Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tip #001.

So I was just thinking it might be helpful to throw out the occasional art tip in the blog. Okay, that's a lie - I've actually been considering it for a long time, but it's only now that I came up with something I thought would be helpful. I wouldn't want to just regurgitate advice from other artists, after all.

Now, where I was again?

Riiiight, tips. I use spraypaint in my work from time to time, and the stuff I like the best is Montana Gold. Great selection of colours, plus they've got a system of interchangeable caps in several different sizes. My one beef is that the caps can gum up pretty easily, depending on how you use 'em. I'm a big fan of spatter, and that seems to exacerbate the gumming-up issue. The other day I busted out a can of Red Orange (#2090) and found the cap on it was completely blocked.

Undaunted, I tried a couple other caps and found them clogged, too. But fear not - eventually I found a few that were still functional. So I got to work laying down some orange shading on my latest car illustration (more on that later), and when I was done, I put on my thinking cap and started pondering the whole clog issue.

The "aha" moment came when I remembered I have a compressed-air gun that I use to blow dust and crap out of my keyboard:

Just a cheap little accessory from Staples. I think it cost 20 bucks. I just inserted the nozzle into the bottom of the cap I'd just used, and blew all the residual paint out of it:

It was just that simple. Now, I haven't sat down with my abacus and crunched any numbers yet, so I couldn't give you any kind of cost-effectiveness breakdown, but I can tell you the caps cost something like 75 cents, and a pack of 4 CO2 refills retails for 20 bucks. Considering I've had caps that were ruined after one use, I think this'll eventually work out for the better.

Oh, and the car I was talking about? Here it is:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Inspiration: Bob Peak.

Let's talk about Bob Peak today, shall we?

Bob was a legendary illustrator - another one of those whose names you might not know, but whose work you have definitely seen. He got his start in magazines and advertising, back in the days when you could still make a living as an illustrator in those fields. His work from that era is amazing - incredibly dynamic, bold, adventurous, full of movement and all sorts of visual excitement. His work appeared in (and on) Time, Newsweek, Cosmo, TV Guide, Vogue, Sports Illustrated, Boys' Life, Esquire, Look, the Saturday Evening Post, McCall's, etc. etc.

It's his move posters that you'll recognize, though. Apocalypse Now, the Star Trek movies, In Like Flint, The Spy Who Loved Me, Superman, My Fair Lady, Funny Girl... he revolutionized the whole artform. He jumped into acrylic paints when they were a relatively new medium, and inspired generations of illustrators and painters.

Commercial artist/blogger/all-around cool guy Leif Peng has a great collection of Bob's work in this Flickr set. Go take a look; I'll wait right here.

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Okay, you're back? How was that? I could trawl through those images all day, personally. That art, regardless of topic or client, is just something to see, and it's really inspiring me to get my Bob Peak on.

For more info on the man, check out his official site. You can also see a few samples of his work right here.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Buzz Buzz.

I'm getting prints done of the robot bee soon. Did a test print on my trusty Epson earlier, with the bee itself almost 10 inches high, and it looks pretty great, if I do say so myself:

This presents a promotional opportunity for me: because of the odd size of the artwork (20" x 10"), there'll be room on the print (20" x 16") to squeeze in a few business-card size pieces to give to clients.

So the question is, which of my illustrations should go on them?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Colour Me Happy.

So hey, I'm still plugging away on the hot rod book. Learning all kinds of things - some trivial, some not. One of the most fun things about a new piece is deciding on the colour. It's amazing the kind of resources that are out there on the net these days. Yesterday I started on a picture of a 1960 Chevy Impala Brookwood station wagon, and put the word out in a few places (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that I was looking for colour suggestions. In the space of an hour I had about a dozen suggestions, and dammit, they were all good. I'm still undecided, to the point where I may actually do 4 versions of the car.

But I digress - I was talking about the resources you can find online, wasn't I? Well, one of the responses was a scan of the paint-chip chart for 1960 Impalas. You can find it here if you're interested. Stuff like this is a goldmine to me. I think from here on in, I'll make an extra effort to source this kind of reference material whenever I draw a vintage car.

So, back to the Brookwood wagon. I wanted a two-tone paintjob, and a couple of non-stock colour combos came to mind. Then when I saw that chart, I saw several other viable options. (Even as I type this, more come to mind. Maybe I need to stop looking at it now.)

I finally narrowed it down to 5 options yesterday, and then managed to weed out one more. Without further ado:

That's option 1 - what I call the Creamsicle Combo. Cream and orange pearl.

Option 2 is based on factory colours - Jade Green and Cascade Green. I may render them to look like metalflake, though.

Option 3 is Pagan Gold and Candy Root Beer. From what I'm reading in the car magazines these days, that brown is one of the trendiest colours around in that scene. Though I must admit, I never thought I'd draw a brown car.

Option 4 is, like option 2, based on the factory colours (in this case, Royal Blue and Horizon Blue). And again, will probably be done in metalflake.

Obviously these are all still in the extremely rough stages, but what you see here should get the point across. And the more I look at these, the more I like all of them. This car would probably look good in just about any colour, really.

Anyhow, if you've got feedback, I'd love to hear it. Other suggestions would be fine, too. Maybe I could do a poster with a whole slew of Brookwoods on it.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

To eBook or Not to eBook.

Been doing a lot of reading about social media and the future of publishing lately. And tonight I've been doing some thinking about releasing Hey Ladies in eBook format. I still know next to nothing about the format - haven't used a Kindle, haven't even seen an iPad yet. But something about the idea intrigues me. I don't yet know how I'd get around potential copyright-infringement/pirating issues, but I'm definitely gonna look into it.

In the meantime, let me ask you fine people a couple questions: first off, does the idea even appeal to anybody? And equally importantly, how much would you be willing to pay for something like that? Inquiring minds want to know...