Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fun with Banners

So I've been thinking for awhile about opening up an Etsy shop. Actually, a real long while. The problem is, most of my physical work is five to ten years old, or else just sketchbook pages, and pretty much all of the newer stuff is digital. I realize that I am totally capable of doing a high quality print of any of my digital art to sell, and that is one of the things that I am looking into doing.

Also, I did some looking around, and there are graphic designers there selling banners and avatars, business cards and logos. That's an option as well, but I worry about selling graphic design work at crafters prices. I don't mean that in a nasty way at all, but looking on there, a lot of the work is marked at 5 to 10 dollars that really should be three times that. If you crank them out, and sell a lot of "premades" I think you can do okay, but it just feels like that's devaluing a skilled labor, and that sort of thing just tends to compound on itself. So it's something that I'm thinking about, but I am just not sure about.

A third option, and I'm just not sure that this fits into the sites regulations, is doing illustration work and selling as clip-art for scrap booking and graphics supplies. That way I can get paid over and over for one piece of artwork, and it doesn't devalue the work that I did. Like I said, I'm not sure that this is something that would be allowed, but I feel like it should be. The possibilities here extend into digitizing it into embroidery files, and also using it for screen printing and custom books, etc... It's a thought, but I have more work to do before I'm ready to really pursue it.

I made a couple of banners for myself, for the etsy shop, and also I'm using the second one on my CG Hub profile.
There's things that I like about both designs, but I have to admit that the bottom one is probably stronger. The cleanliness of the text and logo in general better represent my design aesthetic. I think this is going to be a good year for me, and I'm slowly working my way towards some of my goals. I'm hoping to squeak an extra post in this week, but if things don't quiet down a little bit, I may not be able to. So, until Wednesday for sure, and maybe sooner. Take care and be good.

Your friend

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What You TAlkin' About?: Pose Maniacs

Well... I missed Sunday's post. Oops. It's so tempting to get down about it, and miss Wednesday too, but that's a slippery slope. I'm tired, but I'm going to get this done.

Todays post is about Pose Maniacs. Or more specifically about their 30 seconds drawing section.

Randomly displayed from 19,440 different poses and angles, the images from Pose Maniacs are both high quality, and inoffensive. That shouldn't matter I guess, but I just want you all to know (as if you couldn't tell from the sample image) that while the figures are not clothed, there is no way that they would be confused for porn. Ha-ha! Another thing that I would like to note, is that the site is mixed Asian and English text, but it dosen't take too much poking around to find what you are looking for.

This is directly from the site:

"Get ready in front of the screen with a pencil and a paper. Press the start button. The models shown will change every 30 seconds. Your skill will surely improve if you do this training every night and day, with 2 sets of 5 minutes(10 poses).

What's this training for?

The idea of thirty seconds drawing app is based on a special training method introduced in "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards."

Basically, the idea is that by observing and drawing quickly, we are able to bypass the concrete left side of our brain and access the creative right side. Effectively observing what we see, rather than interpreting it.

Another aspect of this exercise that I find useful is using it as a warm up. Sometimes in the evenings, I am uninspired, and tired... the last thing I want to do is commit to getting my sketchbook out and drawing for thirty or ninety minutes. With the Pose Maniacs 30 second drawings, I can commit to 5 minutes (six small drawings) and if I'm still "too tired" then I can quit. Often though, I find that all I really needed was to get the ball rolling. I do my five minutes of sketches and then work for another hour or more before calling it quits for the night. Sometimes we just NEED a little constructive goof off time to actually be more productive.

Okay, I hope you all had a great week, and I'll talk at you again on Sunday. Until then, take care and be good!
Your friend

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What You Talkin' About?: Skottie Young

Maybe you'll find this a little ridiculous, but I think all week about what I'm going to post on Wednesdays. It's mostly questions like "Should I post about this artist, who I think is really cool?", or "Oh! I saw this cool technique, maybe I'll talk about that!", or even "Well I got all these bookmarked pages, maybe I'll start with my command bar, and start talking about them. I look at them every day, so Obviously I think they're worth seeing..."

Then sometimes something comes up and I get really excited about it. And that's what makes the cut.

Today, I sat down to check the e-mails, and see what's up on the inter-web, and Skottie Young posted again. Always a good time, but this time it was special. It's a video post. It's only like 15 minutes of footage of him drawing and talking, but it's always cool to see inside the process of somebody you admire. Plus Skottie's pretty funny. Double bonus.

