Thursday, December 25, 2014

Marooned

IF (Illustration Friday) 12/19/14, the topic was Home.  This was a challenging topic for me to come up with anything that "spoke" to me.  Eventually, after playing around with some ideas, and sketches I finally came up with the final product.  Originally I was going to spell out the word home using objects from the film adaptation of 'The Wizard of Oz', but eventually I scrapped that, for what I perceived to be a much more clever design choice.  I also wanted something simple given that I haven't completed an IF in over 2 weeks, mostly due to the hectic nature of the 'Holidays', work, and family obligations.  I'm pleased with the overall design, and how it came out.  The piece is entirely digital, structured in Illustrator, and refined in Painter with some manipulations done in Photoshop.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Flying Saucers

IF (Illustration Friday) 11/28/14, the topic was Wobble.  The concept for this topic came to me pretty easily, but it's somewhat of a stretch in correlating to the term (at least I think so).  That being said, this piece is one that I have been toying with creating for some time, as it represents to me, a lot of what many people today (myself included), go through on a daily basis, multitasking.  This piece represents the struggle with multitasking, and for many, the difficulty with focusing ones attention where it needs to be, where it wants to be, where it has to be, where it should be; the many obligations of modern life, the desire to keep things in motion, and the exasperation of reality when it all comes crashing to the ground.  While technology has made some of the tasks of daily life easier, it has also made finding time to just simply sit, relax, unplug, and finish that morning cup of coffee before the next text/email or phone call arrive a luxury of the past.  This piece is entirely digital done in Painter with some manipulations done in Photoshop.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Slow Burn

IF (Illustration Friday) 11/21/14, the topic was Slow.  This topic wasn't an easy one to visualize, so I took a more literal approach.  I was originally going to spell out the word using snails, or 'slow' things/objects by fitting them within the letter shapes themselves.  I even completed one illustration, but was ultimately unhappy with it, so I scrapped it and decided to pursue the concept that you see here.  I'm not sure at how successful I was in capturing what is wood-burning (having never done it myself), but I think if anything there are some aspects that came across really well. I would have liked to pour more time into the last couple IF's but I have been busy with other projects and personal obligations as well (it's that time of year).  The piece is entirely digital done in Painter.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Into the Woods

IF (Illustration Friday) 11/14/14, the topic was Theater.  This topic wasn't particularly challenging, but it also wasn't very inspiring. I decided for this one, to do a piece representing the only piece of theatrical work I have ever had the pleasure to have been involved in (I painted some background sets for a College production).  Ironically that happened to be 'Into the Woods', which next month is being released as a major motion picture.  I wanted to attempt capturing all the major players of the play, so each one is somewhat represented here in this piece.  I'm not entirely fond of this illustration, but there are parts of it that I do enjoy.  The piece is entirely digital done in Painter.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Smooth Sailing

IF (Illustration Friday) 10/31/14, the topic was Smooth.  This topic was difficult for me, as I had no clue what to illustrate.  I went through so many drafts I can't even recall everything I came up with for this one.  It was hard in terms of associating the topic with the illustration (I like to have at least a moderate recognition or link between both the topic and what I've decided to illustrate).  I came to this final incarnation when I decided I was going to illustrate a sailboat, but wanted to portray it in a manner that fit my style.  It was then I decided to illustrate Captain Hook's ship the Jolly Roger from Disney's Peter Pan sailing through the sky to Neverland.  I'm particularly fond of this illustration as I wanted to capture the boat, and all the children (Pan and the Lost Boys included), sailing off through the sky.  Originally I was going to include Big Ben in the illustrate but decided instead to simply portray the "Second Star to the right", that Pan tells the children Neverland is located.  It's a simple illustration but effective, and I think it captures the spirit of what I intended.  The piece is entirely digital done in Painter.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ultron

