Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hope, Revisited

So, this is one of the projects I've been working on. You might recognize the picture from this post, though obviously it's now more colorful.

I've been learning more about Photoshop in what feels like leaps and bounds- it seems like every day I spend working with it, I learn a tremendous amount about how to make it work. So, since I've been getting more comfortable with using it, and my understanding of it has gone beyond using the paint bucket, I thought it might be fun (and educational, kids!) to revisit some of my older posts with the intent of coloring them, or otherwise applying my small amount of new knowledge to making them look even better.

Yes, I know- this means I'm not drawing as much. It's a little crazy for me, but I'm really starting to appreciate the idea of Photoshop-created art being just as valid as regular penciled drawings. Crazy! But I find my brain does a better job of telling Photoshop what to do versus telling the pencil what to do.

The picture- um, that's probably about 6-8 hours' work. There are 10 or 12 layers there as well, and God only knows how many colors. I think, were I to repeat this, I could do it in half the time. As usual, I do a lot of thinking on the fly, and a fair number of attempts didn't work out. But, I'm really pleased with it. Still not 100%, but a damn sight better than how I first colored the pictures. (One other thing- if some parts of the picture seem a bit flat, or blocky, or the coloring off, the original Photoshop file of this is about 40Mb in size; this jpeg is about 750kb. Not denying it might be me, but I'm just sayin' :)


Music- "Save Me" - Shinedown

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

No Color For You!

The project I'd planned on putting up tonight is taking a WHOLE lot longer than I expected. So, you get the first page of my little sketchbook. Nothing much in particular, it was just me breaking in a new sketchbook. As a result, much scribbling, little sense.

Hopefully I'll have something more substantial next time.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another Musical Interlude

Ryan Adams is one of these musicians I've heard before, but never realized the songs were "that guy's". I first really noticed him for his song "New York, New York" (not the one you're thinking of), which came to prominence right after the September 11th attacks. The video for it was shot on September 7th (I think) and the World Trade Center is prominently displayed. Instead of pulling the video, they kept it, and the lyrics and the video are a tour and a tribute to New York. Adams' music is pretty straightforward, modern, a bit bittersweet, but very enjoyable.

I drew this because a)I think it's a very striking pose and b)I was feeling musically inclined at the time and since I can't play an instrument or sing, I thought this was a good way to go. Expect more music-related pictures in the future.

Hope the weekend was kind to you. Mine was quite nice, having spent it with the 'rents and with my 'other' family, the Weavers. Lots of fun times spent watching movies, talking comics and movies, and learning Photoshop tips (thanks Joey!).

And now, back to work.

Oh- I'm going to see the Police in July. WOO!

Music: "Everybody Knows" - Ryan Adams

Thursday, February 21, 2008

For a Few Pencils More

Nothing fancy here- just a very quickly rendered "pose" figure. After drawing 3 other pictures in one night, I still had a little bit of artiness to get out and, with the aid of some Muse (via MP3 player), I sketched this out. Unlike most pictures recently, which are started with non-photo blue lead, this was just an 'energy' sketch, done with a 6B pencil, I think. It might have taken a minute to draw. It's always fun to draw like this, kinda just moving along to whatever the music takes me to- I don't often know what will come out. Nothing fancy here, but it was fun to draw.

Once in Photoshop, I tried to keep the same looseness and energy in the coloring. All the coloring was done freehand using the Wacom tablet (excepting for one instance of color-correcting the hands). I wanted a funky, retro-type background, so I took a pre-loaded pattern from PS and blew it up until I had a decent sized checkerboard. There you go- start to finish was about 30 minutes (not counting time looking up pictures of saddle shoes).
(oh- I also cleaned up the bits of annoyance in the Bob Marley picture)

Anyway, that's all for this week. Tomorrow, I make the trek back to the 'Burgh, snow or not! See you next week.

Music: "Knights of Cydonia" - Muse

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

One Love, One Heart

Okay, I admit it. I never listened to Bob Marley in college.

