Beaver With Hockey Stick Drawing
drawing, illustration, sketches

(Very) Rough Sketch Sneak-Preview

Here is a bit of a secret look at the next project I am working on. These are a set of character sketches for some upcoming work.  I’m trying to find some characteristics that I like enough to put into my next composition. After spending so much time last piece on a composition I wasn’t crazy about, I’m going to be planning much more!

I can’t say too much about this now, but more to come soon!

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Elephant Lino Process
illustration, Printmaking

Dr. Elephant Eyepatch (Giveaway at Bottom)

Elephant Lino 6img026 copyDr. Elephant Eyepatch

Elephant Lino 4Elephant Lino 7WP_20131102_010 copyElephant Lino 3Elephant Lino 5Elephant Lino 2img027 copyWell! I made so many of these I’m going to give five away for free. The first five people to request one will have it mailed to them. Email me at vanvliet.dave@gmail.com, or comment below. Thanks for viewing!

**EDIT** Well, thats all 5, thanks to everyone who commented, posted, and sent me emails. These went fast, they were all gone in about 7 hours. I will try to do something like this again in the future. Thanks!

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Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 8.57.31 PM
colour, Inspiration

Saturday Inspiration: How to use Analogous Colours

Todays topic is Analogous Colour Schemes! Colour can make or break an image, and yet it is so often overlooked in illustration. There are a number of different techniques to use when trying to make an image cohesive, often revolving around the color wheel.

colour-wheel-colour

Analogous colours are colours that appear next to each other on the colour wheel.

Rather than get too in depth however, why don’t you check out these four colour scheme examples below.  I should note, none of these images are mine until you get to the very bottom.

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As you can tell, these images are really quite pleasing, despite the limited range of colour used.

452px-Anders_Zorn_-_Självporträtt_i_rött_(1915)

Anders Zorn (1860-1920) became well known for using an analogous palette in some of his own paintings, sometimes limiting himself to only four colours. (It became so well known that the Zorn palette bears his name today.)

If you are interested in a great colour theory tool, check out kuler.adobe.com, it has an easy to use palette to create your own colour schemes.

Here is a bit of work I did as a part of a larger project. I used collage and found as many magazine images as I could fitting into two analogous themes. I then combined them to create a final image. Here are the two separate collages:

And here is the final image, out of context so it won’t make much sense, but thats ok. Red and green are complimentary colours, so by adding these two collages together I was able to create something that was visually cohesive.

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Well, thats it! Thanks for reading. Get out there and make something.

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Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 9.36.15 PM
illustration

Dinosaur Completion

Alright! So it has been a busy week this week, but it’s time to (finally) conclude this piece. Tiny-Legged T-Rex, it is time to be done.

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If you remember last time, I left off with the foreground rocks complete, but the middle and backgrounds were flat empty shapes. I had to enter a zen state of mind to finish these stripes, because no matter how cool I think they look, they get boring to draw!

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I draw each line out by hand, scan it into the computer, and then trace over it again in photoshop. It got a little tedious, if I were to explore this style more I would have to find a more efficient way to achieve the same effect.

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Here is a quick look of the pencil lines used for the rock stripes.

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Above you can see the rocks pretty much filled in. It might be hard to tell, but I thinned out the black outlines on the rocks in the distance to try and give the effect that they are receding into the back.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 9.57.36 PM
I made the tall vertical rocks red to balance out the image a bit. I didn’t want the only red in the image to be in the dinosaur, but I also didn’t want them to compete for attention. The eye is drawn to bright reds really quickly, so I dimmed the red in the rocks.

Dino Nearly Finished
I also noticed that the very distant mountains, the faint blue shapes in the very back, might be drawing the eye toward the rocks and not towards the dinosaur, so I changed them to flow towards the dinosaur and tightened up their shape a bit. It’s a pretty minor change but I like how it worked out.  I also added some shadows to the rocks in the very front.

