Friday, April 30, 2010

108 - Peinture Numérique Aujourd'hui

Voici mon progres du peinture numérique aujourd-hui.  Demain, je rendrai des elements aquatiques au-dessous.  Alors, il-y-a plutot des regions dans cette image qui demandent plus de resolution. 

Je me regrette mon choix des mots en français.  Je ne comprends seulement un petit bout de cette langue -- désolé!

107 - Wild Take

Looking for something to pad out this month's post count on JSVB, I chose this sketch.  In animation, this emotional-looking reaction to a stimulus, sudden and violent, is called a "wild take". 

A "take" is just a normal reaction to something surprising: an eyeblink and a change in expression.  A "double-take" is an eyeblink, a look away, and then a look towards with a stronger expression.  A "wild take" is an extreme physical response to the surprise. 

The lesson here is that you can't go too far stretching out a pose, almost.  The tendency is to keep poses conservative.  While it is possible to create a pose that's so far out it's unrecognizeable, most of the time animators will tend to under-dramatize the pose. 

By today's post-Ren & Stimpy standards, this pose could stand more exaggeration. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

106 - Relentless Progress

Progress report on the nature pic. Now, a larger part of the picture actually looks like stuff. 

I've got to make the rest of the image look sharp, then add a whole whack of tonal effects.  I'll post more as it shapes up.  So far, so good.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

105 - Hogarth's Hands... Halmost

Burne Hogarth has been called "The da Vinci of Comic Books".  Certainly the man was a master. 

Here, I am emulating as best I can from Hogarth's source.  Among Mr. Hogarth's legacies are an unequalled set of books detailing anatomy for artists.  My sketch here approaches being satisfactory, but the Hogarth drawings are nothing short of brilliance.  It's humbling to attempt to recreate these pieces, but instructive as well, which I hope makes the process worthwhile. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

104 - Project Green Underpainting

I've started work on a new large project.  Unlike some of my stuff, there is little to no secrecy about this one.  I've decided to do a nature piece.  What you see now is a crop out of a larger canvas, the only part of the picture that remotely looks like anything at this point.

The first phase is called "underpainting".  I need to put down blocks of colour to represent the various elements of the piece.  Now that I've incorporated digital technology, underpainting goes by quickly.  I've composited the image using several snapshots and amalgamated them into a rough large master shot.  Using digital media speeds up the foundation steps.  I can worry less about colour, proportion, and perspective, and concentrate on getting decent brush art.

That master shot is broken down into colour regions as you see above.  Next, I will use paint strokes to refine each area individually by hand.   I've got to be careful to get in good paint and avoid the look that I've merely scrubbed a digital photograph. 

As I work on the piece, I will throw updates onto JSVB.  I hope to be done in a couple of weeks or less. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

103 - Spirit of the Spirit


Travelling to United States for a day trip, I finally got out to the famous Seattle Museum Of Flight.  It's a fascinating venue, and well worth a long visit. 

Pictured is not the celebrated "Spirit of St. Louis", but rather a Ryan M-1, which is a very close relative of Charles Lindbergh's custom-made aircraft.  Lindburgh's Ryan NYP was based on the Ryan M-2, which in turn was an M-1 with an advanced engine.  "NYP" stands for "New York to Paris".  The NYP version was modified for to carry the pilot Lindbergh across the Atlantic Ocean.  The M-series aircraft were largely designed to carry mail or a couple of passengers.

The aircraft pictured here is the original prototype of the M-1.  I am told it is still flyable!  I had used some fair-use photographs of this aircraft as visual references for my Ryan NYP art.  (See the Ryan NYP by clicking here.).  I am pleased now to have my own photos of this lovely plane. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

102 - The Ruining Man

I've been neglecting my sketchbook over the past week, and it's starting to show.  Unfortunately for me, drawing is not like riding a bike, in that you remember how to do it after you've given it up for a while.  It's more like filling a barrel with a leak in it.  If I don't keep up with the leak, I lose the level.

This anatomical sketch turned out to be cruder than I intended.  It's okay, but not at the level I want.  Art-school stuff.  The pencil lines look like they were drawn in crayon.  The side-view pose doesn't help, as that view is seldom very dynamic.  At the beginning, I had a stronger arc of motion that grows upward from the planted foot all the way to the top of the neck.  For whatever reason, I straightened that arc, which also dulls the pose. 

On the plus side, I intentionally put the figure bounding between two pages of my book.  I thought that would make it look like he can't be contained by the page.  Also, it used up a space on my paper that I ordinarily would avoid. 

