Late Night Deli

Just a quick study today. This one, unlike so many others, didn’t cause me any stress. I kept things super simple and didn’t go too crazy with the detailing. I found with this piece that I was initially drawing everything too precisely, so I had to go back and “correct” the shapes and proportions so they were wrong, which sounds weird to say, but it adds to the style. This is another place in NYC. I’ll probably get off the New York hype train at some point, but I just love the buildings! Enjoy!

A Question about Originality

I’m enjoying doing these pieces. I believe they’re getting more and more refined as I do them, and rightly so; practice makes perfect, and all that. The majority of the illustration is a replication of an existing photograph, albeit my take on said photo. Because I’ve essentially copied a photo and just added some bits of my own, the question arises, “is true artistic originality possible?”

A site called Deviant Art did an interview with an artist a couple of years ago in which the illustrator claimed their art was original and not inspired or influenced by anything or anyone. I found this answer odd, because the artist used ink and watercolours to paint popular landmarks – surely then, they were inspired in some way by the landmarks themselves? Also, without some outside influence or inspiration, how was the choice of ink and watercolours made? As someone who has been making art for a while now, I know how vital the work of others (be that film, music, paintings, etc…) and the reference I use has been to my growth.

At the time of reading the interview I felt angry that someone would claim they were entirely original and uninspired in anyway, but as I processed what this person said, I came to two conclusions; one – they were wrong and the very work they had produced was a contradiction to their statement; two – true originality is a myth. That’s not to say something can’t be original in terms of being unique, but to create something that hasn’t been inspired or influenced in some way is impossible.

Anyway, thanks for reading my opinion on that. I was just going to talk about my process again, but I thought this might be a little more interesting. And as always, I hope you enjoy the work I’ve made. Cheers.

Making things hard for myself

The above illustration is actually only the top half of a larger image. As far as composition goes I think this is an improvement on the original (see below). The reason for this is the reduced colour palette and the shape of the canvas. A limited colour palette tends to bring a piece together more harmoniously; there’s fewer colours to clash against each other and the use of values is more noticeable, thus you can be more subtle with their use.

As for the canvas shape/size, the key difference from the original is that the focal point for the viewer is much more clear – your eye is drawn to the window cleaner; he is in that right third (a compositional mainstay), and he stands out very clearly.

The image below is the original. While it’s not an awful picture, I do think there is a bit too much going on. It’s also not clear where the eye should be led, and I think it’s fair to say that the window cleaner stands out a lot less in this version despite the colours remaining the same. Suffice to say it would’ve taken probably less than half the time to complete this had I just painted the top half – you live and learn. I could be totally wrong of course, so feel free to let me know what you think in the comments. As always, enjoy!

Little Merchant – study

Quick character study here. I’m playing around with line-work a little more than I usually would as a way to test things out, and it means I don’t have to be so careful with edge control for colour. I quite like this for what it is; a simple character scene. Not everything has to be ridiculously time consuming and intricate. Is there a story here? Always, but whether it’ll get expanded upon or redesigned is another question. I’m going to try and pump out some more of these character scenes just so I have plenty of fodder for publishers and agents. Enjoy!

Astroknight

Astroknight is an idea I’ve been meaning to expand on for a while, and the course I’ve been taking on schoolism.com has given me the kick up the arse I needed. The original idea was hatched when I went back to college to do an art and design qualification – only the finished pieces were nothing more than a half-baked attempt at a storyboard (and a pretty awful one at that). I also couldn’t draw very well then either.

Astroknight is set in the far future and is the story of an asteroid miner who crash-lands on a planet that has had it’s information mysteriously wiped from all known charts. The miner (who will become known as Astroknight later) must scour the planet in order to fix his ship and get home. As he looks for parts to make repairs he discovers why the planet has had it’s information wiped, which sets in motion events that will rock the very foundations of the galaxy!

I’d like to think this would appeal to older kids, perhaps in the same vain as the Asterix or Tintin series’ (minus the racist stuff in Tintin of course). I could even see myself animating it. Either way, i’ll be posting more Astroknight stuff in going forward. Enjoy!

Booking heaven!

This was going to be a quick piece – a bit of drawing from life, but then I got carried away. As with every illustration I do, I get to a certain point (usually when all the flat colours are applied) and I think “I hate this stupid picture and myself! Why do I even do this?! Aggggghhh!” Then I unfold myself from my desk, stretch, and contemplate jumping out of a window. Luckily I’m not a complete moron, so I just go for a walk instead. This one took a long time. Not because the lighting is complex, but because there are so many bloody books that had to be individually detailed – which is my own fault, so maybe I am a moron. My computer is old and slow as well, so I had a couple of instances where Photoshop refused do anything, then promptly died, losing me about an hours worth of work, which is not at all causing me to lose hair. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this as much as it was inconvenient to draw. Cheers.

The Book Man

This is a two hour study of a photograph I found Pinterest. I find that I don’t really do that many studies, which is stupid really, because drawing from real life is so informative. I’ve taken some artistic liberties with the scale, as well as few adjustments here and there. I like the composition in this piece and the way the eye is drawn to the man reading the book. The reason your eye is drawn here is because the shape of the man is so different from the geometric and angular shapes of the books and doorway, so it interrupts the pattern. Anyway, I need to get on with colouring it. Enjoy!

Bully

I tried something different with this one, that being the light being overcast and thus diffused, rather direct light. Not sure how I feel about yet. I think perhaps I haven’t fully grasped how to paint this type of lighting yet – it could be my values are off a bit or maybe my use of colour is wrong. Either way it’s good to do this type of work because it breaks me out of my comfort zone. I also messed around with the hue and saturation to give it a bit more atmosphere and washed-out look. Enjoy!

The Clock Maker

This was a fun piece to do (even if it took a while to finish, but i’m sure you’ll all appreciate that procrastination won’t get done on it’s own). I added the lighting effects to the main character in the same why (I hope) that SPA Studio’s did for their movie, Klaus. There’s a lot to take in to consideration for the lighting in this piece, which subsequently made it quite tricky to pull-off, and I’m still not a 100% sure I’ve got it right. So, what are the principles of lighting I’ve used here;

  • Ambient light – this is the soft light coming in from the moonlight on the top planes of the character.
  • Contact shadow – simply the darkest shadow where two things touch.
  • Bounce light – this is the light that bounces up from the desk where the lamp light hits. So all the planes that face down get illuminated.
  • Direct light – this is the light cast directly from the lamp.
  • Rim-light – this is the thin strip of bright light we see around the edge of the character and certain objects cast by the moon.

There also the texture of things to take in to account. Wood for instance is less reflective than polished metal or glass and thus has to be rendered appropriately. Anyway, that’s enough technical waffle. Hope you like the piece and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the process GIF up top, and whether you’d like to keep seeing them. Cheers