Monday, April 27, 2009

Generic People

I was idly looking at the New York Times yesterday while eating lunch, and for an article about dropping interest rates below zero (How Low Can You Go?) there was an illustration of a man with a percentage sign on the front of his shirt diving off a diving board.  The background was a bunch of financial institution buildings.  It got the point across, but it got me thinking about that kind of illustration, which I have no interest in at all.  That illustration was all about the idea; the guy himself didn't matter at all.  He could have been anyone.

I prefer pictures where the people are not generic--where they are individuals, where I fall in love with that particular person as I'm drawing them.  Most of the things I've been doing lately I've been using models of sorts, but even for the ones where I'm not, I think of the person as a real person.  I don't want generic.  It feels just like writing, where it's the particulars that make it happen.  You don't want generic characters in stories (or generic places or events or feelings), but REAL people, with real quirks and and details.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Happy Dancers

Another birthday, so another picture for a card. I guess I'm only making these for the "big" birthdays, which it seems like bunches of people I know this year are having. Like the other birthday card/dancer picture, I'll use this on the next season's contradance flier.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Illustration Friday: Theater

Theater is a wonderful thing, but the BEST drama happens in the natural world, with no special sets or costumes or scripts. All it takes in a certain amount of quiet and awareness.

Do I dare say that Illustration Friday has changed my life? It's true. I started posting pictures every week in January, and have made more pictures and more progress than the last twenty years of my life put together. I can't believe the things that I can do now that I didn't used to be able to...and it's all from actually making stuff regularly (and looking at everyone else's great stuff).

This is for a friend's birthday in a couple weeks. Though I've sent him this website address, I don't think he ever looks at it, so I don't think I'm spoiling the surprise. (I hope it doesn't). I'm not entirely sure I'm done with this, but done enough for the moment, and done enough to post....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Accordion Guy #3

I hate to say it, but the only reason I made this picture is that I wanted to experiment with a grainy wash background. I must admit I'm really liking the layering affect. Someone (who?) whose blog I've looked at recently said something about her backgrounds being fortuitous, and the composition being deliberate. I guess this is all pretty sketchy (and by all means I should actually DRAW the whole thing first before going nuts on the ink, or you'll end up with two parts of an accordion that don't really fit together.)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Impossible Sleep #2

Here's the picture I started first yesterday for Illustration Friday, but I had to wait while the wash dried. So I didn't get back to it until hours later. What I discovered was that if you wait until everything is truly completely dry, then you can rub the mask off without anything smearing. Duh. I'm usually too impatient.

And though I really like the texture on her impossible thoughts, and her face (which I modeled for myself in a mirror), I'm wondering what in the world I'm doing making pictures like this. I HATE stressing. I should be making serene pictures! (But then, I didn't make up this week's topic--and this has been the first one where I had the idea and image the second I saw the topic. Usually I do some free-writing, sketching various ideas, before finally deciding on something.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Illustration Friday: Impossibility

This represents the impossibility of going back to sleep when I wake up at 4:30 a.m. My mind won't shut off--my thoughts and feelings are a tangle. I've read that that's the low point of the day for hormones, and that by 6:30 they should be on a definite upswing, and somehow, just knowing that helps. Even if I don't go back to sleep (occasionally I will), I'll feel much better by the time my alarm goes off at 6:00.

This, by the way, is the picture I made while I was waiting for a part of the first one to dry. For some reason, my pre-mixed (by me) ink wash separated, but I'm really loving the texture of it. (You'll have to click on the image to enlarge it to see the cool texture). It reminds me of what a person (not me) can do with lithography stones.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Accordian Guy #2

, music picture
Here's the reward for persisting in making bad pictures--one that I really like! It wouldn't have happened if I hadn't made all those other pictures. What did someone say--that you can't expect to like more than about 25% of the pictures you make.

That 25% really liking, 50% okay, and 25% hating is about right. Well, you won't get the ones you really like without making lots--unless of course you're really good....sigh.

But this made me think of the Far Side cartoon with a split frame--on the top an angel is handing someone a harp and saying "Welcome to Heaven--here's your harp" and on the bottom the devil handing someone an accordion and saying "Welcome to Hell--here's your accordion."

I do like harp music, but ultimately, the accordion is more versatile. You can play raucous dance music with is as well as beautiful, moody stuff....

Accordion Guy

New pen nib--no ink droppings (ugh--that sounds like bird droppings). I wanted to post something new before I started commenting on people's fleeting pictures, because I really don't like my fleeting picture.

But I figure that as long as I'm learning something (which I am), then it's all good.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Illustration Friday: Fleeting

Looking at the Talisman pictures has made me think again about scenes. I've been doing a lot of portraity sort of things, but I feel pretty clueless when it comes to making pictures with any kind of narrative (okay, I guess last week's had a narrative) or pictures with more than one thing in them.

And so thinking about it made me realize that I'd better start WORKING on it, because unless I do, it's not going to magically happen.

So here's a narrative picture. The idea is something about life being fleeting, except that I don't mean it quite like that, but more somehow, that even though life IS fleeting, it keeps renewing itself, and it's all WORTH IT!

And I'm not even going to list all the things that I see as terribly wrong with this picture. All I'm going to say is that I'm not going to make any more ball point pen pictures. I hate the way they smell.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Illustration Friday: Talisman

so Rowena's college instructor was right. Ball point pen DOES blob. But I used the cheapest of the cheap--a Bic pen. I don't recall this happening with Monday's picture. Still, though, the blobbing is far less serious than the big splotches with the dip pen. Also, it smears when you erase the pencil underneath it.

I do love regular old pen and ink--dip pens, dark dark black black ink--clean clean edges.

So I'm not going on any big ball point pen campaign. It's just more convenient for doing at school (my student teaching is still teaching all day, and what else should I be doing?).

As far as the talisman goes, it's not actually IN the picture, but it's what gives her the courage to face down the bear.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ball-point pen portrait

Wow--I've forgotten how much I love ball point pen. It's so EASY, and it's not messy (plus I can use it anywhere). My student teacher is doing her full-time teaching stretch right now, and I have lots of time on my hands during the school day, but I just haven't thought I should get out my inks and set up anywhere. Where would I do it? In the library? In the English office? Though I'm not self-conscious about sketching anywhere, that seems a bit much. But I always have a ball-point pen in my bag.

It doesn't look like the scan got all the subtlety of this, and printer paper can't hold up to the stress of lots of dark lines, but I'm pleased. Maybe today I'll use card stock.