Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hey guys, sorry for the radio silence. Have several things due on the 3rd. But I have been working on this project. My scanner's still packed but I'll dig it out tomorrow. I'm trying to decide between

A. Showing Dexter in front of body bags marked as different stations, i.e. hbo, nbc, abc, etc, because the show's become a hit and really been butchering the competition.

B. Creating Dexter's portrait out of a blood spatter because that's his job in the forensics department, as well as an insight into his morbid moonlighting.

Colored Pencil?

I have very limited access to art supplies back in Boston so I've decided to revisit my collection of colored pencils. I have very limited experience working with said pencils & I know they can be finicky. Do any of you have any experience/have any helpful hints for me about working with them?

So this is a colored pencil version of my original sketch. I'm trying out the singing flowers...if I go this route I might have the entire picture plane taken up by brightly colored flowers...I'm not sure how I feel about the colored did help to get a sense of this medium. I'm also not sure if my right hand will free itself from it's claw-like position...hope it's not permanent.

Moon Unit

In the interest of encouraging the production and posting of finish art, here is a personal piece for an article on Lunar Property Rights that I finished on Thursday night, executed in gouache at around 11" x 8". Feel free to comment accordingly.


Friday, May 30, 2008

hey everybody

I have been lagging on working on/contributing to this project a little. I'm planning on doing Daniel Day-Lewis, specifically as Daniel from There Will Be Blood. He has a pretty distinct face so right now I am just working on getting his facial features down. Conceptually, I was going to make a general statement about his role in the movie as a sociopathic oil magnate.  I'll post some sketches in the next day or so.

Amy WInehouse revisited...and Image treasure trove found

Hey all,

After reading John's suggestion for my piece, I went back to do some more brainstorming. I've shot some reference material with the help of Mike Alan, and Meredith, and hope to have some images up soon, since i don't know how busy I'll be come Monday.

In related news, ironically enough, my family has an estate Saturday and while rummaging through old books I found a plethora of vintage illustration and design images. I have alot of great reference sources now, including early issues of American Heritage, chock full of great images. I'm definitely gonna try and bring these back to St. Louis when I get back. If anyone is interested in seeing some of these things, let me know. I could try and post them on my blog before I head to florida.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

She's Just Being Miley

Greetings fellow blog participants. For this assignment, I have chosen Miley Cyrus as my subject. For those of you who are not in the know, Miley Cyrus is a 15-yr-old Disney star with her own television show entitled "Hannah Montana." She is also the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus (Achy Breaky Heart, anyone?)

Miley recently participated in 
a Vanity Fair photoshoot that caused a lot of controversy because of a particular photograph in which Miley appears topless and covers herself with a sheet. Since the photograph has gotten so much coverage, I've considered actually working with the famous pose for my final illustration, but I'm not sold on it. Here are some initial sketches, mostly posted to appease the worries of Michael Costelloe (see I really am working on it!). 

It's been difficult for me to get a likeness down, I think mostly because she is so young, but the make-up she has on in photographs makes her look very old, which can be confusing. Im pretty sure I can work out these types of aesthetic problems on my own, but my real problem has been with the concept. Right now I'm consider ing showing Miley in the same pose as the Vanity Fair photo, only pregnant, smoking a cigarette, with tattooes, etc., or I'm thinking of making Miley into a puppet, possibly controlled by paparazzi, business executives, and family... but I am not thrilled with either of these and I have been having trouble generating lots of ideas.

I attempted to use the same brainstorming process we used for John Hendrix's editorial illustration project earlier in the year. First, I thought of a couple things I wanted to say in response to the Vanity Fair shoot, or "thesis statements": 1) Miley Cyrus is being exploited for money and 2) Miley Cyrus is becoming corrupted at a young age like many child stars before her. When I started to break down the sentences and come up with metaphors and symbols, I got confused. I posted one of my brainstorming pages. 

