Tuesday, January 29, 2008

exercise and project list

that last post was intended as my first exercise, painting skin. i've drawn up a list of additional exercises that target weaknesses in my conceptualization, technical skill, etc. i may or may not tackle them in this order:

1 - painting skin (which i will come back to later)
2 - collage (various types, including a juxtaposition
of disparate elements in a single drawing, and
the more typical "ransom note" look)
3 - cloth
4 - "soft" rendering (classical or airbrush rendering,
as opposed to the "splotch" rendering of jimmy)
5 - white on white
6 - fully rendered, photo-realistic animal
7 - incorporating graphic elements, borders, type
(my so-far failure here is embarassing,
since some of my greatest influences in-
clude art nouveau and medieval manuscripts,
which heavily intersperse art and design
elements. not to mention influences like
russian agitprop posters, chris ware, and
great books i have on thai graphic design
and old chinese firecracker graphics)
8 - black & white drawing on brown paper (it
sounds stupid, but i've wanted to do this
since my clooege days, can't understand why
i never got around to it)
9 - building up a sketch with blue & red pencils,
before finishing with black pencil or graphite
(again, i always see animators do this and i love
it, so here it comes!)
10 - monochrome tint, and/or autochrome look
(i love autochromes, too, always looking for
an excuse to try something and here's my
excuse. if you're unfamiliar with autochromes:

there are a few more, but this is enough to be getting on, for now.

there are also projects. projects are explicitly finished art, and the hows and whys are secondary to the overall success of the piece. several of these are assignments i was given in college. i ether particularly enjoyed them, or horribly failed them (or both), and it seemed a good idea to revisit them:

1 - album cover
2 - book cover
3 - four elements
4 - tarot card
5 - dream
6 - sports (i hate drawing anything
sports related, so this seemed a
great way to kick myself in the teeth)
7 - editorial (i had a very narrow and
unsuccessful grasp on the full range
of crazy things this project provdes
when i was in college... i thought
editorial = caricature of newt gingich.
not this time, baby!)

of course, being the lazy and/or enterprising fellow that i am, some exercises and projects will overlap. for example, i might do an editorial about the evils of black market cloth smuggling, all drawn in black and white on brown paper. woohoo!


here is an initial sketch for project#1, cd cover. in college, i chose "the lamb lies down on broadway", which is one of the albums that most influenced my art, in addition to being an incredibly bizarre and art-inducing album. (by crazy old-school genesis, in case i forgot to mention that part.)
my college pic (which is mercifully awol) was all right conceptually -- a white face, eyes wideopen and all manner of serpents, flies, butterflies, salamanders, and roots pouring out of the mouth. but looking back, i don't think i attempted to draw the face in any particular vein; it was not structured or rendered realistically, it was not graphically flattened, or scratchily abstracted, or anything else worthwhile. it was just there. ditto for the flora and fauna.
so i decided to revisit this creepy concept album, putting a little more pep in my composition, and trying to incorporate more of the countless crazy elements of the story.

on a nerd note: since i am my own client, i took certain liberties. 1) the album was released, and set, in 1974, but since the specific date is subordinate to the timeless otherworld which our hero rael wanders, i modernized everything. i'm not trying create a retro vibe or historical romance or the like, so i don't want to distract viewers with unecessary specificity. 2) the hero rael is a kid, but since he has sex with various characters and creatures in the story, he should probably look older. but i wanted to emphasize his vulnerabity and unformed condition. 3) upside-down lilywhite lilith is, in fact, supposed to be a middle-aged woman. too bad that's not in the songs, and i only read it in a recent interview, after i started the sketch. i like her as is, and since i'm the client, i've decided to sign off on my own decision.

i love the raven, but i'm not sold on his placement in the grand scheme. i'm also planning on working in various type elements, as well as graffiti of some sort.


Monkeyfeather said...

Looks really cool Ben. I'm inspired by your new found drive to really push yourself in new directions. I might try this myself. Working on things I've always wanted to, but never gotten around too. Working on strengthening my (many) weaknesses would also be beneficial.

Good to hear your client is being so agreeable.

ben c said...

thanks john!

actually, my client is a real dick. but since he's not paying me anything, i call the shots.

Mike "Mooch" said...

I've got to say (And we've probably spoke about this in person already, but I digress) I'm really happy your moving in this direction regarding your artwork. Your work elevates itself into the stratosphere when you've taken the time to bring solidity to it. The work I've been seeing you do as of late is truly mind blowing. If you can keep this momentum going you're going to achieve everything you've been striving for as an artist with NONE of the compromise. I'm strapping on my seat belt 'cause I can't wait to enjoy the ride!

Bentos said...