Monday, March 30, 2015

The Boy Who Looked Up

Movin' right along! For this new post, I'm sharing a peek at one of the long-form poems in the book which spreads out over several pages, and reads like a Dr. Seuss-ish short story nestled within the shorter one-pager and two-pager poems.

The spark of inspiration for this story came unexpectedly when a friend of mine, author & film critic-extraordinaire Jeffrey Overstreet (who recently invited me onto his blog for an online conversation about the film SONG OF THE SEA, which you can read here), posted on Facebook a short video he took one day, pointing his camera up while walking under a beautiful canopy of trees on Seattle Pacific University’s campus where he works, with a caption including "I can't help looking up as I walk."

Something told me there was an idea for a poem there, and eventually out of thoughts & doodles in the sketchbook there emerged a young boy who spent all day with his neck cradled back and looking up at the sky. This got me thinking...

...what if his head got stuck that way?  And what impact would this have on his life and the lives of others around him?  Hmmm....

Thus was born a poetic tale called The Boy Who Looked Up, a story that I look forward to sharing with the wider world. For now, here are a few of the illustrations, plus a little Vine that shows a few snaps I took as the drawings were in progress. Most of these drawings were done this past December.

If you've noticed a pattern to these Monday posts, I'm now posting something every two weeks, but may share stuff more frequently when the book is nearly ready to launch. We'll see.

In the meantime, keep looking up and share what you see!

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Parliament of Owls

Not much time for a lengthy post this week, as my day-job is kinda crazy-busy and I'm knee deep in an animation project, so for now, here is a reveal of another illustration: The Parliament of Owls.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Illustration Lesson #1

Welcome back kids! As a brand new feature on this blog, now that I've reached the milestone of all the illustrations being complete, I thought I would start giving back a bit and share some tips and advice for my fellow artists, illustrators, animators and other creative types who may be following along or stumble across this online. Some of these tips may be pretty obvious if you have any good amount of art training, or they may not be, depending on your background, so for the sake of wherever you are at as an artist, this is my way of just sharing a few of the things I try to remember or think about as I draw. With practice, many of these things will come naturally and just be part of your drawing vocabulary. I'll do a few more of these over the coming months as I continue moving towards the book being launched.

For this first "lesson," I'll just say a few simple things about composition, using this illustration for the title poem Gnomes of the Cheese Forest as an example.

All through middle school and high school I took drawing and painting classes with an amazing artist from Detroit named Nancy Prophit. She has since passed away, so it's my honor and privilege to share with you one of her many tips that's always stuck with me. Mrs. Prophit taught me that if you have several objects in a picture, particularly if it's a plural number of the same object, it's always best to group them in odd numbers. Avoid having too many even numbers of things in your picture, as this will make things look rigid and symmetrical. Odd numbers will appear more pleasing to the eye and more natural.

For example, in this illustration there are 5 "cheese trees", 7 gnomes, 3 goblets, and 5 rock "clusters" (meaning one rock or a larger/smaller rock grouped together).

With scenes/pictures featuring multiple characters, also try to find some variety in which direction they are facing. The two gnomes on the left are drawn facing each other, the next two gnomes facing away from each other (with one of them slightly further away in the background), and the next group of three are all facing inwards in a semi-circle.

Try to frame your background elements around your characters so they frame them in interesting ways, avoiding tangent lines and simply trying to find ways to make everything fit.

Anyway, I hope that helps! Happy Drawing!