Friday, December 31, 2010

IF: Resolution

zdepski's illustration of Popeye the Sailor Moon
I promise not to waste time in 2011 drawing stupid ideas that are 10 years past their freshness date.

What kid even knows who Popeye and Sailor Moon are? Not many.

All stemming from that stupid song getting stuck in my head on Thursday....
"I'm Popeye the Sailor Man
I live in a Garbage Can
I eats pork n beans
and pee in me jeans
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man.
TOOT TOOT!"


Too Stupid, Too Late.

No more... I promise.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Drawing on iPad

zdepski's vengeful elephant god  iPad drawing
I just got an iPad as a Christmas gift from my boss. Not because I'm special, but because he's a kick-ass boss, and he gave them to everyone in the company. If you follow my blog, you may know that I have an iPhone, too. I bought a program called Brushes for the iPhone last year, and had a bit of fun with it, but never liked drawing on such a small screen.

The iPad has removed that barrier. It sports a larger work area, bigger tools and more memory (32 Gb) to work with. I was able to move my Brushes app over to the iPad, but haven't worked in it on my iPad yet. I did, however, buy an application by Autodesk called Sketchbook Pro for the iPad, which is put out by the same folks that make Sketchbook Pro for my Mac. Two different animals, but that was to be expected.

zdepski's first iPad drawing

I found that using my finger is limiting when it comes to control, brush accuracy and work-flow, i.e.; my hand's drawing posture is different when pointing than when holding a pencil. I bought a POGO stylus, which works fairly well, but isn't as precise as my Wacom Cintiq/Intuos Pen Stylus. The POGO is like drawing with a small pen with a 1/4 inch disc of sponge felt on the tip. It takes a bit of training, but you get used to it.

zdepski's iPad drawing of Noelle

After downloading the application, I got into my first drawing. Me, on the couch with my graduation fez and a puzzled look. One layer, one color, one pencil setting. Fun.

I did a couple of life drawings of my wife and daughter, but it wasn't until this afternoon that I got into the layers and brush variations. Sketchbook Pro supports 4 layers with limited styles (normal, multiply, overlay...) and the ability to change the opacity. The brushes are limited (not exactly Photoshop CS5), but able to accept adjustments... fine for sketching and color studies.

I sat down after wolfing down my lunch of rice and crackers to draw a three layered piece I call "The Vengeful God of Illegal Ivory". The final output is merely 720 x 540 pixels at 72dpi, but Sketchbook Pro allows you to save it as a PSD with the layers intact at 1024 x 768 pixels, which you can email to yourself or upload to Facebook, Flicker, etc... nice feature.

Digging the new toy - Hope I can bring it into my bag of tricks in a significant way. Click the images to enlarge them.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Van Toad Auction



THE WINNERS! - Adam and Barbara pose with Vincent Van Toad. Barb is a wonderful, bubbly artist and teacher with a huge heart for little Adam. Both met on Superbowl Sunday afternoon, after nap time. The Heatwole home was warm and full of action... some kids playing, some kids cleaning up where the others mussed it up. Overall, a beautiful illustration of a loving family. Thanks for letting me peek in.

Vincent Van Toad illustration by Paul Zdepski - Auction to Benefit Adam Heatwole fund

Vincent Van Toad, Paul Zdepski, 2007
acrylic on canvas, handsomely framed
2nd Place - Book Category, at the 14th Juried Exhibition of the Illustrators Club of Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia, May-June 2008.
Cover of the MainARTery, Oct/Nov 2007


Additional Swag:
A signed copy of IC 14 Catalog featuring Van Toad
A copy of the MainARTery, Oct/Nov 2007 featuring Van Toad


SOLD

Thank you to Barbara S. for her winning bid, and new ownership of Vincent Van Toad!

Auction Closed February 1, 2011


Folks, there's a little boy I know of that's having a tough go of things in Georgetown University Hospital, in Washington DC. His name is Adam, and on top of his liver transplant a few years ago, he just had a bout of sickness that killed the majority of his intestine. He's still in the ICU, and his parents have spent the holiday season shuttling between their home 100 miles away and downtown DC.

