Saturday, 24 June 2017

Desert lemons and a little red dot.

Hi Hi,

I don't know about you, but I think it's round about time I showed you some new work. Sound good? Let's get started!

My new work for today is a recent piece done once again for the lovely people at Happy. My subject this time around was Long Island band The Lemon Twigs. Once again, the scope being a landscape illustration to accompany a interview. These guys are full-on retro (both through music and style), so it was quite a unique one to work on.

Like with previous works, I'd never heard of the group, so like with the last two illustrations I've done, I gathered up their Youtube clips and left them on repeat, particularly while researching and sketching. I find listening to songs many times allows you to notice things that might not be picked up the first time through as well as discovering what really stands out in the imagery, (visually from the music videos and described in the lyrics). These make it onto a list (I like making lists) of things that I decide must be worked into the image. Then it's a matter of taking the elements and arranging them in a strong composition. It's a rather methodical way to work and probably the reason why I really struggle with whimsy and spontaneity when I'm working in my sketchbook. In short, I overthink things sometimes. Here's the image!

It's a little bit predictable to feature both lemons and a twiggy tree, but I just couldn't help it. My heaviest inspiration comes from the clip 'As long as we're together' I felt it really captured the glammy retro feel better than their other clips, which was exactly what I was going for. The colour scheme was perfect too. Soft pastel colours give that 'old school,' (do people still say that?) feel.

My first sketch just had both brothers standing next to each other, but I found despite the greater difficulty, I really wanted to draw Michael in a more animated pose. He's always jumping all over the place in the videos and it also makes for a more interesting composition.

Costume-wise I was originally going to go with something really full on, but decided on shirts. As always, I wanted to engage my penchant for pattern design and I thought it might be overkill to have costumes and detailed patterns in the one image.Even having complex 70's drop-repeat patterns on both their shirts made the eyes jump all over the picture, so I simplified Michael's patterning to just spots. It keep focus on Brian's shirt and leads into the rest of the image.

For the background, being a quick turn-around I needed something quick and easy, but also something I could practice painting with. I'm still relatively new to background painting, so it's one of my major goals this year to really get a handle on it. It'll really open up many more possibilities for things I want to create in the future. Desert was great for this: It's relatively flat and uncomplicated, but still has lots of hue and texture changes. The tree was also quite fun to do. I was going to paint it from scratch, but since I wanted it to stand out a little more I kept outlining in there.

Screen-caps from Happy's website where the article was featured when it was published in April. It was even featured on the homepage for about a week, which is pretty awesome.

Read the full article here.

Thanks to Happy and Tom Cameron for the opportunity.

In other news, I've made a sale! Down goes the auction hammer, BANG "SOLD!" - Though it wasn't an actual auction of my work, who can't help but imagine such a scene?

Back in May I had a piece of my work featured in a group exhibition held by Illustrators Australia, (or IA for short) in Collingwood Gallery, here in Victoria on a lovely Autumn day.  It ran from May 5th to May 30th and was called 'paper to pixel.' It was certainly a good turnout of illustration talent; 68 amazing pieces of art were on display, each one more different than the last. Check out photos from the opening night of the event on IA's facebook page here. The exhibition was even featured in the weather segment on channel 10 (a major television network here in Australia). It felt pretty cool to have my artwork featured on TV, even though it's not like it was dominant in any way.

Many artworks had already been sold by the end of opening night, which was great. Little telltale red spots stuck next to the works indicated a sale. Unfortunately, my work was not among them.

That was until early June when I received a congratulatory email from IA saying that my print had been sold! I was super ecstatic. I was having lunch in the meal room at my day job casually checking my emails when I saw it. I did a little dance in my seat and probably looked really weird to all my colleagues surrounding me. The money didn't feel that important, it was the recognition that did it for me. Imagining that someone looked at my artwork among all others in that gallery and said "I want to buy this" and spent their money on it. Thank you, whoever you are! Something that I created from nothing was worth something to another. It. Was. Fantastic.

The work itself was going to be a new piece I was working on specifically for the exhibition, but I challenged myself a little too much, given the limited time I have in my life for illustration. It's based on a project for a client that fell through, for which I'd already done some designs and sketches for. I really don't like discarding things I've put time into, so it was a perfect candidate for the exhibition.Time however, did not allow it's completion, so instead I had to quickly chose one of my recent works.

Remember this one? See the full blog entry about it here.

I'm a proud member of IA, see my portfolio page here.

Well that's it for another blog entry, I've been doing some sketching lately which I should be uploading at some point in the not-too-distant future, stay tuned for that. I'm not sure if I'll make a new blog entry, but it will definitely get a mention on social media. I'll also upload it into my sketchbook section on here.

Other plans for the future are a couple of designs I thought would make some great t-shirt. So I've thinking of vectoring them up and submitting to Threadless. I've got some other stuff to finish first however, so not sure when I'll get to that.

Thanks for feasting your eyes.

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