Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April 2: Uh......

First, it's been a long, long time since my last post. Sorry about that. ANYWAY, I'm not writing with an art post, but with something that strikes me as....odd.

REM came out with a new album yesterday. No, that's not the weird part. The weird part is the album art. Check it out:

Looks pretty cool, right? Yeah, I think so, too. And I thought so back in January when I designed this:

Notice any similarities? I kinda do.

Now I'm not--I repeat, NOT--calling plagiarism on this. I'm not saying someone saw this and "stole my ideas" or anything like that. So don't think I'm on a quest for justice looking for some graphic designer somewhere or anything like that. I'm definitely not the first person to collage some skyscrapers, or to draw type like that. It just strikes me as weird/funny that the two designs are so similar (especially considering how close in time they were released). And maybe I'm overblowing how things get around on the Internet, but it certainly strikes me as interesting, at least, that this looks so much like the AIR D ad I made. Except better. Maybe it's a sign that I'm on a good track as a designer.

Maybe it's coincidence. It probably is. But what if? I just wish I knew how to look into things like this.

This'll probably keep me up tonight. Shoot.

By the way, I'm listening to the album right now, and it's really great, so I suggest you pick it up. My favorite track so far is Until the Day is Done.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

February 24: number fourteen

Yesterday I got started on my fourteenth sketchbook. I've been thinking about trying painting for a little while now, and I've had a couple tubes of gouache lying around, so I figured I'd do something different for sketchbook #14. So here it is.

Came out pretty cool looking, I think. A lot of texture and a lot of color that I've never really had a chance to work with, so it was a lot of fun to just mess around with the medium for a bit. Hope you guys like.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

February 21: omigodwhathehelldidijustdo

Today, I signed up for this. 500 sketchbooks sent to the first 500 people who sign up, and I happen to be one of them. For a small entry fee of $13 I'll be getting a 3 1/2 by 5 1/2 inch, 64-page Moleskine notebook (which I've always thought about getting but never have) to fill with sketches centered on the theme "How to Change the World". Sounds pretty cool, right? Well I thought so.

And once all 500 sketchbooks are done, they're going to be put on display at the Art House gallery in Atlanta, GA, my hometown. So that's pretty bitchin'; draw some cool shit and get it shown in Atlanta. 13 bucks well spent, in my opinion.

So yeah, I'm sure that once that thing comes I'll start posting little bits and pieces of what I come up with. And then you can all get to Atlanta and check it out in real life!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

January 29: AIR D

A couple weeks ago I posted a preview of this, the finished product. I don't remember if I explained what it was (yes I do, I didn't), but a friend of mine bought some cheap $14.99 shoes at Wal Mart a while back and wanted me to create a fake ad campaign to advertise the shoes. Of course I jumped at the chance: it's something to add to a portfolio and it seemed like a fun project.

I've been working on this thing off-and-on since late December, and tonight I finally finished it. Hope you guys like:

I hope you're interested in hearing how I did it, because I'm going to tell you regardless. I wanted to make this as hands-on as possible; Ideally I would have done it 100% without the use of a computer, but that's extremely hard to do when you know going into it that it would be a lot easier if you did the whole thing digitally. So I made a compromise and did as much "analog" work as possible, and use photoshop for the stuff that would be too hard to do without it.

First I pulled a ton of stock photos of buildings off the Internet and then maxed out the contrast in Photoshop. Blerg! First step in and I'm already using a computer! Anyway, after that I printed the pictures, cut them out, and then pieced them together collage style on an 11x17 sheet of bristol art board. I cut out pieces of shading film I bought at an art supply store and then pieced those behind the buildings to make a cool background. After this step I sprayed all over the place with black and white spray paint, and used graphic design tape to create the bold white lines in the bottom right corner.

The logo in the top left was a happy accident, and I take no credit for coming up with it. I cut out the logo from another piece of art board with an x-acto knife and planned to just spray paint the stencil white on the big black spray. And I either didn't cut out the stencil right or the paint was the wrong consistency, but it just didn't work out when I tried spraying the logo on other pieces of test paper. All the paint just bled together. So I tried to stencil it again, this time with black spray paint, only to find out that the two wet paints just mixed together on the stencil in a big swirly mess, which had a really amazing, textured effect. So I just waited for the swirls to dry, scanned it and placed it in later digitally when I scanned the finished product.