Adam is a little trooper, and is looking at a bunch of recovery time and getting used to a new scar from his sternum to his pelvis.

Adam's dad, David gave me an opportunity to illustrate a cover of an arts magazine he started, The MainArtery in 2007. He didn't know me, I didn't know him, but we hit it off. In 2008, We did a dual show together at the Blue Elephant Art Center in Frederick Maryland called Harmonic Dissonance. I got to see David's full body of work and witness his love of art, community, family and faith.

I knew David and his bride had a large family, foster and adopted kids, and being at the opening was quite an event for them. I've only got two. I can't imagine the effort needed to keep their tribe going.

I needed to do something. I'm not in a great position to help - recent graduate, two cars dying in one calendar year, daughter starting college in 2011... It goes on...
I did what I could by offering a piece that has significance to David and my relationship, Vincent Van Toad.

The starting bid was $200, which barely covered the framing. It was an original with a pedigree. Click the image to see the piece up close... Inspect the goods.

Even with the bidding past, there is a 501(c)3 set up to receive your donations. I am planning to print Van Toad "Thank you" prints on archival paper. David is getting me the details.

David Heatwole
304 Bowers St.
Martinsburg, WV 25401

Saturday, December 25, 2010

IF: Winter

Zdepski's watercolor and digital illustration of Skate Pups in Manhattan
Skate Pups in Manhattan, a slight return.

This was originally a watercolor from 2008 that had stalled out. I revisited it with some help from my Cintiq. It pops a bit more, since I took control of many of the details that were being over run by the wet on wet issues with the watercolor.

I loved this scene while in NYC - a skating rink surrounded by high-rise buildings... mere blocks from Time Square. I may still be working on this piece this weekend, so don't think that you're looking at the final version... things can change.

Happy Holidays, all!

Winsor & Newton Watercolor on Fabriano, Digitally altered with Cintiq in Photoshop.
Click to enlarge.

Friday, December 17, 2010

IF: Mail

zdepski's illustration - Dear John
Dear John, I don't love you anymore... I fell in love with the Motorcycle Mongoloid. Didn't you get my letter? Your friend, Sue

This is my take on the word "Mail" which stems from the book of 1936 and Film Noir of 1946, "The Postman Always Rings Twice". There isn't an actual "Postman" in the movie, so I switched it around and had the troubled couple bumping off a postal carrier as he crossed the road... The written note in the background stems from the lyrics of one of my favorite bands, Weird War, headed by Ian Svenonius...

The point being, she wrote the breakup letter, but mows down the postman as he's delivering it. Double tragedy... The Postman Always Flips Twice.

Graphite and Cintiq with Adobe Photoshop
Click the pic to enlarge the Return Address...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

IF: Phenomenon

Overhead Kid, by Paul Zdepski
I swear - every red-eye flight... there is some bawling infant that the parent is toting up and down the isles, so everyone on the flight gets to suffer equally.

Flying Finster at Forty Thousand Feet Phenomenon... it never fails.

It's 3:30 AM, SHOVE THAT KID INTO THE OVERHEAD AND SHUT THE DOOR!

Dad is waving the kid over his head like one of the Sand People pumping his rifle in Star Wars... BWWWAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDddddd...

"Chewie, is that you?"

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fun J-Animation


Buddha Noodles!


Nahto's Origin... Slimey soybean goodness



I'm in love with the watercolor wash backgrounds in these. The character designs are a riot. This style of design can be seen in many humorous Japanese print cartoons - Not the Manga, but the goofy little slap-stick three panel pieces tossed into many a J-Magazine.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Professor Becker's Pants

Professor Becker's Rhinoceros Pants

Professor Becker's Rhinocerotidae Triubhas (Rhinoceros Pants)

I've finished my piece for Sandra Dieckmann's Creature Curiosity project, and I thought it would go well with the Illustration Friday word, "Prehistoric" as the Rhino Pants are modeled upon an ancient looking animal. I encourage all you illustrators to review Sandra's proposal and consider doing an animal half, too.

