Friday, October 13, 2017

1416 - Fozzie The Bread

So just what happened to Fozzie The Bear anyways?  On Ungood Art Day, maybe my oven has the answer...
Well, it's a stretch, but JSVB needs Ungood Art above all on a Friday the Thirteenth.  I made this hearth bread just a few minutes ago.  The other side looks like a perfect loaf.  When I flipped the bread over, it had this delirious smirk

"Quick, put some eyes on it, and you can post it as Ungood Art," my wife says.  The eyes are from a collection of Hallowe'en stickers we've been saving over the years for defacing (I say enhancing) smiley-faced vote-for-me political posters.  


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

1415 - Stork With Twins

I've given my Stork mascot twins, in honour of editor Jen who is expecting as much. 


Friday, October 6, 2017

1414 - Archangel Gabriel II

   So why Orthodox iconography?

   I'm not particularly religious.  Likely, I'm in the bottom ten percentile of Catholicism.  I'm told that God loves us all beyond what we accomplish or destroy in life, so that's positive.

   Getting into iconography was my wife's idea.  She wanted to get me out of the house.  I write or paint icons with a small group, so I do get some interplay with other artists, mostly swapping corny jokes. 

   I also get some time handling a paintbrush, which is way different from a pencil, pen, or stylus.  Slowly, stroke by stroke, I'm learning to lay down paint.  Orthodox painting does limit design, but not creativity. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

1413 - "We're Nearly Famous"

   My wife and I are on television!  We're face-painted and costumed for a football game between the BC Lions and the Ottawa RedBlacks.  This clip lasted about two seconds, and we had no idea it existed until some of our cousins started begging us for autographs.   Well, they were laughing about it, but they did spot us on TV before we knew that we had been broadcasted internationally.

   I ended up photographing the television screen for this keepsake.  It's worth mentioning that it was a very good thing I had painted my face, otherwise I would have been green.  I had a really bad stomach virus that day that kept me from eating much more than dry toast, and this on an excursion where free food was included.  

   The image is courtesy of TSN, however since it's us, we retain the rights... I think.  Who knows?  The catchphrase "We're Nearly Famous" is a twist on the ultra-renowned slogan of my friend Earl, "I'm Nearly Famous!".  Thanks, Earl.

   Might as well check in on the old Personal-Fame-O-Meter.  Last time I did this was back in 2014.  Has my personal fame changed?  Let's see:

Nope.  Oh, well.  Funny how some of the other non-JSVB entries have changed since then.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

1412 - Steampunk Ottawa

   I recently had the opportunity to visit briefly Ottawa city, Canada's capitol.  I was struck by the congruity of gothic and modern architecture.  Ottawa boasts several different architectural types, including Gothic, French revival, Art Deco, American Colonial and Modern.

   Shooting this photo into the sun, I saw a Steampunk landscape.  Steampunk is fanciful, it combines the gothic ethos of pointed, cathedral-like stone architecture with the dawn of industrialism, coincidentally a period when global exploration would be exploited by mass media.  You take this confluence and bring the technology to modern standards without changing the aesthetic, and you get steampunk.  It's gritty and intimidating, but also exciting as well, the idea that Nature can be tamed through superior technology.

  Steampunk is a companionable opposite to Art Nouveau (see JSVB Posts #1404 and  #1408) where unruly Nature breaks through the confines of the man-made world.  I've been looking around: I've been seeing some really great new Art Nouveau style pieces, call it Nouveau Art Nouveau.  We're reaching the same point in our culture that was perceived by the artists of the original Art Nouveau period: our technology has become powerful enough once again to sublimate our society and it remains to be seen how Nature will react and adapt.  Historically, that process has been most painful.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

1411 - Greek Salad For A Hamster

   Zhora is the name of our new hamster.  She's named after one of the characters from Blade Runner (1992).  She doesn't yet pose well for the camera, so I don't have any good pictures of her so far.  

   My wife wanted to spoil the little critter with a treat from a book she bought called "Happy Hamster" by Mathijs van der Paauw.  Mr. van der Paauw is an accomplished chef for rodents.  He makes tiny little meals that look like human food but are healthy for hamsters.  

