RMCAD

Smiling Crow and Wildlife Rehabilitation

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Here’s a great commission that I had a chance to draw, a smiling crow. I haven’t had a chance to post, but now I’m taking Non-Western Art History. It’s passing pretty quickly (Haiti, India, China, Japan so far), but it’s been interesting.

At the beginning of summer, I also had a chance to start working in a small wildlife rehabilitation center. It’s been a great experience so far – mostly birds and small mammals. Here are two long-time residents, Hooligan and Eclipse  – both barred owls who aren’t able to be released because they have one wing. They are beautiful. It’s Hooligan who likes to talk.

Sketching Bears, Wolves, and Dogs

This week’s assignment are gestures of bears, wolves, and dogs. Using a envelope for the animals and simplifying geometric shapes helps with simplifying. The class is setting into a routine of drawing gestures with a little value added in some, skeleton and ecorche version, and discussion post which looks at different rendering of animals characters and how they can be portrayed as protagonists or antagonists in a story. It’s fun seeing the examples that my classmates come up with.

I’m finding I really like drawing with the Procreate app on the iPad pro and Apple pencil. It’s close to drawing with a real pencil. When I want this soft effect with pencil, I usually prefer to use mylar (Dura-lar) which comes in huge rolls from Dick Blick and erases cleanly.

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My discussion post:
There’s some amount of range when it comes to how sympathetically bear characters are portrayed. On the sympathetic side, there are characters such as teddy bears, and related characters such as the Care Bears and Winnie the Pooh, which are modeled more on the stuffed animal than the actual animal.

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More realistic sympathetic bears include Baloo from any of the multiple adaptations of The Jungle Book, Smokey the Bear, and the bear family of Maurice Sendak’s Little Bear.

On the more antipathetic side, there are characters such as the bear in the film version of The Fox and the Hound, and the grizzly bear from the film Balto, which are portrayed as bestial, inhuman predators.

When wolves are portrayed positively, they tend to come off as majestic, intelligent, loyal, embodying the nobility of nature; the wolf family in The Jungle Book, Moro in Princess Mononoke.

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Negatively, wolves are portrayed as crafty predators, as with the classical fairytale archetype of the Big Bad Wolf.

 

 

wolf-4The main example I can think of when it comes to neutral/background characters is how, in Donald Duck etc. comics, otherwise “human” side/background characters tend to be given dog noses, and occasionally ears. Here, the use of animal characteristics basically just signifies that these stories take place in a completely unreal fantasy world.
In general, I would say that completely realistic renderings of animals, as you might find in an educational book, often have less strong emotional expressivity, and are less immediately emotionally accessible as a result. Even mostly realistic designs often “cheat” when it comes to faces, adding human elements such as humanoid scleras, eyebrow muscles, and mouth expressions.

Big Cats – Animal Anatomy and Drawing

I had my first week of Animal Anatomy and Drawing and the assignments were all on Big Cats. Last week I also had a chance to go to Cougar Mountain, a small zoo in Issaquah. We shot some nice photo reference, though.

The first assignment was to break down the animals into 3D geometric shapes. It was a bit hard at first, but I can see that it helps simplify and visualizes the 3D forms when you see them in the live animals. The idea of drawing the envelope is to get the general shape of the animal or figure before working on details. Here are some of my gesture drawings. For me, it’s easier working out the forms when watching a video loop of animals moving. The book for the course is Joe Weatherly’s Drawing Animals. We also had to do skeleton and ecorche versions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vertigo Documentary for Film Studies at RMCAD

This is a little different from my art and illustration work (I’ll let you know how the SCBWI Conference went in a future post), but I took a Film elective this quarter and in addition to analyzing films, we had to make a short documentary-style film based on one of the AFI’s top 100 films. It had to include at least 5 interviews (friends and family ok) and address whether the film was relevant to audiences today. I picked the great Hitchcock film Vertigo.

I’m grateful to  author (Auralia Thread series) and film critic Jeffrey Overstreet and attorney and film lecturer Robert Cumbow, and also my parents and grandmother Brock, Fernette, and Ruth Eide who allowed me to interview them for this film.

