Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Illustration Friday - Gravity

"Flight" - Mixed Media: Pen and Ink, White Acrylic, Collage Border, Digital

This is my first time participating in Illustration Friday, a website that challenges illustrators of all genres and disciplines to interpret a weekly topic, which is assigned each Friday. This week's topic is "Gravity." Although my peice is titled "Flight", the main character is a young pig who has come up with a way to defy the gravitational limitations directly responsible for the birth of the humiliating phrase,"Yeah, and pigs may fly." You may be thinking,"Ah, but the Law of Gravity clearly states that what goes up must come down, thus his defiance shall be short-lived." But you see, the piglet has already thought this part through, and used clock parts for his invention. "Time flies when you're having fun," and as long as the piglet enjoys himself, he may never have to land again.

On a note similar to flying objects, I've finished another Venetian Masked Bird. This was my virgin attempt at lino-cutting, and I have to say that I'm hooked. Not too many things can claim to be intensely challenging and thoroughly relaxing at the same time!

Venetian Masked Bird No.3 - Linocut 2"x3"

My eyes are still sore from staying up last night 'til about 3, researching printmaking and the various letter and etching presses out there (I sure made the most of my long weekend!), but I'm very excited about the potential in where I can go with all of this. So far, I've barely scratched the surface, as it were. The sky's the limit.... though the young pig may ask, smiling,"Or is it?"

Saturday, February 10, 2007

For the Birds - and Some Other Featherbrained Ideas

I'm currently in the middle of a project for Fantasy Flight Games, which means I'm working on things I won't be able to show for a few months, but I thought I'd share a couple things I do in between or during projects when I need to take a break and try something different.

This first one is inspired stylistically by the first illustrations I ever remember seeing as a young child, by a Czech artist named Karel Franta. I added my own element of hats and ornaments on birds, which I've been having a lot of fun with lately:
Mr. Franta's birds have always made me smile. They're whimsical and full of character. He is able to convey so many things in just the twinkle of their beedy eyes and the twist of a beak. I often revisit an old book he illustrated that my mother used to read to me and my brothers every night way back when.... like two years ago. ;) To this day, I'm able to simply enjoy his work without getting lost in the technical details and how-did-he-do-thats like I do when I look at other artists' work.

The next couple are studies for my own developing series of birds in Venetian-style masks. The first one was done very absentmindedly, thus the poor composition and linework (I was playing around with some new Speedball quills). The second, I tried to take a little more seriously. Both are in my tiny Moleskine, done in pen and ink, watercolour, with some acrylic in the second one.

I don't know why I started these, aside from them being very relaxing to do. I guess that should be reason enough, though I also like to think there's some underlying message. I have my own thoughts on that, but I'll leave it up to you as the viewer to come up with your own. At any rate, I'll hopefully get around to taking this theme to a more finished level after some more exploration.

On a completely different and slightly darker level, I also did this sketch a month or so ago, right after completing the Cecilia's Wheels book. I didn't want to show it right away, because it would perhaps have been a bit too drastic to switch from cute little Cecilia, to this:

This painting is a tribute to a large sum of influences I've had in recent years. There have been a variety of artistic ones, but Elliott Smith's music (certainly not his life, poor guy) is probably the biggest of all. Though the initial sketch was done on a whim at two in the morning, I've had the picture in my mind's eye for roughly a year. However, it was never clear enough how I was going to execute it, until impulse and inspiration took over. Living in the Bay Area for about half my life, I've been exposed to and always enjoyed posters from the glory days of the Fillmore. So I used that influence for the font style. Other influences played a role as well; contemporary artists such as Alex Kanevsky and Sterling Hundley, and a host of others that I'm too lazy to list because I'd have to be fair and hyperlink them too...

By the way, in case you are interested, prints of King's Crossing are available over at my makeshift commerce section: www.DuttonPrints.blogspot.com. I'm always open to requests for other works as well.


Friday, February 02, 2007


It's been a busy couple weeks. About half of it was spent working on an illustration assignment. The other half was spent in bed with a variety of flus. I was productive in both cases, though the fruits of my labor from the "bed office" wasn't nearly as satisfactory:

The better half (health and production-wise) was spent working with the art director of Revenue Magazine on a feature article about newspapers "folding" as more people get their news online. He had a pretty clear idea of what he wanted from the start, and sent me this sketch:I had a couple other ideas as well, so i did a preliminary sketch of his idea, as well as one of my own.He liked both of them, so he asked me to stick with the first one, and to do the newsboy as a spot illustration to put in later on in the feature. Here are the finals (though a few changes have been made to the first one since having turned these in):
I'd love to do a bit more writing tonight, but it's my wife's turn to be sick now, and I've somehow managed to burn the soup so I think I better pay more attention in that regard..... seriously, how do you burn soup?