Tuesday, June 30, 2009


zdepski's painting of a greenbottle fly and his flock
Mr. Greenbottle is lighting his pipe as his flock grazes around his feet.

i was eating lunch at the picnic table behind the office and watched the beautiful iridescence of the greenbottle fly as he lighted on the tabletop. That started the whole thing. I did clip and shift the two little flies, since they're over the character piece in on the original sheet. this arrangement makes a much better story with them around his feet.

click to see it bigger.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

3 oils

zdepski's oil study of a tricycle
zdepski's brother, mark at the wood lathe
zdepski's study of a foxhound pup
i visited some of my favorite people this weekend, Joel and Sarah, along with many of their friends and neighbors, musicians and artists... great fun at Meisnerfest 2009. Brother Mark drove down from NJ with daughter Anna and handsome husband Mark Diamond to take a long gander at how Virginians like to party. Son Niki and I drove down to Appomattox in the 'Lude, really digging the twisty and hilly roads through the Blue Ridge. Mark (bro) brought a mini wood lathe, and set up to demonstrate wood turning with Sake bowls and baby rattles from apple wood... shavings were rolling off of his tools - quite fascinating to watch someone with that kind of skill and control working the material.

While the musicians played, I had set up my Jullian easel and picked out a lonely tricycle with handlebars askew. I hung at it for a while, as the light flickered through the canopy I was under. After working it to a satisfactory finish, I moved over to where Mark was turning, and began a short portrait of the man at work. I had problems getting the posture, but at the end of the session, it looks like him, and the color is right... exactly what you want at the end of an hour. The third painting couldn't have been more than 15 minutes as I watched a very, very active Foxhound puppy (less than 6 mos) sniffing around the party. He was never in the same position, and I would have to think more about color than portrait. I laid in a very calligraphic brushline for the form and started filling regions with color... I got the color right and even a bit of the sense of his youth.

Well, I'm back home... scratching mosquito bites and remembering the good times with family. Some cousins are headed back to Ukraine while others are looking for new career positions... It's nice to touch base and eavesdrop on all of doings from the previous year. Hoping my thesis is in good shape prior to Meisnerfest 2010, or else I've have to miss it next year. Better hunkerdown and get it done!

All of these are oil studies, with turp as the medium... Trike and Pup are 8x10 on wooden panel. Mark is a on a piece of cardboard at 10x12.

Click'em to see'em.

Friday, June 26, 2009

IF: Worn

zdepski's watercolor of a well worn chair with child playing video game
Summertime's Here! That means long hours avoiding the outside world and zoning out in mom's favorite chair, wearing a major rut in the cushion where your lazy butt lands each day as your thumbs desperately try to get to Level 32...


"Get outside and run around a bit! When I was your age, all my pants were green from the kneecaps down from sliding in the grass or flipping rocks in the creek..."

"Yeah, yeah... Just let me finish this level!"

Lucas watercolor on Strathmore sketch page, with graphite under-drawing. click to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ernest Grayscale Sketch

zdepski's sketch of Ernest Borgnine in the PT 73 among the Sponge Bob environment
Ernie is getting much closer to the poster version. I plan on piling a ton of textures into this piece, so things may change as the week goes along. This is a good comp to work towards. Goofy, but friendly.

Click the pic to make it larger.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tiki Print

zdepski's Tiki god print with colored ink added
zdepski's Tiki god prints 4 up
zdepski's Tiki god Print Block

My final source piece for the Ernest Borgnine digital illustration is done. I wanted to try my hand a more complicated print. I chose the Tiki motif, which is sparingly used, but a very powerful image. I drew it in my sketchbook, scanned and cleaned it up digitally. The piece is 4.25" x 9". Then I output via my printer and spray mounted the page to a siding shingle of Western Red Cedar. I carved the image through the printed page with an Exacto, flat, curved and veiner chisels, along with one round leather punch for the toes. I then sanded off the leftover paper with my orbital sander.

The ink was my standard Japanese carpenter ink, which is thin and water soluble. I think would like to try it with printer's ink and brayer next time. I printed on my Strathmore sketchbook pages, and some large Staples 9x11 envelopes that were close at hand. The colored version had the black print laid down, then Yellow and Rose Winsor and Newton ink brushed over... I like the effect.

I still have to work up the Ernest sketch to a presentable preliminary launching point. That's next.

click'em to see'em

Friday, June 19, 2009

IF: Drifting

zdepski's illustration of Purple Pup drifting along

Purple Pup is Drifting off to some South Sea destination... or it may all just be in his head. He's funny that way...

Digital conglomo from a pile of files... I thought they went well together for this subject. The Pup originated from my sketchbook as a pencil comp for a coloring book.

Notice, he has the essentials in the bag.

love the feeling from those woodblock prints. gonna do a tiki god next. have the drawing... maybe this weekend.

