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Hokusai

This post is for my buddy Binh, who a few weeks ago, noticed this print while we were eating sushi at Ichiban one night. (As always, you can click on the image for a closer look.)

Binh asked me if I knew who did it and I had no idea; I assumed it was anonymous. You see it everywhere, so it’s not even something you think about.

It turns out, that this painting was done by the incredibly talented (and prolific) Japanese painter Hokusai, pronounced “Hawkseye.” The name of the print is, “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.”

The only reason I know any of this is because of Cartoon Brew, where they had a post about the short film, “Hokusai-An Animated Sketchbook” done by animator Tony White. White is a British Academy Award winner and the film is terrific; be sure to check it out.

And you know, I must have seen this image a thousand times and never noticed the boats before. And, just look at that sea spray. Do you see Mt. Fuji in the background? It took this Wikipedia article to point it out to me.

If you’re half as geeky as I am, you can continue to delve even deeper into Hokusai, here.

I love the internet.

Adios.

Work Doodle

Well, I reread the previous post, Hellboy Behind the Scenes Doodles, and it is not up to par. I should delete it, but I’m going to leave it up as a reminder to myself not to post late at night.

So, in today’s post I’m going to keep things short. Here’s a sketch I doodled in Photoshop during the last 15 minutes of my day at work. It’s one of the trees outside the window.

It felt really good to squeeze this drawing in today. I haven’t really been using the Wacom tablet for pure drawing; and I’m kind of marveling at how good it really feels.

Adios.

Hellboy Behind the Scenes Doodles

Hellboy: Behind the Scenes > Hellboy: The Movie. Look of the flick? Fantastic. Perlman and company? Terrific. Abe Sapien? Beautiful. The movie lacked creepiness and subtley. Kronen should have perfectly fit that bill. He should have been in the shadows the whole flick. And when you hear the ticking of the clock, you know that you’ll never see the killing stroke. Since the rules for sequels is bigger and louder, I can’t imagine Hellboy 2 will solve the problems.)

Anyway, here are a couple of doodles I made while watching the BTS last week:

I really like the little guy in the upper right hand corner of the second photo. It was worth a lot of crappy drawings just for him. Weirdly shaped head dudes are ok on the first one.

This latest header image, the monk, is my favorite so far, so I’m going to leave it up.

Epiphany

Coupla weeks ago. The comic book store; after a few pints. It’s the last place you’d expect an epiphany.

Buddy Don is scoping out the Star Wars action figures; I’m whining about work.

Don picks up an action figure based on the Ralph McQuarrie concept art. The toys themselves look pretty chintsy, but most toys do. The packages, however; loaded with McQuarrie’s artwork, look terrific.

“The trouble with working at a tshirt shop,” I say, “all I ever get to design is tshirts. I don’t get to learn anything else. I’d like to try some package design.”

Don looks at me like I’m an idiot.

“Then design an action figure tshirt,” he says.

Epiphany: I am an idiot.

It’s up to me to learn what I want to learn.

Because I’m an idiot, a week goes by before I realize I need to scrap my idea for the upcoming art show and instead design a package for my Hulk Herocap, (Herocap origin for another day) and enter that in the show.

I start to take a closer look at the construction of boxes. I make a trip to Wal-Mart and pick up a Spider-Man Mighty Muggs. (The colors on the Mighty Muggs boxes are appealing; if a little flat. I love the top panel, with the close up of Spidey’s Eyes, but overall, the boxes are a little boring. Why have a static image of the exact same thing that’s in the box? The box design should be more than appealing; it should be exciting. But the packages do feel very solid, not at all flimsy, which I like.)

I do a little package design research online: to try and learn techniques for cutting the boxes so i get a nice smooth line; if I have to worry about the ink bleeding, where I can get a plastic mold insert to secure my Herocap in the middle of the box. I find a couple of interesting sites: The Dieline and Package Design Magazine, but I find little on the nuts and bolts of making your own boxes.

