Monday, November 30, 2009

Post Thanksgiving Air Brush and 3-D Images

Hope everyone in the States had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was good, I spent the morning working on my web site design then went to visit friends in the afternoon for food and conversation. The rest of the weekend I spent mostly doing homework. Though I am happy to say I managed to fit in some fabric cutting. I am trying to make bags as Christmas gifts. Wish me luck, I had to play with the pattern I found so this should be interesting.

At left is my 2nd try at air brush. The paint areas that are spotty are because I left the frisket on too long (over the long Thanksgiving weekend) I should have taken it off and then put it back on this morning to spray the body. Not too bad, but not great either. I think my air brush skills need a lot of work.  The instructor provided the drawing that we used so everyone was doing the same illustration for this class study. Our next project is to do hot air balloons, those we are sketching from reference materials so everyone will have something different.

My only other pictures today are from my 3-D design class where we are building rectilinear cast plaster sculptures. I had to take what I designed in class last Tuesday, make a larger clay model, sketch the model, measure it, use the proportion wheel to get sizes for a larger piece and then build mold forms out of cardboard and glue gun.  Below is a picture of my clay model, one of the 2 sketches I did, then pictures of my work area and the finished mold forms.

We are supposed to be mixing and pouring plaster in class tomorrow so I should have a finished piece to show next week. Then we do spherical shapes as a space study. I have no clue how we are supposed to create mold forms for those pieces, it should be interesting.

That's it for this post. Not a lot, I am working on a couple of pieces for Graphic Design, a CD case (almost done) and my final project. Not sure how I will photograph either of those but I will give it a try when I have them done. Per usual comments are welcome.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Illustration Emergency Vehicle Emergency

Above is my version of our only colored pencil study, we did emergency vehicles, mine is in its' own emergency, which sadly happens all too often in some cities. I don't have a lot to say about this except I actually had to draw in my perspective lines to get the ambulance lines correct. Goes to show that the kids in class that though learning perspective was useless information were wrong (at least for me).  I enjoy using colored pencil so I am sorry that we only did the one drawing but such is the way things go. Usually we do 3 studies in each medium, but we are getting close to the end of term and still have two mediums to cover. I suppose that colored pencil is probably the best one to miss, it is the medium that most people have already used to some degree, and there isn't a lot to mastering the use.  Well... maybe I shouldn't say that, but pencils just seem less intimidating then other media, so I think the other students will be more like to explore colored pencils on their own. I know I did. Our last two mediums are Air brush which we have started, and then working on the computer with Adobe Illustrator. 

My first air brush study is to the left. We were doing a cube, a pyramid, and a sphere. I think I rushed the sphere a bit so it isn't shaded quite the way it should be, and I had masking paper over one corner of the cube when I was painting it so...  I will say now that I have a lot of respect for air brush artists, you need to develop a lot of control to master the use of the brush and there are a lot of details to take care of. Some artists don't use masks on their work but they are usually working larger then what we are. All of the above was masked, by a transparent film called frisket. I have used that term before, but the frisket I was using with my watercolor wash was a liquid latex that I applied with a brush, this frisket is more like saran wrap, or transparent contact paper. It has a temporary glue applied to one side and is on a coated release paper. You cut it to the size of your board (we use Illustration board) then take the backing off and lay it over the board that has your transferred drawing already on it. Then you take an exacto knife and cut the frisket using your drawing as guidelines. When you are ready to paint an area you lift the frisket covering that area off of the work and go paint. When you finish painting you put the piece of frisket back down in its original place and lift off another piece. It probably takes longer to do then it does for me to write about. So the process of air brush painting something is not quick, not to mention set up times and clean up times. The brushes have to be kept clean or they will clog, the paint is usually acrylic so drys quickly and sets hard. Still for even coverage of large areas an air brush is the fastest way to go, and you don't have to worry about brush streaks. Currently I am working on my 2nd airbrush study, a nude reclining. I have painted the background but still have to do her body. So I should have a picture for you next week of that finished work. Then we will be doing a study of a hot air balloon, that should be fun.

