Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Last Friday Night

Turned out to be amazing. I hope you made it downtown to see my stuff.

The November edition of Fourth Fridays turned out to be a huge success. I was happy to be a part of it. I didn't get the chance to see the other exhibits because I was stationed at Air Play Sports the entire time. The Fourth Fridays facebook group posted lots of pictures though in case you missed the other artists too.

Photographs via the Fourth Fridays Facebook Page

We had a great turnout despite the Black Friday conflict. So many people were buzzing around Air Play Sports that evening. I can't blame them though---the coffee was great and the music was gorgeous. I have some very talented friends who formed a folk band together. They go by the name of Grandeur! and they are amazing. Please give them a listen and make sure to like them on facebook!

Photo by Katie Sivits

I know I invited a lot of people to come out and see my art, but these boys were definitely the reason people stuck around the rest of the night.

That, or the funny french boy that Katie danced with. That was definitely pretty entertaining.

Well here's what was on display in case you missed it:

Photo by Katie Sivits

Go visit my Behance page to see the entire collection of watercolor weirdos. Each one is currently for sale----so hit me up if you're interested in prints.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ragtags and Rhinos

My last studio final is complete. All that leaves me with is a small Art History essay.
I'm so excited to come back home, but I'm very sad to leave Dove's Drawing for Sequential Art class. This has easily been my favorite class I have ever taken. I have learned so much and come so far---this is all very evident in my final piece.

For our final project, we were asked to draw a 3-point perspective illustration that took place on River Street in Savannah, Georgia. It would be 10x15" on bristol board, rendered in graphite, and was required to contain at least three figures. No one was very excited about the project until we took a field trip instead of having a regular class day.

Professor Dove took us down for River Street for a fun afternoon of research. We spent the afternoon wandering around the river and snapping reference photos of old buildings, dark alley ways, and tourist shops. I'm not sure the locals appreciated our visit... we wouldn't stop screaming, laughing, and climbing on stuff. The following photos were taken by the amazing Allison. Check out her blog here for more pictures: http://azbat.tumblr.com/

It was definitely the best fieldtrip ever. We even got to grab some icecream, sample honey, and ride the ferry across the river a couple times. If anyone needs to take Drawing for Sequential art--PLEASE take it with Dove. It was pretty rad.

The next day I began my least favorite part of any assignment---drudging through the thumbnails. This is always such a headachy-grueling process for me. But IT IS VERY HELPFUL. I have learned that it is much better to plan out artwork in a small space than to immediately launch into the final piece and constantly have to start over. Nobody likes eraser crumbs and nasty smudges on their final work.

I've earned a reputation as the 'dinosaur girl' in my class. I guess I draw dinos and monsters a little too often. Living up to my name, I originally wanted River Street to be invaded by a group of T-rex...

I kept doodling rhinos instead. I don't get it either.

A bad habit of drawing the figures or beasts in my drawing first (the part I'm actually interested in) and then saving the architecture of the scene for last. This is a horrible idea. So I went out of my comfort zone and focused all my thumbnails on the architecture FIRST. I forced my self to do all the boring work right away. This was the scene I chose, photographed by me.

I liked the overall composition of the piece. The architecture was like a backdrop and there was plenty of room to draw my figures in the foreground. Here is my original thumbnail.

From there I imported the file into photoshop to try to make the structure more precise.

These first two dissections weren't going as I planned at all. I tried to grid the building so I could place the windows accordingly. It just turned into a mess. It was honestly easier just to crudely trace the photograph so that I would view the elements in a more basic way.

I'm not sure where my inspiration for this piece came from. For some reason I came up with travelers riding rhinos into River Street. My third figure was originally a character in the foreground perhaps welcoming the hippie people. I could not scale the foreground figure properly, so I ditched the idea. 

I kept my rhinos, but this time I drew little street-urchin orphan children running excitedly to the visitors. This had a more readable story. It gave the sense that the travelers had visited before and were heroes among the children.

Guess what? I don't know what the heck running children look like. I was WAY off in the previous thumbnail. I totally abandoned my knowledge of human mechanics--disregarded the fact that moving limbs swing oppositely. Arms and legs on the same side do not lunge in the same direction. That's why it's important to do your homework, kids!

again I traced some silhouettes of running children so that I could understand the images more clearly. This was my final reference picture as I began working on the final piece on bristol.

There were many revisions from the digital study thumbnail, as you can see. This was my progress on the piece when I had it reviewed by my professor. He suggested some modifications to the windows and develop the background building more. Also, the clouds were poorly shaped and were facing the wrong way. Here is the revised line art.

Our class was given the option to leave the piece as line art or to push it further into a final, rendered piece. I was lucky enough to have the spare time to full shade the drawing with graphite. It was a lot of extra work, and for awhile I doubted I would finish...

But, praise the Lord, I pushed through to the end. I'm very proud of how this piece turned out.

The critique went well. People seemed to enjoy the originality of the drawing. If I could have done anything differently, I would have added more texture to the skin of the rhinos and maybe refined the facial features of my characters.

