Saturday, December 31, 2011

Finished Robot Girl

It's been a busy week of finishing up projects to send out to clients on Monday but I found some time to finish up the robot girl and get her painted.

And, not only did I do the piece the client needed but I also finished up my first idea of her and colored that as well. It's been a while since I had a chance to paint a metal person and, I have to say, I really miss it. I first learned to paint metal back in college by studying the work of Sexy Robot artist Hajime Soryama. Just seeing the way he did stuff and having a few things explained to me really helped me understand how metal works on a body. And, what I first learned to do with the airbrush I can now do in the computer with the same idea.

Personally, I loved the way this piece turned out and I wish I could do more cool stuff like this for clients. But, if nothing else, I can always do stuff like this for myself. A character like this might need to be put into the OilCan Drive universe just because I like her so much. We shall see.

And, because I was curious to see how it looked, I did a full black and white image of the robot girl using a zip-a-tone type pattern on her and making the image strictly black and white with no color and no grays, just black lines and dots. I love the way this stuff looks and something about it really speaks to me. It's funny, the more involved I get in doing fully painted pieces and intricate photo realistic backgrounds the more I find myself drawn back to the simple stuff I loved as a kid. Just black and white line art with tones.

I love that look and I think it worked well with this piece of a sexy robot girl.

Have a great New Year's Eve! See you all in the New Year! Be safe!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Inking the Robot Girl

Since I liked my original pencil sketch of the robot girl and the client wanted a slightly different face on her for the finished version I did something I rarely ever do with client work. I decided to finish both versions.

So, I inked up my original version and then created a separate face that I could then paste on digitally for the final piece. The new face is on a piece of board that has a lot of other images on it including some Sports Illustrated stuff and some work for another client. I figured it was such a small piece of art why put it on a piece of paper all its own when I could fit it on a piece with a bunch of other images.

So now it's on to scanning these two pieces into the computer and adding some color. It's getting there.

Have a great day.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Robot Girl Pencils

Continuing the work I showed off in this blog post, I did some more detailed pencil sketches of the robot girl for my client.

My original idea was to make her a bit like a Terminator endo-skeleton but that quickly lost out to the idea of making her a sexy female version of C3-Po from Star Wars. I liked the idea of putting plates all over her body but still having all these gears and wires and circuits still peaking out from under her outer shell. I especially liked all the mess of wires and such I did for her brain.

I sent this first sketch off and the feedback I got was that her face looked a little too cute and fun. It was suggested that maybe she have a human face that was made out of metal instead of the original robot face I gave her.

So, I did a quick sketch and came up with a human face I could pop on over her robot face. But, honestly, I love that original face so much I just might go ahead and finish that one as well, just for myself.

The second version has been approved so now it's on to inking her and adding some color. I haven't painted metal in quite a while and I'm really looking forward to doing in Photoshop what I learned to do years ago with an airbrush.

This piece, by far, has been one of my favorite I've worked on in a long time. It's been fun to stretch my creativity and work with a client who trusts the vision I have and let me take it to a satisfying end.

Now, on to the inking and coloring.

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and a nice weekend. As always, here is my favorite Christmas song of all time, Bruce Springsteen's "Pilgrim in the Temple of Love":

And, if the player above doesn't work you can find the original music file HERE.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Official

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! The last few weeks have continued to be busy but the good news is that I'll have a lot of new art to show off once I dig my way out of the pile of work I've found myself in. It's telling that today, on Christmas Eve, I'm still working away trying to get ahead on a few projects before I head out the door and down to Denver.

But, I did find one day off last week and I spent it with Monika going out to do a little shopping. It was the first day we'd had off together in a long time and we decided, since we are getting married next June, to go out and look for a ring. The plan was to get some lunch and then head out of town down to Westminster to look around a few of the bigger diamond suppliers. But, for those of you who live anywhere near me, you know we got a ton of snow dumped on us both Wednesday night and Thursday morning. So, by the time we got out of the house on Thursday the roads were covered in snow and driving down to Westminster wasn't really high on my list of things to want to do.

The roads were so bad I actually got stuck coming out of my garage's driveway. The problem is that once you come out of the garage you take a sharp left turn and then go up a hill. Well, I got half way up the unplowed hill and the tires started spinning. I threw it into four wheel drive but that didn't seem to help at all. I couldn't even back up to the bottom of the small hill to get a jump start. And, even though I was slowly getting up the hill as my wheels spun, I pretty much had myself turned in such a way that I was stuck between the building and the fence to the side with no way to go forward or back. But, with the help of a few guys and a lot of pushing, I got up the hill and out of the neighborhood. Apparently the light on my jeep that says the four wheel drive is engaged simply means the light on my dashboard is working. I don't think I had four wheels going at all. Ah well. We were off.

Because we couldn't head down to one of the bigger diamond whole-salers we decided to see what kind of little shops were around where we were going for lunch. One place, right up the street from the restaurant, looked promising, so we left the jeep and walked over to the small store.

I really enjoyed the place and liked the man who owned it. We looked at a few rings, talked to him, and found one Monika really liked. But, we wanted to check one more seller so we left the store and went to another place across the street. And that place just didn't feel right. It felt very impersonal and not warm at all. After looking at a few rings there we both decided to head back across the street and pull the trigger on the ring Monika really loved.

