Monday, December 29, 2014

1055 - "Shaving Santa"

DISCLAIMER: If you really, really believe in Santa Claus, then don't scroll down.  As my wife put it:

"Way to ruin Christmas, Jeff!"























Coca-Cola Santa Claus ("The Pause That Refreshes"), Haddon Sundblom, 1952



Santa Claus, the commercial version of Saint Nicholas we all know.  This one was painted by commercial artist Haddon "Sunny" Sundblom in 1952, and was the corporate mascot for Coca-Cola.  Sundblom's Santas are used by Coke to this day, a testament to the advertising genius of the corporation and the talent of the artist.

We've all seen this Santa or one much like him hundreds of times on television and in movies.  On my 10,000th viewing of Santa this year, I got to thinking: what would the old boy look like with a shave and a haircut?  

So I held him down and force-shaved him in Corel Painter.  Was this a good thing to do?  Am I proud of myself?

Behold shorn Santa!








Thursday, December 25, 2014

1054 - "Adore Mouse"

For the holidays, I got it into my head to make a proper porch for our Christmas Mouse.  I'm not ordinarily much into craft work, so my wife helped considerably.  She did the assembly, and I painted the door and set up the photograph. 

At one time we did have a real mouse living in our house, just long enough for me to find a humane trap that could catch and hold a genius-level rodent.  Please click here to see JSVB Post #208 and see little Mousey Tongue, who was our guest back in 2010. 

Merry Christmas to all JSVB readers!





Wednesday, December 24, 2014

1053 - Yuletide Gastropod II

My wife asked me to draw a Yuletide Gastropod (the famous Christmas Snail), neither of us recalling that a couple of years ago I had already drawn one.  Please click here to see JSVB Post #273, where I explain the importance of holiday-based invertebrates.





Sunday, December 21, 2014

1052 - Nativity X


Today's JSVB Nativity post concentrates on the mountains.  My brushwork is still primitive, but the mountains now have good colours.  The main mountain has rock colours similar to the hills of Galilee and Bethlehem, or at least I think so.  The background peaks are red and green, either to symbolize modern Christmas or to pay homage to Canada's greatest television hero, take your pick.  I recently came across an icon that had red and green mountains and thought that they would add colour to the composition.  Originally, they were supposed to be a darker yellow ochre (a medium tanned brown colour).





Saturday, December 20, 2014

1051 - Bobblehead Coloured


I've coloured in my bobblehead portrait from a few days ago.  Please click here to see it.




 

Friday, December 19, 2014

1050 - The Workshop


 
It's getting close to Christmas, and so our kitchen table has been converted over to a workshop for making new decorations.  Looking at this, there should be more glitter.  So strange for a heterosexual male to say that, though. 





Tuesday, December 16, 2014

1049 - Wacom Pens: Grip Versus Art


I made this diagram so that I can keep my collection of Wacom styluses sorted.  For whatever reason, the Wacom Grip Pen an the Wacom Art Pen were designed to be nearly visually identical from the distance that you'd typically look at one if you were using it in your hand.  However, each stylus comes with its own features and driver rule-set, so confusing one for the other can lead to unpredictable results (for a good example, click here to see JSVB Post #246, way back when I was trying to calibrate one of these pens and I got the values all wrong). 

So, completely frustrated with confusing one stylus for the other, I made the above diagram to refer as to which pen is which.  The Grip Pen is the Wacom standard stylus, and has basic features such as tilt and pressure sensitivity, a rocker switch and a virtual eraser.  The Art Pen is more sensitive, and it also uses rotation so that if I use asymmetrical tips like a chisel, a calligraphy nib, or a filbert brush, I will get rotation-enabled results.  




Monday, December 15, 2014

1048 - Nativity IX


This last pass on my Nativity icon seems to have been almost completely dominated by mistakes and miscues.  I've been trying to get the rock floor to look decent, but now I will have to paint over most of it and re-do what I have done to it. 

The very thing about iconography is that it's easy to look at, difficult to understand, and even harder to paint, especially if you are in a hurry. 





Saturday, December 13, 2014

1047 - Moore Support For Moore











Well, it's the final Ungood Art Day for JSVB in 2014.  Ungood Art happens on the 13th day of every month: I present an art piece that I worked on with the best intentions, but somehow everything just turned to crap.  Ungood Art is a natural process for every artist.  Most just don't bother to make a showcase of the projects that went south.

