Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Knockin' One Out Real Quick

Going through some of my drawings from the past. Some of them, I'm not sure what was going on, what I intended to do with it once it was done. In other projects, they're either partially completed and abandoned, or once they were done the thrill was gone and I didn't care about the finished product anymore.

Anyways, here's an example of me seeing a panel of a Batman comic from the early 1970s, drawn by Neal Adams, and it sticking in my eye. I looked at it a little longer, and then decided that yes, I would do an attempt at a replica of the image, at 11 x 17 inches. Mixed results. Overall, it looks good, but I should have put down the bamboo brush and picked up the nib for the thinner lines that should have been on his cheek. As it is, he's a bit "shaggy." Also, a bit of ink got smudged and drifted away from his chin. It's always something, folks.

Still, it's nice sometimes to see how we can sit down and in under two hours knock out something like this as opposed to the multi-weeks it takes to make a painting or a model. We need these quick-hits every now and then. It feels good to be able to have a few days off, and emerge with something to show for it: not something that's "coming along" or "promises to be good" but something that's DONE.

11 x 17 Bristol, with india ink applied with a #1 round bamboo brush.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Project: Freestanding Backdrop

So a few weeks back, my brother asks me if I can create a backdrop for his daughter's performance in something called the "Rose Queen" competition. She wanted to be able to sit onstage on a park bench, playing a guitar while behind her would be a backdrop depicting a moonlit night in a park, with a moon, lamp, and bench behind her, with silhouette of a couple behind her. The specs: 4 foot by 8 foot max, on wheels. And in order to make the benches match back-to-back, I would have to account for the gap between the bottom of the wheels and the bottom of the image. Simple enough.. right? Yeah, right. It actually was pretty easy. And right on schedule, I came down with strep throat, and suffered through the entire two week process. Really. As a matter of fact, my throat still hurts a little! The only real challenge was regarding the structural aspect. I wanted the image to face forward with no sign of the support from the front. I didn't want the audience to know what was involved with it all; they shouldn't have to look at that. And what if I tipped the wood upright only to discover that the thing wanted to tip over (a very real possibility)? A lot of ifs... Well, my brother and I went to Home Depot, and after about $56 was spent, we took it all to my garage, to the tremendous summer heat (well over 100), and to my sore throat, headache, gross burning eyes, and neverending cough.
Here's the board, a 5mm, 4x8 foot piece of underlayment.  I went as thin and light as possible to try to fight off the possibility of it tipping forward.
The backside, the side that the audience should NEVER see.  Amazingly, it DOES NOT TIP OVER!!!  The thin bracing that frames the backside of the plywood was glued and clamped into place instead of the use of nails or screws.  The base and supports of course utilized 3 inch wood screws.
Lying on its side, coated with house paint primer.
The moon is actually the primer showing through.  I made  a point to not have to paint a white moon over the dark blue, so that the moon would look fresh and bright.  I then went over the moon with a yellowish white.  The rest of the background is basically cobalt blue, in vary states of light or dark.  The top of the image is not black, but cobalt blue with some crimson mixed in.

I created a silhouette of a street lamp from a picture online of a central park lamp.  It was important to not fully render the lamp with details: it needed to fall back, behind the performer, and not distract.
Here's a close-up of the finished sky, with glow around moon and clusters of stars.  I think that there's some nice depth created right to the right of the lamp top, where the stars twinkle in the distance.  I 'm not too sure if these touches will be noticeable to an audience, but hopefully there'll be a spotlight down on her, and it will hit the cobalt blue and come to life.
The finished image.  The bench was carefully measured to match up perfectly with the actual bench she'll be sitting on.  I'm really happy with how only the image stands out, and you can't even see the wheels.

The best part:  when it's tied up and taken away, so I don't have to look at it anymore!