There, now that I've gotten that out of the way... listen, it's not like I wasn't broadening my musical horizons in college, okay? I listened to plenty of different things, bands you'd be hard-pressed to find still in existence now, bands that'd been around since my dad was young, stuff you probably could only barely consider music. But I never listened to Bob Marley. I mean, I wasn't one of those kids- you know, the ones who were in a bit of a, shall we say, haze? throughout college. I just never was interested in that scene, and I kinda lumped Marley in with Phish and the Dead and all those other bands. (Though admittedly I liked what I'd heard of both Phish and the Greatful Dead at the time, but I never picked up any albums). And It's not like I had anything against the music, or the kids who were into it- it just didn't seem like it'd be my thing.

Cut to 10 years or so later.

A local radio station down here comes into being, playing all kinds of music. And I mean all kinds. In a given hour, I'd hear the Beatles (like 'love me do' or 'eight days a week', not just the later stuff), Pearl Jam, Death Cab for Cutie, Glen Hansard, and... yep, Bob Marley. It was a great mix of music- like someone you actually know and whose taste you respect is programming the music. I enjoyed the mix of music enough to listen to it at work, and often. So, I'd hear more Bob Marley. Instead of tuning away (too much work), I actually gave it a listen.

Damned if I didn't like it.

So yeah, I went out and picked up "Legend", and I've listened to it enough that I know what I like. It's good stuff- I really appreciate what he had to say, and I like how he said it. Simple doesn't have to mean simple-minded. Personal favorites include "Redemption Song" and "Could You Be Loved".

The picture- just the cover photo from "Legend". Originally drawn with pencil, then scanned and colored with many, many colors in Photoshop. I'm very pleased with the coloring job (made up, as usual, on the fly), but the little white bits around the outlines annoy me still. Could've been worse.


Music: "Get Up, Stand Up" - Bob Marley

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Self-Deluded, Self-Esteem, Self-Satisfied

I was really trying to find something to draw not long ago- I had the pencil and paper out, waiting for inspiration to strike, but was having no luck.

So, Dave told me to draw my reflection from a spoon.

It was a big soup spoon.

And that's about it.

It was a nice exercise, and certainly different from what I usually draw. Definitely not how I normally draw myself, and a decent change of pace. Shortly afterwards, though, I went back to the big comic book stuff. Man's gotta know his limitations.
Probably no post Monday, due to holiday. Maybe this means I'll get to work on a big project I have, but maybe not. Have a nice weekend, y'all!

Music: "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" - Beatles

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

London After Midnight

This is a bit of a sequel to my prior Dracula picture. The first one was "Old" Dracula, posted back on December 13. It was suggested to me that I should take a pass at the "other" Draculas from that movie, as each one was pretty distinct and visually striking. Of the other two, this was the one that came to me right away- I knew pretty much exactly how he would look (though mirroring the position of the hands came later). It was a pretty straightforward drawing, but for two problems. One, I could NOT get the hands in proportion to the head- they were initially giant-sized hands, and Two, I had no idea what his outfit looked like. I'm not a connoisseur of Victorian fashion. Luckily, I have many erasers, and access to the internet. So, here you go. It turned out fairly well, though I fell back on my old habits when it comes to coloring in Photoshop, and I still can't draw hair worth a damn.

That's it- short post, again.

Music: "#1 Crush" - Garbage

Sunday, February 10, 2008

She's the Cat in the Box

I had a bit of a slight weapons malfunction with Photoshop, so you get a picture of Scout in a box.

Cats are weird. My cats like two things above all else:

1) Being higher up than everyone else, and
2) Being in confined spaces

So I would probably put a box up on top of my bookshelves, but I know my cats. Very cute, but not so much with the agility.

Hopefully some actual drawing next time. Otherwise, more cat.

Music: "Call of Ktulu" - Metallica

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Future of Art Enforcement

was one of those quintessential childhood movies (now THERE'S something to make parents everywhere squirm). It came out in 1987, so I was 13 years old. It had all kinds of things in it that are perfect for a 13 year old boy to see: guns, action, robots, and breasts. Or at least hookers, and they had breasts, so that was close. It was the first R-rated movie my mom let me and my friends watch (then, as now, violence was okay, but not nudity). What a great movie! I loved it- it was like a big comic-book brought to life. And as far as I know, other than leaving me with a tendency to say "I'd buy that for a dollar!" and randomly ask "Can you fly, Bobby?", it's had no long-term negative effect on me. Your results may vary.

