Wednesday 25 February 2009

A quick collage of commissions over the last couple of weeks - work is nice and steady at the moment. A truck dealers 60th, a customs officer's send off and two weddings.
The girls face is a series of 'face only' jobs I've been doing for several corporate clients - it was almost speed painting, for me, pleased how it turned out. They're A4 size and are used instead
of a photo in company printed material and their websites. Nice jobs.
The surf one I can't let go without giving a plug for Paul Lasaine, he's in my links, who paints the most stunning waves - and I have to do a lot of them - give yourself a treat and check out his work. Nearest I could find to an 'on line' lesson. Court Jones is also no novice when it comes to painting good surfing waves either.

Monday 23 February 2009

Step by step WIP .....

Many people have all sorts of opinions ( and strange theories !) about digital painting. To allay one urban myth, the software doesn't do it for you, the computer provides a very unique set of tools that not only replicates traditional painting it adds dimensions to go far beyond those mediums. It is very slowly breaking down barriers into art circles which tend to view it with disdain usually due to a confused logic regarding 'real' art and perceived cheating. I have had work refused in local art shows that allow photography to be exhibited - I scratch my head on that one ! (Every photographer I know enhances and manipulates everything through a variety of software)

My method is demonstrated above. I start with a rough pencil sketch of the subject which I scan in and fill with a skin tone (65% fill) and then paint over the top of it. I do it all on one layer unless I'm adding glasses which I'll draw on another layer. There is no 'magic' involved in fact it is pretty close to normal painting. I don't use a huge brush and block in areas, as some do, I slowly fill each area and use a limited skin tone palette. All up the face is around 3 hours work - perhaps longer - rarely in one sitting. I usually have about six commissions at any one time and I hop from one to another - you get tunnel vision looking at the same painting all the time and often coming back to it later you spot changes that are needed you couldn't see before.
I only use three brushes for 90% of painting. I used to use a massive array but got rid of them bit by bit. Altering the Brush presets gives you much more versatility. 
( Larger version of the WIP is HERE)

I use Photoshop, CS4, as my tool of choice and also use Artrage for preliminary work. If you moving down the digital path and want to start out without the expense, and complexity, of Photoshop I can thoroughly recommend it - Check it out HERE.
I have used Painter IX, which some people swear by, I've never warmed to it, the GUI is far too complex and it isn't as intuitive to use as good old PS. I'm also too old to learn a new set of keyboard shortcuts.

Oh, and naturally I use a Macintosh !! (I'll get a bite there from someone ........ )

The WIP above is a current commission which I will post when the whole theme is completed.

Saturday 21 February 2009

'Live' Stuff .......

Yesterday saw yours truly thrown well out of his comfort zone. I did my first 'live' caricaturing show at a corporate event at the WACA in Perth. Sadly, in all the excitement, I only took the one photo of a caricature I did of a gorgeous 7 month old boy - who never sat still at all !
It was a great experience handing out quick sketches, that at home would have been destined for the shredder, to the gratitude of amazingly (to me !) appreciative people. 
Experienced all those things that people told me that subjects would do - eating, answering mobiles, holding conversations across the room. Did about 25 in the three hours which was OK - really only started to caricature in the last hour as the confidence grew and more middle aged blokes more suitable for 'the job' sat down. Started with a run of young lovelies - the worst beginning - make them gorgeous said Kelly - what if they already are !!!
Went with Mick Devine a local Perth caricaturist to get some tips and a feel for it - in fact my line was so steady I never saw any of his work. Got up after the quickest three hours I can remember with no aches and pains, which surprised me, I thought RSI would set in.
Mistakes - used coloured pastel pencils, a lot of them, sharpened both ends - they go blunt quick and don't show up too well. I did buy some Sharpies, which I liked, from Kid at the NCN Convention - they must dissolve in air cargo as I haven't seen them since I got home.
I tried to get too good a likeness - not wise at this stage - got visions of Joe Bluhm's caricatures. looked at mine - decided no one in this room, except me, knows who Joe Bluhm is !!! (sorry Joe) AND I'll never, ever use A4 size paper again - way too small - got a great face where am I going to put all the hair and cleavage !
Did I mention I enjoyed myself, my drawing may have been below what I normally accept but my patter was pretty good !!!
"Call that a big nose mate ?"

