I’ve mentioned this before, but I picked up a nice little sketchbook from Zequenz back in the spring, and I take it with me whenever possible. I like documenting simple, cool little things when I’m visiting friends, or in a restaurant, etc. It’s become a visual diary to mark little events (and big ones too, I guess). Very nice smooth-finish paper in it, and the book will fold flat when you open it, which is nice for both drawing and scanning.
It also keeps me drawing on a regular basis, which is crucial. I’ve found over the past couple months that it’s really helped crystallize my drawing style. This actually caught me by surprise, because I’ve never really tried to find a specific style.
And yet, it seems to be happening, and it feels damn good.
Not long ago we were barbecuing at a friend’s place, and I saw a wooden giraffe that I just had to draw:
I definitely want to pursue more art along these lines.
And then just last week I was hanging with some other friends, watching Misfits on Netflix and pigging out on Wendy’s. At some point I looked around for something to draw, and saw an Imperial Stormtrooper helmet. These are pretty ornate pieces of design work, so there were some minor challenges to drawing one.
But I like how this turned out, and it was probably only 10-15 minutes’ work:
More to come in the future.
Yep, it’s true – Saturday marked the 900th day of my Thousand Days Project. Since January 1st, 2010, I’ve drawn/painted every single day, without fail. That seemed like an almost-ridiculous goal at one point, but the end is definitely in sight now.
I didn’t do anything special for Day 800, because I was well into Birthday Shenanigans Week. Day 700 was the 1st of December, and in addition to chipping away at the numerous paintings I was doing at the time, I drew a quick headshot of a beautiful blonde.
So with all that in mind, I figured that Day 900 needed something out of the ordinary - not a metalflake painting, not a dinosaur, not a sketchbook diary piece. But what?
Meanwhile, one particular illustration of mine has lain dormant for a long time – since September 15th of 2011, to be exact. This has been a long-gestating piece. I first started it in the fall of 2010, but it kept getting set aside in favour of other projects.
The first rough iteration of it looked something like this:
As time went by I slowly got closer to finishing it. In mid-September I did the blueline pencils:
This was scanned and imported into my Photoshop document, and the base illustration was set aside on my bar, waiting for me to do the final linework in ink. Anybody who’s had a drink at my place since then has seen it sitting there, though oddly enough, I don’t recall anybody ever asking about it.
I posted an in-progress picture online the night of the 15th, and walked off to a date with destiny. My whole world changed that night, and definitely without warning. Another story for my memoirs, I guess.
And I’ve seen that illustration almost daily since the fateful night, till it got to the point where it was just part of the furniture.
Until I was finally ready to finish it.
So without further ado (or cryptic remarks), here it is, the fruits of my labour of Day 900/1000:
Okay, now that the Metal Flake Remix show is out of the way, it’s time for…
… more dinosaurs. Spinosaurus :
(Another one I first saw in the Extreme Dinosaurs exhibit.)
So I bought a new sketchbook recently, and started carrying it everywhere. When I’m in a new place I try to find some small object to sketch – nothing major, just kind of a visual souvenir.
Last weekend I paid a visit to a city I haven’t visited in a couple years, Victoria, B.C. Just needed a weekend away from Vancouver, and see some new faces and decompress. While I was there I saw this wooden rhino and had to draw him:
And yesterday I went to a fun little Sunday-brunch outing at one of my favourite restaurants, Cosca. Lots of cool visual details in the place, so I had lots of options to choose from. In the end I drew this lamp that reminded me of the restaurant’s symbol (an artichoke):
And after that I spotted this chandelier:
I definitely need to do more of this. Stay tuned.
May 21, 2012
Day three brings us the mighty Stegosaurus:
(Are Stegosauri mighty? I’m not even sure. I just know I’m lovin’ this project.)
Well, all the excitement over the Triceratops earlier led me directly to Mr. Tyrannosaurus Rex:
Banged this one out in a couple hours tonight. This project is so much more fun than the shotglasses, it ain’t funny.
Continuing my catchup efforts, I believe this is another glass I got from Gary & Morna of Starfish Glassworks fame:
So yesterday’s sale was a smashing success. I commandeered the studio at Imagemaker Photographic Studio , lots of good, fun people showed up, paintings and prints were sold, and a good time was had by all. The show wasn’t even started before several prints were already sold, and with the guidance of a few friends, the momentum kept going as we turned the sale into a bit of a Twitter event (#BretsBigArtSale).
