Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grad School

It's been a while since I've posted! Thanks to my lovely partner for taking over while I buried myself in grad school work.

I was in Dallas/Ft. Worth last week with the Hartford Art School and it was a blast. We met a lot of fantastic illustrators, and it's so nice to immerse yourself in a group that thinks the same way you do. 100% illustration 24/7, man. It's the good life.

We had an assignment where we had to execute an illustration based on our experience in Pasadena (the last contact period we had). Well, let me tell you - that trip was a life-changing experience for me, not in small part due to the trip to the Disney Archives and seeing Mary Blair's concept work for Alice in Wonderland in person. And Eyvind Earle's backgrounds from Sleeping Beauty, just lying on a table. Just right in front of me. People, it was like a religious experience for me. I briefly contemplated making a break for the door with them under my coat, but decided a life of crime was not for me.

I felt like I needed to pay homage to that part of the trip with my piece. I feel sometimes that California is one big movie set, with all kinds of characters. So, I decided to do my own "adventures in Wonderland". I wanted to do something more interactive than just one flat piece, so I made it three-dimensional. I made myself as Alice, my program head as the White Rabbit, and then a couple other characters to interact with each other. I wanted to do something semi-sequential, so I did three panels that become a sort of triangle that stands up and forms a sort of "playset". Each side has an overhang which characters on strings can hang from.

Unfortunately, I shipped the piece back to myself before getting on the plane, and never got a good shot of it set up, so I'll have to wait til the Fed Ex guy shows up to show you the final setup, but I can show you the backgrounds. When it makes its way back to me, I'll take some photos of the finished piece.

This is my first panel, representing Pasadena with the rose gardens. I put in a Kenton Nelson-inspired lady in the background since we visited his studio. And an In-n-Out burger sign. Because they are delicious.

This is my second panel, based on a trip we took to Hollywood (and a ridiculous tequila bar). I love a place with good Mexican food, and Pasadena had it in spades. Yummers.

My third and final image. I think this one is my favorite. I took a little liberty with the Hollywood Hills and put in a beach (the one thing I didn't go to, but wanted to!). I have the castle in the back as a little nod to my Disneyland trip.

I loved the patterns and the repetition in this whole piece, it got very addictive. I had so much fun with this, I can't even tell you. Stay tuned for the whole shebang assembled with characters!

ETA: I uploaded the wrong versions, duh... so, these are the seriously final versions. There's not much difference but there is to me!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Page 14 - Danger Lurks Ahead

Welcome to North Carolina. I'm on break from SCAD and Guin is in Dallas showing off her latest illustration (more on that next week). But even though I'm off from teaching (at least for this week), I get to relax by working on comics.

On this page, we finally get to introduce Scars the Troll into the story. Here, you can tell that he is a pretty tough customer. We can also see young Ridley climbing a look-out tree in a monkey like manner...

More importantly, you get to sense how we are using two storylines against each other. The emotions on the top tier–determination and apprehension–are meant to set a mood on the storyline beneath it. Guin and I are trying to have the grandfather's narrative affect the granddaughter's imagination. Since we are not relying on balloons for the B story (Maddie's Fantasy story), the acting has to be spot on. The Princess, and the Young and Old Woodsman are nonetheless oblivious to the danger that lies ahead.

Next post... the danger that lies ahead!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bonds Trade Cover

The folks over at Image Comics have decided to collect the three issues of Bonds into a trade paperback. The good news for me is that I got to create a new cover for the event. The bad news for me is that I had to do this the weekend before finals week. Well, art is about energy and focus. So I looked at this as an opportunity to see what I could do in 48 hours...
So, it always starts off with a sketch. A dozen to be more precise. As potentially the last illustration I would create for Bonds, I had to think about what I wanted to say. If you can say it in words, you have a shot to illustrate it. For me, Faith's path of vengeance meant that she collected souls. The tattoos represent every soul she killed, but for the cover I wanted to somehow show the people who were also important to her story...we are, after all, who we let into our lives.
Originally, I wanted to riff off of the Coles Phillips fade-away technique. But I decided that I wanted portraits of her family and foes to emerge from the shadows. I also wanted to have the Wolf Spirit's head turn into fire. These two elements, shadows and fire, seem to best represent Faith's life and death.

For the final trade which should be in the stores in early July 2010, I also plan to create a new prologue to the story. But this will have to wait until Scars 1 is completed... And I thought that I received an illustration degree, not an MFA in Juggling!