Thursday, August 14, 2014

Everything Is Going MY WAY on Illustration Friday!

     Yay! Once again it is Illustration Friday and I am Excited!
This week's topic was KING. This brought to mind thoughts of European History Freshman year in High School.  I learned about SO many Royal Families that I would not even be able to tell you have of it today.  Though I'm certain many of them were named George, Mary or Louis (which makes me excited.)
I also thought about certain types of world leadership that year. Like what makes a Great King was either his ability to expand the Empire,  or (and more importantly) his ability to improve the life of the peoples of his Nation, and not just the lives of the wealthy, but all peoples.

     As an American, I admit that I have a certain fascination when it comes to the study of a monarchy.  This fascination I am certain comes from the fact
that our government was founded in the opposition of one. We have never, and more than likely will never be a monarchy here in the USA. Unless, of course, the USA Government, economy and all social systems crash and burn, leaving our nation vulnerable to invasion and that foreign power sets up a monarchy...

     More than likely it will probably never happen.

     Now from my perspective as a Children's Illustrator, playing with the figures of the monarchy is much more Romanticized in Nature.  When you are a child, you begin to imagine what the world would be like if you were a King or a Queen or a Princess or a Prince, probably from the very moment we all learn about what they are. 
And more often than not, it tends to lean towards a very selfish vision of our young world full of quite very amusing but still selfish purposes.  We all think,"If I were the Ruler of the World, I would do WHATEVER I WANT TO DO, WHENEVER I WANT TO DO IT!"  And we think how wonderful that would be to exist in that world all day, everyday.  I even remember once telling my mother, scorned after she had scolded me for eating powdered coffee creamer from the carton with a spoon as if it were a bowl of ice cream,"When I am All Grown Up, ALL My kitchen Cabinets will be filled with Coffee Creamer and I will Eat nothing else bu Coffee Creamer for Breakfast, Lunch and Diner EVERYDAY for the rest of My Life!"  Even though this memory has more to do with my future visions of adult grandeur and not really a fantasy of ruling the world, the sentiment is similar: "When I am in charge of Everything in my world, I Will Get What I Want All the Time and Everyone Will Love Me for it."
 I remember my mother laughing at the statement, which I asserted very loudly to the rest of the family, informing them all. I will admit that I do have creamer in my coffee every morning, but it's that wonderful magical liquid flavor kind.  Also my kitchen pantries are far more diverse than my 6-year old vision of them were. lol.  This version of the World we control was, when made reality, what made bad Rulers so awful and tyrannical.  Being young and innocent, we would never think of the possible harm getting our way all the time might affect other around us. 

     ...Which brings me back to King My Way (as I call this character). After thinking back through some of the a fore mentioned memories, King My Way popped up out of the cold black dark cob-webbed infested recesses of my mind.
 Lately I like to playfully imagine those compartmentalized areas of my Brain as Gringotts Bank form Harry Potter and random bits of images and knowledge and whatnot ride around on those really awesome rail carts from the depths below... ANYWAY, This drawing, which I haven't given much thought past the year I drew him in, resurfaced.

     I just sketched him on a day that I was idly doodling back in 2002 (yes the original sketch is a relic) when I doodled him out of my head.  He was only EVER just a doodled character on a scrap sheet of paper, but I kept him all these years because I though he was cute.  I was originally going to develop the character into a children's book that dealt with the topic of Selfishness and how it can affect or hurt others and in some cases even ourselves. The title I had intended for that book was In A World Where Everything Is MY WAY! I still may develop that story, but I had abandoned it back then due to not being able t pull a dynamic story from the concept. Also other more interesting projects came along so I shelved King My Way and his tale for some future date. I decided it was High time for me to finish a colored version. First I had to locate the drawing, which if anyone has ever been to my studio, you know that would be a challenge.
They could make a Nickelodeon Obstacle Course Show out of looking for things in my studio.  I have 4 very short but quite long and narrow plastic bins in which I store drawings water color illustration work, portfolios, old portfolios, things that don't belong in there, etc... you get the picture.  I had to go bin by bin and sort through drawing stacked over drawing stacked over drawing, until at last, I found the King My Way sketches. I had doodled what his throne might look like as well as a very meager layout for a book cover (as all I had at the time was a title I liked). They weren't as interesting (but I will share them with you all regardless of how terrible I think the drawings are.)  I inked the sketch, making only very few modifications like taking out the shoe as it looked odd and didn't really read as his shoe and covered that with just a very long night shirt. I like the idea that his Regal Robe could be his dad's house coat and this young boy using it as his stately uniform. lol.

