Friday, April 29, 2016

Walking In Through the Out Door on Illustration Friday

"I'm no different to anyone. Yes, I have fame and wealth and talent, but I certainly don't consider myself any better than anyone who has no fame, wealth or talent. People fascinate me. They're amazing! Life fascinates me! And I'm no more fascinated by my own life than by anyone else's."
-Prince

     Prince was an amazing artist and that's understating it. I think the whole world stopped the day we all heard that he passed.  He certainly was a man that not only marched to his own drum but invented the sort of drum he would want to march to.  He never was concerned about convention, nor parameters.  He became a creative force to be reckoned with and left an indelible impression on this world he left behind him.  He has inspired me as an artist as he has inspired and touched millions with his music, his words and his personal style.


     I wasn't, originally, planning on participating in Illustration Friday this week. However, when I saw that IllustrationFriday.com had posted "PRINCE" as the word for the week, I just HAD to create an illustration in tribute… I just HAD to!


     I've been listening to Prince's music since I can remember.  Of course, when I was that young, it was my brother who listened to him and I just got to eavesdrop with my ear.  At that age I didn't know who he was, really, but I learned more about him as I got older.  Some of my favorite songs are the work of Prince and I can't help but feel grateful that he shared his wonderful talent with me and the rest of the world.  

     Another fond Prince Memory I have is when I was in college.  There used to be this AWESOME Record Shop in downtown Savannah called RPM.  Myself as well as the rest of the college crowd bought all of their music there.  I learned about Indie Rock there and was introduced to so many new music artists every time I visited.  They also sold the most amazing large format posters that were the envy of every college dorm student if you bought one. Anyway, I digress…

     I was in RPM one afternoon and was looking through their Cd's when my ears "perked-up" over what they were playing over their stereo system that day.  This was well before the invention of Smart Phones and the SHAZAM Phone App (the app that "listens" and then tells you what song is playing.)  SO since I was not a time-traveler form the future with those tech resources, I had to do what Every Single human being had to do back then…. Ask the Record Shop Clerk,"Hey! What record are you playing?"  


     As it turns out, they were playing a record by a band called DUMP (terrible name but great band.)  Dump is really more of a one-man-band-side project of James McNew (You all probably know him more as the bassist for Yo La Tengo.)  Dump had just released a cover record that consisted of nothing but PRINCE covers called That Skinny Motherfucker with a High Voice ( Lyric from Prince's song Bob George).  To date it is one of my personal Top 5 favorite albums.  And even though all the songs were lo-fi 4-track home recordings, the strength of the original material made them shine.  I can't even tell you how many times I listened to that record. At least 1,000 times that first year I owned it.  I already had a personal connection to the original songs when Prince released them, so it endeared me more to them to hear them reinvented in a new way.  And even though Prince was not a big fan of having his work covered, I feel that maybe he might have secretly enjoyed McNew's creativity.  After all, Prince was a man who embraced creativity and executed his muse in ways we have never before seen.


     So this week I paid tribute to The Purple One, on of my favorite music artists of all times, Prince.  The inspiration for my illustration is obvious. My favorite Prince song is, as you may have guessed, Raspberry Beret.  A song about a woman that the singer falls in love with as soon as he sees her, not really for her beauty but for her tenacious and confident individuality.  She walks 'In' through the 'out' door.  She doesn't follow convention. She is herself and she wears her raspberry beret as a badge of her free spirit.  I just love that sentiment that a raspberry beret conjures within me if I see one.  I actually used to own a raspberry beret for that very reason. I would wear it, not as a badge but as a reminder for what it represented to me: Creative Freedom, Confidently Independent.  

   SO I thought it would be a lot of fun to celebrate those fond memories by "going literal" with this piece and illustrating The Purple One as a raspberry wearing a beret.


     I spent an evening researching photos of Prince and caricaturing some of my favorite photos with some of his classic facial expressions.  I wanted people to look at this illustration and say to themselves,"that look is SO 'Prince'!"  I then decided on a pose or body gesture that I felt would work for this piece.  I knew I wanted his arms, legs and hair to be the leafy part of the raspberry.  I also wanted them to be sort of short and stumpy, exaggerating the caricature.  Prince had an amazing fashion style all his own. I wanted to reference it but I didn't want to dress my Prince-berry in a costume.  I wanted the fashion to be limited and focus on the beret.  So I settled for purple boots: subtle, sexy but not over powering his beret.  I also deviated form the color of the beret somewhat out of necessity and somewhat out of concept.  Since there would already be so much red in the body of the Prince-berry, I didn't want the beret to just blend in. So in order to make it stand out I made it Purple and I made it Plaid.  Prince has been often referred to as "The Purple One" so I wanted to use purple for the hat his boots and his face makeup.  


