Batkid rises .. in SF! This goes out to the lil crime fighter keeping us safe today. Thanks Miles!
Drawing on transparencies with paint pens. #illo #illustration #drawing #sf #sanfrancisco
Who wants to chill out? This dude does. Float time.
GRAD SCHOOL CATCH-UP: ROUND #2
Following the traditional paint and brush work of Robert Hunt (earlier post here) was Craig Fraizer, a traditionalist of on the opposite side of the spectrum from Robert. Craig is a conceptual, graphic illustrator with a background as a designer and art director; a background I share and why I was very excited to hear Craig talk about his work.
Craig’s traditional process involves using amberlith, a masking film used in the days before computers when pages where laid out by hand (paste-ups) and then shot with a stat camera. He uses an exact-o to cut out pieces by hand, working at a very small scale. He said that most pieces for his figures are no bigger that 3/4 of an inch long. Working this small forces him to simplify everything down to basic shapes and captures the happy accidents of cutting things by hand. Seems kinda crazy to me to work so small but, hey, he makes it work quite well.
Craig then scans and vectorizes the shapes before compositing them in the computer, so not all of his process is so old school. When scaling the shapes and repositioning the pieces to create the illustration, Craig says he always leaves the edges as is, never cleaning up or modifying what came from the original cutouts so the hand work comes across in the final. This approach made me think that I could probably benefit from getting a bit looser in my own work and not over think the construction of things.
As you can see from his samples above, Craig’s work is always very clever and uses surrealism to engage the viewer in the conversation. I am very excited that he has a full collection of his work online, as it is such a great source of inspiration and great reference for all kind of optical illusions. I know I will continue looking back to this whenever I am hitting a wall when sketching on a new piece.
Be sure to read other updates from the Hartford Illustration MFA over on the school blog, SQUINT.
GRAD SCHOOL CATCH-UP:
Whoa nelly! What a week! It’s taken me nearly two weeks to recover from the amazing, mind-openeing experience of grad school (and a sinus infection). Where to start!
Robert Hunt was our first presenter of the San Francisco contact period. I’ve met Robert a few times before when attending guest lectures at CCA, where he teaches and was invited to speak to his class once to talk about art direction (back when I still worked at SF Weekly). He’s a great guy and an asset to the illustration community.
Robert is the opposite of me. He uses oil paint, not a computer, he’s focused, not all scatter-brained, and he has somehow got over the fear of starting (and finishing) things. He is constantly producing work, stating that he spends about 50% of his time on personal work. That’s a great ratio if you can manage it.
And his work is beautiful. Maybe it’s more amazing to me because I’ve never once put oil paint to canvas, but he is a true master. Just see for yourself over on his website.
What stood out most to me about his work was not how he applies his immense amount of talent a wide range of subjects and the subtlety of styles within those, but was his branching out into to animation, doing film-house logo intros in particular (the original DreamWorks logo). What was most fascinating to me about this was how the majority of his process remained traditional, doing multiple, sometimes hundreds, of finished paintings to then be used as a sequence of images, morphed from one to the other to create the animations. Robert definitely has more patience than I to pull something like this off but the result is obviously worth the effort.
View his examples of the above examples here.
Thanks to Robert for coming by and sharing his process and knowledge with the Hartford Illustration MFA posse.
Here’s a 375° panorama of SF that I took from Corona Height Park. Best viewed straight in your browser here: http://bit.ly/YWqXHL
Ok, here it is. The last cover of SF Weekly that has my name on it. Just in time for the Super Bowl on Sunday. It might not be my best work ever, but I had fun doing it and hope to see empty newspaper racks by the end of the day.
We had a pretty good run, SFW. You taught me many new things about myself, challenged me to find my voice, and gave me the freedom to take risks while constantly pushing me to do better. You helped me collaborate with some of the most talented artists I know and helped me reach beyond the audience of San Francisco. For that, I am eternally grateful and thankful of the time we had together. It’s been real.
Thanks to everyone who contributed over the years, to Michael Shavalier for hiring me, and to Darrick Rainey and Tom Carlson for guiding me. Thanks to my parents for supporting my connection to art and creating over all those years. I wouldn’t be the same without it.
Most importantly, thanks to my wife Jaleen for keeping my head on straight, telling me when I needed to stop and when I needed to go further. I am a stubborn piece of crap sometimes and I never would have made it this far without her support. She’s the best.
Time to see how really living in my own skin feels. Here’s to new beginnings.
See you out there…
I meant to write this post much earlier today, but you know what? It didn’t happen.
But yes, it’s true. In about an hour, I will be moving on to pursue working for myself. What they hell that will become is something of a mystery right now but looks like freelance illustration and design are at the top of the list.
I will follow-up this post with something proper, but for now, I have nothing but thanks for everyone I have worked with over the course of the three years I’ve been here. There is no doubt that I have done the best work of my career so far while at SF Weekly. I wish it didn’t have to end this soon as there as so many more illustrators I wanted to work with, but alas, sometimes you don’t get to make the choice when things change.
Stay tuned for what will become of me and this crazy brain of mine.