Saturday, March 28, 2009

hermit crab

zdepski's illustration of a hermit crab on the beach
here's another merger of pencil and digital. i'm messing with textures and layers from my paintings and photographs... not much but enough to give it interest and complexity. another one into the kid's portfolio file. happy hermit crab.

click to enlarge

Friday, March 27, 2009

IF: Poise

zdepski's digital rendering of a character for a kids group, IF - Poise
zdepski's sketch of a character for a kids group, IF - Poise
Illustration Friday's Poise: My daughter is in the Flag Team at school, so I like the idea and skill involved with twirling and tossing stuff into the air.

This is one of the gang from a group of kids I'm creating for a website. The client hasn't seen it yet, so keep it quiet!

She has to have poise to twirl that baton. Go Girl Go!

Pencil sketch to digital, textures are my watercolor painting of NYC ice rink and a wing vector. I may not use the wing, but it's here for IF.

click to enlarge.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tilly with Bunny Ears

zdepski's drawing of dog, tilly with bunny ears
Nikita, my partner in crime at home, asked if I would draw a picture of his dog with bunny ears since he had been following her around, cracking up as he put two fingers up behind her head...

8 year olds... it's funny to them!

so here she is, straight out of the sketch book, with Niki's stamp of approval.

pencil on strathmore, click to enlarge.

IF: Subtract

zdepski's painting of his father's hand missing a fingertip
zdepski's pencil drawing of his father's hand missing a fingertip
zdepski's ink sketch of his father's hand missing a fingertip
My pop lost his index finger tip when he was a small child in a corn thresher (1920s). He always had massive arms and hands, being a stone mason and woodworker. I was struck by the family iconography that was involved with this minor issue, like the terrorizing of small kids that thought they had made it fall off and become lost.

i'm developing a group of illustrations around it, how this minor loss had made this particular hand something very special, if not vital to certain situations. I expect a folio of 6-8 illustrations will come from it.

top, the watercolor - coldpress with winsor and newton and ink
middle, the drawing - pencil on strathmore
bottom, the idea - noodlers ink on moleskine... sitting in the airport with ideas in my head.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

SanFran: Moleskine Sketches

the flight in
fire trucks
short order cook
the three critics... MFA instructors 4 hours marathon crit
Chad Grohman and Bill
bar maid
Six from the pocket sketchbook. Nothing final here... just moments captured and ideas being developed.

SanFran: Day 5



Craig Frazier stressed the "big idea". He still works in Rubylith, a film that was used for masking and layout in the good old days. He cuts lith with an exacto blade and then brings them into photoshop for coloring. Craig exhibited another very strong presentation and wide variety of media execution.


Robert Hunt talked of his brilliant project and discipline for a painting a day... no matter what ground or medium, execute something within a timed 20 minute "workout". What develops may eventually roll into a freelance piece as a launching point.


Jim Pearson had worked with Pixar's Toy Story 2 as well a quite a few short projects, and is now in the Massive Multiplayer Online gaming industry, as a creative director developing environments, characters and objects for the last year and a half, with a projected launch of Q4 2010. He's an inspiring person with a great work ethic.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

SanFran: Day 4


Well, I had my thesis review with adviser Bill Thomson. He made a pile of comments, but overall likes my direction. He gave me some great tips on controlling the medium, and how to apply the paint with a plan to lead the viewer's interest where you want it.

I have a focus and style that I'm happy with, so it should be a great journey ahead.