Does anyone have any improvements on the ideas I already have or new ideas all together? The reason I hesitate with both of the ideas I have now is that they seem so literal. Yes, a puppet is a metaphor, but it seems too obvious. Also, I'm having trouble showing Miley as following in the footsteps of other child stars; I don't know how to depict that. Finally, an illustration showing Miley pregnant and boozing seems hilarious in theory, but isn't it kind of a cheap shot?I'm starting to think maybe the larger problem is that I need to step back and re-think my statements about the issue. Overall, I am confused. Help!


Editorial Portrait

Hey Guys,

So I whipped up this sexy painting the other day…

just kidding, more like fall of 2006. Anyway, I didn’t do Mike’s project, because I’m a designer and I need to be worrying about refining my typography instead of editorial portraits. Mike why did you invite me to this illustrator club? I probably won’t be doing these projects, but I will definitely be keeping myself creatively busy this summer—my internship is five days a week, and I want to do some design projects on my own, so I’ll hopefully post things regularly.

Okay, back to the portrait…Rachel told me that I actually already completed the assignment (sort of, the person is obviously not famous) and convinced me to post this, so here it is. This is a portrait of Emma Cohen, who in everyday life can come off as prim and prudish. (But she relishes this mask; I’m not criticizing her, haha) Considering this, it is certainly ironic that I depicted her in the context of her bedroom, half nude, in this pose. She’s very scholarly and well read, and I think the original idea for the piece had something to do with the content of her books entering the background, (the letterforms) and parts of her are clearly rendered while others dissipate and become apart of the textured atmosphere. Rachel reminded me that Emma is doing her thesis on desire and sexuality in the classroom, so there might be a link there as well. The piece is done in pastel and acrylic on arches paper, 42inches by 75 inches. Critique as you like.

Also, Mike C—Rachel told me that you did a neat illustration of some cityscape/map thing in Illustrator. I’d love to see it; can you please send me a pdf or something?


Scarlett v2

So this is my second version of Scarlett as Waits. I actually heard her rendition of "Falling Down" on the radio today which was pretty exciting. I know I've been told that I'm tend towards shape-based illustration, but I still don't know what that for now line reigns supreme! Comments?...Oh and I apologize for the nasty jpg that this scanner is less than ideal... :/

Ellen's getting married!

Hey everyone,

I need to unpack my scanner cable so that I can actually post the sketches I have done. That will be done later tonight. My concept is as follows: I want to illustrate Ellen Degeneres and her ecstasy over her forthcoming marriage (to her girlfriend Portia di Rossi) in June. I don't know if you guys remember as clearly as I do that sequence in Return of the King when Gollum (poor thing) finally gets the One Ring by biting off Frodo's finger, and he is capering around the edge of a precipice. There is a fantastic shot of Gollum with a look of immense satisfaction and just overwhelming triumph on his face as he holds up the ring and peers at it. I want to replace Gollum with Ellen to celebrate her long-awaited marriage.

Anyway, more later. I'll post a screen capture of the original shot in the movie and my sketches...

In regards to the question of John Hendrix admin-ing on Summer Studio, I agree that we should extend to him authorship on the blog, as long as we aren't being secretly graded.


First impressions.

Greetings, everyone:

I figured I should check in and commend all you whom have jumped head-first into this activity, both by posting either drawings, feedback, or both. I don't think I could asked for a more auspicious beginning to The Summer Studio, and I don't know about the rest of you, but I have begun anxiously checking for new posts or comments with increasing frequency.

I don't know if many of you noticed, but a certain Mr. Hendrix has taken valuable time from something that approximates an actual career and found his way over to the Summer Studio (without prodding, I may add), generously offering comments on the sketches posted by both Lee and Sam. I suppose we should offer him authorship so that he can offer more insight if he continues to be so inclined, but I will leave that to the consensus of the group.

In review, here's what participants have chosen for our first assignment:
Rachel: Scarlett Johansson
Victoria: Michael C. Hall from 'Dexter'
Sam: Amy Winehouse
Lee: Elvis Costello (Applause for a designer participating in inter-league play)
Jenny: Miley Cyrus (possibly)
Alan: I heard from Jenny what Alan was working on, but I've already forgotten. Alan?
and, as promised:
Mike C: Undecided as of yet, but probably Tom Waits. I hope to post a few doodles soon.

