Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hey . . .

is this much packaging really necessary?

for our itty-bitty comic book?doesnt it seem a tad silly?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Opening for the Jessica Show

This afternoon during senior studio we had the opening reception for the Jessica Newberry show. It was in the hallway at school.
Because we are serious artists.

There you see Amy Hojnacki, the muse Jessica Newberry, and Kaitlin Koch, who apparently saw the videotape from The Ring and now only has seven days to live.
Knock on wood.
There you see the throngs admiring the wall bedecked with Jessicas.

Our selection of berry-themed foods for the reception.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Al Hong say . . .

got some in progress things going (all due at the end of the week, terribly stressful)

anyway, right about now is the point at which Al Hong would ordinarily tell me to quit working on it, hang it upside-down and call it done.

I don't believe that is what I will do, but I have started to be more diligent about documenting the stages of things. Because maybe there will be a use down the road for a sloppily watercolor stained chain of snakes.

Friday, April 23, 2010


As I have mentioned previously, here and here, I have been working on an image of the drowned Ophelia from William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Well it is finished:
As you can see, I used linocut printmaking to create the lilypad collage elements and then painted in the figure and the water with oil. I was a little intimidated about taking on this project because I had never painted anything submerged in water before and I was nervous about the challenges of making the water look good. I used a lot of transparent painting for the water, and in the end I was pleased with the results.
An interesting but unanticipated benefit: the linseed oil that I used to paint the water transparently is highly reflective. I was worried that that might make the piece difficult to photograph, but actually, the small areas of glare that turned up in the photograph look good. They make it look extra watery.
Also, as to the design, there was a question of orientation. Originally I had intended for it to be shown portrait layout, with the figure lying vertically in the picture plane. like this:
However, as the painting was almost done, I happened to have it stored on its side up against a wall in my room while I worked on another project, and I saw it out of the corner of my eye and it struck me that it works better as a horizontal. Since it is supposed to be a view from above, there was no reason why I couldn't hang it any direction I pleased, so I consulted with Gil Ashby and some of my classmates and decided to just go ahead and change the orientation of the image.

Finally, thanks again to my champion model, Maria Sylwesterzak, for agreeing to let me wrap her in a toga and dunk her underwater in a bathtub.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Let me start off by saying that this painting is one of my personal favorite pieces that I have done.
It started off in the sketchbook as a doodle of a scarecrow with a mess of tropical brightly colored tropical birds up and down both arms. I decided to use it as a forum for a portrait of a living person instead of a scarecrow. It was somewhat of a collision of fate, since I wanted to paint Sean Nemoto one more time before leaving CCS, and also because my friend Tracey Jean Dalton happened to have a Moluccan cockatoo that she graciously permitted me to photograph.
As I was refining the sketch for the image, I looked at it and could see the same fixation with religion that always seems to bubble up in my art. Does not the pose remind you of the crucifixion?
And in a strange way, the entire composition is reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper.
Don't see it?
Look again:Also, it should be mentioned that when the time came to photograph the piece, all of the illustration departments photo equipment was mysteriously missing. I had to go over to the photo department and bum equipment from the studio tech, Tarine Doolittle. That went pretty well for me because she ever so kindly let me use her Canon 7d to document this and a few other painting. CCS students, even across departments, can be really sweet and helpful even during the most stressful times of the year.

Anyway, Scarecrow was a pleasure to paint, and I am very proud of the results.
The dimensions on the piece are 48 inches wide by 18 inches high. Perfect manteltop proportions! You should come to the CCS student exhibition and BUY THIS because when I get to New York City in August I will certainly need the money.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

going all Klimt-y Egyptian on y'all

some process sketching for my final piece for Mr Chuck Gillies' period costume illustration class.
The story is the death of Cleopatra, and I will be drawing heavily on my main homeslice Gustav Klimt.
It's probably the most ambitious painting have ever attempted, and its got to be ready next week.
This weekend I will have to paint around the clock.
No sex. No drugs. And no rock and roll.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Jessica Newberry Show