Speaker David Grove Spoke on his very hip and cool career, stemming from Upper Darby PA, to Paris, London and San Francisco. His technique shows a fresh and liquid application of paint. Dave brought the house down with is "Props and Cops" story, related here:
A job from Bantam about an uprising in Belgian Congo.
In SF, he looked for prop weapons and got nowhere. Biggest costume supplier in the city had Pink guns, Glitter with Feathers in them. Bought Revel models and put them together...
Needed a Grease Gun style machine pistol. brother had small arms catalog, in it where photos of AK47. 2inch long BnW photo blew it up, to the size needed. Ended up making guns with plaster and wood. Had to paint the model for shadow, reflections, etc..
had to take outside on roof to paint them.
3 story building, roof was flat. Heard police scanner a chatter... sounded too close. Heard a shotgun click.
Cops knocked the roof access door off the hinges smashing David to the ground with a gun in his chest
"I'm and Illustrator!!!"
It didn't help much as he tried to explain the AK47s on the ground.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

SanFran: Day 3




Wednesday had us in the Hotel conference room listening to Chuck Pyle, Lou Brooks and leading off with Courtney Granner who pushed Concepts. Pushing narrative
to help with problem solving. To let anything fly on the front end. Pages and Pages of Thumbnails. Every 20 seconds. next. stream of Consciousness ... free association.
Disregard self edits and siphon as you go.. one idea feeds another. LET ANYTHING GO on the front end... When prospectors pan for gold, they don't use tweezers... they use a pan, later using then tweezers to pick it out the gold.



Chuck Pyle stressed fundamentals, both as illustrators and as instructors to the younger generation. Where he masters the traditional mediums, he acknowledges the new media styles and tools with their broad capabilities... "They're just expensive brushes..." Way to go Chuck! You see it and are embracing the future.



The way to wrap up a day is listening to the wit and brilliance of Lou Brooks... father of the Playboy Funnies. Funny and Carlin-esque in his delivery, he kept us laughing as we discussed his career and current direction. Lou will not sit still. He searches for new means for expression, and implored us all to not wait for anyone to come knocking. We all need to make our own careers. We need to find our "center core" and that will be our passion and most satisfaction.

... now it's time to hit the streets with some watercolor. I've been itching to do come painting.

SanFran: Day 2


Kazuhiko Sano gave a great talk to kick of Tuesday's round. He brought in works from National Geographic, Book Covers, Star Wars as well as personal gallery works. He related his process, struggles and drive. quite an interesting fellow and serious artist. He is constantly setting challenges for himself... like a perpetual seeker.





Dennis Ziemienski talked on his Western Gallery work, California Orange Crate poster work, his pallet, direction and methods. Very strong work, brilliant pallet choices and ballsy application. so fresh. so bold. statements.




Brilliant designer and conceptual artist, Brian "Someguy" Singer spoke on the "1000 Journals" project both as a concept and the tangible communal items as they each returned, like trunks with stickers from travels abroad. Brian invited us to the SF MoMa and the interactive installation of his work... the energy was infectious. I have a vast respect for a man with brilliance, but when he applies it in such a dynamic and innovative way, it becomes larger than the original idea and morphs into a entity of it's own perpetuation. Singer becomes a gardener of a garden of tomes, many which are still in the public's hands. What an inspiring person... oh, and he was gracious enough to sign a book for me... no monster egos here... just a person that sees creative opportunities and acts on his own initiative.

Monday, March 16, 2009

SanFran: Day 1


after a long Sunday of airport schlepping, cramped quarters sketching as i watched a mini screen and jostled elbows with row-mates, learning about the BART trains, checking in, eating a rather mediocre burger, reconoitering the neighborhood, 1hour nap, two beers and an overpriced casadia... I tried to stay up till 12pm EST to adjust a bit... it didn't really work. I woke at 5 am local on Monday. We had an 8:30 bus to visit a privately held collection of American Illustration, hosted by illustrator, writer and historian Alice "Bunny" Carter.

the collection was unbelievable! Bunny turned us lose, all access... drawers were flying open, pictures pulled from the wall and closets were rifled through, all to view CLASSICS of American Illustration. I couldn't believe the shear volume of matted Illustration piled in drawers and flat files... just brimming with wonderful images by legends. What an experience.


From there, we went to California Street for Lunch, then off to Menlo Park and a nuts to bolts tour of Communication Arts magazine from editor Patrick Coyne. We were able to pick his brain on the state of the industry, trending and the future of illustration. We were able to share our own experiences with him, as he quizzed us on what we see among the "troops". CA was a great tour, and i was able to see the garbage can my submissions end up in... I'll post it soon.

