Thursday, September 27, 2018

1556 - Archangel II

Progress on the archangel: look!  The gilding is solid, mostly.  You can see nicks and loose bits, but those places will be covered in pain and won't be seen.  I've also blocked in some basic colours and filled in the sanquir, which represents the darkest shadow of the skin tone.  I call it The Green Blob. 


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

1555 - Hockey Puck Project I

On the hottest day of summer, the most Canadian thing I have even encountered happened to me.  The neighbour's kid was going door-to-door selling used hockey pucks.  

It was above 40° outside, so the boy was roasting.  I don't know where he managed to get them, but he had his little red wagon filled with hockey pucks, maybe a couple hundred or so.  Quite a few of them looked like game pucks or souvenirs, and some I believe were tournament pucks.  He was selling them on the street to make money to buy ice cream.  I bought a couple of pucks that I thought were nifty. 

Then I saw he had two or three dozen blank pucks.  I doubted anyone would buy those.  A flash of insight led me to purchase all of the blanks: what if I painted artwork on them?  The value added should no doubt fetch a high price.  So, I'm going to paint hockey pucks, and the boy and I can sell them and we will split the profits.  I figure custom-painted hockey pucks will be popular at Christmas!  

Intuition assured me that a regulation hockey puck would fit precisely within a Mason jar lid.  I think I may have even saw this in a dream.  I tested out my theory, and the fit is exact.  I am using the inside rim of the lid to draw the outer edge of the paintable area of each puck.  It's easier than using a compass.

I'm painting the pucks with gesso, since gesso sticks to most surfaces and itself provides primer for acrylic paint.  I'll fill in the circles with white gesso and sand them smooth. 


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

1554 - Bad News Bears: Unfinished Art

Injustice prompted me to draw a political cartoon. 

Illness postponed it past the date where it could have been relevant.  

I suppose I could still finish this work and make my point, but by the time I did that, nobody would care, not even the person against whom the injustice applied.  The artwork is decent, though.  The fact that the people in the artwork are bears I think is funny (and relevant to our neighborhood, where bears keep hunting our garbage cans, swimming in our hot tubs,  and playing with our lawn ornaments).  

It took me a few hours to get the likeness on the big bear correct.  He's a news editor chewing out his cub reporter, so now they are the Bad News Bears.  


Monday, September 24, 2018

1553 - Archangel I

It's icon time again!  And, if you've followed JSVB, you will recognize it's yet another archangel.  I'm not even going to bother naming this one until the end, but this one is Gabriel.  

The only reason this angel is Gabriel is because I wrote (painted) another icon exactly like it but as a mirror image.  The steps I will follow to create this icon I hope will be exactly like the ones I employed to create its mate, Michael (mis-labelled as Gabriel all last year in JSVB). I'll change this icon's robe colour, perhaps. 

As Star Trek proves, Gabriel (Lorca) and Michael (Burnham) are largely interchangeable.  They just use different colour schemes.   

Despite the ragged look of the gold, the gilding went well.  The gold needs to be brushed - carefully and gently! - and sealed.  


Saturday, September 22, 2018

1552 - "Two Worlds"

The finished bespoke globes of the fictional planets Mongo (Flash Gordon) and Krypton (Superman).  It's time for me to pack these up and send them to my clients.

Generally, I'm not sentimental over my own artwork.  A lot of it has been archived digitally so I can revisit it at any time.  However, there's only one Mongo and one Krypton.
 I'm wistful about sending them away.

They are flawed, since they are prototypes. I learned a fair bit about globe-making, though.  And while for a few days I catalogued my errors and self-made promises to do better next time, I ended up simply staring at these worlds and wondering at the adventures a brave pioneer would experience soaring their many-coloured skies, swimming the depths of their cobalt oceans, or setting foot on their alien soils.  

The volcanoes of Kira smoulder.  The forests of Lurvan beckon.  The pull of the Magnetic Mountain is real!  (No, it isn't.  I decided against putting a magnet in Magnetic Mountain.  But it does look like that, so incredibly corny, but that's what I get for using a comic book as an atlas, alas.) 

Strange to me, the feeling that these pieces are not just the result of my artistic intent and skill, but that these planets really do echo the supersonic exploits of those great Golden Age superhero comics.   What great fun it was to manufacture these token worlds!  At night, I look up into the galaxy and gaze in giddy wonderment.  Which blazing stars possess these worlds for real?


Friday, September 21, 2018

1551 - "Muni Tunes"

Earlier this year my friend Greg Moore, Mayor of Port Coquitlam, announced that he was retiring from politics.  Well, there goes one of my best clients.  For the past ten years or so, I produced Mayor Moore's political literature.  In that time, I also developed a cartoon version of Mayor Moore that we used in several social media campaigns.  

A couple of days ago, I presented my final Mayor Moore cartoon artwork.  Back in Spring of this year, I had been approached by Polly Krier, who runs a successful marketing company specializing in corporate events.  Polly suggested that I could come up with some artwork for a  roast for Mayor Moore, and Greg gave Polly his blessing.  