Today's Ungood Art is a rare performance piece.  Most of the video I have of myself, I end up looking like a fool which is why I don't post videos on JSVB.  Still, this one goes above and beyond.  

I'd just jump to the Jeff part (around the 1:23 mark)of the video which is an informal citizens' tribute to Greg Moore, the Mayor of Port Coquitlam, but then you'd misunderstand the depth of my gaffe.  So, watch the whole thing and then see how it ends.  





Thursday, December 11, 2014

1046 - Christmas Hamster Framed!



For an early Christmas present for my wife, I had my design for "The Hamster Who Saved Christmas" book cover printed out large and framed.  It makes a zingy decoration for the holidays!
 
Even at this late date, it should be possible for any loyal JSVB reader to order one of these sweet vignettes and have Santa courier it under your tree jut in time for the 25th!  E-mail me at the address above, and I will quote times and prices for availability.  
 
You can see the original proof of the picture way back in JSVB Post #891, please click here to see it!





Monday, December 8, 2014

1045 - Nativity VIII


Will I get this icon ready in time for Christmas?  Likely as thing stand, no.  But there is yet to come Orthodox Christmas, so there's always hope.





Sunday, December 7, 2014

1044 - The Secret Life Of Margarine


A tentacle made of margarine poked towards the light the moment I lifted the lid on a new tub of Parkay.  




 

Friday, December 5, 2014

1043 - Bobblehead Inked



I inked the bobblehead caricature from the previous JSVB post.




Wednesday, December 3, 2014

1042 - Everybody Loves Rollerskate'n

Guess what?  I'm drawing one of those bobble-headed caricature portraits.  It's pretty far from the sort of thing I like to draw, and I wonder at how people can do this for a living.  But then I wonder at what it would be like to make money.  Anyways, the drawing is for a  friend who just got back from maternity leave, and the JSVB blog post title is what the caricaturist says in an episode of the Simpsons.  It's the kind of line that when you hear it rings so true that you never in life forget it.  




 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

1041 - Chickens 102


Today is Grey Cup 102, over a century of championship Canadian football.  The parties have been going on for days, the venues have been perfected, the hosts are all smiling, gracious, and ready for visitors from coast to coast to coast.  Players mingle with fans, vendors hawk all kinds of popular items, and food and drink flow freely.  What a great week!  And at the end, there's even a dramatic football game that just so happens to be our nation's most prestigious event.

Oh yes, and then there's chickens wearing sweaters.  I had to hand-build a "Cluckgary" jersey for the chicken who supports the Stampeders.  Both contenders pose with the cup, but only one will win it.  Who will it be?





Wednesday, November 26, 2014

1040 - Bugs Boomy


So we have this houseplant and it's infested with a single worm that's eating the leaves.  We can't get the worm by day because he hides, and he comes out and eats the plant only when we sleep.  He's crafty that way.

So I've seen this on television before, and I think it will work.  I make a decoy worm out of things I have around the house.  I make sure she doesn't just look like another worm, but a va-va-voom blonde bombshell of a worm: long blonde hair, gorgeous eyes and a full figure that would make a bishop kick in a stained glass window*.

So I tell my wife: "We stick this little beauty in the plant, see? Then we hook her up to the dynamite and light the fuse.  The pesky guy worm will come out of his hidey-hole to see what's going on.  Then the lady worm will be all like, 'hello, sailor', and the guy worm will be all like, 'hey baby, you da bomb', and then the fuse runs out just as the guy worm makes his move, and then KABOOM!  No more worm problem.  So where do we keep the dynamite, hon?"

My wife fixes me with one of her looks.  "We're all out of dynamite." 



*Apologies to Raymond Chandler, from whom I swiped this quote.





Monday, November 24, 2014

1039 - Nativity VII


Today, JSVB gets medieval with rock and roll!  Well, rock, anyways.  I've painted in some of the rock faces for the manger in my nativity.  Orthodox nativity has the manger in a stylized cave rather than the back of a barn as is often depicted in Western nativity.  