   Above is our attempt at a Greek Salad: the bowl is made from the hollowed end of a cucumber, and the salad is chickweed with bits of walnut for croutons, edible flower leaves for colour and a little tiny bit of shaved Parmesan cheese.  

  I set up my camera to take pictures of Zhora eating this miniature delight, but the moment she saw it, she seized the bowl in her jaws and made off with it into her castle hideaway.  I never saw a hamster move so fast before.  Good thing I took a picture of her meal before I put it in her cage! 


Saturday, September 16, 2017

1410 - Domestic Bliss

   As I worked it was a beautiful sunny day, and warm, luxurious light poured in through our glass patio door.  I looked up from my task and saw what you see in this picture.  I snapped my wife's photo without her being aware of it.  

   Simple, sweet, sunny, cluttered, lucky, loving domestic bliss.  


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

1409 - Rockfish

  The thirteenth day of every month on JSVB is Ungood Art Day.  If I am not producing much art, then there isn't going to be a lot of Ungood Art, and that's Ungood as well.  

   The closest I can get to Ungood this month is a sort of visual pun: it's a rockfish.  I hope you see it. 


Sunday, September 10, 2017

1408 - "Invoice"

   Although I haven't been posting to JSVB regularly enough, I have been working at least for a while.  Now I find I have to bill my clients, and this despite having entered my phase of Progressive Summer Laziness (PSZ).  The business aspect of art I find daunting although as my wife will point out I do like money enough.  

   I decided that if I had to write up a bill, I may as well make it something worth looking at, and to try to enjoy the process.  I co-opted the Art-Nouveau drawing of the girl on a swing from JSVB Post #1404 (please click here to see it) into a full-page design.  I've blocked out the particulars, but the basics are that I tend to charge $40 an hour.    

   The design incorporates a number of things that I can see if I go on a walk around the block:  fruit and berries, dragonflies and cat-tails, running streams and wild salmon.  I did try to include a bear in the picture, but it got too cluttered.  

   The client wasn't expecting this invoice and has been stunned into submission, which I see as proper.   


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

1407 - "Science Bong 600"

   Among many of the things I had wanted to post to JSVB but didn't in time were some entries on the solar eclipse of August 21st, 2017.  Many of my friends went to great lengths to travel to the United States to view the full eclipse.  My wife and I had the day off, but we stayed home and watched the partial eclipse which maybe is less exciting and not much to post about. 
   Not willing to shell out money for proper eclipse glasses, but also unwilling to sear our retinas, we chose to view the eclipse indirectly.  The hole made by a pin through a piece of paper is a sufficient lens to project an image of the sun onto a screen.  This much I recalled from grade school science; I was half my height and a quarter of my current weight the last time there was a significant eclipse of the sun where I lived.  

   My wife found the materials we needed to make a pinhole lens viewer.  She took an old packing tube and poked a hole at one end and covered the other with paper.  She carved a viewing port in the side.  I christened it the Science Bong 600.  When you line the Bong up with the sun, you see the solar image image in the viewport. The lunar occlusion changes the apparent shape of the sun projected on the screen as you can see above.

   In retrospect, I should have painted and decorated the Science Bong 600, but all of the weather forecasts for the day called for clouds and rain.  My wife quickly built the Bong prototype when it turned out the forecasts were all wrong and we were blessed with a clear view.  

Saturday, September 2, 2017

1406 - Crikey, Crickets!

Today's JSVB Post shows my wife eating crickets.  If this kind of thing disturbs you, don't scroll down.  At least they were cooked first. 

   The Pacific National Exhibition, or PNE, has been reversing dwindling attendance numbers by featuring more and more outlandish thrill rides, thought-provoking exhibits, and exotic food and drink.  I remember in years past the craziest thing you could buy in the park were hamburgers made from ostrich meat (verdict: good, but very lean - a healthy burger!)

