Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A rare, special, non-ass-containing drawing

The upper half of the picture is memories of the past, and the bottom represents a potential journey into death and rebirth - the animals gathered around are made of a malleable, claylike substance, half-formed denizens of the world beyond.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Atlin Lake art vacation

I went on a self-paid artist residency to Atlin Centre for the Arts. Basically, an art teacher bought and developed a lovely property halfway up a mountain near a tiny little gold-rush town in British Columbia, way up north, almost in the Yukon, and built cabins and tent platforms and ran a summer art school program.

I just wanted a bit of a getaway, in an artist-friendly place, where I could be alone and able to work on my drawings, pretending it's my full-time activity for a week. I wanted to be surrounded by nature, because nature is beautiful, and it's nice to see a tree right in front of you when you want to draw a tree.

Another artist couple from Australia was interested in the teaching aspect of the place, so Gernot ran a few workshop sessions that I attended. The general aim was for people to break down and re-invent their artistic processes, to let go of thinking and rationality (but still maintain your knowledge of what makes a good composition) and be more spontaneous, making art from within.

However, since I didn't come to this place with the aim of re-making my process, but rather just having time and space and the intention to make all the art that I haven't been making for the past six months, I wasn't ready to benefit from ideas like that. I don't respond well to religious or artistic evangelism. I'm not easily infected with a spirit of amazement and reinvention, and I feel like I don't get it. I'm too cynical, I don't believe that I contain within myself everything I need to just make spontaneous, emotional gestures on the page that would be interesting to anyone. I may be a bit deficient in this respect, but I think that since I know this about myself, and I know what kind of art I'm interested in making, I am better off continuing and striving in this vein, and leaving abstract spiritual art to others.

All of these drawings looked better before colour was added. When I compose an image, I'm constantly making decisions as to what density or interval of line is appropriate to convey the right information. I decide all of this with the lines, leaving no information for the colours to convey. I don't think ahead to the colour when I make the lines; if I did, I would need to hold back on some of the lines, and let the colours speak. The way I make pictures now, the colours are just confusing, and actually take clarity away from the image.

I am still continuing in the vein of self-invented mythology, using tropes and themes and symbols that are commonly found in many, many stories. I am making fairytale illustrations of psychological conditions, or fanciful ideas of people's place in the world. It's a formula, in a way. It's a bit dispassionate, because I am not a believer of myths (though I don't know if myths are traditionally "believed" literally anyway).

Every image i make is a little bit mocking, a bit self-aware. But at some point it crosses into naieve, goofy, sincerity. I also seem to include a lot of vulgarity in my drawings. I'm not sure if this is beneficial to any idea I might have, or if it's just a way to get attention.

Monday, August 17, 2009

2 trees

2 or 3 years ago I made a sketch with this composition, intending it to be a painting. It didn't turn out, but I still like the general idea of it. These colours were tricky!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hands Man

Trying to get back into the artistic frame of mind.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

meghan and arlene

The background is weird, because it's basically a featureless expanse of grass-colour, presided over by a murky pseudo-sky. Like a T and T picture.

Friday, July 3, 2009

three owls

Here are the finished owl-heads. I made three files with three different levels of detail, to be used for various sizes. I haven't yet heard what he thinks of the most detailed one (it's new) but I think it could come in useful for a big logo on something!
I'm happy because this is the first time I've been hired by someone who isn't a friend or family - and I've already been paid! how professional! :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

previews of beach drawing

I've managed to get a lot of work done on my big, fat, ever-more-complicated Illustrator drawing this weekend. I'm posting some cropped areas of it, so that I can feel as though this blog is still alive:

Friday, June 5, 2009


An owl drawing, as a logo for someone who is making panoramic photography camera heads or something -

It needs to be really really small, so I made a simple version and a more detailed version. I'm pretty happy with this, plus owls are so awesome in their expressions!
I have been working on a big drawing in illustrator. It started off with beach-sketches, and I'm limiting myself to invariable-width line, and trying to keep the colours within a scheme. The composition wasn't much planned beforehand, but I find it's pretty easy to move things around and re-size them. And just now, I even thought of a concept - some objects I can add to suggest a kind of story.
But um... it probably won't be posted for a while. I'm doing a bit of work every day.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Here it is, my latest work of art for this Victoria Day weekend. I hope you all are ready for this shit. I didn't bother to find out what this thing is. I really love Bibliodyssey, and maybe I don't show that love in the best way.

Also, I think I have discovered the most hipster music possible. I'm not going to say what it is, in case I am wrong about it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

crest guy

I copied this decorative guy from a huge, awesome crest I found on Biblyodyssey.

From what I understand, art school used to consist of a whole lot of copying things... We don't really do that as much any more, because of the emphasis on individual creativity and such. I wonder if there is something useful in the copying idea... maybe because I did this, next time I go to create a decorative, muscley dude with a leaf skirt out of vectors, I'll be better at making my own original one?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

trainwreck-watching care bear fetus

This drawing is also a few weeks old. I was thinking about how people love to hear about disasters and see them on tv, and the image started to form in my mind.
The creature is a fat/fetus/penis/carebear hybrid. The mushrooms basically only exist because of smudged ink that had to be turned into something. I think they're only misleading in terms of what the image signifies. The tree and heart exist for composition's sake, but I don't mind the associations that may come up with the fruit tree - garden of eden, maybe? innocence? danger? fruitfulness? Plus I think it looks real pretty.
I had a lot of fun drawing the explosion (maybe it's the creation of a universe and the creature is a retarded God?) and I want to draw more, different explosions in the future.

