Monday, 29 June 2009

my stuff again...

Ok, I promise to start my research properly now rather than keepin on doin' my own thing...

but before I do, here's what I've been working on in the last couple of weeks...

I listen to a lot of different styles of music and during the summer so far I'm loving anything funky. One group a friend told me of a while back is the french DJ quartet, C2C. Blending their contemporary Dj mixing and scratching skills with Jazz, Swing, and Blues to name but a few. Anyway, I became inspired to create a design (to go on a t-shirt) that tried capturing the fact that they're 4 seperate Dj's and this is what I came up with.. (after an annoying stuggle with finding out where stuff is in Illustrator).

I have recently tried contacting them through Myspace to see if they could feature/use this design anywhere.. but no reply as of yet.

James Toseland 52:
Being a motorbike fan I usually spend weekends anxiously waiting the MotoGP races (oh its been exciting already this season!!! Catalunya and Assen!), and being British, I back our own Great Brit, James Toseland. I've been wanting to get myself a t-shirt or something to show my support for him when I was again hit with inspiration for my own.

Taking his race number (52) I thought why not simply add the Union Jack to it? I'm quite surprised this hasn't been used already by him.. (watch it now.. Donnington race and he'll have something similar/better ). His current version is exactly the same except uses flat blocks of colour for the numbers, but with adding a busier background there was a risk that I may lose focus/detail on the muscial score (representing his love of music and his band). So, I made a couple of variations and I again decided to send this on to see if he could use it. Here's hoping....

Theanon Wonder:
He is a good friend of mine, often seen dancing in public, insulting people (me), reading comics, making and listening to music as well as occasionally selling comics too. And as a friend I took his existing logo he created for himself and worked my digital magic and soon I will work my screen printing magic to produce a t-shirt or two for him. Hope he likes them...

Stolen from his myspace: As a founding member of MFTBS (Music from the back seat), Theanon has been making tunes for over a decade. based in the sunny streets of manchester, england. music is important, it helps make you aware of who you are. it communicates what you can't say in words. making music is one of the freest ways to live your life. peace. if you want to know more just ask.

Multi Purpose Dalek:
This was actually inspired by Theanon. On a dull day in Manchester he got into a conversation of how Daleks are so easy to draw that anyone could do it... and from this one day sprang a wall of Daleks in varying sizes, styles and abilities. He basically invited people to do their own version and it was then mounted behind the counter for all to see... this was my entry... well its actually a re-working of it.. I still need to add a hand holding the Dalek by his head as it seasons a salad or something :P

Right... now that is out of the way... I need to get back to researching, refine my screen printing, order new supplies and get back into exercising more again... i hate summer... i really do despise the warm weather

Friday, 19 June 2009

more screen printing tests

Today I decided to try screen print something proper with my set up. I was introduced to screen printing at Uni this year and for some reason I loved it, I'd only done it a couple of times but I seem to have really taken a liking to it... so much so that I bought my own home printing kit and its just recently expanded a little.

the image: This is a drawing I originally made for a band t-shirt (Hail Brethren, Manchester) but unfortunately they split up soon after. I drew the fox and the pheasant to fit in with the popular trend at the moment of illustrating wildlife, in hopes that both the band and myself could lightly dip into a mainstream vein and gain a bit of popularity with it. I couldnt find a reference image so I merged two seperate ones together, printed it out and then traced over the top of it. Thats right I used tracing paper, I found it hard to come to terms with this but really I'm not copying a photograph, I am instead interpreting the lines as I see them ro think they should be... in other words I've not drawn it completely accurate to the reference i made.

the prints: I made a few mistakes both in the exposing stage and the printing stage but overal I'm fairly happy with my first proper screen printing experience at home whilst using photo emulsion. For some reason I keep getting strange bubble like areas in my emulsion once its dried. It's almost like as it dries, trapped air bubbles pop and little areas of my screen are no longer covered fully, meaning a weaker overal coverage. I had asked for advice on and most suggested that I expose my screen for a couple mins extra to what my test result suggested and in doing so my stencil proved VERY diffcult to wash out and the little air bubble things ended up washing out in places too, thus ruining my stencil. I also miss placed the design during exposure resulting in the top of the fox's ear being too close to the edge where there was no emulsion hence the large smudges... but as I said, this was a proper test of what I could do with my hobbyist kit and home made light rig, so not that bad considering I got a fair ammount of fine detail out of it.

what's next?: Well now I think I need to work buy an extra screen or 2 so I can print more than just a black outline and maybe work on adding halftone patterns into some designs to suggest tonal areas. I'm not really working for a purpose at the moment, I'm just enjoying using the technique and seeing what I can do with it using my own images. Bit of research is in order I think...