I first heard of Skottie on a Sidebar Nation podcast, and really enjoyed his frankness, his sense of humor, and... I guess you could say general personability. He seems like the kind of guy I'd like to hang out with for awhile, have a few beers and shoot the breeze. One thing that always comes across, whether it be in his blog, his Podcast, "The Devil and Me", or his art is how much he enjoys what he's doing. I really hope that this video-casting becomes a regular thing for him.

Okay, so I'm still super busy trying to get a project out the door for a client. So until next time, take care and be good!

Your friend


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Abigail and the Doom Crew: A Prologue

So. Last June(ish) my buddy Mario, creator of Pagan Zoetrope called and said he was working on a comic, and had found a place to publish it. Awesome! For the entire time I've known Mario, he's been working on a few different IP's on the side, and Pagan Zoetrope is one of the ones that we'd been talking about for a few years now. It's basically a (loosly) autobiographical acount of a group of highschool and college bound people in the fictional town of Warrensville, Kansas. Obviously not where we're really from, but close enough. There comes a time when a grain silo is a grain silo, and a cow pasture is... a cow pasture. Lol!

At any rate, Mario called and told me that he had this story, and he was finally ready to go forward with it. He'd begun posting it on Drunk Duck in strip form, and had found an indy publisher and a distributer. I know, you're telling yourself "This is Sunday. Jeffreys posts are supposed to be about what's going on with him this week!" Okay, okay! Don't get all worked up about it. Jeesh!

Let me get to the point. Mario said he knew I had some stories bouncing around in my head that I'd been working on since he's known me, and maybe we could pool our resources, get some exposure together, and get both of our stories out there. How would I like to do a double feature book with him, like some of the old Marvel "back-to-back" comics with his story on one side, and mine on the other. Never being one to turn down more work, I of course agreed. So in my spare time (which seems to be ever-shrinking) I put together a four page prologue to the larger story of Abigail and the Doom Crew, along with a cover, and a page of some of the Abigail concept art.

This week, I finally got my hands on the printed version of the book, and it looks incredible. So, I thought I'd share it with you all today, and If you like what you see go to comics monkey and order a copy.

I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed working on it. Until next time, take care and be good!

Your friend
Pagan Zoetrope on Drunk Duck
Pagan Zoetrope on myspace
Comics Monkey

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What you talkin' about?: Concept Art House

Concept Art House LLC is founded on the idea that great art does not come from an assembly line in an outsourcing factory, rather it comes from passionate individuals who truly enjoy their craft and believe in the products they produce.

Today's post is about Concept Art House. I was going to post about them in the next couple of weeks anyway, because not only do they do stellar work, but I am also a member of their team as a graphic designer. Recent events bumped them up to the top of my list. I don't know if anybody noticed, but I missed my post on Sunday. I was swamped with work, which is a good thing. Even better is that the work I was doing isn't under NDA so I can actually show it, and use it in my portfolio.

Maybe it reminds me of my days as a picture framer, or when I worked as a gallery assistant hanging shows in the Art Center Gallery, but I LOVE being a graphic designer. and I love working in print. It's really hard to describe how fun it is arranging elements and cutting out pictures and layering them to show everything off at its best. And to top it all off, getting to see and work with so much fantastic artwork is the icing on the cake.

Headed up by James Zhang, who got his as a concept artist for Lucas Arts working on titles such as Star Wars:Star Fighter, Gladius and Star Wars:Republic Commando. From there he went on to work for Factor 5 as a lead artist, and then to VP of a major game-art studio before finally breaking away to form Concept Art House.

As a company, they do high quality concept art across the full spectrum, including Fantasy, Science Fiction. They do Stunning 3d assets as well as high impact illustrations for game companies such as Wizards of the Coast and Blizzard. The website offers a good selection of artwork, as well as a consistantly updated blog. My only complaint is that the blog is in chinese, so I can't read what they have to say about the artwork, but it's straightforward to navigate, and there is a lot of great stuff to look at.