So where are the rest of you? Excuses should probably be posted in lieu of actual work if that is the case.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Drawing? Oh yeah, I learned that once...

Hello, everyone. This is Lee checking in from the Crescent City. Many of you met me last December. Hell, some of you might even remember me. I was a guest critique-er for your comic projects in Digital Adventures as well as your final book project for the Junior Studio. Though I am primarily a designer (with a slim knowledge of illustration), Mike seems to think that I may be of use in this little experiment. I too will be participating in the projects so that, in effect, I will be serving two purposes at once: (1) to critique your work, and (2) to make you all look better by posting my poor excuses for illustrations.

Now then, I haven't drawn on a regular basis at least since Barbaro roamed the earth, so instead of investigating too many approaches up front, I decided to just do some sketching of Mr. Elvis Costello. Below, you can see the two approaches I was taking. The marker approach... well, the marker approach sucks, but the other approach (uniball micros, as it were) has a bit of promise.

And yes, by "promise" I mean there were a total of two decent sketches, one of which looks suspiciously like Jack Nicholson despite the fact that he was nowhere near my apartment during this process.

A while later, I managed to churn out this baby.

It isn't perfect, but it's better than I expected to achieve on day 1. I like the look and feel of it, so I think I'm going to stick to the pen and ink approach; however, I still need to determine what he'll be doing in the image.

So, my question to you all... any thoughts on the last image? Any illustrators I should check out if I'm going to continue with this approach?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

prelims ahoy

So I finally finished the project for the career center i was working on, and instead of packing for my summer in florida, I decided to start drawing and trying ideas for the Amy Winehouse illustration.  
After some research I found out she has one crazy life, and tried various ideas to express that. I decided the best image would be of items and people from her melodramatic career in her crazy beehive hairdo. 
It was great to just draw for a while. After a year of critical thinking putting pencil to paper felt kind of weird. Adding value was even weirder, but it was refreshing.
Let me know what yall think. I gots to have somes critique to get this bird to fly.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I don't have any awesome images to show, but I did recieve an e-mail from my senator, John Cornyn, concerning the Orphan Acts Bill. It was kind of vague, and he really didn't give me a clear answer.
In essence, it seems like he's supporting this because of the bill's support from music and movie industry. He gave me the example of old film rotting away because libraries are afraid of copyright infringement. So....yeah I'm not sure he understands what my e-mail was about.

However, he did say they were revising it to suit all concerns. I got a little lost in the political talk. Just thought I'd update everyone.

Oh, and my editorial is going to be Amy Winehouse, since I usually dont draw women. working on rough sketches now.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


So Scarlett Johannson just released a covers album of random Tom Waits songs from a number of his albums. I listened to the album and it sounds, as Meghan would say, like Scarlett's pooping butterflies and burping rainbows. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Scarlett, but this album sounds like she [her producers] wrapped up Waits in cotton candy & shipped him off to Nevernever Land. I want to do a portrait of Scarlett...maybe on a cloud with butterflies coming out of her mouth rather than notes....I don't know. Maybe with a Tom Waits hat. Not sure yet. Here are some prelim sketches. To capture Scarlett Johannson, it's all about the nose and the mouth so I'm trying to get those aspects down now. Ideas?

The Summer Studio Mini-Manifesto.

The idea behind this is to promote continued discourse and constructive criticism over the creative dead period that is the summer and if successful, beyond. With that in mind, the reason I made all of you authors is that you can post things to it just as easily as I could. I absolutely expect to see your editorial portraits posted to this blog, and I would encourage you to post anything else you've created or found that you feel is worthy of collective attention/criticism. Once work starts going up here, we can start talking about it.

At this point, everyone is on board from the initial invite except Meredith and Ryan, who are both AWOL. Any other suggestions for inclusion?