 

If you’d like to watch the my full uncut interviews with Jeffrey Overstreet and Robert Cumbow, see them below.  I’m also grateful to the Dusten Kaspar and Seattle Film Festival for letting me film some of the opening moments of their 6-hour Cinema Dissection of Vertigo.

 

 

Still Life – Otis in His Study

Here’s my final project for Still Life Painting. It was a great fun. The assignment was to create a composition that included ceramic, glass, and metal. I included Otis, who  is a bird that I grew up with on our front table. He was molded by talented ceramicist Stephani Stephenson of Revival Arts Studio (her Facebook page is here). It was nice to be in touch with her after all these years.

From Otis, I learned a lot more about handling acrylic. For this piece, I used Ampersand Aquabord, Golden Acrylic, and Holbein Fluid Acrylic.

I’m also excited to share that I sold my first work through my website (thanks Garret!) and two additional works through the Gage Small Works show.

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Process Illustration – Dabbling in Ink

This week’s assignment for Conceptual Illustration is to take media that you’ve had no experience with and then group them into 2 or 3 themes.

I really liked the Waterman’s Serenity Blue ink. The others are Winsor Newton.

I initially started with the idea of Copic markers and ink washes, but I found that I preferred the unexpected results of ink washes and the fractal patterns that they made as they got absorbed into paper to Copics, which were a more controlled medium.

Some of the random washes I’ll be working on this week are posted below. This week’s assignment  for RMCAD is with abstract sources of inspiration for illustration. Next week, will be with concrete discoveries. It should be fun.

This week I’ll be illustrating with the Guild of Natural Science Illustration Northwest at the Burke Museum. I also got some nice news that Pilchuck Audubon is interested in having me illustrate some work for their educational program.

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.

More Pastels – Carbothello Stabilo Pencils

floating-girl-ear-final It’s been another busy week, but learning a lot more what CarbOthello pencils can do. I really like the medium although I have a lot to learn about making color blends.  This past week had our usual gesture drawings, 2 hand drawings in pastel, and then a costumed figure drawing. Sanded paper like UArt or Wallis can receive more layers than Canson Mi-Teintes or other pastel papers, but they will eat up your pencils quicker.

I found I like the soft rich blacks of  Nitram charcoal. It also doesn’t have as much dust as General’s.

I’ll also post the three examples of pastel paintings that I posted in this week’s discussion. Pastel offers such a wide variety of expression. I really like the medium.

The first is a rendering of Ophelia from Cuong Nguyen who worked as a successful web designer for many years until he got working more as a streetpastel-1chalk artist, then became a full-time fine art painter. I learned from him that skin tones can be mixed with a green underpainting (verdaccio) and flesh tones.

pastel-2The second is an illustration from Paul Howard from a Jill Tomlinson book called The Owl who was afraid of the dark. I like the soft luminous quality Howard was able to get from his use of pastels.

pastel-3Finally, there’s The Guardian by Fiona Tang. It combines chalk pastel with charcoal and acrylic on a paper backing. The different textures of the various media used for this piece this piece contribute to the overall effect in different ways; the chalk pastel in particular is important to the trompe l’oeil effect, helping to differentiate the “three-dimensional” stag in the front from the more “two-dimensional” background charcoal elements, with the white tone of the pastel “light” against the natural brown color of the paper.

This coming week is my final one for Life Drawing IV. We’ve got a watercolor assignment, the first I’ve had since I’ve been in art school. Also this weekend, I’ll be going to the Great Critique-nic through the Western Washington Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. It’ll be the first one that I’ve ever gone to. People bring their illustrations or writing and split up into small groups where they critique and be critiqued.

 

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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Life Drawing – Simplifying Using Geometry

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Interesting work in Life Drawing class the past week. We’re learning how to simplify figures by blocking in simple geometric shapes. It helps  generalize what you’re seeing and I think will make it easier working from life.

At the Terryl Whitlach conference, she had recommended Future Publications’ How to Paint and Draw Anatomy which showed how to break the human figure into simpler shapes. I found the book (actually both volumes) online at Scribd.

Today, my teacher also shared a video that will make really help what I want to be able to do. The figures are very fluid, but also have volume.