The shoe photography is all me. Luckily I have access to a professional quality photography set up at my new job, so I was able to take super high quality photos of the shoes, which I tweaked a bit in Photoshop. I used a different photo for the background, which I cranked up the contrast on to make it flat black and white, which I later added cyan, magenta, and yellow color overlays to and created the alternating pattern for the background, which I later used more scans of spray paint spatters to add a dusted feel to the background.

And there you have it, the final product; all in all I'd say it's about 80% hand-made and 20% digital. Not a bad ratio. I can see some problems with it, but I had a blast experimenting with all the different media I used to pull the whole thing together. It's not perfect but I learned a hell of a lot from it, which is what counts most in my book. It'll also go into the old portfolio, too, so that doesn't hurt, either. Anyway, there it is, hope you guys like it.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

January 17: I want

Mmmm. Draw right on the display.

So I'm thinking this will be the next big illustration purchase I'm going to make...heck, for $999 it'll be the next big anything purchase. Luckily I have a job now that can finance more expenses like that, with some big saving up time, of course. I'm just excited about one day maybe having that, so I just felt like sharing. Later guys

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

January 16: Sketch Dump/News

Sorry I haven't posted much this year. If I had to blame it on anything it would be a new job I just got, which eats up all the down time and energy I used to have to devote to drawing. So I've been getting acclimated to the new job thing, so I haven't really sat down to scan in drawings or stuff like that. So here's a bunch of stuff to make up for the lost time.

Here's one last sketch, it's a digital one:

Anyway, if you're wondering what the job is, I'll try and sum it up the best I can: I'm working for a locksmith supply company doing product photography for their website, a little bit of web stuff, and helping compile and organize a bunch of information about their products. Sounds random? Well, it is. But I'm getting paid to work in Photoshop and take pictures, so it's not a bad gig at all. It's a bit tedious at times, but I'm looking at it as a stepping stone to bigger and better things, so it's pretty good so far.

Oh, one last thing before I go: You can now see sketches of mine at another blog I'm contributing to now called Doodlog. A friend of mine from college started it, and he has a couple other people contributing to it as well, but I'll be posting stuff there from time to time as well. So go over there and check it out.

Okay, that's all for now. Later

Thursday, January 3, 2008

January 3: Back

As of last night I'm officially back from vacation in Atlanta. I'm not really coming back to a job, per se, but I feel like the holiday is over. Anyway, I'm back and I'll have some new stuff up in the next couple days or so. Oh, and the poll from a little way back is closed: looks like those of you that voted think that there's nothing "morally wrong" with me drawing something that might end up being used to sell cigarettes. Like I said in the original post, the argument will probably end up pointless, considering that anything I draw will most likely not make it to a package of cigarettes any time soon. Anyway, the people have spoken, and I have listened. We'll see what happens...


Sunday, December 30, 2007

December 30: I promised myself I wouldn't do this

Tomorrow is New Years' Eve. Which means that the day after tomorrow is the official start of a new year. What does that mean for me? Well, nothing really. Actually, that's not true, it does mean one thing: as someone who actively operates and contributes content to a journal web site, I feel an enormous temptation to fall into one of the biggest and most annoying cliches of modern pop culture:

The "Year-End Wrap-Up"

It makes my skin crawl at just the sight of the word. Every year, we as a populace are forced to sit through list after list of the Greatest YouTube videos or the Greatest Pictures of Craaaazy Houses or the Greatest Sports Moments of 2000-whenever. And I won't do that to you. I value you as a reader and I will not put you through that. All I will say is that in a matter of hours we will, as a planet, officially replace the last number of the year with its next sequentially higher number; this will be done to more accurately record our history, be taxed by our governments, and create more year-end wrap-up lists. Whoop-de-shit.

And even though I've attempted to be as terse as possible in my description of Y2K8, I feel as if I've overdone it. And I apologize with heartfelt sincerity.

Sooo, to replace the urges I have to scour the internet for stupid regurgitated bullshit to show you, I'll give you something original that has nothing to do with what happens a day or two from now.

Dear Internet, I hate you

Do you enjoy using the Internet? Of course you do! We all do! How else do you think it got to be so popular unless it gave us so much great stuff? With the Internet, I can look up who directed the first Die Hard (Josh McTiernan), read a review of the latest version of Photoshop (it rocks), or share my sketches and doodles with you, the viewing public! Hell, did you know you can even find naked ladies on the Internet? It's true!