I am curating a show
celebrating Jessica Newberry as muse

featuring the art of many CCS illustration titans

you must attend
opening reception, Tuesday, April 27,1:00 p.m.
Illustration hallway, 3rd floor Walter B Ford building

also, if you have a piece you would like to contribute, or wouldn't mind bringing some berry-related food to pass, let me know and we will def count you in

Monday, April 19, 2010

return to peace cranes

after doing that painting of Kikko Paradela last fall, I had these meticulously carved linocut plates of peace cranes leftover, ready to be inked up and printed at any time.
well, the peace cranes are back. I have a project in the works that involves rather a lot of collaged peace cranes, as you can see.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Illustration Seniors After Hours

This afternoon a hungry pack of CCS Illustration seniors descended upon the T n Thai Bistro in Grosse Pointe for a dinner hosted by Ngianhormua Yang.
It was a concentration of talent the likes of which the world has never seen.
Pat Tausney and Brian Remillard

Jessica Newberry and Morgan Marentic (with Adam Ris photobombing)

Chris Houghton, Kassandra Heller,
Kaitlin Koch and her fiance, U of M designer guy Jesse Kidwell

I was there too, of course. I was behind the camera though.
It was a historic night. It is unlikely that such a gathering of art titans will ever be assembled again.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Senior Studio Collective Comic Book

Hey Team
Remember that time that I mentioned here and here that we were working on a collective comic book project for Gil Ashby's senior studio class?
Well we have self published on, and it is ready for YOU to purchase a copy.
The book features stories and art by me, but also by such luminaries as Ben Colin Cloutier, Brian Remillard, Patrick Tausney, Angelo Aquino, Dave Tell, et al.
It'll set you back $12.50, but your life will be forever changed by it. So shell out.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Piece in Context

Remember that one time that I did an image of Medusa for the cover of a hypothetical book on Greek mythology?
That was fun.
The only reason I bring it up now is because Dave Chow thinks it prudent that I do a mockup of a book cover for my portfolio, so I took some time last week to throw a little something together. I chose to flatter myself and pretend that I had been commissioned to do an image for the cover of not just any mythology book, but the biggest one in print Edith Hamilton's Mythology.
As you know, I am a sorry wretch of a graphic designer, so please do not judge my treatment of type too harshly (I admittedly did not spend too terrible much time on the design).
I printed it out and wrapped it around my beloved copy of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Here it is, a quick mock-up of one of my illustrations in context, getting serious action from actual human hands.
I'm only unsure as to whether I should shoot more carefully lit and staged photographs of it, or if I should just roll with the realness.
What do you think?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Hey Team

As many of you know, the internet makes it easy for people to steal images and use them without paying for them or even getting permission for them. This is the age we live in, and it makes it harder and harder every day to succeed as an illustrator because of folks like Dana Blankenhorn. In the original version of that post, the writer stole an image without permission or payment from the venerable Chris Buzelli. Buzelli caught it and demanded that it come down.
The Blankenhorn responded by removing it but not without some preachy tripe about how he believed he was doing a favor to the artist by using his image and providing him with exposure.
His choicest quote is this:

"This idea that one must gain permission before doing what comes
naturally on the Web has to end. You have the tools to stop it. Use

Mr Blankenhorn, like an unfortunate many people out there, thinks that it is his right to use art that he has stolen, because it is easy to steal. In further response to Buzelli, he posted this patronizing crap explaining how to install a watermark on an image. In that post he further expounds upon his belief that it is fair for him to steal that which has not been nailed down.

My response:
You cannot put the onus on the artist to protect their images from theft. Your logic seems to say that artists deserve to have their work stolen unless they go through steps to prevent it.
It reminds me of the old days when rapists could get away with it by saying that their female victims were asking for it by dressing provocatively and walking around alone.
If you leave the front door to your house unlocked, and it gets broken into, it is still an immoral and illegal act on the part of the burglar, not the homeowner.

Know your rights, team
Legally, the artist is the sole owner of all copyright privileges unless other signed agreements have been made.

I hope Buzelli sues if for no other reason than to give the Blankenhorn a thorough lesson in the law.

The CCS Disney Renaissance Film Festival

you should come.