     The process for this illustration is as I have done for many of these int he past. I sketch, I ink then I scan my inked image in to create a digital collage with the finished color.  

      That's pretty much the extent of what I can say for this illustration.  I hope you all enjoy him and are inspired to break out your Prince albums and re-discover your love of The Purple One.  I wish EVERYONE a Great rest of their Friday and leave you with a bit of music to kick off your weekend. One song is the classic favorite that inspired this week's illustration. The second is my favorite track of Dumps Prince cover record.  ENJOY! :0)



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









Thursday, April 21, 2016

I WOOD Like To Sing the Praises of SPRING on Illustration Friday

GREETINGS & SALUTATIONS!!!

     It's Illustration Friday and I'm excited about the end of a productive week of making Art.  In reference to a previous post, one of my goals this year was just to create more art for myself; not only art that I am commissioned to do, but art that I wanted to make... for just me.  I also have some goals I set for learning new technologies that I had previously had some Techno-fear of learning.

     Most recently I am working on a longer project, the Ben Franklin FatMan, to force myself to learn how to use my Pen Tablet. I previously had been afraid to use it, embarrassingly so, because I felt it would take
such a learning curve to get used to it as opposed to the mouse I have been using for years and years to
do digital work with.

      In addition to those goals, I will be opening a shop on Etsy to sell Giclee Fine Art Prints of my work as well as a series of greeting cards.  The prints will be available first as I am still working on the illustrations and copy for the greeting cards. So those will show up in due course and I'll definitely send out some buzz when they are.  However, in the mean time, things are going well, artistically, and it gets me very excited.

     I am working on a few new Blog Posts that will be posting soon. They do require a bit more writing and
time as the projects they cover are of long form projects with multiple facets and many details. So stay
tuned for those.

     Today, I WOOD like to Sing the Praises of my little Log-Man and his exuberant bouquet of lovely and
colorful Spring Flowers.  I have been wanting to create a piece that was Spring themed for several weeks
and was waiting for a IF-Friday Topic that WOOD allow me to do so.  This week's One Word Topic was,
as you might have already guessed,"WOOD."  Since my mind has been on the lookout for new ideas for
Greeting Cards, This little guy popped into my head the very moment I read the topic.  I knew exactly what
I wanted to sketch and what the card copy would say.  I saw a chopped log with a cute smiling face
offering a bouquet of flowers and he was sketched-up in less than an hour or so.

      These illustrations go pretty much the same as they always do: Sketch, Ink, Scan and Collage.  I had a lot of fun playing with the layering and detail of the bark texture on him as well as selecting and placing the
punchy "Spring-y" colors of his bouquet of flowers.  I'm not entirely certain who they are for. They could be
for all of you, I suppose.  But I wasn't entirely clear on his story.  Could be for Log friend of his, perhaps.  In any case he is happy and very excited about this lovely weather and bright colors that are surrounding
most of us all this time of year.  He puts a smile on my face and entices me to go outside and enjoy the
color, the warmth and the nice breeze of Springtime.


     In enjoyed playing with his "Hat" and his "Sleeves" and "Pants."  I thought it would be fun to let the knobs
and or stubbed branches be the departure for them. I also wanted his face to resemble an area where the
log's bark might have either fallen off naturally or had been knocked off from when he was chopped. I'm
particularly fond of making his one and only leaf that remained be the "feather" in his cap.  I wanted his hat
to be quite similar to that of Peter Pan's.  I kind of wanted him to be of that same forever youthful spirit, as
Spring is the Season of rebirth and new life.  I think he's definitely a glass half full kind of log and I wanted
to communicate that in a fun way.


     All in all this little guy was a fun project to work on this week and I'm excited to add him to the group of
illustrations that I will feature on the greeting cards.  I know there wasn't really much to discuss about this illustration, as there really wasn't too much symbolic meaning behind it's purpose or details.  I just wanted to do something fun; a lark, if you will.  I hope he puts a smile on all of your faces and inspires you all to go out and "play" some this weekend.

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