Thursday, December 14, 2017

Nate Hillyer Interview











1) Hey thanks for doing this interview, I really appreciate the chance to pick your brain about some important topics that I would like to learn about but also things that I think others can as well. I also hope that this helps your own kickstarter that goes live on 12/12/17, so this should be a win- win for everyone involved. So can we please start with you introducing yourself. Who are you and how long have you been doing the art thing? What is your educational background?

My name is Nate Hillyer. I am a writer and illustrator of monsters and myths in the sci-fi fantasy and horror genres. I live in Indianapolis, IN USA. I’ve been making art and writing stories for as long as I can remember. When I was a child we didn’t have much money so I spent most of my time in my imagination creating narratives for my toys and drawing. Additionally, growing up, I was introduced to religion, Christianity, which influenced me greatly. I grew up believing that angels were watching over me… protecting me all kinds of dark things… that God was pulling strings behind the scenes and the Devil was waging war for my soul. As an adult I look back, having contemplated and analyzed the rationality of these things, and can see a clear relation between religious myth and my present work.

I attended a private Christian university here in Indiana called Indiana Wesleyan University. I couldn’t afford art school so I decided to take advantage of some scholarships they offered. They also have one of the best art departments for private schools here in Indiana.



2) I look at your work and its amazing, the kind of art I would hope to put out there but it also strikes me as something that might be difficult to market. So i'm curious how did you get your started working full time? Are you living solely off of selling prints..etc. or are you doing book covers..etc. to make ends meat? Is it everything you ever dreamed it would be?

Thank you! It was a slow start for sure. When I graduated from college I kept working and trying my best to work jobs and do art. I contacted some professionals and got the advice that I should pay my dues, work for larger companies and then maybe I’d get to do art for me professionally… I didn’t like that answer. I attended conventions, read interviews and saw that a lot of pros were trying to become independent. I decided to start there. I focused all of my creative time on my projects and personal artworks. It wasn’t until a year ago that things began to pick up. Gaining a large amount of followers on instagram has a way of changing things for the better. I am currently working full time making most of my money from selling prints, originals and doing commissions. I take the odd job in the music industry (album art, tshirts, posters etc.) but prefer to work for myself. This income combined with my wife’s allows me to do this.

To answer the last part… in some ways. When you’re a kid you think that being a pro would allow you more time for drawing when in reality there’s much less… especially being independent. My time is divided between marketing, product design, customer service, graphic design, shipping, streaming, social media managing and more. I would say it is a dream getting to work for myself and do what I love but it’s different than most would think.



3) Looking back at your posts on instagram I see that you have made a lot of progress in the last few years in your sense of design. Your early posts have the same ideas in them as your current work but now you have really turned a corner where you are expressing your ideas very clearly. What was the turning point for you in terms of both skill and figuring out what you wanted this Nox Lucem project to be?

Turning points seem to come as a result of experimentation. At one point I decided that I loved to sketch, I was drawing to pen and ink and that portraiture fascinated me. I allowed myself to hone in on what I enjoyed rather than force myself to work in full color or large illustrations or whatever I thought I was supposed to be doing. I began posting my writing along with my monsters and that’s when things took a turn. Nox Lucem has been in my mind since college. I see it as a way to encompass all of my current projects and build a world of myths and monsters. My world Is Nox Lucem. I see myself as a mythmaker seated with others around a fire in this land of ceaseless night. Nox Lucem began as a way to deal with my own doubts, anxiety and depression. It was my search for light, for hope, when everything around me was dark.



4) What is Nox Lucem? What books, movies, myths..etc. inspired you to create this world?
This is a book you are kickstarting for correct?


Nox Lucem is a tale of light set in a land of eternal darkness. The central character, Nox, a descendent of nightfall survivors becomes the first person to witness light’s return to the land of ceaseless night. Nox Lucem is his account of Lux: a great being of light that collides with the consuming darkness to spark wildfires into existence, raise the dead and wake slumbering giants. The book I am Kickstarting this December is a Tome of creatures, characters and monsters that exist or have existed in the land of Nox Lucem. There will be an official Nox Lucem book in the future but this one is more of a compendium and isn’t part of the main narrative.

For Nox Lucem, I am inspired by religious texts, namely, Ecclesiastes in the Bible or a gospel in the New Testament. I was also inspired by dante’s inferno, the wizard of oz and the lord of the rings to name a few.



5) As artists I think we have a lot of ideas that compete for our time and energy, but for you it looks like you have been working on this project for what looks like at least a couple of years. What is it about the project that you liked so much? Was it the world building that attracted you to this idea? Was there any other project you considered pursuing before this one?