Tuesday, November 18, 2014

1038 - May The Force Be With Me


A long time ago...
     ...1993, to be precise...
... LucasArts, a teeny tiny division of the same people that made Star Wars, released their X-Wing videogame.  I remember spending many hours working my way through the missions until I finally destroyed the Death Star!  It was a high point of my gaming career.

Now, twenty years later, the X-Wing game has been re-released, and it's as much of a time sink as it ever was back then.  Trouble is, Red Leader is now twenty years older and fatter than he was back then.

Even though I feel I am smarter now than I was back then, these missions are still joystick-twistingly difficult.  Now I remember how I learned to "use the Force" back then.  Since the game structure is purely linear, if you fail a mission or get killed, you just go back to the main briefing and try again.  And again. And again.  After a while, through the process of learning from mistakes, you develop a sense for how the mission must unfold: target the fifth transport only, use torpedoes to kill the TIE Interceptor, turn and fly towards the Rebel rescue shuttle, protect it from the squadron of TIE Fighters, then head towards the Star Destroyer, target the three TIE Bombers and blow them up with torpedo shots before they can launch, and so on. If you make a mistake, usually the whole mission falls apart and you have to try again: Star Wars meets Groundhog Day in space. 

Fortunately, although the graphics are very pixellated by our standards, the sounds are realistic and the missions are seldom boring.  X-Wing stands today as an example of some of the best of game design ever, as far as I am concerned.

As for today's JSVB graphic, I drew it using the original Star Wars storyboards as a visual reference.  I bought a book that published all of the boards from the original movies: fascinating reading.  I adapted a board by Joe Johnston and one by Nilo Rodis (who signed my copy of the book! Cool!) and drew my fat old self in the cockpit (the glasses don't show up at all well, heck).  Twenty years ago, or maybe even longer, I recall drawing myself in an X-Wing cockpit, replacing good ol' Luke.  I have no idea where that drawing is now, though, so I re-drew this one. 

Trivia: George Lucas insisted that his boards be drawn on vellum instead of paper.  He wanted the boards to last for as long as possible.  Vellum is used for manuscripts and illuminated writing, but it's a difficult medium for sketch work since the ink takes a long time to dry and the surface is slippery.  I re-created the look of the vellum using Photoshop.  

All Star Wars related imagery is the intellectual property of Disney Studios. 





Monday, November 17, 2014

1037 - Nativity V


I think I'm almost finished with the faces for my Nativity icon.  Time go get into the monkey-work of laying flat colours for the rocks and the border.

This past week, I've fielded a number of questions about iconography:

  • The process of painting an icon is called "Writing"
  • Icons are written on hardwood boards.  In this case, canvas is glued onto the board and covered with gesso, which is a white, sticky primer that dries hard.  The gesso goes on thick and then gets sanded down to the point where it becomes smooth and featureless as glass.
  • I use acrylic paint, although icons can be painted in oil or more properly with a water-soluble pigment known as egg tempera.
  • The flat colours are laid down in a series of passes of thin paint.  For instance, the dark background is ten coats of paint, the blue is maybe five, the orange is maybe a dozen.
  • I use five or six basic pigments.  I mix compound colours by alternating layers of the basic colours.  For example, Mary's cloak is a deep red covered with a coat of blue covered again by the red covered again by the blue, and so on.  The faces work the same way.  The gradients are the result of many layers of paint of different colours.  
  • A glaze is a thin wash of paint, normally yellow ochre.  Glazing will cause the colours beneath to blend.
  • The gold areas (which don't show up well on my scanner) are 10-carat gold leaf glued and sealed to the board.
  • My icons are small, roughly 8 x 10 inches.  Some icons are larger than life.
  • After the writing is complete, the board is sealed.  An icon that is kept reasonably well should last at least a hundred years without wear, and possibly a thousand or more.  It's a hand-made time machine directly from the first millennium all the way to the third or even fourth!


Sunday, November 16, 2014

1036 - Kirby-esque Sylvia In Colour!


This is the third and last pass at turning my friend Sylvia into a comic-book character in the style of Jack Kirby.  What seals the deal are the "Kirby Krackles", which are the dots in the background that define a supernatural negative space.  Master draughtsman Kirby would have rendered these by hand: I was lazy and created a custom pen in Painter that more or less emulates his technique.  

It's been a long, long time since I've tried to draw Sylvia.  Probably the last would have been their wedding portrait.  From way back in 2010, please check out JSVB Post #180 "A New Wedding Hope" by clicking here.

