A Modicum of Service

In order to generate the funds necessary to maintain this website, I have decided to offer the following services to all interested parties.  Please note, all prices are listed in standard brownie points (þ).

Count the number of cats I see in one week and provide you with this figure … 142 þ.

Address one of my personal belongings by a (polite) name of your choosing for 1 week … 201 þ.

Speculate on the future of any given subject, concept, or object, and provide you with a brief monograph on my thoughts … 411 þ.

Sit in a chair on your behalf for 10 minutes … 87 þ.

Suggest a possible name for your beard, pony tail, bald spot, pig tails, or other hair style feature … 307 þ.

Eat one raisin on your behalf, and provide you with a brief monograph about the experience … 690 þ.

Suggest the method of outmoded transportation that would have best suited your personality, had you been born in a different era … 851 þ (or best offer).

Ink Fairies — or —
Why We Don’t Go Into the Letterpress Lab At Night

Hair that's blackened to the root
	with ink; they say it makes them cute.
	And smudges on their smocks to boot,
	and clothes, and face, and birthday suit.
Make them welcome, treat them kind,
	and thank them when they come to mind.
A happy fairy's blessings spun
	will make sure that your presses run
	But if their pleasant mood's undone…
Disaster, most acute.

Diesel Ground Sloth (EX package shown)

After the demise of the Detroit auto industry, a number of large empty parts warehouses and assembly plants were shuttered, quickly becoming important habitats for local urban wildlife.  Like artificial reefs constructed from sunken ships, a new, more environmentally focused local government encouraged the overgrowth of these derelict skeletons of industry in the hopes that a resulting blossoming of natural wonders might generate an eco-tourism industry to rival the former industrial economy.  City fathers went so far as to call for the release of many of the Detroit Zoo’s specimens into the “urban biological diversity zone” as seedlings of sorts.

Although a breathtaking number of new species resulted, as products of their environment most resembled aspects of the city’s former industry that residents were hoping to forget.  Although the animal lover’s mecca city planners were hoping for has yet to emerge, the area has raised interest among foreign chemical and energy consortiums looking for spokes-creatures to put a friendlier public face on their industry.

Place Postage Here

Do you think a war was ever won over stamps? Not a little skirmish or a battle, but a real war. The kind of war where the maps all have to be changed when it’s over.

I think of all the ways a citizen comes into contact with their government, probably the two most frequent and most personal are currency and postage stamps.

Think about where you see stamps on a daily basis. They’re in your bag that you carry everywhere you go. They’re in your desk drawer right next to your favorite pens. They’re stuck to the corner of the letters from your friends. A stamp—although a government may print it, although a sovereign’s face may grace it—is a personal item.

So then, if you’re the ruler of a country, but I have better stamps, who do you think the people will support?

Stick Figures Need Not Apply

girl-color

With the unaccustomed introduction of some free time now that classes have ended I’ve suddenly found myself with an excuse to get some sketching done.  Over the summer I’m hoping to practice some animation techniques, but I need something to animate first, so I thought I might try working up some characters.  Something simple enough to draw over and over, but hopefully more interesting than a stick figure.

Anyway, after a few days I think I’ve come up with something that will work.  If you’re wondering about the strange ears/hair situation well…  She started out as a sketch for a goat with kind of pointy ears; then I turned the little nubs into pig tails; then they got short and turned back into ears, but by that time they had migrated down her skull a bit.  Basically I think just try not to stare, she’s kind of sensitive about them.

I don’t have a name for this one yet, but suggestions are welcome.

girl-poses

A Newspaper

newspapernewspaper-painted

Hello and welcome to another episode of media studies.

So we’re back to pencil for this one, but I’ve taken a slightly different tact.  Rather than pencil over watercolor, this time things were reversed.  Also I gave things a try on my usual pencil rendering paper rather than watercolor paper to see how it would hold up under the water.

Before I started I was very concerned that the pencil rendering would simply smear all over the drawing as soon as I got it wet.  I used a full range of pencils—usually up to 8 or 9B—and the drawing surface smears easily.  I work with a piece of tracing paper laid over things just to protect the drawing.  Just to be sure I made up some scrap papers with thick pencil marks on them just to see what would happen.  To my surprise the pencil was very stable, even under some moderate brush work.  In fact, the major difference is that areas saturated with graphite repel the water, so colors tend to sit on top and pool like painting over masking fluid.  There is some loose graphite that at least gets on the brush, but it didn’t seem to effect the drawing at all.

This approach makes it a little easer to control where the color is going to go—as opposed to laying washes down first.  However it does tend to darken the tone of the drawing as a whole, so I’m still going to need to compensate in the rendering process.  Now that I’ve tried things both ways I think I can easily mix the two methods, laying down some base colors over all first, then coming back in later with spot color applications.  Isn’t learning fun?

Child in Wheat Field

child-in-wheat-field-underpainting
child-in-wheat-field1

With some time off this week I’m trying to do some media studies for the salt shaker project.

I’m still not quite sure what I want the final style to look like, but I’ve been thinking a lot about simple pencil rendering lately, so Im looking for ways to introduce a little color to that technique.

This is my first attempt.  I started with an old scrap of cold press watercolor paper.  After transferring the sketch I did some simple watercolor washes (left image), just to block out large areas of color, and to tone the paper so it would look a little weathered.  Once things were dry I came back in with the pencil to add all the real tone and detail (right image).

There are things about the color that I like, but this paper just doesn’t take pencil very well.  Even fresh the texture is too big, and that just gets worse after it’s been wet and wrinkles a bit.  I’ll have to see if I can find some drawing paper that can take watercolor rather than the other way around.

The Information Window

I really liked some of the ideas I got out of yesterday’s sketches, so I wanted to try experimenting on one of them.  Below is one of the sketches I hadn’t completely finished before posting yesterday.

info-window-sketch

Based on the above sketch I decided to add some color.  I redrew things on some BFK and painted an under layer of gouache.  Then I went back over the dried paint with pencil to replicate the original textures.  

info-window-painting

The gouache is proving canteniorious when it comes to color matching.  There is a drastic shift between it’s color when wet on the palette and when dry on the page, and the shift isn’t always in the same direction.  The yellow background for example was originally very pail, but turned rather vibrant as it dried.  

Lightbulbs, Steam-Pipes, Tentacles, and Hats

Some days I sit with my sketchbook and can’t come up with a single thing, and other days this happens.  

graphite-value-scketch-1

I can’t be sure, but I think the catalyst here was thinking about our toaster, which is currently a little under the weather.

graphite-value-scketch-2

I’m particularly proud of that bird like creature to the gentleman’s left.  Sort of half parrot, half traffic cone, half shaggy dog.  

graphite-value-scketch-3

[re]frigerator

Some preparatory sketches for a painting I’m planning.  While I’ve got some time off I want to experiment with a few different painting techniques, so I came up with a very simple composition.  Hopefully I’ll be able to play with this same basic layout in a few different ways.