That is it for this week. Everyone in America have a Happy Thanksgiving on Thursday. Try to not eat too much, though I know that is half the fun of Thanksgiving. As always comments are welcome.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Aluminum Protozoa Finished

I know sounds weird doesn't it. Well it is an aluminum protozoa so the title is accurate. Course it is not a real protozoa, it is something out of my imagination mostly. I did take parts of the design from real protozoa so I suppose it is a possible animal, but somehow I doubt that real life would combine all these features in one animal.

It took almost one sheet of .020 aluminum plus I don't know how many rivets, lots of sweat (my hands inside rubberized gloves) and effort to put this together during about 10 hours of work. Still I think the instructor will be pleased. I will be turning it in during my 3-D class next Tuesday morning. The theory was that we would spend one class cutting aluminum and one class assembling (the instructor brought in drill guns, hammers, anvils and other tools) The one class cutting worked out OK, at least for me, I had my design done. But 4 hours of assembly just wasn't enough for me to get this together. I spent a couple of hours at home Thursday night with an ice pick doing some final put together, then another 1 hour at school yesterday morning putting in the finishing rivets and a last piece or two. Pattern on the aluminum was done with a ball peen hammer before assembly. I think it is sort of cute, if an aluminum sculpture can be said to be cute. More photos below. From tip to tip is is about 26 inches long, and at the wides 13.5 inches, so it isn't small.

Per usual comments are welcome. My next images should be more Illustration work, I am in the middle of a colored pencil drawing of an emergency vehicle in an emergency of it's own.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Illustration - three friends

Our final assignment with pen, ink and watercolor wash was to draw 3 animals under a tree, and to give two arrangements of the grouping. Our instructor had brought into class a box of mounted photo's that he had salvaged in Cambridge one day. They were probably being dumped because most people find their reference photo's on the internet now a days. I know I used to have a box of reference photos that I tossed as not needing any more a while ago.  Anyway he though he could make use of them so he grabbed the boxes and as it turned out he was right, he could use them as a teaching aid. There were a lot of animal pictures and some people shots in the mix, we didn't use any of the people photos but most of us selected at least one of the animal reference photo's to use in our illustration. I picked a fawn. Then when I got home I had to add two animals to make the three I needed. I decided to use a kitten and a dog. Reference dog photos I have from last summer when I was practicing drawing animals the kitten I had to go look for, but I found a few possible images without much trouble.

I was finally able to sit down with this assignment yesterday afternoon, I finished the main sketch (picture on the left above) then did a separate sketch of a larger kitten that I used just the head of on the 2nd version. When I went to transfer everything to the watercolor paper for the second view I just transferred down the fawn and the tree from the first drawing then added in the dog (reversed), and the new kitten sketch instead of the previous animals. I painted both drawings together, going back and forth between them as I used different colors.  I didn't want to have to mix the colors for the fawn twice. White spots on the fawn were done using the frisket that I purchased for my first watercolor wash illustration.

I really, really need to take a watercolor class, I am not thrilled with my colors or my technique. But overall I think they aren't too bad for a beginner.

We are now moving on to colored pencils, which is going to make me much happier, I love using colored pencils, so stay tuned for my next Illustration.  An emergency vehicle in trouble, or a fire truck at a fire, right now I am not sure which it will be but have to decide soon as we will be starting the final drawing in the next class.

Per usual comments are welcome.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Poem Illustration

This past week I finished my latest Graphic Design project. We had to illustrate a poem with images/silhouettes from photographs. The Instructor had two poems we could pick from, I chose Dib Dab by Paul Beatty. I understand that the internet presentations of the poem leave off the last line, smooth as f***.  Our version was from the internet so that phrase isn't in my work.  I didn't take/have the time to chase down a print version of the poem to verify the last line so I left it out.  At the left is the cover of the folded presentation piece. The final piece is 8 inches square when folded and there are 6 panels. Next image is the presentation piece partially unfolded.

next is the completely unfolded work: 
I don't think I need to tell you that this project took hours to complete. For the curious the programs used were Photoshop then Indesign (Adobe's desktop publishing program). The prints were spray mounted on cut illustration board. I chose this fairly simple layout for my final presentation and was able to arrange the sections for printing in pairs. I am going to include images of the the pages as they look in my final file versions.

