Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Himalayan Village [WIP]

I recently started a project based on one of my favorite books as a kid, "Daughter of the Mountains" by Louise Rankin. It's set in the 1930s, mostly in Tibet but also Nepal, Bhutan, and India. It's about a Tibetan girl whose dog is stolen by a caravan of wool traders to sell to a wealthy British couple in India and the journey she undertakes to get her dog back. As a kid, I was completely absorbed in the rich descriptions of the locations and it seemed like perfect fodder for a visual development project.

This is an environment piece I started last week... a tiny village along a trade route in the Himalayas. I still have to add figures for scale along with other details like the prayer flags, fence, firewood, a few small shrubs, etc. I was having a hell of a time getting the houses to not look like small condos in the mountains but those old Tibetan homes are so simple looking! I tweaked the original image a bit to test out a different mood... I actually think I like the tweaked image better. I'm thinking of painting in the wool caravan on the foreground trail to introduce some story.

I picked up about 50lbs of reference material from the library but here's a site I found with all kinds of awesome Tibet reference from the time period I'm working with: I think the next piece I'll be doing after this one is the interior of a tea shop.

Recent sketchbook page finished yesterday in San Francisco. A cafe, a shopping center, and The Warfield where I went to go see The Decemberists in concert. They were outstanding. And their new album will be out in March!

Edit: Blogger doesn't feel like loading my image correctly for the sketchbook page. To view a larger version, click here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In the beginning, there was...

This was actually the inaugural sketch of my new sketchbook. I forgot to scan it with the last batch somehow. Just trying to shake the rust off my sketching hand. This drawing was done looking out the window at one of my favorite cafes: Bay Street Coffee in Fremont, CA. Since it was right before the election, the fence across the street was plastered in election posters.

Mental dialogue following the completion of this sketch:
"Hey, organize the values better so your image is legible, yeah?"
"Values? Organization? Whuh?!"

In my defense, it was overcast.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

For Sure, There Is No Place Like Home

After finishing my last major sketchbook in July, I've been jumping around between sketchbooks trying to do something new. I normally always get the same recycled brown sketchbook every time and I thought it was about time I took on a new challenge. Problem is, it wasn't fun and I actually felt less and less like drawing. The books didn't accept the sorts of media I enjoyed using so I abandoned the idea a few weeks ago and picked up a new familiar brown sketchbook. If I can't enjoy the work I'm doing, what's the point? So it's good to be back and now drawing can be fun again. Here are a few pages I did over the weekend, at APE and at a coffee shop right before Halloween. Man, am I rusty.

Above: The woman in the upper right got overworked... went a little overboard on the guoache trying to capture the wierd reflected light. Also, my tube of gouache is almost totally dried out and I'm too cheap to get another so it's hard to handle the white. But I really like how the old man seated with his coffee turned out.

Below (2 pages): Really quick sketches done at APE.

Speaking of APE, I had a great time! I got to meet so many awesome artists, hang out with friends, look at all kinds of incredible merchandise I couldn't afford, and just be generally and awesomely inspired. I still have some leftover books if people would like to buy them. I've never sold anything online before... I guess do Paypal? I don't know. I'll figure it out in the next post. If anyone would like a copy of the mini-comic, shoot me an email. I'll even do a sketch in it. Thanks!

Here is the final cover design for the comic. I was actually disappointed in it but considering how short on time I was, I think it came out alright. I was kinda under the gun to get the book off to the printer in time.

And here are a few pages of doodles done in preparation for the cover, trying to figure out a good pose. I was pretty set on doing something actiony but willing to explore a bit. Of course, drawing cover poses quickly degraded into just drawing random shit that would, under no circumstances, actually make it to the cover but it's always fun to indulge that impulse. So yeah, funny noodley figures.

Below: And here is the pose that I went with. I actually just scanned this, blew it up to 200%, cranked up the opacity to 15% to make it super light, printed it, and drew right over it. It was pretty much good to go, as is.