Saturday, September 21, 2013

Found in a Sketchbook



Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Favorite Artist

Neal Adams

I remember looking at some of Neal Adams artworks. His illustration inspired me to look at the Batman comic book when I was young. I have collection of some of his old comic books that he illustrated. His art style is direct that shows realism and tension according to what strip he is working on. I would recommend Neal Adams if you are into comic book arts.

Born on June 15, 1941, Neal Adams an American comic book and commercial artist is well known for helping create the definitive of DC comics character imagery; comic character such as Batman, Superman and green arrow.

Nael Adams tries to freelance for DC comic at start but he was rejected. Adam later did Archie comics; he was a penciler and a background work on the Bat Materison strip. Later on would take on advertising, storyboarding, comic strip job and animation. He was inspired by Bob Peak, Bernie Fuchs and Al Parker. Later he would decide to go for DC a second time. Nael Adams shows the ability to portray Superman and batman. He later soon move on to working on Batman stories. His Batman works inspired many illustrator of that character today.


Here is a link to his website ..

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What Creativity Means To Us

As any artist knows, creativity is crucial. But how often do you actually think about it?

What is Creativity?
Simply put, it is the act of creating something original and new. This was a popular answer, but definitely not the only one. Many of us see creativity as a form of self-expression while others see creativity as something synonymous to imagination. One student aptly stated, "creativity is breaking the laws of (life), by bringing your dreams and nightmares into reality and solving problems by asking 'Why not?'"It's a commodity (heartless, I know) in which the commercial value is only surpassed by its intrinsic one.

What tips would you share that you use to improve your Creativity?
We've all felt it at some point– the dreaded feeling of frustration and helplessness. But there are many solutions; perhaps one may just work for you. One student suggested "taking a road trip in your mind and allowing the most random things to pop up". Don't be too eager to stay stuck in your head though! The importance of learning and exploring the world is a common sentiment shared among us. After all, the more things you know, the more ideas you can come up with. Listening to music is another way to get the creative juices going. In fact, any kind of background noise is shown to increase productivity. And many of you cannot stress the importance of practicing on a consistent basis.

What hurts your Creativity?
A fellow artist warned that "a lack of new experiences or stimulants starves the mind of creativity." Another claimed that not getting any feedback hurt her creativity. An outside opinion should always be welcomed (if not considered). Ultimately, it seems that the biggest danger an artist faces is... self-doubt. An extremely inspiring student reminded me that "Failure is a part of the creative process... In life, failure is taught as a bad thing. In the art world, that's how you begin."

Pretty powerful stuff.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

My Favorite Artist

Beatrix Potter. Obviously.

I remember getting a collection of Beatrix Potter stories and illustrations when I was about seven or eight. I practically ate the thing. I loved it, it was so magical. Her style of illustration is the perfect blend of scientific and believable, and whimsical and relatable. Which I think is a hard combination to get right. I never noticed that mice cannot wear clothes and it never occurred to me that hedgehogs do not make tea.
I bought it. I bought it all.
I still do.

Born in 1866, Beatrix Potter never experienced all the animated and illustrative popular culture that we do now, and even I in my modern, fully-realized, well-informed pool of reference cannot master the powerfully simple and impossibly timeless illustration that she breezed through as if she invented whimsy itself.
Her scientific education and silly childhood imagination have come together so perfectly and delightfully that I have decided that you (readers,) must become more familiar with her work.

Here is a link to a specific page in her dedicated website, showing her chops as a story-teller and lover of nature.

Everyone, take a moment to appreciate childhood.

Thank you.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

More of Our Best Art







Great Resource: Pictograms

The design of clear and iconic figures of visual communication benefits from the study of Olympic Pictograms.  The 1936 Berlin Olympics and 1948 London Olympics saw an early attempt to represent each sport as a drawing, yet that effort reached its most legible and streamlined form with the pictograms of Otl Aicher for the 1972 Munich Olympics.

A good pictogram should look like what it depicts, but it should not look like anything else in order to avoid confusion or other meanings.   In other words, mere visual resemblance, as in tracing a photograph, is not enough. In addition, the design must exclude all other interpretations.  To achieve this, the artist must seek the most representative pose and camera angle, as well as the most stereotypical shapes and proportions to capture the essence of the subject.  Once these decisions are made, the artist rigorously removes all the unnecessary details and keeps the critical few.  As Milton Glaser said, "just enough is more."  The last steps entail a style-check (making sure all the pictograms look like they were drawn by the same hand) and balancing the composition.

A well-designed pictogram meets a high level of universality.  For instance, 
in a pictogram of a soccer player, the depicted athlete could be any person, as opposed to a specific soccer player. Likewise, any observer familiar with the game of soccer, regardless of his language and level of literacy, would recognize the sport of soccer in the pictogram.

This approach to illustration sometimes goes by the label of "reductive illustration," because the artist reduces the amount of visual cues to the absolute bare minimum, in an effort to reach the essence of the design.
 
More resources on pictograms and related topics:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Who Are We? The Fall 2013 Digital Illustrators


Who are the 47 great, future professional artists enrolled in the Cal State Fullerton Digital Illustration classes, who will contribute to this blog?

Most students come from Southern California, yet a few have travelled from the remote lands of Porterville, CA (Monache HS), Fremont, CA, Kingsburg, CA, Escondido, CA (technically in Southern California, but pretty somewhere out there!), Seattle, WA and Payson, AZ (Payson High School).  One student even listed a Vietnamese high school, but we’re not sure if it’s local or 14 time zones away!

When they’re not doing homework, our classmates are clocking in as retail managers, pet groomers, PMC Event Coordinators, and Disneyland dancers.  What they’d really like to do for a living is: children’s book writers and illustrators, greeting card designers, art teachers, multimedia designers, storyboard artists, animators, graphic designer for video games, 3D modelers, interactive art directors, wine label artists, actor, visual developers, concept artists, and the owner of gallery/bar/cafĂ©. 

Where would they like to work?  Some said anywhere that pays them above minimum wages, but the more obsessed students mentioned: UDON Entertainment, Disney Imagineering, Microsoft, any prestigious fashion magazine, and Wired.

Which past and current pros inspire our future pros?  Mary Blair, William Bouguereau, Tim Burton, Alphonse Mucha, Paul Rudish, Scott Campbell, Julie Vivas, Brianna Garcia, Dr. Seuss, Sandy Skoglund, JMW Turner, Tex Avery, David Wiesner, Norman Rockwell, Luke Lucas, Paul Rand, Carlox Angarita, Chuck Jones, Frank Frazetta, Andreas Deja, Audrey Kawasaki, Gustav Klimt, Dave McKean, Aubrey Beardsley, Pearl C Hsiung, David Delamare, Marumiyan, H.R. Giger, and many more.

What do they do in their spare time?  One student recently became a first-time father of a little girl (so he’s swamped!), while another is a mother who impatiently nags her kids into making her a grandma.  And with what little time they have enjoyed recently, they have read: Engulf in Flames by David Sedaris, Talisman by Stephen King, Storm of Swords by George RR Martin, Soul Obsession by Nicky Cruz, Free Pizza for Life by Chris Clavin, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, as well as many classics, such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, The Little Engine That Could, Where the Wild Things Are, Lolita, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Figures of Visual Communication - An Introduction


In 1958, Gerald Holtom drew an inverted "V" and crossed it with a line before fitting it inside a circle, creating the peace sign.  Nineteen years later, Milton Glaser placed a simplified heart design between the letters "I" and "NY" and created the iconic  "I ♥ NY."  In so doing, these illustrators added to our visual lexicon.  They took what was once the domain of words and sounds, and they drew a visual translation.  Thus, just as writers coin words, illustrators coin symbols.  This ability ranks as one of the powers of a visual artist.  

To create icons or symbols, artists draw never-seen-before combinations of marks or, alternately, they explore the magic of figures of visual communication.  Unlike the peace sign, which in itself doesn't look like peace, figures of visual communication allow illustrators to introduce new signs that need little to no explanation, because their appearance usually relies on a combination of existing and recognizable images. And remember, by definition, an illustrator's job is to enlighten, make clearer; therefore, clarity (that is, no need for explanation) drives our efforts.

Imagine an old-style iron key.  Now, instead of the typical oval shape for the bow (the part held between your fingers as you turn the key), draw instead the shape of a heart.  You now have created a sign to symbolize the key to one's heart.  

Figures of visual communication, a phrase adapted from literature's "figures of speech," come to life as the result of many different types of processes or operations, such as the substitution of the oval with the heart onto the key in the example above.

In class, I presented many such families of processes, including one based on arithmetic operations, as a method for creating new signs.  Here is a visual summary of it.