IF (Illustration Friday) 10/24/14, the topic was Puppet.  For this topic I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to do.  I had some ideas, but they were all rooted in the same area and I wanted to attempt something different, and less complex after last weeks topic.  I came upon the subject matter for this piece while I was watching the early release of the "Avengers: Age of Ultron", trailer in which the song from Disney's Pinocchio plays ("I've Got No Strings"), and in closing Ultron claims he's not their puppet.  It was hard to find good reference for Ultron considering the movie is yet unreleased and his likeness from the comic books has changed over the years (also considering he's had several reincarnations/versions of himself over the years, each with a redesign).  I decided to pick a design that was most easily recognizable to me, since I have some background knowledge in comics, but was not entirely aware of who Ultron was/is.  I also wanted to add an interesting design element to the piece itself, and decided I'd do Ultron's head, with it melting (or at least that was the goal).  Overall I'm satisfied with the piece, but considering the time constraints I have this week, and the detail I put in last weeks piece I'm okay with this weeks simplicity.  The piece is entirely digital done in Painter.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tuesday

IF (Illustration Friday), 10/17/14 the topic was Trouble.  This was a tough subject to capture for me, because I was uncertain as to how I was to portray 'trouble'.  After some sketching and my usual procedure of researching the word itself, I finally came up with an idea.  The subject I decided to illustrate was that of Dawn Summers, the younger sister of Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I was a long fan of the show, and have already done some pieces inspired by the show.  This particular piece was inspired by one of the more prominently known episodes, 'Once More, with Feeling'.  In the episode the cast is enthralled by a demon who causes the whole town to sing, and dance out loud, divulging their insecurities and secrets aloud.  After hearing that her sister Dawn, has been captured by the demon in question, Buffy says aloud "So, Dawn's in trouble...must be a Tuesday".  This particular line was very poignant, as Dawn was always abducted by one villain or another in the show constantly, and the show itself was primarily aired on Tuesdays.  The piece itself also went through many overhauls.  Initially I was only going to paint Dawn, and some omnious shadow or hands behind her in attempt to illustrate her constant need for rescue, but the compositions were too boring.  After some more sketching I came upon a better layout, which illustrated my primary focus, but also told some of the story about who Dawn is/was.  The photo reference was tough to come by since the actress who played Dawn was quite young while on the show, and began to physically change over the few seasons she was on it, so I had to decide what age I was going to portray her as.  While I took much longer on this piece than normal, and there were several ups and downs, I have to say I am very pleased with how it came out.  The piece is entirely digital, done in Painter.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cthulhu

IF (Illustration Friday), 10/10/14 the topic was Octopus.  This topic was difficult for me because I honestly lacked any inspiration for it.  After some brainstorming I eventually came up with an idea that was satisfactory enough for me to keep my interest.  I decided to illustration Lovecraft's 'Cthulhu' for this piece, since the description of the alien deity included his head being that of an octopus (hence why I only illustrated his head as well).  I wanted to make this piece more simplistic, and decided to utilize a different style that I believe created a more haunting visual.  I'm pleased with the final outcome of this piece, and may utilize this strategy with future illustrations.  The piece is entirely digital done in Painter.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Essence

IF (Illustration Friday), 10/3/14 the topic was Silence.  This topic was initially a bit of a challenge, as there was a previous topic that was very similar earlier in the year, so trying to come up with a new idea was difficult.  Eventually, during my planning phase, I somehow came across some images from Disney's 'The Little Mermaid', and it occurred to me that Ariel loses her voice to the Sea Witch Ursula as part of the bargain for making her (Ariel) human.  I did some sketches and came up with an idea I was really happy with.  The most difficult part of this piece however was unifying the work, it seemed empty, or flat.  I tinkered with the background, and ocean floor a bit, and it really came together.  The piece is entirely digital done in Painter.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wishful Thinking

IF (Illustration Friday), 9/26/14 the topic was Wish.  This was one of the more inspiring topics, and I had plenty of ideas some of which I hope I can revisit in the future.  This piece however I decided to do an illustration based on a character that struck a particular chord with me.  I chose to illustrate Zatanna Zatara, a magician from the DC Universe.  I've always been more of a Marvel fan in the past, but that may be due to my exposure and familiarity with their franchise.  Zatanna however I came across while watching an old episode of 'Smallville', her character in that show may differ from the actual comic origins (as most media depictions do), as she possessed the ability to grant any person's wish, once and upon doing so her eyes would glow an eerie blue.  That wish would not end until the recipient no longer desired it, which was an interesting plot device, and a twist on an old format that I had not seen before.  My version of Zatanna differs slightly in some ways (for the most part the character has black hair), but I based her off the portrayal of the actress from the show Serinda Swan. I had a lot of fun working on this piece, and if time permits, I would like to return to it and fine tune it.  It is entirely digital done in Painter.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Blood Bathory

