Autumn Dusting (Mount Olympus)- 36" x 60" oil on canvas by Greg Newbold
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I fall into this trap all too often. Deadlines feel too tight to take a moment of frivolous drawing. It seems selfish to indulge in drawing for drawing's sake when the paying projects are nagging at you, but this is just what I did on a few recent outings. I don't regret the choice. The experience of drawing from nature with no intentions other than to capture what was in front of you and make it a permanent expression of your perceptions on paper is a powerful experience. I had forgotten how therapeutic it can be to simply draw for no other reason than to draw. I found myself immersed for a few moments in the shapes and textures of my subject. I found myself really seeing the things I was drawing and solving problems as I worked to get them down in my sketchbook. I was totally invested in the effort and for a moment there was nothing between me and the trees but a thin column of carbon. I became one with my drawing. This is why I draw.
I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen.
In spite of everything, I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great disagreement, and I will go on with my drawing.
-Vincent Van Gogh
There will always be reasons why not to draw. but don't let the ups and downs, the pressures of life and deadlines derail you from your drawing. Draw on!
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
I did the illustration and it turned out very well. I thought I had captured beautifully the personality and essence of the company founder who was the face of the brand. The fully rendered version I completed consequently got mired in a conflict over the likeness of the company founder. In the end after more than a year of wrangling with the family foundation it was decided that the safest thing to do would be to go back to the logo version that was wholly owned by the brand and create a closely updated version from that.
Working closely with friend and fantastically talented illustrator designer Val Paul Taylor. I did a new, very graphic version of the figure. Val then created an updated version of the typographic treatment that brings the brand into the 21st century while paying appropriate homage to the 1980's version. The client was very satisfied with the outcome and they plan to relaunch the brand this year. I rarely get the chance to do something this graphic outside of a few t-shirt designs for my son's swim teams, so this was a fun change of pace that I hope to do more of in the future.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Then my phone froze while enjoying on one of my "favorite" mind numbing time wasters, Temple Run 2. If you are not familiar with the game, it entails leading an Indiana Jones type character on an endless run through jungle obstacles while trying to collect coins and other artifacts. I say endless, because you NEVER win. You rack up as high a score as possible before you die. But wait. You can save yourself and rack up even more points by spending the gems you have collected! Sweet right? OK, I admit I have had some fun with it, but it had gotten out of hand as I racked up over 200 gems and 250,000 coins on my way to level nine. I had spent coins on all the upgrades and had collected most of the bonus objects offered. I had different characters and had earned different hats they could wear. Then BAM! My phone froze while in the game. No problem right, these phones are smart. Just reboot and all is well. Not so fast. I went back into the game with some annoyance and was horrified to find that everything had been reset to ZERO! I threw the phone down on the floor and stomped it to bits. OK, not really, but I did mentally destroy the stupid thing. Then I thought about it and realized this was the perfect opportunity to simply give up the game. So I did. Haven't played it since and I have not missed it. On the contrary, I no longer have to worry about whether or not I completed the daily challenge or wonder what the next one will be. No more frustration when the game buffers and I slide off the end of the bridge and die. No great loss.
So, a small thing you say? Sure, but it was a catalyst and now I am thinking about other ways I waste time and the next obvious time suck is Facebook. Given that I use it quite a bit to promote my work and enjoy keeping up with other artists and friends, I am not intending to give it up completely, but it's time to go on a bit of a Facebook diet I think. Face to face interaction with real people is so much more rewarding anyway. What time suck would you be willing to give up?
Monday, June 30, 2014
Monday, June 23, 2014
In 1958, Garth Williams, famously the illustrator for Charlotte's Web and the Little House on the Prairie books, wrote and illustrated a charming little tale of two rabbits who frolic together and fall in love. At the end of the book the two rabbits wed in a ceremony attended by their fellow woodland creatures. Innocent enough, right?
Well in the racially charged South, this book became the center of a firestorm because, in the book, one rabbit was white and the other was black. The book was censored and a lawsuit raised to remove the book from the state funded library system. The story revolves around a white librarian, her childhood friend who is a black man and various other lawyers and State legislators who are immersed in sorting out this murky topic.
As I began sketching the art, and admittedly before I read the script, I thought it would be fun to use the rabbits as symbols for the racial tension. Early sketches revolved around the idea of the black and white rabbits and the book that precipitated the argument. Even after I changed the setting to the library shelves, the client felt that the furry rabbit angle gave too much of an impression that this was a children's play so that idea was scrapped.
I still wanted to evoke a feeling racial tension and imply the idea that the story somehow revolved around books, so we switched to the idea of the black character and the white librarian being on opposite sides of the the divide, in this case, a stack of books. The light filtering from the left side illuminates her as she reads and the the other side is symbolically more in shadow.
After this idea was approved, I set to work. I took photos and proceeded to the final drawing and rendering. I think it turned out pretty well considering my deadline was cut about three days short due to a planned excursion with my son. I had to scramble to deliver the art before I left town which included a 2:00 am bedtime one evening. I don't enjoy the late nights and avoid them as much as possible, but sometimes the deadline just has to be met, regardless of the lack of sleep.
Monday, June 9, 2014
For this one, I went through an unusually high number of comps before we settled on the winning design. At times this can be frustrating, because personally, I felt that they were all visually compelling and any one of the designs could work. But, I have learned over the years that the client is the one that has to be happy and I am hired to make that happen. Here's a run down of the idea sketches:
After decapitating the skull from the ship, it was obvious that there was something lacking in that big empty space. It needed a little magic, so I decided to let the sky full of stars filter down underneath the water. I intended to leave the area open for the title treatment, when I thought to myself, "why not do your own hand lettering?" Having done a few projects over the years with my own lettering, I decided to give it a shot.
I came up with a nice "piratey" style that feels like it could have washed right up on treasure map. The theater loved it and agreed to bump up my fee to cover the hand done type. Moral of the story, if you happen to get an idea or two shot down, keep after it and find a way to make it your own. If I had not decided to tackle the lettering myself, I doubt I would be feeling so good about the final result. Who knows, maybe I will get more chances to do hand lettering after this.