The Creature Curiosity Project is a non-profit collaborative venture bringing illustrators and children together with an aim to spread creativity and self-expression. Giving the illustrators the chance to inspire and educate a younger generation with their work and exposure to fellow creatives, teachers, parents, arts organizations, charities and whoever else falls in love with the fantastical hybrid creatures.


So, here's the skinny on the inspiration: I like Rhinos. I like my professor, Murray Tinkelman's hybrid creatures... I like my friend BJ Becker's character and lifestyle. Merge them together with a few early steam engine pistons, and you get "Professor Becker's Rhinocerotidae Triubhas (Rhinoceros Pants)"

100% Cintiq in Adobe Photoshop. Click to enlarge the clanking...

Monday, November 29, 2010

IF: Savour

Zdepski's Church Lady drawing - Sing Rest Sing
"Savor the Flavor of the Savior" or "Sing-Rest-Sing"

I was at a religious service last week, and drew three pictures of the lady in charge of singing solos to karaoke tapes piped in over the loud-speakers. I always thought people that did that were kind of brave, or kind of nuts.

I can't stand singing in live situations... I hate musical theater, uncomfortable folk singer situations and campfire choruses. Perhaps because I was forced to sing in the church choir from early grade school through high school... when I rebelled and learned to mumble while pretending to sing.

Church lady isn't anything like that... She loves what she's doing, and doesn't give a hoot what I think. You go girl!

No malice meant here - she sang very well. I just can't be trusted with a pencil!

Three pages from my Strathmore sketchbook hastily fused into a wide image in Photoshop.
Click the pick to Savah the Flavah!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gnome for Holidays Sketch

Gnome for the Holidays, sketch for Zdepski's Christmas Card, 2010

Gnome for the Holidays, sketch for Zdepski's Christmas Card, 2010
Forget the Jello mold Gnome. I'm going cute.

"Gnome for the Holidays"

Sketched during my lunch break - colored, and off to the printer by Wednesday.

To my friends who aren't on my postal mailing list: Download the Christmas and Holiday Card right here, right now!

Friday, November 19, 2010

my dear sister

Ellen among the Iris, by Paul Zdepski
I lost my biggest fan, protector, confidant and inappropriate out-burst'er today... My dear sister, Ellen. She passed away an hour and a half ago, in a hospital in New Jersey. She had suffered long and hard, but you would never have known it by her ability to find joy in every little thing.

I visited her in the Intensive Care Unit earlier this week, and we all had hope for her recovery, but the evidence showed the opposite. I drew her portrait in the hospital, while she was hooked up to the respirator, and intravenous tubes to various parts of her body. Even with those indignities, she looked peaceful and contented.

Ellen among the Iris, by Paul Zdepski

I sat with her and drew a portrait of her as a young girl of 13 years old, sneaking out into the garden in the wee hours of a summer's night. This piece is called "Ellen Among the Iris". She began her struggles at this age, and I wanted to show her in the un-bound joy she would so easily muster.

Tonight, I painted, cried and painted some more. She was a genuine love of my life... my dear sister. I miss you so...

Monday, November 15, 2010

IF: Burning

zdepski's portrait of Tillie as Hotdog
Tillie the Hotdog

not sure what this means. just did it on Saturday night - colored today after work.

it is what it is, my dog Tillie merged with a match-head - ghostly green flame.

Pencil drawing - Cintiq with Photoshop.
Click the pic to enlarge

Monday, November 8, 2010

District of Design

Paul Zdepski's interview on the District of Design blog
I've been profiled by the blog "District of Design", which is a Washington DC centric blog. I was surprised to hear they were interested in my work, since it's certainly not a slick and design oriented style, but I am glad they dig it.

Click on over to read the full interview. If you've been following my blog, you've seen the images, but there is a bit of history I tell that may not be known. Short and sweet with links to my sites and number... gotta love the web!

Friday, November 5, 2010

IF: Afterwards

Greg Zdepski jumping his bike over the Nellie, Paul Zdepski


Legend states: In 1963, my oldest brother Greg took an old woman's bike from 1938 down our hill, hit a dirt jump called "The Nellie" and proceeded to fly 30 feet into the air like a wounded pelican...

He hit the ramp with such force that the bike's front forks sheared off. upon impact with the ground, Greg's family jewels were driven into the now stationary framework...

