Saturday, January 12, 2013

*waggle eyebrows*

Last semester was a sledgehammer. With the addition of a few actual projects for money, this is the first semester in a long time where I had less than a 4.0. OH NO. MY PRECIOUS GRADES. I'm not even going to tell you what I had when I left the U, because it's too depressing. So the new term's about to start, and instead of spending the day working on my portfolio pieces some more (portfolio class starts next week), I was inspired by a text message conversation and just devoted precious hours to this wreck:
It's me. Waggling my eyebrows suggestively. My hair's actually lavender now, but the teal lasted long enough that a tribute seemed in order.

Yaaaaay. I made a stupid thing. But I can't stop staring at it; it's eerie and pretty awful, and those eyebrows...hope you're happy, Samm, because I'm going to use this everywhere.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Building character

As both of you know, I enjoy fantasy art, so I was delighted to have the opportunity this summer to take one of the Animation program workshops by Ed Binkley, whose work I really enjoy. It was a Photoshop class on fantasy character creation, which sounded AMAZING, so I got special dispensation to enroll by asking nicely and name dropping my roommate Nate, who is amazing at art (that there is a work-in-progress, by the way. He's freaking pro) and almost done with the Animation program. Nate vouched for me, which was good enough for Ed, so I was in. I baked Nate some thank-you cookies, because I'm a nice roommate.

Then we headed off on our Fantasy Character Creation adventure along with a lot of his classmates and a few of mine, one of whom was the inimitable Lauryn, who is better than me at everything and made that awesome Miskatonic university poster I linked a while ago. Lauryn is modest as well as talented, and claims I do cool stuff too, but she totally owns my face and I'm ok with that.

So, anyway. All fanboying aside, the class was great. We learned a couple techniques and a lot of tricks, and I was delighted to see that my traditional methods were the base of the techniques we learned. Like this one, which is essentially heightened drawing, where you work from big, very transparent shapes to smaller and more opaque strokes, eventually becoming the tiniest and most opaque lines. It's just like oil painting: fat -> lean, dark-> light, thin-> thick, transparent-> opaque. We drew mostly interesting or old faces, since they come with character already installed, and then do a lot of warping and stretching and flipping and other such manipulations in transform and liquefy.  Along with this strange old lady, I draw the late and great Ray Bradbury and eventually turned him into a painting which I grew to hate and am not gonna show you. But you can see my sketch of him, which is basically just a painted copy of the reference photograph.

Looks pretty neat, I think. Just white and black round marker brushes in Photoshop. Nothing fancy. It took a while, but I got faster eventually. For the final painting of Bradbury and a few test runs of different old lady versions, I added layers of transparent colour set to multiply and painted them like watercolours. You don't get pictures of that.

Next up were quick silhouettes, to get a basic idea of movement and shape. We drew a bunch, saved a few, and used one for our next technique. Here's some of mine; I picked the guy with the pointy hat for my final and the kicking-leg kid for fun.

Kicking kid started out as a drawing of the previous type with white paint directly over the plain silhouette, and I got its face on and that's about it. I might finish someday, when I have time.
The pointy-hat guy seemed kinda morose to me, and I just get a huge kick out of making sad things, for some reason. I wasn't sure if he was a tin man or a scarecrow or just a guy in a pointy hat, so I tossed him in Photoshop and started doodling. Instead of linking each screencap I took of the progress, I'm just put them all in a line so you can see how long it spent sucking real hard before I finally pulled the finished detail up to the top level. Thing took like eighty hours, and about half of that was getting that level of finish. I like the dude, although he's less downcast than his initial iterations.
So here's the final of the birdman, and Rodey says he needs to be on a faux-letterpress poster with a poem of some sort. I'm inclined to agree, but I've yet to write the poem. Should it be like an old Mother Goose poem, or something anachronistic like "haters gonna hate" or some other trite crap? I dunno. 

The other question for the ages is "what's in the sack?" The current theory is it is a sack of sacks: i.e. an infinisack. It could also be bees, I guess. Or little pieces of river mud, polished like glass. Or fingers. I guess it contains an exercise for the reader, which is the kind of thing that ought to get me slapped. 


So make up a story, readers, and tell it to me, and I'll totally credit you if I use it. Totally.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Something is bringing the Elder Gods back into style with a vengeance, and I have long been on that bandwagon. Whether it is terrifying acolytes with burned-out minds and plush cephalopods or scary idols found on the seabed, all I can say for sure is that there's gold in them thar hills if I can find a way to part erudite fools with their tentacle-doodled dollars. You may recall my foray into clipart some time ago, and my little nautaloids that you can see on the bottom of the image of my dragon base (and the tiny toy C'thul'hu in the bottom right which one ended up clutching) (the better pictures of this are on my broken computer), so I'm no newb to this field.

