Monday, December 20, 2010

Do or do not...there is no try

So this giant blank canvas has been just sitting in my apartment for the past six months since my roommate Bryan found it on the street. When he first brought it back to the apartment, he, our other roommate Jonathan and I fooled around with the idea of painting a portrait of the three of us in a full out Frank Frazetta tableau, naturally musclebound and kicking goblins in the face and wrestling giant serpents. However, it just never ended up happening, mostly out of my fear of not being able to really paint anything even close to Frazetta.
It wasn't until yesterday when Bryan and I were cleaning the place that he suggested simply writing "Do or do not - there is no try" in honor of Yoda. I replied by suggesting just painting Yoda himself. Thus began my epic nerd day project.
Out of all of the absolutely amazing moments in the original Star Wars trilogy, one moment has always stood out for me. When Luke leaves Dagobah in Episode V and Yoda looks up at the red glow of his X-Wing and says "no, there is another."
It's really incredible and I feel like I'm doing a disservice by simply describing it, but I can't find any video of it. Anyway, it's a profound and foreboding little moment that hugely expands the potential of the story and the mythical nature of the Force.
In summary, I really wanted to paint this image of Yoda. I put on John Williams' soundtracks for the trilogy and started by finding a screencap of the scene and gridding it in order to make the transfer to the 3x4' canvas easier. I decided to use the paint that we used in the apartment for some accent walls to tie the place together a bit. I had already finished the drawing and begun painting by the time Bryan checked in and said that I should be documenting the painting as it goes. I'm very happy I did.
I'm extremely happy with the painting as it was a challenge working from a computer screen and a medium I rarely use. Hopefully, this giant portrait of the Jedi Master will make it very clear to visitors exactly what kind of apartment they're in. I suspect I might try a couple more of Star Wars portraits in this style.
Well, that's all for today and 2010! I hope to be posting some very interesting work in here next year.Happy holidays from Yoda and I and may the Force be with you!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Get Real Get Right

I've been using personal pieces as an opportunity to experiment with new techniques. So while I was at home in Michigan for Thanksgiving, without my usual ink or 21" computer monitor, I decided to challenge myself. After numerous listens while house painting, I settled on the idea of a piece about Sufjan Stevens and his new heavily-electronic album "The Age of Adz" (which is f*cking fantastic, by the way) I opted to do a straight portrait with neon facepaint, the trademark fake wings and a background of circuitry sort of emanating from his head.
After I had finished inking and brought the image into Photoshop to adjust the color of the lines, I was really unhappy with the background and the way it flattened the whole piece, no matter how many different ways I tried to solve it. So I promptly found some great reference photos of circuit boards to work from and began drawing a much more complex background of circuitry on some onionskin.
Upon adding the new circuitry background, which certainly took a while to draw, I was instantly happy with the effect it had. You can also see the face paint layer I had inked on onionskin.

In approaching the color, I wanted to use the colors I shy away from - very saturated pinks and greens. These seemed to make sense with the new neon-heavy image Sufjan has crafted to accompany the new sound. I was also glad that the background could afford to be pretty simple and solid green given the complexity of the circuitry lines over it.The layers of the image in Photoshop. It can be quite hard to keep track of!
Overall, I had a blast problem-solving this piece with tackling some new colors and some complicated drawing and inking.