You are correct in saying that as artists we have lots of ideas. I currently have a log of around 10 projects for the next several years. Nox Lucem took root in college and I decided to work on it first because it mirrors my journey through faith and doubt as well as my interest in death and the afterlife. There are a few projects that compete for my attention. I actually do children’s illustration and am working on some books at the same time as all of this. I’m also working on a comic hybrid called Autumn that is a myth in the world of Nox Lucem.



6) what I'm most impressed with is that you have what looks like to me a very niche art style but you have a very considerable following of people on instagram. I'm curious if their are any tips or suggestions you can give artists who are looking to promote themselves online? For example do you advertise through instagram or do you have a business account with them? Was there any strategy you had when approaching social media?


I have a business account, which is free, and is super useful. I have tried doing a couple promotions but it’s not really for me. I try to just let everything be organic and let people share with friends or find it by chance or see my work somewhere else. My strategy on social media is pretty simple… make great work and make it easy to find. As far as tips… hashtag appropriately (related tags), try not to use tags with too many entries (think 50-100k entries instead of millions) when starting out, and think about how your gallery looks all together.



7) I also see that you sell prints through your website, are you using a third party to print and distribute them or are you doing all of this work? If you don't mind, I'd like to ask how well selling prints has worked for you and if you have a particular strategy or thoughts on selling prints online. I know there are a lot of people who attempt to sell them online but not many people are able to.


I do all of the work for my prints here in my studio. I offer prints up to 8.5x11”. Anything larger I would utilize a contact to create the prints. Selling prints has been great. I like my prints because they look near identical to the original drawings and I take pride in knowing that people really enjoy them. Selling online is hard at the start. If you don’t have a large following consider sites that provide traffic such as Etsy. If you lack the ability to make prints consider using a local printer or use Inprnt or another site like redbubble or society6. I prefer to print and process on my own so I can sign and control the quality.



8) Do you currently attend any conventions with your art for sale? Do you plan to once this book is released?

I will be at Indiana Comic Con 2018 and am still waiting to hear back from some others but currently shows I attend are in driving distance. I am planning on increasing the amount of conventions I attend. I have many people requesting me to attend some on the west coast and overseas. We’ll see what happens as things progress in the next few years.



9) What kind of tools do you use?


Anything and everything. I love to experiment. My go to tools are Kuretake brush Markers, White Uniball Signo Pens, Bic Ballpoint pens and LePen Felt tip Markers. I also use Copics and Staedtlers. The paper I use is either Canson Mixed media sketch paper or Bristol Board.



10) Who are your artistic heroes and when you were coming up was there any kind of training you put yourself through on how to learn from these artists? How do you get better technically these days, and how do you study other artists?


Oh man, lots. But to name a few… Mike Mignola, Gerald Brom, Jeffrey Alan Love, Paul Pope. Junji Ito, Stephen Gammell, Tim Burton, Edward Gorey, John Kenn Mortensen, Guillermo Del Toro, Zdzislaw Beksinski and more. I would study their work religiously. I would make master copies, buy their books, read and re-read and actually study the images. I wanted to know how what they did worked, why it evoked the emotion it did, what rules they used or broke and which techniques they utilized. Nowadays I still do the same. I study, read, research and explore. To grow I experiment and allow myself to make ‘bad drawings’. I’m actually currently working on a master study of some of Brom’s paintings. I love to learn and grow as an artist.



11) Any last words? Where can people follow your work?


Thanks for having me in your blog. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter @natehillyer. The Kickstarter for Nox Lucem: Tome of the Mythmaker has launched and you can read more about it and view my work at NOXLUCEM.COM


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Vince Rush interview


1) First off congratulations on finishing the IT fan comic that you released this last week, which will be the primary discussion in this interview cause honestly I was really impressed by the quality of the work and I like how you hyped it up on Instagram leading up to its release. What has the reaction been like to your project? When I talked to you about doing this interview you mentioned that you were going to the Portland Comic Con convention to show your work to publishers and artists to get feedback. How did it go?

Well thanks! I'm glad to be a part of this interview, it's my first one! To start I want to say thank you for checking out the IT comic, I did put in lots of hours to get it done and it was a blast to work on. So just to give some back story here: I've been waiting for this new IT movie since it was first announced in like 2008 or so, and over the years it kind of faded away, until 2016 when they announced IT was actually happening! When I heard about that and started seeing the pictures of Pennywise and everything I got super excited and eventually in early 2017 I joined a Facebook IT discussion group. I decided I wanted to give the book a read before the new movie came out. But as I was reading I kept thinking... "hmm, this would be really cool as a comic book/graphic novel series" So I put the book down and decided to adapt the most well known scene from IT, the "Georgie" scene. It was suppose to be an 8 page mini comic but it blossomed into a full 20 page adaption of the scene! The overall reaction to my IT fan comic has been great! I've sold quite a few copies and had some downloads of the PDF. The general consensus from the FB group has been "Are you gonna make more IT comics? We'd love more!" which is so awesome, I couldn't ask to be in a more amazing group on FB, the support was amazing!