   This year it's the latest protein fad, yet one that may presage the apocalypse: fried crickets.  You could eat a cricket burger, but we chose crickets in gravy on french fries.  The gravy was thick and salty and the fries were greasy, maybe all to disguise the cricket-eating experience.  Verdict: it's not all that bad, but it's not all that good, either.  The little guys taste peppery and nutty, which is okay but you're going to have trouble pairing wine to that.  Maybe a fresh Gewurtztraminer?  The mouthfeel of crickets is a bit off-putting, a very delicate and airy crunch with just a million tiny drumsticks to get stuck in your teeth.  They are their own toothpicks. 


Thursday, August 31, 2017

1405 - Archangel Gabriel I

From the "Just When I Thought I Was Out... They Pull Me Back In!" Dept.:


   So I stopped blogging for quite a bit longer than I had anticipated.  I even got used to not blogging.  The Earth kept spinning, bills kept coming in, and Star Trek started a new series on television.  

   I'm starting another religious icon, this time the Archangel Gabriel.  You put Gabriel on the left, Archangel Michael on the right and Mary, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in the middle, and you have a traditional triptych, an Orthodox arrangement of three icons.  

   Beginning a triptych means I'll have the material for a number of posts, so this is what brought me back to JSVB.  I already have a few dozen posts describing how icons are written, so I doubt I'll discuss the process much anymore.  I will try to be more diligent in posting, though.  Promises, promises, right? 

Monday, August 14, 2017

1404 - "Illuminating Girl"

I finished inking the girl on a swing.  I've given her a quill so that she can illuminate text.  I'm thinking of using her as a header for some of my infrequent letters, her pen will start whatever I am thinking of writing.  ("Dear Advertisers, I am disgusted with the way old people are depicted on television. We are not all vibrant, fun-loving sex maniacs. Many of us are bitter, resentful individuals who remember the good old days when entertainment was bland and inoffensive. The following is a list of words I never want to hear on television again. Number one: Bra. Number two: Horny. Number three: Family Jewels.") 

If you are curious, my drawing is intended to emulate the style of Art Nouveau.  In the industrial era leading to World War One, new techniques in publishing allowed a greater population access to art.  Mass advertising in particular became cheaper and more prevalent.  The art world responded to an increasingly mechanized society with intricate and detailed designs that chose to exhibit Nature as the primal force over Man.  Geometric designs contain natural forms, but not completely.  Nature is tamed using carefully-placed lines, but remains unruly and unpredictable.  Man can hope to rein in the macrocosm, but only for the short-term.  Predictive of the awful cataclysm of the Great War, Art Nouveau seemed to be the last pure form of global culture before the world descended into fanatical patriotism.

All that, and the Art Nouveau artist also gets to draw lots of pretty girls with really long legs.  Priorities remain important!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

1403 - Girl On A Swing II

I decided to ink the drawing of the girl on the swing.  Since I cleaned up a bunch of the pencil lines, it's hard to see the swing but it's there.  I've got the inkling to do more inking anyways: this drawing needs to be finished. 


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

1402 - We Three Bees

Bees took up residence under our compost bin.  Partly this is a comment on how much yard work I have been doing lately, since I haven't been out and Nature is moving in.  

My wife and I decided to look up which species has taken over our garden.  Our guess is Bombus vagans, commonly known as the Half-Black Bumblebee.  It's a species that ranges across both coasts of North America and as far south as New Mexico.  Although considered a common species, all bumblebees are currently under threat from disease and environmental conditions.

My camera has a remote trigger.  I set it up at the entrance to the hive and waited for bees.  I took a bunch of shots but they all turned out blurry and mis-exposed.  I also have a whole series where the bee flew out of the frame before I could snap the shutter.  

This one turned out well, though.  These bees are making good use of the entrance to their hive.  


Sunday, July 30, 2017

1401 - Girl On A Swing

From my sketchbook: a girl on a swing.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

1400 - "Sean Bruises His Shin"

Click to Embiggen.

Every hundred posts on JSVB I like to celebrate by showing something I think is special, and if possible something that challenges my artistic boundaries.  

For JSVB Post #1400 I present "Sean Bruises His Shin", a fully hand-drawn and painted artwork in the manner of master woodcut printer Hokusai from the Edo period of Japan's civilization.   Back in February my friend Sean bruised his shin, and more or less it took me until today to commemorate that event in a wildly intricate and desperately trite Internet meme based on designs from over three hundred years ago.  

