Sunday, November 29, 2009

IF: Entangled

zdepski's digital illustration of a tirepile 4 page spread
zdepski's digital illustration of a tirepile 4 page spread
zdepski's digital illustration of a tirepile 4 page spread

The Tire Pile surrounding Ava's doggie yard is an entangled mess. This is a 4 page panorama that will have the book title on the far left, then two pages in center, with dog on right, and a bit of the tire pile overflowing in to the next dog's page. the book has been reflowed (reflown?) with the pacing and relationships out in front. I picked up a lot with viewing the Disney archive while out in Burbank CA. The backgrounds are going to lead, one into the other... one big panning motion.

This piece isn't finished (didn't get as far as hoped this holiday weekend), but it goes well with the IF word of the week.

Click to Enlarge - The top one is nearly 11,000 pixels wide, so it's pretty small here at 800px.

Digital Illustration - pencil, pen & ink, Photoshop and Painter 11

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Six doghouses

Six variations of doghouse designs for A is for Ava
Six humble hound hovels - variations on A is for Ava's doghouse. She needs to be sitting in the middle of the tire pile. still debating which one to use.

winsor & newton black ink on vellum

click to enlarge

Saturday, November 21, 2009

IF: Music

zdepski's variation on the theme Music for Illustration Friday
zdepski's variation on the theme Music for Illustration Friday
two variations on the piano plinking theme. The Elephant is a bit of a juxtaposed player, since his grandfather's tusks are what he's pounding on to make the song.

the other is from the impression i had on one of our recording stars while at the classical record company. He looked a bit like the un-dead... perhaps from practicing on pipe organs in dark cathedrals.

pencil to digital
click to enlarge

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Feliz Natal

Feliz Natal for my Brazilian cousin Fabiola Zdepski
-- for my Brazilian cousin - Fabiola

She requested a Christmas Card illustration - I may ditch my Jello Mold version and fly with this one myself... loosing the Portuguese.

pencil to digital - Painter 11

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

web tips for artists

10 years online isn't worth much, but I have found a few useful tips during that time.

  1. Stay away from Flash portfolios (i know... they're so cool, my V.2 was entirely flash) - flash is a deterrent to some users - they bale out as the progress bar crawls.

  2. Try a background image: You can see a background image used here my blog. it's only around 20 px wide, but is 2000 px or more high, this is then set to repeat horizontally and create the argyle pattern fade.

  3. If you need to break the grid, try floating transparent PNG images via CSS placement (breaking borders) - The distorted image above is a PNG with a transparent background. It can float seamlessly over other images or tables to break the edges. The fine line around is a blogger template issue, but with a bit of code, i could remove it, too. Check out Air Pulp Cutie's position as you shrink the width of the page - she will overlay the screen shot if you shrink it small enough.

  4. If something looks to be navigation, be sure it functions as navigation.

  5. DO AWAY WITH IMAGE-BASED NAVIGATION - Make live HTML type - Aids with accessibility and special needs visitors.

  6. Use descriptive text within the "title" tag on your images and navigation thumbnails (on mouse over, the descriptive text shows below the pointer) - Google likes this, and will raise your rating. Mouse over the image above and see what I mean.

  7. If your download speed suffers a bit - either the images are too large (in Kb), or the server is too slow.

  8. You need COPY within the image display regions. Web searches cannot make sense of images alone. You need to place some body text within the pages - like a brief about the job, sizes, challenges, client results... anything to aid in search engines returning your site as a viable option.

  9. News regions should be current. An issue with painters and illustrators is a desire to be hands off. The web is about fresh and recent information. The more you update, the higher your results will be within a web search. Even if it's the occasional quip or art tip - three sentences... you have to commit to your public face on the web.

  10. Keep painting and adding to your site. This may mean flipping images and weeding out the old stuff, but do it. Fresh and new... like bread from the oven. Keep folks looking to return to your site. - Yeah, I know - Practice what you preach! I'm in the midst of a full redesign of

  11. Don't shy from letting your friends and fans know when you've made a major update or change to your site. This provides feedback and possibly viral exposure from folks that want to share your talent with their friends. The occasional email does good.

  12. If you don't want to mess with a site, start a simple blog, like this one! Blogger, Word Press, etc... - They offer many options to display your work with minimal effort or cost. I use the blog for my current thoughts, commentary and process entries, but a site as a standard portfolio.

  13. I house all images on my own server space, and import them into the blog - partly for my copyright paranoia... if Google houses it, I'm concerned they may be able to source it in the future from some database. Secondly, to keep track of numbers. If you view the source code on this page, you can see where I house them in a "blogger" folder. This way, I'm able to track visitor numbers in addition to my Google web stats. There are very few concrete numbers on the web, including Google's stats. I use multiple metrics to monitor my sites.

  14. Create and be sure to UPDATE an XML sitemap on the top level of your website. This is a valuable tool for the spyderbots that are roaming the web and sniffing your site for new content. If you have an updated page that you think they should know about, place the "lastmod" tag on that particular page entry with the date you pushed the new content to the live site. here is a place for you to generate your own, with minimal effort

I hope this is useful, but if you have more tips, let me know and I'll add to the list.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Back from LA

zdepski's photo of Los Angeles from the air at night
zdepski's photo of the cabin interior of Virgin America flight
zdepski's photo of iphone lens distortion
My flight out and back were on Virgin America - nice airline. I had flown them to SF and made sure to book with them again to the Pasadena session. I was messing with the iphone camera a bit... really think it's a piece of crud, but good for snaps. I noticed a couple of funky distorted images that were taken while moving the phone. It may be something to mess with in a more controlled effort. The areal photo is of LA with what I think is San Pedro in the foreground (marina and navy base)

Highlight of the trip was arriving at Dulles International, hitting the restroom at 5:30 am... walked in on some old Muslim dude washing his feet in the sink... brown toenails, no soap. No doubt a religious ritual for his Saturday devotions... but I still gave his groady flappers a wide berth.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yvette's Yak

zdepski's digital illustration of Yvette's Yellow Yak
Yvette's Yellow Yak is munching on some Texas grass. The enclosure is a funky Y shape, less obvious unless you study the picture. I picked a subdued pallet, but i think they go well together. This was drawn in pencil, ported into Corel Painter 11 for painting.

The rest of the MFA project can be seen here:

-- I'm at my RAM limits, and no ability to add more to my box. Nothing in the budget for an upgraded box, either. I may try dumping programs and see if that frees up any extra computing power.

Click to enlarge the piece.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

2 Pup Weekend

zdepski's sketch of Daniel Destroying Doormats
zdepski's sketch of Yvette and her Yak

Colored Daniel in a near to finished sense. I think I have to throw some gradients into the broad flat regions to give it a bit more sophistication, but it's nearly there.

Yvette has been adjusted to show off her Yak, not her Ewe. I like this idea better, rather than tossing confusion into an alphabet book by having a Ewe in the letter Y page.

Check out the whole MFA project here:

Click to enlarge the images.

Commie Soldier

zdepski's final version of the Soldier card in Commie Spud Game
Sitting tall for his full dress portrait, Comrade Soldier is ready to defend the the principles of Engels, Marx and Lenin - to spill his blood on the altar of the October Revolution.

Commie Spud Card Number One, revisited.

Here's the original sketch idea - the little images of Sputnik and Mig 15 have migrated to the back of the card design, with many revisions and tweaks. The banner and star have also gone through big changes. Honing those thoughts...

Digital painting in Corel Painter 11 then ported into Photoshop for assembly with the Illustrator EPS pieces. Click to enlarge.

Commie Spud Soldier