Friday, February 26, 2010

An Unexpected Visitor

My first full Sabriel illustration for The Picture Book Report! Yay!
I talk about the illustration and the passage it's illustrating on the Picture Book Report, so I figured on here I would show my process...

Often when I'm first trying to puzzle out a layout, I sketch quickly into photoshop with just black and white until I get a vague idea of what I'm going for. (oftentimes this involves me erasing everything or deleting the layers afterwards when I know what I'm doing, which is why I don't have that to show you!)
As you saw in the last post, once I got the idea of Sabriel turning in her chair in the study, I started with some photo ref to set the groundrules.

Oftentimes in my editorial work, I will go straight to color after thumbnails. Since this was going to be a little more complicated, I worked out the general layout in B&W first. I've been looking at James Gurney's tips about tone & composition and Maxfield Parrish's B&W work, and I was excited about the idea of Sabriel's head being silhouetted by the fire.

From there, I worked out the colors. I imagined the room being dark and warm, that's where the tans come from. I tried out a really blue room too, but that ended up looking less elegant.

Aaaand then most of the rest of my time was spent clarifying all the details, color tweaking, rearranging things, and adding decorative elements!

Finally, I added different texture layers and final tweaks, like the outline of light or shadow on different surfaces and some detail on Sabriel's skin.

Voila! It's certainly a bit different from my very flat work, but I'm interested in where it's heading. Stay tuned for more in the future!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Vanishing Gatekeepers + Hint

This was a recent quick-turnaround job for LA Weekly about the music industry's A&R men (Artist and Repetoir men--the execs responsible for scouting new music stars). Because many bands these days are able to record their music and find fans through the internet, the music industry is increasingly choosing the bands who have already cultivated a fan base and have less of a need to pay execs to scout through seedy bars for the next big thing. The full article with my illustration is up here!

Since the A&R guys are described as the "Gatekeepers" of the music industry, I thought it would be appropriate to have some band dudes sneaking over a fence to get to the fans, instead of having to go through the gate.

ALSO, I am currently working on my Sabriel stuff for the Picture Book Report and I thought I'd give you a hint.
I rarely shoot reference, but I wanted to get the angles right and I happened to have a pretty good old-timey chair and the right outfit.

I'll be posting the final on Friday, but keep visiting the Picture Book Report! There's been so much great work posted and time invested by all participants, and we're doing it for YOU!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good Debt

Hey friends!
First off, I'm on Twitter now! If you want to follow me, I'm kalidraws.

Second off, I've got another piece I did for Air Tran.
This one had a tough concept to crack! It was entitled "Good Credit" and was about how it may be good for some businesses to go into debt for good reasons, because they will be paid back with even more money (i.e. printing up a bunch of extra-fancy products for a particularly big client, because they know the client will pay them back and will be impressed).

As you can see, I tried out various metaphorical ideas, but Air Tran really just wanted to go for a more straightforward approach in the end (debtor using the bank to reach clients with money on the other side).

And here we are:

A note on style:
My style still changes around a bit sometimes, and I'm never really sure if that's a good or bad thing. (From what I've been led to believe in school, it's a bad thing, but at the same time I feel like I am still continually defining and improving what I want to do) I've never been married to a specific style in the way that many illustrators are, but I still feel like there is a thread of similarity that binds all my work. I usually get pretty clear visions for what I want different assignments to look like and go with my gut. In the case of this assignment, I decided to try out something a little more different from my usual texture work. I may see if I can integrate it a little better with my other flat work in the future.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sabriel Sketches

I'm in the middle of several illustrations, but I managed to sneak some sketches of Touchstone and Sabriel in preparation for my Picture Book Report project!
Sabriel of course is copyright Garth Nix.

So, Sabriel is supposed to be 18, with pale skin and black hair "fashionably bobbed". In most Sabriel illustrations, including the lovely cover, her hair is long, which always confused me a bit. She comes from a 1920's-ish world (and goes into a medievalish one), so I tried to reflect some of that in her hairstyle. She's strong and competent all-around (but with youthful naivete), so I always pictured her relatively pretty but not super-feminine.
Sabriel was pretty easy to get off the bat, but Touchstone was much harder...he ends up being her traveling companion from the Old Kingdom, and seems to be in his twenties. He is fairly serious and careworn and I had a tough time trying to make him look rough around the edges and not too pretty, but still a handsome young man. (Sam Worthington ended up being one of my references) I'm kind of proud of his hair. It's tough to make "short tightly curled hair" look good and not look like this... I think I did okay. :) (sorry Justin, you look much better now!)

Friday, February 5, 2010

DUBPOST: Sabriel Book Plate & Runner's World!

Hey Everyone!
My Bookplate/Bio/Explanation is up on at the! I was the last one, so you can check out everyone else's awesome bookplates & info there too! The first illustrations start rolling in next week, so check back!
addendum: For those of you who have read Sabriel, that fiery guy in the back is the Mordicant, with a lemon tree from the Inn of 3 Lemons & Mogget with a view of the aquaduct from the ocean.

And for something totally's my illustration in the Jan/Feb Runner's world! It was for an article talking about the benefits the author has found about using a treadmill (watching her daughter, avoiding bad weather).
It went through some different revisions, but I'm happy with the result. Enjoy!

Sketches, alternate color:

And the layout!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Picture Book Report & BONUS PRIZE!

Hey everybody!
FIRST I've got some big news! I'm psyched to be a part of the Picture Book Report!
Please take a look!

We're a group of illustrators, each choosing a book of our choice, which we will create illustrations for throughout the year. That's 12 illustrations per illustrator (once a month), with 15 talented illustrators participating! How can you go wrong??!
Posting with me will be Meg Hunt, Will Bryant, Daniel Krall, Andrea Kalfas, Sam Bosma, Israel Sanchez, Jeremy Sorese, John Martz, Julia Somni Heglund, Laura Park, Lizzy Stewart, Phil McAndrew, Patrick Murphy, and S.Britt.

The bookplates and info for Meg Hunt, Will Bryant, and Sam Bosma are currently up on the site. Meg will be periodically updating the site this week with the everyone else's bios and bookplates (including mine), so check back! The first final illustrations start rolling in next week! It's gonna be great.
Here's a teeny tiny sneek peek of part of my bookplate for Sabriel, my book of choice:

Visit again at the end of the week to see the full thing!

And now for the bonus prize: THE TRIUMPH OF OPTIMISM!
Pretty epic title, right? It was the header of an article for Los Angeles Confidential I had the pleasure of illustrating. The article was all about seeing the good in bad things--a mindset I am constantly striving to emulate. So, yay! Here we go sketches:

And the final, trying out a slightly different technique: