Monday, September 27, 2010

American Artifacts: The Car Hank Died In

I think the quote is "If you draw it, then you know it". I'm not 100% sure that I got the words right, but the spirit of the quote is there. Iain McCaig, a fantastic concept artist and illustrator said this in relation to forming new ideas, and drawings. Basically, it means that nothing grows in a vacuum (except dust-bunnies) and that even the most bizarre creation is based on SOMETHING that already exists. So. Part of our job as artists it to not only draw some fantastical stuff, but also to draw a lot (sorry, I meant A LOT) of regular stuff. This helps limber our arms and hands. It develops our eye. It stretches our minds, and builds a visual vocabulary of parts to pull from.

A few months ago, I did some art for the fine folks over at Hex Games for a supplement called "American Artifacts" (Have you bought your copy yet? It's really good, you should really look into it). I only did one interior illustration for it, but all of the artifacts were so cool that I wanted to do more. In the spirit of adding to my visual Vocabulary, as well as my portfolio, and hopefully to get some rad promo stuff together as well, I started drawing the other 19 artifacts. The first is the car that Hank died in... Referring to the great country singer Hank Williams sr.

From Wikipedia:

On January 1, 1953, Williams was due to play at a New Year's Day concert in Canton, Ohio, but he was unable to fly due to weather problems with snow and ice in Ohio. He hired a college student, Charles Carr, to drive him to the concerts he was to perform during the few final days of 1952 and early 1953. Upon leaving the Andrew Johnson Hotel in Knoxville, Tennessee, Williams apparently had injected himself with some pain-killers which included a morphine/Vitamin B-12 combination. Also found in the Cadillac convertible were some empty beer cans and the handwritten lyrics to a song yet to be recorded. According to some, Williams was carried semi-conscious to his automobile by Carr and a hotel employee, who wondered about Williams' condition, and later believed he might have been dead at that point.

In a slightly different version, Carr suspected Williams was moribund at some earlier point, but realized the great singer was dead several miles before entering the town of Oak Hill, West Virginia where he, almost in a panic, pulled up to the gas station to seek help.
My wife tells me it looks like the car's hit him. Admittedly, the whole "Spirit leaving the body" aspect of this illustration is a little shaky. I know what's going on, but that's because I drew it, Ha-ha-ha! At any rate the drawing was more about the car anyway, and I actually am really happy with how that turned out. I think the next one is the the car that won't die. I have an idea for it, and it should be good, but I need to see if they have "The Blues Brothers" at the library.

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

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Daily Life 022: Washing Dishes

Abby loves playing in the water. She will literally stand there for an hour "washing the dishes". I was struck by just how grown up she's getting. I know I say it a lot, and will probably keep saying it, but it always surprises me when I realize that my daughter is a kid now, and not a baby.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Anybody can draw

So last night... I was listening to the NPR, and they were talking about what made a good teacher. The conclusion that was reached over the course of the interview was that a good teacher is first a good leader. A leader who sets goals high, and then challenges her troops to achieve it. By leading his troops to the goal through cajoling, praise, encouragement, setting high standards, and let's face it, setting a good example.

You may be asking yourselves, "what does this have to do with the title of the post?". There have been many, many times over the years that I have thought about being a teacher. In fact I almost was one, but my resolve faded when faced with the enormous responsibility involved in being a part of these kids lives. The NPR interview led me back to the classroom, and got me thinking about how I would teach an art class. I have a lot of ideas for the actual class room, but I think this is how I would start out. You can follow along, if you like. I feel a little self-conscious about this, like "He has a lot of nerve trying to teach about drawing." but I think that's just shadows of a six-year-old whispering to me. So... Here goes.

Lesson 1:Proof that every one of you has what it takes to learn how to draw.

1.Gather together a pencil (or pen, or whatever) and blank piece of paper.
2.Write this short sentence:

I can draw.

That's it. This shows two things. You can use a pencil (or whatever) to make a mark that carries meaning to the viewer. It also shows that you have the hand-eye coordination to see something and then reproduce it at least well enough to recognize it.

People may say things counter this. Things like "I can't even draw a straight line." (I can't either, that's why God invented rulers) or writing isn't the same thing as drawing a lion. That's true, it's not. This example is perhaps over-simplified. Like anything though, drawing is a skill and must be developed, but like any skill, anybody can get learn to be proficient at it.

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

Monday, September 20, 2010

Some interiors for Frat Boys -VS- coming soon from Hex Games

The Guys at Hex are so good about letting me decide what I'm going to illustrate. Usually there are some guidelines or ideas for what they are looking for, but I feel very fortunate that they trust me enough to say basically "Here's the text, draw something cool."

My only direction was that they wanted a feeling of the setting, and maybe a party at the frat house. I decided to do the drawings based on frat boy archetypes (Jock, Nerd, Outsider, Party Animal, and Ringleader), showing bits of frat life (the partys, the house, the trash... the potential for adventure) as small back grounds.

Here's the Jock, and the Nerd interior illustrations.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

West Canaan Wizards Cover Art

I have been busy...

For those of you that don't know, I recently left my full time job to be a stay at home dad, and freelancer. While so much of what that entails is just as wonderful as it sounds, I find myself cramming work into all the little nooks and crannies of my free time. As you might guess, this is tiring, and leaves little time for blogging (or even a pipe and a pint of Guinness). Things are settling though. The girls are both good kids (they make my life easier and richer than perhaps I deserve) and Abby still goes to school two days a week, so as I begin to get a grip on the schedule things will get calm again.

So. The good side of being busy, is that there's some new work to show you all! This one is for the O.G.R.E.s (Organization of Gamers and Roleplaying Enthusiasts) and their game "West Canaan Wizards". Basically it was described to me as "Harry Potter" meets "Varsity Blues". It was a lot of fun to work on, and it allowed me to try out some new things. I feel like each one is better than the last one, so I'm very happy with the progress things are making. I have all the process work as well, so hopefully later this week I can post that and talk a little more.

I also have a couple of new "Daily Life" Drawings in the works, but unfortunately they tend to fall to the bottom of the pile. Hopefully I can get one of them out soon too.
Until Next time, take care and be good.
Your friend,