Spring Has Arrived!

It’s official; I survived my first year at NSCAD! It’s a huge relief to have some time off, but it’s also bittersweet, because many of the foundation students will now go their separate ways. Some will transfer to other schools, and I won’t see them again. Others, I will be seeing much more of, since we’ll be taking a lot of the same classes. It’s been an intense and wonderful ride, and I look forward to all the fun that next year entails, including lots of painting, illustrating, and some printmaking, too! In the mean time, starting in July, I’ll be dedicating some time to one of the biggest influences I had growing up, graphic novels, through a history course.

Now that I’ve met all my school deadlines, I’ve had time to look at some of my own projects, and started by updating my Deviantart page with a few of my stronger pieces from the semester.

Modern Surreal Vitruvian Man by Jess Naish Lingley

Modern Surreal Vitruvian Man by Jess Naish Lingley

This was my final project for my drawing class. The concept was pretty open-ended, allowing us to use many of the techniques we’d learned over the past few months. After a few days of mulling over various ideas, when making coffee one morning I came up with the idea of using a master drawing that would allow me plenty of space to express myself. This led me to choose the infamous Virtuvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci (bonus round: I completely the drawing on his birthday!).

Over the course of this class I most enjoyed working with ink, something I hadn’t really given any time to before, so it’s the main medium in this work, both with brush and pen nib. Despite only having a few short days to work on it between all my other final projects, I’m very happy with the way it came out. Working with pen nibs was interesting and something that I will likely revisit in the future.

Beach at Dusk by Jess Naish Lingley

Beach at Dusk by Jess Naish Lingley

This illustration began a few weeks ago when, on a whim, I decided to give my wacom tablet some love, instead of doing my homework. Four hours later, I was assured of my xmas purchase and discovered a new love of digital painting/illustration. After finishing my final projects, I was able to finish it off and upload it. It’s not perfect; the line art is a bit messy since I started it in GIMP, which wasn’t giving me great quality lines for some reason. The software wasn’t as intuitive as I needed it to be, so I tried switching over to Photoshop Elements and had a much easier time of things. Though I’m still working on anatomy and creating decent backgrounds, I feel like my new knowledge of color really shows through here, along with my love of painting. I had a lot of fun using dusk-like colors and will continue to challenge myself with these colorful atmospheres in future works.

It’s strange, since I didn’t enjoy working with the Cintiq as much as I enjoy working with my simple Bamboo and laptop. I’m enjoying digital illustration now a lot more than I was a year ago; perhaps my mindset has changed? My new-found love of digital art prompted me to pre-order ImagineFX’s Digital Painting issue, which I will use to bolster my newbie digital art skills over the summer. I’m not sure how much digital technique I’ll be picking up at NSCAD, so I’m hoping this magazine will be a good starting point. I know there are a lot of things I could probably be doing faster/easier, which is one of the great benefits of digital coloring. That, and no mess to clean up!

Perspective, Loomis-style

Perspective, Loomis-style

With my time off, I’m studying Figure Drawing, For All It’s Worth by Andrew Loomis. I want to try and drill myself on anatomy and perspective as much as I can this summer, after all the years of drawing I missed out on after my college stint. I definitely have some catching up to do. Loomis is tough stuff, but if I can learn his basics and strengthen my knowledge of perspective, I can basically do anything. Just by mapping out perspective lines and very basic figures, he can easily build an entire complex drawing. Once you’ve got the foundation down, the rest just seems to fall into place. Getting that foundation down, though, is very tough to get right. It wasn’t until I started studying his proportions that I realized how far off some of my own (from imagination) were.

In short, I’ve got my work cut out for me! There are so many things I want to catch up on this summer. Between all the art I want to do, and the movies I’d like to catch up on, I’ll have plenty things to stave off the boredom. I’ll also have more time to update my precious blog, so stay tuned for more progress reports, and posts on inspiring artists!

The Digital Brush Strokes of Paolo Cammeli

More and more I’m intrigued by the possibilities and opportunities that digital art brings. I love drawing and painting more than I can say, but since Tim mentioned buying an Intuos tablet for photo-editting I’ve started considering what I could do with a tablet in Photoshop.

