May 28, 2013

Just for Fun?

I drew this up yesterday.   I realize I've gotten out of the habit of just drawing stuff for drawing's sake, and having fun with it. 

I think it's partially due to having left college without a 'go to' thing to draw in like a sketchbook.  While I was in college, I always had a binder for classwork with a special section of blank paper in it.  I drew and doodled in it all the time.  When I left college, the purpose for carrying around a binder disappeared, and unfortunately it seems (at least to me) my appetite for drawing all sorts of crazy things kind of disappeared with it.  However, in the last couple of years, I've created my own sketchbooks to carry around and really appreciate them.  I wish I'd gotten the idea to make these when I graduated.

I think another reason is my switch to almost purely finishing any artwork digitally.  I can attribute this to my career post graduation.  I really enjoy creating artwork digitally, but I think it's impacted my ability to bring anything to a finished state outside of the computer.  That's something I'd like to work on more in the future.  A blank sheet of paper and a pencil is really all the basics the imagination needs.  My imagination didn't seem to need any more then.  Maybe I can bring some of that back now?

May 22, 2013

Where the Wild Things Are . . .

Go to Cabela's and sketch the stuffed animals!  I spent just under 2 hours having fun drawing these.  You can see how rusty I am in the first few on the left, but as I continue to sketch, things get better towards the right.

May 2, 2013

The Story Behind the Story

Last summer, my Grandpa put together a story and asked me to do the cover for it.  I've already shared the cover in a different post.  You can find it here.

So anyways, he was 92 years old and wanted to publish a children's book before he passed away.  If you've been following my blog, then you've already read the post where I shared about him passing away and showed some of my artwork which used to hang in my grandparent's house.
It was only a couple of months after he got the book published that he passed away (-a little over a month ago, to be exact).

It was due to the marvels of modern technology that my Grandpa was able to get his book published as quickly as he did.  He did this through a print-on-demand self-publishing company by the name of CreateSpace.  Maybe you've heard of it already.  Now, his book is pretty easy to find in many established online markets.

My Grandpa's story is a funny little one, but in some respects is sort of an auto-biography.  This, he confided in me as we worked on it together.  As he finished proofing his script and getting the book laid out, he asked for several interior illustrations, which I could quickly finish, to be included throughout the book before he submitted it.

You can see a few of these below.

Finally, after the funeral was squared away and things had settled down (but only in the loosest sense), my Mom decided to help publicize her father's book, and set up an interview about me with her local newspaper.  This is what I shared in the previous post.

I've heard some confusion from several sources about where this book came from and what my involvement was in bringing it to print.  It's unfortunately (and ridiculously)  been a source of major stress for me lately.  I thought it would be helpful to put it all in one post for easy reading.

May 1, 2013

Interview snippets

I was recently interviewed about a book cover I'd done several months ago. Because of differences between my original interview and how the article(s) finally turned out, I thought I'd share a few answers to questions I enjoyed replying to in the original interview.

What have your illustrations been used for?

I have worked for several companies creating interactive educational materials for reading, math, and science. I also work for companies which create online or other video games. I've created several book covers for both young adults and adults. I also have designed/redesigned company logos, and worked on several additional projects for friends and family, such as artwork for special blogs or small businesses.

When did you think you’d become an artist?

I was never really sure I would be able to use art as a profession after finishing school, it’s just something I got behind and pushed as hard as I could. It appears all that hard work paid off.

Did others think you’d become an artist?

I’m never really sure what others think. Some probably doubted my ability. Some probably said I could be an artist when I grow up, but maybe didn't take it all that seriously.

How much is natural ability and how much is talent?

