I don’t enjoy being in large crowds of people. I do make exceptions for Dweezil Zappa, The Flaming Lips and other amazing musical performers. But while I do not enjoy being in crowds, I find myself painting them often.
When I am in the middle of doing work, daydreaming during lunch breaks or just casually sketching in my book, I often generate pictures with the theme of a face in the crowd. My whole MFA thesis was based on this theme. My process starts like the sketch above, with blobs of watercolor and negative spaces creating the beginnings of the characters who will populate the area. I work slowly at first, letting the paper and paint work to tell me where the next person will walk in. When I feel like there is enough information I start to add detail in pen. My go to currently is the Pilot G-2. Smooth in and, because it is not waterproof, it interacts beautifully with the watercolor marks.
End results are playful and exciting…at least to me they are. I think that there is an interesting feeling in a crowded illustration. Every person involved is in their own world, but on the same stage. If one piece of the puzzle is out of place, the whole structure crumbles and the rhythm is no longer apparent.
At the moment I am in my studio going through some of my older work and seeing if I still have the inclination to work in old ways. Going through my bins and archives I found an old hard drive loaded with fodder for procrastination. After starting it up I started to find some very cool work that I almost forgot existed. Old flyers for really cool bands, paintings from my MFA program, and a lot of old shit.
What I really enjoyed about these projects was the freedom they allowed me in the creative process. I mixed all of my skills together to really show off what I could do. Hand lettering and digital collage used to be major parts of my process. I should try to generate some fresh work using these skills.
I am a good designer. I have been using photoshop since 2000. I am a good illustrator. I should be a good salesman. Still learning that part.
I saw this article in Wired Magazine about a laboratory that was making what they called Frankentrees; genetically altered poplar trees that have been engineered to take in more carbon dioxide and release more oxygen. That could be something that we as earthlings could benefit from, at least in my opinion. Our assignment for my class, Getting Paid to Draw with Mike Lowery, was to take an article we were inspired by and create an editorial illustration that supports the words. I started out creating some little sketches
I wanted to get the idea that the science was being looked at as being something crazy and against creation. It happens with many new ideas. So I chose Dr Frankenstein as a character for the narrative. But as I reread the article for a fourth time, I got the feeling that the original plan might not fit the tone of the piece, so I scrapped the idea and decided to put a tree in a test tube.
After I drew the image in pencil I scanned it and finished the line art and color in Affinity Photo. Love this program. Can’t recommend it enough. Hopefully my classmates and teacher will enjoy this product as much as I enjoyed the process of making it happen.