Monday, January 31, 2011


So the first Mega Man drawing I did was so bad, I had to do another. I finished this in about 8 hours - starting from yesterday. I missed hanging out with friends last night to work on this, and I woke up at 5am this morning to finish it - turning it in at 10am this morning, right before the deadline. But -- it was definitely worth it. 

The process of creating this piece was fun and innovative. It was a mix between photoshop, and traditional "Tony-Yao-Saturday-High-Triple-Canson" style rendering. While I have about 8 years of experience with the my tried and true "maker/ colored pencil/ pastel" combo, I have only about 1-2 years experience working with Photoshop and painting digitally.  In order to work as effectively as I could - I invented a new style of working:  I would draw a sketch, scan it and tweak proportions in photoshop, print it out - do greyscale in marker, scan it - work on it in photoshop, print and do values in marker and colored pencil, scan and finish it photoshop.  I was surprised how well white colored pencil shows up on printed paper. It was definitely really fun. I personally liked how the piece feels "traditional" and "digital" at the same time. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mega Man Fan Art

Trying to submit art for the Mega Man Tribute Book. This was my attempt at Mega Man. Gonna try a pass over zero later. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Marshall Vandruff Composition Workshop

Hey - in the beginning of January I attended a Marshal Vandruff Composition seminar in Brea, California.  I'm just going to post my notes and thoughts about the workshop. So... 1) I understand the material better as I write. 2) For people thinking about taking his workshop or 3) You are too cheap to take his workshop and would rather read my notes instead.

Basically in this workshop, Marshall lectures for about 12 hours over 3 days regarding various tools you can use to get a better composition. Listening to him talk is entertaining because he uses his expansive vocabulary to deftly describe the most abstract artistic concepts. He also finds the need to sprinkle a music reference about Chopin, Beethoven, Schubert every 25 seconds. During the lecture, you will often find yourself making thumbnail sketches from master-studies that have had the "gaussian blur" applied over them in photoshop. This is honestly a good exercise. Frankly, I probably wouldn't have had the patience to do this myself - so if you have time to do blurred out composition studies for 12 hours, you can skip the workshop and save yourself $120. Just kidding, his lecture is seriously pretty good.

Composition - this is the "Design." These are the numerous choices you make in your illustration regarding how to use line, tone, shape, form, value, color, etc... Composition is separate from mastery of a medium or how well you know perspective and anatomy. There are tools you can use to achieve a better composition.

- Tools & Concepts -
Use Metaphors and Touchstones to imbue abstract qualities into your composition.

Consonance - Use motifs, rhymes and echos to make your piece look cool. It is mesmerizing.

Balance is a tool critical to achieve contrast.  You can use it to push two opposites very far and achieve high contrast. But only with proper balance - will it look good.

Dominance is the concept of having a primary read or a focal point in your piece. Make one thing more important than the rest to state your message clearly.

Light and Dark Massing - use this to achieve a clear read for your piece. It can serve to clarify or obscure your subjects. Generally - it just looks good when you mass.

Contrast - "Name your dominant quality and surround it with your opposite." It really amplifies your message.

Continuity - this is how you lead your viewer's eye around the page. You create paths in the painting.

Rhythm and Pattern - this is how your painting "sounds." How do you want your painting to sound?

Transition and Counterchange - This stuff is naturally cool. Just do it. Transitions are like gradients and stuff. Counterchange is when opposites reverse. Light and dark to dark and light. There is beauty in irony.

Well... chances are you have no idea what I just said. But its okay. If this stuff sounds interesting to you, you might enjoy his seminar. He is teaching again.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

100 environments: Mission Accomplished!

I originally set out to draw 100 environments to gain confidence and spontaneity with my compositions.   I definitely I've gotten more loose and confident to just lay things down. In the future, I plan on doing more finished drawings, color studies, and some night studies.  I was originally planning to incorporate color studies in this series - but it took too look for the purpose of this project. Definitely look for color environments that in the future. This journey will be amazing!

Day 7: Markers, white color pencil + ball point pen
I was really trying to have strong tones and minimal lines in the environments to the right.

Day 8 (even though it says 7): ballpoint + 3 shades of marker

Day 9: graphite + ball point (+ marker is some)
I was trying a new technique. Graphite is really my weakest medium. I learned I had to really be solid with my solid with my shapes in order for it to read well.

Day 10: Marker and Ball point again. My favorite combo!
These were drawn during a lecture over the course of 3 days. I really learned to capture people's gesture. I also learned that I had to crop must closer in order to make these compositions work.

Some gesture drawings from a Japanese Magazine