Monday, January 28, 2019

1596 - Archangel XII

Today's version of the Archangel Gabriel features some fine-lined detail work: refining the border edges and placing the shaft of the weapon.  

In the upper left corner, you might make out the brand for Wild-Heerbrugg.  They used to make precision instruments, but went out of business decades ago.  The black case holds a ruling pen set that my Father gave me; it was his set when he was a draughtsman back in the 1950's or '60's.  Ruling pens are a style of steel pen nib, the sort that you dip in liquid ink.  The nibs are adjustable by screw so that you can achieve different line thicknesses.  I really should feature this set on JSVB someday, it's very special.

This was my first time using these ruling pens.  I know you should load them with ink, but thinned acrylic paint works nearly as well.  I discovered that these pens create lines from hairline at the thickest down to atomic at the thinnest.  It was crazy how thin the lines were, I had never seen anything like it before.  By comparison, drawing with a modern ruling pen like the one I typically use for setting down haloes is like using a houspainter's brush.  Nobody seems to make precision ruling pens anymore, so using my Dad's old set was marvelous.  


Thursday, January 24, 2019

1595 - CEL VI

Energized, I felt confident enough to return to box designs for the CEL logo.  I was creating orthographic art - trapezoids and diamonds - that when assembled looked three-dimensional.  It's a powerful op-art effect. I had to use a little mathematical geometry to make certain the pieces all fit properly, something that is a lot of fun for me.  At one point, I considered making an orthographic tesseract: a four-dimensional representation of a cube.  I'd still like to do that project, but I thought my time would be better spent focussing on what the client wanted.

These designs tested well.   They aren't as precise I would have liked, though.  


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

1594 - CEL V

My client could tell that I was not doing well with my logo illustrations.  I certainly in no way mind coming up with drafts, and I value the input the client brings to the design process.  What both of us were concerned about was that I seemed to be running out of creative ideas.  

Normally, I'll simply sleep on the problem.  In my waking hours, I'll train my artist's eye on the world around me to spot some kind of inspiration.  Quiet solitude walking through the forest helps.  The rustling of tree branches in the wind, the chittering of squirrels and the chirping of birds, the high-pitched beeping of the reverse gear alarm of a diesel-powered dump truck, and the deep bass grinding of a hydraulic claw ripping up asphalt: those are the forest sounds I am accustomed to.  The latter are from the construction of a nearby school.

And then it dawned on me: there's a building site a few blocks from my house where I can watch real structural consultants in action!  I walked around the worksite, carefully noting the phases of construction, the types of vehicles, and the way the workers swarmed over the girders and concrete.  All of those things gave me new ideas for the CEL logo.  

This time around, I presented Mr. Charleson with an abstract of a scaffold grid.  The idea tested very well, but Mr. Charleson was eager to see some new ideas, and I had quite a few novel concepts to propose.  

Monday, January 21, 2019

1593- Archangel XI

Just working to smooth out the colours and fix a few details.  The icon progresses. 


Sunday, January 20, 2019

1592 - CEL IV

I'm going to admit that after generating some drafts for the Charleson Engineering Ltd. logo, I was running out of ideas.  My client was hoping for a design based around a three-dimensional cube.  I warned him that there were many, many logo designs built around cubes, and that many of them looked alike.  

Even so, I took a stab at making CEL into a cube.  My first designs are adequate.  My lack of enthusiasm for this approach communicates itself, I think.   


Thursday, January 17, 2019

1591 - CEL III

For my logo for Charleson Engineering Ltd., my client wanted me to explore rounded letters interacting.  Here are some options for that.  They ended up being a little abstract, but I feel they turned out well.  

I made the effort to make the logo fit within a Golden Rectangle, which I think helps make the composition be a little stronger.  For more on Golden Rectangles go way, way back to JSVB Post #10 by please clicking here.  


Monday, January 14, 2019

1590 - Archangel X

The Archangel Gabriel now has eyeballs.  With this, the icon stares back as I work on it.  


Sunday, January 13, 2019

1589 - "Poopitoo"

"Someone at work needs their text to end with a really good poop emoji," my wife tells me.  

"I never use emojis," I reply.  It's nearly completely true.  In all my life I have used exactly one emoji, a red heart.  

So, to complete the project, I made a custom icon I've named "Poopitoo", since who doesn't name their feces?  

Poopitoo is the first Ungood Art of 2019.  On JSVB, on every thirteenth day of the month I feature some artwork of mine that somehow avoided being Good and instead became Ungood.  


Saturday, January 12, 2019

1588 - Clippy Sharpie

Forget the computer or the cel phone, my belief is that the Sharpie pen is one of the greatest advances of human communications in our generation.  And now I have some clip art I have drawn of one. 


Thursday, January 10, 2019

1587 - CEL II

Trying to make the Charleson Engineering logo match the excellence of Charleson Engineering itself, I switched typefaces from a brush script to a hand-drawn architectural script.  I also threw in some guidelines.  

Mr. Charleson also wanted to see different colours, so these were the colours I chose.  I had some room to play with Structural Consultants so I placed a colourful maple leaf in the middle to make the logo more Canadian.  

At the end of the day we came to the realization that we could veer away from red if we had to, but other than that we did not come to an agreement on how the logo should look yet.  


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

1586 - CEL I

Like a broken fish-hook adrift in the ocean, even the least-capable social media presence has the possibility of making a big catch.  So has JSVB attracted the attention of Charleson Engineering, a prestigious consultation firm operating out of Winnipeg, Manitoba.  I guess it helps that Mr. Charleson was a childhood friend of mine, too. 