The poem I wrote - a haiku - in the corner reads:

Sean bruises his leg
his shin pain barks like a dog
yet he shrieks Me-Ow 


Friday, July 28, 2017

1399 - That's Edo-tainment!

Back in February of this year, my friend Sean tripped and barked his shin.  My friend Earl, his brother, commemorated the event with an Internet meme illustrating Sean's cat witnessing the injury with a maximum of feline dispassion.  As cat memes go, I thought it was funny.

At the time I was playing with perspective in artwork, using lines to angle towards a visual vanishing point to make drawn elements appear to be three-dimensional.  I made an Asian-style building as practice.  Then I started thinking of adapting the building into a Sean-barking-his-shin cat artwork.  

Yup, that's a stretch, but I figured why not spend months working on a piece that's a joke only a couple of people will appreciate?  If it's the chance to emulate seventeenth-century Japanese woodcuts, then I was ready to do it!  In the drawing that's Sean, Sean's cat, Sean's television, and Sean's popcorn, all transported to the village of Oshino Hakkai four hundred years ago.  I guess if the time travel were sudden enough, this would cause Sean for certain to bark his shin.

It took a while to work up this drawing.  It's modeled after the artist Hokusai, who was in feudal Japan famous for ukiyo-e, which is a form of painted woodcut art print.  So: an art history lesson.  The printing press was responsible for bringing the written word and artwork into the hands of the regular man and woman.  Without printing, duplicating books and art was done by hand, which meant that only the wealthy could afford copies of art pieces, and only the super-wealthy could afford originals.  

The Japanese did not have the printing press at the same time as Europe, instead, they developed methods of woodcut printing which preserved the character of both line art and Japanese writing, since Far Eastern drawing and calligraphy are nearly the same thing and require the same skill set to be mastered.  Woodcuts could not make as many prints as a press, but the method of production was cheaper, faster, and more adaptable.  Hokusai is said to have made 30,000 or more drawings, many of which would have made it to print through his workshop.  These prints were extremely popular with the Japanese merchant class.  Most pieces provide concise, romantic, beautifully composed scenes of Japanese nature and civilization at the time.  Hokusai's own daughter pioneered erotic woodcuts, which created the first international boom in the business of pornography.  Other artists depicted historical scenes, some of the fantastic samurai battles serving as source material and storyboards for today's spectacular motion pictures. 

Hokusai's definitive line work and colour schemes provided inspiration to European artists during the Impressionist period,  Matisse and Degas in particular were champions of the Japanese art movement.  Hokusai continues to be an influence today, whether through stylized manga comic book art, or else through the visualization of clean-lined printmaking in modern art styles like art nouveau. 

The next step for me is to colour this piece.  I've done a couple of preliminary watercolour tests, and this artwork will really pop when I am done.  I'm going to try to emulate Hokusai's colour washes and gradients as best as I can, which will mean a lot of hand-rendered painting.  Seeing as the next JSVB post will be the Number 1,400 Spectacular, this is what I will work towards and so JSVB 1400 will be this drawing in full colour.  Be sure to watch out for it soon!  

Saturday, July 22, 2017

1398 - "The Land Of Lost Socks"

"The Land Of Lost Socks" is my wife's euphemism for when things we need to find have gone completely missing.  I don't have a strong explanation for why surgical forceps would want to be in The Land Of Lost Socks, but a rogue hemostat would not be the first nor the last thing to end up there.  


Friday, July 21, 2017

1397 - Female Wheezer

Before the client shot down this idea for the PoCo Wheezers, I was able to adapt the male figure in the logo to a female one - I was working very quickly.  This allowed the client to refuse both ideas at once, which is pretty efficient.

There's no worry or waste, though, maybe some time in the future, someone will want a picture of a senior citizen on an exercise bike, and I will have these on hand. 


Thursday, July 20, 2017

1396 - Male Wheezer

I thought I'd show one of my iterations with the Wheezers.  I settled on this as my final design.  It's got a lot of great things going for it: I drew it well, I drew it blindingly fast, it's funny, and it manages to couple the wheezing theme with a fitness theme.  Naturally, the client hated it more than anything else I had come up with.  There were no strikes against the artwork or the humour, just that they wanted something far, far more dynamic and far, far less old-people-y. 


