so I will likely go with the longer, meaner face which helps the curve of the creature as well. This is the look Leighton chose for his 19th century version, which reflect a greater knowledge of animal forms and just looks cool.

I also picked up some brown ink on the weekend.
I got the sepia shade (the only color the store had) but I see they have bistre, which is the traditional tone. A couple quick tests with this and I'm clear now on what materials to use and when:
Basically, the ink provides a stronger, more even coverage that doesn't dry lighter as watercolor does, so it's the optimal choice for compositional studies where you want to lay in simple washes to denote shadow and light, without modulation or detail. For rendering or detailed studies, I still refer the watercolor for the subtlety. You want to combine ink washes with an ink line (pen or brush), but the more delicate watercolor can be laid over pencil.