This piece was originally a concept I had for IF (Illustration Friday 4/25/14 Vanity), but I was having severe difficulty with the layout, and ultimately, scrapped it several times before finally finding something that worked for me.  I wanted to depict the legendary 'Blood' Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed (or ecsedi Báthory Erzsébet in her native tongue).  Báthory was a Hungarian Countess who was married away at young age to Ferenc Nádasdy the son of a Hungarian Baron.  Ferenc spent most of his time away, while Báthory toiled away in their homes in Hungary, Austria, and Slovakia.  During this time period it is alleged that Báthory tortured as many as 650 victims, and buried their remains around her homes.  It is said that Báthory would use the blood of young virgin maidens and 'bath' in it in order to maintain her youthful appearance.  Báthory was eventually put on trial and imprisoned in her home in Slovakia (Čachtice Castle), where she remained until her death.  I used some photo reference for the figure, and have been working on it in between other projects.  The piece is entirely digital done in Painter.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Climate Control

IF (Illustration Friday) 9/19/14, the topic was Novelty.  This particular topic was a difficult one for me, I played around with a few different ideas before ultimately deciding to redo a piece from my undergrad program.  For the original work we were required to create a piece that dealt with a world issue, or political commentary piece.  I chose to address Global Warming in my piece, and created a melting globe of the world inside a Lava Lamp.  I originally wanted to incorporate the entire globe, but it wasn't reading well, so I decided upon the most easily recognizable continents (North/South America).  I would have liked to have done an original piece, but I think this particular exercise was a good fit, and I was able to retune a piece that was original done as a stippling. The piece is entirely digital done in Painter.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

First World Problems

IF (Illustration Friday) 9/12/14, the topic was Money.  The concept for this project came pretty easily, it was the actually execution (or design), that was the actually challenge.  I've always found it funny how even within the upper class there is a hierarchy of how "rich" is really rich, or who is richer than who.  I guess at a certain point its the only quandary one can left, hence the terms "Old Money" (having inherited ones riches throughout generations), and "New Money" (having amassed wealth recently or within ones lifetime).  The inspirations for each should be pretty evident.  Both illustrations were done digitally, in Illustrator, Photoshop, and Painter.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Rhythm and Hues

IF (Illustration Friday) 9/5/14, the topic was Radio.  To say I wasn't inspired by this topic is an understatement, but through brainstorming, and the input of friends, I was able to create something utilizing several different ideas.  As an artist it can be difficult to be inspired by work that doesn't fall within my interest, and it can be a challenge to overcome it, but I think I did so successfully.  My original idea was to simply depict radio waves or a sound spectrum of a song I really enjoyed, but due to my lack of knowledge in that area, and my inability to find a simulator that would generate what I was looking for, I resolved to instead aim for a combination of the original intent.  I did a search on the internet of 'radio waves', and came across a color spectrum of sound, and some depictions of what the waves looked like.  After some sketching I came up with the final product which I happy with.  I'd like to at some point create a vector of the design in the future to make the line work cleaner.  The piece was done entirely in Painter, with some manipulations in Photoshop.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Crimson Butterfly

IF (Illustration Friday) 8/29/14, the topic was Metamorphosis.  For this topic I already had a piece that was almost complete, I just haven't had any time to work on it as I like to generate original content for IF, but occasionally I'll dust off an old project if I feel it fits the topic nicely.  This piece is part of a series of four, that I intend to do the depict a lifeform of some some kind, created from an element that would be foreign to them.  In this particular piece I chose to depict a hand (which I used photo reference for), creating a butterfly out of fire.  The background and hand for this piece were the easiest elements, it was the butterfly itself that proved to be the most challenging. After several attempts I was finally able to capture the 'action' I was looking for in the generation of the flames swirling to create the insect. I often have difficulty in capturing the action from the original sketches I have done for works, and when I attempt to finish them they look stagnant.  I would have liked to create a stronger contrast for this piece, but ultimately I am happy with it. The work is entirely digital done in Painter, with some layout adjustments done in Photoshop.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