Monday, July 17, 2017

1395 - "Tri-City Rollers"

This logo I made for another cycling team.  Whatever virtues it has, getting it drawn up in record time was the most admirable.  The client didn't mind that I re-composited The Four Horsemen into The Tri-City Rollers, and even splurged for yellow ink.  Yellow!  I almost asked for plaid....

Here's a link to JSVB Post #1276 from last year that shows The Four Horsemen: please click here.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

1394 - The Turtle

It's a turtle, not an alien.  One of many indicators that this design didn't achieve its goal of letting me have a nice easy afternoon of not massaging the ego of the client.  In other words: Ungood Art.  Seeing as today is the thirteenth of the month, traditionally Ungood Art Day on JSVB, I thought I'd better show this turtle.  Or alien.  It doesn't matter, as the design got dumped.  

The PoCo Wheezers are a corporate bicycle racing team who wanted a logo that showed them being athletic and maladroit at the same time.  Thanks, corporate team.  At first, I considered a turtle, which is a slow animal. The turtle wasn't enough, but a turtle on a bicycle didn't appeal to them so I tried a unicycle.  That appealed less, somehow.  The drawing is pretty good as long as you don't mind E.T. The Extraterrestrial wearing a necktie and carrying a briefcase to make him look more like an executive.  Although I ended up doing a lot of work leading up to the deadline, I agreed that this design was too Ungood to be used.  Who knows, though, maybe someday someone will want a reptile riding a unicycle. 

Even more Ungood were my attempts to put a human face on the turtle.  Knowing that all you really need is the expression in the eyebrows and the appropriate crookedness in the smile to capture any human face in caricature, I made the attempts below.  It turns out that eyebrow expressions and smile crookedness is really hard for me to draw.  

Being an artist is almost exclusively about making bad decisions, starting with the one where you decide to become an artist.  All the artists I know are fully compatible with making mistakes, and are used to them by the time they've made something out of their careers.  Experience teaches the artist how to overcome those gaffes and salvage something useful out of the effort.  An artist's technique is equal parts skill and the ability to overcome pitfalls.  There is always a budget for error, something that many clients don't grasp.  The corporate world doesn't like to reward mistakes, at least not under public scrutiny.

Of course, like the baseball player who swings at futile pitches, the artist won't get anywhere on blunders alone, home runs have to be hit eventually.  Any artist who perseveres will learn how to master their craft and score those runs.  The difference is: will the stadium be crowded with fans, or will you just be hitting rocks with a stick in the backlot of a deserted warehouse?   


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

1393 - Stork Gets Hitched

Seeing as five ladies my wife and I know are getting married... not to each other... I adapted my Stork character into a bride. 

Also since today is our wedding anniversary, I kill two motifs with one bird. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

1392 - "PoCo Whee-zers"

Someone's been reading my pleas to buy more art: I've been busy lately.  Above is a logo I designed for the Port Coquitlam Wheezers, a corporate bicycle racing team.  It took me six tries to get the logo down to something they liked.  We all got stuck on how the Wheezers are supposed to be old and decrepit, but that they wanted their logo to be zooming and fast.  

To make the logo sing, I jettisoned ninety percent of the artwork, some of it good and some of it ungood, and just went with Typodermic's  transcendent Fontdiner Swanky typeface, which I had to modify extensively. 


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

1391 - Red (And White) Glare

Happy American Version Of Canada Day to all JSVB readers from the U.S. of A.!


Monday, July 3, 2017

1390 - A Stereotypical Frenchman

The other day here on JSVB, when I was describing a crow that had pilfered an entire croissant, I imagined the steroetypical Frenchman from whom the bird would have stolen that pastry. 

So as an exercise, I decided to draw that Frenchman.  God bless the French, who seem to embrace this sort of stereotype! 

See the thieving crow by clicking here to see JSVB Post #1388.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

1389 - Canada 150!

Happy 150th birthday, Canada!  Mayor Greg Moore wishes all Canadians the best on this occasion, since he's the one pictured on this web banner I made.  It's safe to say he speaks for me and JSVB on this great day! 