Cut to 20 years later. It's been ages since I've seen it on TV, and I never picked it up on DVD. Whatever company currently owns the rights decided to release a twentieth-anniversary edition of it. I found a pretty cheap copy online, and figured I'd give it a go, even though I've been burned by trying to relive the past by watching TV I loved as a child (I'm sorry, there were no good episodes of "A-Team" or "Knight Rider". We all had terrible taste in television in the '80's.). So, for the 2nd annual New Year's Day watchathon, I queued up Robocop and crossed my fingers.

You know what? It's still pretty good. The effects are a little dated, but the story itself is solid. The jokes are still funny, the lines good, but now there's a bit more to take in than the first time around. It's a lot easier to sympathize with Murphy, forcibly taken from his family and made to give up the life he knew (well, he was dead, so it's to be expected). It's certainly easy to imagine the big corporations taking over more and more of our lives as the government fails all around us. Though it'll probably be Microsoft who takes control of everything. Anyway, still a good movie, and worth a watch.

Okay, finally, the picture. I pretty much cranked this out shortly after watching the movie. I started with a soft-leaded pencil for dark, heavy marks- I didn't want to finesse the picture. I wanted it angular and solid. I was really pretty pleased with it- other than the gun (I've GOT to learn how to place my drawings better), I really liked it.

Then I dropped it into photoshop. This was originally to be posted when the Batman picture was, but as I started messing with the picture, I realized I wanted to try something specific with it. So I switched to the Batman, and then came back to this last night (which is unusual; i almost always work on the coloring the night before a post is due). Anyway, what you see is mostly what I wanted to do. Basically, a layer of a few shades of gray, with lots and lots of 'brush'strokes of different shades of gray. I REALLY like how it turned out (again, except for the gun). It's a 'painterly' style I'm really looking forward to trying some more. In fact, I think I have another picture this will work well with...

But we'll see.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you again soon. Have a great weekend!

Music: "Acrobat" - U2

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Heart of Steel

Well THAT took a lot longer than I expected.

This was supposed to be a quick coloring job, just some red and yellow. 2.5 hours and 22 layers later, I'm done. Still, for an unexpected effort, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Iron Man is just one of those characters I love from a visual perspective. I don't even know why, since I don't ever seem to like the armor he has in the books. I guess it's just the idea of a guy running around in a suit of high-tech armor (in crimson and gold, no less!) that I enjoy so much. Who knows. Anyway, there you go... Hopefully I'll take some of what I learned this time around to my next project- part of the time it took to do this was spent re-learning things I've already figured out in the past, but promptly forgot. Ah well, it's not like I have to go to work tomor- crap.


Music: "You Know My Name" - Chris Cornell

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Audio Visual

John Lennon.

I'm a relatively late convert to the Beatles. I remember my sister listening to cassettes of the "Red Album" and "Blue Album" back in the 80's, but not really paying much attention. I do distinctly remember liking "Revolution No.1", though. I also remember a fellow student in college telling me about a bootleg CD of Phish doing a complete cover of the White Album, but not really knowing what the "White Album" was...

Yeah, I'm not sure how I was so oblivious, either.

Needless to say, in the following years my musical tastes broadened and deepened a bit, and I was able to finally come around to understanding what all the fuss was about. Consequently, I've picked up the odd book and DVD with all kinds of behind the scenes goodies and info about the band- not a difficult task, considering they're probably one of the most written-about music acts in history.

Driving back to Pittsburgh one night I was listening to an audiobook of a Beatles bio and decided I REALLY needed to draw them in one way or another. So, lucky me, Borders is open late, and they had a nice Beatles photobook on sale cheap. It was a compilation of photos from one of the British newspapers, so it wasn't exactly filled with a bunch of glamourous shots, but it wasn't bad at all. I found 3 or 4 choice images, and decided to go with this one. If I remember correctlly (and since I just picked up the book, I do), this was John in 1964 on a TV show.

For the drawing itself, I really tried to get just the bare minimum of lines down to make it recognizable, but still a little stylized. Hopefully it worked. I came back much later and did the inking. The only photoshop work was removing the blue pencil and tweaking some leftover lines. I was thinking of coloring this, but decided I actually like the simplicity of the lines better.

End notes:

Casting for Junior Engineers:The Next Generation is now complete! Welcome to the world, kids.
'72 Dolphins: STILL the only unbeaten team in the NFL.

That which does not kill you, still leaves you pretty banged up.

That's it.

Music: "All You Need is Love" - The Beatles