Monday, April 25, 2011

Digging through the Vault: Projects from First and Second Year

So I was digging through the pile of art stored under my bed, and I found a bunch of illustration projects from my first and second year at OCAD. The following pieces bring back memories; memories of sleepless nights and delusions of grandeur.

The image on the left is one of my projects from first year. I didn't have a blog back then, or even know what illustration was in the context of a professional career. In the beginning, OCAD was one all-nighter after another, intermingled with horrible schedules and a horrible diet. I don't know what happened to most of my projects from that year, although I'm sure they're floating around. I was super-dependent on black line work back then, too.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ink VS Pastel: Stylized Portraits and Mirror Images

Today's post is really short. I'm just putting up the final two assignments from the current batch of studio sketches and 3rd-year projects, the ones that have been collecting dust in some unloved corner of my room.

Below, two different projects: same subject matter, done two different ways. For the first, we had to draw a stylized head in ink, then sketch the same head in some sort of dry medium. I was forced to use pastel; my only other choice was pencil crayon, and I haven't used pencil crayon since I was in the eighth grade. At this point, I'd be more proficient with a hacksaw and a piece of wood, and I suck at 3D sculptures.

Where was I? Oh yeah, pastel. Chalk pastel. Horrible experience, got hives everywhere. Will not repeat that again.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sketching in Ink: Another form of Identity Crisis

I don't do this style of inking all that often. Well, a more accurate statement would be that I practice it - I just practice sporadically.


I see illustrations done in this style all the time (most notably in comics and graphic novels), and I love the way it looks. Sometimes, I try to emulate it. But for whatever reason, whenever I do I always feel - I don't know - wrong, when I try it. Or wrong when I don't try it. Like I should be conforming to the style that I love so much, but trying to find my own at the same time. I dunno. I'm just babbling at this point, I think.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Studio Sketches (Odds n' Ends)

Today's post is just a round up of all the studio sketches that I forgot to include in the last two entries. There's only a few stragglers left, so this post will be pretty short. Below, a hand assignment I did for the first semester of this year. I seem to get a lot of projects like these, but I don't mind. I find drawing hands to be kind of relaxing.

And to end off the post, a self-portrait  that I forgot to post along with the rest of my conté sketches. It's nowhere near finished, simply because I spent almost all class trying to get my eyes positioned at the right height. (Hint: I failed).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Studio Sketches (Part II)

Below, the second half of my two-part post.

Yesterday I put up most of my studio sketches - the conté ones, at least. Today, I'm just posting the pieces that were done in pencil/graphite. They don't require much of an explanation (all of that was covered yesterday), so this post will be mostly images. Enjoy!

I've still got more to post (other than sketches), but I'll be taking a break from blogging for the next several days; I've got a submission deadline coming up, and I'll need to focus on that in order to get it done.

Until then, happy Easter folks! Or, if you don't celebrate Easter (like myself): happy Chocolate-fest!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Studio Sketches (Part I)

Right. Where to begin?

Let me just start off by saying that studio time has never been the most pleasant experience for me. I'm allergic to both charcoal and pastel, so on top of sneezing like mad and my eyes watering constantly, if I'm not allowed to use pencil or ink, then I'm forced to use conté instead. And I hate conté.

This post is going to be a long one, so I've split it up into two. There are a lot of pieces that I haven't scanned, but the ones that follow are the most complete/best sketches that I've done all year (at least, that's what I think).

To the left, a continuous line drawing. Looks weird, right? Like a five year old did it, or something. We had to do a bunch of these throughout the year. For some reason the profs love them; that, and blind contour drawings. Below, another continuous line drawing. I really like sketching overweight people, or individuals who have rolls of skin flopping this way and that. They're always super interesting to depict.


Below, more conté drawings from class. For our first studio, we didn't have any models to draw or any projects to critique, so we were told to be creative and start stylizing random heads. I had no problem with this, except for the fact that I had to do it in conté.

The rest of the sketches that follow don't really require that much of an explanation; just random head studies and studio sketches that were completed in conté. A couple of the sketches are of fellow students, and the last one on the bottom right is of my lab prof, Chris Kuzma (mentioned him a couple posts ago, actually).

And finally, to end off today's post, a bunch of subtractive drawings; its a technique where you use a kneadable eraser to map out highlights and mid-tones. I like the effect, but I have a hard time carving away at objects when drawing - my perspectives always end up looking so distorted, and not in a good way. I'd like to get better at it, though.