As far as the Comic con I went to (Rose City Comic Con), I showed my work and handed out IT comics to TONS of people like Daniel Warren Johnson, Erik Larsen, David Finch, David Petersen, Steve Lieber, the list goes on.



2) Was there anyone interested in hiring you or any useful critiques that you will take and apply to your next project? What was your goal with this project?


The short answer is yes I had some people who were into my work. I talked to a few publishers, but namely Space Goat Publishing seemed Interested in my work. I didn't get any jobs on the spot but there was definitely lots of interest and genuine people with great advice. I'd say the general consensus from everyone there was "you should be getting paid to draw at least indie comics". It was a great uplifting experience!
My goals for this IT comic was first: to draw the comic in a way that was almost 100% faithful to the source material, I hope I did the hardcore fans justice with it! And second: Get this printed and out to people to show what I could do with visual storytelling. I mean I even made my own IT logo for the comic and everything! Poured my heart and soul into it!




3) What is your educational background and what do you do for a day job? I'm assuming your dream is to work in comics so I'm curious if you would be more interested in doing your own stories or adapting more book/movies into comics like this project?

So I am mostly self taught as an artist. I've been drawing since I was 2 years old and I've just never stopped! I DID however attend a private art school here in Southern Oregon called "Southern Oregon Art Academy". I attended for about a year and a half before they had to close their doors for good. The greatest thing about that school is not only did I learn color theory and composition a lot better, but I made genuine lifelong friendships with my instructors Ryan Moon and Christopher Tullis, who are both AMAZING artists!
Right Now my day Job is working as a full time Sign Artist at Trader Joe's, it's actually a pretty cool gig! BUT yes my dream job is to work in comics, mainly I'd like to publish my own stories that I'd write and draw, but if someone came to me with a cool project they were writing, or someone said hey come draw so and so at Marvel or DC, I'd totally take those opportunities as long as I felt they were in line with my goals!
The end goal though would definitely be creating my own stories and making a living doing those comics and having hollywood come to me instead of me going to them! (Just a side-note, the hollywood part would be a perk, I'm doing comics because I love comics, not to sell to hollywood)





4) Can you briefly break down what your process was and tell us why you choose this scene in particular?
So I chose the Georgie Scene because it is the most recognizable to everyone, people who've both read and not read the book most likely know this scene.
The process was strange, since I was boiling down all of King's description and prose into drawings!
I basically wrote out the whole scene in simpler words than King's, then I started figuring out where good starts and stops were for pages. After I figured out how many pages the comic was going to be I started doing small thumbnail sketches of each page (about 2"x3" in size).
Once the thumbnails were done for the first 7 pages I dove right into the pencils and inks on the 11x17 art boards. after doing the first 7 pages I figured out in order to hit my deadline I needed to pick up the pace so I pencilled out the rest of the 20 pages and started inking over my more rough pencils.
After inks were finished I scanned all the pages in, and my friend who has 'Manga Studio' software let me use his computer to do all the lettering in Manga Studio.
Then I just had to print everything and staple and fold all the comics!




5) Is IT your favorite Stephen King book, and if not which one is? I think mine would be The Shining.

I've read a few, but I'd say IT is the one that made me feel the most for the characters so far, I really liked Salem's Lot as well!
Also Green Mile is good but it's different, its not as "HORROR" as IT.




6) What did you think of the movie i thought it was hilarious and creepy? Especially the scene when the kid falls through the floor and Pennywise comes out of the refrigerator taunting the kid that he is going to eat his hand. I thought it was great cause it goes back and forth between being playful and being completely malicious. 

I thought the movie was GREAT! I know a lot of people are bummed out that it didnt stick closer to the book, but i really really loved the movie. The kids were so great and I really loved Eddie, poor kid haha, one of my favorite lines from him was "These are Gazebos! They're BullSh*t!" lol
But yeah It was super creepy and super funny when it needed to be and I can't wait for chapter 2!



7) Is there any other movies or scenes from books that you have thought of doing the same thing with?

There are actually more scenes from IT that I'd love to do. The scene with Eddie Corcoran and the Creature from the black lagoon is one of them! I can't think of any other movies I'd thought of doing this with, but I'm sure there are plenty that would be a blast to do!