Friday, June 30, 2017

1388 - Crow With A Croissant

So I'm on the highway driving with my wife, meaning traffic in every lane is jammed and crawling by inches.  I take the exit, which is also packed with idling vehicles.  To the left is a massive peristaltic anaconda of gridlock, the upcoming concrete underpass swallowing cars the way a giant snake eats mice whole.  To the right, mercifully, is a small natural-looking green space encircled by the ring-shaped exit ramp.  I dutifully watch the truck in front of me while my wife gazes out at the park.  

A black shape whizzes by the passenger window.  I see it in the periphery of my vision.

"Was that a crow smoking a cigar?" I ask.

"I think he's got a croissant," says my wife, "A whole croissant."

Where the devil would a crow get a whole croissant, I wonder.  I imagine a nearby stereotypical Frenchman in distress, hollering after the bird while carrying his white ceramic cup of steaming hot breakfast chocolate. 

Crows are expert scavengers, and employ a high level of intelligence to decide when the effort to steal potential food or something attractive and shiny will be worth the effort.  They will use deception and sneaky tactics to gain their objective.  Once they have snatched their prize, the perceptive crow will have a smart exit strategy.  They will find ways to hide or cache food in unlikely places so that they can eat it undisturbed.  

As we slowly creep in traffic round the exit, my wife and I watch the crow bury what indeed was an entire croissant in among some tall green reeds.  Later that day, we find ourselves at the grocery store looking at shelves of golden flaky pastry. 


Thursday, June 29, 2017

1387 - The 75% Solution

I know for a fact that there are people walking around in the big world out there who look a lot like me.  Doppelgangers.

I've previously been mistaken for a delinquent college drop-out, a hotel manager, and someone who works on a movie set - none of which are me, but none of which are all that far from me, either.  I met the hotel manager; we do strongly resemble one another.  I even have Jeff Shyluk as my cousin, although we don't look much like at all.  His claim to fame is dressing up as the Molson Old Style Pilsner Rabbit for Saskatchewan Roughrider games.  There's no easy way for me to explain how this works if you don't know about CFL football and prairie beer.

So, I'm kind of used to seeing myself out in the wild when it's not me.  Above is a picture I pulled (without permission, but I am using it for personal illustration) from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation  website.  I included the arrow just to make certain which person I think looks like me.  Or at least seventy-five percent like me, not a clone, but in a dark room from a few feet away I bet we'd look enough alike. 

The man in the middle with the hat is Robi Botos, the feature of the photo.  He's a Canadian jazz pianist living in Toronto.  The rest of these people are his friends, and that's all the CBC had to say about them.  

The friend with the arrow has either a guitar strap round his neck or more likely a strap for a large saxomophone.  I used the Internet to find saxomophonists who are likely to play with Robi Botos, and the name and picture for Seamus Blake came up.  Most pictures of Mr. Blake look only maybe 50% like me, so this CBC photo is a bit of a fluke.  Still, recent portraits of the man show some resemblance to me.  Plus, although he lives in New York, he has roots in Vancouver.  It's not outside the realm of possibility that we could run into each other, especially at the posh hotel with that manager.  


Friday, June 23, 2017

1386 - Mayorotechnics

If I were mayor, I'd pass legislation that would allow me to shoot off the annual Canada Day fireworks for my City.  Mayor Greg Moore, pictured above, hasn't done that yet.  


Monday, June 19, 2017

1385 - Gestures & Scale

A bit of planning from the old sketchbook:  I want to have a crouching hero character but I want his body proportions to be good.  So, I drew him standing in one colour and then used the measurements to figure out his proportions when crouching in the next colour.  The croucher's head is too big, but I decided to enlarge it so that it reads a little better. 


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

1384 - "BBQ'an"

I really enjoyed the Logan (2017) movie, enough to fashion myself into this tribute poster.  Well, mostly I did this because my barber was out of town on vacation for a month, and my hair and beard grew out long.  I am powerfully loyal to my barber (see JSVB Posts #343 by clicking here.), so I knew it was better for me to wait than find a replacement barber. With long scruffy hair,  I knew if I pranced around in my suit I could re-create the look of Logan.

