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Friday, July 25, 2014

Knotted Sun

Several weeks ago I stumbled across some instructional videos on drawing Celtic knots. Fascinated, I went on a knot-drawing spree, constantly sketching on little scraps of paper until I got the hang of it. I also printed out circular grids and drew an number of those, varying the patterns in each.

But me being me, I was quickly thinking about how I could apply this style/technique in other ways. Traditionally, they have been used in drawing shapes such as crosses and animals, so I wandered in that direction.

I'd been debating possible design subjects for the latest Woot derby which features specialty ink (either metallic or glow in the dark ink), when it all came together for me--a golden sun made of Celtic knots. Not an entirely original idea, but one I could try to put my own spin on. At first I thought I'd stick to more formal looking knotwork with a circular center and rays based on a trinity pattern. That just didn't feel right this time, so I went for a more loose, organic feel. I wanted strong and wild, yet also calm and centered. I call it "Jus' Chillin'."

"Jus' Chillin'" on royal blue digital art, Celtic knot sun

Strictly speaking, I don't think this can be called Celtic knotwork. There are places where it was impossible to follow the alternating over-under rule, and some of the lines are merely twists, but it does consist of only four individual lines that weave amongst the others and back to their own beginnings.

"Jus' Chillin'" Closeup digital art, Celtic knot sun

It all started on sketchbook page where I drew the outlines and features to be emphasized, finally adding the filler ornamentation. Recalling NASA photos of Sun eruptions and how they were often loop shaped, I used loops in the pattern surrounding and defining the center. After scanning, I traced the lines in Photoshop, thickened them and finally erased portions to indicate where one was passing beneath another.

The one thing I could not decide was the background color. After initially testing it against the shirt colors Woot offers, I'd decided on cranberry. Not only did it look good, but it enhanced the feeling of heat and wildness.

"Jus' Chillin'" on cranberry red digital art, Celtic knot sun

But once it was finished, I looked at all the colors again and the royal blue really grabbed me. For once I decided not to decide and entered both. I'll be interested to see which ranks higher with the voters.

The above pictures are linked to their pages in the Woot derby. Your support—now through July 31, 2014, noon Central time—is greatly appreciated!

Thanks for visiting and please come again!

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Big Mash-up: Idea and Style

"That CAN'T Happen HERE!" digital art, police box at wizard school

I have yet another entry in the Woot Derby this week, and will probably have one more next week. They've been very generous in announcing four themes in advance to celebrate the site's 10th anniversary.

This weeks theme is Pop-Culture Mash-Ups, and I wanted to work with and idea that I'd had for over a year. We all know that wizard schools are high security locations and no one can simply appear there at will. We also know that police boxes that travel through space and time can go anywhere...a bit of a paradox should they exist in the same universe, and the elemental soup of mash-ups.

So what would happen if said time-traveling police box appeared on the grounds of a highly secure wizard school? Would the universe implode? Or would a cantankerous professor be more focused on the fact that a student reporting this phenomenon was violating numerous rules to do so?

As a fan of both Harry Potter and Doctor Who, I could not resist this bit of parody. Of course, I'm not saying that the images here are representative of those stories. The boy in this picture has no glasses and wears colors that do not represent any Hogwarts house. And a police box is not necessarily a TARDIS; it's just a police box. It would certainly be an unusual site if someone were to truck one into the country and deposit it on the grounds beneath an old fortress. Anything more is in the observer's imagination. It's titled "That CAN'T Happen HERE!" 

The most interesting thing about this project was coming to terms with my own artistic ability to project an idea. All the time I'd carried this idea in my mind, I'd imagined it in a more cartoon-like depiction. My ability to draw in this style is weak and I was not at all happy with what I came up with. I was on the verge of posting a message to see if any other artist would be interested in a collaboration when I finally asked myself if I could get this message across in a style with which I felt comfortable.

"That CAN'T Happen HERE!" Closeup 1 digital art, police box at wizard school
"That CAN'T Happen HERE!" Closeup 2 digital art, police box at wizard school "That CAN'T Happen HERE!" Closeup 3 digital art, police box at wizard school

I'd recently done a couple pieces using negative space, drawing the "negative" shapes and using them as a guide before removing them, and I'd enjoyed doing those very much. So I abandoned the computer for paper and pencil and started sketching some outlines. Eventually I had a couple of human silhouettes that could make me smile (along with a mound of eraser crumbs that could possibly fill a dragon eggshell).

I used Photoshop to draw the castle and police box which incorporated more straight lines, then scanned in the other images. Once I started adding color, I was filling the shapes more completely, so a "negative space" this was not (um, yes... as long as we're doing mash-ups, it's completely appropriate to speak like Yoda). More of a stenciling technique this is.

"That CAN'T Happen HERE!" Submission digital art, police box at wizard school

This entry is up for voting now through July 24, 2014, noon Central time. Many thanks to any and all who click over there to support me! 

Thanks for visiting and please come again!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Good Excuse

Procrastination. Everyone does it at one point or another. I did it with this blog post. But is it always a lack of self-discipline?

I propose another idea: the time spent procrastinating is the time one's subconscious needs to work on an idea until it supplies the needed inspiration to act.

Yeah, that sounds steeped in veracity. Perhaps neuroscience will verify it one day. This idea is now proudly proclaimed on a shirt design I've entered in this week's Woot Derby, the theme of which is using text.

Procrastination is the Art of Awaiting Inspiration

When inspiration does come, it often does as a bolt from the blue, so I highlighted the word "INSPIRATION" with lightning.

And continuing with the theme of pictorially animating the words, I tried to give "Procrastination" a heavy, looming appearance, and filled the word "ART" with artistic doodling.

Procrastination is the Art of Awaiting Inspiration Closeup 2

If this idea resonates with you, I'd be grateful for your vote. Just pop on over to the Woot Derby and click that "I'd Want One" button, available to anyone who's ever made a Woot purchase of any sort (now through July 10, 2014, noon Central Time).

Do NOT procrastinate.  :)

Procrastination is the Art of Awaiting Inspiration Submission

Thanks for visiting and please come again!