Friday, June 12, 2009

drawing from the boobtube

zdepski's tv sketches of the seven samurai
zdepski's tv sketch of jack black as nacho libre
and mine is a boobtube, too. won't power on without hitting the button 7-10 times as it crackles and pops... no, it's not a flat screen either, but it DOESN'T use rabbit ears!

I can't sit still and watch TV. I have to be doing something, which is why the remote in my hand is a bad thing. I won't sit through a commercial without clicking away or walking out of the room to do something else... However, if my sketchbook is in my hands, I'll draw.

My favorite movie, Kurosawa's "The Seven Samurai" was on last night... I was able to keep awake until the intermission (yeah, 1954 - time to change reels and grab a cigarette!) by drawing as fast as I could while actors faces would pop on the screen.

Toshiro Mifune is top, as the peasant turned Samurai-poser, and below is a poor rendition of Takashi Shimura, lead role, as he has his head shaved to disguise himself as a monk. This is much harder than drawing on the train... the characters are constantly moving, and you have to make "snapshots" with your eye, then hope you can keep it fresh as you hit the paper.

The night before, my son's favorite actor, Jack Black was in "Nacho Libre" - Niki loves the scene where he slaps the corn-on-a-stick out of his friend's hands. So, I knocked out a silly Nacho pic in full buffoon stance.

I feel these exercises will sharpen my eye for those moments that I need to glance, note and draw... no second chance.

Drawing from the tube also turns a passive (in)action into a training session. I hate to lose precious time on this earth to doing nothing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Q-Tip n Dust

zdepski's photo of a Q-Tip haircut from the 1960s
zdepski's drawing of a rodeo bull in pencil

Older brother Mark sent a photo along to me that I thought I'd get a laugh from... I did. He's organizing his mother-in-law's estate and found a photo of one of Sissy-in-law's cousins or Aunts in in the early 1960's... her larger picture composition is strange enough; bikini clad, straddling a satin pillow with cigarette in hand, but I horned right in on the Q-Tip hair cut, Black brows and Lashes - WHAT A COMBO!

Great source material for a Drag Racing Queen, Tough Biker or Pulp Moll.

Horning in on other items... I watched a Rodeo on TV for a half hour before bed, and composited a bull from all of the bulls that broke through the gates. It's not easy... they're all different, but they all are bulging with muscle and rage. They remind me of Great White Sharks... Zombie Forces of Nature.

Drawing is Pencil on Strathmore - Click to Enlarge.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

lunchtime studies

zdepski's lunchtime watercolor studies of nature objects
been under the weather... got a bit of Lymes disease from a deertick. --- jerk.

haven't had much rattling around my head since I've been feeling so fatigued. so i started forcing myself to do SOMETHING... anything. Yesterday, I went out to the picnic table behind our office, plucked a leaf off a vine and cracked open the Lucas travel kit. Today, the subject was a toadstool in decline... quite leathery and baked.

the object is to keep moving... don't stop and sink to the bottom. keep pushing my watercolor training.

click to enlarge

Sunday, June 7, 2009

San Fran Reaction Piece: Color

zdepski's traditional watercolor of his SF reaction painting
zdepski's traditional and digital merger of his SF sketch
Here's my take on SF...

I have had some real struggles with keeping the viewer's eye focused on the subject at hand. I got my NY piece chewed up in the last crit because of my lack of focus, so I approached the color version with that in the forefront of my thinking.

I wanted to focus on the little kid at the back, without losing the rest of the feel of the confusion and crashing noises all around. I went back to my reference photos and comped a few retro signs from the Chinatown streets... I had to get a Chop Suey sign in!

Top is Winsor and Newton watercolor on Fabriano paper. I went back in with some white plaka to give me the pop i needed in places.

Purists are cringing, but hey... I'm an Illustrator, not a painter!

The lower sepia piece is my recent wet sepia study with new digital layers of tighter detailed material overlaid and saved as a new document.

Gotta click them to make them bigger!

Friday, June 5, 2009

IF: Craving

zdepski's watercolor painting, Meth Text

Meth Text: Boney Susan is craving her next fix. She's checking her messages to see if her equally skeletal boyfriend has finished cooking the latest batch of Meth. She is smacking her dry lips for a taste of that harsh white smoke... or maybe she'll snort this round. Who knows?

She's hoping to boost herself and just lose the shakes.

Black WnN Ink and Winsor and Newton Watercolor of 140lb Cold Press
click to enlarge

Thursday, June 4, 2009

three patterns

zdepski's digital background build
zdepski's ink print group
one print - three patterns.

The colored background texture is made up of the three ink prints below: Ink splatters from toothbrush, round sponge stamped, and bamboo wood block print. They have been inverted, repeated, shrunk and blurred in Adobe Photoshop, as needed.

I plan on building my reference prints prior to rolling into Hartford in July, so I have ample source material to work with in the digital media class. I like what's happening, and hope to revisit some of my earlier digital work with these newly found methods... sprucing them up and building out the digital side of my portfolio.