The concept for the artwork came to me in a momentous flash: I'd adapt the famous exit line from Porky Pig to my cartoon Mayor Moore.  I had to double-check that fair use would apply to this work, and made certain that my version had enough changes so that it resembled the Warner Brothers studio work without copying it.  That, and since my project is definitely satirical, "Muni Tunes" satisfies fair use copyright law.  

The roast was phenomenal!  For better than two hours, Mayor Moore endured playful barbs from his friends, family, and co-workers in a gala theatrical celebration of his civic career.  Many of the jests spoke genuinely to our hearts as Mayor Moore has contributed so much to the city of Port Coquitlam both as a municipal leader but also as a profound and generous benefactor to our community.  Even as he leaves us as Mayor, his legacy Greg Moore Family Community Fund will continue to provide money for campaigns to assist the underprivileged in our city: the roast alone raised over $130,000.   My own contribution of artwork is hardly significant compared to what Polly, Greg, his wife Erin, and Foundation Chairman John Diack have achieved.  Yet Greg took to time to make sure that I was recognized and made a part of the event, something which honours me more than I can say.  

The last ride of the Four Horsemen: the Mayors of Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Port Moody and Anmore.  Also: hey, look!  My artwork! 


Monday, September 17, 2018

1550 - Varnished Truths

So this is the varnishing process.  Varnish acts like a magnet to airborne debris like dust and hair, so the artwork should be hermetically sealed for as long as possible until the varnish dries.  The result is an hours-long meditation on what it takes to eat twelve kilograms of cherries.  I doubt that I have eaten a single kilogram of cherries in my lifetime, I don't like them very much.  The pail came from a restaurant dumpster, I think, or was given to me empty.  Right now beneath the upended pail are the globes with still-wet varnish.  The varnish will seal the artwork for posterity and freshen the colours.  Since I am using glossy varnish, it will also balance the parts where the labels were too shiny.

Liquitex again.  The reason I am gravitating to Liquitex is that the local art store runs out of Golden and the other product lines.  I really should get up earlier in the morning before all that is left on the shelves is Liquitex.

The Liquitex varnish is okay.  As a big plus, it doesn't need to be mixed or thinned.  Having to do mixing means there's a chance of introducing air bubbles into the varnish which can be nearly impossible to dissolve.  This varnish also goes on in thin layers.  For flat artwork, you'd want a thick varnish so that you only need to apply it once and it dries flat and smooth.  Thin varnish shows brush strokes, but on the other hand it dries much faster and it won't run along non-flat surfaces (globes consist entirely of non-flat surfaces).  So, thin varnish needs multiple applications.  Liquitex gets cloudy the more layers you add, so there's an upper limit as to how much varnish I can use.  After I lift the cherry bucket in a few hours, we'll know how the final result looks!  


Sunday, September 16, 2018

1549 - Bespoke Worlds: Krypton IV

Krypton, labelled.  Just as with Mongo, applying the labels was a huge pain in the rear end.  At least I learned my lesson about using dark pigments. 

The Dandahu Ocean was crossed by Superman's long-lost ancestor Val-El who voyaged from the ancient city of Erkol to discover the new world continent of Lurvan via the Red Ocean.  Along the way, Val-El encountered Vathlo, the island of highly-advanced black citizens of Krypton. 

The final step is to varnish the globe, which will make the whole world glossy and vivid, and also balance out the not-so-shiny areas.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

1548 - Happy Baby Sketch

A quick ink design for a happy baby.  The forehead was large enough to hold the JSVB watermark. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

1547 - Two Stethoscopes

A sketch of two stethoscopes.  I haven't drawn anything for a very long time, so I feel I am rusty.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

1546 - Heedlessly Redacted

The thirteenth day of every month on JSVB is dedicated to Ungood Art.  It's where I post stuff that I have created where I had the intention to do something well, but instead it turns out not so well, or as the opposite of good: ungood.  


This is the label sheet for the place names for both Mongo and Krypton, the custom-made globes I am building.  Each cut was supposed to be laser-precise: two vertical strokes and two horizontal strokes to contain each label in its own perfect rectangle.  Instead, it looks as if I've redacted Fred Flintstone's poem to Wilma:

I love thee Wilma, with hair like silk,
Lips like cherries, skin like milk,
Your shell-like ears, your dainty hands,
And eyes so black, like ▓

I guess I need better technique with the knife.

*PS: the redacted words are frying pans.  


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

1545 - Continental Context

So this is basically just a text file, but it took a long time to produce so I decided to use it as an entry for JSVB.  These are all of the labels for the fictional geographic names on the globes I made for both the planets Mongo (top) and Krypton (bottom).  