The hands are a problem, though, since I don't have adamantium claws.  I do have barbecue utensils, though, so close enough.  The cruel irony is that the weather has been cold and gloomy for the past week, and something my wife and I ate has been upsetting our stomachs, so no BBQ.  Quel bummer.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

1383 - Jeff Prances Camerawards

Today is the thirteenth of the month, which is traditionally Ungood Art Day on JSVB.  I show some of my works that just isn't all that great.  Most artists always strive to exhibit only their best work, but the ungood stuff is often the foundation for the final product.

Take the photos above, which are self-directed of me walking in a stiff and peculiar manner towards the camera. They aren't much to look at, but with a little love and attention, I can build them into something I figure people will like - see JSVB tomorrow. 

Sometimes, it's irritating for me to show clients me work in progress, since often the early stages are so ungood.  I remember one client whose wife told him to drop me because my stuff was looking really rank.  Truth be told, it did look bad, and I wasn't even certain I could pull the project together.  One thing I have learned, though, is that a piece won't seem complete until I get around ninety percent into the project.  It's almost always that last push that makes the whole thing sing... or not.  


Saturday, June 10, 2017

1382 - Happy (Fiftieth!) Birthday To Me (8)

Click above to embiggen.

(Cue John Barry Orchestra, James Bond Movie Theme Mode)

He has your figure on his mind
He knows that numbers never lie
The years tumble forward, a deadly sum
But he's prepared you for the world to come

He knows all the best odds to play
To draw you in his own special way
He lives under no one other's thumb
He'll have you ready for the world to come

Lovely woman, with your precious look
He will trace you in his artful book
You will live forever by his design
His very touch is a golden mine
With you near he is far from done
He will bring you to the world to come

The world to come!
The World To Come!

The Woooooooorld Tooo Cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo- (breathe, Shirley Bassey, breathe!) -oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooome!


Friday, June 9, 2017

1381 - Golden Numerals

My new favourite typeface of all time has to be Baskerville Italic, as shown above.  Recently, I participated in a psychological profile to find the typeface most suited to me, and Baskerville Italic was the result.  

Designed in the late 1700's by John Baskerville and manufactured into metal dies by John Handy,  this venerable typeface was regarded by Pierre Simon Forniere, the inventor of the point system for controlling font sizes, as "the best italic to be found in any English foundry". High praise indeed!

I used a bunch of Photoshop blending effects to make the number "50" look snazzy and golden. Shiny!  

Friday, June 2, 2017

1380 - Stanley Cup Birds 2017

Two new chicken-sized Stanley Cup jerseys for 2017: no self-respecting chicken would ever wear a Penguins jersey, though.  One of the chicken brothers has been temporarily replaced by a penguin.  I had to break a promise to myself that I would never ever make a chicken-style Pittsburgh jersey, since I really do not like the Penguins, least of all their captain Crosby.  The last couple of times the Penguins made it to the final, I found excuses not to make their jersey.  Hopefully, the Predators will find a way to win the Cup this year!  

Sunday, May 28, 2017

1379 - "The Girl With The Gerbera Daisy"

"This little fella will bring some colour into my life," thought the girl with the Gerbera daisy.  Purchashing the cute potted plant, she climbed into her rocket car and took off for the rings of Saturn, where she battled Kromm The Destroyer and saved the universe.

The girl with the daisy is a real individual, I saw her from a distance in a plant shop.   I have no idea what her story is, though, at least not past the moment where she posed with her flower.  You could probably guess that from my opening paragraph.  

She was attractive, but wore drab clothes.  The daisy was as stereotypical as a houseplant can be.  I was really excited by her composition and mein, which looked to me like a New Yorker cover or a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.  (At this point, I imagine my wife is a little bewildered: You look at other women and you're excited by their MEIN!?  I am certain, dear JSVB followers, that I will have to pay for this in the future somehow.)  Since I had no camera, I came home and drew what I remembered of the girl, whoever she was.