Not every art piece will be great, unless maybe you are a Master.  I find it humbling to have to accept that.  At least this particular piece is just for practise, and not part of a project. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

101 - Gibson's Finest

This last week, we has the rare opportunity to get out on a day trip.  We went to Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast, a 45-minute ferry ride from Vancouver.  Here is the Molly's Reach diner made famous by nineteen seasons of the Canadian classic TV show "The Beachcombers".   It's been renovated since the show, so we were skeptical that it would be a tourist trap or a trendoid tapas bar.  Look at the folks with suits up front! 

As it happens, Molly's Reach is still informal (although a lot more contemporary than it was in the show), the people in good clothes just came from a wedding, the staff were friendly, the service was fast and excellent, and the food and liquor choices were outstanding and perfectly delicious.  Molly's reach is a Canadian icon that happens to be a great place to visit!

Monday, April 19, 2010

100 - "Lieutenant Earl"

Question: How come whenever I draw Earl, he's always wearing a Star Trek Federation uniform?

Answer:  How come Earl doesn't wear a Star Trek Federation uniform all of the time?

For my 100th JSVB post, I present a glimpse of the future: 1/24th of a second of the 23rd Century, "rebooted" on account of Kirk, Spock, et al.   Here we see a young and confident Lieutenant Earl at his station on the bridge of the USS Encounter, patrolling the Laurentian system.  This image was rendered sometime before Earl assumes command of the ship at a later Stardate.

Okay, I should have sounded a Geek Alert.  Back in the day, I was quite a Star Trek aficionado (still am, I guess), but my friend Earl came to believe in the show.  Not so much in the phasers and photon torpedoes which seem to dominate Trekkie thinking these days, but more the bold and honest adventure of humanity as we come to embrace the cosmos (and the occasional green bikini model).  Being a writer, Earl used his fictional USS Encounter as a location for a series of short stories.  He was playing around with wordcraft, and honing his writing skills for his political career today. 

After the big Star Trek motion picture came out a few months ago, I asked Earl if he was interested in "re-booting" the USS Encounter. Look a the the sweet way the Enterprise ship and crew got a near total work-over in the new movie.  However, Earl said no.  Had he said yes, I would have made this painting at that time, instead of waiting until now.  

Blogger will probably reduce the art to a postage stamp, so I include an enlargement to show paint strokes. Enhance, enhance:

I did use some public-use private photos to help compose the scene, plus one frame of the J.J. Abrams ode to lens flare.  That frame is credited to Paramount Studios, but I did re-work it a fair bit. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

99 - 99 JSVB Posts On The Wall...

Today is my 100th Post Extravaganza Eve, or in other words my 99th post here on JSVB.  I have chosen the image below as the logical lead-in to tomorrow's big post.  I drew this at least twenty years ago, and Earl has somehow kept it all of this time.  Well, it does feature Earl so maybe he was motivated to keep it.

In the next few posts, I plan to answer more reader questions to JSVB.  Today's post brings up a question I was asked a while ago:  how come when I draw my friend Earl, I always draw him in a Star Trek Federation uniform?  (For example, click here to see Earl and Allan.  I thought I was being subtle with the suggestion of a Trek outfit.)

Wow, this is old.  I can see where I've kept some of the style from those days, and refined other parts.  Hopefully, I can continue to refine my work at least until this picture is forty years old instead of twenty. 

The nice lady with Earl making the gesture that would be considered very rude in some Mediterranean countries (sorry, I didn't know that at the time!) is not Earl's wife, by the way.  That's a story for another day. 


Saturday, April 17, 2010

98 - Ford Concept Car

Here is a picture I took of the Ford Reflex, a "concept car".  These wheels aren't ready for production, but they give you an idea of what Fords might look like in the near future.  In this case, it's just a body and a cockpit, no powerplant or drivetrain.  To me, it looks a bit like a jazzed-up version of the popular Taurus sedan. 

Ford promises some amazing new driving technology in the next year as they integrate worldwide auto production.  That means that European, Asian, and North American features can all be standardized in one model.  I think that's going to make for some exciting new cars!

Friday, April 16, 2010

97 - Preview To 100

A preview for the JSVB 100th Post Extravaganza, which should be up in three days.  This is a crop from a much larger unfinished painting:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

96 - A Swing And A Miss

Here is some more artwork based on Ivan Fecan, CEO of CTV.  Since today is the thirteenth of the month, it automatically gets filed under Ungood Art.

 This piece of Ungood Art is a little different from the others, as it is not a completed work.  It's a trial run that failed.  This one time, I aborted the draft as I was laying down good lines, as I kept noticing that the fundamentals were all wrong. 

It started out okay, but the composition, structure, proportions and facial details were all bothering me.  Finally, I said "Shiver me timbers!" (G-rated version), and decided to toss out the picture and start anew.  I looked at several political cartoons on the Internet and made some analysis.  Everybody knows that political cartoonists work by warping and emphasizing the prominent personal features of their target.  I had to learn to choose what to deform and how.  I ended up putting more emphasis  on facial fat and skin tone, and less emphasis on features like the eyes, nose, and mouth.  This set me back at least a couple of hours; it took me most of the day to render the final artwork.  (Click here to compare the above image with the finished piece). 