Friday, April 17, 2009

new collages!

after thinking about collages, I made a few new ones.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

old collage(s)

I haven't done much new art lately. Here are some collages from collage class, about a year ago:

I mostly had fun in that class, letting the material I found guide me, just juxtaposing things with some connection or opposition. That's not really an original strategy. I found that the simpler I made things, the better. I believe the main impression from my collage work comes from the 'cool' factor of old magazines I used. There wasn't much intervention coming from me.

The course outline mentioned "collage thinking", and I interpreted this as suggesting possibilities for non-glue-and-scissors collage. I think the drawings I've made recently are what I mean. They are pen and ink drawings, but I used source material from photos (I usually don't) and embellished them with elements from my imagination, or other photos. I used a variety of resources, but because the whole thing is drawn with the same ink, there is a cohesiveness.

Another lesson I might have learned from this collage idea is that taking away something can be as neat as adding it. But I never have that kind of restraint - to leave a figure unfinished, without a face, for example. Or to draw a background with an empty spot where the figure should be.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I did a lot of measuring with pencil before making this. I don't really know what the point is, it has a lot of detail but not much to grab you I think.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


This is a drawing I made, of a character created by my friend Alexander. With this drawing I wanted to figure out how to 'paint' in Photoshop, and I think I learned a lot. I tried out a lot of the different ways to use a brush, such as lighten, screen, soft light, etc. using transparency as well. In the past I used to just paint opaquely, and when I tried to hack away with transparent brushstrokes it just looked messy. I was more thoughtful this time, rather than just putting colours on to see how they look.

I think next I want to try a hard, bright sunlight, rather than an overall soft, diffused light. I think this image looks good but I don't know if the light effects are actually realistic.

I probably should have added more pouches, weapons, shiny things and doodads on her outfit.

The other thing I'm happy about is the clothing folds - after some book-studying, I feel more confident inventing those than I used to!

Friday, March 27, 2009

aaaand this is a drawing i started in australia and finished in canada. It was inspired by a library book about magic and alchemy in art. I was amazed at how certain mythologies and attributes of our natural world persist and change through time. But for me, it's not so much about consistant symbolism as the underlying human/nature relations.
Somehow I came up with the idea of people going a little bit against the natural order. This is a woman peeing upwards at the moon. She's gigantic like some kind of superhuman, and her urine actually reaches the personified moon. It's playful, and I thought it made sense that the moon is often a symbol of feminity. And I think it's like a myth... "and she grew so large, and peed so strongly, that her piss totally soaked the moon in the face, and dripped down to earth, creating the lake of Moon Piss."
For me, the concepts that inspire a drawing should stay at the beginning stage of the art-creation. My ideas about this work's "meaning" only serve as the motivation to create an image that is, in itself, interesting to look at. So I know that people are going to interpret the spraying fluid as a gigantic orgasm, or lemon juice, or whatever. I don't like to make art that is like a cryptic code, which you can decipher using your artworld knowledge to come up with the meaning and say "oh, I see what you did there."
And that's okay, because when I look at old medieval, renaissance, or surrealist imagery, I don't always need to know what the symbols mean in order to be interested. I just want it to look cool and provoke a bit of thought.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Failure of Text in images

I haven't been posting while I was in Australia. While I was there, I made these two drawings:

There was text in the speech balloons, but when I scanned these images, I photoshopped them out, because they just didn't work in context.
The words were based on a conversation I overheard, from the party in the yard next door while I was drawing. A European visitor had had too much beer, and was talking loudly about all sorts of things, mostly comparing Australia to his home. He sounded homesick. Eventually he started saying, "I don't feel like I should BE in Australia, as a white person. White people don't belong here, they aren't welcome because they are foreign invaders. Everywhere else i've travelled, I've met someone from that local culture who made me feel like I was accepted as a visitor, but not here in Australia." He sounded pretty distressed.
I paraphrased his words and made the topless woman say them. She was a picture from an "Australia is Beautiful" naked postcard, and I just added the rest of the decor randomly.
The second image had text based on the reply to this issue made by a housemate's friend when I told him the overheard conversation. He basically said, "Well the British weren't the worst colonizers in the world. Sure, they did terrible things, but not as bad as some other nations. And at least they did things to improve the countries they took over, like building railroads, instead of just pillaging."
I'm fairly interested in discussions of colonialism, so I used these two points of view, in a collage spirit. I figured that just as I was taking figures from postcards and re-drawing them, I might as well do the same with text.
But in the end I didn't find that I could show these pictures to anybody, without adding a big disclaimer of, "This is not really my opinion, this is a conversation I overheard." I guess words are just that strong, more loaded than images in this case. I mean a topless chick with pointy boobs is a topless chick with pointy boobs - whatever - but the words seem more likely to be interpreted as the artist's personal viewpoint.
I think in the end, the problem is that I feel so ambivalent about judging these viewpoints. I'm using the words without putting forward my own viewpoint. It ends up being really wishy-washy and confusing.
So, I used the clone stamp tool to just make it blank.