Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Studio Sketches and Studies

Just some Studio work and Sketches from School. No real explanation required:

Oh, and I love hands. Yep, yes I do.

The Curse of Acrylics

I've always liked the more technical classes at OCAD. I get incredibly bored sometimes, and the dust in the 6th floor drawing labs always makes my allergies go haywire, but I feel like they're the classes where I progress the farthest. My bias probably stems from the fact that I'm kind of OCD when it comes to technical stuff, but that's a story for another time.

I had Terry Schoffer as a prof for both semesters this year: he's a great teacher, really laid back. I did much better for the first semester than I did for the second, but second semester was when we got our first introductory class to Illustrative Drawing and Painting, so I ended up cursing acrylics to hell and back.

We didn't have that many projects for Illustrative Drawing and Painting. Terry's always been really reasonable with the projects and deadlines that he hands out, and he makes sure we figure out the basics before moving on. As such, we only had five projects in total: four painting studies, and a final portrait.

Three of my four painting studies. For the life of me I can't remember where I placed the fourth, but if I find it eventually, I'll put it up. All three were done with regular acrylics.

My final project for the class. We had to do a portrait of ourselves in historical garb from a certain time period. I enjoyed this project wayyyyyyy more than the studies, simply for the fact that I changed paints.

Core Illustration Classes: 2nd Year

I've been going through my projects from my core illustration classes this year, and I've found a couple that I've decided to post.

I've never really enjoyed my core classes: its endless critique after endless critique, punctuated by sessions of me nodding off to sleep and agonizing periods of pins and needles in the legs from sitting for so long. Unlike my more technical classes, I never have any noticeable improvement when it comes to core illustration, and the classes tend to turn me into a jumble of fried nerves and frustration because of it. I'm not that great with singular concepts and the trendy illustrations that OCAD seems to embrace, so I don't have that much that I'm content with. That being said, this post will be short.

There are a couple larger pieces that I still have to photograph, so I'll add those later, but for the most part, everything's here:

I think this was actually the first project I did during 2nd year: we were given the subject matter and asked to draw what a person would see inside "our fridge". I tried experimenting with an absence of line work, but that didn't work out as well as I had hoped. Neither did the paint. Media is acrylic and India ink.

These two images were a set of illustrations that I had to do for my second core illustration class. We were asked to illustrate a 'before' and 'after' scene, so I chose to do a take on the little mermaid. The class itself was taught by Gary Taxali, so I consider myself (and others) to be extremely fortunate. And while I found the class incredibly frustrating, I'm still glad I had him as a prof.

Another set of illustrations that I had to do for Taxali's class. The project itself was incredibly open: we were told we could do absolutely anything for our final project, so long as it was "amazing." I chose to illustrate the concept of the Illustrator as Machine, and broke it down into three parts: body, heart and brain. All three pieces are mixed media.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Media Studios: Squares, Squares, and more Squares

This post is coming pretty late, considering the last school semester ended almost a month ago, but I figure better late than never, and I'd like to think that being continuously late on posting is a little like being predictable and stable.

During the winter/spring semester, those of us in 2nd year illustration were given our introductory class to Media Studios. While I have issues with how late this class begins (they should be teaching new media techniques starting FIRST year, not halfway through second), our prof Harvey Chan was really great, and I learned a lot from him over the course of the semester. 

Despite my best efforts and a whole lot of struggling, a lot of my school work usually turns out looking less than ideal, so not all my pieces from school have been posted (aka they're never going to see the light of day again), but I rummaged through my work and managed to find a few that I was okay with displaying. Harvey had a real thing for square compositions, so I've done more squares and boxes in his class than I've done in all my other classes combined over the past two years:

First attempt at something called the ink-gouache resistance technique. It took me a couple tries to actually get a picture to appear, but I think it's a technique that I definitely want to try out again sometime in the future.

Mixed media has always been by far my favorite thing to work with: I love the versatility that you can get mixing different substances, both wet and dry. All media have their weaknesses, but I find if you combine them, those weaknesses kinda go by the wayside. For this project we had to illustrate an urban myth: I chose to do one about a girl who gave birth to an octopi (octopi/octopus? I've really got to look that up one of these days). Media is ink, gouache, watercolor, and Chiyogami paper. I have an obsession with all things paper (pretty sure it links back to my love for books), but right now Chiyogami is what occupies most of my attention.

Another favorite media of mine is Collage (but collage and mixed media are kinda two sides to the same coin, so I'm not sure if that even qualifies as different). While this isn't the best collage I've done, I managed to get it finished in a couple hours and still pull off a fairly decent mark, so I consider it an accomplishment: got to work on getting my projects done faster, though.

Another piece we did for Media Studios was our "clown" portrait, where we were given the subject matter and asked to draw their portrait in pastel. This piece was a real problem for me, since I'm allergic to pastel, chalk, charcoal, or anything else that sheds dust like a cat sheds fur, so I had to experiment with textures and different types of line more than the pastel itself. In the end, it just turned into another mixed media piece.

The McChine: my commentary on how humans mimic the machines they use depending on their station in life, and vice versa.

The rest of the images are random projects, and require no explanation. Nope, none at all.

Mushroom Clouds, minus radiation. Plain ol' ball point pen.

Ink and watercolor. Project had something to do with reoccurring dreams, I think.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


So it's been awhile since I updated my blog. First my computer was down for ages, which made scanning and updating just that much more tiresome, and by the time it was back up and running I was in the middle of final projects and exams. (Note to self: NEVER trust a PC)

For the past couple of weeks, its been a combination of that and pure laziness that's kept me from updating. But, BUT! Habits must change - and I'm seriously avoiding studying for my exam - so I'm getting back into blogging as of today, and plan to keep it up. (Provided my computer doesn't give out on me again, in which case it's time to hit the booze tank and commiserate). Gonna be posting a lot in the next couple days - I need to update everything and anything that's gone on in the past couple months before I leave for Quebec City (fun times, fun times). But alas, I am an idiot, and left most of my current work in my locker. 