50 Shades of Grayskull

IF (Illustration Friday), 8/22/14 the topic was Skull.  I had some issues with this topic, it was completely uninspiring and any idea I did have was either too grandiose or layouts just weren't striking a cord with me.  I spent some time trying to come with a new idea, when I finally decided that it was time to utilize a concept I had for a previous IF.  For this topic I decided to illustrate 'Castle Grayskull' from the animated series "He-Man" or "Master of the Universe", that I used to watch as a child after elementary school.  I also wanted to capture what I felt the show was mainly about, which was the titular character He-Man, who wielded the 'Sword of Power".  I was originally going to use a silhouette of He-Man raising his sword in the air (an infamous pose), but ultimately decided against it, as it lacked the symmetry I needed for how I wanted the piece to look.  Instead I chose the Sword he wielded in the original series to house the illustration I was going to showcase.  I also wanted to keep the illustration loose, and simple.  It seems the more I labor over a work the more stagnant it becomes.  I did this one quickly, and I believe it to be one of my more successful attempts, as it captures what I intended.  The piece is entirely digital done in Painter with some manipulations done in Photoshop.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cautionary Tale

IF (Illustration Friday) 8/15/14, the topic was Journey.  Many of the works here that I have produced, have been influenced by other artists, or some kind of media be it film, television, or literature.  For this piece I wanted to pay homage to one of my favorite childhood films 'Labyrinth'.  In the movie the protagonist Sarah wishes away her younger brother, only to immediately regret her words when he disappears.  Sarah then journeys to a fantasy filled dimension, to retrieve her brother before her parents notice he is missing.  I decided to put my own spin on the piece, I had been toying with this particular idea for some time, and was glad I was finally able to work on it.  I would love to do a graphic novel based on the movie, or even create my own based on the ideas I have fleshed out while planning the piece.  The style in which I did this illustration was a bit looser than usual, I wanted to retain the quality of the original sketch without it appearing too rough.  It's a style I'd like to pursue more often with my work, and I'm glad I was able to pull it off with some success despite the challenges I face (I had particular trouble with deciding on colors for this one, and resisting the urge to clean up my line work).  The piece is entirely digital done in Painter.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Freeze Frame

IF (Illustration Friday) 8/8/14, the topic was King.  This topic took a bit of time for me to decide on a subject, it seems the more literal the topic, the more difficulty I have deciding on what to do.  After some brainstorming, I came with the subject matter for this topic while watching cartoons with my nephew.  We were watching 'Adventure Time', and I realize that this would be a great opportunity for me to create something that pays homage to the epic series.  The series itself is unlike most cartoons on air, and actually has some complexity hidden under its many layers of quirkiness.  In the series there is a character named 'Ice King', he wasn't always in this role, so I decided I would depict (to the best of my ability), his past, along with his present incarnation.  Also in this piece is another character Marceline who's connection to the Ice King reveals much about his true nature.  The piece is entirely digital done in Illustrator, Photoshop, and Painter. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Scent or Peace

IF (Illustration Friday), 8/1/14 the topic was Peace.  For this project I can up with a subject pretty quickly while doing some sketches and playing with ideas.  I decided to portray a 'peace' symbol created out of a twisted vine of flowers.  I've always been fond of the swirling and twisting of floral vines, and found inspiration for work within Art Nouveau.  The design itself is simplistic, and in keeping with that theme I chose to utilize a lighter, more watercolor style as I feel it also portrays the fragile nature of both flowers/peace, and their temporal existences.  The illustration is entirely digital done in Painter.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

kallistē

IF (Illustration Friday), 7/25/14 the topic was Golden.  This was a no-brainer topic for me, and while it done for the most part, it was a long time coming.  For 'Golden' I decided that is was time to dust off and finish a piece that I had been developing for several years off and on, primarily due to frustration, as any artist knows sometimes you have to shelf a project because it just isn't working. 
I have long had an affinity for mythology, and one of my favorite story elements was what I feel was the commonly overlooked reason behind the Trojan War that most media depictions never address.  I chose to illustrate Eris (Discord), holding the prized Golden Apple (of Discord).  In the famous retelling of the 'Judgement of Paris', Eris had be snubbed by the other Gods, and was not invited to a wedding held on Olympus (primarily due to her reputation for causing discourse).  In retaliation, Eris took a golden apple from Hera's sacred grove in the Garden of Hesperides, inscribed upon it the word kallistē ("For the most beautiful one" or "To the Fairest One"), and tossed it into the crowd at the banquet on Olympus.  Knowing full and well this would cause strife among the revelers, Eris watched as the three most well recognized Goddesses: Athena, Aphrodite, and Hera fought over the prize.  This is turn led to the 'Judgement of Paris', in which the apple was awarded to Aphrodite, and as a result, the Trojan War.   To me, this seems to be the origin in which the apple becomes the source of evil, which many modern tales draw inspiration from.  I'm satisfied with the final product for the most part, yet there is part of me that feels I could still work on it, but at some point you just have to call it done.  The piece is entirely digital, done in Painter, with some manipulations done in Photoshop. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I've had my Phil