(Photo courtesy of George Smeltzer – GSCameraworks )
I was really touched by how much effort people made to promote the sale. Plenty of mentions, retweets, photos and link sharing on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Right off the bat, I should thank these fine people:
John & Chrissy Watson, George Smeltzer, Lori Kittelberg, Patti Catroppa, Ceci Graber, Brandy Trudeau, Jeff Hornby, Donna Jay-Crowe, Adam Carlson, Ned Tobin, Nikki Cruickshank, Nicola Rueschmann, Richard Finch, Adé Win, Vincent Ng, everybody at Cosca and Novo, Nicola Rueschmann, Yvonne Milroy, Matty Sadorf, April Trasy, Valarie H., Kimli, Stephanie Insixiengmay, Anthony Wittrock, DaDe Art & Design Lab, Vancouver Vantage, Carly Fryer, BC Berrie, Lora Jean, John Bell, Jenn Ashton, Lola Frost, Louise Perrin, Ashley November, Steve Kubien, and of course my family.
Sold a set of 6 bourbon prints, a Jack Daniel’s print, the Crow’s Funeral painting I did in tribute to my good friends Lisa and Paul in Mojave , etc. etc. I was sort of sad to see this one go, but at least it went to a good home:
(Photo courtesy of Brandy Trudeau)
In the midst of all the wining and dining and wheeling and dealing, I managed to get a little sketching in:
(Photo courtesy of Tess McCann)
And of course, adult beverages were provided to keep spirits up (see what I did there?). There’s still a bit of wine left in my fridge, but the tequila didn’t survive:
After 6 hours we packed up the paintings and called it a night. Only thing left to do at that point was celebrate with vodka and poutine.
Thank you one and all for a stellar day. Let’s do it again sometime soon.
P.S. Thanks to everyone who put up with my twitchiness and general neurosis on the days leading up to the sale. Apparently I’m always going to be a bit of a mess right up to the point where a sale/show starts.
Further thoughts on the latest show/series concept: the title will be “Closing Time”, after the Leonard Cohen song of the same name. And when the show happens, people will have the option of buying the original paintings, or buying a book of the preliminary sketches.
Two more from the past few nights, then:
More info as it occurs to me, obviously.
Only 15 days to go in this latest experiment in drawing/painting every day. And this one’s been much more productive than when I did it the first time, in 2008. It started out mainly as an exercise in discipline, but what it’s really about is training your subconscious mind to be more creative.
Not sure whether I’ll try it again next year. It’s quite possible – I remember how twitchy I got on the first day of 2009 when I took a day off. Maybe I just won’t make it such a formal thing.
Anybody else ever try this method?
So I’m workin’ on yet another car – a 33 Dodge coupe customized with elements from a 70s-era Dodge Challenger. Those of you who remember those Challengers will likely remember all the wild colour options they had – Hemi Orange, Sublime Green, and so on. I’m still trying to choose between Panther Pink and Plum Crazy:
What do you guys think?
Okay, confession time: drawing is something I struggle with from day to day. Some aspects more than others – hands, for example, are a real bear. They’re gradually getting easier, but they still take a lot of work. Which doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given how complex the structure of a human hand is. Definitely one of those areas where practice is the answer. I also used to find hair pretty difficult as well, but not so much anymore. (Oddly enough, it was harder to draw back when I still had hair.)
In comparison, pulling a long, even, curved line in ink never gets easier for me. I’ve never had the steadiest hands for that kind of thing. Short lines aren’t a problem, so if you’ve seen me do something with lots of loose, sketchy lines, now you know at least part of the story.
Take this illustration for example:
I inked this today. The rough sketch was printed out at about 10 inches wide, and I inked over that. Now, knowing how tricky the linework can be, I got out my French curves, my oval template and my ruler, and I decided to just keep drawing through if something went wrong, rather than agonizing over something I could fix after the fact, and letting that derail the whole process.
So finally I got the linework finished and scanned, and then I spent a few hours on the details – smoothing out uneven curves, duplicating repeating elements like the louvers, and just general touchup. Probably spent almost as long cleaning up the illustration in Photoshop as I did drawing it in the first place.
This is often a dilemma on my part, of course. On one hand I’m tempted to draw the stuff fairly small, so it’s easier to get smooth curves. But then the gaps between the lines fill in, and I can’t use reduction to clean things up.
On the other hand, if I draw it large I have to freehand all the lines, because none of my French curves and oval templates are big enough.
I guess it’s largely a matter of what sort of touchup I want to do. Do I fix a lot of little, niggling details, or do I use Bezier curves in Photoshop to fine-tune the bigger areas of the lines? By now I’d likely have hit upon the optimum procedure, if I didn’t work in so many different styles.
Something to consider in the future, I guess. Not like my hands are magically gonna get less shaky.
Thanks for listening, everybody. What aspects of drawing trouble you?
Well, I think the next book’s off to a fine start. The last few days have been extremely productive:
All I did today was be creative. It’s a pretty good feeling. (All of these are just the preliminary stages, of course. Stay tuned to see where I go with them from here.)