Crazy Bird

Crazy Bird. Staedtler pigment liner pens on Strathmore 300 Series Artist Tiles. 4" x 4"

Crazy Bird. Staedtler pigment liner pens on Strathmore 300 Series Artist Tiles. 4″ x 4″

This is another in a series of small pieces I’ve created in my spare time at work. I used a new flavor of pen (Staedtler pigment liners), which didn’t work out quite as well as I would have liked. The ink stays wet just a little bit longer than the ink coming out of the Microns I usually use, which made it too easy for me to smear the ink accidentally. I also burned through an entire (.1) pen in one piece; the Microns tend to last longer.

As far as looks go, I’m pretty happy with how this one came out. I didn’t have anything particular in mind while I was creating it; it’s more of a stream-of-consciousness piece, like most of those that I generate at the office (I can’t do much in the way of controversial material there.) I’m especially happy with the textured section under the bird’s neck, which has a surprising amount of depth. The bird itself was an interesting side-effect of the drawing process; it wasn’t a pre-planned element.

Seeing Eyes

Seeing Eyes. Pilot Precise Rolling Ball pen (extra fine) on Strathmore 400 Series Parchment Paper. 9" x 9"

Seeing Eyes. Pilot Precise Rolling Ball pen (extra fine) on Strathmore 400 Series Parchment Paper. 9″ x 9″

This piece was an experiment in materials, and (as it turns out) in time. When I started several months ago, I wanted to try some new pens, then I decided it’d be interesting to try some new paper as well. Both worked out reasonably well, and I expect I’ll be doing more with the Pilot (the parchment is a little too flexible, and doesn’t work well with my constant rotation of the work as it’s in progress.)

As to time, my work on this one was interrupted in January of this year, when I started knitting Pussyhats for the Pussyhat Project. After several months of fiber in my hands, I was ready to get back to my pens, and I decided to start with finishing this one off. I’m happy with the overall effect; the rhythm of it (for lack of a better word) is pleasing to my eyes, even though there’s no significant amount of realism in the contents.

Aleppo

Aleppo. Micron 01 pen on Strathmore 300 Series Bristol paper. 14

Aleppo. Micron 01 pen on Strathmore 300 Series Bristol paper. 14″ x 14″

I began this piece shortly before Aleppo was surrounded by government forces in the Syrian civil war, and it quickly became obvious that raising awareness of the brutality of the conflict’s impact on non-combatants would be a worthwhile subject. I used a still from a video to draw one of the many children who’ve been covered in dirt and blood by the barrel bombs and relentless pounding by Russian jets. Their ashen, blank expressions are truly heartbreaking.

From a purely artistic perspective, I’m very happy with the overwhelming majority of this one. The child and the cockpit came out extremely well, and the abstract sections are almost uniformly gratifying to me in their prescision and depth. There are a couple of weak spots I’d do over if I could, notably the salamander and the forest giant, but overall I’d say this is one of my best works so far. I feel like I’m making progress improving my attention to detail, and it’s starting to pay off in the clarity and ‘pop’ of the final product.  

Pods

Pods. Micron Pigma and Staedtler Pigment Liner pens on Strathmore Artist Tiles. 4" x 4"

Pods. Micron Pigma and Staedtler Pigment Liner pens on Strathmore Artist Tiles. 4″ x 4″

This is another in a series of small pieces I’ve created in my thinking time at work. I took a bit more time than usual going back through and addressing the details, which made it look very sharp and well-defined. I like the fact that it’s entirely abstract, which is a departure from my usual, and I’m especially happy with the density of the coverage. If I had my druthers, I’d rework some of the shading in spots, but I’m pleased with the overall effect.

Crystalfall

Crystalfall. Sanford UniBall Gel Impact pens on Strathmore 400 Series Black Artist Tiles. 6" x 6"

Crystalfall. Sanford UniBall Gel Impact pens on Strathmore 400 Series Black Artist Tiles. 6″ x 6″

This was the third in a series of experiments with some new pens from UniBall, and the first one that’s passable as art. The pens are brilliantly easy to use (the ink flows really well), but they’re coarser than I’m used to, which makes real precision difficult. Still, I’m happy with how this one came out.

Going Somewhere

Going Somewhere

Going Somewhere. Micron pens on Strathmore Artist Tiles. 4″ x 4″

This is the latest in a collection of small pieces that I’ve been creating in my spare time at work. I’m very happy with this one; I especially like how I was able to balance the flow and scale of the arrows to provide a sense of motion and depth, and the tessellation (which is the same as that featured in another recent drawing) came out well. There’s also a non-obvious EKG element I enjoyed creating that references some tests my daughter underwent to rule out possible explanations for some chest discomfort she’d been suffering. (All is well.)

The Child and the Ape

The Child and the Ape

The Child and the Ape. Micron pens on Strathmore Bristol 300 Series Paper. 12″ x 12″ *

This piece took some especially crazy turns as I was creating it, but I’m pleased with the final result, especially the non-abstract elements such as the crawdad and the human figure. It references the killing of the gorilla Harambe, who was shot by staff at the Cincinnati Zoo after a three-year-old child fell into his enclosure. This was as close to a no-win scenario as any I’ve ever seen, and though I believe the zookeepers made the right decision, my heart aches for Harambe, and for the staff who had to end his life. That must have been one of the hardest things they’ve ever had to do.

* Note that this photo is very slightly different from the final product; I realized after I’d taken it that I’d forgotten to include the nib in my signature, which I added post haste.

Hidden Faces

Hidden Faces

Hidden Faces. Micron Pens on Strathmore Bristol paper. 4″ x 4″

This is another piece in the collection I’m creating in my spare time at my ‘real’ (read: pays-the-rent*) job. To be candid, I’m not especially thrilled with this one, but there are a few things with which I’m very happy (e.g., can you find the finger?) This was the first one I created in my role as a Scrum Master at MaritzCX.

* I should note that I really love my work! Being a Scrum Master at a forward-thinking software shop like MCX is a very rewarding way to make a living.

Primitive Hawk

Primitive Hawk

Primitive Hawk. Micron Pens on Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Artist Tiles. 6″ x 6″

I started this piece with the intention of recreating a particularly pleasing aspect of another piece that I’d started but discarded; that being the wings and tail of the hawk. After they were laid in, the rest flowed very naturally. I’d intended to make this part of a larger composition (hence some of the lines run off the page), but that’s still a fantasy at this point in time. The imagery of the hawk’s head, tail, and wings reminds me of traditional art from the native people of Southeast Alaska (the Tlingits, Haidas and Tsimshians); hence the title.

Blood and Tears

Blood and Tears

Blood and Tears. Micron pens on Strathmore 300 Series Bristol paper. 12″ x 12″

This piece evolved over several weeks, and was created to honor both Philando Castile (who died at the hands of a police officer in St. Paul; the investigation is ongoing), and Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens, and Michael Smith (all police officers who were viciously murdered by a gunman in Dallas.) In spite of the grim content, I’m satisfied with most of the technical aspects of this piece, notably the larger tessellation and the tadpole. I’m designing a unique frame for it that might require trimming the excess paper surrounding the main drawing. If I find the time to complete that project, I’ll post a photo of the results.