For some sections of the poem it was hard to find images, for instance I am not thrilled with the center section. I ended up taking my own photo of a two dollar bill, as internet photos of drifting money tend to show 100 dollar bills or larger denominations, and I needed/wanted a 2 dollar bill. I have been saving one for years and as you can see it finally came in handy.

That is it for today the next images I should have for you will be from my Illustration class, animals under a tree. In the meantime comments are always welcome.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall Mandala Finished

Above is a picture of the fall Mandala that I finished this weekend. I really like the colors in this one. Red, yellow, orange, that blue the sky turns in the fall and some green as a memory of summer.  I used leaves of various trees. the inner yellow leaf is a Linden, next are Hickory leaves with acorns and maple seeds, next ring out has maple and oak leaves in their fall colors. The leaves in the next partial circle are beech, but I have elongated them a bit, just to have them fit. The last circle has horse chestnut leaves, and seeds with a section of the prickly seed cover.

Now I have to decide if I want to continue this series or play with something else. Actually I am probably going to be too busy with school to do any work like this for a bit but we will see.  I like having a personal project of some kind to work on, something that has a mindless aspect to it.  The design phase of each circle isn't mindless, but once I get the round actually drawn and start on the coloring that gets fairly mindless and is good to do in the evening while watching TV.

I have one more picture for you, this is my latest Illustration drawing, done with crow quill pen, ink and watercolor. I am much happier with this piece. I like the goose and the flowers.  It is a good technique for illustration and hopefully I will be able to do some more flower studies in the future.

That is it for today. I may post my graphic design project when I get it finished, probably Wednesday if I can find the time between writing a paper.

Per usual comments are always welcome.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Illustration and Protozoa

Above is my latest Illustration work. This was done with pen and ink then a watercolor wash was applied. With this work, I am not terribly satisfied, though the instructor seemed pleased. Well semi pleased, I used a color for the frame out of the tube and he wants us to do more mixing, and he would have been happier if I had used a different blue for the wall paper then I used for the background behind the image. By the way as a total aside I based this portrait on a photograph of my grandmother when she was 18. Since I believe she was born around 1880, that means the photo is over 100 years old. I did a much better job on her face in the pencil study then I did with the  ink version. Got some ink marks where I didn't want them, and working as small as we were all it takes is one or two marks out of place to make major changes to how a face looks.  Below is my pencil study, sorry it is so hard to see, lighting for the photography wasn't the best, and even though I have upped the contrast and brightness the quality of the photo isn't very good. It probably doesn't help that I added extra pencil lines when I was tracing the drawing down onto the water color paper.
A couple more comments about this work, I used hot pressed water color paper for the final work. What lovely paper that it, it has a lovely smooth finish so it takes the pen extremly well, I would say as well as bristol board does. I love britol board so you should realize that I really liked the hot pressed water color paper, except for the price. I didn't want to spend the money on a paper tablet so I purchased large sheets and cut the paper into quarters. The sheet was approximately 7.00, so each piece is worth over 1.50 don't want to make many mistakes with this paper. Still I think it was worth the cost. Also the yellow dots in the wall paper are done by painting on a resist to the background then painting the background color, when it dries you remove the resist (call frisket) and then paint in the small area color. If I were a better watercolorist  who could paint the background without streaks it would be hard to tell how I had painted the yellow dots.

My next two pictures are from my 3D design class. These are photos of my space sketch of my protozoa design. The instructor approved so I started cutting aluminum which is our building material for this project. I was almost the only student in the class to start doing so however. Many students didn't have their space sketch done, and even those who did have them done had issues that cause them to do some reworking. The cut aluminum is due for the next class so we can spend class time assembling the structure. It won't be this coming Tuesday as that is Veterans day and we don't have classes so I have till the following week to get my metal cut and made ready for assembly.  Had to buy lots of tool type things for this project, the hardest to find was a rivet gun, which we will be using to rivet the pieces together. I eventually found one, but I think I visited half dozen stores before I did.

I think it looks a bit strange but it was approved by the instructor so that is what counts in this class.

That's it for this week. I am still working on my poem design for Graphic Design, though that is probably due next week so I may have pictures of that for you then. In Illustration I have to do a bird/flower composition and that is due Monday. I am almost done with the 2nd mandala, and am beginning to feel the need to sew so who knows what my next personal project will be.

Per usual comments are welcome.