Wednesday, August 12, 2015

20 hours in 3 days (recent graphic art projects)

I decided to start keeping track of hours spent working on art, and was quite surprised at how much time I've logged just in the last 3 days. It's because I was working on the computer - for whatever reason it's a lot smoother and easier and less intimidating than putting pencil to paper, and it seems to draw you in like playing a video game. Doing digital art is sort of like playing video games - you can always go back to a previous save if you mess up! Honestly though, I don't think pencil drawing itself is intimidating, it's just the fact that I'm trying to learn all this new stuff - a completely different way to hold the pencil and draw, as well as trying to learn all this technical stuff about heads.

What I've been working on is partly digital painting - finishing and adjusting some of my older pieces so I can print them up for my display portfolio, and it's partly graphic art - creating disc images and cover graphics for some CDs I'm making for my car. Hah - that sounded bizarre - what I mean is I wanted to put put together some CDs to keep in my car, and when I dug out the old ones I had made years ago the covers were all just hand written in ballpoint and looked like crap. Since I've been developing some skills in working with graphic elements I decided to try my hand at making my own covers and labels, with art snatched from the internet and modified heavily.

I started last week with the Season of the Witch CD seen above. Didn't log my time on that one, but it took around 10 to 15 hours on 2 consecutive days - some of the same days I only did like an hour of pencil drawing. So hey, at least I was working the art muscles!! I used a picture of Tura Satana (star of Faster Pussycat Kill Kill) and reduced it to harsh black and white, heavily Thresholding it and with much use of Dissolve. I also lifted the title graphics from a George Romero movie of the same name. The picture is of the insert - it would be folded in half and glued together with the edges colored back using a Sharpie so no weird white slivers show, and you have to open the CD case to read the song listings. I hd to use good photographic paper to get the solid blacks - on regular printer paper they come out grey. I also had to sand the back of the paper to get good adhesion using spray adhesive, and lightly dust the front three times with Krylon Crystal Clear, which seals the paper and gives it a tough coating. I had noticed the good photo paper has a sticky surface feel to it and gets smudged and finger printed super easily. I also got some printable CDs and put the same image on there - but in bright orange. Sealed that too, otherwise it can smudge pretty easily.

Wow, so much detail - but this is my journal where I record how I did things in case I forget later (which happens all the time!)

'Nuther pic, plus the other projects:

See, she's looking at her own dark reflection.

Here I lifted a painting by Rodney Matthews - it must have been originally for an album, as it works perfectly. I need to re-do the title text - don't care for the way it looks and it's off center on the case (it's placed to fit the disc image, didn't realize that wasn't going to work for the cover until I printed it). Really this is just a rough draft - I'll be perfectifying it and printing it up again. I got these flexible plastic cases because as amazing as the slim jewel cases look, they have an annoying tendency to break very easily at the hinges. No way these can break, though they don't look quite as good - I think of them as my utilitarian cases. Plus you can print a title along the spine to see what's in a stack of CDs. I also like the fact that you can print up 2 covers and put one in backwards, to show through on the inside. When I get really ambitious I'll start designing them differently, but for now they're just duplicates.

 Spent the better part of yesterday working this one up. I want to get it printed on a shirt. The dude is Zeno of Citium, founder of the school of Stoicism. The quote is actually the Serenity prayer - used by Alcoholics Anonymous (no - NOT where I learned it!) but I think it perfectly encapsulates the idea of stoicism in one brief phrase. From a time when philosophy was actually practical advice on how to live your life, not just the academic study of  the history of philosophies like it is now.

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