What else can you do with the Internet? Well, you can go to a site like MySpace or Livejournal and post self-shot pictures taken with your digital camera from wacky, obscure angles! Go ahead, reach up as high as you can, point the camera down at yourself, and SNAP! Look at that, it totally shows off your boobs AND your ass at the same time! Or, if showing off your naughty bits isn't your thing, you can always start a weblog (or as the kids call it, a 'blog') and write down your innermost thoughts about anything you want: your kids, your job, your car, whatever! As long as it's something intellectually stimulating or thought provoking--just kidding! Nobody gives a shit what you write about, just as long as you write something!


I use an application on the Firefox web browser called StumbleUpon. If you don't know what it does, it's an application that allows you to browse random sites on the internet (rather, "stumble upon" them), all categorized into topics by millions of other StumbleUpon users. All you have to do is tell the application what topics interest you, click a little button on the toolbar that says "Stumble!" and off you go to any number of sites that fall into your selected areas of interest. I'll sometimes use StumbleUpon if I'm bored on the Internet, but can't seem to manage to pry myself from my keyboard. It's a good time killer, and it usually takes me to some pretty interesting places on the web that I would have probably never found unless I installed a program on my browser that would find said websites for me. For the most part it's a pretty nifty device for surfing the Internet if you don't have anywhere specific you want to go.

If you use StumbleUpon as much as I do, however, you'll start to develop a strong hatred for the Internet, much like I have developed already; because after a while:

You realize that you've just stumbled upon the 20th website in an hour with the same unfunny YouTube video of someone's reaction to "2 Girls 1 Cup" embedded in their weblog.

Or yet another bevy of photos of truly marvelous and awe-inspiring landscapes you never knew existed on this planet, only to realize after dozens of times looking at it that the photo has clearly been photoshopped to make said landscape appear much more marvelous than it really is.

OR you'll see dozens of pictures of wacky, crazy advertisements from Europe, eventually coming to the conclusion that it is not the "wacky" advertisement ITSELF that sells the product it advertises so "wackily," but it's the viral image that's spread itself over the Internet like AIDS through Africa that actually sells the product. Ads for ads ad infinitum.

OOORRR you'll encounter one more list of 87 ways to melt your lovers' heart with some sappy pseudo-romantic bullshit that makes you want to swear off women for the rest of your life.


Now you're probably thinking, "Then quit using that program you stupid jerk! If you hate it so much, just don't do it!" First: Yeah, maybe I will, and Second: Screw you, I'll do what I want!

I probably wouldn't hate the Internet so much if I didn't have a sketchblog. If I weren't a part of the online community (a miniscule fraction of a part, but a part, regardless) I could just say "Man, the Internet is crazy and stupid, am I right?" But because I have a blog, thus making me a Part of the proverbial Problem, I feel like I need to answer for it somehow. Trouble is, I don't know how to go about answering for it.

Instead, I try to do better. The Internet is probably the clearest modern illustration of the fact that there is nothing new under the sun. Browse the Internet long enough and you'll quickly realize that it really has all been done, and done ad nauseam. So, the only thing I can do is try to not be just another blog of stupid viral videos or pictures of kittens with funny captions pulled off other websites. I can also try and not take myself as seriously as some other bloggers out there and to put out content that's as interesting as I can make it, as well. I'm not sure if I've done that so well in the past, but I hope to do it better in the future. I hate to become a cliche, but if I have a plan for the New Year, as far as this site is concerned, that would sum it up pretty well.

Dammit! I promised myself I wouldn't make this about the new year. Sorry.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Something I just realized

The post I made earlier today is the 16th post this month, which is as many posts as the last five months combined. That's pretty sad, 16 posts in five months...

[EDIT: correction, that's 16 posts in SIX months; I didn't post at all in November. AT ALL. What the hell is wrong with me?]

December 28: Sneak Preview

This is a small preview of something I've been working on for about a month now. I'll explain more about what it's for when I post the finished piece, but this is a tiny preview of it for now. Hope you guys like.