I've subsequently learned how to properly pronounce "Ivan Fecan".  Not that I got into trouble for the picture - ha! - but rather he played himself on an episode of "Corner Gas".  He pronounces his own name like "ee-VONN fee-CHONN".  Now we know. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

95 - Fantasy Baseball

Fantasy baseball begins today!  Well, yes, I am a little late for the MLB season.  My rotisserie of choice is Out Of The Park Baseball (OOTPB), the long-running baseball management sim from Markus Heinsohn.  Usually, Markus is a little late with his yearly release of OOTPB, but it's easy to make up time.

Yes, fantasy baseball can get pretty geeky, and a fantasy baseball computer game that consists of little else but spreadsheets is even more so.  However, I feel that OOTPB is the closest I am going to get to being a real Major League manager.  Fun!

Today's drawing is a little more fantasy baseball.  It was inspired by the great Mizushima-san, who has studied and perfected the form of baseball comics.  I'm sure he would not mind that I've lifted one of his poses.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

94 - Jellyfishing

Lately, I've been getting a lot of information about jellyfish.  Some people consider them to be gentle creatures, while others see them as a nuisance.  Many have suffered and a few have died from the jellyfish sting.  Their increasing presence in the oceans is considered an indicator of climate change.

At first glance, these are exceedingly simple creatures, but when we look closer, we can see that they are incredibly complex and difficult to understand.  Their nematocysts (the harpoon-like stingers) are the fastest biophysical mechanism on Earth.  Their poison is a cocktail of some of the most dangerous substances known to Man.  We have no idea how they "see" or navigate, as they do not possess brains, but tests have shown that jellyfish  can be capable of recognising shapes and colours in the water, and can engage in chase and avoidance behaviours. 

Jellyfish can be interesting to look at.  Yesterday, I met a professional artist who is devoting his career to rendering jellyfish.  His works are incredibly beautiful.  He even sold us one of his prototypes, but I can't show it or talk about it in detail, as its creation involves some secret processes.

Instead, I created my own jellyfish picture.  Mostly, it's just an experimental work so I can play with colours and digital filters, which is fun. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

93 - It's An X-File, Scully

Here's an oldie from the sketchbook vault: a fantasy to get an animated version of the X-Files on TV.  Why that never happened seems like an X-File to me.  However, much of the Vancouver talent for both X-Files and animated TV seems to have drained south of the border. 

These are pretty old drawings.  If I were doing them over, I would fix the rough spots and improve the poses.  I am not particularly fond of this art, but I still think the idea behind it is really cool.

Trouble is, the X-Files characters belong to screenwriter Chris Carter, so I cannot take credit for more than this pencil drawing. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

92 - Lexus Luthor (With DISCLAIMER!)

Here is a picture of me as a rich guy running over a girl with my Lexus. 

DISCLAIMERS (Please Read!):

  1. I don't have a Lexus. 

  2. I'm not rich.

  3. Do not run over people with your car.
We were at the Vancouver Car Show.  The conversation went something like this:

"Hey, I'm gonna sit in this Lexus.  Why don't you sprawl across the hood and make it look like I'm running you over?  I'll take your picture."


"If you aren't a Lexus driver, you're little people."

               No matter what car you drive, God still loves you.  Well, maybe not Hummer drivers...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

91 - Sketchbook Animals Request

Based on an older post (click here to see Mama & Baby Horse), I got a request to post the remainder of the animals in the set.  No problem, can do.  However, these are just quick sketchbook renditions.  They barely represent the final art.  Mostly, sketchbook work is good for hunting down problems in a drawing.  If I do something stupid in a sketch, I will learn from the mistake and try hard not to make the same mistake in a final draft. 

I don't mind posting to JSVB from my sketchbook, but most of the drawings that come from there are not fully realized.  In these sketches, I am fighting to come up with child-friendly designs that aren't copies of the Disney animals, which are what I would consider to be the highest industry standard. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

90 - Beef Barley Soupçon

Here's something I made with the results of last week's beef stock recipe (click here to see more):


What I have are guidelines rather than a firm set of instructions.  It depends on how much stock you have at hand.  You can also use storebought broth, but if you do, you probably should not add any salt.

  1. Simmer the stock below boiling.  I figure on roughly a cup per person.

  2. Add vegetables.  I like using freeze-dried soup veg from the health food store, but hey, why not use fresh veg?  Use carrots, leek, and/or onion chopped up very small and fried briefly in a spot of olive oil.  You don't need a lot, maybe a couple of tablespoons per cup of stock.

