Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Some Figure Drawing

Sean Cheetham - Portrait Painting & Nathan Fowkes - Sketching from Life [Notes and Review]

So last spring I've took 10 week courses from Sean Cheetham and Nathan Fowkes at Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Arts. Even though they are separate classes, I wanted to review them together since the learning kind of intertwined.

Sean Cheetham - "Paint what you see"
In Sean's Cheetham, we did 5 hour ala prima portraits. It felt good to walk out with a finished painting every class. Sean's process is very linear. Lay-in, shadows, half-tones, lights. He doesn't do construction or anything like that. He just draws what he sees. It was kind of cool because I focused on my intuition. No fancy terms or concepts. Just... does your painting look like the model's face?

Sean regularly brought a lot of his oil paintings and gouache paintings. He is a very down to earth guy who presents himself as so. Class size was kinda of big - around 20 people. But lots of good people in the class.

Nathan Fowkes - "Find the Simple Statement"
Nathan is a great teacher. He comes to classes always very prepared. He typically has 30 minute slideshow presentation at every class. He has a very clear lesson plan. The class is well worth the money, we even got a bonus week of class for this landscape plein air field trip. This particular class is called "Sketching from Life," and covered many subject matters include figure, portrait, landscape, animals, and flowers. He also teaches classes that just focus on a subject matter such as "Head Drawing." The classes rotate around, so check frequently to what he is teaching that term.

Nathan focused on having us find a "simple statement" on our class. It's kind of hard to explain, but take a look at his work and some of the class work I link to below to see for yourself. :)

Notes and Work from the term (Sean and Nathan)
week 10 + 11 
week 9
week 8 
week 6 + 7
week 5
week 4
week 3
week 1+ 2

Jaime Jones Digital Painting Workshop 7-21-12

So Jaime Jones is friggen dope. In July, I took a one day workshop with Jaime at Concept Design Academy. He is one of those examples that prove that you don't have to go to Art Center to be dope. You can be mostly self-taught as well and still be badass.  To tell a little about Jaime, he grew up in the midwest or something and used to do a lot of oil paintings of barns and enter state fair art competitions when he was as kid.  You can see influences of Scott Christensen, Edgar Payne, turn of the century american illustrators like Howard Pyle and Cornell in his work. Therefore, his concept art stuff has a very traditional feel.

What surprised me was how slow and carefully he paints. He really takes his time. He works in minimal layers and flattens constantly. He would duplicate a layer and work on it for about 15 minutes. If it didn't look better than the original, he would scrap it. Every stroke should be working to make the painting better. Kind of like what I was saying about Yohann in my other post, if you are painting something and you are almost finished and it's still not feeling right, fucking scrap it and repaint. He feels more fresh that day. I quote Jaime and Jaime is quoting Sargent! Listen up!

Art Theory and Technique
He talks how tradition painting concepts such as
- have appealing mases of dark/light.
- have your lay in kill from 100 yrds in 30 min work.
- have half tones work. then do darkest darks and lightest lights.
- have big medium and small in an obvious way.
- have micro-compositions. have everything work when you zoom in.

He says that these concepts are simple, but juggling them all at once is difficult. 
Painting is a "pile of easy concepts that are difficult when you deal with them in concert."

Painting versus the Picture: "The operation was successful, but the patient died." 

A tricky thing he talks about is to avoid "caring too much about the painting, but not about the picture."
What it means to me is.. "painting" is the technique side, and the "picture" is the overall read and emotional impact.

Jaime likens the process to the saying "the operation was successful, but the patient died." No one will care about the technology and technique if you failed to accomplish your goal.

Concept art vs illustration. 
One thing I had Jaime help me clarify is that illustration and concept art are different. In illustration you want a cool composition, chiarscuro, and sharp and blurry edges etc... In concept art, the drawing and painting needs to be really legible and clear. And sometimes you sacrifice the illustration to have a clear concept piece. Yeah.. I was a little confused when the principles of illustration and art contradict what is needed in industry work.

Outside Interest

Lastly, Jaime advocates having some kind of outside interest to help inform your concept art. Otherwise, the artists look all "inbred." Having an outside interests ensures that the results are a little bit more unique to you. So go out and have fun! Don't just draw all day! Jaime Jones says so! lol


See? He practically repainted the entire lizard on the last step. He doesn't give a fuck that he already spent 5 hours on it. He does what he needs to do to make it look right. 

Massive Black Workshop Review

In April 9-12 I attended the Massive Black workshop in San Francisco. I had a blast! I'm writing this review to inform other people what it's like, and for my own future reference.

It was for 4 days - costs around $400. What's really special about the workshop is that it's an immersive experience.  There were roughly around 300-400 people at the workshop. You go to about 4-5 classes everyday for 3 days, and there is a portfolio review on the last day. You are surrounded by other really hungry art students eager to learn and lots of art instructors ready to teach. The students and instructors come from all over the country, including Germany and France so - and there's a really strong and eager vibe among everybody.

I felt like I learned a lot by not learning very much. The instructors were doing very basic things such drawing, form, design, using lots of reference - stuff that I've already been taught. What's different is the conviction to which they do.