Paolo Cammeli paints digitally in a style of oils and watercolors combined, colors that are vibrant and bloom together like water.

what else do you bring me by Paolo Cammeli

what else do you bring me by Paolo Cammeli

The skin tones in our subject above are glowing and rich, full of detail. The umbrella and blossoms are painted softer to help draw our focus to the beautiful work done on the lighting and shading of her skin. Her expression, playful and curious, is really beautiful, more interesting then a lot of the pout-y fashion model faces I see around (ones that I’m definitely guilty of drawing/painting). Her frame and hairstyle remind me a bit of 50’s pinups.

waiting by Paolo Cammeli

waiting by Paolo Cammeli

There are many ways to tackle painting fur, and Paolo has chosen a sort of cross-hatching brush technique which looks beautiful. Her understanding of lighting and shadows is showcased here again in the fur, a beautiful rich transition in white fur using golden light and cooler shadows. The girl’s robes and head piece caught my eye, the fur on her shoulders and the owl/horns on the headdress which makes me think of gypsy tattoos.

fairy silhouette by Paolo Cammeli

fairy silhouette by Paolo Cammeli

This is a speed-painting by Paolo, only taking roughly 30 minutes to do. I love how much she can convey with flat colors. Layers of transparent blossoms over-top each other give this piece a watercolor-feel to it. Paolo has a great understanding of color and always manages to make the colors in her work pop without being garish.

New Rome by Paolo Cammeli

New Rome by Paolo Cammeli

She’s good at cityscapes as well! Cities frighten me almost as much as landscapes because of the shear amount of detail and measurements required to make them look realistic. They also seem incredible boring and sterile to me, the opposite of what I see above. A city painted in dreamy sunset colors with immense detail, from greenery to reflections in huge windows, makes me want to explore this world and learn more about it.

My first day of actual class ie non-orientation activities is tomorrow: drawing in the morning, paint/print studio in the afternoon! Though I know we’ll be starting with basics (likely fruit and vases) I look forward to practicing drawing in more areas that I’m currently uncomfortable with, so I can create rich portraits and lifelike backgrounds like Paolo does.

Wish me luck on my first day of ~art school~! Excited doesn’t even begin to describe it!

Brightly Colored Illustrations

With spring blooming and bringing in some warmer temperatures, I find myself gravitating towards art that use brilliant colors. Getting an introduction to color theory back when I took that intro to acrylics course has helped me understand why colors appear bright or glowing. This totally changed the way I looked at things and gave me a lot to think about while coloring and painting. There is so much more to lighting and shading than white and black.

unfinished piece by Viktoria Gavrilenko

unfinished piece by Viktoria Gavrilenko

The flowers in this illustration scream spring! Going from the top of the drawing to the bottom, the flowers start out very impressionistic and gradually gain more detail. The skin and dress are light and airy which brings the butterfly nicely into focus. Unfortunately, according to this artist’s deviantart site, she says she won’t be finishing this piece, but I feel like it’s a strong enough piece to stand on its own. I just wish I knew why this girl was so sad…

Magical Girl by Kim eunhye

Magical Girl by Kim eunhye

My recent manga-craze has led me to look through tons of anime/manga artists for more inspiration. Because of shows and comics that appeal to a younger audience (pokemon, yugioh and the like), a more simplistic cell-shaded art style has become very popular. It’s sad, because it’s not the kind of style that made me love anime and I feel like people get the wrong idea about the genre since this stuff is so popular. The drawing above is more what I gravitate towards: frills and flowing fabrics, beautiful fantastical dress, the backgrounds with gradients and patterns and exquisitely detailed accessories, like the sceptre! Rather than simple cell-shading, this piece uses interesting colors for shadows that give the whole image a surreal-floating kind of vibe.

