Monday, August 31, 2009

Daily Life 006: Long Week

It's been a long, and very busy week. My wife is pregnant with our second child, and we've begun talking about some of the changes coming up in our lives. I have that feeling, like when you've just moved into a new house and you sit down in a little chair with boxes of your stuff in a place that's not really yours yet. I sit and let out a deep breath, and just feel a little... overwhelmed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

More pics of the band: The Bassist

Started work on the bassist for the animal band this week. The sheep dog. I wanted an animal that I felt you could rely on to be there when you need him to be, but that is also is pretty laid back. I don't know anything about real sheep dogs, or their temperaments, but this is the impression I get.
The image in the upper left is my working drawing that I pulled into illustrator to act as a guide as I create the final character. In the lower right hand corner is the bass guitar that I intend to use as a model for the final instrument for this character. In the center is a mockup of the final character (that I put way more effort into than I should have, but I wanted you all to have something nice to look at, and I'm putting off going to bed...).
I've started vectorizing his head, and am playing with how much (or whether I even should) of his eyes and mouth I should show. Also, I noticed that his pose is almost exactly like the keytar player, so I should probably think about that a little more before I get too far into this.
Thanks for looking, and until I talk at you again tommorrow, take care and be good.
Your friend

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What you Talkin' About: Jackson Pollock

I am not really a huge fan of the work of Jackson Pollock. I appreciate the idea behind it, and the experimental nature of it... but basing an entire body of work around this idea seems unreal. I'm not here to bash on Mr Pollock though. I have a design related story to tell, and it involves him.I got in the mail the other day (by other day, I mean about two month ago...) a brochure for Pantone. There was a design on the back of it that I thought was really pretty cool, lot's of swoops, flourishes and spatters. At the end of the day, this is really just controlled chaos, which got me thinking about Jackson Pollock. Maybe I'm way off base here, and I can think of other artists/movements that also relate to this statement, but here we go. I told my wife that I don't know whether we'd have design quite like this if it weren't for Jackson Pollock.

I graduated from college with a studio art degree, and I remember feeling like it was just as useful as a philosophy degree. (By that I mean not really useful at all.) So much of "Fine art" is wrapped up in ideas, and like them or hate them they do affect the world we live in, and do become a part of our collective unconsious. Sometimes it gets so easy to be elitist about what is good or bad art and design which is a dangerous trap to fall into, simply because it closes your mind to the dialog of ideas. I'm starting to ramble, so I'm going to stop here. I hope you enjoy the design stuff I pulled off the interweb, and Jackson Pollock too.

Until next time, take care and be good.
Your friend

Monday, August 24, 2009

Daily Life 005: A gap in my afternoon

Every day last year as I passed through one of the neighborhoods on my way from work to pick up Amy and Abby, I would pass this older black gentleman. And every day, he would turn slowly and wave as I passed. It's over two weeks into the school year now, and I haven't seen him at all... It seems odd that I should really miss a person who I never really met. And it kind of makes me sad that that should seem odd at all.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Some More Progress: Almost finished

So I got some more work done on this Abby promo image this week. I finished all the coloring in illustrator.And then I moved over to photoshop to add in the highlights, and deepen some of the shadows as well as smoothing out some of the color breaks. I'm not 100% thrilled with with it. I think I need to do a little more work on the pants and face especially, but I'm not really sure where to go with with them right this second.
I started adding in some background elements too. Designing in photoshop is something that I rarely do, so this is a little bit of an adventure for me. If you all have any comments or suggestions about where I am, or where you think I ought to be heading, please drop me a comment. The plan for this page, is to be part of the website background, and I think also I will make it available as a downloadable desktop background too.
It's not nearly done yet, I have a vision for what it will look like, and I think I might do this weeks "What you Talkin' about?" segment relating to where I'm going with it. So'oooo please make sure to drop by for that little slice of heaven.

Okay, until tomorrow then, take care and be good.

Your friend

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Daily Life 004: New Boots

Abby got a new pair of boots from her Nana this weekend... She was very excited. We went to the Wal-mart after dinner, and she kept stopping to admire them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Daily Life 003: My Bike

My Bike is now functional again! The plan is to drop me and the bike off at work every day, and then I will ride it in the afternoon to pick up Amy and Abigail. It's like getting back in touch with an old friend.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Daily Life Logo: A little process.