8) Do you feel like you learned a lot from this project? How long did it take for you? I love your inking by the way, I don't know if you have any tips on that but you are really good!

Oh yeah, I learned a TON from this project on what not to do with comic storytelling and what worked and didn't work. My girlfriend and I gave myself a deadline of about a month and some change to get this comic done. Happy to say I met the goal with flying colors! (thanks to the push of my amazing girlfriend Judy)
I was trying to use as many inking tools as possible so I could find which ones I liked best. I think my inking is what people comment on most, and I'm no teacher but if I were going to give anyone any tips I'd say do the Inktober challenge. There is no better way to improve on your inking skills than to actually do an ink drawing every day for all of October! I'll be doing the challenge this year! Use as many inking tools as you can to see which feels best for you. Im hoping to have some tutorials on Youtube eventually with inking and other things!





9) What kind of inking tools do you use?

The inking tools I use a Winsor Newton series 7 #3 brush, winsor Newton black India ink, hunt 102 crow quill, and a few Kuretake brush pens (not sure on the exact names), microns for some things. And of course a ruler, t-square and French curves for the technical lines. For white out I use presto white out pens, dr ph martins pen white, and white guache.



10) Who are the artists that you look up to and study? Any shoutouts you would like to give? Where can people follow you?

I'd say my number 1 artist would be Greg Capullo, He's the one who made me really want to draw comics. He's a modern master in my opinion. But there are definitely some major influences including Greg Capullo, Todd Mcfarlane, Bernie Wrightson, Daniel Warren Johnson, Frank Miller, Otomo, Miyazaki, Becky Cloonan, Sean Gordon Murphy, Mike Mignola, and so many others!
Some shoutouts I'd like to give are of course my family and friends, also all the people on the IT discussion group on FB who supported me.
But the one i'd like to shout out the most is the love of my life Judy Camacho, without her this comic may not be finished, she kept me on track with my deadline and supported me all the way to the comic con. She's a keeper!

You can follow me at:
vincerushart.com
Instagram
Twitter
Tumblr
Youtube

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Master Study: Craig Mullins


Color, Contrast
Going back to what was stated in the previous post:

1.) Determine the temperature of the light before choosing your palette
2.) Choose your color palette from the new limited color wheel
3.) Don’t go outside of the range of colors except for an intended effect 

From that one can tell that the temperature of this piece is that of a warm afternoon. He blocks the focal point in with the ray of sun cutting across the painting diagonally. The contrast of shadows making sure our eyes rest on the chief Mayan standing above the crowd.  The contrast hits at all points: The contrast of  light and dark and the scale of the individual person and the mob below.

His colors are for almost the entire piece red, orange, and yellow. The color of the masses is a pale yellow color with sprinkles of different colors to give dimension to the volume of people it is suggesting. The buildings themselves are orange and with the shadows cast by the suns rays fall into brown and dark reds giving the shadows the same warmth as the reds and oranges that make up the rest of the piece.


He of course then makes the exception to this palette of colors on his focal point by adding saturated yellow, red, blue and green to his outfit. I also noticed he uses a highly saturated red for the bounce light along his arms and torso.

Rhythm
He uses the back of the heads of the figures repetitiously to show scale when he moves us closer and further away from the focal point from the foreground. I say heads because this is the only thing he can describe as he gets further away on the left hand side to the bottom of the pyramids steps.
They also move up to the focal point in a pattern: Left, right, left, right, left.

Emphasis and Repetition
The emphasis here is the chief over looking the crowd below them and both are emphasized in contrasting ways. The most saturated colors can be found in this top right hand side of the painting. This includes the headdress he is wearing obviously but also the saturated orange of the pyramid structure in the background. Below him barely noticeable on the left side of the stone wall he stands on is also the only other saturated greens and yellows in the piece. His whole gesture and detail on him and the clothing make him the focal point.

The crowd is emphasized in exactly the opposite way.  He makes it believable that the mass of dots is a crowd by his use of dots for heads that become smaller and smaller the further away he moves from the foreground and he does this gradually on the left side of the piece.

Balance
I feel like this piece is well balanced by having both extremes juxtaposed next to one another like this gives us a awesome sense of scale and space. The large figures in the foreground next to the huge mass of people made up individually of small dots gives a very dramatic and dynamic feel to the painting.

Movement
Your eye should move from the civilians head in the foreground to the conquistador, to the Indian, then to the next conquistador and then to the focal point. After this he uses the same first head as a second read to lead you down the left hand side. He just doesn't put someone as close as the conquistador on his left side, otherwise both passages might be competing for your attention. Instead on the left side there is a break before we see silhouettes of people further down the steps.