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A few minor changes, the addition of a rock in the bottom right that had been cropped and had escaped my attention until now, and it’s all done! For now… ahhhhh. There are still some things I’m not quite happy with, but this will do.

Here are some things that could be addressed:

The color of the grass might be a bit off, there is probably a better color to pull together the whole scene.
The shadows below the front rocks and the dinosaur itself don’t quite work. They don’t fit into the image as well as some of the other parts.
The entire composition could be re-done  to make it more engaging.

Well, if you have been following this since the beginning, thanks for checking in. I’m happy with how this turned out, and I learned a lot. Now to figure out what is next!

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Side by Side by Theater Clouds
illustration, Inspiration

Saturday Inspiration: Papercut Illustration

From woodcut to paper cut, here is another illustration style that would be great to try out in the future! There is something I find so endearing about paper cut illustration. I love how flat illustrations can look really amazing. I love how there is an element of hand work and analog fine motor skills.  I love the idea of using only texture and color to try and create an image with depth and character.  As you can see below, it can be done quite effectively.

Hover over the image to find out the artist/studio.

This post wouldn’t be complete without showing you the work of Bomboland. (Check out their work here) Based out of Lucca, Italy, they do some of the best paper cut-style work I have seen. When I first stumbled upon their pieces I felt completely torn, do I love it because of how wonderful it is, or hate it out of jealousy because I don’t think I could ever produce something like it? A bit of both I think.  Below are some illustrations from a book they did, but check out their website, you won’t be disappointed.

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WP_20131027_009
illustration

The Problem with BIG

How do you make dinosaurs big?  Easy right?  Thats what I thought, turns out its not nearly as easy as I thought.  Todays topic: Forced perspective and making things BIG.

WP_20131027_009After working on my previous drawing of a dinosaur for the last couple of weeks (an hour or so every couple of evenings), I began to think that the composition could really use some work.  I found it to be un-engaging, borderline boring even.

I have enjoyed working with the contour lines, and it has been fun working with colour, but it’s time to work on some composition.

So, sitting down, I began to sketch out some thumbnail ideas.

img019 copyI decided it would be a good idea to try and create a dynamic composition where the dinosaur is being viewed from the bottom up, full of dramatic size and imposing frame.  The problem? Every time I tried to draw the dinosaur as BIG he came out as FAT.  Check these out.

I went back and for the between drawing, and looking at these reference images below. These artists did a good job of creating characters that look large, without being overweight. Some even look skinny!

Below is an drawing that I’m starting to feel ok with. The front claws are off, and he still looks a bit fat, but I’m happy with where it is headed. Some things I found helpful:

  • Placing one leg in the foreground, with exaggerated scale, helps to really emphasize the forced perspective.
  • The hanging hand, narrowing as it rises, helps to show how tall the dinosaur is.
  • Adding trees and birds aids in adding a sense of comparison and scale to the image.
  • Showing the underside of the clouds helps explain that the viewer is looking up rather that from the side.

img018 copyLet me know what you think. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how to make this guy look LARGE without looking fat, post them! I would love some help.

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Leaf of Gold by Walter J. Phillips
Uncategorized

Saturday Inspiration: Woodblock Prints

That time already! Today’s topic, Woodblock Printmaking. I have been looking at woodblock prints quite earnestly for the last couple of months, after seeing a kickstarter campaign where the artist Jed Henry and woodblock printer David Bull turn contemporary video game scenes into traditional woodblock prints. I’m not a huge video game person, but some of the pieces are awesome! David Bull uploads videos of him cutting and printing to youtube, I could watch it all day long. Here is one of them:

Here is a quick video about the process of traditional japanese woodblock printing.

Check out these other woodblock prints. I tried my best to find the links to bring you back to the artist, enjoy!

I love how the texture of the paper plays such an important role in the prints. Looking at how atmospheric perspective and backgrounds are handled in some of these prints was a big influence in how I handled it in this piece.

For a cool contemporary woodcut printshop, check out Tugboat Printshop, or if you area in the Edmonton area, take some time to visit SNAP.

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