At the start of our trek Monika was convinced God didn't want us to be married because he had thrown a snow storm in the way of us getting a ring. She wondered why things had to be so hard. But, after finding the ring in this nice little locally owned jewelers I am convinced God had us on the right track all along.

So, here is the engagement ring. And even though Monika was there when I bought it I plan to present it to her tonight at her family's home when we go down to Denver for a Christmas Eve dinner. Hopefully she says yes.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ace Kilroy Kickstarter

Today is the last day of my friends Rob Kelly and Dano O'Connor's Ace Kilroy Kickstarter campaign. So, if you've been thinking about donating any funds, today is your last chance to give a little cash and maybe make a difference in a few of my creative friends lives.

And, even if you don't have any cash to spare, you can still check out the daily Ace Kilroy comic strip they've been running since October 31st HERE. It's a fun story and I've really enjoyed what I've seen so far. I was lucky enough to see a preview of all of the current strips months ago and we're finally almost at the point where I have no idea what is going to happen next. I'm looking forward to seeing some all new stuff and see where the adventure takes us.

And even if Rob and Dan don't make their goal with the Kickstarter campaign I have no doubt that they'll figure something out to keep Ace Kilroy coming for a long time. And that alone is something to be proud of.

I'm very proud of both of these guys.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Robot Girl

Here is one of the projects I've been working on during the last few weeks. It's an illustration of a robot girl and here is the illustration in the early stages of development.

I did a few preliminary thumbnail sketches to make sure I was getting across the idea that the client wanted and then I did the sketch on the left in light blue non-reproducible pencil. I also showed this to the client to make sure the pose I had done using parts of both thumbnails she liked still looked good.

So far so good and now it's off to give this sexy robot girl some details.

Have a good one.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Playing With Music

As busy as I've been one of the things I've been reading to take my mind off of how much illustration work I have on my plate right now is a book called "The Art of Mixing."

When I let a professional recording engineer listen to some of my music the advice he gave me was to learn about both compression techniques and how to use EQ. So, I've been reading trying to understand both. And this book really has it all. When I sit and read it at lunch I'm often asked if I am in school for music engineering because this thing is huge and looks like a required reading textbook. I tell people, "no, I just like to learn," and keep on reading.

And not only am I learning more about compression and EQ but this guy also explain in depth about how sound actually works, why EQ works the way it does, and other fun techniques.

On a chapter about reverb techniques and why reverb works the way it does, the author brought up a technique called "preverb." He said it was, by far, the most evil thing in the mixing process that an engineer can do. So, of course, I had to try it.

I took my good friend Adam Trapani's song, Start a Riot, from a demo he did a few years ago, and tried out this evil technique. Basically, you take the track and play it backwards. You then put some reverb on the backwards track and then flip the whole thing back to it's original forward playing state. This way, the reverb is actually coming before the original sound is played. It's used a lot in horror films and it is definitely the way you've heard a ghost or spirit talk in many a horror movie. It's eerie, it fills up some space, and I love it.

As the author says, it's a technique only the Devil could do. Because how could an echo happen BEFORE the sound? It must be the Devil's work.

I also left in a few of the backwards tracks in my final mix, most notably in the start of the song and during the bridge. It's funny how a lot of the sounds in my head that I've been trying to figure out how to create cane be found in these few techniques. Now I have a few more tools in my toolbox for when I go play with the OilCan Drive stuff.

But, for now, back to work. Have a good one and I'll talk to you soon.

Here is the original track, before I messed with it at all:

And here is the mix I did with the preverb and backwards effects:

If you can't see either of the players above you can find the files for the original track HERE and the remixed preverb track HERE.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Falling Off the Planet

That's about how I've felt these past few weeks. At least when it comes to writing in this blog and doing any kind of personal work. I feel like I've really fallen off the planet and, once I do that for a few days, it always makes it that much harder to start anything up again.

But, this weekend was the first time in a long time that I could see a light at the end of the tunnel and I didn't feel totally overwhelmed by everything. So, that means it must be getting better, right?

Only a few more weeks and I should have everything wrapped up and have some free time to get back to all things OilCan Drive and Exit 6. But, in the mean time, I'll try and post a few pieces of what's been keeping me so busy. All of it has been interesting.

And, I did find some time to play with the GoPro camera this afternoon. I set it up on a tripod on my deck and pointed it west as the sun went down. I set it up to take a photo every five seconds and, after a while, I had over a thousand photos. I plugged those into Windows Movie Maker, sped the whole thing up, added a little music, and you can see the results below.

I'll be back. Have a great day!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December!

While it looks like this month will be so busy that I won't have time to do my annual Christmas card to send out to friends, family, and clients, I couldn't let the year go by without drawing one of my favorite characters, Mr. Mucho!

For the last few years I've used Mr. Mucho on my holiday cards in a variety of poses and situations. It's always been fun to see what kind of trouble I can get him into every year. So, it made me a bit sad that so much client work has come through in the past few weeks that I wasn't going to have time in my schedule to do much of anything else.

It made me miss my little creation so much that last night, after I got done with the client work for the day, I sat down and did a quick marker sketch of Mr. Mucho and scanned and colored him in the computer. I figured I needed at least something new and festive for the blog if nothing else.

So, here is your yearly dose of Mr. Mucho. He wishes you all a happy holiday season even though you may not be seeing him in your mail box this year. It doesn't mean I don't care any less. It just means that while you're out there getting ready for the holidays I'll be working away, getting everything a little bit more done each day.

Have a great December and happy holidays!