Sunday, April 24, 2011

Illuminated Letters

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This is a bit of a change of pace from fantasy character drawings, but this is something that I also really enjoy doing: illuminated letters and page designs. I drew the above letter this week kind of as an example for one of the drawing classes I teach (but more just because I wanted to have fun drawing it :)
I love the style of ancient illuminated manuscripts, as well as Norse and Celtic design motifs. I thought the Norse style (and Viking ship) would be well-suited to my last initial of "N", since I am a quarter Norwegian.
The intricate border design is taken from historic carvings found in a church in Norway, though I had to design corners to link the sides together.
The ultimate illuminated manuscript to my mind is, of course, The Book of Kells, found in Ireland. Here's one of the more famous pages, the "Chi Rho" monogram design, that's formed from the first two Greek letters that spell Christ, that look like an "X" and a "P" combined. By the way, total random side-note: it's because an "X" is the first part of the word "Christ" in Greek that the abbreviation "Xmas" came about.
And speaking of like holidays, hope everyone had a great Easter! Yes, I am 35, but my mother still sends me an Easter basket from New York. Thanks, Mom!! Mmm, Cadbury Cream Egg deliciousness!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

still here...and went to a fun art event!

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Hello all,
I've been absent for several weeks on my blog, but I'm still here. A combination of factors are to blame: moved to a new apartment; starting a new art project that involves writing a story as well as drawing it; busy with some events.
The new art project is a graphic novel I'm trying to get going. I haven't done much in the way of comics/graphic novels before so I'm learning as I go. And right now I'm needing to spend some time writing the story that will be illustrated. Hopefully I can post some pictures related to that soon. My hope is to get a sample chapter done in time for Comic Con this July.
Here's a fun thing that kept me busy over last weekend. I attended a 2-day Illustration Workshop with amazing illustrator Jon Foster.

Jon Foster is an artist I've noticed and been a fan of for a number of years, having seen his work in Spectrum's Annual, as well as on some book covers that have caught my eye. I was really excited to have the chance to take a workshop with somebody I would love to emulate, within driving distance in Pasadena.
Here's some more of his work:

and this:

Pretty cool.
He was a really down-to-earth, helpful, humble guy. He talked about his own journey to where he is now, and gave a lot of hope to those of us who feel like we should already have "arrived" with our illustration careers. Jon talked about his process, talked about the importance of thumbnails, and talked about how he approaches value and color (values first, then colors).
Jon demo-ed an oil painting the first day, then took it into Photoshop and demo-ed digital painting the second day. Oh, and he also had all of us in the class do a series of thumbnails for a cover of Midsummer Night's Dream that he looked over and critiqued.
Overall, it was super inspiring--and raised the bar yet again on how I need to push myself to get better.