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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One of the most difficult things to do is to keep motivating oneself when one does what I do. It's so easy to find other things that need attention, and truthfully a balance can sometimes be hard to find between the mundane and the pursuit of becoming the best you can be at what you do and at least a bit of acknowledgement . The negative voices whether they are from people in your life or your infernal internal editor can debilitate sometimes to the point of lethargy. Or worse, a failure to comply with your own dreams. So it's important to instill a few steps into your process, especially if you are actively engaged in the creative process.

Realize you set yourself up. I'm choosing for success. I'm giving myself permission to play (something I don't do easily or well) because I know once the joy overtakes me good things will come of it. Some of my best work was done because I was invested in it. Play is one of those investments. It's not so serious that you can't throw it away because it's not "real". We play games because it keeps our mind active but it also trains and disciplines. You might stink a big one at first, but the exhileration at the first game "won" becomes addictive.

I'm also giving myself permission to work. Living long enough to know that failure and success (and each of us define that for ourselves) have strengths and drawbacks, and ultimately more often than not the definition of those things lie outside ourselves. Someone likes or buys our work or doesn't. But the DISCIPLINE of work, doing it every day, mastering things that aggravate, the expression of those things inside to the outside and sharing it with others, despite their reaction , that is work to me. By giving yourself the permission to do your work, to play at your work to work at your play, to see your expression and interaction with others (and yes, lots of times it's a chore) as important, not only validates but helps you to get stronger.

So what does this have to do with my dear little friends Kobe and Oscar? I'm playing with a new media (and technology really) I'll post a couple of early drawings no more more finished illustrations, but more technique and perhaps spot illustration process within them (for instance as I work on this particular illustration I may post one character from the scene). So far I do not care for this drawing. AT ALL. It may all end in the recycling bin.

Why finish it, you may ask. It's that work part. I know even if I end up scrapping this, there is no wasted effort. I'm learning a great deal and enjoying it as I go, even when I don't care for what I'm working on at the time. I've also learned already it could stink and then all of a sudden, it's not half bad. It's pretty good. Hey, what's that? I like it? WHEN did that happen. So like a journey I simply have to do the work to find out. Whatever it is, whether it's the act of "painting", or seeing something come from nothingness or even the finished product, THAT is your motivator, that is your play, your work, your discipline. Butt in Chair. Smile on face or at least in your heartish area. And then pull a Nike. JUST DO IT.

so I block in colors over the sketch. This is about four layers. Each animal will have at least two or three layers. I find separating them and LABELING them well, keeps me sane and saves time in the long run.

I like to check it often for composition and color balance. one of the ways I do that is to shut off the underlying drawing. Sometimes I will leave the drawing in, and perhaps blend some of it. Other times, I lose it entirely and a piece has a painterly feeling. I like the line drawings in these books, because it helps to "see" the forms more clearly, and to me it has a more kid-friendly feel and appeal. I may end up redrawing the drawing that I'm using, or keep the one I've got and tweak it.

This is with the photo I use loosely for reference. I'm starting to pull out the darks a bit more for formation and texturizing the color. Finally will be a small detail. As I say I dunno if I'll use this drawing or not, but I'm learning a great deal and enjoying the process. When I finish with this I will start to develop the border for the drawings. I not only want Margot's approval, the images themselves will have to work with the border, so I think it easier to do the border and draw the images than to have to tweak it at the end...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

So this was the first version of Oscar. I love the geometric shapes and I didn't know Tasmanian Devils HOWL, and it looks like he's complaining. According to people who know, and my partner in crime Margot says it so it must be true, TDs can be nasty little critters, so I think even Oscar is a TD with a difference, he's still a TD. When thinking about characters, especially when they are based on real life you need to have good reference.

You can see it's not exact, because Oscar needed to interact with another character. Besides, it's not a wise idea to use references EXACTLY, because you can run into copyright (and sometimes) trademark issues. I decided I liked it better with the image flopped. but this was the basis for my drawing. The next step was adding color. I painted in mostly normal layers, added a "night" layer in OVERLAY, and that's how I got the very intense color (I kinda like it). I used a splatter brush to paint as well as a textured brush to blend it. Personally, I'm a blending freak, I think a lot can be achieved with that. I'm posting the rest of the images during various stages of color. I'm waiting on Margot letting me post the image with the first page of text, we're trying to decide on typeface. If she prefers we not use the type, I'll do a pretend block so you can see what the finished page will look like with the text and all (I sized the screen proportionally to the Kindle, and it will mostly apply through out...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It may be a whirlwind, but it can be circuitous too!

As in windy, (wind-y, though it has been raining and blustery where I've been quite a bit!) and sometimes short circuited (how do I get there from HERE?!)! The hitch when trying to do everything at once, is figuring out the first steps first. I'm in the process of learning Photoshop, as well as in the process of relocating (for a few weeks). I'd done a few sketches I wasn't pleased with and if I can get my computer up and running tonight, will spend more time sketching. But it's not a given. It's great to have a plan when handling a lot of details (like illustrating isn't hard enough, lol!). I have a specific style in mind, right now I have to figure out the best way to get close enough to that. Photoshop isn't like traditional media, which would be time consuming, expensive and messy. Outside of the initial investment in Photoshop and the equipment to use it properly, the rest is figuring it out. There's lots of YouTube videos (I have my favorites, it's true, feel free to list yours). One of the ways I find out what I need instead of wading through an ocean of images, information and just mesmerizing work is to be specific when I put it into the info box, whether images, video or a search. This is NOT how it'll look, but it's getting closer and closer to what I want... I think the point is to be open-minded, ENJOY the process, and really allow yourself to slow down and think things through. I'm very lucky at the moment, I have minimal distractions so this coming week, I plan on throwing myself into this. I also know what I learn now doing this project, some of it will apply to my own work (I hope to begin Duke Day for Annie- I'm feeling more confident about drawing directly into Photoshop and learning a great deal about the effects, so I think in about or month or so I can confidently begin to tackle that project). If I'm able to post tomorrow, I shall take three or four of Margot's characters and show how I plan to draw them, break them down into their component character studies, and the next post I hope to have figured out how how to color them satisfactory. Upcoming will be doing landscapes (I haven't figured out if I want to do a bunch and plop the characters in ala Chuck Jones and animation technique, or render each specifically separate). I did do a very quick sketch of Kobi and his mom in a gum tree:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

AGY WILSON'S ART: Life can be become a whirlwind!

AGY WILSON'S ART: Life can be become a whirlwind!: It takes an innocuous comment sometimes to open the world and--- WOW! Life can become a whirlwind! When my cyber friend Margot said she thou...

Life can be become a whirlwind!

It takes an innocuous comment sometimes to open the world and--- WOW! Life can become a whirlwind! When my cyber friend Margot said she thought much of my art and wished it was possible for me to illustrate her book, all I could think is why couldn't I? The answer of course is I can! I've loved and admired Margot's warmth and humor for many years on the web, and personally love animals, exotic (for me!) countries like Australia and, well just ALL of it: illustrating for kids, researching new things, and being a part of this life's adventure. It's ALL GOOD!  I thought it would be fun to talk about how characters come to be and the process of bringing a book to life. I understand Kobi and Oscar are over at Margot's blog as I write (and draw) arguing about who's story should be published first, and all kinds of things (Oscar may be a nice Tasmanian Devil, but that means he doesn't EAT his friends, but he's still a TD!) if you want to check their argument du jour (that's exotic for TODAY) you can bop over to Margot's blog to eavesdrop: Till then I'm posting some of the drawings I did in Photoshop of the Kookaburra, Koala and TD. In the next few days I will do more studies, and refine all of them into the characters that will populate Margot's stories! But it starts with reality (and the fine art is making the characters LOOK like who they are and still be able to tell their story to the kids!

I'm learning to use Photoshop (not half bad for a newbie's efforts, methinks!) and figure out the character's shapes and personalities. Next it will be figuring the environment. I have some more "real" drawings to make of my new buddies, and then bashing them over the head with the "magic cartoonify wand" Oh and I want to color them all in the style of Margot's original (talented) illustrator! A tall order, it's a great thing I'm so excited and happy about this, and I hope there will be people along the way who share this journey and love the results!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012



* Kobi Borrows a Pouch
* Oscar Needs a Friend

These are
two "story books" written by my friend,
children's author, Margot Finke

This is a joint venture by Margot and I into the world of self-publishing. Margot wrote the Kobi and Oscar story books, and I am illustrating them.  Then I will set them up for publication in Kindle, Nook, iPad and iPod etc.

They will both be on an e-Reader near you -

Do come by and see my sample sketches.  Watch Margot's stories
and my artwork come together and make a
wonderful child's story book. 

And while Kobi and Oscar wait for their books to be published,
follow their "Blog Napping" adventure on:

 Kobi and Oscar