Print and Design Production was a very simple class on following linear instructions run by the very eccentric Dave, for whom the word "zany" is often appropriate. So I assumed my final project ought to entertain him on some special level, and I knew just the way to do it. I decided to make an activity book, inspired by a book I was/am making full of monsters. The monster book was nowhere near ready, and the final project only needed to be about 5 pages, so I came up with a better idea, and made paperdolls. Here's Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos, progressing from a scribble to a proper cultured sort wearing some very classy digs.


To begin, here's me from this spring with a hand-printed Robot-Hugging-Sputnik shirt. Yeah. I made that. You can buy a sexy ruskie fembot shirt of your very own if you go to my Zazzle, but it won't be hand-made by me. Sorry.

 Let's see. What else did I make. I made a lot of stuff, actually. Hm. Too much to post quickly, so I'll pick two things and skip the rest. Let's do the icon project and Nyarlathhotep. Icon this post, Nyarlie (as I call it) in the next.

 Icons! These were ostensibly for Geek Girl Con, but turned out well enough that I want to actually use them. It's a set of six icons representing six of the common nerd fandoms that you'd see at a convention, and each one is associated with a colour, for ease in t-shirt printing. The idea was that these could be used as signs or as trading card designs or as shirts or dice or basically any other peripheral. Looking for the Sci-fi rooms? Look for the Vulcan. Anime? The girl with the katana. Video games? Bazooka girl. RPGs? Lady Skyrim over there.

 Instead of messing with the formatting, since blogger's HTML editor doesn't seem to know what a break tag is, I'm just gonna upload a stack of images into divs and let you scroll through them. It's all very self-explanatory. Oh, and the robot was replaced by Spiky Armour for style reasons, so each character would have a single cutout.


These will be, as usual, graphic-heavy, type-light posts for a while. So, let's get caught up to speed. Also, despite my web design skills, this is gonna be ugly and probably riddled with errors and sloppiness. My bad. I have a lot of homework. Luckily for me, a lot of my projects are digital, so I've got a lot of screencaps. Let's start with some from a while ago: just a quick fix. This is all from Applied Computer Graphics, almost a year ago.

I started that class with a little of a bonus to my PS skills; I'd been dabbling for ages. So when Nichi introduced this project, the photo manipulation, she wandered over to my seat and suggested quietly, "I think you should try something extra tricky, ok?" So, over a hundred Photoshop layers later, this is what I got. It's a picture of me, seriously warped and distorted into a strange doll-faced robot, and, as you can see on this screencap, each body segment is on a different layer. I just hid some layers before I took the pic so you could see it's not some painting cop-put; I had to be able to move each layer in order to make the best shapes between segments. The pose and colours are obviously Byzantine-inspired, with the gold nimbus around my bald robot head, and a higher-tech Sacred Heart of Mary in my chest, behind the vulgar advertising. Mostly I did this because robot ladies are great.

The final looks like this, and it is a testament to my amazingness. Also, the head's not blended right, but whatever.
Alright. Moving right along. It was time for a catalogue! I picked Thinkgeek, because I can, and it was a rousing good time. I did the layouts and the snowflake illustrations, and here's a sample spread of two inner pages. I'm not gonna mke you look at the whole thing, because that is boring.
It's hard to tell, but the crop borders are correct; I didn't just screencap this like an idiot.

Last project for that class was a poster. This is not a real event, but it should be. Madison Pride does do an LGBT parade, but it's in August, and we 'sconsinites are tough and can endure the elements. Besides, rainbow-coloured mittens are adorable. It's made in Illustrator and is designed to be a three-colour screen print on yellow paper. Fingerless gloves and mittens are super fun to draw, it turns out. We got to present these on the last day of class at the Brass Ring, and we had been instructed not to grab a drink until after the critique. But, when we got there, Nichi'd had a few, and told us just to dive right in, so it was a pretty great critique, over all. Next up: a run through Spring Semester!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Stay Tuned

Wow, it's been a brutal many months. I'll be posting just a highlight reel of projects, since there's no way I'll have time to really update about schoolwork until, well, probably next spring. Six classes last term, a long summer workshop, five classes this term, and a job; I'm going to be fairly incommunicado. But I did make ALL THIS STUFF, so I might's well show it off. Also: if I keep on top on things a little better this term, I might be doing a semi-regular Sunday post about a fun new project.

Monday, February 13, 2012


The was no process here besides giggling. I finished early, so I'm uploading this in class because I am a REBEL. It's a terrible fake business card for a terrible fake business. Click for full size and less messed-up innner pages; issues with the new picture theatre in HTML.