It's more of a design piece than an illustration, so don't think that I drew that. It's actually a whole bunch of things I did to make this, and I'll go into later. But that's all for now; the final piece is probably a couple weeks away, so I might put up another preview between then and now, but just keep it in the back of your mind that there will be more of this in the new year.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

More color explosions

I pulled a random image off the internet today, just messing around with it in photoshop, and then just started drawing over it. I'm on a really weird "bright colors" kick, so if I can scribble neon green on something I'm okay with it at this point. Just getting it all out of my system, I guess, and maybe trying to figure out something to do with it in the future. Anyway, here's what I came up with.

I've also been up for about 19 hours straight (looks at clock, 11:18 am--do the math, I got out of bed at 4 in the afternoon yesterday, so I'm trying to force my internal clock back to normal by just staying up all day) so my brain's going to weird places. That might explain this post...Okay, that's all for now. Later

December 27: Officially Lowbrow

I got a new scanner for x-mas, so this is the first thing I drew that I scanned with it. I don't know what to make of it; what do you think?

Linked for Mature Content(language)

At least it's colorful.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

December 25: Crimmus-tyme!

Merry Christmas, you old so-and-so's! Here's a crappy five minute doodle I made as a gift to you, from all of us here at Kenny Chapman: sketchblerg--my accountant Liz, Russell in logistics and marketing, the whole development team (I couldn't have done it without you guys, but not too much egg nog this time around, okay, Lester? I don't want to give you another week of sick leave!!!!!! Right?!?!)

Oh, we have fun...have a good Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ethical Dilemma: Poll Smoking

Before I head off, I've decided to put up a little opinion poll over on the right side of the page, right under my picture. I'd appreciate it if you took two seconds and voted on it. But before you do, read on for the full story:

One of my smoker friends bought a pack of Camels the other day that came in one of their new "art packs". Apparently Camel has opened their marketing doors to a variety of different artists lending their talents to the package design of Camel cigarettes. Anyway, on the package there was a little advertisement to submit your own pack designs, so my friend told me I should give it a shot. And to be honest I'm sort of having an ethical dilemma over this.

I think people always ask themself questions like this when they decide to pursue some sort of creative field that lends itself to mass communication; questions that ask if he'd help create things that help sell products that promote things he has some moral objections to, or to a product that leads to the death of hundreds of thousands of people every year, in this case. I'm not a smoker, and to be blunt I happen to think it's a pretty retarded habit to pick up, but on the other side of the coin I respect a person's right to choose to smoke addictive and harmful materials, and to enjoy them to their fullest. So is it wrong to create a simple illustration to go on a pack of cigarettes (that might kill someone, but will no doubt be sold, art pack or not), in an attempt to further one's career as an artist? Is that what they mean when they say "selling out"?

I dunno, I'm a little stumped on this one. Granted, the point may very well become moot because there's a very high likelihood that something I draw won't get picked to go on a pack of cigarettes, even if I did decide to give it a shot. But it's a question worth asking, hypothetical or not. Later (for real this time)

December 22: Vacation

Hey folks, sorry I haven't really been posting much recently. I haven't really been very satisfied with the stuff I've been coming up with with my wacom (which is currently the only media by which I can draw anything that I can get onto my computer and then onto this blog), and have been, in a weird place with art in general; I hope that you'll excuse me from posting any new drawings this last week.

Anyway, I'm heading off to Atlanta tomorrow to spend Christmas with my parents at home. In my bag I'm taking with me are:
-my sketchbook
-wacom tablet
-an art project I'm working on in my spare time
-about a dozen DVDs
-and two books

So I'll have plenty of things to read, watch, work on, and draw with. I hope to pull something noteworthy out of that list to post here, but it probably won't be until sometime after the 25th. Keep checking because I'm not dead and I'll come up with something.

Okay, I'm going to go now. I need to hit the hay so I can drive tomorrow. But before I sign off I'll leave you with some words of encouragement that have been keeping my spirits up (or at least keeping things in perspective). It's something artist and blogger Von Allan wrote on his blog. Enjoy:

"It takes courage to do art. To have the courage of your conviction and do art when perhaps no one else believes in you. When it comes to art, that’s the only talent there is. The courage to overcome. By conflating populism with artistic merit (or Talent or whatever word you choose to use), you are undermining the inherent nature of what art is. There is nothing God-given about[the ability to do art well] at all. There is the work. And there is courage to do the work."

See you guys later. Happy Holidays