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29 April 2014

Dreamworks Animation Exhibition

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of going to see the Dreamworks Animation exhibition currently being held in Melbourne. As a big fan of animated movies as well as great art work this was a treat from start to finish.

The exhibition was divided into three areas covering character development, story and world.

Outside we were greeted by this massive giraffe from Madagascar. A sign of the delights we were to encounter inside. And yes you are allowed to take photos inside.

The room was a mass of artwork, animation, videos, clay models, and more divided into sections for each of their movies.

These are some of the work presented for the first Kung Fu Panda movie. They had the clay models for each of the main characters.
 Some of the original artwork and concept drawings. I found it really interesting to see how the characters developed and changed so much from the original drawings. There was  a short video for this movie that explained that until they knew that Jack Black was the actor playing the part of Po they could not finalise him. They were then able to incorporate some of the mannerisms and facial expressions of Black which added an extra dimension.

A really innovative and interesting part of the exhibition were areas such as this table that were set up with video showing the design process. It showed drawings being developed using reference material and storyboard. It was really well done.

Having original concept drawing included was great as they often had notes included on them for the artist and directors.

I enjoy seeing all the variations for elements being drawn.

The artwork was amazing. Here are a few that caught my eye.

Another part of the exhibition which was amazing was the Dragon Flight video. You entered a small room with a screen taking up 180o. It showed the original sketches of the dragon, how it developed, then colour being added then they added the environment. From that point on I found it hard to watch as I suffer from motion sickness but you were flying through the sky on the back of the dragon. Amazing. Breathtaking. Dizzying. Accompanied with an awesome soundtrack. I would highly recommend you do not miss this part, unless you too suffer motion sickness.

The exhibition is being held at Federation Square until 5 Oct, so if you are in the city I would highly recommend you spend a couple of hours immersed in the wonderful world of animation.

26 April 2014

Another Challenge week

I have been rather busy the last couple of weeks and not producing much art. Luckily the theme for the 52 Week Illustration Challenge was book cover which is what I was working on for an assignment for TAFE.

I was hoping to have time to do another specifically for the challenge but it just didn't happen. Maybe this is another thing I can come back to...

The book I chose is The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. It is a very dark, disturbing story. I hope I conveyed this in my image. I am happy with it turned out.

A3 size, done with dip pen and ink. It literally took me hours to do all the line work. But well worth the effort.

17 April 2014

Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery visit

Last week I visited the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery. It is a small place but well worth a visit. There were three small exhibitions.

The one I focused on most was the Signature Style show. This showed a number of pieces of jewellery and wearable art that were collaborations between an artist and a friend, often an artist in some form as well. Some of the pieces that caught my eye and appealed to me most were the Gown of Shadows. A dress made of acetate and spray paint. It was intriguing. The shoulder pads created by Natalie Milosz-Piekarksa were lovely. It was great seeing the accompanying video where her dancer friend was wearing them. It showed how they moved. Very nice. The collection by Katherine Wheeler and Polly Cn der Glad were great. It included woven gloves and flowing locks of hair. The shadows they created on the white table were great.

There was one piece in the collection that I did not particularly like. The Cosmic Elevator was a funeral bier with sound playing. To me it had garish colours and weird objects included such as a bell, cups and fake feathers. I guess I just didn't understand it.

One of the other exhibitions on show was Behind the Lines 2013. This was a collection of political cartoons. It was great to see them in a large format. They were so well done. I loved them. I am not politically minded but even I understood the majority of them which I think says something positive about the message they are conveying.

And then there is detail...

On the opposite end of the spectrum from simpicity is detail. This too can be challenging in how you interpret it. Does it mean lots of fiddly bits, all the lines included or just focussing in on a part. I had a try of both approaches.

This one is also part of an assignment for TAFE. It is a motif for the book The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. I did this quite large so I could include the fine detail but it will be reduced down to 6 cm which is pretty small. Hopefully not too much detail will be lost. Completed using dip pen and ink.