  3. Add beef.  I like using a bit of left-over steak.  Again, just a couple of tablespoons per cup of stock, cut very small and fried brown.

  4. Add barley.  Using cracked barley will cook a lot faster than using whole grain.  Barley expands when cooked, so use sparingly, maybe a tablespoon per cup of stock. 

  5. Taste the soup.  You might want to add a bit more barley.  If you do so, just add a small amount at a time.

  6. You may want to add a little beef bullion.  Again, just a bit at a time, and taste as you go. 

  7. Other spices include salt, pepper, Worchestershire sauce and red wine, all to taste.  Add very small amounts and taste as you go. 
Simmer until the veg and barley are all cooked.  Serve hot with crackers.  Yum!


Monday, April 5, 2010

89 - Cheap Chocolate Season Ends

The end of Cheap Chocolate Season begins today.  This isn't my idea, it properly belongs to my friend Valerie (who I have lost track of), who coined the term way back in the previous millennium.

Cheap Chocolate Season begins on or around November 1st (the day they mark down Hallowe'en candy, sometimes that begins before Oct. 31), and ends some time after Easter when stores put away the chocolate bunnies and eggs.  Notable highlights of Cheap Chocolate season are the week after Christmas and the week after Valentine's Day. 

If you know of  a store with sufficiently lazy clerks, presumably you could now find leftover chocolate Santas, hearts, and bunnies all on the same shelf this week. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

88 - Easter Menagerie

Happy Easter!  Here is a picture of the holiday gang for the kid in all of us.  Since Easter is a Christian feast day, I am happy to report that we are as stuffed as these guys. 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

87 - "Saint Steven Of The Holy Olympic Tickets"

I come to an unusual pass at JSVB: gushing praise for Steven.  Is it sacriligious to canonize Steven, or is it worse to have to admit that I am in awe of my brother-in-law?  The joke's on him, though. He's a Protestant, so he couldn't be a saint if he tried.

On to the praise.  A lot of the Olympic-themed pictures in JSVB are entirely due to Steven swinging some amazing tickets for us.  We were originally lucky enough to draw for Olympic Opening Ceremonies as well as two events on our own.  However, Steven was able to find for us box seats for Closing Ceremonies as well as floor seats for Paralympic Opening Ceremonies.  Years of dinners at our place have now been equalled if not excelled by unbelievable once-in-a-lifetime tickets that would have cost us thousands of dollars. 

On top of that, Steven also scored some great collectors' lapel pins, including a very rare design team pin that someone had carelessly thrown away.  Since my wife collects these pins, she was absolutely in heaven with the pins she got from her brother. 

Finally, Steven got me into the big Olympic Sell-Off, where gently used items and souvenirs were sold at cut-rate prices.  We got some sweet Olympic swag for cents on the dollar.  Too bad I didn't need five hundred thousand kilometers of extension cords, though.  The only thing more amazing than the massive assortment of cords was that somebody coiled them all up by hand. 

So, like any good saint, Steven gets his own stained glass window.  Just don't ask about the fish, or the radio that's strapped to it.  If you know Steven, you can bug him about that.

Friday, April 2, 2010

86 - "Good Friday's Bird"

Today is Good Friday, which ends up being either part of the Easter long weekend or else a sombre Christian holy day, depending on how you view your calendar. 

This tiny bird, not much larger than a ping-pong ball, also has meaning for us on two levels.  It's just a nondescript little wild bird, probably a male, since he wears his stripe of bright colours with pride as if they were squadron markings.  He visited us, then departed, and his doing so was personal.  That's why he gets a portrait today. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

85 - Ruining Commentary

Well, April Fool's, ha, ha, ha.  If you read the last post (click here to see it), then you'll have seen that the Comments link did nothing.  Heck, if I knew some HTML, I'm sure I could have had it do something. 

April Fool's always has rubbed me a bit the wrong way.  I seldom come up with convincing foolery, and I usually fall for the joke.  So in case today's posts are more annoying than amusing, I provide this new feature to JSVB, for as long as need be or until I get tired of it:

                                                           CHOOSE YOUR OPINION

Now you can click on the little box next that most closely matches your opinion.  Your choices are STUNNING and/or EVOCATIVE.  Now you can finally have your say on JSVB, automatically!  Or you can send me e-mails, I like that.

84 - Running Commentary

Well, it's been a good run, but I can see the writing on the wall.  It's time to face the music and pay the piper: fourth down and ten yards to go. 

I'm making a big change to JSVB.  It's too hard to come up with a picture a day, so I will simply just be making written entries.  And I doubt that I will be posting nearly every day any more.

As a bonus, though, after long consideration, and almost three e-mails on the subject (see here), I HAVE DECIDED TO ENABLE COMMENTS ON MY BLOG!!!

Click on the link below, and let me know what you think!!!