Sunday, January 29, 2017
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Here is the finished television illustration. I used my Mayor Moore cartoon from Town Haul back in 2014 as the subject in the picture (please click here to see JSVB Post #960). Later, I'll throw this thing into an informative banner that will be seen worldwide via the Internet.
Friday, January 27, 2017
Here is an old-timey television I am working on. I took a public domain image and warped it in Photoshop to give it some appealing curves. Then I painted over it in Painter to make it look more like an illustration. I still have more work to do on it.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
"Exactly What Was The Point Of It All?" cries the headline. On the next page is a "Colour By Numbers" with four colours: orange, green, blue, and brown.
I re-use the same newspapers over and over again for my workspace, so I've read them all and generally don't look at the text anymore, although one day I really should do the Colour By Numbers. So if there's pessimistic commentary in the metanarrative, for once I'm not broadcasting on that wavelength today.
This icon inches close to completion. I fixed a goof with Mary's robe and completed the frame, which stuck to the paper (you can see the paint lines on the top), so I'll have to fix that later. I also have to re-gild Mary's halo and the golden sky above her, although you can't see the faults in the photo.
The Holy Spirit makes an appearance, but it's blink-and-you-miss-it subtle. I also have to paint in the inscription. Oh, and maybe give the animals eyes, so they don't so much resemble French Stewart.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Friends of ours just had a baby and I was considering giving them this hand-made card. It's the thought that counts, correct?
Friday, January 20, 2017
Battling a stomach bug makes me not want to draw very much, and yet the world requires more art. Here is a preliminary sketch for a maternity scene. Pressing hard on the pencil is enough to make me nauseous, so it's a very light drawing.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
One of the oldest pieces of artistic advice is to portray what it is you know. Well, the past however many days, I've been getting to know ginger root. I've had a powerfully upset stomach that doesn't want to settle down, so I've been eating ginger with every meal and as snacks to keep my sails up and my keel down. It's really good at fighting nausea, as long as you aren't needing to hurl.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Last month, my wife and I brought my brother-in-law to San Francisco to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Star Trek television show. We attended the big Star Trek convention in nearby Burlingame. I have quite a few pictures of the event, but let's face it, they're really geeky photos.
This one I took because we were lounging around one of the balconies that faces a massive and beautiful indoor atrium in the center of the hotel. The entire inner concourse of the hotel is covered by an airy glass roof that lets in a lot of natural light but protects guests from rain and Klingon disruptor fire. On the mezzanine floor is a really nice bar with wide open seating spaces. From the point of view of the 1960's, when Star Trek got its start, this sort of atrium would have been considered vast and futuristic.
Adding to the Star Trek ambience were a few hundred hotel guests dressed in the iconic gold, blue, and red uniforms (including us), plus a smattering of aliens and a few bewildered civilians who had no idea a Star Trek convention had descended on their hotel.
Anyways, I snapped this picture and thought, dang if this doesn't look like Starfleet Academy. Being in San Francisco, were were just a few miles from the "real thing".
However, when I got home I realized the picture needed a few embellishments in Photoshop to really sell the idea. Some of the additions are likely fairly obvious, but some of the changes I am most happy with are the subtle ones.
Friday, January 13, 2017
Today is Friday the Thirteenth, and the thirteenth day of every month is Ungood Art Day on JSVB. It's where I present art that I made that started out well enough, but through certain techniques or choices, turned out less than good: Ungood.
In this instance, I take a piece and make it ungood and then struggle to make it good again. A few days ago, I had commented on a lock I was drawing, and how I had spent an hour and a half working on the metal loop on top, and this with the whole piece being maybe a couple of inches stall. So for Ungood Art Day, I decided to show all my work.
The image at the top left is the pristine reference image, which I cleaned up in Photoshop using a high-pass filter. Then I painted on top of the image to add some detail. The lock on the bottom left is the final result, with all the other locks in between being iterative saves.
I recall reading an article on Katsuhiro Otomo, the master manga artist, and his ambivalence towards whiting-out mistakes. Absolutely as he inked, a line would go astray, and he'd brush on some correction fluid to cover the error. Then the line would go wrong again, and he'd correct the correction. Sometimes, the errors would be so bad that there would form a mound of white-out that had built up and encrusted upon the artwork like a miniature Mount Fuji. An epic centimeter-tall mound of corrections meant that the paper had to be handled carefully lest the dried fluid crack and break off.
With Photoshop I can put each correction on its own layer, and then simply make the mistakes go invisible. If I save all my layers and bring them back one by one, I can show my progress, like in the piece above. I admit, though, that when you look at the locks shrunk down for JSVB, they all look mostly the same, and the piece looks like modern art.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Inclement weather has cancelled a couple of opportunities for me to work on my icon. This week, I finally braved snow and ice to lay down a little more paint. I've gotten closer to finishing the robes and added some colour to the animals.
Notice my watch and wedding ring in the box at the top. You don't want to wear jewelry when you paint, since the metal will scratch your work. I've already patched a couple of small scratches in this icon.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Here is some line art of a nurse. I more or less followed a reference picture from the Internet.
People I know in art production say that men draw pictures of men better than women and women draw pictures of women better than men. While there are no doubt exceptions, this has been my experience as well. I guess we draw what we are used to, at least when we can.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
A true story: I needed a picture of a combination lock, so I drew one.
Would you believe it took me an hour and a half just to to draw the loop? I'm pretty sure nobody's going to see this and say, wow, that artist sure got the lock loop right. There's no Lock Loop Hall Of Fame. And in Vegas, someone took a bath on the over/under for lock loop rendering time, or at least the alternate universe Las Vegas where it's common to bet on art.