Oddly enough, this version of Sylvia is seen as if I were Jack Kirby.  The 2010 version, I drew her as if by The Brothers Hildebrandt.  Someday, I should do a portrait of her in my own style.





Friday, November 14, 2014

1035 - Kirby-esque Sylvia In B&W


I don't know a lot about comic book art, but I can imitate as I learn.  I do know about inking, though, since the process of clean-up for animation is very similar.

First of all, inking isn't tracing!  You're re-drawing the image where the pencil lines used to be.  Ink style is a lot different from pencil style.  With ink, you are laying lines down much more deliberately than with pencil.   The phsyics of ink demand holding the pen or brush differently than a pencil.  Pens in particular require a careful approach because ink from a pen dries much more slowly than ink from a brush, so pen ink invites smudges.  However, it can take months or years to learn to use a brush well.  

Animation clean-up seldom uses ink, but the principles are the same: you draw so slowly that it becomes nearly impossible to make a mistake, as long as the penciller has made no errors.  It requires an extremely steady hand and powerful, extended concentration to do it well.  

More and more, ink and clean-up are done digitally, as I have done with Sylvia.  The bonus is that you get an "undo" button.  With real ink, you end up fixing mistakes with white paint.  I remember seeing a Japanese manga artist at the Vancouver Art Gallery who admitted to whiting out his lines and inking them back in  twenty times without a second thought.  If you looked at the page edge-on, you could see the mound of accumulated white paint like a big old blister sitting on the paper.





Thursday, November 13, 2014

1034 - Habits Of The Ungood Artist


Not making Ungood Art says to me that boundaries are not being challenged.  This month, though, there is not much to report on the Ungood Art front.  I've been colouring inside the lines and staying within my comfort zone.  

Then I looked at my work desk as objectively as I could.  Note how I resorted to storing my keyboard on my monitor.  I seldom use the right side of the screen anyways, so why not?  Also, the sideways typing mitigates carpal-tunnel syndrome by forcing the wrist into a position that makes repetitive stress injury difficult: it's too hard to type to make any of the stresses repeat.  

So maybe my desk has a small amount of extra clutter.  I've got until next Ungood Art Day, traditionally the thirteenth of every month, to either clean the desk or make some really good Ungood Art.  I'm thinking maybe Robocop riding a purple unicorn?  





Wednesday, November 12, 2014

1033 - Kirby-esque Sylvia In Blue


My friend Earl and I ended up discussing what it would take to make a quick comic-book portrait of his wife Sylvia, as done in the style of legendary illustrator Jack Kirby.  

Kirby was renowned for his dynamic and fluid-looking character poses.  He knew perfectly how to balance weight with motion and action with line, and make it all look cohesive, dynamic, and appealing.  As I studied Kirby's technique, I discovered that he started his career as a low-level animator *cough* who ended up leaving the studio system because the work was too formulaic and he didn't get along with his directors *cough*cough*, and then took up illustration *cough*cough*cough* and got on with comic books and became famous for his work.  No more coughing, this is where he and I diverge.  

Kirby did hundreds of panels for romance  magazines before he got involved with Stan Lee's superheroes.  Maybe that's why Kirby developed a highly lyrical sense of composition for his work.  That, and he could work fast and draw simple, forceful characters, thanks to his training in animation. 

So, armed with this knowledge, I reverse-engineered Kirby's prototype female characters into Sylvia's portrait, and created the piece you see on today's JSVB post.

It's not Kirby in the strictest sense, but I did follow his notions of facial proportion to achieve this look.  My pencils aren't as tight as what many artists will draw, but it was a good start.  As a piece of trivia, pencils and inks in comic books will get reduced by up to 60% before publication!  That makes even a loose, sketchy penciller like me look like I've drawn a tight line every once in a while.   




Tuesday, November 11, 2014

1032 - The Maple Leaf Forever


World War One defined Canada as a nation.  In the hundred years that have followed, how far have we come?  

Canada is one of the most civilized and livable countries in the word.  Our social policies are progressive and our economy is sound.  Our people live together, a multitude of diverse peoples united by our loathing of mosquitos and minus forty degree weather (fortunately not normally at the same time). 