Edges
He uses soft edges on the feathers of the headdress of the first Indian in our view for one. But the biggest use of soft edges in this piece is the shadow shape that stretches over the crowd on the top left of the page. The shadow diffuses softly across the crowd and gives it the feel that the volume of people he is suggesting is really there.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Master Study: Will Terry


Color, Contrast

Some rules for choosing color:

1.) Determine the temperature of the light before choosing your palette
2.) Choose your color palette from the new limited color wheel
3.) Don’t go outside of the range of colors except for an intended effect 

When I did my color study of this piece I was surprised by how off my first assessment of the colors were. For example, I originally thought for sure the base of the rocks were brown with a overlap of orange from the window and that the trees that frame the image were green. What I found though is that most of these assumptions were completely wrong and its only because of the mental association I have for these objects that these assumptions were made.

Will Terry determined the colors he wanted to use in his palette by looking first at the temperature of the sky color he wanted to convey and then building his colors off of that. When you do this you realize that there is no innate color within the object itself, instead it changes depending on the temperature of the light hitting it thus giving us a starting point for what colors we will use in the piece.

In the sky we can see he uses a light highly saturated blue for the sky that illuminates the horizon behind and above our characters and he uses this same spectrum of blue to render the forms of the castle/shell, the sky, the water, the foliage in the front and trees in the background. There is no pure white or pure black in this picture only light blue and dark blues, some crossing into purple and some crossing into greenish blue. The trees look greenish to me but in actuality they are a dark blue with less saturation then the night sky. In fact the only green he uses for the foliage is the highlights on the foliage in the front and on the castle/shell. 

He creates a couple of elements of contrast in this piece by contrasting the cool night light of the sky with the warm orange color of the shell of the turtle. We see the rocks below him are again a variation of blue with highlights that are orange and red depending on how far away they are from the shell's light source. The further away they are the redder the highlights get. This combination of the two colors gives us the impression of a brown color that isn't actually there. 

The exception he makes for effect here is clear, the red apple contrasts nicely with every other color in the limited palette. He makes sure to again use a purple or blue in the shadows of the apple to make it fit in with the lighting of the overall picture. The highlight, which originally looked white to me is actually orange so we get a nice gradation from one light source to the other within the apple itself. The highlight is orange, then we see the saturated red of the apple, followed up by dark blue and purple within the shadows to make it fit in with the other light source.  

Rhythm
I would say the rhythmic element in the picture are the lightning bugs that decorate the picture and move up and down and around the characters to add visual interest to the piece. The wavy foliage in the foreground of the picture is another element often repeated in Will Terry's work.

Emphasis
The emphasis here is where the highest amount of contrast is which is our central characters and specifically the turtle and the red apple. The turtles shell has a light which contrasts with the rest of the picture and the apple is within that same color range. The most amount of green within a picture is used on the turtle which contrasts against the green and is a sweet spot between the yellow-orange light source and the blue-green light source.

Pattern, Variety, Repetition
Will Terry uses a lot of the same long triangular shapes to draw foliage in this picture as he does in his other work. Sometimes its sharp such as in the foliage that pokes up from the ground around the turtle's shell or he uses wavy indirect foliage like in the foreground to suggest movement and add variety.

The rocks are another element of repetition and they also help in adding the visual depth that is  needed to differentiate between the foreground and mid ground here. They get bigger as they get closer to us and smaller as they move away but they never dominate the foreground of the picture. 

Contrast
There are strong elements of contrast here with the warm and cool colors described above but also in the sharp edges of the foliage in the front in comparison to the soft edges of the background.

Balance
The picture is heavy on the left but is balanced out on the right side by the trees in the top right corner that create an interesting negative space around the apple and the butterfly. The foliage in the foreground also helps balance out the two sides of the picture. Without it the picture would feel uneven.

Movement
The only feeling of movement that I get from this picture is the foliage in the front which keeps us from looking off the page and the lightning bugs that dance around the image and illuminate the elements of the composition.

Edges
We see sharp and well defined edges in the foreground and mid ground that helps define the look of the piece. Again soft edges are meant to be a resting place for sharp edges in a painting and here this is no different. 

Master Study: The Silver Warrior by Frank Frazetta



Color 
The colors in this picture stay within the blue, purple and light green spectrum with only a slight deviation from this at our focal point on the sword with an orange/red color. We get a clear example here of reflected light and the color within those shadows. The light is hitting him and the bears directly from above which is creating the dramatic shadows over the man. On the bears we see that any plane not facing the light source has a tone of blue that is the same as the sky however on the bottom parts of the bears where the shadowed plane faces the ground we get reflected light from the snow which is toned purple giving the shadow a lot of depth and differentiating the planes. He wants to make sure the shadows he is using are cool colored and not warm colored since this is the way the piece should feel: cold.