He lay motionless on the ground... his junk crammed so deep into his abdomen, the by-standers thought he was dead.

...they scattered to the wind.

zdepski's pencil drawing of brother Greg's bike breaking while in the air.

The next in line, older brother Mark recounts after my posting:
It was a Sears bike that Mom had gotten w/ S&H green stamps just before the war. The jump was called "The Nellie", it was at the edge of Pete Schiable's lawn, at the intersection of the drive and the road. It was a steep dirt incline only about 12-15” high at about a 45 degree angle, but it could launch you to get air. The name probably derived from the first kid saying "Whoa Nellie" as he went over it in the dawn of kiddom. We (the observers in Pete’s lawn) used to exclaim "and he hits the Nellie!!", as the rider launched into the air, then we’d measure the distance, in a form of competition.

We’d reconstituted this bike from weather-beaten rust, got new tires from Clyde’s bike shop in Milford, and brush painted it red & black. On the maiden trip down the hill, Greg took charge and decided to go faster than ever before, starting in front of Mr. Curtis’ house (1/4 mile up the hill from Schiable's ramp). Pete & I waited in the lawn off to the side near the front stoop, it was a warm summer evening and I was laying down in the grass, light was failing. When Greg came into sight he was laid down, feet trailing behind, not even on the pedals, head down to eliminate drag, chest over the handlebars. At the moment that we exclaimed "and he hits the Nellie!!", the goose neck that holds the handlebar to the frame broke and Greg and the bike began to separate into slightly different trajectories. My distinct mental "snap shot" has Greg 6 or 8 feet in the air (probably exaggerated as I was small and was laying down), still climbing in a sitting position and holding the handle bars as the bike was falling away beneath him (kind of like 2001 space odyssey docking maneuvers). He and the bike were in silhouette (just like that scene in ET , he seemed to just keep climbing and traveling). After he hit on top of the bike he didn’t start groaning until after Pete & I had made our way over to him. Pete and I judged that he’d broken the record, but at a significant personal cost, because he’d broken his balls on the bike frame.

I think we repaired the bike, but only after months of searching for a replacement goose neck. I’ve laughed until I’ve cried in the embellished retelling of this story (I only chuckle when I type it).

m

preliminary sketch for Greg Zdepski jumping his bike
pencil in my canson, scanned and reworked in SketchbookPro and Cintiq - Full color illustration in the Corporal Punishment Series.

Click to enlarge the pain.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mid-Century

1954 ad from American Builder - Garage Doors
I found an old AMERICAN BUILDER magazine from October 1954 that my dad had in the attic. It's been kicking around the studio bookshelves for years. I cracked it open last night and found a pile of gems. The design ideas, advertisements and homes are really worth studying.

The garage door ad jumped out at me, firstly due to the garish designs, but secondly as a classic showcase of a full sample offering from a company displayed on one page. I remember the little magician on the lock mechanism of the garage door of our house, which was built in 1958.

1954 ad from American Builder - Bird Shingles

Our house had Aluminum Windows like the ones in this yellow and gray-tone illustration, too!

1954 ad from American Builder - Aluminum Windows

"Jackstraw!" - I love this interior shot! Look at that flooring texture with matching curtains! I'm going to make an Illustrator pattern from it... The color pallets in these ads are fantastic. Swatch time!

1954 ad from American Builder - Jackstraw Flooring

The masthead was cropped and placed on an image of the featured home, which came with blueprints in the issue. I want to have that house! It's a mix between Frank Lloyd Wright and George Jetson.

1954 ad from American Builder - Featured Home

Sunday, October 31, 2010

IF: Spent

zdepski's illustration of old lady brown's lawn

I spent hours of toil at Old Lady Brown's. She had a yard that was long enough to drive golfballs. She must have been 80 years old when I knew her, but she still wanted that huge yard mowed. It was the first time I experienced heat exhaustion, when the grass below my feet looked like rippling water, and was floating above my body as it slogged that mower through the knee-high grass. She never sharped the blades of her cheap sears push mower.

