The History: This is my story and I’m sticking to it… for now.
Having devoured, contemplated, and worries over Joe Coleman’s book Original Sin, I needed something to lighten my mood. A friend of mine gave me a catalogue of award wining illustrators and I found the lightness there, in their pages… it drew me back to some children’s book illustrators and back to favourite in my library by Richard Stine! Something about his silly animals made me think of how symbols taken out of context could be extremely silly, and silliness is what I wanted. So I filled this with all the silly I felt at that time.
The Technique: How I did this awesomeness!
I went outside my usual method, in that I only drew outlines for the framing … everything else, I just painted straight onto the plywood. I started with the backgrounds and gradually build up the imagery moving to the forefront of the surface. For the images that required brightness, i kept painting additional coats of paint to brighten and blot out the darker backgrounds. I finished the shading details with a dry-brush approach. I did coat the dried painting when complete with gloss varnish, but I didn’t use the varnish to create depths. That discovery would come in much later paintings.
The Influence: Confessions of a Plagiarist, sort of…
I did this one over 15 years ago… at the time I was immersed in so many styles and expressions, from cartoons, illustrations, & Lowbrow art, to psychedelic works like the Yellow Submarine movie… always mixed with the hauntings of Dali, Miro, and Klee. This was just plain fun! Richard Stine’s illustrations are often feel to me like strange fruit floating in jello. This is what I achieved in The Hunter. I added some Pop-Culture symbols and poured them into my developing style of landscapes.
Fend off the Werewolves Of London When you buy The Artist’s Stuff: Prints, Mugs, T-Shirts, Pillow, Shower Curtains, and other awesome stuff.
What inspires an artist?
“All they see” is the first and most literal answer.
For me, that is literally hundreds of gallery & museum exhibits, thousands of books, and tens of thousands of images online.
When asked where to start a book collections, I almost always recommend these art bibles: Janson’s “History of Art” OR Phaidon’s “The Art Book” Both give a nice overview with good pictures. Once you’ve discovered what you are attracted to there most, you can then dig deeper into that area.
If I had to pick only a few of my major influences, which is a very difficult task, it would be Modigliani, Picasso, Van Gogh, & Andrew Wyeth. Here are a few of the best books I recommend from them.
Here are a few others from my personal library, I return to over and over again.
If you have the time, you are free to visit my GoodReads library to see a fraction of the books I’ve read. The ones I remember, that is. Or you can visit the ever growing collection of images on my Pinterest account.
The Materials: Quick! Order this stuff right now, AND You too, can make masterpieces!
Plywood Sheet: Taken from scrap I had around the house. Available from any hardware store… look in their cutting section for scrap pieces being liquidated.
Amsterdam Acrylic Paints: The Review: I’ve chosen Amsterdam because the colours tend to be sharper and more vibrant. Also, it is relatively easy to find them in the more economical tubs, instead of the tubes. When I’m mixing or diluting the paint I’ve otften gone for the less expensive Pebeo brand for its better viscosity. If you are working in a style that resembles impasto or using a pallet knife approach, then I strongly recommend using the Windsor & Newton brand in tubes, for the thicker and richest colours.
Nylon Paint Brushes: Here’s a great starter kit from Hero Neo, but Windsor & Newton make my favourites. The Review: There are many to choose from and lots of cheap ones out there, but you will want to aim for a little more when you see how fast the glue holding in the hairs fails with cheap brushes. I tend to have a fan, several flat heads, a large round head, and a fine tip for lining. Play with them and see what works best for you. Make sure to stick with nylon to start and always be fastidious about keeping your brushes clean. It makes the difference between having a brush for only a week and having some for close to 30 years, like mine.
Varathane Diamond Exterior Finish, Water-Based, 946 mL Gloss: The Review: There are several reasons I love this product, and the interior finish equivalent: It’s relatively low cost, covers lots of surface, allows for clean and super clear coatings, dries well to a diamond coat that doesn’t feel sticky to touch like most acrylic varnishes do, can be mixed easily with acrylic colours to make super thin hue coats, and cleans easily. It’s allowed me to achieve greater depth in my paintings and even resembling oily brilliance of using oils.
Plywood Sheet: Taken from scrap I had around the house. Available from any hardware store… look in the cutting section for scrap pieces being liquidated.
Photoshop for Mac: The Review: You could use the free “ MAC Photos” program or Picassa and possibly get the same results, but Photoshop offers you the flexibility of presenting yourself as a pro photographer, like no other program. There’s a reason it’s considered the best of the best, after all. So, this allows you the possibility of selling this service to others and funding more of your creativity
Apple MacBook Pro 15.4″ Laptop:The Review: You may choose to get an iMac for the bigger screen, and I couldn’t disagree with the beauty of working with the 24” screen. I picked the laptop, because of the need to be mobile and the flexibility of multi-purposing it to use for client demos. As an alternative to the weight of this model, I would suggest the MacBook Air 13”. Most of us have become accustomed to mobile device size screens and it is much easier to carry around.
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR: The Review: My first DSLR camera was the EOS Rebel T3. This one is vastly superior to the old model. Canon has a well deserved reputation of having top rated cameras. It requires a little play time to master it, and that time will be lessened by defining a clear idea of what you want to do with it, then jumping on YouTube for the multitude of How To videos. If you want a smaller camera to carry around, try Canon EOS M10 Mirrorless Digital Camera OR go small & powerful with the Canon PowerShot Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD & built in wifi.
Canon PIXMA MX492 Inkjet Printer:The Review: For me this has been the easiest to us for cleaning and cartridge replacement. It works reasonably well with recycled inks and the wireless is easy to set-up. The Canon has worked best for me on ink usage. When purchasing printers, always consider the cost of ink replacement… for the most part, this is the big difference right now in printers. For big reproduction lines it is better to outsource. For scanning, they are as good as the camera in them… this is one reason I’m a fan of Canon products. It does do a nice job on printing photos on good photo paper, and the black print is crisp and clean, provided you do regular cleanings and keep it dust free.