Monday, November 30, 2009

One Last Challenge...

Eunice and Uncle Reginald had conflicting
opinions about the new Progressive Education.

As I head back into the "heat" of December and the end-of-the-semester *obligation* storm, I steal time to indulge in one last challenge/prompt for illustration work.  Susan Sanford over at Artspark Theatre offers a vintage photograph this month for an illustration challenge.  This calls for collage, but I've filtered the final composition to greyscale, giving it a slightly more illustration feel.  And here too is my prurient desire to muss up a more proper age.  Although, in truth, this image as altered is not all that historically inaccurate as some 19th Century progressive education movements did embrace child nudity as healthy.  

As with last time, here is the provided original:

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Right, so apparently I should have been more patient.  The Illustration Friday prompt did eventually come out, and this week it is "Entangled." I've been working a lot lately with pen and (black) ink, doing a lot of cartooning.  But I also have worked with other pigments and collage before.  At some point, these interests will fuse (dare I say, "entangle"?) in some interesting ways.  For now, though, I am oscillating back and forth between styles and techniques.

I really enjoy the Illustration Friday prompts.  They keep me active and engaged with visual communication as I prepare for some more ambitious projects.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Random Art

Inspired by (but nowhere near as good as) some Canadian First 
People's art that our Thanksgiving host had hung all over her house. 

It appears that Illustration Friday will not be providing a new prompt for this week.  Everybody deserves a break, I guess.  So, in lieu of an inspiration from outside, I've been tweaking some images from my sketchbook.  And then, once shared, I think I'll be heading outside.  This may well be the last nice weather for a while, and I wish to extend my thankfulness for a beautiful Friday when I don't have to go into work.  I may even stay out all night and gather further inspirations for space oddities like...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Abstract Comix

I call it, "Siphoning Gutter Blood."

I recently went to Chicago for a professional conference.  While there, I stocked up on independent and arty graphic storytelling.  Probably one of the more interesting phenomena I learned about is the realm of "abstract comics."  I was introduced to this practice briefly in a two hour "short course" on teaching comics as communication offered by Randy Duncan and Matthew J. Smith (based on their textbook) at the National Communication Association Conference I was attending.  I later picked up Andrei Molotiu's excellent anthology, Abstract Comics, at the Museum of Contemporary Art.  Since returning home to both my computer and my drawing board, I've enjoyed viewing Molotiu's blog, Abstract Comics: The Blog.  And of course, I've enjoyed trying my hand at the form.

My above foray into the realm of abstract comics is influenced somewhat by Andy Bleck's contributions to Molotiu's anthology.  I like the idea of making the frame in comics more organic, imagining each panel connected (like former AK Senator Ted Stevens's description of the Internet) by a series of tubes.    In the comics industry, the space between the illustrated panels is called the gutter.  Scott McCloud, the ultimate meta-guru of comics, considers at length the role of closure in "filling in the gaps" presented by the gutters between panels.  Here, I've offered a bit of plumbing for those gutters, albeit more like alien arteries than down spouts.

I'll probably keep playing with this format, so look forward to more abstract comics pages in the future.

I call it, "Texture with Ghosts."

Hmmm.  Have I found something on the boundary
between abstract and conceptual comics? 
I call it, "Movement of a Simple Thought."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

...the Food of Love

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "Music."  My contribution may be a bit "normal" and lacking my usual weirdness.   Nonetheless, it is the season of returning juncos and white-throated sparrows to the feeder, with their recognizable songs of winter.  Two days ago, I went for a walk in the neighboring park.  It is hunting season, so parts of the park are wisely closed to hiking.  On a "safe" trail, I heard the autumn bird chorus silenced by the report of not so distant gunfire.  And then followed with a new birdsong: alarm, beware, look out. 

Music soothes.  It is the "food of love."  It takes us away.  But for some, it is the way we claim territory in a world of never ceasing competition for real estate.  It is both the alarm and the all okay.  It is the song of something fragile, striving to be heard even as it struggles not to be seen.  I feel ya', little birdy.  Even though it is my kind with the firearms, I often feel that competing urge to proclaim and hide away in the same gesture. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Illustration Prompts

Anthony was amazed when he looked out the window and
observed...his pet alien chasing a robot off the lawn.

This has been a busy week yet a bit of a relief from the daily blogging required by my participation in @Platea's "Following Piece 2.0" last week.  Nonetheless, I am trying to keep my commitment to regular posts here, and so I take a break from planning for the National Communication Association Annual Conference next week to post some art.

The above piece is my contribution to Susan Sanford's latest illustration challenge over at ArtSpark Theatre. I love this blog and Susan's whimsical illustrations.  Her combinations of illustration and photography always amaze and inspire me.  I also appreciate her sense of collaborative play as she offers incomplete illustrations for friends and followers to complete.  This is my second participation in Susan's challenges. (Note: In the above illustration, Anthony, the wall and the window frame are done by Susan and what's on the lawn is done by me.  Just wanted to be clear.)

Linked on her blog is the wonderful site, Illustration Friday, which offers a weekly one word theme to inspire illustrators of all skill levels. This week's theme is "blur" and below is my contribution to that theme.  A quick note on process: this illustration is not a scan or made up of scanned parts.  I did this one entirely with the graphics pad and with, honestly, mixed results.  But I share anyway (and look forward to imitating the subject in the near future).

 "Blur" (Illustration Friday 11/6/09)