Good buddies Q Cassetti and Chad Grohman started a mini-zine trading-circle... i didn't make one, but they both gave me one. gonna have them sign each. really wonderful work from them. i'm gonna develop a dogbabies version for them to have... maybe mail it when i get back.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lounging Around

Zdepski's pencil drawing of Living Room Dogs 1
Zdepski's pencil drawing of Living Room Dogs 2
Two living room sketches from the last two days. Tilly and Oakley monopolizing the floorspace in front of the TV, as Niki watches one of his shows, mini basketball in his lap... everybody hanging out.

Both drawings are pencil in my Strathmore 8.5 x 11 sketchbook, scanned and contrasted up a bit. Click to make them bigger.

IF: Legendary

zdepski's watercolor painting, Squirrel on Squirrel Action
zdepski's lines for his painting, squirrel on squirrel
And so, it came to pass that their names would go down in Forest Lore as "Legend" - One, if not reluctantly.

This is the watercolor for "Squirrel on Squirrel Action" - Winsor and Newton watercolor and ink on Fabriano paper.

click to make it bigger... the lines are pencil, scanned and cleaned digitally. see previous post to see full development of the idea. Squirrel-on-Squirrel

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Squirrel on Squirrel

Zdepski's 1st version of Squirrel on Squirrel action
Zdepski's 2nd version of Squirrel on Squirrel action
Thanks to a bit of humor from good friend Dave Neff, I started these two zany squirrels on a unicycle. The unicycle had surfaced earlier in my sketchbook, with a whacky clown race... i don't think i published it here, but may add it to the bottom of this post in the near future. The unicycle has also made an appearance in "J is for Justin's Jolly Hijinx" illustration, soon to be in production.

Themes baby, themes.

I like both versions shown here... the static verticality of the first one is silly, considering the potential of the moment. I added speed, a tree and emotion to the second.

I can't wait to see what the watercolor will add! Click to seem them larger.

Friday, March 6, 2009

IF: Intricate Tangle of Tires

Zdepski's painting of A is for Ava with Truck
Zdepski's watercolor of Ava, all alone
A is for Ava... I finally finished these pages. I've had other things that pushed the finish aside, but i just finished some touches 10 minutes ago... check the time stamp on the jpgs!

The sign area on the truck will get the text, A is for Ava in Photoshop. The page is turned to reveal her "all alone" in a yard shaped like an A in a field of used tires.... poor, poor puppy...

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.....

This is serendipity, since Intricate was the Illustration Friday word today, and this is busiest couple of paintings I've done in years... tires, chainlink, grass... ughh...

Winsor and Newton Watercolor on Fabriano. Click to make them bigger.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ted Behaving Badly - Redeux

Zdepski's watercolor, Evil Ted
Zdepski's watercolor, Evil Ted
Zdepski's photo of Ted Lewin and Ram skull
Ted Lewin, professional wrestler, illustrator and husband to Betsy had posed for some crazy photos at his Brooklyn studio back in November. I took one of him with an up-light while he was holding a freaky goat skull. I wanted to keep pushing the watercolor and the fluid mediums, like my ink on a brush. I was tempted, very tempted to fall back into the comforts of oil paint, but my thesis is entirely in watercolor, and I believe I need to master the medium to pull it all off.

The upper is Ted, with Winsor and Newton Watercolor... some accents with Dr. Martins white mixed with various colors aided in pulling the bacon out of the fire in a few places.

The lower is my original Ted ink painting, output at 30 percent opacity on Fabriano, then worked into with Winsor and Newton Black ink (one with the silly spider on the box)

The bottom is one of the photos of Ted in his creepy photoshoot. I'm missing some of the drama in the photo... my watercolor ability is still in it's infancy. I'm sure I could nail it in oil very quickly. Tempted... so tempted.