Tomorrow marks the year anniversary of this website’s creation and to celebrate, I am making my first “Work in Progress” post. This has been requested more than anything else since the website launched, and while I have been looking forward to doing such a post, the opportunity has not presented itself until recently.
As a working staff and freelance illustrator, there are few (if any) projects that allow for an in-depth progress report at each stage in their creation due to contractual terms that forbid the sharing of such work before their publication. Private commissions however are not bound by such a restriction! So lets take a look now at just such a piece…
Art and music have always had close ties. One reason could be because their creators are both considered artists in their own right (after all we refer to the former as a “Visual Artist” just as the latter are given the title “Musical Artist”), another might be because of the strong likelihood of finding your favorite visual artists at work surrounded by the melodies, beats and rhythms of their more musically inclined counterparts.
While both of the above are possible explanations, a more personal one is that we as artists (both musical and visual) often react to the discovery of another artists work in much the same way: with an unbridled joy and elation reserved for that first glimpse of something new and unique that possesses a quality, excitement and a power that we wish and strive for in our own work.
New Year's day has come and gone and we find ourselves days away from closing out the first month in 2013. I like many others made the obligatory New Years resolutions, pondering ways to make life better for myself and those around me. While the ever popular “healthier eating habits” do in fact feature in this list, there is one in particular that takes the top spot and will likely require more effort than should be necessary to maintain over the next twelve (eleven) months.
“A man is at his finest
towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be
when the Christmas season is here;
Then he’s thinking more of others
than he’s thought the months before
And the laughter of his children
is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than
at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him,
he comes close to the sublime.”
-excerpt from “At Christmas” by Edger Guest (1881-1959)
I have recently discovered and in fact fallen in love with a new art form. While I have always had a soft spot for a well-designed logo or icon, some of the artwork being produced for the iOS platform goes above and beyond when it comes to conveying the perfect amount of visual information while adhering to the confines of an extremely limited format.
As more and more content is produced for the smartphone and tablet market, much of it in the form of third party applications (ok Apple we will call them “apps”), it has become increasingly important to brand ones efforts in an instantly recognizable way. Even more so when you consider the average iPhone has 40 or more apps all vying for that much contested “home screen” space!
An artist goes through many stages when defining the terms for personal and professional "Success". The word itself is subject to interpretation and engenders many impassioned responses, all of which are valid when one considers that at its heart success is a very personal and ever moving target. Should one find themselves actually achieving any or all of the criteria set for their own personal success, the harsh truth is that the requirements will have inexplicably altered and the journey will continue with little pause for reflection.
Having had some version of this conversation with any number of fellow illustrators, there tends to be an unofficial pattern to the basic stages the artist might experience in his or her career.
My but how the time has slipped by. I had intended to take a week or two off from the blog to allow for a seamless transition as we moved from our apartment into our own home, but as we close in on almost a month of silence on the blog I realize I was likely a bit over confident in our ability to hit the ground running.
Well, with the internet up and running again and a spare moment to slip back into something resembling the “swing of things”, I wanted to make some waves for a good friend of mine and his artistic endeavors!
Life is crazier than usual these days with an impending move coming my way, overlapping freelance assignments, and the daily goings-on at the studio. What with all the activity it can be easy to let this blog slide, but as it turns out Heritage Auctions has thankfully come to my rescue in the form of yet another Illustration Art Auction.
This round features their usual wide selection of artists from a variety of time periods and genres, but most importantly it continues to do so in glorious high-res!
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing,fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
-Lt. Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
image: Howard Chandler Christy
One week has passed since Spectrum Fantastic Art Live in Kansas City. This was the first convention I had attended in over three years, and as it turned out I couldn't have chosen a better opportunity to poke my head out of the darkened studio and be social for a couple of days. I was not to be found behind a table displaying my own art as is usually the case with these shows, but rather as an overly excited attendee prepared to be bowled over by what I hoped would be an obscene amount of amazing artwork and artists.
I was not disappointed in either case.
No artist is without their influences. Every one of us can point to at least a handful of artists that have in some way shaped our own work, or otherwise inspired us to strive for excellence in our chosen field. For most of us, that handful is more like a truckload. Some of these artists provide brief flashes of inspiration that excite us with possibilities, while others will incite a lifelong love so broad is their influence upon our own work and imagination
I also have my influences, and every attempt to break my favorites into manageable groups to try and narrow the field is an exercise in futility as I long ago recognized that there is quite literally no end to the artists that I have admired, studied, or who have otherwise shaped the aesthetics in my own work. It is in this spirit I will begin an ongoing series of posts that highlight some of these artists and celebrate some of what, for me at least, have been their most evocative works.