Part II to be posted tomorrow! Cya, folks.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Studio Paintings: Less Horrible than last Year's

Another post!

I've been getting good with these lately; one post per day is a record for me (Note to self: extra time - stress + backlog of things to blog about x country boredom = good daily count). Today's post: in-class studio paintings.

My studio work still isn't that good. I'm a really slow painter, and three hours to complete an image barely gives me enough time to lay down my colors, let alone add basic details. None of these images are anywhere near complete. They're more scribbles than anything else. Or, as Bob likes to call them, "glorified sketches." I tend to agree.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Painting Assignments: Heads, and more Heads

So yesterday I went on a scanning frenzy.

Over the course of the school year, my locker has slowly been filling up with illustration projects that have yet to be scanned. Once shoved to the side, the projects then proceed to sit there, unseen and unloved, rotting for months, until they are retrieved from their lonely exile to be posted en masse. I only managed to scan about half, and I still have to drag all of them back home on a three hour trek using the overcrowded GoBus. But, I did manage to get through scanning all my studio and painting pieces, so that's what I'm going to post. There are a lot of them, so I'm not putting them up all at once, but for today, I've decided to post all the weekly painting assignment I did for my Illustrative Drawing and Painting class.

This semester I had Bob Berger as a prof for my studio course (really nice old guy, talkative chap, has this uncanny ability of reminding me of Einstein). Honestly, I don't know what to think of his class as a whole. I'm still digesting most of what I learned over the course of the semester, but I guess one good thing I can say about his teaching style is the sheer amount of painting and drawing practice you get during his studios.

At OCAD, we don't get a lot of studio time - only three hours once per week, and a drawing lab with the same set up - so Bob tried to fix this by assigning us weekly projects (drawing for the first six weeks, painting for the next). My overall technical skills did improve; I definitely don't hate painting as much as I used to, and I think I might actually be starting to enjoy it (a sign of the coming apocalypse). Unfortunately, the amount of work and the deadlines given in his class were stressful, and the quality of my work tends to go down when I'm stretched too thin.

Above, one of the weekly painting assignments that we had to do for his class. We were told to paint the same face four different ways in a single painting, while still making it look like a cohesive whole. Bob informed me that my piece was "Very FASHION!" (which is something he's said for every piece of work I've done), and told me that none of my panels had dominance over the other. I'm still trying to decide if that's a good thing or not.

To the left, the third painting assignment we had to do for Bob's class, where we were told to combine two different closeups of the face in an interesting composition. I think I'm finally getting better with this piece! The top crop still isn't working, and because my board kept warping the eyes turned out all wonky, but the bottom half turned out better than I had expected. The overall critique that I got for this piece was that I needed to refine more. And add more details. Actually, that's a critique I got from all my profs. So I know what I'll be working on over the summer.

To the right, the final painting assignment I did for the semester. For the last piece we were basically told to experiment with different sorts of edges; hard, smooth, soft, fading (I think that was all of them, but there could be more). The composition I did for the final painting is unbelievable boring, but I was short on time when I did it, so I picked a pose that I knew I could work with and went with it. I wasn't aiming to make her skin that pink, either! I may be getting better at painting in comparison to last year, but my skin tones still need a lot of work.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tea Packaging, Victorian Style

I've already posted most of my illustrations from my core class this semester, but I have one left. Our last project was a packaging assignment, where we had to illustrate one of six different flavors for a more "upscale" tea company.  I chose English Earl Grey. Even though the mock commission was for a luxury brand, our prof let us have a bit more freedom with the design, which I really enjoyed.

I worked in traditional mediums for this project, and traditional only, which is pretty unusual for me. And everything was going great, until I did the line work - even my smallest brush, a .005, was still too big. So right after the project ended, I went out and bought myself the tiniest sable brush I could find. If I have time over the summer, I think I'll redo the piece: I enjoy certain types of packaging design (although this hasn't always been the case).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Freedom (From the Void)

I'M FREE! The school semester is finally winding to a close. At last, after eight months of constant work, I've finished my third year at OCAD. I have to head back to summer school in a month to complete a couple courses for my minor, but until then, no school. No more waking up at 4am to commute three hours to get to class. No more three hour critiques. No more sitting in unbearably stiff GOTrain seats, while the suburbanite across from me glares at my illustration projects shoved to the side (as if it's my fault her legs are so big or that the train is too crowded). After months of sleepless nights and long commutes, I finally have room to breath. Not surprisingly, I am much pleased with my returning freedom.