OLB often called on the phone without a "Hello" - she would bleat out my dad's name "Steve??!", forcing the person on the receiver-end to yank the phone away from their head with the sonic blast. My brother's reminded me of her constant interjection of "am I right?" after every statement, as her false teach clickity-clacked with the syllables.

She was a grand old girl. White hair from the age of 18 - timelessly old.

Oh yeah... after mowing for $2.75 an hour, I had to walk 5 miles home because my mom wouldn't pick me up.

My dad volunteered me to be her "mower"... years of obligation... thanks, dad.

Corporal Punishment Series - Old Lady Brown
pencil, photoshop, Cintiq. 11 x 17 inches

Saturday, October 23, 2010

IF: Racing

Officer Rabbit's New Bike, by Paul Zdepski - 2007
If you plan on Street Racing... Officer Rabbit will have to do his duty.
Officer Rabbit's New Bike
oil on oval panel in antique frame. 20" x 13" - Click the Pic to enlarge.

"I'm the Hi-way patrol, Hi-way patrol.
My hours are long, and my pay is low
I'm here ta keep all the speeders drivin' slow,
I'm justa doin' mah job, I'm the Hi-way patrol."
-- Jr. Brown.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dia de los Muertos

zdepski's day of the dead piece for steve hornbaker, close-up


zdepski's day of the dead piece for steve hornbaker, close-up

Day of the Dead - Dia de los Muertos
I finished the piece and delivered it. The show's opening is on Friday with dancers and music from Mexico. I was able to work through some heavy stuff making this piece, including revisiting the poem I wrote when I learned of Steven's murder.

The final piece is made of the poplar box provided by the Shenandoah Art's Council, 1/8 inch birch plywood, silk flowers, 60lb fishing line, 3 springs and a modified paint brush. I used three colors of paint (pallet has more): white, purple and clear opalescent. The writing is with a sharpie and cut back in with paint. In the lower jaw, three paint tubes and two brushes are to be placed.

The hardest part was carving. Each bone had to be made and bound together with fishing line. The easel and bench are made just as doll furniture, tiny mortises and bevels - all removable. I tried to be as true to "hand-made" and Folk Art as I could, avoiding manufactured props.


Requiem for Steven Hornbaker

We painted in Spring, landscapes before us
Skull grinned back from your canvas
Rose thorns dripping blood, Houses of the Holy

Mommy left lives ago, her stomach wrenches
With news, eight hundred miles
“Baby’s now stillborn, sucking air”

The bullet entered your arm
You gaze heavenward like St. Sebastian
Porcelain doll face, ruby lips gasp

How you cough like your father’s cancer
No strength to clear the slop
Look at the shooter’s face

Swooping scythe separates you from little Brielle
Will she know your dreams, our dreams for you?
Dragon’s whisper, icy embrace

Staring at life dripping on Naugahyde
Steering wheel leaving the lines of Ash Wednesday
THREE, FOUR, FIVE shots shatter ribs, new shirt

Sleepy gaze, eyes half shut
Valkyrie carry you from the battlefield
Your side losing, Arrogance vs. Lead

Pierced lungs, drown your summer’s breath
Tearing your heart, you glimpse the heaven
You seek in smoke

Tuxedo, white shirt, bow tie, no holes
Die with your boots on, don’t cry
Grinning obituary, so happy to be dead

--paul zdepski


Oct 23, 2010
Winchester Star:
Paul Zdepski in the Winchester Star Newspaper with his Dia de los Muertos sculpture.

Friday, October 15, 2010

IF: Spooky

UPDATE:
zdepski's day of the dead piece for steve hornbaker, close-up


zdepski's day of the dead piece for steve hornbaker, close-up

ORIGINAL POST:

zdepski's shrine to steven hornbaker
Day of the Dead - Dia de los Muertos
This is a progress shot of my shrine for a friend of mine that was killed 10 years ago during a drug deal. Steve Hornbaker and I were a couple of art geeks in high school. We often painted together for hours and dreamed dreams of being professional artists one day. I went on to pursue that dream, and Steve found a love of heroin.

He tried to scam a street dealer in North Philadelphia... tried driving away without paying for his junk. Six shots later, Steve was dead behind the wheel of his car.