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Colin Barnett Caricature

I finally finished the Colin Barnett caricature - threw away the gimmicky little body - I'm fairly pleased how it turned out despite being super self critical. Even typing this out I'm looking at the collar and tie thinking 'I should have done more there !'
It's part of an ACA exhibition running at the Ellenbrook Gallery from Friday 20th to the 21st of March. I have put it up for sale with all my proceeds to go to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.
I also entered it with a couple of my earlier works that are not for sale.

I've also overcome the 'brush lag' problem in Photoshop CS4. When you have a Mac with more than 4 Gig of RAM you have to install a plug-in called VM Buffer, available from Adobe, to fix the annoying glitch. It also was in CS3 but Adobe don't advertise it or even have the plug-in on the install DVD. It's a dream to use now.

Sunday 15 February 2009

Check this out ...

I'm in the business of selling my caricatures, though I'm aware most of the traffic through my blog is other caricature artists from throughout the world - we all check on and are interested in what each other are up to. A wonderful international network.
On the weekend a Canadian caricaturist called in, left a couple of nice comments about my work, so I thought I'd check out his stuff, well, WOW !!!
I'm a big fan of Jason Seiler - his stuff is the sort of style where I humbly aim my work toward, with a bit of Kreuger, Jota Leal ( no he's probably a bit too stretchy for me !) and Jan Op De Beeck.
Well to cut a long story short check out this guy from Canada, Dominic Philibert, he's up there with them his blog is HERE. Enjoy !!
Oh if you're a potential customer come back here afterwards because he'd be VERY expensive !!!

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Fluro clad bike riders ......

Just finished this commission of a bike rider for his birthday, appropriately dressed in the fluro gear and several pairs of footy socks in the pants - I've got the mountain bike in the shed, good one too, but it's shorts and T shirt for me - I know what I'd look like in the 'correct' gear. 
Do they make the baggy, more comfortable version for the 'fuller' figure ?

Victorian Bushfires

The tragic bushfires in Victoria have saddened everyone in the country. The appalling loss of life will lead to a lot of soul searching regarding the causes outside of the 'perfect storm' scenario. It's probably too early for that, we are all still numb from the magnitude of the disaster. But for the magnificent efforts of the CFA we can only theorise on how much worse it could have been.

I live on a bush block in the Perth hills, not unlike the countryside where this occurred, it brings at all home. Dig deep Australia.

I have had many emails and messages of concern from colleagues and friends around the world which I really appreciate. I live a long way from the fires, and the floods, though, some 2000 klm in fact so I've added a couple of illustrations showing both my location and the huge size of this magnificent sunburnt country.

A verse from Dorothea Mckellar's famous poem seems appropriate :

'I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains,
I love her far horizons,
I love her Jewel - sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me !'

You can find the poem in full HERE

........... these would make great 'T' shirts   " Call that BIG .... "

Friday 6 February 2009

Colin Barnett WIP ...

The ACA (Australian Cartoonists Assoc) are having an exhibition at the Ellenbrook Gallery from 20th February until March 22nd. They asked if I could pop some work in, so I'm in the progress of completing this caricature of our Premier and State Leader Colin Barnett. Not sure how I'm going with a solid scene to place him in ... I'll work something out. The theme is fairly loose 'Heroes and Villains' so that can cover a broad spectrum !!
I'm also going to pop in a couple of my favourite 'oldies' Mick Jagger (baby boomer Hero) and the Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan (complete dead set villain) !

Thursday 5 February 2009

Mr & Mrs Fifty !

I had a little lull after Christmas - I thought 'uh-ho' here comes the recession but the old order book has filled up again and I won't need to get the begging bowl out until at least the end of April !!
I hope the class of 1959'ers prove as lucrative as the 58'ers when it comes to their 50th Birthdays. Here's the first two, a couple who share their 50th's in the same week - fishing and basketball fans.