Yet we are faced with war from within and without.  The Ukrainian situation threatens to escalate into a new world war.  We are flying CF-18 fighter-bombers against ISIS terrorists overseas.  Our soldiers are being attacked on home soil.

Today is Remembrance Day.  There was the largest crowd I have ever seen at the cenotaph this year, easily twice as many people as last year.   Citizens want to honour our veterans, and what they have sacrificed to make Canada great. 

While our government officials seem keen to be photographed attending these ceremonies, I find it hard to believe that they are moved by all of the fine words and honest sentiments.  Veterans' benefits have been consolidated and then cut.  Yes, this creates a greater efficiency at government offices, but the throttling of funds to our soldiers and protectors serves only to help the financial picture, but not the societal one.  The efforts Canada expends in post-millennial warfare has created a new, large group of veterans, many who need immediate social assistance: medical aid, psychiatric aid, and support in civilian life.  Certainly we owe the veterans this much.

The CBC has reported that now more deaths among Afghanistan vets occur through suicide at home than did occur on that faraway battlefield.  

The Minister for Veteran's Affairs, The Honourable Julian Fantino, was booed when he showed up for a veterans' salute at BC Place.  Let's be fair, though, Veteran's Affairs is a Ministry under siege, and although Mr. Fantino does not present himself well in public, he does maintain a responsible attitude in a service that is being bled of its funding.

We citizens can complain, as much good as that will do, or we can help.  The Royal Canadian Legion is Canada's largest non-profit organization serving veterans.  Money donated to the Legion goes directly to helping the vets who sacrificed their bodies, in effect helping those who have served us so well.  The Legion also accepts membership from the public, and is a fine way to support the veterans' community.  The government can send our men and women, brothers, sisters, friends and family into harm's way.  We can choose  to bring them back with dignity.

---

All elements in this graphic were made with public domain images from Wikipedia. 




Monday, November 10, 2014

1031 - Nativity IV


Forward progress on the Nativity.  Will it be ready in time for Christmas?  Maybe enough of it, anyways.  I've blocked in more colours, refined the faces a bit and started painting rocks.





Sunday, November 9, 2014

1030 - A Piece Of History



As incredible as it seems, today marks the 25th anniversary of the decommissioning of the infamous Berlin Wall.  To me, it feels like those events are as recent as the evening news.  Yet a quarter of a century slips by, and what was once a deadly symbol of the Cold War now lies in pieces.  One of maybe a million of them is sheltered within a cheap display frame on my book-case.  How strange a turn of affairs is that? 

Yet what has the world learned in a score of years plus change?  We've learned about homeland security and unmanned aerial vehicles.  We've become informed on ISIS and the Taliban.  We've weathered the Desert Storm and Desert Shield.  Russia was our enemy, once our ally, is now our enemy yet again.  

Some lessons we're still learning, of yellow ribbons and red poppies in particular. 

And green.  If you're curious, you can buy one of these 25-year-old cement chunks online for around ten dollars.



Thursday, November 6, 2014

1029 - "Our Bucket List"


Once I had a friend take great pains to point out to me that art should be able to stand on its own without need for description, a most highly annoying conversational gambit.
 
Yet here we are; I think this piece speaks for itself.  





Monday, November 3, 2014

1028 - Nativity III


Lately, business has been very, very good to me.  However, business has also cut into my time for posting on JSVB as well as for working on my latest icon.  Here I solve both problems at once by showing my latest progress.  Mostly, it's just mixing the colours for Mary's cape by laying on alternate layers of purple and red. 





Friday, October 31, 2014

1027 - Skelly Returns


Skelly returns!  Costco sold out of plastic skeletons back in August, so once again he's a solo act.  Happy Hallowe'en.

See last year's Skelly pose by clicking here.





Sunday, October 26, 2014

1026 - Brass Tacks

These are the exact brass tacks everyone talks about when they use that cliché.

I rendered them in Photoshop and Painter.  











Saturday, October 25, 2014

1025 - The Chicken Who Saved The Pennant


It's World Series time, so that means chickens wear jerseys.  Since I already have a Hen Francisco Giants jersey (complete with panda hat), I made a new Kansas City Roasters jersey, since these guys haven't won Series since 1985.  

To see the chicken with the the panda hat, please click here.





