Friday, June 19, 2009

Illustration Friday: Drifting

I made these both the week of "Pale", and am only posting them now because I'm in the middle of packing for a big trip. I'll miss two weeks of Illustration Friday. I hate to do that. Having that prompt every week has done wonders for me.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Raining on my Parade

I suppose I should have looked into this sooner, but in my last post, I asked about copyright issues with reference material, and now that I've looked into it a bit, it seems that what I've been doing is completely illegal. All of my reference-using drawings are considered "derivative" works, and the originals (the sources of which I don't even know) are protected by copyright law. Evidently, the only LEGAL references (other than things from publications which explicitly state that that's what they're for) are those you create yourself.

So my accordion guy pictures, three of which I absolutely love and was thinking about perhaps making into cards, are Not Cool. This bums me out.

When I made the illustrations for Flat Earth, Round Earth, I used my son, his best friend, and a friend of mine as references. I took pictures of the boys in all the poses I could imagine wanting to use, and made three or four sketches of my friend. I even had my son's friend's mother sign a release form allowing me to use images of him in the book. THAT was all the way it should be.

I guess I was thinking (no, I really wasn't thinking at all) that since these were just things I was making for myself, and other people, that it didn't really matter. The likelihood of getting CAUGHT are almost nil. But since I would like someday to expand into doing something like this for real, and would need to put together some kind of portfolio, and send samples to folks, those things had better not be things with someone else's work.

So after being bummed awhile here (and eating far too many crepes that I made for my son for breakfast, and there was a pile left over), I'm thinking about how I can procure my own accordion-guy (and other musician) images. It's not like I don't know dozens of musicians. It's not like I'm not around them playing ALL the time. It's not like I can't say, "Hey, I'm making some drawings of musicians; could I take some pictures of you to use for references?" I can't imagine any of them saying "no." So there. I can do that.

Right now I'm working on two drawings of my sons. They're fair game.

(I wonder if I should delete all my posts that are violating copyright laws--most of the pictures are very different from the originals, but still....I bet some of them would be recognizable--29 out of the 54 pieces I'd say have for a reference something that was published elsewhere). Argh!

Too close?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Accordion Guy #6

Just more pen-and-ink drawings, with the idea that if I do enough of them, I'll get better at them. Plus they're a lot of fun.

What are the "rules" about references? What sorts of images are copyrighted? I mean, if you use an image from the internet as a reference, how different does your drawing have to be from the original photography to not be violating copyright law? Like this one. I actually don't know where I got it from. I printed off a whole bunch of accordion pictures a couple months ago, but I don't think any of them would be recognizable as "that picture". Sure, maybe something about the pose, but not the compositions, and I've taken a lot of liberties with a lot of things....

As with a whole bunch of other drawings I've done, I am still fascinated by the wrinkles on people's faces....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pipe Guy

I most definitely don't have the patience for this. I spent a good portion of the day cleaning the house (and only part of the house), with occasional forays out into the garden where I pulled up ash tree seedlings and saplings, and down into the basement to put laundry in the washer or dryer, and I NEEDED to do something else.

I'm fascinated by this guy's face, which almost looks okay from a distance (but not up close at all), but this drawing does NOT capture it at ALL, and now I'm cranky because it did not at all turn out the way I wanted it to.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Illustration Friday: Unfold

After my last couple of drawings, which were much more serious and which I liked a lot, this sketch is a bit ridiculous--both in its subject matter and its haphazard execution. It was my late-at-night-before-going-to-sleep drawing. But here's how it came about:

With the topic "unfold", I was envisioning some kind of piece which started with my son as a baby, and showing his life unfolding, with him becoming the young man that he is today. But when I started perusing pictures looking for likely images, it somehow seemed way too complicated, and I couldn't decide on a starting place. But there were too pages of pictures of him playing in a cardboard box, and somehow, with the topic "unfold", I saw that as a kind of unfolding too. He explored ALL the possibilities.

While most of my drawings of either on Strathmore bristol board, or Arches cold-press watercolor paper, this is in my sketchbook. As far as the rest of the image (outside of the baby in the box), what can I say. It kindof just happened. I don't particularly like it, but at midnight after a full day of playing music and talking with people, what can I say? Alas. I'm kindof amused by the whole thing, but am also ready to work again on something more serious.....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Red Coat Woman

I am really really liking these colored pencils on watercolor. They're water-soluable ones, but I haven't yet been tempted to use water on them....

...and these last two pictures are things I never even dreamed I could make. I really like them, And though I used references for them, they are not just copies. They become real people, with their own characters and lives. I love it when that happens (there's no point, otherwise).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rainy Day Projects

Okay, so I'm a little embarrassed to have posted three things in one day, but what else is there to do on a rainy day. I haven't done anything with colored pencils in a million years...okay, maybe not a million. I have a lot of them, but I hardly ever use them. It was a nice change of pace.

Accordion Guy #5

, m*******It's been cold and rainy all day, with intermittent storms. I've been alternating working on things like this and playing the nyckelharpa I'm borrowing. I think I'm going to go mad.

Accordion Guy #4

The only problem with making a picture that you really like (like the last one, not this one) is that for sure, the next one you're not going to like nearly so much. But you have to do it anyway. This one falls smack in the middle of that middle 50%, which is a shame, but oh well. I know what it is that I don't like about it, and what I'd do differently if I were going to do it again (which I most likely won't). That's the good thing about making pictures solely for yourself. You're ALLOWED to make bad pictures. And on this one, once I'd messed up (the blotch of ink on his face), then I was even more free to experiment, because it really didn't matter any more. It's only through experimenting that you discover things that hopefully you can use deliberately on other pictures.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Illustration Friday: Craving

All she craves is to be in contact with the currents of the universe.

That's what I crave too.

It seems that a lot of my favorite books from childhood on take that as a kind of basic premise. Think about A Wrinkle in Time--Meg and Charles Wallace are fighting the nothing that blots out the joy that all of the universe, from the stars down to the mitochondria feel in the dance they make together.

As far as the picture goes, it's one I started a couple months ago for a different Illustration Friday topic, but never finished. It was watercolor and water-soluble painting crayons. I couldn't find the original reference for the woman, so I had to wing it. Today I drew over the original with ink. It was just a little bit too wide for the scanner, so it's cut off on either side.

I think that I will print out a copy of this to put on a card for yet another friend who's turning 50. She's is one ALWAYS to celebrate the currents of the universe.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ball-point pen portrait

Here's tonight's before-I-go-to-sleep (and I REALLY should be in bed already) contribution to my sketchbook. It's from a photo of a friend of mine. I probably spent fifteen minutes on it, maybe twenty. The photograph itself was wonderful, but the sketch doesn't quite capture it (okay, so it doesn't come anywhere close to capturing it--I'll probably attempt this again tomorrow). And it has nowhere near the charm that this earlier 30 second sketch I did of her during an after-dinner music session....(she's the one on the bottom)...