Thursday, February 26, 2009

What You Talkin' about?: Paolo Rivera

Do you remember the first time you knew you wanted to be an artist?
It was right after I realized that I couldn’t be a superhero.

The first time I really "heard" about Paolo Rivera was on The Art Department blog by Tor art director, Irene Gallo. She posted a really good interview with him about the "Mythos" comic series he painted for Marvel. Unfortunately, as is often the case when tooling around on the inter-web I read the interview, went on to the next thing on mind, and Paolo Rivera was out of my head.

I got a second chance though, two months later with the Lines and Colors blog, by Charlie Parker. Charlie started off the post like this. "At one time the brief description line at the top of Paolo Rivera’s blog read: “I am a painter for Marvel Comics. Really, I am.”" How cool is that? So, interested, and read the article. Going to the follow-up links that Charlie is so good about adding at the bottom of his posts, I found Paolo's blog, The Self-Absorbing Man. Wow. He's not only extremely talented, but he does some WORK. Posting at least three times a week there's always really solid, exciting content. There's an fairly even balance between current works, Tips tricks and equiptment, and appearance announcements.

One of his segments "Wacky Reference Wednesdays" is especially entertaining, and I really look forward to it each week. In fact, it's what inspired this segment for me, and that's why he gets the dubious honor of first post. Last week, Paolo posted an example of how he uses Google Sketchup as refrence for his comic panels when he has a tricky perspective problem, or the same environment from different angles.

So, here's an example of the sketch up models, set against a backdrop of his initial layout drawing. He builds parts in the program, as well as importing elements from the sketchup warehouse.

And then here's how it all fits in with the finished page. I've given an extremely truncated version of the process here. To read more about it, go and check out his blog.

Just for fun, I thought I'd also share a handful of my sketch up models and a page that I finished recently for a personal project, I hope you enjoy them.

Well that's all for now. Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend,

Paolo Rivera:
Lines and Colors article:
Art Department Interview:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Work-In-Progress: "Time" Part 2

Boy! What an aptly titled name for this illustration! Ha-ha! So here we are, week two of this illustration. Finished up coloring the old man for the most part, and got the chess board put back together. Drawing and inking this guy by hand has perhaps turned out to be more trouble than it was worth. Going back and editing the traced lines, I ended up rebuilding a lot of it when I could have just drawn it in Illustrator in the first place.

Most of his face I kept, and the smoke, but pretty much everything else got reworked. I'm really happy with how the chess board and pieced came out. One really nice thing about working in a vector program, is how easy it is to reuse parts.

I'm taking vacation this week, so I plan on finishing up the background for next weeks post. I think I have most of it worked out, and am looking forward to seeing it finished. Also, I'm hoping to get at least two more animals done. Don't you all feel shy about holding me accountable for my workload either! Ha-ha!

Another thing that I'm planning on starting this week, and which will be an ongoing thing, is expanding my postings to Sunday and Wednesday. When I started on the new track, I mentioned wanting to put some posts in that had an added value. I've given it a lot of thought, and have decided on adding the "What'choo talkin' 'bout, Wednesdays" the basic idea is that I look at a lot of art on the interweb, as well as a lot of blogs. Some of my favorites are ones that talk about art and artists. Introducing my humble readers to (hopefully) some new ideas, or if nothing else, at least giving you all an idea of what I'm up to and in to at the moment.

I've been wondering if it's a good idea to e-mail the people I write about, just to give them a heads up, allow them to add their two cents or possibly edit misunderstandings I have, and maybe network a little. What do you guys think? Also, I'm thinking I might change my settings to allow anonymous comments. It seems like kind of a pain in the butt to have to be a member in order to say "What up?"

One last note. My good friend, the super talented Ryan Bowlin got laid off from his job as a concept artist at Simutronics last week. He worked there for over two and a half years and has experience doing textures, GUI, concept art and even low poly models! If you know of anyone looking for a solid all around artist, please pass his name along. These times are really tough, and I feel like we all need to stick together.

Until Wednesday then, take care and be good.
Your friend

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Work-In-Progress: "Time" Part 1

This has been a busy week. Valentines falling on a Saturday really cuts in to my working in the basement time... Ha-ha! Actually, Valentines day was great. I got almost caught up on my taped episodes of "Get Ed", did a little work in my sketch book, went and saw "Coroline" with Amy (and it was AWESOME, easily the best movie I've seen in the last two years, and I've seen some really good ones too), and I got a little bit of work done.