I am developing a personal mania for recording my remembrances.  I don't want to rely on photography, but on translating what I have in my head through my right hand and onto paper or digital media.  That seems really important right now.  It sure is hard work, though, and I wonder who would buy any of this stuff.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

1378 - Gerbera Girl Getting Colour

Some days, I get the impression that I might somehow know a little something about just what it is I do.  And look!  I drew the daisy!  

Friday, May 26, 2017

1377 - Gerbera Girl Treatment

Today, while shopping for houseplants (the first time I've ever used that phrase on JSVB, I'm not much of a botanist), I saw a pretty girl carrying around a potted Gerbera daisy.  The girl was attractive in a way that reminded me of Olivia de Havilland, and the plant she carried was the most stereotypical plant you could ever hope to see: a bright round orange face, a tall emerald green stalk with exactly three perpendicular leaves, and a humble terracotta pot.  

The composition looked exactly like a cover for The New Yorker.  I was too shy to ask the girl to pose for a camera, even if I was carrying a camera.  So, I will illustrate what I saw.  It took some work to wrangle this sketch to the point where I think it resembles the girl.  The daisy is omitted for now.  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

1376 - Hokey Religions & Ancient Weapons

So today is the "real" Star Wars Day: exactly forty years ago, Han, Luke, Leia, and Darth Vader all had their debut.  I was only ten years old at the time.  You can do the math about my age relative to the movie.  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

1375 - Zones Of Shade In Ink

A combination of lack of meaningful work and a willingness to be distracted that goes beyond normal reason means that I haven't posted much to JSVB, and I certainly haven't been drawing anything exciting.

I decided to go back to art school basics.  Above is a drill to practice making grades of shade.  It's pretty easy to do this with the computer, harder to do it with paint, and kind of tricky with pen and ink.  

The exercise begins with defining the ends of the scale: pure black and pure white.  Then you discover the intermediate shades.  With a computer this is easy, since most colour scales range as defined bit elements numbered from 0 to 256.  If you want a particular value, you can arrive at it mathematically: 0 is white and 256 is black, so if you wanted something halfway in between, you'd enter a value of 128, which is 256 divided by two.  

Ansel Adams, the master of photography, used a zone system that works much like the computer bit range.  Black is 0 and white is Roman numeral X.  Adams' system has eleven values, so that the mid-range value V is in the center of the scale.  Adams would carefully measure his subjects with a light meter to make certain all eleven values were represented in his photograph.  Human and animal subjects tend to fidget when being metered so much, so Adams used this system best on his gorgeous landscapes.  In order to make the subject fit all eleven zones, he adjusted his camera exposure to try to account for as many as possible, similar to using the histogram function in a digital camera.  If there were zones missing, he would add them during development using dodge and burn techniques.  In this way, aligning the picture's value scale to the zones was both additive and subtractive depending on his method.

There is far more to the Adams Zone System than I will mention here.  Although there were eleven values to the range, only the middle seven were practical.  This aligns with what I have learned about painting, in that you can lay down a mid-range colour as your base value, and then either lighten it or darken it by three steps each.  

With paint, you can change the value by tinting it lighter with white or shade it darker by adding black.  That's the very basics, anyways.  It's also an additive and subtractive system, since you can always adjust a colour by using tint and shade.  

Ink is difficult to translate into zones since it's only additive, a one-way trip.  I suppose you could subtract from back ink by using white ink,  but since a pen is a linear tool, you are simply adding black or white lines depending on ink.  Once the ink is laid, you cannot subtract from it.  So, to create zones, you start with white and add a few lines until you get your next zone. You add more lines to the second zone and so forth until you get all the zones you need. 

Since creating zones with ink is laborious,renowned illustrator Alphonse Dunn encourages us to use just six a, b, c, d, e, and f values as I have above.  This eliminates the mid-range value (c₁, pictured as "cd"), but it has the benefit of making the process of shading easier.  

The first two values (a,b) can be condensed to make an even simpler value: black.  The next two values (c,d) can be condensed to make the mid-range grey.   The final two values (e,f) condense to make white.  Now we have a compact three-point scale which can be used to define the values of the portrait much more quickly than Adams' method.  Since all the shades have to be rendered by hand rather than through the process of photography, simplicity is golden.  You start with white and work your way up to black using first the three point scale and then by refining the shades using the six point scale.