Tuesday, October 21, 2014

1024 - Pocomaptica II


Here's a refined version of my area map.  I threw in a bunch of colourful custom textures via Photoshop's texture brush feature, an oldie but a goodie. Also, to please the peanut gallery, I went to the trouble of orienting the map so that the top edge is the north edge.  The previous map pointed more to the west. 





Monday, October 20, 2014

1023 - Making Earl Feel Better



Today's JSVB post isn't so much an artistic statement as it is a personal one.  My friend Earl has been going though a rough time, so I hope this little image makes him feel better.  Earl: we've got your back.

The rate my wife and I drink caffeinated soda pop, most if not all of this crate ought to still be here by the time Earl comes to visit.  However, now that I've posted this,  I'm sure there will be a few cans missing to intervening houseguests...




Sunday, October 19, 2014

1022 - Pocomaptica



I drew a map of where I live.  Not for use in real-world navigation.  Also not for use in alternate-reality navigation, either. 





Saturday, October 18, 2014

1021 - MCLAREN Back


Here is the back of my hand-made trading card.  The whole thing is one big simulation.  First, I used a cardboard texture to make the back of the card stock look as inferior as possible.  Then I used a transparent magenta ink, as that would be among the cheapest available to offset printing; there is normally a four colour gamut - Cyan Magenta, Yellow, and blacK (CMYK) - and of the darker inks, magenta would likely be the least used and therefore the one most available for something truly economical like the back of a sports card. 

Hopefully you'll recognize the little "Mac" character that I drew a few days ago especially for this card.  To see more on Mac, please check out JSVB Post #1016 by clicking here.





Friday, October 17, 2014

1020 - MCLAREN Front



This is the front of my custom-made sports card.  The original image can be seen by clicking here. The finished card can be seen by clicking here. 

In Photoshop, I used a half-tone pixellation filter to simulate the four-colour offset press technique that would have been used to print these cards back in the 1970's.  Then I applied a cardboard texture to make the card look like it was printed on cheap stock.  The neatest trick was using a pin-light blending mode on the picture layer to wash out the ink.  If you look at Empire Stadium, the ink looks terrible, but it makes the card look more authentic.  

Incidentally, working on JSVB Post #773 first put the idea in my head that I could make my own sports card (please click here to see it).




Thursday, October 16, 2014

1019 - "MCLAREN - 44"

The BC Lions never made bubblegum trading cards for their 1977 team.  So, thirty-seven years later, I decided to fix that oversight.  I figured I could make my own trading card, and with the help of my trusted printer friends, I did exactly that.  Mind you, I only made one card so there won't be a lot of trading, but it looks authentic to the 1970's in as many details as I could muster.  

Front view.
Back view.



I started by creating a rotoscope of several different elements that I composited in Photoshop, including the head, body, helmet, grass, stadium, and background.  Then I painted over everything by hand in Corel Painter to unify the style.  You may have seen the final picture already when I posted the artwork in JSVB Post #1011, which you can see by clicking here.

I brought the poster-sized image back down to card size and created a frame typical for a 1970's era trading card.  Then I ran the image through some colour filters to make the ink look junky and the card stock look old.

The card stock was a problem, since it would have been prohibitively expensive to print one card on authentic stock.  So I used a modern card stock that was printed on two 12-point cards.  These cards were printed, cut, and glued back-to-back to make a card with a realistic 24-point thickness.  To the card on the back I digitally created the look of very cheap card stock and ink.  If you look at it with a magnifying glass, you can see that the effect is purely digital.  It's convincing from a couple of inches away or more, though.  I think my printer was a little puzzled why I would go through so much trouble to make his best inks look so shoddy.  The work speaks for itself, though.


Here, I presented the card to the real-life player from 1977, who happens to sit in my section, and who my wife and I have no doubt deafened as we shout and yell at the players during the game. 





Monday, October 13, 2014

1018 - Holy Perogie Icon



I took my wife to a Ukrainian dinner.  While waiting for the food, I doodled on the paper placemat in the style of an Orthodox icon.  In Orthodoxy, saints are depicted holding the one thing they are best identified with in the mortal world.  I can think of few things that make me happier than a plate of perogies!

The thirteenth of every month is traditionally Ungood  Art day on JSVB, so don't expect to see anything especially talented.  However, the thirtheenth of October is my wife's birthday: Happy Birthday Sweet Angel!  