Designing logos for yourself is always hard. Okay, I mean for myself. I feel like when I'm designing for other people, 1. I usually have a clear idea of where I want to go and 2. There's always the "safety net" of the client's feedback.

At any rate... I've been working on a logo for the "Daily Life" section of the blog, and thought I'd share a little of my process.
The first two steps here are pretty much interchangeable for me. There's different type of "thinking while I'm working". I begin by generating ideas. This is either in my sketchbook (above), or on the computer (below) and both methods have their merits.
Working in my sketch book, I am not hampered by specific fonts, or images. I can work out of my head, trying out different shape combos with out having to figure out how to make that happen within a program. I can abandon an idea that's not working and write notes to myself without changing tools. I'm not as good at this method, but I am trying to get in the habit of doing it because I will not only get better at it, but I think that it will ultimately help me generate stronger, more original layouts.

When I'm generating ideas on the computer, I usually start with an idea of what types of font I am looking for, and "pull" samples that fit that. Going through the list also sometimes gives me possibilities that I hadn't thought of and which might push me in a new direction. Fonts are useful, and can be a great time saver, but sometimes can lead us into a rut where we aren't doing anything really new and original.
So I take my a font that I like (or two or three) and set them aside along with all of the other characters from that font. What I'm looking for here is shapes that I can use to embellish existing letters. One of the really nice things about working with text on the computer is that you can cut text apart as shapes, and then paste those parts onto other letter shapes to get new effects.
As I'm working, I'll add graphic shapes and maybe some images to turn the plain text into more of a design.
I came up with a few versions of the logo. The top one is a definite no. It's one of those ideas that worked in my head, but just didn't translate well. The rest... I like all of them pretty well, but am not really feeling WOWed by them yet. I'm leaning toward the one with the blocks and the ball, but think I need to do a little more work and find a few more ideas.
Until tomorrow then, take care and be good.

Your friend

Monday, August 10, 2009

Daily Life 002: Darth Vader

Abigail recently discovered her mothers microphone/tape player. She doesn't seem to get that you're supposed to talk into it, so she sticks the whole microphone into her mouth and does a pretty decent Darth Vader impression... Then says UH! really loud.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Abigail: A New Work in Progress

I promised myself I would try not to do this... Ha-ha-ha!

Okay, like I said. I really am trying not to post too many WIPs, but I got busy doing some freelance work and other stuff (by "other stuff" I mean that I have a new Xbox in my house... do with that what you want) and didn't get what I wanted to show you today done.
This is another drawing of Abby that I started on in the spring, and am working on getting the colors done. This one is a promo illustration that I plan on using in a couple of different places including my myspace page, the website, and brochure. I'm doing the initial colors in illustrator, and then I plan to export it to photoshop to add highlights and some background effects.
Gotta run now, but I'll be back again tomorrow for the next "Daily Life". Until then, take care and be good.

Your friend

Monday, August 3, 2009

Daily Life 001: Fifteen Minutes

My favorite part of the day, is the fifteen minutes between bath-time and bed-time when Abby and I just sit on the couch, watch a cartoon, and wind down...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Time: I think I'm pretty much finished

Or at least I'm moving on to something else for now.

It seems like it's taken just forever... To be fair to us all, I'm the only one who's really seen most of the trial and error steps, where I just wasn't sure where to go with it, and a couple of times really made a mess of things (Thank goodness for being able to work in layers, LOL). I was reading Zach Fransen's (from Portland Studios) blog the other day, and he said something that reminded me of this drawing:

"Justin told me not to post progress before I’ve completed a piece. That way if it goes off the tracks I won’t look stupid, ... ...I’m putting my dignity at risk and telling you to come back for the finished piece."

I do wonder if people checking my blog question my professionalism when months go by of little changes in a (seemingly) neverending series of progress images. I learned a lot from this picture, and doing it. It took a long time, but it was personal time which by nessessity takes a back seat to time spent making dollars to feed my family. I hope you all didn't mind the journey, and I've taken some steps to insure that there will be at least some new content every week, starting tomorrow.

If you have a minute, please let me know what you think. I will continue to post progress pictures too, but will try to keep it from taking months and months to show something finished.

New Segment "Daily Life" starts tomorrow, so stay tuned! Until then, take care and be good.
Your friend