I have been contacted recently by a number of individuals wishing to know if I am the same artist responsible for such Magic: The Gathering cards as Chainer's Edict, Bottle Gnomes, and many others. The short answer is “Yes I am”. The longer answer tends to come in response to the question that invariably follows: "Why don't you feature any of this work on the website?
I wanted to take this opportunity to address this recurring question head on, lest the wrong conclusions be drawn by those who have wondered the very same, and have not yet asked.
Welcome back patient reader! While it has been a quiet and uneventful two weeks here on the blog, the studio itself has been anything but.
Indeed, the last two weekends and many of the evenings between have been spent putting the final touches on the website. Now before you go flipping through the tabs to see what it is you might have missed, let me provide you with an important detail: the website in question is not the one belonging to the artist whose blog you are currently reading.
As mentioned in my first post almost two months ago, I am aware of my late arrival to very heavily attended pool party called “Blogging”. I was also quick to point out that I by no means think that there aren’t others out there who have said it first or better.
With these two facts in mind I wanted to take a breather this week and introduce you to some individuals/groups that are taking to the internet with varying frequency to share their knowledge and passion with you and I.
A week has gone by and we are faced with the loss of yet another giant in the illustration world. Jean “Moebius” Giraud passed away in Paris this morning at the age of 73.
His work spanned a variety of media and fans of all genres. His artwork would grace comic book page and movie screen alike, the uniqueness of his visions so complete that his style would be mimicked time and again. For American audiences this style would go on to define the look and feel of what we would come to recognize as a distinctly “French” feel to the line-work.
A Legend left us yesterday. The Internet greeted me last night with the sad news that Ralph McQuarrie had passed away at the age of 82.
Few movies made their mark on my generation in quite the same way that the original Star Wars trilogy did. And while the simple timelessness of the story itself bears much of the responsibility for this, I believe it was largely the visuals that held the greatest sway over those of us who's childhood was largely defined by the collective imaginations of a few.
Every illustrator I know has an unquenchable need to acquire and surround themselves with those things that serve as a source of inspiration. For most of us this means never having enough bookshelf space to house the seemingly endless influx of books we simply "need" to have. For others it is the amassing of objects that would serve beautifully as props in the right painting, (provided we could just get around to painting it). However all of us tend to build reference files on artists whose ability/style they admire, or aspire to.
While each of these collections provide for weighty topics on their own, let’s take a brief look at some of the resources out there where we can find high quality reproductions of some pretty amazing art.
After last weeks novella of a post I decided to keep it short this week. I tend to be a bit wordy when writing, and I am mindful of the need to give both you and I a breather from time to time!
I recently had the pleasure to be interviewed alongside the very talented Scott Fischer by my good friend Randy Gallegos in his inaugural post on the very informative and respected blog “The Art Order”. Since the interview went live yesterday I wanted to take the opportunity to mention this blog as it happens to be one that I have followed for some time now. Many of you may already be avid readers or regular posters on The Art Order, but for those of you who are only just now hearing about it: Enjoy!
One week has passed since the launch of the website and the most frequent questions posed to me continue to revolve around how the site itself was created. Since I had many of these same questions myself when setting out on this marathon, I figured this would make for a great first discussion. This is also a question that provides our first opportunity to look at a valuable tool for the visual communicators out there.
I should make the disclaimer up front that as the author of this blog, any tools and or resources that are referenced or otherwise enthusiastically discussed here are so only because I feel they are beneficial. I am in no way paid by, nor do I professionally endorse their products or services.
So here we go!
It was not long ago that I thought much the same when hearing various friends say that they were going to begin keeping a blog. For the life of me I couldn’t think of how one would put such a blog to good use, or who would even be interested in the outcome. Since then I have found that many of these individuals can count me among their avid readers, and I am as entertained and educated in the reading of them as the next person. This is not to say that I have suddenly come into a wealth of knowledge that I just HAVE to share, but rather gained a wider appreciation of an outlet that I would have leapt on had it been available to me as a fan of all things art in my early years.