As compensation until tomorrow: personal sketches, from the sketchbook of yours truly. 

What I do when I'm not trying to please the great gods of OCAD: graphic novel/comic art, and concept sketches for characters.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sketchgroup Adventures: Anatomy, Online Meetings, and Sausage Hands of Doom

So last week's Sketchgroup entry is being posted this week. Tried to get it up earlier, but failed - I was up most of the night finishing a project and experimenting with a new technique (going to post on that later), so the blog went by the wayside.

Sketchgroup met online last week. We met on the usual day, but everyone in the group was pressed for time, so we just did the entire thing via msn. Not really sure what to think of the new meeting format - it has its pros, I guess (convenience is one of them), but I'm not really a fan of having to explain things online. A lot of the information given when describing new techniques gets lost in translation when there's no demonstration to see.

Because it's January, the focus was still anatomy. Even when the month is over, we're still planning to do a pose per week, just for the sake of practice. Sketchgroup seems to be working really well: even though I didn't make any major improvements (it would have been nice if I had). Others in the group did an amazing job, so I was pretty pleased that our experiment seemed to work out.

Here's my pose for last week: the shoulder gave me no end of grief:

Stick-to-block figures for this week's pose. 

Anatomy and top of Hand overlays

While we still devote a certain amount of time to poses, last week's particular focus was on the hands. 

I love drawing hands, so I enjoyed the assignment, even though my overlay isn't the greatest. My individual hand sketches are kind of lacking, too. I think I have a tendency to draw the fingers like sausages. But my fingers are kind of fat, so I guess we all draw what we reference most, in the end.

Hand positions, Page 1

Hand Positions, Page 2

No one in Sketchgroup managed to finish their conceptual sketches last week, so it was just moved to this week's meeting. That's all I have to post for now.

(Also, I've got to get around to posting links to everyone else in the group. We've got a new member joining us this week, so really happy about that.)

World of Hair Sketch (Complete)

Finished the World of Hair concept sketch, from the opening week of Sketchgroup. Or mostly finished it. Who knows; I'm always fiddling around with stuff long past the point where I should stop.

Pencil in Moleskin Sketchbook

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sketchgroup Adventures: Anatomy, Stick Figures, and Endless Amounts of Hair

Second semester starts in a couple hours. Holidays are over, and I wasn't as productive as I would have liked when it comes to illustration, but it wasn't a total bust: I did manage to get a couple things done (like actually starting this blog).

I've got a huge obsession with Steampunk illustration right now, and using collage as a medium. Not sure how long the collage thing will last, but I've always kind of had a thing for Victorian and Steampunk-inspired design, so of course I've got to obsessively apply both to everything and anything. That includes things as mundane as the cover of my agenda:

Front n' back of my agenda cover, laid out flat.

It's kind of a pointless thing to collage, but I can't seem to help myself right now. It's become some sort of a bizarre, compulsive behavior.

A couple friends (all from OCAD) and I started up a sketch group over the holidays. While we all like OCAD (more or less) there was a general consensus that our university isn't really focusing as much on the technical skills as they should/we would like them to be, and that it's going to put us at a disadvantage in the long run. Panic + pressure = creative ways of compensating for loss. Hence, Sketchgroup was born out of a mutual sense of anxiety and perfectionism! I think its a good thing.

Each week we give ourselves assignments to complete, focusing on a particular area of technical skill that needs some serious work. January is anatomy month; for the first week we just concentrated on overall anatomy, and getting proportions correct. We used a basic stick-block-flesh method, except we added muscle in as well to the final overlays, to help familiarize ourselves with what's underneath the skin. I honestly think it helps.

Anatomy practice, steps 1 and 2

Final anatomy overlays, including basic muscle structure.

And of course, because I'm obsessed with Steampunk and collage, I had to decorate my sketchbook too:

Front and back of new sketchbook, minus the spine.

I'm really into aging things right now, so after I finished the exercises I tried aging the pages:

Stick figures from the 1st pose of anatomy exercise.

I'm not really sure what I think of the result, or if I'm going to continue trying. I think it's probably another redundant exercise on my part, since aging takes forever to dry.

The final part of our Sketchgroup assignment for the week was to do a concept sketch, based around the phrase "World of Hair" Apparently mine was depressing and bleak. I like to think it's witty:

The caption reads "I looked out on the world, and saw nothing but a desert of split ends, and the coarse fibers of time".

It's still a WIP, so I'll post the finished sketch later on in the week.

An Introduction of Sorts

So this is the first entry on my illustration blog.
I've been meaning to get up a blog for ages, but I've kept putting it off for various reasons, most of them superficial (couldn't think of a good name, just generally bad at updating, etc). I'm not quite sure what I'm going to post here (besides the obvious), but my general thoughts on the matter are that blogs should be used for writing and documenting in a more informal manner than a website. I tried writing this entry in a more formal tone, but it failed miserably, so I'm not even going to try: I just come off sounding awkward and fake, and that's the last thing that I want. I'm a big fan of using your personality to shape who you are and what you represent, being honest and above all really believing in what you say, whether its through visual mediums or just the written word. Some people are going to disagree with me on this viewpoint, but that's fine.
At the moment my blog is looking kind of ugly and nondescript, but I hope to rectify that soon - cookie cutter layouts drive me insane. I'm planning to get up a portfolio website sometime in the near future, but there's a good chance that I won't get around to it until the semester is over. So for now, this blog will have to do.
Alright, that's enough of me babbling for one night. Entry is now closed.