For example, in Yoahnn Schepacz workshop, he showed us that the design process is not always linear. He is like 90% done with the painting. In the last minute, he repaints half of the painting - which seems kind of sad, but in the end it looks 10x better than it did more.  It sounds like he wasted a lot of time, but he told us the mistakes he made earlier informed the final design. Sometimes you learn things a lot better and the lesson is much stronger when you make mistakes, rather than getting it right on the first try. 

Portfolio Review "There is no shame in spending 50 hrs on a piece."
During the portfolio review, I felt like I got torn to shreds. It was great because I felt like I was plateauing and needed somewhere to go. What made the review different from a classroom setting was that I felt like the professionals were bringing me up to their level, versus how a teacher treats you like a student.

A good piece of advice they gave me while looking at my work: "This is really good. How long did you take to finish this piece?" "50 hours." "This piece isn't so good, how long did you spend on it?" "Only 20 hours." "Dude, just spend more time on your pieces. There is no shame is spending 50 hours on a piece."

The feedback was very straightforward and constructive. They would point to a piece. Hey this piece is very good. Just do it like this more often. The underlying vibe was: "C'mon man, just don't do shitty work man. Get reference, spend more time of your work, and you'll get a good job."

Not everything was great though. The workshop was held at Art Academy University - which was a questionable venue. They had more than enough instructors, but the classrooms were way too small. There were 8 classes going on at same time (2 on basement, 3 on the first floor, and 3 more classes on the 3rd floor). Therefore, when you are attending 1 lecture, you kinda feel like you are missing out on the other 7. In addition, the classrooms were so small that they typically were filled to capacity. You had to line up 30 minutes beforehand to score a standing spot in the classroom. And since there were so many things going on at the same time, the schedule was absolutely confusing to look it. It was hard to tell who was teaching where and in what classroom. I did talk to the workshop organizer and gave her some of my feedback. She was really reasonable and listened to what I had to say. I'm looking forward to coming back next week and seeing what improvements have been made. 

Overall Experience
My overall stay in San Francisco was wonderful. There was lots of beautiful architecture and I did lots of little plein air paintings. I stayed at a hostel - and it was only $30/ night. It was called "Pacific Tradewinds Hostel." It was so fun. It was great meeting people of all different art styles and backgrounds. I definitely recommend going out and traveling.
The Jason Chan

The Wesley Burt
Kekai Kotaki
SF at night

Wed Burt Demo 
Jason Chan Demo
Chillin at the Hostel!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Teen Titans: Iteration 3

3rd Batch of iterations. Colors finally!!
Robin: director requested for it to look more classic, hence the red, green and yellow.
evil superman...
alternate costume.. what do you think?

deathstroke.. very much "avengers" inspired.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Anime Letterbrush

Planning on exhibiting at Artist Alley next year... some prep work.. what do yall think? Got some Avengers, DC, Final Fantasy, Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon. Leave comments and requests below.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Series Paintings, San Francisco, Car's Land, Treadmill Desk

So what I've been doing recently is not so much drawing to make something look good. But drawing to understand and investigate what I'm drawing. So I've been painting lighting situations that I'm not used to (sunrise, nightscenes). It might not look awesome... but I know that I'm really learning and pushing myself.

Backyard Series Paintings: same location - different time.

 This past weekend, I went to San Fransisco for Massive Black's Concept Art Workshop. Some sketches and drawings during my time there...
San Francisco Series Paintings.. the view outside my Hostel.

Painting at Disney's California Adventure. Day and night paintings of the same scene.

Treadmill Sketches
Notice anything special about these sketches? They were done at the gym while I was walking on the treadmill. It felt great! I wanted to see if it were possibly for me to draw while exercising! Why?

 While I was on the airplane to San Francisco, I was talking to this gentleman next to me who used something called a treadmill desk. He was tell me how sitting 6-10 hours a day is bad for you (link1 link2). You know how went you sit down for a long time, you develop all these neck and back problems? So... he walks on the treadmill at 1 mph.  If you are working 8 hours a day, you just walked 8 miles that day. If you use it for a week, you just walked 40 miles. That is absolutely fucking amazing. Even if you walk only 3 miles a day, you still walking 15 miles in a week - still fucking amazing. This is the $250 treadmill that he bought (link). And he purchased the modular Frederick desk at IKEA. I'm going to try building one for myself, and let you guys know how it goes. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More Digital objects

starting to use photo ref. sprayed painted some objects glossy grey and took photos. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Teen Titans Character Designs

2nd batch of iterations: Deathstroke, Robin (Jason Todd), Superboy Prime. These are all villains.

Working on a Fan-made Teen-Titans live-action movie. (link)
1st batch of iterations.

Sketchbook update: Back to Basics

Using photoshop to do some basic rendering exercises. I should've done this a long time ago. When I was taking Saturday High Class at Art Center - we were doing 10 pages of these in marker in one week. I got lots good from those exercises. Same principle, different medium. 

focusing on gesture, shape and form. I'm thinking Steve Huston.
My friend was showing me to do this cartoony style. Emotion, feeling and story comes first to inform the drawing.  I used the pose to inspire me to tell a story. Top dude is waiting in line at DMV. I'm thinking bottom dude is watching a movie in his living room.