Thursday, July 29, 2010

From Scratches to Sketches

I'm continuing to work on this Last Supper image. In the process of doing so, the client has given me extremely detailed descriptions of how he'd like each Apostle depicted.I wanted to familiarize myself with the characters, so I did some head shots of each of the Apostles. This will help when I begin work on the final drawing. the real bear will be figuring out light and shadow and photo references, etc.

I'll keep posting my progress.

Final illustration and concept ©copyright 2010 C. David Jones, DMin

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oz Wonderland Short

Good News! Last week I finished inking and half-toning a 4 page story for the Oz Wonderland Chronicles published through Buy me Toys and Casey Heying, written by Ben Avery. It was an absolute joy to work on. The issue (I think) is scheduled to be out in November. Here's a sneak peek panel from a pencilled page.

Thanks for the opportunity Casey and Ben: )

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chicken Scratches

This week I'm beginning work on a new freelance project which entails a book cover and 3 interior illustrations. I'm fortunate in that the client has extremely detailed instructions as to what he wants. That makes it easy in one way, but difficult in another, because if what I produce doesn't match up with what he sees in his mind than I have failed.

So at this stage I'm all thumbnails and subconscious murmurings. The cover illustration is a very detailed depiction of the last supper, so I've been rereading the 4 New Testament accounts of the supper and allowing it to marinate. I've also been looking at how other artists have depicted the narrative; Rembrandt, Moser, etc.

So here's how a project always starts for me; 2 inch x 2 inch chicken scratch sketches.

Final illustration and concept ©copyright 2010 C. David Jones, DMin

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

4 Days

Last week I had a neat opportunity to go on a work trip to help some local Burmese families in our city. I never knew it, but our city has a very large population of Burmese refugees.

I'm way too self-absorbed, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to get out of my little world and learn and maybe help someone. A second reason to go was that experiencing other cultures helps to feed into your DNA as an artist. Inspiration.

So I went. It was a four day event. I was given the choice, and I worked with kids most of the time rather than paint and fix things...I am pretty worthless when it come to painting and fixing things, I like people better.

I did ESL with some adults but spent most of my time helping with the kids VBS; skits, games, and whatnot. The children were precious, I made a couple of good buddies. Lots of big smiles from these guys.

Alot of things struck me on the trip, but the biggest thing was the kids and how happy and content they seemed to be despite them having virtually nothing. Given that many of them were not fluent in English I was also impressed at how attentive many of the kids were.

As far as the grown-ups go, I was blown away at their stories. It was a common thread among many of them that they were kicked out of Burma, forced to travel to Thailand where they lived in refugee camps. One couple had lived in a camp for 21 years. Another fellow had lived in a camp which housed some 500,000 people. Finally, somehow or another they ended up over here, many times with family members still overseas in refugee camps.

Alot of the fathers have to find work in another state in order to provide for the family's basic needs, or are just happy to find a job no matter how menial it would seem to be.

One of the coolest moments for me, was towards the end of the second day there. I asked one of the boys I befriended what super hero he wanted me to draw for him. He asked for a Superman. As I started drawing Superman, another boy came along and requested a batman, another boy requested a Wolverine, then a Hulk, then a power ranger, then Iron Man, then another on and so forth. A couple little girls asked for some Disney princesses (I'm sure I made Walt turn over in his grave with how bad my Snow White was.) Before I knew it there was a crowd of kids around me all shouting for the next drawing. The same thing happened the next day. It was cool.

As I was leaving that day, I was cleaning up and found a couple pieces of paper whereby the kids began copying and redrawing the pictures I had made for them. That was a cool feeling.

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Sketch Cards for Sale!

Buy my cards on Ebay-2 pieces of original art for $9.99!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Inspiration: The Art of Barry Moser

I'm currently preparing to start on a new freelance job which will be a book cover with a rather detailed depiction of the Last Supper. I haven't done any sketches yet, only collecting inspiration at the moment. During these incubation periods, I will mull over similar images and artists in my mind and try to arrive at a style mentally that I believe will be suitable for the illustration.