I plan to put it to good use, of course. No, I don't deny that the first couple days after school, I plan to sleep in to my heart's content and catch up on all the reading that I have yet to do. But I also plan to use the summer to fix up the blog, finish a bunch of errands that I've been putting off, and complete a series of personal projects. (More info on those coming soon!) One of the first things on my to-do list is to catch up to all the posting that I've slacked off on during the school year. I have a hard time concentrating on more than four things at any given time. So over the next couple weeks, I'll be scanning and putting up my illustrations onto the blog that have been neglected as a consequence. However, for the moment, here are few pieces I forgot to post from my media studios class (no scanning required). Above, the vertical version of a podcast editorial that we had to do for WYNC's Radiolab edition on WORDS.

And below, my version for the DVD cover of Gaspar Noé's Enter the Void. If you've seen the movie, then you'll know that my illustration is way too upbeat for the content of the film.

And no, I don't recommend watching the movie; not unless you're fond of seizures, voyeurism and incest. Lots of incest. I wish Paz de la Huerta would stop playing the "manic nympho" in every film she's featured in. It's getting real old, real fast.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gallery Night: M∆PS and the Secret Shame

Last Friday was gallery night!

The crowd at Tessar Lo's MAPS
I was planning on writing about this earlier in the week, but my net's been dead for days. It's one of the many unfortunate aspects about living in the country; if your wireless dies, then you're screwed. -___-

I haven't been to a lot of gallery shows. I'm trying to get into the habit of making it a regular event, but it's been difficult. Gallery shows are great for networking and seeing what's new in the world of art and design, but beyond that I'm kind of lost. What should I be doing at these events? Should I be making witty comments about the symbolism within a particular piece of art? Should I be discussing the politics of ethical design, or complimenting the artist or designer on their tasteful use of composition? Should I be super confident about what I'm critiquing, even though I'm not? Or should I just embrace the whole quasi-hipster vibe and call it ironic? I don't know. Either way, I feel like a fish out of water most of the time.

Left to right, Jocelyn Cheung and Ness Lee
That aside, there are some things about gallery shows that I really do enjoy. I love seeing new art and illustrations, and I always enjoy hanging out with the OCAD crew; they make events like these really worthwhile, and I don't feel so out of place when they're around. (Much love, everyone!) Also, gallery night was the unofficial birthday party for my good friend Ness Lee, so a big shout out to her! (Check out her illustrations: she draws the most adorable sumo wrestlers and noodle-grannies ever.)

The first show we went to was Tessar Lo's M∆PS, down at the Show and Tell Gallery on Dundas West. I really enjoyed it, and the crowd there was great! Really laid back, very friendly. I'm ashamed to admit that I wasn't familiar with Tessar's work, but several of my friends are, so I decided to tag along after class and check it out. Took some pictures, too!


Tessar had this installation piece set up in the corner of the gallery that I absolutely loved. Honestly, I couldn't stop taking pictures of it. It had an elephant made out of jeans! So cute. 

Over his installation piece (or part of his installation piece, whichever suits you best) Tessar had rows of illustrations strung up at varying heights and distances from the wall. It created these really cool shadows, which I'm pretty sure were part of the design. See if you can spot the elephant. Actually, now that I think about it, there were elephants everywhere.

I took a couple pictures of Tessar's paintings as well - just close ups, mind you, but I find the details in his artwork really attractive. So many  colors!


In the back room of Tessar's show there was the work of another artist, Andrew Hem's Building From the Ground Up. I didn't get a chance to take any pictures of his work, so take a look at the link! His stuff is really good.

The second show we went to was just down the street from the first, Secret Shame at the LE Gallery on Dundas West. One of my profs - Chris Kuzma - had his work on display, so we decided to check it out. I only got to stay a few minutes because I had to catch the last bus home, and I didn't get to take any pictures, but the show looked pretty cool! Lots of 3D models and wacky illustrations. I think the event is still running, but I'm not sure.

And to end this post, one more photo from Tessar's show:

I told you. Elephants everywhere.