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
A couple of days ago, I drew an interpretation of the neighbour's kid hacking apart the snowman on our front lawn with a toy machete (you can click here to see that). I realized afterwards that I should have kept closer to the truth of the event rather than glorifying the kid with kung-fu action moves, since how I will remember the untimely death of Mr. Snowballs is going to be how it was pictured here in JSVB.
So, pictured above was what it looked like.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
JSVB is seven years old today! It's time to post my progress and comment on my past year's work on this blog of mine.
Likely you'll notice that this year's blog entries in the seventh column on the far right, appear different from the others. Google, with their traditional intent at this time of year to fix what is not broken, changed their archive format. It's not such a terrible improvement since the pictures are larger and the background isn't a searing white, but it does change the look of my matrix.
I've mentioned in previous years on how I've been declining in my post count: you can see this by looking at the ratio of pictures to blank area on my matrix. 2016 is no different, there were wide valleys of disinclination between peaks of activity. Sometimes, I just showed my final work rather than posting iterative saves over the course of a few days. Sometimes I ignored my work. There are a few unfinished pieces I wish I had completed.
Even so, I managed to pick up some more technique, proving that you can teach an old dog new tricks provided that you prod it enough. I am better at Photoshop and using Bézier curves than ever before. I believe I have improved my draftsmanship, and deeply inspired by my wife who has embraced crochet, I've started to become "crafty" by building physical art projects like a life-like foul-smelling Necronomicon and a Star Trek tricorder that doubles as a purse.
So the craft pieces will be at the top of my list of favourites from JSVB 2016:
1. JSVB Post #1300 The Necronomicon Ex Mortis! Despite the pretend evilness of my project and its notably horrible smell, it was a lot of fun to put together. Of course, the Hallowe'en kids were too young to know anything about The Evil Dead, though. "Look! They have a 'Facebook'!" one little girl exclaimed. Precious!
2. JSVB Post #1312 My wife and her friend went all-out to create the base for a realistic tricorder purse. I had to use all my best tricks to make the detail on the tricorder look screen-authentic.
3. JSVB Post #1209 The pretty-close-to-finished icon of Our Lady On Throne. I don't know why I don't bother to take pictures of my finished icons. This one is hanging on the wall in my mother's bedroom.
And here's a few of my other favourites:
4. JSVB Post #1208 The "X-Fools" post is memorable because it's a placeholder for an Ungood Art piece I chose to jettison (it was the right choice). It also shows that I can handle Bézier curves. Finally, I think it's better than anything in the execrable X Files Season 10.
5. JSVB Post #1234 My tribute to World Hamster Day and Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks" all rolled into one, this was a fun little project to recreate Hopper's iconic paintwork.
6. JSVB Post #1253 Although this one's a litte racy I'm a big fan of Judge Dredd, and I wanted to improve my ink and line work. A similar post is Doc Ock's Suicide Squad, although this one was hard to draw since I am really not a fan of that work at all. Even so, it turned out to be one of my most popular JSVB posts among readers: JSVB Post #1286
7. JSVB Post #1197 Unicycle Falls: I used someone else's photograph and Photoshopped it into something really stupid, but it makes me laugh.
8. JSVB Post #1304 Action Hamster No. 1 is another hamster-themed post for JSVB. I was researching Joe Shuster, the artist who first drew Superman. He had a unique, self-taught style of penmanship I seek to emulate, although his life with and after The Man Of Steel was regrettably tragic. What I want to know is if I can draw like that without ruining my life. So far, the jury is out on that one.
9. JSVB Post #1198 Tears In Rain, an illustrated theme on contrasting good and evil in creation. At the beginning of 2016, I was heavily shaken by watching movies about androids. In a blur of activity, I crash-painted the artwork in a couple of hours and then hammered out a brisk yet eloquent essay that I had worked out in my head as I painted. Sometimes I can work that fast.
10. JSVB Post #1228 The "Hello Kitty Regional Hospital" was a fun bit of Photoshop work for me, and I even got some money for my efforts.
11. JSVB Post #1232 Mixing more Blade Runner imagery with my commentary on Microsoft's "Tay" fiasco. Microsoft tried introducing its own AI robot personality into Twitter, with the result that in less than a day of contact with the Internet the robot had been converted into a rabid neo-Nazi.
12. JSVB Post #1268 I enjoyed placing my Stork character into the world of Winnie-The-Pooh as illustrated by E.H. Shepard. Although I personally am okay with this piece, other people seem to really like it a lot, so I am including this on my list.
Blogger analytics have never been all that strong, or maybe I have not learned to use them properly. From what I can tell in 2016, JSVB reached over 100,000 views. Still by a wide margin JSVB Post #777 "The Wrath Of Gandhi" from 2014 is my most-viewed post, having itself reached over 10,000 views. Now that the videogame Civilization 6 has superceded Civ V, I expect the viewership for that post to subside. Other new favourites by viewers numbers include Doc Ock, Action Hamster, and my Necronomicon.
Overall, JSVB viewership has been climbing. I can't tell if it's humans watching my blog or bots, though. By far my greatest viewership is from the U.S.A, so I am suspecting bots. All hail our new robot overlords!
As always, I really look forward to loyal JSVB readers buying some of this artwork. It's the best way to tell if my readers are human, at least until Microsoft Tay gets her own credit card. 2017 is a new year and hopefully prosperity will be featured in the coming months for all of us.