TDC2019 TITLES - STASH PERMANENT COLLECTION

Super stoked to have our opening titles in the Stash permanent collection - check out the preview of STASH 136 below to see some of the awesome work included & check out the permanent collection here to scope out some of the behind the scenes content & an interview with myself & my co-director Ricky Marks.

PUT SOME EYEZ ON IT...

A few years back I got into the habit of carying a small business card holder full of random eyes and facial features drawn on card around with me… A bit of blu-tack and some imagination led to the discovery of some amusing characters.

I find it fascinating, that with such minimal effort you can imbue so much character and personality into inanimate objects… Put some eyes on it and just about anything can become a puppet.

WHY BOTHER WITH A BLOG?

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“You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ― Maya Angelou

I like this quote, a lot. If you think of imagination or creativity as a muscle then it makes sense to exercise and stretch that mysterious part of our grey matter as often as possible…

With the plethora of social media platforms becoming the primary place where creative work is discovered and commissioned it seems like “the personal website” for creative types has largely been reduced to an online portfolio/resume and in a lot of cases, become virtually redundant (pun wasn’t intended… but I like it).

So, in an effort to do something a little more interesting (for myself & hopefully others) I’ve decided to use my little slice of the interwebs to not only host some of my work - but also as a place to record the many creative experiments and exercises I employ, attempt or discover in my travels. In the hope that it not only serves me as a reference or record but also that it might also serve others as a resource of sorts.

(I’m always researching/trying new techniques, thought experiments, creative challenges etc… the plan is to record the more interesting examples of them here - along with other inspiring bits and pieces, interviews etc).

I don’t claim to be the leading expert or a source of infallible knowledge on the subject. But, the exploration of and quest to better understand creativity and the imagination has been and will continue to be my lifelong pursuit. It is after all, what’s helped humanity survive and what keeps us moving forward.

The possibility of creating something. Whether fiercely impactful on a massive scale or gently calming to just a single person is largely what motivates me every day.

I hope you find something useful on your journey through the jar.

EXERCISE: MAGAZINE AD PAINT-OVERS

I used to love scribbling on magazines and newspapers, giving celebrities and politicians tattoos, black eyes and so on… great fun.

Recently I was midway through one of my regular “I’m going to give minimalism a shot” purges of superfluous junk in my studio and when faced with turfing a pile of old magazines I had the inspiration to revisit the idea and see if I could take it a little further.

So I hacked out a few beautiful people from full some page ads and proceeded to administer a full ink and gouache makeover to a stack of them.

Some time-lapse videos of the results below:

Perhaps unsurprisingly it’s still a whole lot of fun… so much so that I’ll probably keep it as a semi-regular warm up routine.

TIP: Breaking In A New Sketchbook.

OK, this is kind of an old one - but it makes a good point. So I thought I’d re-post it now that I’ve made a commitment to myself to revitalize and make better use of this website/blog. A short video about my personal method for avoiding “Fear Of The Blank Page” syndrome when starting a new sketchbook.

It doesn’t always go down exactly like this… sometimes I’ll try and do a blind-folded portrait of Jeff Goldblum on a random page or just kick it around the backyard for a bit. The point is to deliberately “ruin” the pristine nature of a new book right from day one. Then you can get on with the important stuff.

I should say that this usually applies for “real” sketchbooks (i.e. ones that are intended to be used for sketches - not finished art). I have several “nice” sketchbooks that I do slightly more polished gouache and watercolour paintings in & I generally take better care of those (they often still end up with their covers scribbled on).

Another good tip is to go for a cheaper book if you’re intending to use it for play/learning sketching. These days cheap doesn’t have to equate to overall bad quality. I picked up a great, hardcover sketchbook with fairly decent paper for $6 at my local discount shop because I wanted to start doing more fast and dirty plein air watercolour sketches. If I take a better quality book with me I’m too tempted to spend extra time laboring over details, the cheap one is great.

But more about that in another post. The important thing to remember is that a beat up sketchbook that’s full is far more valuable than a pristine one that is empty.

Don’t be precious, just draw more.

Vector Sketching in Adobe Illustrator Draw

I've got some client work on at the moment that requires highly detailed line art at a pretty large scale (the pieces are being printed BIG). This kind of illustration I would usually do on paper with pen and ink but I really wanted the line work to be nice and crisp when it's blown up so rather than go the other obvious route and draw it up in Illustrator (or in Photoshop at a ridiculously high resolution) I thought I'd see how Adobe Illustrator Draw would handle the thousands of strokes required in a piece like this. 

So I bashed out this weird skull piece yesterday as a test.

(Hot tip for people wanting to draw on the iPad Pro - get yourself a matte screen protector! It helps reduce the slippery nature of drawing with plastic on glass)

(Hot tip for people wanting to draw on the iPad Pro - get yourself a matte screen protector! It helps reduce the slippery nature of drawing with plastic on glass)

Now, a lot of emphasis has been placed on the fact that I've been using an iPad Pro lately for my monster scribbles and I'm reluctant to be known as "the guy who always uses an iPad". That being said it's a new tool for me and when I invest in a new tool I like to properly explore it's potential.

So I thought I'd share some of my thoughts about the iPad Pro as an illustration/digital art tool over a couple of lazy blog posts, this being the first.

I love the clever bastards that make this app. I've loved the app itself since the first version back when it was called Adobe Ideas and the new features now like shapes/rulers and the ability to just "send" your piece straight to Illustrator on your main machine is incredible.

To jam it in a nutshell this thing is a smooth, fast and elegantly simple way to draw vector illustrations. I've used it a fair bit over the last few years and there are some awesome artists out there doing some pretty complex and beautiful things with it. With the accuracy and sensitivity of the Apple Pencil now in the mix I was curious to see how it would go with a heavy dose of cross hatching and detailing.

(As you can see, there's a heck of a lot of points going on in there...)

(As you can see, there's a heck of a lot of points going on in there...)

Essentially it handled it like a pro (pun sort of intended). I experienced virtually no lag as the layers increased and the detail went in, I could pinch and zoom around fluidly and scribble as fast as I would using a pen on paper.

It really is quite incredible considering how much information is there. With live vector shapes created for every mark made with the pencil. My fairly beastly workstation was struggling a little with the file once I transferred it to Illustrator so whatever wizardry is going on with the combo of Adobe's code and the iPad Pro's hardware it seems to be working damn well.

The app does have its limitations, it has quite a small toolset and none of the usual vector editing features found in a full desktop app but if you use it for what is says it does on the tin (drawing). You're aware of it's limitations and you partner it up with it's big brother Illustrator for any bezier tweaking or final refining then you've got yourself a very handy tool in a very portable package.

Which really is the big appeal for me when it comes to the iPad Pro in general. I think it sits perfectly on the scale in terms of screen real estate and portability. The fact that I can take this thing with me when I'm traveling or commuting and smash out a complete digital piece whenever the inspiration hits me is a game changer.

Apps like Adobe Illustrator Draw or Procreate (there are a couple of others I'll get to in another post) are damn good and can absolutely produce professional, useable results. 

I dig it.