Monday, September 29, 2008

Hyogo Times October 2008 Cover

So here's the final version of the cover for the October/Halloween issue of The Hyogo Times. Its the most wonderful time of the year.

I had a lot of fun working on this image. The characters on the left are some of my oldest friends, going back to some library books I checked out week after week in elementary school, each about one specific monster. From Wolf-Man, Dracula, and Frankenstein's Monster to King Kong, Godzilla, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Mad Scientists, Aliens, Zombies - I checked them all out a dozen times each.

But still my biggest influence was Michael Berenstain's Creature Catalog. In a complete stylistic departure from his parent's Berenstain Bears, he use a very intensely detailed pen and ink style that feels more like engraving. At first I thought Durer was his primary influence, but now I see a much more direct link to work by German artist Wilhelm von Kaulbach. Berenstain used this tight, sculptural style to create a survey of dozens of mythological and fantastic creatures from cultures all around the world. Anyway, I guess its the only book I still have from when I was 7, and its a treasure to me. As time goes on, its really my biggest influence, and its a pleasure to find its stylistic ancestors.

As far as my image goes, I'm pretty happy with the way the foreground and background are meshing. Anyhow, let me know what you think!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Potato Boy, for Ben and Becky

I've had this rolling around the sketchbook for about a week, but only posted it now.  All he needs now is some colors...

Inspired by true-life events / vending machines...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

October 08 Hyogo Times Cover, step1

I do not know what the problem is, but I cannot get Potato Boy to upload.  Guess you'll have to wait till Christmas morning, kids.  In the meantime, you'll just have to make do with a bunch'a old Hollywood Monsters having an awkward moment with a bunch'a Japanese monsters:

This is my step 1 sketch for the Hyogo Times October Cover.  The center "o" in "Hyogo Times" will be the moon, and I see a dark blue bg with a dark/black tangle of tree branches across it and the o/moon, but the HYGO TIMES on top of those branches.  This is one of those images that kinda just made itself after the kernel of the initial idea came up while talking to my Granny Dot on the morning of my day off.  Actually, not many images fit that specific description, but you know what I mean - some images kinda make themselves, like I hear some writers say about stories writing themselves, or characters telling their own stories.  

Western audiences will no doubt recognize the classic Universal line cast of characters to the left, but you may not know the Japanese ones.
-Rokurokubi: Long necked, but otherwise normal-looking traditional Japanese woman
-Kitsune: the Japanese word for fox, often seen as magical creatures indicated by growing more than one extra tail.  9 is especially magical.  
-Oni: kind of a general horned demon, usually red or blue
-And my favorite, the Karakasa: an umbrella-monster-thing. A type of Tsukuogami which is an object that has reached its 100th year of existence and developed a spirit.  Also happens with old sandals, apparently.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Aaaaaand I'm spent....

....Next time (or the time after...) on sketchblog: POTATO BOY!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Poster, v2.0

Ok, this color sucks, but its just a tone to start with. The colors are really gonna pop everything and get the text out and visible. Oh Chromatic Diety(s), guide me into an eye-catching yet un-gaudy resolution.

Monday, September 15, 2008

ABC poster project, pt7-Poster Step 1

Thinking things out... I finally got them on stage in an orderly fashion. And I've amended most of their looks. A kind, honest friend of mine unintentionally referred to the Florida Panther as "uh, what is it - a giant rat?", thus some editing. The Wild Pig doesn't seem to be suffering under the weight of his accordion anymore, I hope. And I'm also hoping the colors really pull the figures apart from each other.

Now what was the magic spell for perfect design & type?...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

ABC poster project, pt6-That Wild Pig Accordionist

I kinda feel like he's gonna come together in post-production...

ABC poster project, pt5-Gopher Tortoise on Drums

Starting to get a critical mass of animal performers, and the specter of the background is looming... My hope is to finish this poster by Monday night, but am allowing myself until Wednesday night.

Listening to some This American Life episodes that I've let stack up on my iTunes. I love the show and in more than 10 years of listening, have never once been disappointed by it, but more than a few times have been moved to real thought, laughter, and tears. It strikes me as one of the biggest examples of a contemporary urge for sincere sentiment. I was talking with my friend Billy a week or so ago about his artwork. One important element in his work is his exploration of the line you cross from sincere emotional expression into something showy or false. He also contrasts it against "knowing" art, a kind that works from a (real or contrived) jadedness, a kind of defensive, cynical unwillingness to let one's guard down, to be real. The example in my mind is that of a wise-cracking sitcom kid, though I'm sure Billy could say it better. I'm seeing this impulse in different folk's art and media these days, and am really interested in it.

At the moment, I think of two artists from my grad school time at MCAD who's work I think in this same way: Molly Roth and Shepherd Alligood, though for now I have to leave it at that. Gotta get back to drawing a pig playing an accordion.

Friday, September 12, 2008

ABC poster project, pt4 -Florida Panther on Lead Vocals

Mixing the details of the animals with human postures is getting easier and more natural overall, but this panther has really taken some messing with. May take some more yet, feels like somethings not quite right, but it'll need some sit time before I can see it. Still, I'm pretty happy so far.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Allen Broussard Conservancy poster project, pt 2.5/3-Banjo Gator

This little dude is my favorite so far - and subsequently has taken longer. But I think he's happy, so I'm happy. :) Steve Martin said that you just can't be sad playing a banjo. If a cold blooded death-machine like an alligator can still look happy playing one, I guess it's true!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Poster for the Allen Broussard Conservancy's Harvest Music Jam

I'm working on the anthropomorphized and musically inclined animal population of a poster to promote the Harvest Music Jam, taking place in St. Cloud, Florida's Allen Broussard Conservancy.

This is a gee-tar-in Red Tailed Hawk. It took a while to find a Hawk to pose for me, and even longer to find one who could play. I finally had to ask him just to pretend to play the guitar.