Thursday, December 30, 2010

Illustration Friday - Winter

I hear that it's not going to feel much like winter come this weekend, and I've never been snowboarding. However, I have seen a rabbit before. And that's about the only thing I can relate to in this illustration, which I did for Illustration Friday's "Winter" topic.

Trying to do these IF topics once a week is wonderful workout for me. It's helped me hone my work, as well as stretched my creative legs a bit. Pop on over to IF to see some of the other entries from this week! A couple of my favorite entries that I've seen so far... Hollie Hibbert's and Nikoletta Bati's. Go check 'em out!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

CommArts Update

I almost don't know quite what to do in the expanse between Christmas and New Year's. It's a bit a black hole set between two festive parties. I'm having to make myself remember that there are things that need to be done.

Like a blog post! :)

So I promised some updates on the illustration I'm working on for the Communication Arts Illustration annual, and here's a bit of the progress. The image I left you guys with was of the pencil work for the illustration, and I did some penwork on top of that to give some more definition. Lately, I've chosen to leave in the sketchy pencil lines in my illustrations, even if they're messy, because there's just something about that underlying work that I love. (Speaking of which, I saw Jim Lee's "Icons" book the other day, in which there is a ton of his sketchwork and process. Amazing stuff to look at.)

Meanwhile, here's my process, starting with scanned-in pencil and pen work.

I took it into photoshop and began laying down some flat colors, nothing too extensive. I use it as a base or foundation to work on top of.

After I got the color laid down, I started bringing in deeper colors and some texture. One of my most favorite ways to sketch is to use white and black colored pencils or charcoal on toned paper. You've already got the middle ground tones set, and all you have to do is lay down white and black sketchwork, working up your highlights and shadows. It's a bit of the same idea here, with those flat colors serving as the toned paper.

And then I worked up the highlights.

The image still isn't finished yet - I'm still tweaking things and getting into the nooks and crannies. To me, that's some of the hardest work in an illustration, because it's one of the most delicate parts of the process, as well as the part that separates the good illustrations from the great ones.

But for now? Lunch in the form of a burrito! (And not just in the form of a burrito, but made of burrito, too.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010



The topic of this past week's Illustration Friday drawing was "phenomenon". Just like last week's "prehistoric" topic, I kinda waffled on it at first, not sure what I wanted to do. I know how I eventually settled on the Prehistoric image, but I'm not quite sure how I ended up with this week's...some wandering train of thought, no doubt. The sort of phrase that I had in my head as I was working on this was "Sometimes it's the sh**** (crappy) days that are the ones which bear the most fruit." Thus, my entry for Illustration Friday.

Also, I figured I'd treat you guys to another something I'm working on. Communication Arts is currently taking entries for the upcoming Illustration Annual, which features an absolute TON of fantastic artists, both established and up and coming. It's a great way to get your work seen by a lot of people, and a lot of influential people at that. I haven't entered anything before, but this year I'm giving it a go. Here's what I've got so far. It's going to continue on in the same vein of style as what I've been doing for IF.

I'll continue to take photos as I go along and post some of the progress! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Greetings

A couple of years ago, I began making my own Christmas greeting cards to send out to friends and family. Last year, still in the throes of getting accustomed to married life amongst all of the other busyness that comes with the end of each year, that didn't happen. And again, this year, I wasn't able to mail any cards out. HOWEVER. I did just finish up what would have been your Christmas greeting card, so if you'll humor me..

Close your eyes, and pretend that you're walking out to your {insert your own personal place of mail delivery}. When you get there, you find out that there's an envelope! From me! With the most precious Christmas stamp you've ever seen in your life! Like a rabid Christmas dog you tear it open!

And then!...

And then!!....

And then you click here.

It's kind of like a choose your own story, except I got to dictate it. :)

And maybe next year, you'll actually get mail.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Birth

For the past five years, a theater production company called Starving Artist here in Charlotte has been putting on a wonderful Christmas play called "The Birth". Here's a snippet of summary from The Birth website:

"The Birth was inspired by a reading of Pulitzer-nominated author Frederick Buechner’s book ‘The Magnificent Defeat’ wherein, in a chapter titled The Birth, he composes a series of character monologues in the voice of those closest to the narrative of Christ’s arrival."

This year, my friend Nathan Rouse, who heads the production, asked me if I would be interested in collaborating with him for a couple of t-shirts to commemorate the play's fifth anniversary. This is what we came up with:

We wanted to keep the look of the shirts simple and iconic so as not to take away from the play itself, which is quite thought-provoking. We even decided to refrain from using the actual characters of the monologues, opting to go with notable lines from the play partnered with imagery that promotes the silence and quiet calm of a night out under the stars, where you can hear the wind whisper things over the hilltops, from the town of Bethlehem.

So if you're in the Charlotte area this Christmas season and are looking for something with a little more substance than Best Buy and Target (or a lot more substance for that matter), I would definitely recommend going to see this play. It injects quite a bit more weight and sacredness to this time of year. The production runs both this coming weekend and the next at the CAST theater, so get your tickets quick - there are already a couple shows sold out!

Illustration Friday - Prehistoric

'Sup peoples! This makes two straight weeks that I've done Illustration Friday drawings...there may be hope for me yet.

This week's topic was prehistoric. First thought? Dinosaurs, obviously. And then grandmothers, to take it a step further. Which lead to this very emasculated velociraptor. I can see her now...beating off punk teenage Compsognathuses with her handbag. Outside the supermarket.

You other illustrators or doodlers out there, if you're contributing to IF, I'd love to see your takes on the topics! And if you aren't doing anything, then you should - even if it's a doodle! (I'm looking at you, Jared.)

Go check out the other entries too!

In the meantime, I just realized that none of the IF entries on my website are actually labled as to what topic they are...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Illustration Friday - Savour

Originally uploaded by jpillustration
Well, I kinda skipped the past three weeks or so for Illustration Friday...just didn't quite have the time. But having had some things settle down a bit, here's my entry for the IF topic "Savour". Peppermint mocha fo shizzle.

Meagan and I put up our Christmas tree last night with a bit of eggnog and some crazy good brownies. Trying to get into the holiday mood. Every now and again, the Christmas season tends to sneak up on you and then all of a sudden it's gone until the next year. So I'm determined to play that Christmas music, drink those Christmas drinks, watch those Christmas movies, and maybe draw some more of those Christmas illustrations. :)

And for those of you who are looking for good holiday music, Christopher Kincaid's Christmas album is a new holiday classic for me.