Friday, January 10, 2014

Mysterious thing, TIME...

     Yay! It's ILLUSTRATION FRIDAY! I am sharing an older piece today. One I did years ago.  It is called January and was the flagship in my Illustration Portfolio.

      I decided to share it for this reason.  Time is this week's topic for Illustration Friday.  I have had plenty of time to reflect on what I gleaned from my time at the SCBWI conferences last year.  I was told by one of the guest Illustrator Speakers that this piece was the strongest in my portfolio of Not-So-Cute Children.  I decided last year to endeavor to create a brand new portfolio from scratch.  I hate that the Calendar Concept didn't really work out for promoting my work.  I'll be honest. It didn't have that much of a warm reception when I put it out in the professional world.

     Looking back, I can see where I could have changed things about it to make it better, but I have decided it is just best to bury those ashes and rebuild something new, current and relevant to the work I am making now.  That old portfolio is a bit out dated and needed help... SO many issues by the time it got put into the world, but oh well.  I'm moving on, like from the end of a bad relationship.

     I thought it was appropriate for it to be my submission to IF Friday's Time challenge this week for that very reason.  It is my illustrative past, it was apparently the best piece of the group and after much deliberation/kicking& screaming  I am starting over on a new portfolio with more diversity, more variety in medium and a good balance of black and white and color pieces...  which is what I should have had to begin with.  I just wish that way back in college, someone would have stopped me from making those mistakes and set me on this path to begin with.  I had originally planned to work on a body of work I was planning on showing this year, but have put that on hold to rebirth a new portfolio for self-promotion.

     I thought alot about a line of dialogue from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  Dumbledore remarks," Mysterious thing, TIME. Powerful, and when meddled with, dangerous." reflectively.  This Dec13-Jan14 I have certainly been reflecting alot about my artistic direction and future.  Considering where I was as an artist back in 2005, when this portfolio was born, so to speak, I am in a much different place with what I am doing as an artist.  I am working on a sort of eulogy to the old portfolio.  Though I respect it as part of my artistic history and my journey to the present, I can see the merit in letting this body of work go and work on some new and fresh pieces that I think actually represent who I am as an artist, an illustrator and human.  When you reflect on the past, whether it is the past year or the past decade, TIME seems to fold in over itself.  My memory of my first day of college sits right beside with my memory of leaving College when you look back, if memory is a movie house where all your thoughts and dreams are projected onto a silver screen. A rather strange analogy, I know, but I think it makes sense in the context that any memory, no matter when it chronologically happened can seem to have happened anywhere on the timeline when you reflect back. It's only your own mind telling you exactly when it fell in the History of You.  I think what Dumbledore meant, in a way, is that TIME (in your mind) can be dangerously unraveled when meddled with. The time travel scenario in the story I think really only served as an highly entertaining analogy.

     For these reasons, I wanted to share January, again. Anyone who knows me personally has seen these calendar works multiple times.  Ironically they don't stand the test of time.  I am retiring them so soon after introducing them into the publishing world as promotional work.  I know my professors, so long ago, intended the idea of a calendar was a great way to build a new portfolio.  On paper, I can say that I agree that the idea/concept would work. I, however, think was working on the wrong sheets of paper.  I, unfortunately, admit that these works have ultimately failed me in their intended purpose.  I don't think they represented me very well.  I am working on changing that. 

     Part of moving forward is burying the past, in context, so you can grow.  From the ashes is born a new vision, Like Fawkes (Dumbledores lovely pet phoenix) though without all the fire.  These drawings will get buried in a trunk in my studio closet or perhaps a large folder, not to see the light of day again, I'm certain. 

     Speaking of burying, I actually DUG and DUG and DUG out all the development work for this particular illustration.  In the development process, this illustration made many different transformations.  I created SEVERAL thumbnail concepts for this piece. 

     As many of you know, the concept of this calendar/portfolio was to promote future vocations to young children.  I liked the idea that it would be both entertaining, charming yet educational and informative.  January was originally supposed to be a Weather Man or Weather Woman.  The gender of the character was eventually decided to be male because I had already many female characters set in other planned pieces for the body of work this illustration is from.  The other vocation planned for this work was that of a Clockmaker.  Even though this vocation is all but non-existent in this day and age, there are still a few out there.  Obviously, I chose the later of the two vocations because I didn't want every vocation to be SO MAINSTREAM.  I wanted to show that there are special trades and obscure jobs one could make a living at, if they showed the initiative, drive, interest and willingness to choose a more difficult career path.  one of the compositions that were planned for this one was really more strong than any of the others for this illustration... SO I naturally gravitated towards it.  In a way you can kind of see the evolution of the idea of the Boy (Father Time/New Years Baby) started out from a separate entity from the clock to being the clock birdie, to us being inside the clock with him awaiting the stroke that begins the new year with the light of the future wrapping around him.

     There wasn't much sketching or preparing for this work.  I kind of already outlined what I had in my minds eye in the thumbnail.  I just blew up the thumbnail and sketched out what I imagined.  The final sketch I inked was actually the first sketch made for this illustration. 

     This illustration was drawn in the Spring of 2005, my Senior year in the Illustration Department at SCAD and keep in mind it was created and developed along side 10 others (March was thumbed out and planed but never made it to fruition until years later.) 
The original color compositional sketch just didn't seem to gel with me.  The colors I chose were just not working together.  I put off working on it and worked on the others.  Eventually, after "running around the world" working on the other illustrations in this collection, I came back to rework the color on it.
 I decided that it was just too "warm" and that is what was the problem with it.  I changed my color scheme to include only cool purples, blues and cool greys (silver) considering I was illustrating metal workings inside a clock.  The second color compositional sketch worked Much Better.

     Though it will be a year and a half to two years before the final illustration is painted, digitally.  I will go into the reasons why in my eulogy to the calendar portfolio later this month (I dug out all the development work for these pieces so am planning something nice for them here on the Blog.)

     The final illustration is pretty close to the color comp here.  This work, in particular, was painted in one "all-nighter" and was the quickest piece to be completed out of all 12; another irony of time here. 

     This pretty much concludes my revised SketchBlog post.  Sorry I had to do it this way. IF Friday waits for No illustrator.  I barely got posted before they changed topic for the week.  Plus it is quite cumbersome to unearth sketches and development work for old illustrations as they could be ANYWHERE in my studio.  Try as I might, I am not always so organized with how I store drawings/sketches.  Thanks for reading folks. Stay tuned for more about the calendar very soon.

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


  1. I love this piece! Great use of light, and I like the variety in the gears. It has a whimsical quality to it. I, too am looking to change the direction & focus of my portfolio. A daunting task, but I feel it needs to be done. Good luck revamping yours!

  2. Thanks, Mit. I appreciate that. Good luck on your new portfolio pieces as well. I'll be posting the first new piece at the end of this month and, of course, be posting the others as they get completed. I'll keep my eyes and ears open on your blog for your new works, too. Cheers!

  3. I am captivated by your narratives as much as your art.