IF (Illustration Friday), the topic was Repeat.  This topic wasn't particularly inspiring, but I did manage to pull off a successful attempt at capturing the subject on several levels.  I continued with my theme of pop culture inspired illustrations, and a keen eye will make the connection almost immediately.  For this piece I decided I would pay homage to one of my favorite comedies, "Groundhog Day".  In the film (for those that have managed to never see it), the protagonist Phil (Bill Murray), experiences life on a loop, repeatedly experiencing the same day (February 2nd), over and over again no matter what different actions he takes (while still retaining the memory of all the days as if he himself is running in a linear time stream).  Phil's day begins every morning waking up to his alarm clock at 6am to the song "I Got You Babe" by Sonny & Cher, and this particular moment defines his day, knowing that he hasn't succeeded in breaking the cycle if he wakes up to it in the morning.  For this illustration I decided to create the record the song is from itself, and broke it into pieces to represent the 'broken record' phenomenon Phil experienced in the film.  The piece is entirely digital done in Painter, Illustrator, and manipulated in Photoshop. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

You Are Here

IF (Illustration Friday) 7/14/14, the topic was Invisible.  The idea I had for this topic came pretty easily, and quickly, which is good because I had very little time to work on it.  I decided on depicting the Cheshire Cat form Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland' primarily due to his ability to become invisible, or partially visible, at will.  For this piece I wanted to capture his mischievous nature, while keeping with the theme and keeping him "invisible".  The main concept of the piece was inspired by a movie poster I saw once for the movie "Premonition", which the leading protagonist played by Sandra Bullock is recreated out of tree branches.  It's quite a masterful work of art, and it inspired the final piece seen here.  I added my own flare, and utilized the background (mainly the moon), to represent Cheshire's smile trademark smile.  I was having some trouble with this piece because of the amount of negative space I had on the bottom of illustration, and as I was adding foliage, and mushrooms, I decided that I could utilize the area to produce stronger story telling elements than just creating a static illustration.  It was at this point that I added the silhouette of Alice in the foreground atop a mushroom to capture her interaction with Cheshire.  I imagined that at this point in the story Alice would probably be in disarray, and severely frustrated with the lack of 'logic' Wonderland had to offer.  I thought about what if the Cheshire Cat appeared before her, and she asked him: "Where am I?"  Only to respond "You are Here."  It seemed fitting, and so did the title.  The piece is entirely digital done in Painter, with some manipulations done in Photoshop. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Handle with Care

IF (Illustration Friday) 7/4/14, the topic was Fragile.  This topic was not an easy one to tackle, but eventually I came up with an idea that I felt I could proceed with.  I decided for this piece that I was going to take a typography/graphic design direction with it instead of doing an original illustration.  I had some real issues with laying this particular piece out, and spent more time trying to figure out what fonts to use as a base shape for the remaining words to fill in to create the illusion of the original word.  When I finally began the piece I realized, I didn't have enough descriptive terms/ideas for my concept, so I did what any other person would, and turned to social media. In the end this piece became a collaborative effort, and the experiment of letting others get involved worked out well, plus it was fun to see what other people associated with the word "fragile".  I'd love to try this again with another word, or picture (like I saw when I did my initial research for this work).  This piece was done almost entirely in Illustrator, with some adjustments and manipulations done in Photoshop. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Jack-in-the-Green

IF (Illustration Friday) 6/27/14, the topic was Beard.  I had a hard time with this one, so I did some research and brainstorming as to how I could adapt the topic and make it something I would enjoy working, while still relating to the original subject.  At some point I came across imagery that depicted the Green Man, who was represented as a disembodied head with a leafy or gnarled branch-like beard.  I used these images as a reference point, and drew up my own sketch which is what is depicted here.  I'm not completely satisfied with the image, but I'm glad I kept it simple this week, as sometimes I can go easily over board with these projects.  The image is entirely digital, done in Painter.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cruel Summer

