26 April 2011

Now with more Elephants!

The portfolio section of my site wirtsalthouse.com has been updated. A couple of pieces have been replaced, while others, like the sketchbook excerpts, have been "special editioned" with more content.

After, still not remixed in five channel sound, though.

23 April 2011

Stupid, Stupid Fan art

Hey I'm doing a process post. Isn't It lovely that I'm not whining about movies?

Comic Con International places fan art submissions in their Souvenir Book each year corresponding to anniversaries of significant comics creators and characters.

My Submission: The 20th anniversery of Jeff Smith's Bone.

The Method: Ink drawing colored in photoshop. With several concepts and techniques (i.e. "everything that follows") lifted from James Gurney's tutorials and instructional materials. Be forewarned, I don't like color, and it scares me.

It's probably the cheapest shot in any painting demo to start with the line art and say "Here is the lineart I started with", as if Mr or Ms. famous guy scribbled down a masterpiece five minutes before the show.

I'm not a Haute-Schitt famous guy(well, not yet). This line art took me 8-12 hours from thumbnail to final inks to produce. I'm really slow and I don't have work-flow samples to post so you'll just have to live with that.

Here's a value study using only black and white, without any outlines. I did this as a separate layer to serve as more of a guide for value distribution, so as to avoid middle value mumbling.

Gurney-lift #2: Determining a palette for the piece through a color wheel(in this case, a "Yurmby Wheel" consisting of both additive primaries and printers' ink primaries), color scheme ( split complimentary) and a gamut mask. In theory, everything outside the borders of the triangle is off limits, everything inside is okay for beautiful color harmony.
From that mask and wheel, I extrapolated the palette below.

I f I were tech savvy, I'd save that as a swatch set, But I don't like the linear fashion that Photoshop organizes swatches in, which makes it difficult for me to switch between value and hue easily and intuitively as I would a real palette, so this is just another boring old layer, which I switched on and off to sample from. Also, I double-checked my darker tones to make sure there was no "K" (black ink) in their makeup. Black ink muddies colors on the printed page.
The gamut mask and the palette creation are my lifts from James Gurney's book "Color and Light", a pretty engrossing read.

Here's the flats, another grossly overlooked step in famous-dude painter demos(and pretty downplayed, too). I think 80% of the colorists' work is in choosing flats: In which you have the color scheme and "natural" tone and hue of the forms. With flats, you can determine focus, separation of foreground, midground and background (which is why my rocks are purple, but the sky green), all before you lay down a single gradient.
You'll notice I didn't put any white in the flats either(explaining why Phone Bone is sort of pink). I was planning on using pure white, but for emphasis, like painters and stuff.
Aaaand, the final! (Yaaaaay). Possibly, my thoughts on flats come from my shortcomings in rendering. So far the only trick I can boast is using a hard-edged low-flow brush+ a lot of re-sampling to show directional brushstrokes. Plus the old standards of fuzzy+low opacity brushing with a lot of grads.

11 April 2011

Some more sketchcerpts

More unsolicited sketchbook drawings, I'm afraid.

These are from two books: an 11"X14" hardbound sketchbook and one of those nifty (if obscenely expensive) pocket moleskins.

I could claim this person doesn't have clothes or toes because it's a gesture drawing, and thus emphasizing movement, weight and balance over detail, but I just happen to hate clothes and toes and go without either whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Know what? Everybody loves Gorillas! If I just did nothing but post pictures of gorillas, I might have more followers. And they usually don't wear clothes, which makes me 1/2 happier.

Then again, sheep are fun. They're fluffy and stupid. They also don't have toes like primates, so that's cool too.

You might suppose I saw these Giraffes at the Zoo. And maybe I did, and maybe there was just a loose Giraffe wandering around the canned goods isle at Lucky's and I happened to have my sketchbook with me! That would make a very good moral: always bring your sketchbook to Lucky's lest you find exotic quadrupeds in canned goods.

04 April 2011

Because I'm a total geek, that's why.

Know what the first rule of cartooning is? I suspect it's the same as the first rule of flying a Firefly.

"Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse... but you take a boat in the air that you don't love... she'll shake you off just as sure as the turn of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she ought to fall down... tells you she's hurting before she keels. Makes her a home."

For those of you who haven't seen Firefly, the spaceship looks like this, 'cept slightly bigger.

Like the Beatles and J.K. Rowling, the official "making of" story behind the TV series Firefly is as big a legend as the content itself. Like the ragtag outlaws harassed by the totalitarian alliance, Firefly is remembered as a ragtag TV show harassed by the Totalitarian Fox Network. Which would make "Flying" "writing/running a TV show" if one chooses to view with a meta-allegory in mind.

So replace the words "Flying" with "cartooning", "math" with "technique" "boat" with"career" and I think the sentiment holds true enough.