     The process for color was the usual, digital collaging. I have included a few screen shots of the Work in Progress below as well.

     King My Way has always had a tender spot in my heart because I believe he represents that long ago little child inside all of us that secretly makes us want to rule the world.  Now that I am older I have realized that a better vision for my world has to include more than just cabinets full of powdered coffee creamer and just getting my way all the time.  I've thought often this week, as I was working on this project, of some very wise words by Mick Jagger and the rest of His Rolling Stones Buddies,"You can't always get want you want. But if you try sometimes, you might get what you need."  And getting just what you need, I have found, has made me a far happier little artist man in his lifetime.  The little Kings and Queens of My Way that reside in the small very distant Grigotts Vaults of our minds and in our histories, I'm certain, can appreciate Mr. Jagger's lovely sentiment.

     I hope all of you out there enjoy the illustration, and enjoy the rest of your Friday and your weekend.  I also challenge all of you to do something. For just this weekend find or do something you absolutely want to do for just yourself and also do something or get something that you really need for yourselves this weekend. That might be a fun task to put into practice.  I definitely know it's an activity all my Libra friends will enjoy. ;0)

until next time, friends,
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

SHAVE Your FREEDOM for Illustration Friday!

     Yay! It's Illustration Friday... Kinda Sorta. We are celebrating early because, well, Friday (fr those living in the US of A) is Independence Day.  Since everyone will be  almost setting themselves on fire with Fireworks, I figured it best to get this week's submission done early.  This week's topic is BEARD.

     I thought of alot of different ideas for submissions this week, but I kept coming back to this Norman Rockwell-Esque illustrated moment of a boy wanting to be just like his dad and pretend to shave his non existent beard. 
It reminds me so much of the famous bathroom scene in Home Alone where young Macaulay Culkin splashes some after shave on after shaving off his pretend beard and then exclaims because of the burning sensation.  On a personal note I NEVER use aftershave because of that very reason... Even grown men don't like that Hoopty-Lopty-Loop Burning None sense. I use a Shaving Cream that leaves a lotion on the skin after the razor has done its job, then as you rinse and wipe, the lotion soothes. It's a bit "Sissy" I admit, but I have sensitive skin and I hate pain. So there. :0)

     I haven't looked on this week's page yet to see how many other artists are illustrating this very same subject. I expect many.  I'm certain, however, that each piece will have it's own unique qualities that separate it from the next.  Sometimes it's interesting to see how different artists will tackle an identical subject.
 They each approach it from a separate point of view, separate composition and most of the time work in different mediums.  I decided to "frame" my subject in one of those vintage medicine cabinet mirrors that were always in the bathroom of each house my family lived in when I was growing up. My family moved alot when I was young, they still do, but since I don't live with them any longer, I can afford some roots now.  Most every house though, as I recall would have one of these types of mirrors in the bathroom.  They always were rectangular with metal framed rounded corners. As it so happens, there is one in the bathroom of my studio. So they are still around. 

     Also, since I illustrate for children's media, I was concerned about drawing a child holding a razor, even a plastic one, because when your art is already stylized, how would a viewer know the difference? So I toyed with some ideas of what a kid could use in place of a razor that would still show the same effect and that a kid would normally have access to in the bathroom... So I thought,"Toothbrush!"  I playfully like to think in my head that the boy in my illustration is using one of his siblings toothbrushes.  I had 3 siblings growing up and most of the homes we lived in had only one bathroom... It was CHAOS!
Trying to get ready to go ANYWHERE!  Also, my siblings kinda gave me a hard time alot, so I like to think that this young lad is "givin' em one back" by using their tooth brush to shave a pretend beard.  I decided to edit out the father in the illustration because, in all honesty, he isnt' needed to get the point across.  This image already evokes the  sentiment of when children try to be their parents, similar to when little girls raid their mother's closet and make up.  Since BEARD is the focus, I thought having another character in the illustration would distract from that focus.