I hope you like the brochure, and I hope that all is well with you. Until next time then, take care and be good!
Your friend

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What You Talkin' about?: Lines and Colors

It’s my delight in that feeling of wide-eyed discovery that has prompted me to create Lines and Colors.
"Lines and Colors" is (I think) the first blog I really started paying attention to. Also, since Charley Parker updates daily, it is part of my daily routine. Get home, check e-mail, check "Lines and Colors"... In his bio, Charley says "...I’m only writing about things I like. It’s my hope that I can introduce you to some visual art gems that you may not be aware of, or perhaps tell you something you didn’t know about someone or something you’re already familiar with. (And maybe you can do the same for me.)" That's one of the great things about this blog. His interest and passion for the artists and sites always comes across in his posts.

I don't want to say that the featured artist is always one that interests me. Fairly often they don't. That being said, there are far more times when there is somebody featured that really captures my imagination. There is always a well researched, and informative body of text with the collection of one or three examples of the artists work. Also, at the end of the post, Mr. Parker is very good about providing links to more information/images by the artist. The wealth of inspiration and information contained in the "Lines and Colors" blog make it more than worth checking on a daily basis.

Okay, until next time. Take care and be good.
Your friend

Charley Parkers web comic: Argon Zark!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What I did on Vacation...

Have you ever thought it would take less time to get something done than it actually did? I went into my spring vacation with thoughts of how much stuff I was going to get done, and how nice it would be to finally have the time to do it. Ha-ha-ha! Seriously, though. I did get a few things done. I would've gotten more done, but... well I'll tell you about that in a minute.

I got a little bit of work done on the "time" drawing. Literally. Just a little bit. There were so many other things going on that I just didn't have the time and energy to start vectorizing this yet. I did talk to my friend Ryan about this illustration though, and he mentioned that he wished I had done something more with the smoke. Worked it around and integrated it into the drawing a little bit more.

It's not too late to do that (it's not finished 'til it's finished and all) and I am thinking about it. Compositionally, it might help balance it all a little more, and add another diagonal, criss-crossing with the shape of the wall. I still have at least this week to think on it, so maybe I'll at least try it and see if it works.

Okay, now here's part of why I didn't get everything I'd planned on doing done. Tuesday night I get this "Viral" activity in my mailbox on Facebook. Just in case any of you don't know what this means these are marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message. Basically, any time you forward an e-mail, you are participating in viral marketing of some sort. So here were the directions:

album cover
1 - Go to "Wikipedia." Hit “random”
or click
The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "Random Quotations"
or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use Photoshop, Gimp or similar to put it all together.

Sounds kind of cool. I figured I'd at least see what came up in the randomness. Well I dipped three times, and the stuff that came up was just so cool, that I thought I'd actually try to do a couple of really nice album covers out of them. Just to note. While I DID follow the directions for getting the information, and didn't cheat, I did add to and edit the pictures a little to fit the needs of my album concepts.
On "Gene Roof", I cropped the photo, added the light and sparklies coming down from the flower, and extended the stem just a tad.
"Ekstraklasa 1972-73" got a major overhaul. The original photo is on the right, and I added all of the rest of the graphic work on the final image on the left. Over all, I think both album covers turned out really well, but they took up most of my first day just messing around and trying things. I guess I learned something though, and I don't begrudge the excersise at all.
I am pleased to be able to show the drummer for the animal band. I thought a rhino would be really cool, and it would also be neat to have this huge drummer looming over a seeming small drum set.Lastly, I have a little work in progress for this weeks Illustration Friday topic "Breezy". I also plan on using this for my blog header for the month of March. So I'll have it done in the next day or so. So keep a look out for it!

I didn't do anything at all on the computer on saturday. First off, I spent the whole day at the St. Louis Pipe show. This might sound silly, but it was REALLY cool. There are soooo many different sizes, shapes, and styles of pipes out there. Some of them are kind of clunky and ugly, but most are just beautiful and elegant. Real works of art. It's hard to explain, but I guess it's kind of like going to an art fair and checking out the ceramics. There are just so many craftsmen and artisans out there doing simply wonderful work, inspired by nature, fashion, design and culture.

The other reason, is that I was suffering from pretty bad eye strain from working on the computer, playing video games, and watching movies. Vacations can sometimes be harder on us than actually going to work, ha-ha! I hope you all had a good week, and that this one is even better. I'll talk at you again on Wednesday, if I don't sooner! Take care and be good.

Your friend,
Jeffrey Johnson