When I hear people talk about ‘natural ability’ or ‘talent’, it sounds all the same to me. It sounds like they are implying that somehow someone has been born with some kind of ’super-power’ everyone else hasn't been ‘lucky’ enough to be born with. When people tell me they wished they had my ‘talent’, what I think they really mean is they lack motivation to invest the time to develop a skill. Being creative, being able to draw or paint, interpret something I see in an interesting way, or convey emotion through an image, really boils down to work, study, practice, and more work. The finest piano players or baseball players weren't born with these abilities. What they did instead was aquire an insatiable desire to play a piano over and over again, or swing a bat over and over again, all the while ignoring the amount of times they pressed the wrong note or struck out, all for the chance of making a beautiful melody once in a while or hitting a home run. The more often I play the piano, or the more often I swing a baseball bat, the better I’ll get at it. The most important thing, I feel, is not the end product, but the desire to work through hard things to get where I want to be.That desire, or driving force, is what really determines where I am and how fast I’m getting there. -and as for being where I want to be, it never feels that way. That’s why I probably continue to push myself.

What have you done in the past as work?

I covered this a little bit in an earlier question, but to be more specific, I've designed a lot of interactive educational games and activities for Waterford Research Institute. These could be learning games about math, reading, or science. I would also create animated videos and books for them. I worked for American Legacy Publishing creating cartoon illustrations for a monthly publication focused on math. Working in the educational field is very challenging due to the often strict criteria required to teach a particular subject, but it often results in the most creative stuff I've ever done. I worked for Sensory Sweep, a large game company which unfortunately no longer exists, and collaborated on and created several illustrations for the video game: The Tale of Despereaux.

Where did you receive your art training? 

Would you recommend this to others?If you mean ‘art training’ as being instructed by another, then I would start in High School and then list BYUI (formerly Ricks College) and USU. Being under the tutelage of someone with more experience is always the faster way to learning. That said, I am always seeking to learn something new, whether I have a designated teacher or not.

Would you recommend others become artists?

I would recommend that people follow whatever dreams they have most often. I read some wise counsel once about a boy asking his father about what he should be when he grows up. His father replied something to the effect, “What is it you think about when there is nothing else to think about? That’s what you should pursue as a career and will make you the most happy.” In other words, if I couldn't get enough of insects, then I would pursue some kind of career that involved insects. If I dreamed of cars and trucks all the time, I would seek a career in that direction.

What irritates you that non artists believe? Why do you supposed they believe this way?

I think what frustrates me most is the lack of understanding I often encounter when people don’t understand how long, or what level of skill is required, to create a painting, a book cover, a business logo, etc. Just because I can draw something up in a couple of hours (or several days), doesn't mean it doesn't take energy to do so. It also respects all the time I went to school, not to mention the time I take every day outside of work to keep up my abilities. I think part of the problem is that painting or drawing isn't a ‘ visible’ ability. Most of my development takes place behind doors and out of sight of the public. People have more appreciation for a sports player because they know they practice every day to develop the skill they have. Every skill or ability, just like a muscle, requires constant attention and diligence. I can tie my shoe in a flash because I've been doing so every day for the last 30+ years, but do you remember how long it would take you the very first time you tried to tie yours? I have the level of skill I possess because I have been daily developing my skills for just as long.

Why do you feel that art is important?

I think art is important on several levels. It helps in communicating an idea. It helps share an idea in a new way. It helps to reveal something in different way, to a different understanding. It can help define things in a simpler way, or accentuate harmonies previously not perceived. It can stimulate imagination and creativity.

What do you believe is the definition of art?

I think the definition of art(or at least my definition) goes hand in hand with the answer to why I think it is important (answered above). If it inspires, educates, enlightens, amuses, emotes, or in someway communicates a new idea, then I think it’s on the right track.

Do you continue to learn new techniques and how?

Thank goodness for the internet! The internet has really been a boon for artists around the world. Whether I am shopping for new art books or looking up blogs of artists whose artwork I admire, there is an overwhelming abundance of things the share and learn from one another. I am learning every day.

How do you practice now?

I watch art videos and practice what I watch. I find artist’s work I am most interested in and study from them, even taking time to copy or paint what they are doing, just so I can understand their choices and techniques better. I have several sketchbooks I take with me and try to sketch things from life when I can.

The articles, as they appear now, can be found at these two links:  (at least these are the one's I've found so far)