Rhythm
If I had to put down what I think the rhythm in this picture is I would say that one element of this is the eyes, noses and mouths of the bears which are all black and ascend the picture in a rhythmic fashion up the page starting on the bottom half and going right then left then right again before stopping dead center of the page. Naturally our eye would look to complete the rhythm so the next black shapes we see is in the silhouette of the man, particularly his face.

Emphasis
He wants our eye to fall and focus directly on the warrior's face and his sword he has in his hand
and he does this in numerous ways:

First there is the color difference with this being the only touch of orange/red color in the illustration which contrasts directly with color of the rest of the picture. The 3 rays of light that bounce off the sword are also an indication of that. We also get the contrasted black shape of his hair, face and sword
against the while mountain backdrop.

He gives us just enough information on the face while leaving the rest up to our imagination which draws us in more than if he was to make a fully rendered and detailed face. These are the only parts in the picture outside of the sleds themselves where black is used. Its not completely black since it still has some yellow and blue in the shadow itself but its enough of a difference to contrast with the color of the shadows under the polar bears beneath him and creates a interesting and provocative shape for our eyes to rest on.

This dynamic image of him on his sled  is framed by the two skis on either side and his sword keeping your eye going in a triangular fashion around him once your eyes have rested on his face. This is how he communicates the second read elements of the picture such as the ornamentation on the sled.

Pattern, Variety
The rule of 3 is applicable all throughout this piece:
-3 charms on his waist
-3 rays of light hitting the sword
-3 medals along his waistline
-3 protrusions from his helmet
- the 3 long dark shapes of the two skis and swords
-3 handles on the sled

Repeated shapes in the picture include small circles for the eyes, decoration on the sled, as well as the circular shapes of the backs of the bears and the decoration on the Silver Warrior himself. as he has several. There is also the repetition of 4 in the picture with four polar bears and their features which he uses to create rhythm and movement along with some of the decoration on his sled.

Contrast
He sits nicely in contrast with the backdrop of the mountain which makes the silhouette of his head pop forward since it is shaped by the shadow which has next to no reflected light within it ( but is not entirely black since most illustrators will not use just a solid black for shadow, it would look out of place). Imagine if this landscape was behind waistline or was centered along the picture how would this take away from the contrast of the face? It would also create a lot of empty space on the top which would make it unbalanced.

Balance
This piece has a asymmetrical design and creates an interesting shape dynamic with one side leaning more towards the left and the polar bears more to the right. Asymmetrical designs are used to make a picture look more lively which is exactly what we see here it

Movement
He uses the positioning of the heads of the bears to provide movement.and a sense of liveliness that it would not have had they faced all the same direction or patterned like left, right left, right. Instead we get one looking to the right, one to the left and another one staring right at us which breaks the pattern and then another looking to the right. This along with the triangular shape of the man and his skis pushes our eye up to the top point of that triangle where he wants our eyes to land then we naturally look at the skis because they are another black shape and going from one ski to the next moves our eyes across to appreciate the ornamentation of the sled before going back up the the face.

Edges
In this piece he varies his edges pretty significantly where the bottom and top half of the piece contrast one another in this regard. For example the silhouette of the Silver Warrior is sharp and well defined in its edges. Again our eye naturally will go to these sharp edges and in comparison the soft edges of the bottom half of the mountain in the back drop and the soft edges around the arms and legs of the polar bears contrast with it nicely allowing his silhouette to dominate the picture so that our eye will not rest here. If he had made all of the edges sharp then the picture would not feel as lively I think. The soft edges are only meant to be there for the hard sharp edges to sit on.

He also uses a mixture of soft and sharp edges to define the edges on the polar bears. The two polar bears in the back are separated from one another by a lost edge that is more of a transition of color then like the other three which have sharp edges on them when they overlap and soft edges when they overlap with the snow on the mountain top.

Links:
http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2014/11/judging-books-covers-silver-warriors/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Frazetta#Selected_paintings

http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2015/04/10-things-about-edges.html

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Zach Weinersmith Interview





1) First off how did you get started in doing web-comics and how long have you been doing this full time? Did you ever imagine you would become one of the most popular Patreon web comic artists?

I just started :) Over time, an audience built up, and by 2007 or so, I was able to do it for a living. I'm not sure I ever thought actively about my position on patreon, since it's a relatively new website.