I also wanted to print myself a "Pieface" t-shirt today, but the problems with washing out the stencil resulted in my outline stencil breaking down, but so as not to waste it I printed on paper to see if my idea would at least work. The colours are due to my limited paint supplies at the moment (only got basic black,white,blue,red and yellow) and I hadn't tested the inks on paper yet. Before anyone asks and without going into too much detail, Pieface was a nickname I got at high school (it's not actually a funny story, believe it or not), and it's sort of stuck with me but I also used to use the name as a way of keeping my professional/commissioned work seperate
from my own personal work... although recently the two have begun to merge back together.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

..this little light of mine..

This is my line in the sand...

For some reason I can never live up to my own expectations. Any work i create is obselete and rubbish once I've finished it. It never looks how i want it too and i wouldnt put my name on it even if you paid me. But recently I've been listenin to a few choice songs and realised the effect they have on me. When i hear this little light of mine, or Oh happy days from Sister Act 2 i just get a tingling in my fingers and all up my arms. I'm suddenly filled with confidence and immediately smile.... so..

this image is to be my line drawn in the sand to mark the point where I'm going to start having confidence in my own work and let my creative light shine.

inspired by a project at uni in which i looked at the work of Mick Marston. I wanted to create a clear image that anyone could instantly read, but the addition of the text gives it a personal touch and makes it that bit more meaningful to me. I've run through so many variations of this, some with simple alterations, others being a little more complex (a hand reaching for the switch etc). I still hate Illustrator for how fiddly it is, when in photoshop I've learnt shortcuts and become fluid in my way of working.

I also intend to make this into a screen printed poster (or even a t-shirt) at some point, utilising my new printing set up :slow: gonna try make myself a pieface t-shirt tomorrow before i start on others though!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

what I'm doing now...

To get the ball rolling, and so I don't start over thinking things again, I'm putting up some of the drawings I've been doing whilst not in University. Before we broke up for the summer we were focussing on life drawing and there was something about blind contour drawing that really took a hold of me. The excitement as you don't know how it will look until finished, the strange exaggeration of your subject, how it captures more "character" than a photorealistic drawing and mainly as it removes any excessive thought process on my behalf and i could just draw.

Spending so long in an art based environment I've picked up a few bad habits/practices in which I have now set these unreachable goals in order for a piece of my own artwork to be accecptable (in my eyes). According to these rules, each of my contour drawings is "wrong" but it wasn't until researching Matisse and Picasso that I realised that I was just wrong....

The idea of looking at "character" was also suggested to me, and rather than me taking a overly cartoon styled approach (in which I normally make things cute looking), contour drawing has been a great way of capturing the character of almost ANYTHING! Rather than looking at your page to see if the line you have drawn follows your subject, not looking at the page gives the technique a naievity somewhat reminiscent of a childs drawing where representation takes over accuracy. However in doing this you achieve a new sort of accuracy that captures the feeling and essence of your subject more so than a photograph.

(all these were either drawn from my own photos or images from magazines)

this first is an example of how i tried drawing accurately (on the right) and then used contour drawing (on the left)

as opposed to my cute characters :

I've been obsessed with finding my own style this past year. Something that I feel is truly my own and not something copied/influenced by another artists work, something at least a little bit unique to me. I believe blind contour drawing has helped along this path to me finding somewhere that I am happy working.

It's also allowed me to connect a little more with two of my favourite artists, Jim Mahfood and Ashley Wood. Don't worry, I'm not going to go on too much about them again, only that the distinct styles featured in both make use of exaggerating features and anatomy within their photo-like compositions. Since I've been working from photos a lot recently too, I'm now looking at taking this into screen printing posters. I've recently tried contacting Jim Mahfood too, hopefully looking forward to hearing something back from him when he's done promoting :)

Jim Mahfood:

Ashley Wood:

Rick Myers

Rick Myers' is an ex-Stockport College student whose work I guess, defies easy categorisation. He is well known for his design work within the music industry (Doves, Badly Drawn Boy). You don't have to box yourself in! The way you 'think' can be what you are commissioned for.

Friday, 12 June 2009

...proverbially on the band wagon...

Finally decided to set up a blog, partly because friends have recommended it and also because we have to as part of our 2nd year of the Illustration course. Hopefully I'll be posting some work up here soon... when i get around to it. I'm just deciding now whether to take a friends advice and twitter it up too...

for now, Welcome

Chris Howker