The two accidents arising from the original design flaw in the Boeing 737 MAX are worth remembering for the terrible impact they had on the victims and surviving friends and family, and this piece is meant to honor their loss. Ongoing issues with production of this particular aircraft suggest it’s still not out of the woods.
Candidly, I’m not especially happy with the technical aspects of this piece, particularly the plane itself (which is not true to the proportions of the actual aircraft.) The victim’s family on the ground of one of the crash sites and the engine wreckage both have a bit too much ink on the page as well, and I wish I’d gone a bit lighter there. All that said, the overall look is decent, and there are some bright spots (like the duck/toucan, and the hidden moth) that are very redemptive and ameliorate my mild dissatisfaction.
This piece was created as part of my preparation for my exhibit with Michelle Carlson at the 20 North Gallery. It’s part of a set (along with Giant Sucking Sound) that’s designed to draw attention to the crushing long-term effects that free trade has had on blue-collar workers in the US: manufacturing work moving overseas has led to chronic underemployment and unemployment in the rust belt, which in turn has led to despair, disability, and drug abuse. This is reflected in the working hand, the idle hands, and the handful of pills.
As far as the technical aspects go, I’m thrilled that my ability to draw hands (which are notoriously difficult) seems to be getting better: I can see there’s plenty of room for improvement, but I’m happy with how these came out. The other elements in this piece also turned out reasonably well, and I like how the more whimsical elements, such as the distorted face and the striped-vs-spotted monsters facing off around the clawed leg, bring a bit of balance to the heavy subject matter.
This is an unusual piece for me, in that I deviated from my usual approach of first subdividing the page into sections suitable for individual micro-drawings. I instead opted to ‘go with the flow’ of the patterns and elements that evolved in the piece, and I think the results are handsome; I will likely repeat this approach in a future piece. It was also created over an extended period of time: I found it in my unfinished-works pile earlier this year, and decided it was worth pursuing. The earliest portions probably date back over a year.
There are a lot of fun aspects to this piece that came out well. I’m particularly pleased with the tree and droplet, which was non-trivial to do at such as small scale. The title comes from the brush at the bottom and to the right of center, which turned out to be serendipitous (I was struggling with how to title this one until I saw it and realized the potential.) There are a couple of stray marks I might clean up down the road, but I’ve received enough marvelous compliments on this one that I’m calling it a winner.
This piece is the second in a series on the theme of leaves, which I mostly produced to test the Fudebiyori pens I acquired recently. This one was a lot of work to create, especially as I had to go over most of the white lines twice (and then do the typical back-and-forth cleanup), however I think the end results are solid. I really like the Black Black paper – It’s amazingly uniform in color, especially compared to the Strathmore, which is one of the reasons I left bits of it showing through. I also minimized over-use of the colored pens on this one, to try to preserve more of the sheen of the metallic additives in the ink; that was largely successful. I still haven’t gotten the time to set up high-quality photos of my work with truly accurate colors the way I’d like, but I’m hoping to get that issue resolved soon.
I finally got a chance to do more art! Since I took a position last fall as a consultant for Improving, my evenings have been almost entirely occupied with user’s group meetings and technical events, which has severely constrained my drawing time. My apologies that the blog has gotten stale as a result.
This was a piece I did to test my new Fudebiyori pens that I picked up at the Art Supply Depō last weekend. The title is Leaves I, because I’m planning on doing a conceptually similar piece on a bigger, blacker piece of paper next. I learned a few lessons that will help with the next one. For example, using multiple coats of the Fudebiyori makes the color more intense, but takes the shine out of the ink (I’m guessing that the mica particles, which is what’s usually in these things that’s responsible for the metal-like sheen, sink to the bottom layer, but I don’t have a microscope for a closer look.) And the Uniball ink will melt some of the Fudebiyori colors, which makes it surprisingly hard to maintain the integrity of the white border lines. Overall, though, I think this one is technically decent and has a good balance of colors. I also suspect it will look really snappy once it’s framed, which I intend to do.
This is the second piece in the Swamp Things Collection, which I created in response to a call for artists from the Art Supply Depō in Bowling Green, Ohio. All of the creatures pictured in the collection are native to the Great Black Swamp region, and are not drawn to scale relative to one another. I’d originally planned three pieces, but I ran out of time before the deadline, so only the first two were submitted. I’m still planning on creating the third for posterity.
I wasn’t initially happy with this piece. You wouldn’t necessarily know it just by looking at it, but it’s production fell well outside my normal approach. Aside from there being no abstract components, I (mostly) drew the frames to fit the flora and fauna, so I could draw the entire corpus. Usually, I start by creating a series of frames in arbitrary shapes and sizes, then fill them in with material (which is why, in other works of mine, many of the realism elements are trimmed to fit.) It was surprisingly disconcerting to work this way, and led me to make a number of substantial mistakes. They are disguised to the best of my ability, but aren’t completely invisible, and might require further work. There’s also far more unused white space in the frames than I’d normally like to leave available. And to be be candid, I added the title at the last second in an effort to meet the submission deadline, rather than draw another animal in the corner. I probably won’t take that approach again in the future, though it works reasonably well here.
However, on balance, I think it’s decent overall. The individual plants and animals (which were mostly chosen based on the delightfulness of their names) are about as good as I can make them, at least at this point in my drawing career, and that’s pleasing to me. It was exciting, if a bit nerve-wracking, to be creating pieces to submit to the judgement of artists for whom I have a great deal of respect. I don’t know if my submissions will get accepted, but I don’t have any regrets about putting in the effort.
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.
Update 6/21/2018: I’m delighted to report that this piece was accepted into the 2D Fine Art (Amateur) contest at the 2018 Ohio State Fair! Of the ~2,000 entries, 122 were selected for participation, and I’m deeply honored to be one of them. You can see it July 25-August 5 2018 at the Cox Fine Arts Center, on the south side of the fairgrounds in Columbus, Ohio. (The closest entrance is Gate 9 on 11th Avenue.)
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 precision 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.
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.
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.