Release The Hurt

Last Sunday the pastor’s sermon was entitled “RELEASE THE HURT” so I immediately started my sermon notes with a pixie and a viking getting ready to “release the hurt” on somebody. Much to my surprise, the sermon went in a totally different direction than I had envisioned.

The pixie painting (and video) was done on my iPad using ProCreate.

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An Unsolicited Guitar Pick Tip

I suspect there are very few people in the world who look to me for guitar tips, but here’s something I came up with the other day that is sort of art related.

Because of my drawing process, I blow through a lot of kneaded erasers in a year. The reason being once they become overly saturated with material, they get sticky and don’t function very well as erasers anymore… but what do you do with a kneaded eraser when it won’t erase anymore? Throw it away? Not me, I save them… why? …because, you just never know when you might need a useless, worn out kneaded eraser to MacGyver something up with.

A few weeks ago, I was playing a fairly aggressive acoustic guitar riff on a stage that has big tv monitors and those things radiate serious heat. As the temperature on stage rose during practice, I had more and more trouble holding onto my guitar pick. When I got home that night I started experimenting with solutions to this problem. I tried drilling a hole in a pick so my fingers could sink into it and hold tight, but that destroyed the integrity of the pick and it quickly broke in two. With an exacto knife I scratched up the surface of a pick, but that didn’t seem to make much of a difference. I just needed something tacky on that pick that I could hold on to… hey, wait a minute… what about A KNEADED ERASER. I put a thin layer of worn out kneaded eraser on the pick and it worked like and charm! Give it a try if you struggle with the same issue.

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Digital Painting With Procreate

Another quick picture (and video) I made on the iPad. I just discovered an option that lets you see the brush cursor as you paint in the ProCreate App… which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for me was a game changer. Being able to see exactly what size your brush is on the picture is huge.

Orca

My Annual Ipad Digital Painting Rant

Once a year I seem to go on a rant about the iPad and how I wish it were a better device for mobile digital painting. All I’m wanting to do is collapse into a chair in my living room in front of a football game on tv, press a button and instantly be able to digitally paint during the commercials… is that too much to ask?

I do my professional studio work on a Wacom Cintiq hooked up to an iMac with Adobe Photoshop and I’m a huge fan of all these products. I have a smaller 12 inch Cintiq (which is great) to work with on the road, but it has to be powered by a laptop computer, has six kazillion cords to hook it up with and you have to be next to an electrical socket to make it all work… not exactly the spontaneous mobile painting experience I’m looking for in a portable device…

…so I keep trying to make the iPad fill this need, and while Apple’s not doing a whole lot to help me out with this (other than to provide the most fabulous, ground breaking, magical device ever) outside developers are quickly filling the digital painting void. I’m currently using a Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2. It has a finer point than a typical stylus, links to the iPad via wifi and delivers faux pressure sensitivity. The product I cannot say enough about is a painting app called ProCreate. It honestly has almost every Photoshop tool I typically use to paint with plus a few… like saving video of your work process.

This was my latest experiment to see how well an iPad could work as a mobile digital painting studio.

First of all, a traditional sketchbook, mechanical pencil, iPad and Wacom stylus are all extremely portable. I still prefer to draw with a pencil and paper, so I snapped a photo of a drawing in my sketchbook using the camera on the iPad and imported it into the ProCreate app. Because I am just wanting to have fun (and don’t want to paint a background) I fire up the iPad internet browser, find an image and import it into ProCreate to paint on top of. You can see my painting process in the short video (exported out of ProCreate) below.

My conclusion: I was able to plop down in a chair, fire up my iPad instantly with the press of a button, snap a photo, surf the web, paint a picture, export video of it and when all was said and done, the most important part of the whole thing was …it was really fun.

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Custom Church Wall Art

I recently had the opportunity to create illustrations for the walls of a really great church down in Memphis, Tennessee. They sent me photographs that mapped out all the appropriate wall dimensions. I imported those pictures into photoshop and roughly figured out what the different components would be for each illustration. After the wall ideas were approved, I executed the finished art and sent it to the printer. The illustrations were then printed out in sections and installed to the wall. Here are a series of pictures that show the Noah wall in progress.

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1970 Opel Kadett

My very first car was a pale yellow, 1970 Opel Kadett… basically a tin can with custom installed Cherry Bomb mufflers. It’s best feature was a gigantic, state of the art, AM-FM/8 Track/Cassette stereo that cranked out more horsepower than the poor little 4-cylinder engine ever did. Sadly, I have no pictures of my beloved car, so I had to draw it by memory…

…and according to my razor sharp memory, this is EXACTLY what it looked like.

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Antiquated Artist Clip Files

Gather ’round kids and I’ll tell you a story of how old timers used to make pictures back in the olden days.

As an illustrator, you have to be ready and able to draw anything a client might ask for, so photo reference is a must. In pre-internet days, artists were continually begging people to give them their old magazines. They would then spend hours looking through them, ripping pictures out and organizing them into file folders. By saving various pictures of random things, there was a slight chance that when a future client asked you to draw some obscure subject, you might actually get lucky and magically find a picture of it in your files. The more expansive your “clip file” was, the greater chance you had of finding usable reference in it. Not exactly an ideal system but better than nothing… slightly.

Finding reference material is so much easier today. The last magazine job I did was a story about a guy finding Elvis’s rusty old motorcycle in a garage sale. The client wanted a caricature of the writer dressed as Elvis and sitting on the motorcycle. I jumped onto the internet, googled up a motorcycle and an Elvis costume and within minutes was working my drawing out.

The good old days were good old days, but I’m a pretty big fan of new technology. These days if a client calls and wants a picture of a Gobi Jerboa, I can quickly look it up, read all about it, find a dozen good pictures to work from and draw a Gobi Jerboa that actually looks like a Gobi Jerboa.

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Coming Full Circle

I started my journey into adulthood wearing a powder blue tuxedo (pretty much the same one Harry wears in the movie Dumb And Dumber) and now I’ve come full circle. The team I currently play hockey for has a jersey that exact same color…

…and, yes, I thought for sure I broke my nose in last nights game.

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Death And Taxes

Benjamin Franklin said that in this world there is nothing certain except death and taxes, but I would add one more thing to that… death, taxes AND the palms of your hockey gloves rotting out. It will always happen and when it does there’s not a lot you can do except buy new gloves.

My summer hockey season has started (I don’t usually play summer hockey, but when I do, I try to make sure it’s in the summer) and while checking my equipment before game time, sure enough, I discovered the palms of my gloves were all but gone.

There is another old saying… necessity is the mother of invention… and it just so happens that I ran over a pair of leather work gloves with my riding mower (it’s been an eventful week for me) so in a desperate attempt NOT to buy new hockey gloves, I grabbed a needle and thread and re-palmed my hockey gloves with the chewed up work glove.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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