I was given the chance to create this piece by Tracy at the Shenandoah Arts Council. She's putting on a Dia de los Muertos show by the 21st. I need to finish building the wooden marionette skeleton artist as he paints the portrait of Steve looking into the mirror 4"x5" acrylic on a mini easel that is still to be made. The entire piece is currently a black poplar box with three compartments upon which, the skull is to be mounted. The skull's eyes will show the two lower compartments with votive candles. The larger opening will show the skeleton painting in the studio. the entire piece is to be ringed with dried mums.

The piece is accompanied by a written piece of prose called "Requiem for Steven Hornbaker". I'll post that with the final photos of the finished piece within the next week.
zdepski's steven hornbaker in the mirror
zdepski's steven hornbaker in the mirror
zdepski's steven hornbaker in the mirror
zdepski's steven hornbaker in the mirror

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sketchday DC

zdepski's watercolor sketch of a cafe in washington DC
The Illustrators Club of DC, MD and VA had our first sketch day on the National Mall yesterday, 10-10-10. A small group of nine started at the West building of the National Gallery and fanned out to sculpture gardens, coffee houses and various monuments. I was hanging with my friend David Labrozzi - which means "pencils down... I need coffee."

I did a watercolor at the Starbucks street cafe at 6th and Indiana. It was the first watercolor in a year. I was a bit stiff. My watercolor rig is Lucas travel pallet (12 colors) on D'Arches 140lb. 12x16 inch hotpress block and my lucky Ticonderoga 2B pencils. The watercolor block is great because it becomes its own drawing table and the waxed edges don't allow the saturated paper to buckle as you work.

The second in an amalgam of various pudgy guys on the street, waiting at the corner for the light to turn green. I looked at this one again this morning and thought he looks a bit like my dad... or ME for that matter.

zdepski's watercolor sketch of a cafe in washington DC

ouch.

Friday, October 8, 2010

IF: Transportation

zdepski's painting of a tricycle

the base model, no frills, no bells or whistles. Like all well loved tricycles, the handlebars were askew. No kid was seen... possibly shoving a jelly bread into their face in the kitchen.

- small oil study from two summers ago - under a shady tree on a hot Blue Ridge afternoon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pug and Chihuahua

Zdepski's sketches of a Pug and Chihuahua
two drawings to seal the deal on my April 1st to October 7th sketchbook. My son brought home a new book of dog breeds. He's obsessed with animals, so there is plenty of photographic reference laying around the house at all times. This particular book has a few freaky closeups of some butt-ugly dogs. The bulging eyes of the Pug and Chihuahua made for a good pairing.

Pencil in my Canson sketchbook.
Click to enlarge the slobbering...

Friday, October 1, 2010

IF: Beneath

Zdepski's illustration of Professor Fyne in his underwater observation barrel
Professor Fyne is in his underwater observation barrel beneath the HMS.Duckwaddle, doing eleven knots. He's trying to snag a few new species in the name of science. His technology is rough, but a bit of steam from the boilers keeps the barrel warm.

Pencil and Cintiq with Photoshop.

Click to enlarge the picture

Friday, September 17, 2010

IF: Acrobat

Zdepski's take on CYRK poster with an acrobatic family
This is my homage to the Polish School of Posters with artists like the great Tomaszewski among others, and the posters of CYRK (circus)

Here's another great blog post on the posters of CYRK

My take on the acrobat.

pencil drawing to digital. Cintiq in Photoshop.

Clickity-click to enlarge the pic!

Friday, September 10, 2010

IF: Proverb

The Fiddler on Burliuk's roof by moonlight
"Like a Fiddler on the Roof..."
from Jewish/Ukrainian writer, Sholem Aleichem - b. 1859-1916, writing about the little town of Boyarka, south of Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine. His tales of Tevya the Milkman would go on to become the Broadway Play and Movie by the same name. Sholem was petrified of the number 13, and wouldn't even mark the pages of his manuscript with the number. He died on the 13th of May, 1916... His gravestone says May 12a, 1916.