I landed the CEL (Charleson Engineering Limited) account, a commission to provide Mr. Charleson's company with a new logo.  Normally, logo work proceeds fairly quickly as I can present most clients with some ideas based on my previous work.  In this case, I was able to do the same thing.  

Mr. Charleson was interested in a red logo that incorporated themes of construction and held the values of a family owned and run business.  With my extensive background in non-construction (well, I do have several hundred hours of my lifetime poured into LEGO), and no first-hand knowledge of family businesses, all I was able to provide at first was one big question mark.   I took some of Mr. Charleson's sketches and hashed them out, but they weren't satisfactory.  

One trick I have is to play with typefaces.  Sometimes the organization of letters will lead to some sort of combination of shapes on which I might be able to work out a good design.


Above are two attempts at using a brush script typeface (called "Brush Script").  I felt that the soft lettering would help make the logo look approachable.  I gave the text a double drop-shadow to make it pop a little.  I quickly learned that italicizing the type was not a good idea, as it made the logo seem unstable - not a good look for my client!  

Mr. Charleson was kind, but the logo wasn't good enough.  Especially, it didn't incorporate anything visual to do with construction.  I would try again the next day.   

Monday, January 7, 2019

1585 - Archangel IX

Work on my icon is slow.  When is it ever fast?  I've added more pigment to the skin tones, rounding them out, but they are now too hot looking.  More for me to fix next time, I guess.


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

1584 - The New Year's Baby

The first baby of the New Year fore British Columbia turned out to be born at our local hospital!  I needed a little bit of clip art to help celebrate the birth of Baby Dominik. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

1583 - Year Nine: JSVB In Review

Happy New Year! 

Looking at 2019, I'm deeply concerned.  Up until now, the year 2019 was appropriate for the opening title crawl of the original Blade Runner (1982) movie: the introduction to a deeply philosphical, yet horrifyingly violent futuristic dystopia of decay and sensuality.  Now that I see the real 2019, well, it's different from the movie version.  The nicest thing I can say about it is, "where's my flying car already?"

I've added a ninth column of artworks to my JSVB matrix.  Each column is a year, and each postage stamp is a post.  My output for 2018 was close to that of 2017, so in that regard JSVB holds steady.  The past few years have seen a decline in blogs, and JSVB is no different.  People aren't interested in online journals anymore.  Fortunately, JSVB isn't dependent on likes or user clicks.  It's here to make sure I keep generating artwork, and hopefully that art gets more advanced and enjoyable every year.

In that regard, I've made good progress.  Where 2017 was tentative, in 2018 I followed through with promises to push my artwork in new directions.  The results were positive.  However, the nature of my new projects made for long gaps in between many of my posts, which no doubt frustrated what regular followers I may have.  I've picked up some new clients who are buying my art, so I believe that my new work ethic is paying off, gradually.

Let's take a look at some of the pieces I think have pushed JSVB into new directions:

JSVB Post #1465  "Life Is Like A Box Of Tribbles, Mr. Mulder" - An essay on the happy coincidence of having reboots of two of my favourite television shows on at the same time, but also the pitfalls of nostalgia in commercialism.  The artwork turned out really well, though, a very sentimental watercolour rendition of science-fiction theme.

JSVB Post #1471  "One More Bite..." - A crowd-pleasing tribute to Godzilla!

JSVB Post #1500  "Enterprise Fantasia" - More Star Trek.  The illustration turned out nicely, but what really worked was pushing Photoshop blend layers to their maximum.  The effect is subtle in this piece, and that's the idea: I used something digital and regimented like Photoshop to finally produce something that looks organic and flowing.

JSVB Post #1501  "Movin' To Alberta" - A simple photo with a fair amount of Photoshop.  Posting this spoof picture convinced social media that I really was moving to Alberta in my brand new Ford Expedition truck.  When I say social media, I don't mean the people I know, but rather the computer programs that run our social sites.  Right after posting this, I started getting ads for expensive vehicles, cowboy things to do in Alberta, and for products of a high quality not normally associated with my status as an artist.  Normally, I get shilled for dodgy weight-loss programs and cheap t-shirts with dumb sayings.  So, I learned this: it's good to fool Big Daddy Internet every once in a while.

JSVB Post #1513   "Happy Birthday To Me (9)" - Gosh, yet more Star Trek!?  Under the hood of this picture is a new workflow which has helped me considerably with my projects in 2018.  Painting this picture gave me a lot of confidence to push my work in new directions.

JSVB Post #1519  "G&G 13: Formula De" - A large-format poster with a very heavy emphasis on vibrant colours.

JSVB Post #1552   "Two Worlds"  - A dramatic break from my usual work, I fabricated and sculpted two fictional planets, Mongo from Flash Gordon, and Superman's home world Krypton.  These took a lot of work to complete and they have many flaws, but am I ever proud of how they turned out!  I think this was my favourite project from 2018!  

I learned a lot about craftsmanship in 2018.  People have become more interested in my art, and I am trying to cultivate a clientele.  Art hasn't made me rich so far, but it has started to pay a couple of bills for me.  Better still, the lessons I have learned, the successes and mistakes (brown hockey pucks, for goodness' sake!) have given me a foundation to begin some large projects in 2019.  I look forward to those challenges!  

Thank you for paying attention to JSVB in 2018 and in years previous.  I am especially grateful for those who have chosen to purchase my art!  I hope that people share my excitement for the artwork that I plan to produce in 2019!