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.