Color

Wordless Picture Books

This past week, we were studying wordless picture books. Here is my discussion post answering questions such as some favorite wordless picture books and whether we thought wordless picture books could be improved with words or vice-versa, whether there were picture books with words that could published as wordless.

A prime contender for my favorite wordless picture book is Shaun Tan’s The Arrival. It tells a metaphorical story about the immigrant experience, with a poor man leaving home on a steamship in order to support his family, and finding himself in a bizarre new world. Many aspects of immigration are reflected: confusion, frustration, tedious manual labor, and the dangers of war, but also the joys of making new friends, discovering new experiences, and finding ways to support the people you love. The world of The Arrival is visually set in the early 20th century, and the art style is modeled after the sepia photographs of those periods, making the strange creatures and environments feel all the more otherworldly. The lack of words helps to make the reader’s connection with the immigrant protagonist all the more direct, as he struggles to figure out an often difficult to comprehend new environment. In Tan’s own words, “Words have a remarkable magnetic pull on our attention, and how we interpret attendant images: in their absence, an image can often have more conceptual space around it, and invite a more lingering attention from a reader who might otherwise reach for the nearest convenient caption, and let that rule their imagination.”

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A wordless picture book that I haven’t read in its entirety, but is pretty good from what I’ve seen, is Journey by Aaron Becker. I like it because of its sense of wonder, and its simple, positive message about creative works can break boundaries and reach out to other people. The lack of words in this book, again, helps to place the reader in the protagonist’s place, as they discover the possibilities of their creativity over the story’s course.

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I kind of can’t name any wordless books that I think would be improved by words. Wordless picture books have their own strengths as a format; they have a certain element of discovery to them, as the reader pieces together events without the aid of a narrative text. There are some books could be adapted pretty simply, if not necessarily improved, into effective wordless books. Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are comes to mind, as do some of Beatrix Potter’s works.

I’m starting my picture book dummy based on the story of The Velveteen Rabbit. I could tell the gist of the plot of the story without words, but I feel like some nuances, such as the point the Skin Horse makes about toys becoming real, would be at least partially lost.

Value Studies and Final Snow Queen Painting

After sketching thumbnails for my Gerda vs. the Snow Queen’s Snow Bees painting, I created 3 quick 3-value thumbnails to decide on the final composition. I found it really helps separating out the composition and value decisions before committing to a final work. Because I wanted to base the painting on the original Hans Christian Andersen story, I also want to work in the detail that he had about the palace being lit by Northern Lights.

Although I liked the extremes of values in the value study, I settled on the 3rd study because I liked the idea that the shadows on the hill would be pointing to Gerda, my focal point. I added some hills in the background to create greater depth and also added more complex branchwork in the final.

I started out with pencil and watercolor on Arches watercolor paper, but finished the piece digitally using Procreate and an Ipad Pro because I could play around with different color combinations before deciding on a final. I really like Procreate and the Apple Pencil because the process of illustrating with them is so close to real pencil, paper, and paint – but with much more flexibility with materials and undo’s. I had an earlier version, but Phil my teacher and classmate China suggested good feedback about brightening up the colors among other things. Our next assignment should be fun – drawing caricatures. I’ve picked my subject already…Edgar Allan Poe.

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Changing Reality – Life Drawing

charles-jeong-realistic-2We had an interesting discussion this past week about realistic (or hyper-realistic) painting vs. realistic
painting with fantastic elements. A fellow student shared some of the hyper-realistic paintings of Charles Jeong from South Korea. I shared  Allen Williams’ If Beauty Were a Book, done in graphite.Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 2.26.07 PM

I realized while I like representational art, I prefer works that convey emotion or story more than complete accuracy.

In our final assignment of the class (costume figure), I decided to change it up a bit and use color and value changes, and even changes in the model to alter the mood.

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It great to get back painting again. I combined a gouache underpainting with transparent watercolor and then Faber Castell Polychromos pencils and little touches of Sennelier pastels for highlights. It was nice to see that all of the media seemed to work together.

Had a great time with the critique group through SCBWI last weekend. Now I have a week off before starting Concept Illustration.

Drawing Hands – Life Drawing IV

krister-hands-2  This past week my class has been looking at the drawing of expressive hands. We’re still working for the most part in charcoal which is getting easier to handle for me. I like Strathmore Toned Paper and I’m finding it easier to get darker tones with a softer Nitram charcoal. I had started with Strathmore 500 charcoal, but it doesn’t have the smooth look of toned paper.

Besides drawing practice (whole body gestures) and these hand drawings, we also have a discussion post where we post examples of expressive hands.  Everyone always shares very different examples – it’s a great part of the class.

The three I shaerd this past week were from Rackham, Wyeth, and Earl Oliver Hurst. In the Rackham, I thought it was an interesting contrast between the knobby hands of the old woman and the simple open hands of the children. The Wyeth also showcases contrasts in this Heidi picture. The grandfather is tanned and has a commanding gesture. It’s contrasted with Heidi’s fairer and more tentative post. The Hurst I liked because he seemed to contrast the confident face of the man with the nervous lines in  his jacket and hands.

 

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Coloring Drawings and More from the SCBWI Exhibit in Seattle

I’m experimenting more with different ways to color drawings. The IpadPro, Apple Pencil, and the $5.99 app  Procreate make the process more like traditional painting.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 11.05.52 AMAt left is my original homework assignment Mastering the Pencil.

By printing, I can also use traditional media like watercolor and pastel and not have to worry about destroying the original.

I also wanted to post some of the beautiful work at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators exhibit that’s open at the Washington State Convention Center until September.

The artists are, respectively, Kelly Patton, Jessixa Bagley, and Hannah Stephens.

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Painting with Procreate and Corel Painter

imageI’m starting to noodle around more with digital art programs since I got a iPad Pro and Apple Pencil last weekend. It’s great.

I just started learning the programs, but colored a pencil sketch and can see the potential.

I can see why many artists are raving . My Cintiq cable died (its awkward 3-headed connector) and the company is out of all replacements – and they can’t be bought anywhere else.

iPad Pro + Apple Pencil CAN connect to a computer using the Astropad app – which makes the process freeing. I used Corel Painter and have also started working with Procreate which is an amazing app for $5.99.

Krister-Eide-Clymer-Museum-GNSIAt RMCAD, it’s Art History III (Modern) this month but also had a great time at the opening of our Nature’s Call show at the Clymer Museum (my work is part of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Northwest). It runs through June 25th and they’ll have another First Friday event in June if you might want to visit.

Earlier this month I also had a chance to attend a meeting of the Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators – Western Washington at Seattle Pacific.  That was a great experience. They start off with videos filmed in the artists’ studio (I’ll post Jessixa’s  and Doug’s below) and then they answer questions. I liked seeing how their illustrations evolved.

 

 

 

Fox Painting WIP

fox-WIP   Here’s a fox painting that’s a work in progress. I’m learning a lot painting it. It’s both gouache and watercolor. This semester I’m in Western Civ and Life Drawing III.

Life Drawing has also been good to return to. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed charcoal.

Today I went to my first meeting of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Northwest. Next Saturday, I’m going to be with other group members at the Pacific Science Center.

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Color for the First Time – Tech Glasses for the Colorblind

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This is beautiful. Colorblind people can see colors that the rest of us have been able see for the first time. It’s a special coating for glasses.  I’m going to share this with a colorblind artist that I know.  The glasses are $300-400. Hopefully the price will continue to come down.