I am on my own.

I start drawing up templates for the box on graph paper.

You saw some of the artwork for the Hulk box last week.

I learn a lot from the box of a Dashboard Monk that Don’s brother Les gave me.

I learn even more from finally putting together a mock up of my own box.

Here’s the artwork. If you take a closer look ( by clicking on it), you can see that I don’t have flaps on the side panels, and you can see that I ran out of room on my graph paper; so I didn’t have a back panel, which was going to be fine, because I would cut it out when I cut out the cardboard backer.

Only, when I cut out the panel, I cut it out an inch shorter than it needs to be; so I end up with a, what, parallelogram? With the front panel one inch wider than the back panel.

After I put it all together, I color in Spidey’s mask with a magic marker so that it’s brighter. The cross shape is the graph paper glued onto a cardboard backer. What you can’t see is the giant glue glob resulting from my clumsiness. What you can see is that the box is just too big for the Hulk Herocap prototype. Don’t worry, I will be making up a Spidey Herocap.

The cardboard interior felt dark, so I added a sheet of paper to brighten things up:

You can see here where I had to trim the top of the box to run (semi) flush with the side panels.

I kind of like the box shape. I think I’m going to use it; just flip it around so that the small panel is in front…Failure is the perfect teacher and I learn a lot.

Design a smaller box. Set up a cutting and gluing station separate from your drawing table. Be sure of measurements.

Friday Night Photo

The last time I stopped by my buddy’s place, he had an inoperative microwave taking up space on his counter.

Last night I stopped by for a brief visit, to find that he put that microwave to good use:

Microwave Endtable! Too sweet.

Update: I turned the artwork for Jonesin 4 Indy into a 1024×768 wallpaper. You can find it in the sidebar under the Pages header.

New Feature!

The Custom Headers Viewer.

I added a page where you can view all of the headers that have appeared on screentone. It’s on the sidebar under Pages and About.

I took all of the pictures myself! Cropping the originals in this way makes them look way better than they are.

First Look

Ooh, all of you lucky dogs out there are getting a sneak peek!

I’ve been working on (well, not so much working on as, mostly thinking about) a new big project for the art show coming up June 7th.

Here’s a first glimpse at HERO CAPS…the future of uncollectable collectibles.

Don’t tell anyone, but this is a glimpse at the artwork for the limited edition ultra-rare Hulk Box. Just one of a kind. It won’t be like any other Hero Caps box!

If you look close in the upper right hand corner of the picture you can see I’ve started working on the real Hero Caps boxes. The Hulk Box was just a crazy idea….ooh, inside, I was going to have a puny Bruce Banner Cap, but it would be even cooler to have a Hulk Brain! Wonder where I could get one…

After taking a look at this artwork, I know that this is just a rough draft. The Hulk just doesn’t look ANGRY enough to me…he looks more confused, or astonished…

You can click on the picture for a closer look, you know, if you’d like.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why it is you’ve never heard of a Hero Cap, it’s because I invented it! My buddy Ryan came up with the name, and my pal Donnie (of penguin fame) helped shape the first Hero Cap with a precision-dependent heating system.

Boy, I can’t wait till I’m all done creating them. They’re the perfect collectible for keeping in the box!

News, Another Post from the Archives

I just got Binh’s Perspective shirt back from the printer, and boy, do they look terrific. (See below for a lengthy post on the process behind the design.

It was Binh’s birthday today, so I was able to put a shirt in his hands, which is a great feeling. And he saw the Short Round design, and really wants one, so I guess I’ll be printing up a half dozen or so of those after all.

I don’t have time for a longer post, so here’s another one from the archives.

I love the contrast of having a huge and bitter cap with skinny, young, and naive Spidey. The hopeless dreamer in me thinks this would be a great story, but when will I ever work on it?

Time to go see a movie! (See what I mean?)

