Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sketchbook Project 2012 - Part 2

This is the second half of my Monochromatic book for Art House Co-op's Sketchbook Project 2012. Here's the first half.

Mailed it in today and I am entirely pleased with how it turned out! It's weird to think this little book I have dedicated so many months to is going away and I probably won't be seeing it again for a long time (if at all.)

The covers I am especially happy with since I haven't done much hand lettering in my illustrations and outside of my sketchbooks. These were really fun to do.

Front cover. Spine reinforced with paper-backed bookbinding cloth.
Back cover.
Small reinforcement. 
I left these blank as pseudo endpapers.

Lengthy, behind-the-scenes explanation Part 2:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jorge Manuel Dengo 1918-2012

Jorge Manuel Dengo 1918-2012
Today, Costa Rica mourns the loss of an invaluable man. Universally acclaimed by Costa Ricans as a visionary, Jorge Manuel Dengo was the incorruptible voice of reason, both extinct traits within the rulers of our country.

My dad tells me that as a child, I sometimes drew for catharsis, as a method to deal with the loss of numerous pets. As I am far away from home, my guttural instinct was to draw this, quickly, as a way to cope with this loss. My sadness stems greatly from the fact that I did not get to know my grand uncle better, but I am joyful that the response from "Ticos" has been so universally heartfelt. It is a reminder, and an inspiration, that there are those who have sincerely sought what is best for the country, and not just what is best for themselves.

"We are left without one of the greatest, of which there are none left." 
"One of the best that Costa Rica has ever seen." 
"An example to follow."
"A visionary."
"We are left with his legacy."

Rest in peace, Jorge Manuel.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cigarette Butts

This piece is part of Just Cause at Electric Keychain. This time we chose to illustrate subjects that we feel strongly about, or that we feel need to be addressed.

There is an abundance of comments I could make about this topic, and the feelings that inspired me to draw this. But at the same time, I drew this to show you how I feel, not to tell you. So I won't.

Instead, I will recount how this piece came to be.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Tyger by William Blake

"Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?" 
-William Blake, 1794

Electric Keychain's last project of the year is a Calendar inspired by books. Every artist had a month to illustrate and mine was April, which is National Poetry month. I illustrated my favourite poem, William Blake's "The Tyger." Blake was also an artist, so this illustration is also a tribute to one of my favourite pieces of his, "The Ancient of Days."

I'm not an immortal hand or eye but I dared frame his fearful symmetry...in the clouds!

I love calendars and every year I have a couple decorating my wall. I'm picky with the April image since it's my birth month. Usually I look for something calm and spring-themed (rain is fine too as long as it's happy puddles rain and not dreary sadness clouds rain.) So a fierce "Tyger" in a tempestuous environment is really out of the norm for me in terms of what I'd like to see in an April image. Also figured this was a piece in which I absolutely could not lean towards my usual cutesy look.

I first read "The Tyger" in Tracy Chevalier's book "Burning Bright." She writes a lot of historical fiction aimed at the arts, which is right up my alley. I highly recommend her "Girl With a Pearl Earring."

I realized after I was done that I have been using a lot of blue-orange complementary colour schemes lately but it's been mostly coincidental. I just used colours I found worked and they happened to be blue and orange!

Today, I am featuring some lovely EK people since I was especially excited about this project. Everybody got to nerd around about books and literature and I loved seeing what everybody found close to heart from what they've read. Here's a few pieces I especially liked for particular reasons: 

Jennifer Ely's "Winter Is Coming"
©Jennifer Ely 2011
You are always in for a treat when it comes to Jenn's portraits. This summer I started reading George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice & Fire" series and was therefore really excited when I saw her initial sketch. She has HOW MANY characters in this piece? Eight! From the wolf silhouette, to the likenesses, to the sword, to the tree, she absolutely nailed this and I can't imagine how any Game of Thrones fan would NOT love this.

Find more of Jennifer's awesome portraits at jenniferely.com

Carly Strickland's Sherlock Holmes
©Carly Strickland 2011
This is definitely my favourite piece that Carly has ever made. There was so much care put into  picking all the details and arranging them in the image. All of these items serve to portray a more accurate portrait of Holmes than just his face would do, and that is why this piece works so well.

Find more of Carly's vectors at carlystricklandart.com

Francis Anderson's Cat's Cradle, Ice-ix
©Francis Anderson 2011
Francis's piece is so effective because you make a double take. "Oh it's a gentle little snowflake, look how gingerly the hazmat guy is handling... the ice-ix that could obliterate life on Earth?!" Also, nice touch with the reflection on the helmet.

Definitely check out Francis's animations at callmefrancis.com/

Last but not least, a honorable mention for Elizabeth Allen!
©Elizabeth Allen 2011
She agreed to make a piece on extremely short notice and I was surprised to find out it was a 3D illustration. I don't often come across people who make 3D illus but I'm always intrigued by them. You're using an entirely different skill set and way of thinking, while still having to be conscious of how it will turn out as a 2D image and composition. She certainly captured the serene nature of Wordsworth's poem.

Find more of Elizabeth at lizexists.carbonmade.com/

Finally, here is a glimpse into my process work: