Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Self Portrait 53 of 100: Illustration Friday, Repair

Another drawing for Illustration Friday. This weeks topic is "Repair".

A lot of my time working at Walmart was spent repairing stuff in assembly. A lot of things got broken, and I had plenty of time on my hands back there. One good way to kill time was to take things apart and put them back together again. I used to say that I hated working there, but looking back on it I think I was just bored a lot of the time.

I'm going back and forth about whether I think this is a good drawing or not. There's a bunch of things I like about it, but there are some things that are bugging me. Will there ever be a time when that's not true though? Ryan, I tried to put a little bit of effort into the background today, but it's getting late, I need to go to bed, and it's already almost another Friday (Just two more days) so I couldn't put this off any longer.

I hope you all are doing well, and I look forward to talking at you again soon!
Your friend

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Self Portrait 52 of 100: Illustration Friday, Strings

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,
regardless of time, place, or circumstance.
The thread may stretch or tangle,
but it will never break."
- an ancient Chinese belief

The topic for Illustration Friday this week was "strings". One of my first thoughts was of the "Red String of Fate". I first encountered this story when I was a kid, in the comic book "Excalibur". There was a guy who could see all the strings connecting everything in the world, and kind of like using the force, he could grab and pull the strings making things happen to whatever was on the ends of that one. So I had this idea to actually have my arm unraveling as the red string, and meeting up with, and turning into my family.

Doing a little research, I came across this bit of verse on Wikipedia, and changed my mind. I remembered a photo I'd seen a couple of years ago of a young couple laying in the grass, and really liked the idea of me and my wife, hand in hand with the red string intertwined up our arms, tangled in some places, kind of loose in others, but basically tight and inextricable. I would also like to note that this is a terrible drawing of my wife... maybe I need to do 100 portraits of her. Ha-ha!

Thanks for looking, and I'll post again soon!
Your friend

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Self Portrait 51 of 100: Some thoughts on character

So I've been doing some thinking about what I want this blog to be, and where I want to go with it. Both in general (I guess this could be a forever thing) and in particular, what I'm doing with the rest of this set of 100. It doesn't seem like a huge undertaking to say that you're going to do 100 of something, but it IS bigger than I'd realized. So, at any rate, where my head is at right now is that I would like to finish out this set by doing a little self exploration (Not that way, sickos).

Basically exploring the idea of SELF as a character. It's actually something that we all do everyday, anyway. We all have a self image (Matrix style), things we see ourselves doing. We stand in front of the closet every morning and pick out clothes, and there's a REASON we pick what we do. Environmental (it's cold out), contextual (I have a wedding to go to), practical (I don't want anybody to see my little weiner) or what ever... there's a reason we choose to look the way we do.

More than that though, is emotional stance. How many pictures have I seen or done that are basically "guy #3 standing in front of a wall dressed as an adventurer" that have no real sense of the character. What other things about him/her are there? Stance, expression, action, interaction, reaction, protraction, detraction...

The more I've thought about this, I've come to realize that the portraits in the first 50 that I enjoyed the most, think back on the most often, and am most pleased with the outcome, are the ones that have this idea of character. They are not just a straight on view of my blank face worrying over the details. I don't want this to be an artificial "project" type of thing, but I do want to make a concious effort to put more character into these drawings.

Thanks for looking, and for the comments! They really mean a lot. I'm going to try to knock out this weeks "Illustration Friday" this weekend so there should be another update soon. Until then, take care and be good!

Your friend

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Self Portrait 50 of 100: Illustration Friday, Clique

So the topic for Illustration friday this week is "Clique". There's such a negative connotation with that word... I feel like when most people think of a clique, they think of those bitchy groups of friends like on "Heathers" of "Mean Girls". Well, obviously I'm not pretty enough to be involved with that type of group, but there are other groups out there that can be just as tight but are more open and (for lack of a better word) loving.

Often when we get together with a lot of friends, and their children, this is where I can be found. I love my daughter, and my neices and nephews (actually related or not) and we have a ton of fun playing, drawing and roughhousing together. So I guess that's my clique... We're bonded by love and similar interests and sometimes it can be difficult to break in on that.

As a side note, my friend Ryan finally started his sketch blog yesterday. If you have a minute, you should really check it out here. He's so talented, and I think you all will love his work.

Until next time then, Take care and be good!
Your friend

Monday, September 22, 2008

Self Portrait 49 of 100

So this is the last page of the sketchbook that I've been working out of. It took me just over a year to get through it. I don't know how I feel about that. It's not like every drawing that I did this year was in this book... I don't know, I struggle with this a lot. There's so much balancing in my life. My family, Daughter, Friends, Work, and art... sometimes I'm really envious of those kids that could focus on their art, and are sooo awesome at it.

Looking at what I would have to give up for it though, I know it just would not be worth it.

This is just a quick warm-up drawing I did before getting to work. I don't know if I mentioned in an earlier post about how excited I am to have discovered my markers recently, but I am. I really like the bold immediacy of them, and how easy it is to make little graphic elements in my sketches with them.

Thanks as always for looking guys and girls! And if you want to see some of the other stuff that I've been doing in my sketchbook for the last year, you can check it out on conceptart.org

Take care and be good!
Your friend

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Self Portrait 48 of 100: I really should change the name of my blog.

Yeah... So this is pretty embarrassing. I think my last post was in July. In my defense, I have been pretty busy. I picked up some freelance work, am working on an independent IP with an old friend, and am finishing up the prologue for my comic book story which will be published as a bonus feature with my friend Mario's, "Pagan Zoetrope". I'm updating my web stuff (myspace, website, etc.) next week with more info on it, but I'm VERY excited about the project.

So on the other hand... we got cable. I've totally blown more than one night just skipping from one movie to the other. As much as I enjoy watching movies, I won't miss it when it's gone.

This drawing was done with the mirror on the floor. Just trying to explore some new viewpoints.

Thanks for looking and sharing my drawings with me. I know it's foolish to try to promise to get back to everyday... I think that ship has sailed and we all know it, but maybe we can try to get together a couple of times a week at least.

Until next time, Take care and be good!
Your friend

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Self Portrait 47 of 100


This started out life as a topic illustration for illustration friday "Sour". I felt like it was a good oppourtunity to do some "Acting" and get some facial expressions going. I think I look more like an irritated old man than somebody who ate something sour.

Sometimes this is really frustrating...
I guess I'll try again later.
Your friend

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Self Portrait 46 of 100: Starting a push towards the end

So... I've been checking out this daily photo stream on Flickr. Real inspiring. It's weird how having a kid, and maybe even especially a daughter, changes you. (I've not had a son yet, so I don't know how that would be different.) I find myself looking for good examples of strong women... I really would like Abby to grow up strong, and independant... but still a girl. If that makes any sense. There's such a thing as too much, I think. I don't want her to be a bitch. I think that's where I'm going with that, but I do want her to be capable of taking care of herself.

At any rate, this drawing is over a week old. It's been busy as hell here. My older brother got married, and my younger brother came and stayed with us with his wife and son (three days younger than Abby, and cute as a bug's ear!). It was a good visit, but tiring. It's nice to have the house to ourselves again, and get back to our normal activities.

On another note... I know I've been kind of sporadic with my posts, but I'm going to try to finish this set by the end of the summer. Wish me luck!

I hope everything is going well with you all. Take care and be good!
Your friend

Monday, June 16, 2008

Self Portrait 45 of 100: Feeling good, moving forward

Hey guys!

It's funny how doing something two days in a row that you should have been doing every day for half a year makes us feel good about ourselves. So... here I am again, working on another 3/4 view. Scary how used to full frontal I'd gotten. I guess this is another step in the right direction then? Maybe a little more progress will be made.

I really can't stay and chat, because I NEED to go to bed. But I do want to say that I have some ideas for stuff I want to work on that I'm very excited about, and maybe I can start working towards that soon.

I hope everything's going well out there in blog land, and that you all are happy, healthy and whole. Keep on being good, and working hard.

Your friend

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Self Portrait 44 of 100: Time to get some work done

Hey everybody! Okay... to be honest with you, I wasn't going to do this today (In spite of it being two weeks since I've posted :( ) but I was checking out a a daily photostream on flickr, and was inspired to do something before bed.

This is important to me. It seems like my whole life is just running against time. At work I have to move my ass to get work done in the most timely manner. Then I come home and make time with my family (Which I ABSOLUTELY do not begrudge them... If I can't make time for my girls then none of the rest of this is worth it. So, that leaves just a handful of minutes left to drawing. And sleep. Ha-ha! Okay, so where was I going with this?

Not every one has to be "The current masterpiece". That isn't what this is about, and I need to keep that in mind. I only have time for that sometimes, but the days I don't have the time for it, I am actually freer to experiment, and do a little playing. Tonites drawing isn't exactly what I had in mind when I started it, but I'm not totally unhappy with it either. And I'm glad I did something tonite. The point is that I did have the time to do something kind of fast and dirty. I have plenty of wiggle room to search out directions. Also my friend James told me that he wanted me to do something other than a head on sp for my next one. So, here's a step in that direction.
I've been giving a lot of serious thought to the holy grail lately, and want to talk about it, because it fits in with the current works.... but I think that's a post for another night when I have a little more TIME.

I hope everything's well with you all. Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend

Monday, June 2, 2008

Self Portrait 43 of 100: Illustration Friday, "Baby"

The topic on illustration friday this week is "baby". Which was really weird, because I was just thinking that that would be a nice topic to draw.

This is me and my daughter Abby... I know I look like a crazy guy who just won the baby prize, but that's kind of how I feel. She often has this look, like "What now?"... Such a funny baby! Ha-ha!

Babies are hard to draw... they have all the same stuff as normal people, but it's all mushed together weird. While they ARE very cute, it's easy to draw them ugly. Had a lot of fun though, and I definetely want to do more drawings of her in the future. This was drawn with blue pencil then inked. Then vectorized and colored in Corel draw.

That's it for now. Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ha-ha! I'm STILL a nerd! Not nearly the same nerd that I was back then though. This was really was a fun exercise, and really got me thinking about self as character design. Every day, we get up and make decisions about what we are going to wear... Some of those are ongoing, and that reflects on how the world sees us. If our life was a movie, what kind of character would we be? It also got me really looking at the characters on tv... not just the main ones, but also the minor, and background characters.

What sets them apart, besides the focus of the camera?
That's it for today. It's late, and I have to work tomorrow. Hope everything is well out there.

Your friend

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Self Portrait 41 of 100: 1996(ish)

I was tooling around the interweb last week, and stumbled across the Flight blog There was a post about members of the illustrators for the Flight comic collection doing self portraits of themselves as teenagers, and then of their current selves. What an awesome idea! There are just too many funny things about our past (and present) selves, and the comparison between the two. At any rate, I decided I was going to do it.

THEN, today on Lines and Colors, Charley Parker posted the same thing. Apparently this is a bit of a thing on the interweb lately. So... at the risk of looking like a band-wagoneer who can't think up his own ideas. I did the first half today for SP 41.

God I was a nerd back then! Ha-ha! This was fun to do. I wish I'd had a little more time to work on it, because it would be nice to color... maybe this weekend I'll come back to it.

Thanks for looking folks! Take care and be good!
Your friend
Jeffrey Johnson

Monday, May 26, 2008

Self Portrait 40 of 100, Illustration Friday: "Worry"

So... The topic for Illustration Friday this week is "worry". every week, I mean to do something for it, and every week I don't. Either I wait until too late in the week, or ... Whatever. This is really just more excuses. So here we go!

I kind of envisioned worry like a monster, or a demon or something that is a tentacled critter with a list. It wraps itself around your head, pries your eyes open no matter how much you try to close them, and whispers in your ear. No matter how much you try to ignore your worries, they always seem to rise back to the surface... Like pond scum.

It was hard to come up with something to act as a header on the list... I didn't want to just put "Worries" although that would be the most straight forward, I guess. There were other options, like contract, reckoning, bill... stuff like that, but I kind of felt like that would imply a deal with this demonic creature. If this was just some dude, well, okay maybe that would be fine, but this is a self portrait. I don't ... Okay, so I settled on the future for the header. I guess that's cliche`, but it's a legitimate worry. I worry about what I'll be doing. I worry about my daughter. I worry about it all... it's hard sometimes to not worry about those things that you just can't see.

Wow. What a lot of exposition for such a stupid drawing. I was thinking about Art Adams, and William Stout when I was working on it. Also Victor. Always think about him.

I hope everything's going well with you all.
Take care and be good!
Your friend

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Self Portrait 39 of 100: There Is No Holy Grail

Back to graphite. ... Here I'm using a 2B pencil with a 4B for final clean up. I talked to my friend Andrew (ThatFat Kid) on mothers day, and we talked a lot about art... sketchbooks, and design. There are a lot of artists out there that we admire, and It almost seems like magic, the work they do. It's not though... It's hard work. I'd like to do a page a day in my sketchbook. That doesn't seem unreasonable. Most days I do nothing. I do have other responsibilities, but that's not really a good enough reason to not get some personal work done.

This is the gist of the conversation... Those people are the artists they are because of the things they gave up. And because of the hard work they put into it.

There is no Holy Grail. There is no book that will give you the answers you need to suddenly, magically be better. There is no Video, no Pen, Pencil, Brush or Software application. The quest is worthwhile, I guess... But the goal is back at home.
Sometimes I get tired and disillusioned. I don't know what I want to do, or even where I want to be.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Self Portrait 38 of 100

Hey guys!

I was trolling around CA today, and was inspired by Flaskpost and some of the design/pattern integration he's been doing in his illustration lately. It also got me thinking about some other artists that I've been admiring for awhile. Sooo.... I had a little more time than normal today, because Amy and Squirtle went out to the city. I decided to give it a go. So I'm not the greatest painter in the world, but that's part of the point too, practice, and trying out some new techniques.
Thinking about it now, I wish I'd made the background darker... Something to remember next time.

Until next time, Take care and be good!
Your friend

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Self Portrait 37 of 100

Hey kids!

So...I gots another one for you today. I'm doing a really terrible job of keeping up on this as a daily thing, but it's important to me to at least get the 100. It's still soooo far off though.


It'll be okay. In the meantime, Ryan was looking at some stuff the other day, and said he would like to see more, um, rendered sp's so with that in mind, I sat down this morning to do just that... I'm still kind of experimenting to find what works best for me. I worked for about an hour and fifteen minutes on this drawing... Pretty fast, really. I wish that I was better able to tap into that speed and confidence at work. I know part of the issue is that I have to answer to somebody else there, but I wish I could get around my desire to not dissapoint him, and just relax. Well... that's something to talk about some other time.

Thanks for looking! Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend

P.S. I just realized that apparently I've miscounted, and this is actually my 37th Self Portrait. Ha-Ha!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Self Portraits 34 and 35 of 100

Hey guys!

I gots a couple of new portraits here. It's been kind of hectic around here the past week or so, because Abby was finally born! I never would have believed that I could've had a hand in making such a beautiful little girl.

Here's a quicky line drawing. I had some idea of where I wanted to go with it, but it's been over a week, and I've forgotton. The only thing bad that I have to say about it is that my eyes are too big. Still... I think I'm getting better and faster.
I got my new pen for the tablet that jason gave me. I got to tell you that the larger work surface is sooooo awesome! I still have to install the driver software so that all the functions work properly, but so far I'm very excited about the level of control that the larger work surface allows. This was just a quicky to try out the new pen... maybe about 30 minutes blocking in the major forms and whot not. I didn't really have time to go back and refine anything at the time.

Okay kids! That's it for today. I'll try to get back again soon, but until then take care and be good!
Your friend

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Self Portrait 33

Hey guys!

sooo... finally made it to a third of the way through. It's very difficult to discipline yourself to do this every day, but I guess it's something to continue anyway, and press on till the end. It doesn't always matter that you win the marathon, just that you finish it.

At any rate. Continuing on... I didn't really feel up to starting this, but I did. Then I wasn't happy at all with where it was going, but I continued. I spent more time than I wanted to on this guy, but less time than I needed to. Ha-ha! I would've really liked to have gotten the rendering worked out better.
I hope everything's well with you all. The baby's due today, but still no sign of her coming. Stubborn little girl. Amy's upstairs calling around saying "Where's my baby!? It was supposed to be delivered today!" Ha-ha! What a goof. It'll probably be more like next week. We're really excited, but mostly just waiting for the waiting to be over.

Take care and be good.
Your friend

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Self Portrait 27-32: Battling my insecurities

So I mentioned that I fight with myself a lot. I second guess, make mistakes, commit too early, fail to commit... it's stuff we all go through. This guy is an element for a drawing idea that I had awhile back. "King Coyote Constantly Battles His Insecurities" Ha-ha! So the Hydra seemed like an obvious choice... many heads, same beast. The next element I think is going to be sort of a nordic warrior... Maybe a Greek hoplite... I don't know exactly yet. Then I'll go to town in PS and color the whole thing. Should be fun.

I actually think this drawing is pretty strong, by the way. I hate to say I'm getting comfortable, so we'll go with it's getting easier to try new things, and new poses. There's still a lot of work to do though.
As always, thanks for looking. Take care and be good!
Your friend

P.S. I've been listening to the Sidebar Nation podcast lately. If you haven't checked it out yet you really should. There's a lot of excellent interviews with working artists.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Self Portrait 26

Hey Kids!

It's an interesting thing that there are blogs that I check everyday, and that I'm disappointed when they don't update. Yet, here I am with at daily blog that hasn't been updated in two months.

All I can say is sorry, and try to press on. Once you fall off the horse, it's sometimes hard to get back on.

Thought I'd do a little design portrait. I've been concentrating on drawing so much lately that my meager design skills are going down the toilet. I fight with my self a lot... ha-ha! I hope it doesn't sound like I'm a whiney bitch. At any rate, this is the first of the second quarter of Sp's. The design is kind of blah, but It's late and I need to get to bed.

I hope everythings good with you all. Take care, and be good.
Your friend

Friday, February 15, 2008

Self Portraits 24 and 25 of 100

Hi kids!

Boy, I'm really running behind! Ha-ha! (okay, okay, not funny.) So I have two today. First up is a revisit of the SP from a couple of posts ago. I know it's not really new, but it is new work. Please forgive me.

So... painting in photoshop. I have a few things to say about this.

I'm not much of a painter. There are some nice painterly things about this particular job, but it's really my inkwork that saves it from being a big mess. I'm still learning, and I think getting better (I really am trying to listen to what people have to say about my technique, and I promice that I will try to pay heed to learn control over value in favor over color) but there is still a long road to go. I truly admire those people that can do this without keeping their original drawing intact or without one at all.

This second drawing... I don't know. It's kind of part of a Character concept idea I'm working on, and partly the start of an illustration idea that I had for how I was feeling that day... The idea was abandoned because I was tired. I'm a lot skinnier in this drawing than I actually am right now. The Gym is calling to me... I spend far too much time sitting and drawing (and eating stuff that's not good for me). I did the body out of my head, and the head from a mirror.

Just a sketch, but I think my bodies and hands are getting stronger. I still have to redo a lot of things at work, but I'm getting better. My boss and I have a lot of frustrating days. I hope that in the near future I can be less of a worry to him. I know he has more than enough other stuff to worry about. Speed and accuracy... (sigh)

Okay, that's it for today.
Take care and be good.
Your friend
Jeffrey Johnson

Friday, February 8, 2008

Self portrait 24 of 100

Hey kids!

Got another little graphic gem for you, Ha-ha! I finally got caught up on some of my projects, so hopefully I'll be getting to this more regularly. I looked at my calendar yesterday, and It looks like on friday I'll be 27 portraits behind... Oops! So, I'm getting back to it, and getting caught up... ish. Ha-ha!

So, anyway, I built this whole image in Corel Draw. It took about three hours total. I have another one in the works using the same head, with some small changes. I'll have that one out in the next few days hopefully. I think there're like three pieces I still have to do to it.

I've been talking to Ryan about art, and where I'm going with it and what I want to do with it lately. One of the things he had to say, is that (at least for him) there's been too much working toward trying to impress other people, and not enough just because he enjoys it. To add to that, I was looking through some of my old drawings, and there was a lot more stuff that I just did because I wanted to do it. I think part of my path right now is to find a balance between the two. It's really hard to produce "quality" work, and sometimes the effort gets depressing, but it still has to be done in order to be marketable. I still gots to eat, right?

Thats about it for today. I think my "internet provider" finally password protected his network, so I'll have to update when I can (mostly after work) so I'll see you when I see you.

Take care and be good.
Your friend
Jeffrey Johnson

Monday, January 21, 2008

Self Portrait 23 of 100

Hey Guys!

Got a little graphic illustration for ya tonite! I'm kind of going back and forth about how accurate this drawing is... At any rate, I think it's a pretty good one. I was inspired by the awesome ink work of Scott Fischer. Didn't really come close to emulating his style, but I think I'll give it another go.

Ryan says I need to do more work in Black and White (I don't think this is what he had in mind though) and work on form. Deal with showing volume in a two dimensional space. I agree totally with him, and (Believe it or not buddy) I do think about it a lot. This blog is just as much about experimenting with styles and techniques as trying to do some drawing everyday, so I do plan on working consistently towards that goal of form.

What I'm trying to get around to saying, is to look for more grayscale drawings and digital paintings in the future. Seventy-seven more drawings in this set, and I really hope to have made a leap or two past where I am now, by then.

Man... I'm looking old, and am getting fat. huh.

Take care and be good!
Your friend
Jeffrey Johnson

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Self Portrait 22 of 100

Okay! Last man standing is finished! The deadline kept on getting pushed back, so I had more time to work on it, and still no time to work on my 100 in 100 project. Sooo, I'm a little behind. When all the entries are posted, I'll add in a link so you all can check it out.

My first drawing back from the new year. Not terribly thrilled with it, but not totally unhappy either. It was done from a photo I took of myself in the mirror last month. I totally messed up the bottom of my face, particularly the chin and jawline. This is partly a result of committing to some lines too early, and partly a result of bullheadedly pushing through. I only gave myself an hour to work on this one though, and all and all ... Okay, Next time will be better. Ha-Ha!

I'm still super busy. I have a couple of comic pages for my friend Guggenmaneuver, and I'm working on painting and setting up the guest room at home, so I can paint and set up the babies room... But all in all, things are going well, and I should be able to catch up (and keep up) here within the next couple of weeks! Yay!

Okay, I'll talk to you all soon!

Your friend