2) Being one of the most popular web comic artists isn't something that really happens by accident, you obviously have put in a lot of work into what you do so I'm curious if you had any social media strategy together when you started to publish comics? For artists that are looking to build a community around their art what tips can you give them? Did you do any research into business or marketing as you made your comics? How much do you interact with fans on social media?
I didn't have any strategy of any kind when I started. And, in any case, the environment has changed a lot online since then. The one thing that really seemed to help me was meeting peers and doing guest work for them. I interact a bit, but less and less as things have gotten very busy, and I now have two small children.




3) Do you have recurring characters in your works or do you prefer to keep the comics you make for Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal as one offs? What is your process for creating your comics? For example do you create a lot of comics ahead of time and slowly trickle them out? How often do you release new content and how far ahead do you create?

Not really. They're largely one offs. My process is to read a lot, and then write for a little while every day. I try my best to average 8 comics drawn a week, so I can build up a buffer.





4) What does your day to day life look like, do you have a set schedule you follow everyday and about how many hours a day do you work?
I watch kids all morning, then in the afternoon, I try to read, write, and draw every day.




5) You have a book coming out later this year that you collaborated with your wife on called Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies that'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything can you tell us a little bit about the book and what the process was when you two began to research this book? How do you decide what goes in a book and what gets published online and how do you balance the two?
It's a real book of real science, often quite in depth too, but with jokes and comics to lighten things up and make it fun. To an extent, the decision between indie and traditional publishing comes down to the product and the potential profits. If I think I have a niche product my readers will like (e.g. a themed comic collection), that's probably better as an indie offering. This book has broader potential.



6) I noticed you mentioned in your Patreon biography that your wife is a research parasitologist, and from reading Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal it looks like most of your work either centers around religion or science. What is it about these topics that inspire you? Do you ever get negative feedback from people who are offended by your work? Do you consider yourself to be religious or have any spiritual beliefs or practices?

I don't know if they inspire so much as they're just things I'm interested in. So, they end up in the comics. I am not a religious person, but I try to be respectful, and I get very little hatemail.

7) ) To continue with this what inspires you and how do you find inspiration for your work? What kind of books and movies have inspired you in the past or that you are checking out today?

I don't know if I have any super direct book inspirations. Stanislaw Lem perhaps. If you want to see what I'm reading, I do short reviews on theweinerworks.com


8) What do you think about the digital platforms like Comixology and how does Patreon differ from these platforms?

I haven't got a clue, I'm afraid!





9) What is key to success on Patreon or in web-comics in your opinion?

The main thing is to make a product that is good and that is something only you can do. All the other stuff - strategy, marketing, et cetera, is comparatively easy.

10) Any shout outs you would like to give to any other artists out there? Who are you a fan of?
Abby Howard is always great. Kate Beaton too. I'm afraid I'm not super up on modern comics, though!

11) Lastly what can people expect from you next and where is the best way for people to follow you?

More books! I'm doing a collaboration on a non-fic graphic novel with economist Bryan Caplan, and then I have a couple other projects that are too early on to talk about openly!




You can follow Zach Weinersmith on his website Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Comics or by visiting his Patreon.

You can also check out a few of his comic books available for purchase through Amazon below:

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Chet Zar Interview



1) I was first introduced to your art with the work you did on the music videos for Tool, what was the process like working with those guys? Do you still keep in contact with those guys or do you expect to ever work with them again?

The Tool projects were some of the most creatively fulfilling and rewarding of my career. Also the most exhausting! Everybody worked extra hard on the Tool videos because we knew they would ultimately be really good. I am friends with Adam and I have met the other guys a few times. I still speak with Adam. He’s my friend.



2) In your Book Black Magick you mention how dissatisfied you were with the movie industry and how politics often got in the way of creativity. You mention the transition from working in movies to being your own fine artist as a particularly stressful or busy time in your life. However now it seems like there are so many avenues for artists to monetize their work and have the ability to live off of their art now, do you think you would have worked in the film business at all if these options were available to you when you started out?

Well, at the time I got in the business I was totally into it so I probably still would have gone into it. However, if I knew what I now know about the industry, as well as having the online resources to make a living, I would have gone straight into fine art, no doubt about it. But I learned a lot in the film business that I was able to apply to my artwork so I am ultimately a better artist for it.



3) Do you feel it is easier to make a living off of fine art now with options like your big cartel shop and conventions like comic con or is it still a struggle to make a living off of doing something creatie? What would you advise to people who want to have a creative career?