IF (Illustration Friday) 6/20/14, the topic was Summer.  For this particular topic, I chose to personify Summer by portraying the season as an individual, which also gave me the excuse to pay homage to one of my most influential and favorite illustrators, Alphonse Mucha.  I had been toying with the idea for some time to create a series of the seasons similar to Mucha's original incarnations while infusing them with my own vision.  This piece was a labor of love, but a harsh one, and it took WAY longer than anticipated to complete. There are a few details that I'd like to alter, add, or change, but ultimately, I'm happy with how it turned it.  While the initial concept was executed quickly (sketch and outline), the color phase really held me up.  I had a difficult time choosing a scheme that worked with the theme of the piece, and still offered enough contrast so that the original work wasn't lost.  The piece is entirely digital, done in Painter, with some manipulations done in Photoshop.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sam am I

IF (Illustration Friday) 6/13/14, the topic was Mask.  For this particular topic I had several ideas, one that I even completely sketched out and was ready to work on when a more attractive option popped in my head.  How, where, or why this particular idea came to be I cannot exactly remember, but it was either while I was watching TV, or reading.  At any rate, I wanted to do a character piece, because I love to make art based off of pop culture, movies, games, comics, books, etc., as they are all great influences on me creatively, and I like to pay homage to them when applicable.  For this project, I decided to do an illustration of 'Sam' from "Trick r' Treat", a surprisingly great movie in which four gruesome tales are told, and in which each story 'Sam' makes a cameo.  'Sam' (short for Samhain), is the spirit of Halloween who appears in the form of a child wearing a strangely disturbing costume of an orange onesy and a burlap sack over his head with a stitched smile and two button eyes, and his trademark razor-sharp sucker.  For the most part, I'm pleased with this work, but it did come with it's own set of challenges, as the reference I used wasn't the greatest, and some of the finer details were left up to my own interpretation.  The piece is entirely digital, done in Painter with some manipulations/filtering done in Photoshop.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Icarus

IF (Illustration Friday) 6/ 6/14, the topic was Contraption.  This topic was initially a struggle for me, as I had a hard time coming up with a satisfactory subject matter that reflected the topic.  After some brainstorming I came up with an idea that fit my taste/style, and represented a 'contraption'.  For this topic I decided to draw upon one of my main inspirations (Greek Mythology), and illustrate the tragic literary figure of Icarus, son of the great Greek inventor Daedalus.  In the Greek Myth, Icarus and his father attempt to flee a prison island by using wings that Daedalus has created from feathers and wax.  Daedalus warns Icarus not to fly too close to the son, or the sea, for fear his prideful son will damage the delicate wings and perish.  In this illustration I have depicted Icarus before he takes flight.  I had a lot of fun with this particular piece, and I really like the style, and striking contrast I was able to achieve.  There are parts of the work, I would have liked to develop more, or make feel less static; however, I felt it was time to stop tinkering with it, and let it be.  The piece is entirely digital, done in Painter.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Splitting Hares

IF (Illustration Friday) 5/30/14, the topic was Temptation.  I had a rough time with this one, but ultimately, I am really pleased with the final product.  Initially I wanted to do a piece depicting the dark side of temptation, and it's allure, but I continued to struggle to get my initial concept down, it just wasn't working for me.  Then I decided to work on an old project that fit the topic nicely, but abandoned that as well when I realized I wouldn't have enough time to complete it (it was way too detailed).  Finally I reverted back to an idea I had earlier, and did a bit more research which led me to the current design here.  As with most of my work, this piece is too influenced by pop culture, particularily my fondness for movies.  I decided to depict a concept from The Matrix.  In the movie the protagonist Neo is given the option of a red pill, or a blue pill.  The red pill will give him the opportunity to leave his mundane existence in the "matrix" and see how far the rabbit hole goes, while the blue pill will allow him to live out the rest of his existence in the "real world" in blissful ignorance.  The movie itself borrows from many other notable works, including Alice in Wonderland, and the Odyssey to name a few.  The piece is entirely digital, done in Painter with some manipulations done in Photoshop.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Prime Candidate