I love macro photography. You see things with a whole different light. Parts of an object that you wouldn't normally focus on too much show their brilliance. I have a photo of a part of a barbed wire fence that I have admired for some time. I decided to paint it using watercolour.

To round things off for the week I also completed a portrait of a friends cat. Lots of detail in the face, expression, fur and the fabric of the couch he is resting on. I think I captured his look pretty well. They were happy with it.

So that was week 15. Time is flying by already.

10 April 2014

Simplicity can be harder than you first realise

The challenge theme this week was simplicity. On first thought... easy. But when you sit down and try to actually come up with an idea you realise it is pretty darn hard. To capture an image in its simplest form, to express an emotion with just a few lines, all so hard to do. But when it is done well it is amazing. I did not achieve greatness this week but I am pleased with what I produced. For some really great images visit the 52 Week Illustration Challenge group page.

To start with my simplicity images I decided to go back to basics and the most simple of things for me is drawing with a lovely smooth fountain pen. And my favourite topic... cats. Cats know how to live and enjoy a simple life.

Jasper loves to just lay flat out and soak it all up.

When Tristan was a tiny kitten he used to love curling up in the fruit bowl. So cute and gorgeous. No way he would fit in there now, he is a big boy.

A simple scene to enjoy.

At the supermarket the other day I saw these lovely pears and bought one to paint. A simple piece of fruit done with simple watercolour washes.

To round things out I then went into Photoshop to create this simple scene of living life simply. A boy and his dog flying a kite.

It turned out to be another busy productive week. I am loving this challenge.

02 April 2014

This weeks theme... Water.

I can't believe how quickly the weeks are flying past. I am having so much fun with the 52 Week Illustration Challenge. This week the theme was water. I must admit I procrastinated for most of the week over this. I can say I was also busy with other projects too.

I ended up using this week to do some studies and try new techniques as well as express some ideas.

Some studies painting waterdrops. One of the other participants suggested using dishwashing liquid to create bubbles for a water type effect. I had never heard of this before. The bottom blue sample were my first really bad attempts. Here I tried just swishing the foamy mixture on the page. It did not work as desired. But could still be useful as a background texture somewhere. 

I then looked up how to use the dishwashing liquid more effectively. Here are the results. Nice bubble imprints which would be great as a texture background. It took me a while to get my bubble blowing technique going just right... lol

An underwater scene with seahorse. For the background I used clingwrap to create the textured effect. I like the effect but maybe a bit overpowering for my little seahorse.

Finally, the dreaded dripping shower.

It ended up being a productive week.

Picture Book Submissions

The wonderful author and artist Tania McCartney, from the 52 Week Illustration Challenge, presented the participants with an amazing opportunity. She has a new picture book coming out and allowed people to illustrate two sections of her text as a submission for possible selection as illustrator. This is an amazing and unknown of opportunity.

Naturally, being an aspiring children's book illustrator I could not pass up this opportunity to at least try my hand. I did several roughs trying a variety of ideas. I then did paintings of a few of these. I was not completely happy so redid them with modifications. It was a long arduous, scary, daunting process. There were several times I nearly gave up with whole idea feeling very negative about my own skills. I am glad I pushed through those feelings. I do not expect to be selected but I am so pleased to have been able to present two pieces that Tania and her publishers will see. Who knows where it may lead to in the future anyway. Gotta give it a go....

Here are my final pieces and associated text they are based on. Both done in watercolour with pen. The crying piece also had the background added in Photoshop.

Sometimes - a lot of sometimes - I want to smile. It could be... a spinning round-and-round smile.

Sometimes - just sometimes - I want to cry. It might be... an ice cream plopping-down cry.

I think I ended up putting most effort into the "crying" piece. It was a challenge to express those lines. I must say I was very surprised at all the positive feedback and response I got for these pieces, from the other participants, especially for the crying piece.

From original concept ideas and sketches, to finished pieces with redo's took me approximately 12.5 hours, with lots of thinking time and research added.