Enter the work of artist/illustrator Barry Moser. During the late 1990's Moser was commissioned to illustrate an entire Bible. I managed to pick up a copy on Amazon a while back and it has served me well ever since. Though Moser has illustrated a wide array of subject matter (including Alice in Wonderland and Frankenstein) his illustrated Bible stands out to me as a monumental achievement.

What inspires me about Moser is his realism of course (I believe he works from models), but also his lighting, composition, highlights and shadows, and the subtle peculiarities that are injected into his highly artistic, visual exegesis.

Here are some samples of his work:

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Inspiration: The Art of VC Johnson

A few weeks ago when I attended the HOW conference (and forgive me for repeating myself) I was struck by how much speakers discussed inspiration and memories and the connection between the two. One lady showed pictures from a story book she read over and over again as a kid, and how that made her want to make art. This morning when I came in to work, my friend Bert had sent me a link that immediately took me back to an extremely creatively charged middle school time period in my life. Not to mention one of my first experiences with interacting with a brand and its subconscious effect on me.

Enter the skateboard art of VC Johnson.

Sixth grade was a very good year as I remember it. The summer prior I had exited 5th grade feeling like a dejected reprobate because I sucked at sports. In fact that very summer in order to be cool I went out for Wildcats and quit within a week due to an embarrassing experience. I was daydreaming while in the outfield while the teams switched out. Once I was discovered, everyone on both teams (or so it seemed) laughed at me.

I never went back.

But I did start skating that summer. And I loved it. This was the 1980s, and if you skateboarded in the 1980s you will be familiar with the art of VC Johnson, an illustrator who did alot of work for Powell Peralta skateboards.

I remember first seeing VC's work in 5th grade on the bottom of a Tony hawk was the bird skull with the iron cross in the background. Then I saw the dragon on the bottom of the Steve Caballero deck, the skull and snake on the bottom of the Mike Mcgill, the helmeted skull warrior on the bottom of the Per Welinder, the Ripper (I nearly soiled myself the first time I watched a Bones Brigade video and saw the animated laughing ripper skeleton at the beginning). Awesome stuff.

I immediately started buying stickers, shirts, sweatshirts, all Powell Peralta brand with VC JOhnson illustrations on them. I started redrawing alot of his illustrations from memory...I remember trying to draw the Caballero dragon and Hawk skull on my desk at school and getting in trouble for it. I remember trying to buy old decks from people just so I could have the art.

So right here we have an example of successfully marketing and branding a product to a kid. Sure I loved the boards, but the real reason I loved them was the beautiful art that had oozed its' way into my soul.

So here you go, behold the art of VC Johnson...

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Horrible feeling of existential dread and end of the world cursing the day I was born last night at midnight as I finished screwing up an entire page in the Oz Wonderland story. It was all wrong, wasn't coming naturally, wasn't flowing, fidgeting too much with little detail lines...which by the way is a sure sign your project is at the point of doom. Patterns of black and white rhythm weren't there. The rabbit was fighting me.

When it's there, I know what I'm doing and it comes as naturally as breathing. dangit. Oh well, I'm going to break out the light table, trace the basic drawings, and retool, definitely define a better light source. Determination has seized me, and I will have page 2 done tonight.

In the meanwhile, here's a few more sketch cards...

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Last one today I promise...

Messing around more with this halftone technique and discovering it appears to work best when combine with already strong shadows in your drawing.I like this, the question now is, do I go back in and add this feature to my complete graphic novel?

Here's a before and after, what do you guys think?

Couple more...

Couple more, trying to get the hang of this halftone thing. Easy to over-do. Not quite there yet, but sure is fun painting with halftone.

Superfriends and Halftones

Productive weekend. I've begun inking the 4 page story I'm doing for the OZ Wonderland chronicles. One thing to learn, if you haven't inked in a few weeks, don't just sit down and expect to start up with the skills you left off with. That's why I always warm up by inking a few sketch cards. After a half hour or so, it starts to come back.

Gnarly half tone effect compliments of Aaron Minier.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Graphic Novel update

I will finish this darn thing by the end of the summer, or I will eat a handful of mayonnaise.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

July Issue of CT magazine

Check out my portraits in the July issue of Christianity Today mag...