IF (Illustration Friday) 5/23/14 the topic was Universe. Lofty goals seems to be the theme of many of these illustrations I attempt for the IF topics, but if I'm not challenging myself, then I am not growing  as an artist, right?  So for yet another space/cosmos themed topic, I decided to utilize a subject matter from my past that influenced me growing up.  Video games have long been a source of inspiration for me, and filled many hours of my youth.  I've never really been an avid fan of space themed games, as fantasy always held my heart, but one franchise in particular managed to capture my imagination more than any other in this genre, Metroid.  Metroid revolutionized gaming for me, and many other boys my age, because it starred a female lead in a majorally male dominated culture, and past time.  I had this particular idea floating around for some time, but had yet to execute it properly outside of a sketchbook, and I wanted to at some point pay homage to the heroine Samus Aran properly.  The first incarnation of this illustration was Samus, standing on her ship, and had much more of the background pictured as well as the craft itself.  After several hours of working on the piece I decided it too broad and the main subject matter was getting lost, so I cropped it....twice...and I am much happier with the final incarnation.  I also wanted to try stylistically, something different.  I wanted to capture Samus in a comic-book style of art.  While it's mostly successful, I think I would like to attempt the style again, but perhaps approach it a bit differently (or more precisely), and in the earlier stages of the illustration.  The piece is entirely digital, done in Painter.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Spell it Out

IF (Illustration Friday) 5/16/14, the topic was Retro.  So as stated in the previous post, I had a plethora of ideas for this topic for some reason.  This idea came literally at the 11th hour, and I was able to finish it quickly (as it wasn't overly complicated), and I love it's simplistic nature.  I took a lot of inspiration for this piece from another artist by the name of David Perillo.  David's style is very retro, and the more I thought about my topic the more I wanted to do something along the lines, and in a similar style as to what David has done particularily with his public service anouncement posters he did for a gallery show citing modern pop-culture.  I wanted to do a reading poster, and my first idea was a kid reading a Steven King novel, with a catch/tagline of "let your imagination run wild", but I couldn't picture how it was going to look.  Instead I decided on a Harry Potter themed poster with Hermione and Ron.  Seeing as Hermione was the "studious" one, and Ron the comic relief I figured I would put them in a setting and add a bit of humor by having Ron's hair fried by a misfired spell from his broken wand.  The entire piece is digital, done in both Painter, and Photoshop.

The Italian Job

IF (Illustration Friday) 5/16/14, the topic was Retro.  Initially I labored over what to do, and changed my mind several times for this particular topic (as you'll see here).  As time was coming to a close, I decided to dust off an old idea that I started but never used to for the first topic of IF that I participated in, Search.  Basically I did an illustration of everyone's favorite Italian Plumber Mario.  The Initial ideas was that Mario in the original installment of the series (and subsequent sequels), was always looking for Princess Toadstool, but at the end of every level was always told that the "Princess was in another castle".  I decided to utilize this scenario for my illustration, but interject a bit of realistic humor.  I mean there were 8 levels in the original game, and honestly if I was Mario, Id be pretty irritated if I had fought my way to the end of each level only to realize that the Princess wasn't there (or at least not the one I was looking for).  For this topic, I decided to finish the project, and since it is a throwback to the original Mario Brothers game, I figured that classified it as"Retro".  The piece is entirely digital, done in Painter, with some manipulations done in Photoshop.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Babylon Candle

IF (Illustration Friday) 5/9/14, the topic was Voyage.  Down to the wire as usual with these!!!  This particular topic wasn't easy, but when I finally did come up with something the concept was more well received than I feel the execution was.  For some reason it feels unfinished, and I can't put my finger on why.  At any rate, I decided for this topic to pay homage to one of my favorite films in recent memory, Stardust (based on the book by Neil Gaiman).  In the movie the protagonist Tristan, traverses about the mythical world of Stormhold using a magical device called the Babylon Candle, while looking for a falling star, who turns out to be a girl named Yvaine.  Once lit, said candle will take the holder to where ever their heart desires.  This particular piece depicts Tristan and Yvaine's final destination together which they reached by using a Babylon Candle.  I wanted to depict the characters in the piece while still retaining the simplicity of the illustration, so I decided on a silhouette in the flame of the candle.  In the movie the candle is black, but I decided that dark green would work better for this piece, and I wanted to include a background that relates to the events taking place in the film.  The piece is entirely digital, done in Painter with some manipulations done in Photoshop.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sinful Nature