     Well that pretty much is the icing "shaved" off of this week's Illustration Friday Submission.  I wish you all a Happy Independence Day (to those it applies to).
To everyone else, I wish you all a Happy and Safe Summer Weekend.

until next time...
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

SUMMER Time and the Living is EASY.

     Yay! It's Illustration Friday and the Livin' IS Easy. I think everyone feels a bit of Sigh of Relief on the inside every time this particular day of the week rolls around.  Even though this post is rather belated this particular Illustration Friday, i still sigh with relief.  This week I decided to be a bit more ambitious with the topic and do 2 submissions instead of just one.  It seemed like the right way to execute the concept I wanted to submit.

     This weeks topic was SUMMER. When I think of Summer, the first thing I think about is the voice of Ella Fitzgerald singing that Jazz Standard of the Same name: Summertime.  It evokes a sense of ease. An almost Universal Sigh of relief after the events of the entire year.  Families go on vacations to spend quality time together, people seem to laugh and frolic a bit more than they seem to do during the rest of the year. If you live in the United States (where I live) then Summertime is the time we celebrate our independence from Great Britain. There just seems to be this inward feeling of a specific kind of glowing happiness. It's almost as if Smiling could be an emotion more pure than just being simply happy.

    I recently have been going through a rough patch in life, on a personal level. One to the extent that it blocks you creatively.  I barely worked on anything during this period and when I did try to work on something, it would fail miserably and I'd just end up trashing it all.  This diptych has kind of helped me pull out of the creative rut and work productively again and produce decent work that I am pleased with as an artist. I have made a few life altering decisions within this time frame (one decision more life altering, really , than the other.)  I have first decided that I would scrap my current illustration Portfolio and Create and Brand New One from scratch. From the ground up it will be completely different than anything I have previously put out in the world, both conceptually and technically.  It was rough, tough and difficult to make this decision. It didn't come without alot of hesitation. But denying that one could do better isn't helpful, so I decided to be honest with myself and change the things in my life that simply are not working, artistically speaking.  The second personal more life altering decision I have made, is to move to New York City next year to pursue, more seriously and hopefully more successfully, the career I want.  This, I feel, is very personal for me to share, but I don't feel that I can really put into words the sigh of relief I have felt after making those decisions and what it has been like to crawl out of the creative rut that struggling with them has put me in.

     Embarrassing as it is to admit, These two illustrations this week are the first pieces I have actually finished in the past 2 months, which is a wicked crazy and atypical time frame for me to not be working on something creative.  It's like a breath of fresh air and I felt like I have finally exhaled.  I feel like I can now rejoin the rest of the Universe in enjoying the delights and pleasures of Summer and "Live it Easy," which is exactly what the concept of these two works are...

     The Delights of both the Summer Days and Summer Nights.  I thought the idea of personifying the Sun and the Moon to represent the Summer Solstice would be charming, conceptually fitting and also quite a fun project to work on.
  I always think about swimming in the Ocean or a swimming pool during during daylight hours and enjoying wonderful seasonal treats like ice cream, frozen yogurt or freshly sliced watermelon.  Then at night time after you've showered the joys of the day away you sit back and relax on the front porch rocking chair or porch swing with a good book or
watching a movie or a good TV program with family or friends.  These are always the delightful things I think about when I think of the Summer. I also think about that song from the Movie GREASE. I think everyone has their own personal soundtrack for this Season.

     This pretty much sums up what I have to say this week about these illustrations.  I hope you enjoy them and that they evoke the pleasures of Summertime to you as well.  In the meantime, I hope Everyone Enjoys their Summer Holidays. I Know I certainly will, and for all of my USA friends out there: Happy Independence Day! :0)

until next time...
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art. 


Thursday, April 24, 2014

ZEN: The Natural State of Things

     It's Illustration Friday and This week's topic is Natural.  I'm not really the type of individual who likes to express their personal feelings on such a public place. So let's just say that I have had a bad week... well to be more accurate: bad month. 

     I have been in need to return to a Natural State of myself. I needed to find some Zen tonight, so I created some. Not really wanting to say much this week nor do I feel like sharing process...

     So just Enjoy. Find some Zen in your life this weekend and get Natural, whatever this would mean to you.  I have included below a series of images I found on Google to help get you started on your way, NATURALLY.

Until next time,
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art.