That's it. Finals are over. I'll be home in no time!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Survey of Computer Arts Final: Website

It's finals week here at SCAD. My quarter is ending on a nice note---I wish I could say the same for my friends. Lucky for me, my projects are almost done. I just finished my website today.

Our last assignment in Survery of Computer Arts was to create a simple portfolio website using Adobe Dreamweaver. I briefly encountered this program over the summer while doing website work for my hometown's athletic hall of fame. In all honesty, I was still pretty lost.

We spent most of class looking at previous student websites. The project was pretty open ended---we could make it look however we wanted. Looking at student samples helped me gather ideas of things to do...and NOT to do...
Here were some of my favorite samples:

By the next class, we were expected to create three separate web designs and present them to class. We had a critique over the designs and had to work with the one the class liked best. This went pretty well. It always seemed as though the class favorites were the artist's favorites as well.

My first design was based off my summer piece, King Rat. This was my second favorite of my three designs.

During my class research, I kept stumbling across websites with character rollovers. This really caught my eye and seemed appropriate to showcase my focus in sequential art and character design. I incorporated some of my favorite characters into my design. 

My last design was definitely my weakest work. This was meant to be similar to websites such as Steven Darden's example, or Boneface's website. I really liked how clean and straight to the point they were. Unfortunately, I couldn't think of a cool logo. And everything looked too...plain.

The class was in favor of my second design, and I was thankful. I started designing my website pages immediately after the critique.

Each monster had its own page that would correspond with the index page. I was mostly after readability and consistency-- I kept things pretty basic. The contact page contained twitter, facebook, DA, and blogspot icons that I had originally designed for the whale website design. I liked them too much to throw them away.

For the Index page, I wanted the monsters to appear in greyscale, then switch to color once the links were rolled over. I had to create 3 different images where each individual monster was in color. After that, my professor helped me use swap image rollovers within dreamweaver by creating hotspots around the links.

I had it working in no time.

The next class, our professor went over how to use Shadowbox on our websites to display our artwork. You have probably come across this javascript tool before if you've ever clicked a thumbnail and a black box with the artwork appears. Example here. If you're interested in learning how to use this pretty quickly, Professor Kaul made a simple tutorial on his youtube channel.

To do this, I first created several image thumbnails within Photoshop by scaling down artwork and cropping it into boxes. This was very similar to a website building process I did in high school using Flash.

After the image was completed, I divided it into sections with the slice tool. I imported it into Dreamweaver and typed in the shadowbox javascript. It even works with embedding youtube videos. Pretty neat!

I struggled a bit getting the code to work, but once I had it going, it was only a matter of copying and pasting over and over for each thumbnail.

The most unexpected part of the assignment was when we were asked to create a favicon for our website; it's the little square icon you see in the address bar for each website you visit. I never knew those little guys had names!

First, I cropped down an image of one of my monsters down to a square size. Then, in Photoshop, I brought the image size down to 16x16 pixels at 72dpi. It's pretty itsy-bitsy.

The image cannot stay a JPEG be converted to a .ICO file. Photoshop does not support this file type, so I used a generator website instead, www.favicon.cc . You merely upload your file to this website and download the .ICO file it creates. There's a code to plug into Dreamweaver after that---and then you're done!

So there you have it, folks! My first final project is complete. Make sure to take a look at the finished product. I think it's pretty rad.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gallery Showing

SCAD has been fun this quarter, but it's definitely time for a much-needed break. Seven more days and I'll be home---and that means 2 weeks until my first gallery showing. I'm pretty stoked.

Art exhibits in my hometown have been very few and far between until recently. Over the summer, a summer art festival was put together in my area called Gardenstock. It was amazingly successful, and since then there have been several artist organizations developing all over our county including Second Saturdays and Fourth Fridays.

I have been lucky enough to be welcomed into the Fourth Fridays Venues & Artists community. This organization hosts large art events on the fourth Friday of every month. Visual artists have the chance to showcase their work and musicians play as people wander around through the different shops around town. It has turned into a pretty big deal. And I'm excited for my opportunity to showcase some of my work this month at Air Play Sports.

I will be showing my watercolor monster set, Kunstkammer on November 25th. I'm sure you are familiar with this project. The collection contains nine pieces that range from creepy critters to prehistoric beasts---and some animals that don't exist at all. The project originated from some summer sketchbook work that paid homage to the fantastic artist and long time idol, Alex Pardee.

"Goodnight, Lava" By Alex Pardee

My three original demons expanded into a larger project that not only explored the process of an artist I admire. It also allowed me to research some fantastic and freakish animals that roamed the earth ages ago.

This project has been a total delight and I am excited to share it with you all. You may currently view a select few of the pieces I am exhibiting on my Facebook page and Behance Gallery. Unfortunately, some of the pieces will only be available to those who attend my Fourth Fridays show later this month. You may find a few teasers here and there though. Take a look.

And make sure to come on out to Air Play Sports in two weeks! It's sure to be an amazing night.