Sunday, December 27, 2009

Iron Mike

Here is a sketch of Iron Mike Tyson from my skecth book. To his side I stared to draw Don King as well. I didn't include King because I never liked him, his hair do, or what he did to Mike Tyson. Say what you want about Iron Mike, but there is no denying that he was a tremendous athlete in the ring, a vicious and brutal champion! I hope this sketch captures a bit of that!!!!!

Iron Mike

Iron Mike with Cus Damato

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Random Quakers

Over the last few weeks I have been working on a project , which involves illustrating some old CT., folklore. For one of them I thought that I was going to go in the direction of one of the sketches below. I needed an image of a confused or out right crazy Quaker woman. So the sketches below are some of what I came up with, although none will end up being used for this particular project, I do enjoy them as stand alone drawings .

Crazed Quaker 1

Quaker 2

Young Quaker girl
with thumbnail of old crazed woman

Old Quaker Woman

Friday, December 18, 2009

West Oakland Beast

I created a series of images for while I was staying out in the Bay area this past fall. I did not get the chance to finish one of them, the West Oakland Beast, so I spent a little bit of time the other day trying to finish it up. I still need to do some work on it and will post the final when it comes together. In this post I decided to also include a little detail of the attack dog, in which is based on my friends dog named Alpha. Alpha and her dad Roman run amuck, chewing on buckets, speakers or whatever they can get their jaws on, during training sessions at the dungeon. They keep the riff raff out!!!!!!

Alpha Detail

This painting as many of my more recent paintings is completed with a very limited palette, Ultramarine blue deep, Cad Lemon yellow, Burnt Sienna , white, and Alizarin. I have learned a lot from working with this limited range of color and is quite the change from the 24 color palette I used on my thesis paintings.

West Oakland Beast
Acrylic on Board

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Childhood influence: Stephen Gammell

Outside influences play a large role in who we become as people and Illustrators, whether we like it or not! I find it very interesting to hear about a particular artists influences and whose work they were looking to for inspiration through their lives. I try and look at my favorite artists, and then the work they were looking at. Most importantly I like to, if at all possible, look at who it was in which their influences were looking at. This gives a lot of insight to where a particular style has evolved from.

For me one of my earliest childhood influences would have to be Stephen Gammell, notably the books, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
By Alvin Schwartz
Illustrated by Stephen Gammell

I believe I obtained this book at fifth grade book fair at my schools library in Wethersfield , Ct.. I have to say that looking back I am actually pretty surprised that they even let us have books like these at that time. Although absolutely masterful, the images in which Gammell created are pretty horrifying, slightly gory to say the least. Some might even say disturbing. Many of which I am sure sent a young boy like me hiding under the covers at night! Without a doubt this must have been an issue at that time.

These books have been included on more than one list of banned books . I was able to find one list of banned books online in which Scary Stories was included. The reason Scary Stories was placed on the list was that they went against religion, and included elements of witchcraft and magic!!!I personally do not find the stories in the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,to be anymore scary, far farfetched, or full of magic , as the ones found in the Bible!

Stephen Gammell
in his studio

Despite some of the negative criticism that Scary Stories has received , in my opinion Gammells work is amongst some of the best. Not always is he creating dark and morbid illustrations as the ones that are found in Scary Stories. Many of his illustrations are full of saturated color, and are quite humorous and energetic. Whether he is working in black and white or in color his unique style of drawing remains consistent, and his amazing ability to compose dynamic compositions always holds true.

The Relatives Came
Cover art
Stephen Gammell

Gammell's style has a wonderful atmospheric feel to it, no matter what medium he uses. He is able to create a look in which objects in the picture fade in and out of fog or mist, and meld into the white space of the page.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Interior Illustration

Many of Gammell's illustrations are designed in a fairly simple manner, often including a single item, object, or figure. Due to his great sense of design and control of value the viewer is always directed to where Gammell wants them to be, right on the center of the action. Gammell's illustrations keep us asking questions, and wanting to know more about what is to happen on the next page!

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Interior Illustration

For me Gammell has been, and will remain one of my biggest influences in the world of illustration. I know I am not alone with this as I have found many different blogs paying a tribute to this great artist. I have been trying to find out who his influences were, without any luck. One would think by looking at his illustrations that he may have been influenced by, Gustave Dore, the drawings of Seurat , and perhaps Goya? This is just a guess. Anyone out there that may have some insight to who it is that Gammell looked to for inspiration, please share!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Revised NYC Dog Walker

Currently I am working on a revision at a larger scale of one of my paintings, The NYC Dog Walker. In this post I wanted to share a little bit about he process I used to create the original piece. For the most part it is pretty straight forward, and like most pieces I start off by drawing tons of small thumbnail sketches. For this one, once I had a thumbnail that I liked (pictured below)I went ahead and ran it through some filters in Photoshop.

Dog Walker Thumbnail
After the thumbnail went through the photoshop filters, I went ahead and colorized it blue, as seen below. This image will serve as the final paintings under painting:

Thumbnail after applying Filters

This process of running the sketch through filters, and then colorizing it, makes for some spontaneous patterns, shapes, colors, and textures in which you may not arrive at otherwise. Once I have this done I will print this image out and mount it to a piece of board, and begin to paint on top of it. I have an idea where I want to go with the painting in terms of the figures, as this was worked out in the thumbnail stage. I try not to be a slave to my original skecth and make efforts to hold on to the more abstract shapes and patterns created by the photshop filters. From this point I continue to paint pretty directly, making changes and revisions along the way until I arrive at the final image seen below:

NYC Dog Walker

So the revised version of this painting is going to be a bit larger, measuring about 12"x16" versus the original 5"x7". So I wanted to tighten some things up in the drawing , and make some changes to the dog's, vehicle,etc. Pictured below is the new drawing that will serve as the rough for the new painting!

Revised Dog Walker Sketch
Graphite on paper

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Random character, and vehicle designs

Working in a digital format is something I enjoy from time to time. At this point in time I am not as comfortable with digital tools as I am with a regular pencil and paper , or with paint and a brush. Although, I do appreciate the tool and try to make as much time to learn as much about the many applications that are available to create artwork both 2d and 3d. I have included some random character designs I have created over time. Some are from my children's book Norton B. Nice and some others are just things I do when I am bored. These are created by using a combination of Adobe Photoshop, and Corel Painter. All of these began with a pencil drawing which is later scanned into the computer and then painted. Sometimes I will create an illustration completely on the computer, but most of the time I begin with a regular pencil drawing on paper first. Either way everything comes down to drawing!!!!!!!!!

Winterg the Wizard


Norton as the monster



Blue Monkeys