IF (Illustration Friday) 5/2/14, the topic was Revenge.  I missed the topic last week, and in all honesty, I just didn't have time to work on it.  By the time I got started it was too late, and I had to scrap the project which I was really looking forward to doing.  Ironically enough this weeks topic gave me the opportunity to do an illustration on a subject I had tossing around for some time.  For this weeks topic I decided to do a portrait of Carrie White, the star of Stephen King's most famous novel Carrie.  I wanted to capture the pivotal moment that the tormented teen had finally snapped, and became both a heroine and villain, which is indeed a strange dichotomy.  As a child I remember this movie gave me epic nightmares, probably because of just how disturbing it really is.  This particular piece also came at a time for me, when I was changing environments, and as an outsider it can be hard to find those connections that I lost. I also entitled this piece 'Sinful Nature' after the song by Bear in Heaven, which fits this piece perfectly (not to mention the bizarre relationship Carrie had with her Mother).  I would have liked to work on this one more, but, as with all works I never seem to have enough time, and I wanted to make sure I finished it before the deadline (afterall I've missed two, and didn't complete one of them).  I am happy with the way it turned out, but I would have liked to fine tune it a bit more.  The work is entirely digital done in Painter.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pure Sugar

IF (Illustration Friday) 4/18/14 the topic was Natural.  This topic was a difficult one for me to come up with an idea.  After ravaging my brain and exhausting my options, I ended up utilizing a subject matter that a close friend of mine has used for a series of cereal box illustration (thanks Kimber ;0P).  A lot of products these days claim they're "All Nautral" or contain "Natural Flavors", but ultimately are ambiguous when it comes to what exactly they are selling that is natural in a product.  Basically this piece was simple, yet fun, and became kind of a social commentary on kids cereals.  I also didn't have a lot of time to work on it, and while I'm glad I finished it, I'm sad I didn't make the deadline!!!!  The piece is entirely digitial done in Painter with some adjustments made in Photoshop, and Font designed in Illustrator.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Zodiac

IF (Illustration Friday) 4/11/14 the topic was Zodiac.  For this topic I utilized some creations I had made over the last couple years.  I have always had a fascination with the esoteric, and astrology so I decided to at first do my own symbol, which then led on to a continuation of the series of all twelve.  For each symbol I wanted it to retain the original glyphs shape, and incorporate the animal/creature assigned to it into that said shape. As I continued the series some became more complex than others, while the simplistic nature of some of them were a challenge to make more detailed.  All the Zodiac designs were created in Illustrator as vectors, then transferred into illustrator where I used a gradient to fill them.  In the collective, I simply took those graphic designs and implemented them onto a spacey background which I hand painted digitally, then tweaked here and there.  It's simple and effective, and I finished it early which is rare.  I will include the original designs in their full scale size so that the detail can be appreciated as I worked very long and hard on them.
















Thursday, April 10, 2014

Survival Horror (V1.0)

IF (Illustration Friday) 4/4/14, the topic was Survival.  For this particular piece I had waaaay too many ideas, and they all coalesced into a hodge podge of amazing creativeness.  When I finally narrowed it down to what I decided I was going to do, I became overly ambitious (as well as incredibly frustrated), and ultimately ran out of time (hence the V1.0).  I do plan on returning to the original concept and finishing it at some later when I have more time, and honestly this particular exercise taught me to simplify a concept (less is more).  Basically the piece I have here is part of a larger whole, and I decided I'd submit this portion as it looked the most finished out of the lot.  I chose to recreate Chris Redfield from the survival horror (hence the title), franchise Resident Evil (or Biohazard in Japan).  I utilized reference for this piece, and while it captures the original's substance, it does have read in my own signature style.  The piece is entirely digital done in painter.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Porphyria

IF (Illustration Friday) 3/28/14, the topic was Sizzle.  This was a tough topic initially, and I had a hard time coming up with an idea.  Most of the ideas I had were too bold, or would have been both frustrating and laborious.  After sketching out ideas, one came to me.  I had just completed a video game with vampires, and it occurred to me that vampire's skin "sizzle" when they are exposed to sunlight.  So I took some photo reference of my hand and used a light source in my house.  I spent quite a bit of time on this piece, and really enjoyed the smoke effect (I literally had to tear myself away from the piece at one point because I just kept playing with it).  The piece is entirely digital done in Painter.