Las Teclas Negras by herringbones

Las Teclas Negras by herringbones

The warm versus cool color palette drew me into this illustration and at first I almost didn’t notice the text in the corners. There’s a lot going on, but somehow it all flows together through a story I don’t fully understand quite yet. I really love the style of bubbles and water, things I’ve always struggled with. The line-work in this piece is very nice as well, helping to bring things to the foreground and push others back, organizing the image.

by Sinad Jaruartjanapat

by Sinad Jaruartjanapat

The more colors the better, right? By having a rainbow-colored palette it’s easy to overwhelm the viewer with too many colors, but having a neutral background here gives the eye somewhere to rest. Without that space the colors in her fins may not look as bright. Again I’m lost in the details, from the tips of the trident to the flourish of this mermaid’s tail. Her colorful armor is reminiscent of a butterflies’s wings. One day I hope to be able to design characters with this much impact and draw as flowingly as this.

Sam Spratt

Sam Spratt was brought to my attention through my tumblr feed with this incredible portrait of Katniss from Hunger Games.

Katniss by Sam Spratt

Katniss by Sam Spratt

It stopped me in my tracks. The intense realism, the depth of the color palette, the destroyed expression on her face… I’m struggling to find words for this. Every once in awhile, I see art that moves me in a big way, makes me feel something strong and tangible. This is one of those pieces and upon further inspection of Sam Spratt’s other works, I found many more. Be warned, this may become as much of a gushing post as Natalia Fabia’s was! 🙂

Lady Gaga by Sam Spratt

Lady Gaga by Sam Spratt

On Sam’s website, he says that he uses traditional oil painting methods and training with digital mediums. This enables him to achieve the rich qualities of an oil painting very quickly (once completing a piece for an article in 20 minutes!). He’s done over 400 article paintings for Gawker media, hired on for a period of 9 months as their first on-staff artist in 2010. And he’s only 22 years old! He became famous when his realistic paintings of internet memes went viral. Angry Birds creators Rovio have contracted him for a new project and some of the subjects of his realistic portraits have commissioned special prints of his work. Suffice to say that this guy is on fire.

Angry Birds pig by Sam Spratt

Angry Birds pig by Sam Spratt

Sam Spratt (via his NiemanLab.org)

Sam Spratt (via his NiemanLab.org)

His works are incredibly diverse; I wouldn’t say that he has a concrete “style” but his work is immediately recognizable based on the sheer skill, level of detail and expert use of color. To me, there’s nothing obviously digital about these works, they are simply paintings done in a digital way. He does everything from stunning realism, to wacky caricatures, to lifelike visions of fictional characters, even medical diagrams. When asked by Maxim about what inspires him, what he does if he’s ever feeling dry creatively, he discusses that he doesn’t really ever feel that way.

“Fellow artists always tell me I’m a jackass for this, but I’m just never creatively dry. I have a constant mass of ideas in my head and I don’t think there has been a single moment since I started as a professional artist where I have had to pause to think about what to make. I hate the hippy notion of being one with the world, but it baffles me when people struggle creatively. Look outside your window for a minute and you should see something utterly incredible. Perhaps that goes back to seeing beauty in the trivial facets of life though.”

Inspector Space Time poster by Sam Spratt

Inspector Space Time poster by Sam Spratt

Kanye West by Sam Spratt

Kanye West by Sam Spratt

His relentlousness and enthusiam for art is incredible and reminds me of my own passion for art, why I’m doing any of this in the first place. I love his no-nonsense approach to art, that while sometimes it’s good for art to have meaning and involve physcoanalysis and the like, it’s also okay for it to just happen, intuitively, and be beautiful just because.

His website has a vast portfolio of his best work and on top of that he’s posted a few process time-lapse videos as well. The video belows shows how he worked through his realistic version of the x-all-the-y meme. Basically, he starts with a very detailed black and white underpainting and layers glazes of color overtop of it, occasionally making it more opaque as he sees fit.

Seeing his work makes me want to give tablets a second chance. Perhaps I’ve only been struggling with them since I’m still learning with traditional mediums as well. Every finished piece is a lesson for me right now, and every time I start a new one I bring more knowledge with me. In time, I hope I can comfortably translate that knowledge to digital mediums. In the mean time, I just need to knock through as many pieces as I can and keep growing, learning and feeling good about it all the while.