Not having a stead paycheck will always be a struggle but I think it’s easier now with social media and the internet. Without it, I’m not sure how I would sell my work. I would only encourage those creative individuals who are willing to do whatever it takes to make a living at it. That includes working 12 hour days and usually 7 days a week. Everything else has to take a back seat to your art career, at least at the beginning. I would not recommend it to anybody who is lazy. It’s possible to do but takes a LOT of work to maintain. I would also suggest transitioning out of your current job rather than just jumping in cold. I continued to work in FX for about 7 years while I started my fine art career.



4) After Tool worked with you, they collaborated with another artist for their next album Lateralus, Alex Grey. I always thought your art and Alex Grey's art were very similar almost like you two are two different sides of the same coin, your art is dark and brutal but I get this sense behind it that you are a very spiritual person. Do you meditate or have any kind of spiritual practice in your life? Alex Grey mentions LSD as being a big influence on his art, have you ever had any experiences with psychedelics and have those experiences influenced your art?

I agree. Our work is more similar than it is different. I have meditated most of my life and have had a number of life changing experiences with psychedelics. So Alex and I are definitely on the same page! It’s funny- and more of a testament to Alex more than anything else- when I first met him and showed him my work (when I was just barely starting in fine art) he told me “Oh, you’ll make it!”. He recognized what I was trying to say (probably before I even knew) with my artwork right away. My documentary “Chet Zar: I Like To Paint Monsters” has a great interview with Alex. The psychedelic experience is also covered in the doc, as well as my many ’supernatural’ experiences..



5) Do you consider yourself to be a religious person?

No, but I do feel certain that there is much more than this. I believe in ‘God’, whatever that term even means. The short answer would be “not religious but spiritual” but that’s such a cliche...



6) I noticed that you have a lot of really talented friends like Gabe Leonard and Alex Grey, do you ever collaborate with these artists on any projects?

Alex and I collaborated on Tool’s “Vicarious” video and that was great fun. I don’t do a. Lot of collaborations otherwise. I’m too busy keeping the machine (my art business) going. I hope to eventually get to a point when this is possible, though.



7) What movies and books are you checking out now?

I don’t have much time for reading (although I LOVE to read) but I have been on a documentary kick for years now. It’s just about all I watch. I have a TV by may easels I put documentaries on so I have something to listen to. I have pretty much seen them all. I think the last good one I watched was called “My Scientology Movie”. It was good.



8) You mentioned in an interview with SullenTV that you were once a musician and that you would try your hand at pretty much anything, do you plan on putting any music online sometime? Have you ever tried your hand at writing a book with the monsters you paint as characters in a narrative novel?

I recently got back into music and have been playing and recording music again. I really missed it. But again, I don’t really have time for it. I was recently able to use something I recorded for the intro music for a new podcast I started with friend and director of “Chet Zar: I Like To Paint Monsters”. It’s called The Dark Art Society Podcast.

Definitely have been thinking about a novelization but first I have to finish Dy5topia Field guide. It’s another project I am working on with Mike- mythologizing the world I have been creating in my paintings.



9) What does your day to day look like? Do you have time for other things outside of making your art?

No, not really. My life is consumed by it. Luckily I have a very supportive and understanding wife! I pretty much get up and once I am awake, I start working.


10) What inspired you to make the version of American Gothic that you did, what was it that inspired you about the original Grant Wood painting?

That was the idea of a client who I did the commission for. I probably would not have done it on my own but it was a great idea and is now one of my most popular images, That once was a real bitch to paint for some reason.



11) Who are some old master artists that have influenced you?

How old is old? If you are talking ooooold masters I would say that Bosch was a big influence. Velasquez was incredible as were the old flemish masters. But most of my influences are more ‘modern'- Frazetta, Beksinski, Giger, etc.



12) Would you like to shout out to any artists? Who are you a fan of these days?

So many that I hate to choose just a few cuz I know I will forget some. I will say that the newest artist I have been digging is Emil Melmoth from Mexico. Mind blowing Dark Art sculptures!


13) Lastly, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview. What is the best way for people to keep up with what your doing these days?

Thank you. You can follow me on Instagram @chetzar. Also, my website is chetzar.com but it’s not very up to date. My web store is chetzar.bigcartel.com and that has new pieces going up pretty often, as well as lots of prints and other merchandise. Also, check out my new podcast, The Dark Art Society Podcast at https://soundcloud.com/darkartsociety.

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If you like the interviews and content I publish on this site and you plan on picking up some of Chet Zar's work please check out my Amazon affiliate links to his excellent art book Black Magick and his documentary I like to Paint Monsters below and thank you for your support! Leave a comment for any artists you would like to see interviewed next!

Chet Zar: I like to Paint Monsters

Black Magick: The Art of Chet Zar