Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Adventure Awaits

As you may have noticed by now, I'm a big fan of fantasy and its use of the quest and adventure. Last year I was told to read The Kingkiller Chronicle, a fantasy trilogy by Patrick Rothfuss. I was not disappointed. Seriously, if you're a fantasy fan and haven't yet made your way to reading these books start NOW. Yes, they're that good. I had just finished The Wise Man's Fear, the second book in the trilogy, and was super inspired by its narrative. Thus, I present to you, another illustration I created for my thesis for the aforementioned novel.

First, of course, I did some thumbnails. The main character is very much a bard but in this book you're told the story of how he became a warrior as well, so I thought it was important to show this.

I fused #2 and #3, then did a color rough.

I then shot a model in the pose, gathered reference, and started drawing. I decided to omit the lute because it didn't make sense to me how it was hanging, and any other way just made his warrior stance confusing. In its fictional reality, Kvothe would never, ever have his precious lute out with his sword. So I decided to focus instead fully on his traveling warrior aspect.

many hours in Photoshop later.... the final illustration!

Kvothe is so damn cool....

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Conscious Perception

"Indeed, we must never forget that for us outer reality exists only in so far as we perceive it consciously, and that we cannot prove that it exists 'in and by itself.'"
 - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols

I wrote a blog post back in March--wow, it doesn't feel that long ago--about an illustration I was working on inspired by the above quote and Carl Jung's concept of the Self and Cosmic Man. I've been interested in psychology for many years now, and that fascination expanded into consciousness studies and theories as well as quantum mechanics. I'm intrigued by the concept of reality: what is, what isn't, and how do we know exactly? Perception, and more specifically conscious perception, is key to our reality. Observation and subjective experience make up our own individual understanding of reality, but I've also been interested in theories of collective unconsciousness; Jung's Cosmic Man being one symbol of "the total oneness of all human existence."

So, I wanted to create an illustration expressing this "oneness", this collective unconsciousness, while keeping in mind perceptions of reality. I did a fair amount of research; I had already read Man and His Symbols (which is how I became inspired), but I re-read certain chapters and analyzed the various interpretations. 

I made notes and started thumbnailing.

I decided to go the nature and shrine/cave-inspired route. I wanted to show a connection to nature and a oneness achieved by exploring the world. Many of the various interpretations of the Cosmic Man related back to nature--P'an Ku (Chinese symbol) and Gayomart (ancient Persian symbol) were covered by leaves as a plant. Gayomart was a huge figure omitting light. I didn't want to directly depict them specifically, but rather reference these details.

value drawing

final version, watercolor, inkwash, and digital
I decided to edit the size to format it more to be a book cover for my thesis, as well as omit the figure since I found it distracting. Without the figure, it feels more like the viewer becomes the figure, standing in the space.

since I was thinking of this as a book cover, I decided to layout some type to give an example of how it could look

I really enjoyed painting this and will be doing more psychology/consciousness theory inspired illustrations in the future. There are really fun explorations of many different unknowns and that is super inspiring to me.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Depths of Space: Finish

Now that I've finished my thesis, I want to share the remaining illustrations I haven't posted. For today, I'm starting with S P A C E . . 

This illustration is a cover for a comic idea I've been working on with my partner (mostly still formative, discussion) but there was a really cool scene he told me of the woman scientist going into space to meditate, for moments of thought and self-reflection. I really wanted to capture the feeling of drifting in space while still being connected (ie, not the scary drifting kind that is seen in the upcoming Alfonso Cuaron film Gravity--though I do want to see this movie when it comes out). Even more importantly, I wanted to communicate her melding into space, her consciousness fusing with the ultimate. It took many studies and experimentations, but I'm happy with the final!

Notes, notes, notes. Studies, studies, studies. I did a lot of sketching to explore the motion of the body, as well as research into future possibilities of space suits since I knew I didn't want the current suit--and it's set in the future.

More notes and another study. Then two different takes. The first take was a bit rushed and although I liked where the stylization was going, the pose was way too active. In the second version, the pose was getting better but she looked too stiff and there were a bit too many chords going on. With helpful feedback from fellow grad students, I started again.

This time I liked it. I took more time with the drawing and inking, really controlling my line weight. Then took it into Photoshop and worked.

I'm really happy with how the final turned out. Hopefully there'll be more developments on this project in the future.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Vacation, Animation, and Graduation, oh my!

Happy Friday, Internets!

I got back from my two week vacation visiting my home, Chicago, earlier this week.

Skyline as seen from the Southside on I-55 in traffic, which I do not miss, and we were in quite a bit of it throughout the two weeks traveling from north to south.

It was a great time and I really feel that I re-charged my batteries: socially, mentally, and creatively. I'm ready to get back to drawing and work!

In that vein, I had my final review for my Masters in Illustration from Academy of Art University yesterday......


Oh, glorious day! I genuinely enjoyed the grad school experience, and it definitely strengthened my drawing and illustration skills by leaps and bounds. But I'm also ready to be done with academics and tackle the working world head on.

Now transitioning from there... I was an intern at Rooftop Comedy for the first three months of this year. I worked on some fun, short animations for an original web series and the program has officially gone live! You can check out all the videos here.

I wish there was a way to embed them, but I can't seem to find out how. So here's the list of the episodes I animated (with direct links to the episodes):

I had a blast working there and am going to be working on some of my own animations and interactive illustrations in the near future. First, to learn Flash and brush up on my After Effects!

Since I've finished my thesis completely, there's more work to share in the coming weeks. So keep checking back to my regularly scheduled posts each Wednesday and Friday for more illustrations!