From the Archives

It’s no fun when a blog doesn’t have regular posts; so here’s a couple of sketches from the sketchbook archives..

I used to work at a bookstore that had this great-looking clock in it…

Sometimes we weren’t very busy, so here’s the chair I could sit in… It really is a chair; not a stool; at some point the back broke off of it. So, since it doesn’t have a back, maybe it’s a chair that did become a stool…and I guess I kind of make note of that in the sketch text.

It’s always a special treat to be able to fire off a sketch at work. You’ll probably see more of these Archive posts whenever I don’t have a chance to properly put something up.

I think I did these on one of Enrico Casarosa‘s Sketchcrawl days. Enrico is a storyboard artist working at Pixar.

I’m going to bed, now.

Process

I had every intention of going to bed early tonight, but I don’t want to miss posting, particularly if I don’t have a good excuse, so I’ve been busy constructing today’s post about the process of putting together a tshirt design for one of my best friends. His birthday is coming up.

Process fascinates me; I love to know how it is that people work; so here is how I work. Sometimes. Other times I work quite differently.

My friend Binh mentioned a line he had heard recently; one of those bits of wisdom that gets tossed around, and he said he’d like a tshirt made out of it. I jotted it down on a handy napkin, doodled an accompanying sketch and it never got any farther than that.

I think that was about two years ago. Here’s the napkin:

About five months ago, I found the napkin and decided it was time to get something concrete down. My initial thought was the text would be very polished; very solid and the worm would be done a little looser; sketchier… maybe show the worm without the hook, and suggest his ultimate fate with an image of a hook on the back….

That would be the front of the shirt…this would be the back…

I thought I was off to a good start, but I wasn’t wowed… And was it necessary to split the design into a front and back? If someone just read the front, or just read the back, would it make sense to them? I couldn’t justify splitting the design into two separate images, so I decided to combine them; toying with the idea that the worm would make a great visual substitute for the “I” in life. I’m now a little sickened by my attempt to be so clever.

I’m also not thrilled with the the fact that the horizontal line has no other purpose in the design other than to divide the text.

I reluctantly eliminate the hook, enthusiastically eliminate the horizontal line and eliminate a color. The design works; but it’s not wowing me, and I also miss the implied messiness that the brown brought to the image. So decide to bring it back as the shirt color. I needlessly add white to the design. The results are ugly.

So ugly in fact that I give up. For a day. Then, while at work, it occurs to me that the earth worm needs dirt to wiggle in.

Unfortunately, the dirt is the only part of the design that I like, now. In fact, I have grown to hate my thick-lined poorly drawn worm.

I decide to get reference.

Here is the uninspired result that reference brings. Inexplicably, I have made the worm navy and my dirt has disappeared…

At this point, I like the font for the word life, but hate how spread out and open it looks around the circle. The worm is almost interesting at this point, but the colors aren’t working for me. Everything looks so blah on a white shirt, and while the bottom line of text wrapping around the circle is nice, it really makes the the second half of the line seem like it’s just dangling out in the middle of nowhere. And I still miss the messiness of the dirt.

I abandon the design, and it’s a good thing I do, because I’m about to make a huge leap and the only way I could make that leap; a leap that is both forward and back at the same time; is with time away from the design. I’m lucky, there’s no deadline on this job. Time is a luxuy I can afford.

So, one night, on the way home from soccer, it hits me. It hits me not quite fully formed; but close.

The backwards leap I’ve made is to the chocolate shirts, and one color. I’ve brought back the dirt and added a distress layer to messy things up a little. I’ve flipped the direction that the worm is facing; giving some much needed contrast to the orderliness of the my font choice for the word Life.

I’ve now broken up the sentence into four distinct sections. Life is big and bold, so the eye heads there first, then follows the curve of handscrawled text to the head of the worm; where we begin to read left to right again. The smaller words TO and A are smaller than the word WORM, and so I make them physically smaller. The word DIGGING is more active and descriptive than the rest of the words on its line; so it too gets to be physically larger.