Thursday, October 9, 2014

1017 - Nativity II


Here is a close-up of the artwork for my Nativity icon as it progresses. I've painted the orange-ish form layer overtop the green sanquir layer.  These create the base colours under the skin tone.  The scanner shows all of my mistakes, though, ugh.





Tuesday, October 7, 2014

1016 - Running Mac


I kind of forgot about ol' JSVB there for a while, sorry about that.  Now I have a backlog of entries I have to process.

This one is a little college football running man.  Whoa, that's Pip-Boy, you geeks out there are saying.  I went one step farther, and based Mac here on what Pip-Boy was also based upon: the iconic Rich Uncle Pennybags from Parker Brothers' Monopoly game. 

Did you know that in the original Monopoly rules, after all the players but one went bankrupt, the losing players were forced to make another lap around the board to go farther into debt?  Apparently the original version of the game was intended as dark satire, a comment on the gap between the American poor and the wealthy.  The Parker Brothers cleaned up the rules and then cleaned house with their monster hit game.  

Last month, there were just over 2,575 versions of Monopoly available on the market.  That's a lot of play money right there. 





Thursday, October 2, 2014

1015 - Nativity I


This is the first stage of my icon of the Nativity.  The board is too large for my scanner, so the edges are clipped.  There's some gilding, but the scanner registers the gold as an almost olive brown. 





Wednesday, October 1, 2014

1014 - Iterative Business Portrait


I have been plugging away at this business portrait.   It's not done - where's the hair?  I made an earlier attempt at this, but it went south; if I haven't destroyed the files, I should dig them up for Ungood Art Day.





Monday, September 29, 2014

1013 - Handwriting Dies Hard


This is a thumbnail sketch for a new project.  You'd think that my handwriting has gotten worse like everybody else who uses a computer, but really it's always been very bad.





Sunday, September 28, 2014

1012 - Kitchen Cavitation



Photography using fast shutter speeds fascinates me. There are physical issues like getting the shutter to move fast enough as well as lighting considerations which are interesting on their own.  But what gets me is that you can take an image that's 1/5000th of a second and know not only that this moment was unique among five thousand other images in that single second, but that the moment could also be broken down another 5,000 times, or 5,000 multiplied by 5,000 times more than that.  So much goes by in our lives that we never perceive without some form of electronic assistance.

In this case, I've captured cavitation bubbles in some alder-smoked tomato soup I made for my wife.  These bubbles are formed in the liquid due to the rapid movement of the food processor blade.  The blade moves so fast its pressure upon the liquid forms a cavity: a tiny void space that collapses in on itself in less than 1,000th of a second.  The collapse sets up a pressure wave.  The waves compound to make vibrations.  Strong vibrations create undue noise and can wreck machinery.  Underwater propellers like those found on boats or submarines will have designs that reduce cavitation. 

In the case of tomato soup, cavitation helps break up bits of food that aren't smooth.  My wife likes her soup to be silky smooth.  I add a little cream at the end to make it so. 




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

1011 - Football Nostalgia


I want to show you a football player I've rendered today.  The original image is a combination of several sources Photoshopped together. Then I rotoscoped everything in Painter and then hand-painted in all of the detail.  He's part of a larger project which I will show on JSVB soon. 





Tuesday, September 23, 2014

1010 - Nativity Zero

The "Before" Picture.

I'm starting a new Byzantine icon, my fifth.  It will be the Nativity scene: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, a couple of animals, and a manger.  

Look at these happy fools, so smiling and eager to get started.  Never mind that half of them are missing in action already, felled by a pernicious rhinovirus. Be sure to tune in to JSVB around Christmas, when these icons might be finished... I hope.  Well, I will post weekly updates, and continue to show whatever other project work I have on hand.  




 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

1009 - Iterative Greek


Here's some more work on my dour green guy.  There's three layers: head, torso, and hands.  If you look, you can see where they need some blending to make them fit without seams.

He's holding a black disk since that's on a fourth layer.  Without the disk, it looks like the man is grabbing at his own chest.  The disk is a placeholder, but what's coming is awfully grim.  After I render that, I'll be able to fix all of the parts of the fingers that aren't yet working. 

That, however, is a story for another day, as I will have some other stuff to tend to soon.