The names were culled from various stories and hand-drawn onto maps for comic books.  A few of the names are simply exotic and alien.  Some of the names are similar to names of places on Earth, but with different spellings.  After these come quite a number of names that are simply descriptive of the location they are attached to, like Fiery Desert and Glass Forest.  Either the writers grew tired of alien-like names, or else they wanted to keep things basic for easy comprehension.  

I began wondering how Earth landmarks would be named, if comic book writers were in charge of things (like they are now, at least in films and on television).  Mount Everest would be Giant Mountain.  The Mississippi could be Meander River.  The populated east coast of the United States has already been likened to Metropolis or Megacity One.  The Russian steppes?  Fro-Zen Plains.  The South American jungle?  Ver'Dant Forest.  Australia equals Island Land - I like that one.   


Monday, September 3, 2018

1544 - Bespoke Worlds: Krypton III

Since the Planet Krypton explodes in the very first panel of the first Superman comic, Superman himself remains ignorant of his own heritage.  As Superman comics mature, they do add some backstory for The Man Of Steel.  Literal bits and pieces of Superman's home planet reach Earth, providing plot developments and exotic Kryptonian characters, some who are villains and some who remain allies.  

In September of 1981, DC Comics published The Krypton Chronicles, which was an attempt to codify history of life on Krypton from the point of view of Superman and his ancestors.  From a very practical standpoint, The Krypton Chronicles represented a change in DC's comic book format, adding a single sheet of paper into the comics, which when folded allowed for two more pages of artwork and two more pages of advertising as well as the excuse to bump up the retail price of the book by 20%.  Since a page of artwork takes around a day to produce, the deadlines for the comic books became that much tighter.  At least in the Krypton Chronicles, the art for the two new pages was as cheap as anything I've ever seen, and must have been rushed at top speed to completion. 

Still, what readers got was interesting lore, even if it was somewhat unformed: brief glossary terms for the Kryptonian language and a sketch map of the planet drawn by Albert de Guzman.  This map seems to have been the basis for other maps and comics that followed.

The Krypton Chronicles are available to read online, which helped me greatly in my research for this globe.  The story is a batty mix of science, history, mysticism, and prophecy that seem to borrow heavily from Christian Bible stories and Robert Louis Stevenson.  The de Guzman map shows all of the places mentioned in the Chronicles.  However, the map itself is drawn very simply onto two circles to represent the planetary hemispheres.  As a result of this haphazard projection, much is made later on of the split between Krypton's Old World and New World hemispheres.  

The progress of the El family, (Jor-El, Kal-El, Val-El, etc.) charts the progress of Superman's ancestors as they discovered new scientific and theological advances in the Old World. They migrated to the New World to populate an unexplored continent after a catastrophe appears to destroy the old one.  Since the El family are among the most honorable of the Kryptonians, several splinter colonies are created by dissidents who do not agree with the Els, including The Island Of Thieves which split from the main expedition.  Those who reject Kryptonian  orthodoxy tend to remain on the Old World hemisphere while the right-thinkers congregate on the New World hemisphere as close to Kryptonopolis as possible.  Renegades who no longer serve the plotline are doomed to explore the Valley of Juru, where no-one who visits it escapes with their lives.  

Creating a globe eliminates the hemispheric divide of the de Guzman map.  Correcting the faults in the map projection shows that the Old World and New World continents are not far apart, and that Val-El's eastward journey across the Dandahu Ocean would have been much shorter had he not detoured to see Vathlo, the island sanctuary of Krypton's highly-advanced black people, and then subesquently sailed into a vortex storm.  

As far as my artwork is concerned, I've coloured in the oceans and the continents.  In the picture above, you can see the Red Ocean.  To the east are the large mountain ranges: The Jewel Mountains, the Gold Volcano, and the strikingly obvious Magnetic Mountain.  I was tempted to put a real magnet in there.   

Saturday, September 1, 2018

1543 - Bespoke Worlds: Krypton II

The Planet Krypton I think has more water than the Planet Mongo.  It's a wetter world.  Practically speaking, Krypton is very much wetter.  Since I've taken care to put extra gesso on this globe, it also takes longer to dry and for it to be workable.  

Learning from the lessons of Mongo, I've decided to make Krypton's colour palette considerably lighter.  This will make for a more cartoony-loking world, which will please my client.  However the lighter pigments I use cover the white gesso poorly, so I have to use more coats of paint, and you guessed it: drying time is thus multiplied.  Lots of opportunity to snap pictures of my progress while I wait for the next layer of paint to dry - this is what you see in today's JSVB post.

Why is there red paint in my palette while the water is all blue?  Because Krypton has a Red Ocean.  Krypton and Mongo both have features that are a lot like Earth, but are somehow dialled up a bit to make them more exotic or romantic.  We have a Red Sea, the Kryptonians had a Red Ocean.  The Red Ocean is on the New World Continent Lurvan, on the far side of the planet, whereas we are looking at the Old World Continent, Urrika. The water in Urrika is The Boiling Ocean, which as far as I know is the only inland body of water on either Krypton or Mongo.  Not many lakeshore condos on either world.