The hand-scrawled quality of the last line provides emphasis, much in the way that italics do in the body of a sentence.

Everything is really working for me now; so I further refine the design.

I eliminate the dirt from the design, deciding that the distress is messy enough, though I raise the distress above the last line of text so that it doesn’t lose any emphasis.

I pull the worm in closer to the word life, giving the design an almost “R” shape. It’s much more visually interesting than the previous arc-shaped incarnation. Because the worm is now overlapping some text, I outline it in shirt color to add separation.

I wrap the text around the worm-shape…it’s not perfect, but I think it still reads. Another weak point is the new area of trapped negative space between the LI in life and the body of the worm. I try to fill it as best I can with “to” and “a.” It is almost successful, and I enlarge the word worm, but, man, that’s a big comma. The last lines remain virtually unchanged.

The “finished” product is by no means brilliant, but I really think it’s working. The distress and the worm itself give a contrast in texture to the bold block letters. The handwritten text provides emphasis. The eye gets pulled all around the design, but I don’t think it is ever confusing. It reads; and has an interesting shape.

But maybe your analysis will be different?

Well, this post went on much longer than I thought it would, but its been fun writing about how this design came together (or not, if you disagree); I don’t get to delve much into thought process at work; so this has been an interesting exercise.

If you’ve stayed with me this long, thanks for your time.

Short Round; but More Importantly, A Penguin

Sweet!

My friend and bro-at-work, Don, has been making and painting penguins for about a year and a half or so. Everywhere he goes, he sees penguins; then he meticulously paints them, (sometimes with nothing more than a nail, well, and some paint) and shares them with the world. Here’s one he made for me out of the six-pack packaging from one of my favorite ales, Third Stone Brown, from Empyrean Ales.

See, how it says Bro Tone? What a perfect Screentone tribute. Don, I’m honored.
And I wasn’t going to post this at all, since I hate it, but after showing you the sketch, it wouldn’t be fair to not show you the finished product. Besides, now I don’t have to hate it all alone; you can hate it with me!

Short Round & Quick Time

Last night I attempted to upload a Quick Time video of a very short animated short I made in school, but WordPress wouldn’t let me. I’m going to have to do some more research, it looks like there’s a workaround, but I may not like the compromise.

Anyway, until I figure out the problem, here’s a post-it note sketch of my next Indy fan shirt. I might not produce it, though, since the new movie could answer the very question that the sketch poses.

Maybe I’ll like the result enough, though, that it might work without the text…

I might have a look at the finished version later tonight.

Oh, yeah, before I forget, when I was doodling Short Round, my friend Grant at work suggested I give him bangs, and boy, was he right!

First Post and an Indy Fan Shirt!

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to a website. There’s a lot of interesting stuff out there, and I’d like to share it, but doing so by email is tedious. Screentone allows me to pluck my notebook from my pocket and share it with the world. Or, at least, the select few who are in the know.

The other thought behind having a website is to show what I make, and websites like myspace and facebook, which seem to do that sort of thing very well, don’t seem to be my sort of thing.

So, here I am. I picked up a copy of WordPress for Dummies, and have been reading it, and it’s been great, but before I dive in; try to design a website proper, select a web hosting service and attempt to do a bunch of other stuff that I have no idea how to do, I thought that this; quickly tossing together a blog on the cheap, might be the way to go, while I continue to learn about everything else.

This first post will also give me the opportunity to unveil my Indiana Jones fan shirt, in honor of the new movie (which I’m afraid is going to suck, but which I’m going to see on opening day, nonetheless) and in anticipation of Lego Indy for Playstation! I think the design for the T may go through a couple of minor changes before it sees print, but you get the idea…

Also, the header image is a photo of a stack of my clean dishes. I’ve also got to try and figure out how to move my blog title from the middle of the header.

I hope this works, and be sure to check back tomorrow…

oooh….the white may be even better…

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