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Orphan Works Bill

I'm sure you all have been receiving Linda's e-mails concerning the U.S. Senate's pending approval of a bill that will redefine copyright law for creative work. Go back, undelete them, and read them if you haven't already. If this bill clears the House and Senate, it stands to make your professional life more difficult before it even starts, and it would make fun little exercises like this prohibitively careless due to copyright concerns. Linda has included links in her most recent e-mail that brings you to site that allows you to send form letters against the bill to your State Representatives, courtesy of the Illustrator's Partnership. I've copied them here, and I've already sent letters to the NJ, MO, and LA representatives.

House of Representatives:

U.S. Senate:

Editorial Portrait clarifications

Rachel asked a few questions about choosing a likeness, namely:
  • Is any likeness okay?
  • Should it be someone who is popularly known?
Yes, any likeness is okay, but it will help you to choose someone with either an established persona or someone who has done something newsworthy recently. Since it is an "Editorial" portrait, as the illustrator you are depicting BOTH the person and information relevant to the person. If it helps, Lee and I discussed this project this morning when he should've been doing real work. My initial thoughts on people, and why I would think they presented an interesting subject:
  • Eli Manning (NY Giants quarterback) - NFL preseason started recently and there's been a lot of talk about the pressure on him now that he led the G-men to the SuperBowl. This choice should shock exactly none of you.
  • Tom Waits - Touring this summer.
  • Mike Tyson - 'Writing' a new book to try and distance himself from his completely insane past. Plus, I'd get to draw boxing.
Lee's thoughts:
  • David West/Chris Paul - Just ended a fantastic season revitalizing professional basketball in New Orleans (my condolences, Harold).
  • Elvis Costello - Just released a new album to critical acclaim and headlined New Orleans Jazzfest. Plus, Lee loves him.
  • Mos Def - Actually, Lee had no rational reason for this one.
Really, you can choose anyone. The thinking part comes in how to present them to communicate something additional about them. Take Tom Waits: he's a piano player, an experimental musician, a B-level actor, and I think he might be clinically insane, but how I want to portray him is up to me. Hence, editorial portrait.


Good morning, Angels.

(Good morning, Charlie!)

After you all scattered far and wide, I began kicking around the idea of setting up a blog for the summer. The reasoning behind it is threefold:
  1. Hopefully it will encourage all of you to draw or design your brains out over the summer. You can make your life so much easier for your senior year, especially when it comes to execution.
  2. It might allow me to keep in touch with you over the summer, and might facilitate design-based communication between you over the break, which is arguably most important: these skills certainly fall under the category of "use-it-or-lose-it."
  3. Because it could be a heck of a lot of fun, though the amount of fun will be directly proportional to the level of group participation.
So, as you can see, I've decided to give it a shot: welcome to the Summer Studio. Since I have conceived this as a salon or open forum, I will give posting ability to anyone who wants to participate. I've also included Lee Domingue down in New Orleans and Mary Rosamond here in Saint Louis for a few different perspectives. Post whatever you like, links, articles, but most importantly, your summer work. Which brings us to this:

The Editorial Portrait
As obnoxious as it may be, the ability to create likenesses is important. This doesn't mean you have to be able to paint like C.F. Payne or Anita Kunz. The real challenge is finding a way that you feel comfortable making pictures of recognizable people. People you might find interesting for portraiture include Thomas Fuchs and Mark Ulriksen. This means trying it multiple times and failing until it works. What better to do with failures than post them for your friends to see? Besides, you will do something similar to this early next semester with John, and you'll appreciate the practice then.

A representation that communicates both the physical and psychological aspects of the subject is ideal. Format size is 8" x 10" (standard full-page magazine). Let's say, two weeks and if you people don't blow me off, we'll try something else.

'Deadline': June 3rd.

I hope you all can get into this in some regard. It could really be an enjoyable and productive aspect of your summer. Let me know if you have a blogger account so I can add you to the admin list, and if you don't and you'd like to, make one. If it's any encouragement, if I get some response I'll post my own on June 3rd.

enjoy yourselves,