This week, I took a break from the animals (though I do have a nice little sketch for the next one worked out, and I'm excited to get started on him! It's the drummer, and he's going to be soooo boss!) and got fully entrenched in what has turned out to be a kind of enjoyable pain in the butt. That being said, I am not finished with it so I thought I'd share a little work in progress. Amy calls this one "Old Man Jeffrey" LOL

This started out life as a drawing for the Illustration Friday topic "Time". I didn't want it to be something silly, like a watch or spinning clocks, but rather something a little more concepty. Going back and forth with ideas, one thing that struk me was that little clock that is used in regulation chess games that times the moves. Which let me to the old man playing chess in the park idea. I started with the old man, thinking that there would be two players, and that one of them would maybe be a kid. As I got into it though, the other player got scrubbed for another idea. (I feel like I have to admit here that this was mostly out of lazyness, and that I didn't want to draw the other players back. On the other hand, that's not a very interesting illustration element anyway.) I added the monsters creeping up behind him. So this is the "High Concept" story for this image.

"Time sneaks up on us loudly, as we focus our attention on the moves of our lives." I should write fortune cookies.

I did the original drawing in blue pencil, and inked it. It looks fine, but I knew I wanted to mess with it in illustrator. It started with wanting the monsters to be a certain way. I really wanted the blue outline with the dark brown fill, and the empty, glazed eyes. So I decided to build them. This was the beginning of a weekend of general irritation on my part.

After I made my new Illustrator monsters, I started working on the old man, and was just not happy with the clunkyness of some of my inking, and of course (why would I want anything to be easy?) I wasn't happy with all of his outlines being the same (Black) so now I need to cut up the trace too. So I work his right hand over (our left) till I'm happy with it, and then I get to looking at the chessboard and pieces and am just NOT happy with them. They look totally sloppy. I wouldn't buy them, so how can I expect anyone else to. So I rebuild the whole chessboard and all its pieces from scratch.

Amy says I'm too hard on myself. But what's the point of doing it, if it's not done right? So I'm mostly done with this part of the illustration, and then I just have to decide how I want to deal with the back ground. Hopefully next week, I'll have the finished illustration to show you. Until then, Take care and be good!

Your friend
Jeffrey Johnson

Sunday, February 8, 2009

More Vector Animals

Before I start getting railed about not having a decent background, or even for reusing the same one twice, I would like to assure you all that these are destined for a bigger illustration, with some sort of real background. I just wanted something to set them apart from the white square for the time being.

So, here's another animal band member. I know keytar is not most peoples first choice for a first backup instrument, but here's the story. I was thinking about where I wanted to go with this set ultimately, and thought it would be funny to have a keytar... eventually. Well, I was talking to Amy and mentioned it, wondering what animal I should have playing it. I had no ideas really, but wanted it to be funny. Well she said, "How about a goat?" Ha-ha! How awesome is that? Probably the most METAL animal you could think of, and he's playing the keytar!? Needless to say, I got really excited about the idea, and had to do the ketarist next. I hope you enjoy him.

Thanks for looking!
Your friend
Jeffrey Johnson

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Some Change of Direction: Animal Vectors

Okay, so I've been putting off this post for some time now (Since around the beginning of November.). I'd been thinking about a change of direction for a while, and here's where my head is at with the whole situation. The self portraits were a great way to get some work done, and have something to post about with out having to come up with a new subject every time. They also presented a challenge when working with outside topics, because I had to fit my subject (me) with that theme.

The downsides were that each illustration of myself had little usefulness outside of the specific illustration that it was created for, and had little use even as a portfolio piece. Beyond that, there are so many things that I would like to explore and work on outside of the self portrait subject matter, and my time was starting to be eaten up by a project that I had less and less interest in. Basically, when it became a huge chore, I think it was time to stop.

So, I'm changing the overall direction of my blog to reflect my goals, and to be a little more versatile, and agile. I will be working on Professional Development, getting my portfolio updated with new work, as well as exploring the types of work that I would like to pursue futher. Also, I am working on stuff I can make a little bit of money with now, as I prepare to enter the freelance arena full time. Lastly, I would like to add some educational aspects to this blog to give it some added value as a place to visit regularly.

Here's some of the recent work, cartoon animals done in illustrator. The top two, were done totally in the computer, and the third one was hand inked, then I traced, cleaned and colored it in illustrator. I don't know if anyone is interested, but maybe I can also post some of the initial sketches and process pics for some of these in the future.

As always, thanks for looking, and taking the time to comment or message me.
Your friend