Friday, March 1, 2013

SCBWI WINTER CONFERENCE CHRONICLES: Vol.i Interjection: New Year, New FatMan or This Place Smells Like Pancakes or Muffins.

   This is an aside from what all went on at the SCBWI Winter Conference. It's applicable but is kind of a sideways bend.  In preparing for the conference, I dressed up an old idea for the presentation of my portfolio at the portfolio showcase.  (Whole SketchBlog about that)  I also took the original drawing of the FatMan and "dressed" him up.

     I decided to make a new logo/icon for promotional purposes with the profile silhouette of my FatMan illustration.  It was actually New Years Day when I did this.  Preparation for the conference started early so it could all be finished on time.  I holed myself up in my studio like the Art Hermit I am sometimes, popped in the audio book version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (which is immensely entertaining by the way) and lost myself in the project.

     First thing's first, I needed some coffee, so I made some. Then I needed to light one of my smelly good candles I bought around Christmas time. They were originally supposed to be gifts for people, but they smelled so good, I just decided to give them to myself. :0)  Merry Christmas to me, right?  Anyway, the one I am sure I was burning that day smelled like vanilla meets ice-cream meets maple syrup meets sugar cookies.  My studio smelled like a bakery, which made the dieting I am doing very difficult… SO I thought about the Art… the sweet and flaky, warm gnash filled Art.

     I had to resurface the original scan in of the inked drawing from way back when in my college days when I worked on the version of the FatMan that you may or may not be familiar with, at this point.  As organized as I try to be, sometimes I look at my "filing" and despair.  Back in those days, I was SO afraid to store files on the college server spaces as many a d-bag would come along and delete your files.  Those were frustrating days until I started burning everything onto CDs when I would complete a new digital project or animation. I have a cemetery of really old not-so-well-labeled data discs stored  in a not-so-chronologically-ordered booklet.  There are 2 of these booklets.  I call them the tombs as all my not-so-spare-time "dies" as I try to "EXHUME" a very specific file from somewhere in the tombs.

     I can't exactly say how long it took me to find that scan.  It was less than 24 Hours and way more than the task should have really taken and both longer than it would have taken me to un-tack the actual "original" drawing off the studio wall and re-scan it. This could really be attributed to me being a real "guy" in the sense that I really don't need to ask for directions even though I am clearly lost nor do I really need that easy to read organized instruction booklet to put  stuff together either.  I also don't need to re-scan the drawing that hangs right in front and sort of to the side of my computer desk, because I can find it in these tombs. I know kinda exactly where it is and I am going to find it. yes, I am, because I got this… I GOT THIS.

     So fast forward a few Harry Potter Audio Book Chapters, and I found the file I was looking for.  Instead of running the cleaned up drawing through my "vectorizing" machine, otherwise known as Streamline, I decide to build the New FatMan up from scratch. This gave me a chance to really "fix" any kind of lopsidedness you would have with the proportions of the drawing. 
  I made the silhouette more symmetrical also made the umbrella more consistent and also symmetrical.  I used the inked drawing behind my working area as a guideline, building every curve of the image from scratch.
This process is very zen like, especially with my makeshift bakeshop smelling candle wafting about.  I did change the border around him. It still was in the shape of the portico window, but I used a very simplified set of Thin and thick lines instead of the checkerboard pattern.  

     I did toy with the idea of adding in a few finite details like some eyelashes or his Mona Lisa Smile.  I did not really think the image was as strong as with out any of those superfluous details.  I "sifted" the FatMan down and "extracted" the essence of what his image is, making a true graphic icon out of his image.   I wanted to create this icon for use in the new portfolio presentation.  I also wanted to spruce up my business cards with this new image.  I previously talked about in an older post why this FatMan means something to me and the work I create.  My muse had a new simplified and graphically appealing format to exist in now.  Its kind of like the superstition where you believe that part of your soul is captured when someone snaps a photograph of you.  I think this definitely captures the essence of what the FatMan means to me and I am particularly pleased with how it turned out…  not too bad for a days work.

[stamp by Megan Salter]

     One superstition I do kind of subscribe to is that you will probably be doing much more of whatever it is you do on the first day of the year.   I decided to create art and thus far this year it has been a creative and productive one.  Before I end this post I wanted to give a Shout Out to Megan Salter.  She made the most wonderful stamp from my graphic of the FatMan.  This stamp will now be my "letter box" as I am out this year seeking and searching for Letter Boxes.  For those of you who are not familiar with this hobby, it is essentially a treasure hunt for what is called a letter box. It is a stamp and a journal hidden somewhere in a town nearby, or even in your very own town.  
Just check the national registry (yes, it's national) and you will be given an origin point in the town and a set of coordinates and instructions to follow that will lead you to the letter box.  This is where you take your stamp with you and stamp the letter box's journal and take the letter box stamp and stamp your personal journal which is where you keep track of all your letter box adventures. It's all free and fun to do. All you need is a stamp, a compass, a journal and a sense of adventure.  I am really excited about my compass. :0)  I got kind of nerdy with it and found this antique mariner style compass to lead me to many adventures. "Bring me that horizon." as Captain Jack Sparrow might say.

Anyway, Megan made a very nice stamp for me as you can see here:  Thanks, Megan! :0)   Cheers to you.

Well this about wraps up this addition to the SCBWI Chronicles.  In the meantime I am going to sit here, smelling my smell good candle, dreaming of baked goods that I can not eat. 

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

[hanging out in a "new" frame of mind]

[vinyl sticker cut from the final graphic]
Thank You Global Graphics.
It looks wonderful.

[introduction page to my portfolio]

[the Original FatMan sketch]

[his journey has come along way]

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