A little about my artwork:
I interpret the words written on a page by telling the story behind the story working with pen and ink, watercolor and Photoshop, I fuse old techniques with modern ones to create a world that every drawing can speak to a child or grownups.
““I don’t have a friend, so I’ll make one.” she said. She formed his body out of fluffy white marshmallows. She used chocolate chips for his eyes and nose. For his mouth she curled up a piece of red licorice. Finally, she gave him a bow tie made from a fruit roll and buttons made out of jelly beans.”
Q) What images comes to mind from the text?
A) “Ghost Busters”, “Michelin Man”
or even this little guy?
I don’t have a lot to say about the sketches and they are not in any order. Except it is not easy to have strong iconic images like the ones above and the original story of the “Gingerbread Man“ over your head and still try to come up with something different.
I am still on a R. Crumb kick, after seeing his artwork last Saturday I was searching the Internet and I stumbled upon this piece of artwork done by Marc Palm who redrew the CHEAP THRILLS album cover to be used for a upcoming Muppet Rawk II group show at Ouch My Eye Gallery back in 2009.
So I had to share it.
From Marc Palm blog “Let Me Draw My Stuff for You”
Well I finally decided to use some of the artwork from the picture book The Marshmallow Man.
The Marshmallow Man is a retelling of the “Gingerbread Boy/Man”. It was not an easy decision on what story to talk about.
I have been thinking about how I breakdown a story from start to finish, and what project would I use to help me show my thinking process.
I loved this story from the first read and I laughed myself silly coming up with all the wonderful new and old characters for this book.
I also have kept a lot of the sketches some bad some good but I think I can pull it altogether and give a good idea how I do it.
Last Saturday In between my two jobs I got a chance to see Robert Crumb’s artwork at the Society of Illustrators. The exhibit is called “lines Drawn on Paper” the show ends on April 30th 2011.
Go see it!
It was a treat to see his original pen & ink artwork created long before computers were part of the how we work now; the paper yellowing from age the use of whiteout to fix a mistake (that is still white after all this time) or one of my favorites was cutting out a whole sections of a panel or part of the title and replacing it with a new one. This was part of how most of us worked then. So it brought back good memories of all the comic artwork I did back at the School of Visual Arts.
I met Mr. Crumb once back in 1987 while I was a student. He did a lecture at SVA. I still remember what he said “Don’t give up your day job” I can remember a lot of the students not liking to hear those words. What the students didn’t realize was “don’t give up your day job” was sound advice, he was telling us you don’t have to compromise your artwork if you can pay your bills or being a Cartoonist is not an easy path with very few of you are going to make it so have a plan “B”. If anyone read “The Village Voice” articles this statement still holds water in 2011
So in 1987 I came away with those words and R.Crumb's signature on my album
“CHEAP THRILLS" by Big Brother & The Holding Company, it was a good day back in 1987 and on Saturday 2011.
What was I thinking?
How often do you say this line in your life? I lost count. In the world of emails, blogging, chat rooms and so on there seem to me I’m asking this question more and more. Did you read my last post? I just did, and have no real idea what I was trying to say. I am not a writer nor do not portray one on TV. I am just a guy who loves to draw and would love to make a living at it.
Blogging was not my idea (it was my editors at 4RV that suggested it) I do not enjoy typing away at a keyboard for hours just to relay a few paragraphs to entice you (the public) to buy one of the picture books I illustrated or hire me for your next job. I do enjoy showing off the newest artwork that is always fun. But when it comes to the written language it always was and is a challenge for me.
So I have made up a few rules: Most I have stolen from other people so I can not take credit for others intelligence.
1) I do my best not to respond to an email when it makes me angry. I try to wait 24hrs
(I have a smart phone so it is not always easy to let it go since I can with in seconds tell you what I think with a few clicks of my fingers on a keypad)
2) If I do not have the time I will not post on my Blog. When I am feeling rushed or tries to convey more then one message none of it will make sense.
3) I will not ask a question nor answer a thread in a chat room for the same reason above.
I once asked if anyone else received a certain email that looked like a scam. The answers I got were so off what I thought I wrote that it took me four moths to ask another question.
It was on the same day I wrote the last post I should have stuck to just one topic.
4) I don't have #4 yet but I'll think about it.
With all this said I break the rules often I have gotten better over time BUT! I still do it. So what happened yesterday that did not allow me to correctly convey my thoughts?
Answer: All the above,
If anyone has read any of my past post you will read that my 15 year old dog gets seizures, one happened on Tuesday after an attack it takes him a few day to pull himself back together. That means my girlfriend and I need to keep an eye on him to make sure he can walk a straighter line and he is not having any new episodes.
"Lack of writing skill", in the comment section of a past posts someone "Anonymously” suggested I should use spell check I am assuming they meant it to be helpful I do use it and often blogger spell check does not always tell me if a word is wrong or if I am using the correct sounding word or if I need a comma (,) I am typing this out in Microsoft Word and a great friend of mine told me about “After the Deadline” an online tool that will do the same thing Hi! :D
So even thought I think there intention was good the fact that they wrote it anonymously bothered me.
So hopefully all the “T’s” is crossed and my “i’s” dotted
It is not easy to explain what I do as an artist. I have a formula on how I work but like my rules I break them sometimes it work sometimes it doesn’t. So saying it is fun to work in Photoshop is okay but it will not convey the emotional contact I have with the artwork and my lack of writing skill will always have difficulty expressing them.
For those who work in Photoshop you will know that there is no one way of doing things. It took me six months of playing with it before I showed my first illustration. You will also be aware of the use of layers I’ve been told that some artist have had a hard time using layers at first. The concept of layer was one of the first things I understood right away I think it must be from working in animation were you can work with a multitude of cells (clear plastic sheets of paper) to create one drawing or a whole scene.
(I can use a lot of layers)
So I think in a future post I will attempt to give some kind of breakdown on how I work but I will post it over a few days instead of one just to keep my thinking clearer.
PS buy my books I am a much better illustrator then a blogger
One of my coworkers asked me while working on this book about how do I paint the artwork?
My answer has always been the same "I scan it and paint/color it digitally".
And what does that mean?
Well after I sketch out the page I might do a tighter pencil drawing if whom I'm working for requires it;
(4RV Publishing does not I just send finished artwork and cross my fingers)
then I ink it by hand using Pigma Micron 01, 02, 03, 05 size/style ink pen. I scan the ink drawing to complete it using Photoshop.
pen & ink
Photoshop has opened new doors for me it has allowed me to experiment with color, brush textures that I was once hesitant to try. You can't damage your original ink drawing and you don't need to worry about re inking the drawing over and over if you make mistakes. Also you don't need to use whiteout to correct a pen line that went astray.
In this book I play a lot with color and textures as I have written in my last post (Link) each page is its own world so I had a lot of worlds to create.
So after my coworker made me explain what I meant by "I scan it and color digitally" I took photos to show some of the break downs of how I color on the computer so if anyone else who went "WHA?" may understand it a little better.
For anyone who has aLinkedIn account would know that there is a section for recommendations from people you have done business with. What I found out not to long ago is if the person deletes there account profile you lose the recommendation. So I lost two, I thought what a waste of good recommendations so I thought I would just post them on my blog.
"Stephen is a talented and creative individual. We've worked together on several illustration projects at Stories For Children Magazine where he successfully meets deadlines, and has a fast turnaround time. He's also a pleasure to do business with. I highly recommend Stephen for any artistic job."