Sketches Better Than Paintings

Sometimes I wonder if the sketches look better than the paintings. 


Trilobite Boy with Gargoyles - sketch.

Trilobite Boy with Gargoyles - complete. 

There's something about the scratchiness of it I don't usually retain in the finished pieces. That's why I think I'm enjoying drawing and then placing the original drawing over the digital painting on a multiply layer. I'm catching the scratchiness a bit better. 


Avimimus - pencil drawing.

Avimimus - painted using the Sketch Club app on my iPhone. 

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite © to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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Almost used this sketch


Recently, over on Symbiartic, I posted a piece ruminating about copyright and the utility of good scientific illustration, called Dinosaur Couture Should Be Open To All. I hesitated putting the post up, since although tangential, I thought some sort of illustration riffing on dinosaurs and high fashion would enhance the post. 

Squeezing in time to make any sort of artwork is next to impossible the past couple of weeks: our son is teething, not sleeping well and I'm very behind my self-imposed deadlines. So I spent some time and tried to work on the sketch above, thinking maybe a model with some sort of fossil couture outfit could be fun. The face is pretty flawed, I didn't use an actual model. Perhaps I was thinking of Eva, from America's Next Top Model season 3?

Ultimately not happy with it, I decided instead to attempt a breezy fashion design sketch, using watercolours in ArtRage. 



C'mon, the hipster pants and shoulder pads on the right not doin' it for ya?


I was scrambling to complete it before posting and heading out the door...in the end, I erased the two dinos on the sides, and went with the parasaurolophus in the spring dress. 






Ok. Not my best work. But I hope a splash of colour livened up the post. 


I feel hopeful about getting some sort of studio and blogging schedule back on track soon. We're going to try some new things with Calvin's sleep schedule to allow him to be more rested, and in turn, me more rested. I love being a stay at home dad and freelancer: it's a balancing act that's tipped a bit askew, that's all. 

I'll leave this post with a fanciful parasaurolophus I'm more proud of. 



Check out Dinosaur Couture Should Be Open To All on Symbiartic! 

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Art Monday: our hero so far

Click to enlarge.

In-process work for Trilobite Boy Saves the Day. Above, a screenshot of what my desktop looks like while using ArtRage, a digital painting program (I'm using 2.5, and would love to buy 3.0).  I need to add smoke and fire coming from the oil rig. Art Rage feels a lot like real paint, and I may still go into Photoshop and add some atmospheric effects and blurring to the horizon, as well as some texture to the waves. 

Below, an initial sketch of our hero.  His legs will be dripping with Gulf oil. 







I might make him slimmer and less muscular to match other images of the character.  Originally, this whole concept was going to have Trilobite Boy standing on a rooftop with a towel around his neck.  I'm also not sure about the costume logo I whipped up: maybe just the flying trilobite design, instead?

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Original artwork on
The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under
Creative Commons Licence.

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Blog
Print Shop

Final Project update #4

[Updates 1, 2 and 3]

Okay. I've worked through the Ugly Phase. Thanks to bloggers
Melliferax, Tracey, Stephanie, Betül, Geoff and Traumador for support and encouragement, mainly via Facebook. (Are you a Flying Trilobite fan on Facebook? Clickity click here.) Many others have given me valuable feedback at other stages too. Thanks everyone! And thanks to my wife Michelle for watching me freak out over the construction more than a couple of times.

This is the last project of my undergrad, and I think here at the 11th hour, I've solved the
construction issues. I'll blog the final project after I take it to class and get sleep.

Here's what the centerpiece of the project looked like after completion:
The colour is correct above. It's easier to take a good picture of oils on an angle.

Here's what it looked like after I hit it with a hammer:

Long way to go yet.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.



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The Ugly Phase of my final project

Tomorrow it shall be glorious.
I'm pretty far into my final project, which you can see portions of here and here.  

I've blogged before about how most of my paintings go through an Ugly Phase before they're done (and every frickin' time I'm surprised).  Right now, this one is so ugly I'm going to walk away for a bit. 

I'm calmer now.  Earlier, I kinda freaked out via Twitter

Here it is in its ugliness: 



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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Art Monday: here's an ugly fellow

A detail from my in-progress Asthma Incubus II, painted entirely digitally using ArtRage 2.5 and my Intuos 3 tablet.

Hmm. I need to fix the eyelashes a bit. I like them long and pretty on this ugly face though.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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Asthma Incubus II progress

Progress so far on my new version of Asthma Incubus. Click to enlarge.

The original drawing from a few years ago:


A background to inspire the mood, painted in ArtRage using my Wacom Intuos 3 tablet:

I've hidden the background here so I don't distract myself while I play with the details. Using paint, metallic paint, airbrush and pencil tools. Mainly focusing on the Asthma Incubus itself:


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.
Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Art Monday: settling in

Although I haven't had very much time to draw and paint lately, I can feel the beginnings of new routine establishing itself.

The trip to York U is a long one, and I have my trusty iPod Touch with the Brushes app to sketch with while bumped and jostled on the subway and bus.

For the moment, my class on Drawing & Narrative is on Tuesday mornings and I'm taking the whole day off work so I can get in some studio time in the afternoon.


I've started and stopped so many projects lately that I'm actually creating a checklist to keep them straight. Here's where I left off the Anomalocarid Dress that I began for Art Evolved's last group gallery:


I'm using Artrage, and this image on the right is such a massive hodge-podge of techniques. I am still sorting out my workflow, and this image is on many layers while I do that. Painting over top of the existing pencil sketch seems to be less rewarding than if I had completed the sketch in ArtRage itself.

There's a long way to go, and this is deep in the Ugly Phase: that phase of painting where I almost can't look at it. It's essentially an underpainting of colours to support more detailed layers over top. Although ArtRage functions realistically like oil in many ways, I have to kind of lay down a process for myself.

Normally when painting on canvas, I pre-prime the canvas with either a raw umber or straight ivory black. I enjoy the process of painting and watching the figures edge their way out of the darkness. It's like the image reveals itself on black instead of appearing on white.

With this image, I began by painting over the sketch, meaning over an off-white. So I added heavy blacks, and they feel big and globby.And the skin isn't right. I wanted a lopsided smile, but turned it into a deformed mouth. I'll likely need to start over, delete the scanned sketch page, leaving only the drawing, or reverse the values of the scanned image.

Let's see what I can do to correct this image in days to come.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Hesitation

Some paint is on canvas.

I hesitate.

Traditional painting involves planning. Sketches. A clear vision. There is no "undo" function. Oil paints are capricious. As they dry, they darken but also become more transparent. Mistakes are revealed, old compositional frameworks exposed. The graphite in pencil can float to visibility on the surface.

Bah. I don't worry about the graphite. These days I aim to immortalize the pigments and oil with pixels and photons. But I must get the composition right. I want this painting to be able to be framed as an oil.

I need to begin my altered chess pieces. They make the painting. This is only the background.

Yet I hesitate.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under
Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***