My fiddler is an Illustration Friday adjustment on my evil Sorcerer on the roof of Burliuk the Cossack's house. The story is going far afield to turn him into a fiddler, but that was the nearest Proverb I could think of, while doing this current series.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Sorcerer

The Sorcerer on Burliuk's roof by moonlight

"Up on the Cossack's roof - a "Bump-Bump-Bump" as the Sorcerer alighted upon the shingles, Mongol dagger in hand, a giant's legbone as a cane. Burliuk awoke with a chill and stoked the fire in the hearth..."

The Sorcerer on Burliuk's roof by moonlight

I made some changes to the character - I used Lenin and Stalin as my face models. I thought the skeletal face in the one below was too scary. My wife also said to soften the angles of the body. I added a puffy Ruskie shirt, with a bit of a potbelly overhanging the tunic. I think it works better.

I'm getting into the story - Every hero needs an anti-hero... the greater the hero, the more wicked the villain. A very good image for Halloween... no?

pencil to digital via Cintiq with SketchbookPro and Adobe Photoshop.
Click to enlarge the creepy crawly.

Friday, September 3, 2010

IF: Dessert

Zdepski's Christmas Card - Gnome Made Jello
mmmm... Gnome-made Jello. This year's Christmas Card.

Gilby got a bit too close to the edge when he was mixing the batch of Strawberry Jello for the Christmas Dessert. I was wondering where he went!

"Hey... this part's chewy... ewww..."

Watercolor and Digital Illustration - Photoshop

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Burliuk's Mother

The Cossack Burliuk's Mother, Evdokia beating a Turk_closeup.
To continue the stories of the heroic Cossack Burliuk, we have to know a bit about his family life. All life springs from our mothers, and Burliuk was sprung from some tough stock. Evdokia would drop you to the ground for the slightest infraction of Cossack etiquette.

The picture you see is the time a Turkman warrior insulted Burliuk's horse, Mazepa. He quickly apologized to the horse and the entire village for raising so much dust while being beaten.
The Cossack Burliuk's Mother, Evdokia beating a Turk.

Burliuk's Mom and Dopf are done in my drawing program, SketchbookPro with my Cintiq. I color and texturized the drawing in Adobe Photoshop.

Click to enlarge the Whomping!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Burliuk and the Giant

Zdepski's Illustration of Burliuk and the Giant
I have always loved the name "Burliuk", which was the last name of two Ukrainian artists, brothers from the Odessa / Black Sea region in the early 20th C. Brother David and Vladmir were big, burly guys, perhaps less well known than their contemporary Russian painters like Malevich, Goncharova and El Lissitzky. But they were crucial in the development of the style called the "Primativist Movement", drawing on folk tales and folk art.

David did a piece in 1907 called "My Cossack Ancestor", which struck a chord with me. My roots aren't from the eastern Ukraine, where the Cossacks lived, but I love the stories of Nikolai Gogol and the larger than life visions of their heroic deeds.

...so.... that story brings me to this story...

Zdepski's Illustration of Burliuk and the Giant - close-up

My Twitter pal, Sandra Dieckmann (@sandradieckmann) has a project called "Haus Stories" that consists of individual artists placing a single story on her "Haus", and we watch it grow, story by story. I got the specifications, which are easy to understand, but the format is long and low, like a room interior.

I started by wondering how large of a person could i cram into that tiny space. The drawing turned into a Giant, warming himself over a candle. That looked ok, but not that dynamic. I was going to toss a mouse, or cat in for contrast... boring.

Then I looked at the rustic walls I had drawn, and chose to draw a laughing Cossack..."Burliuk, the Brave". I formulated a story that he captured a giant on one of his adventures and chose to bring him home. Being a Ukrainian, he had to offer his house guest something to eat. The giant is given a Hay Fork to eat with and a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine. The giant is awed by Burliuk's generosity.

SO... that's the story. Burliuk could develop into something down the road. Wait and see!

HEY! How the heck did he ever get into that tiny room? Immovable...

The Cossack Burliuk's Mother, Evdokia beating a Turk.

UPDATE: Here's Burliuk's Mom and Horse beating up an insulting Turkman. More about Mom Here...

Click to enlarge the image - Cintiq in SketchbookPro and Photoshop.