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Monday, June 12, 2017

Character Sketches (And A Few Words On Creativity)


: )

Sometimes as an artist we work on the craft of our technique—trying to get values and volume looking right—and understanding anatomy, movement and and design so that what we draw appears natural and convincing.

But there is something equally important: Simply being able to create something unique and interesting from our own imaginations.

Thankfully I'm finding that it can be developed and strengthened just like any other artistic "muscle" we have.

Recently—I've felt like I'm enjoying the "creative" side more than ever—and am feeling like my designs and characters are consistently more satisfactory to me.

If this sounds like me patting my own back—please understand—as much or more than anyone I'm WELL aware of my limitations and realize how much yet I have to learn and how far I need to go to get even close to the artists I admire like Frazetta, Carlos Huante, Dali (during his return to classicism during the 1950's on), Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle, Paul Bonner—and MANY,  MANY more!! 


Anyway—I thought I'd share those thoughts because sometimes people will come up to me while I'm sketching in public and say that they like to draw too—but can't come up with anything from their own imagination.

I've said for a long time—by way of encouragement to them (and maybe as much to myself)—that creativity just needs to be worked on and developed like any skill that we humanoids do—(but sometimes wondered if what I was saying was REALLY true.)

But now after many years of effort—I can say with a LOT more confidence that it is absolutely true—and more than ever I enjoy tapping into my own imagination—and how what comes out satisfies and even surprises me.

: ) 


Thought I'd share some recent sketchbook pencils today.

"Kip" - Copyright 2017 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved
"Kip" - Copyright 2017 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved

^ ^ ^  One afternoon recently I went to a little Mexican restaurant near me and after I ate got out my sketchbook to draw.

There was a family at a table next to me—and although they were engrossed in their own conversations and I don't they weren't paying attention to me—I felt inhibited by sitting so close to them and I wasn't able to come up with anything I liked.

As soon as they cleared out—I erased what I had on the page to that point—and the brute above came pouring out.  : )

"Jeanine's First Kiss" - Copyright 2017 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved
"Jeanine's First Kiss" - Copyright 2017 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved

^ ^ ^  I started this character sketch long ago but stopped working on it as I got busy with other things.

Each time I'd see it in my sketchbook though, I'd think about finishing it and finally got around to it recently.


Well—that'll do it for this time.

Thanks as always for taking a peek.

See you again soon!

Friday, June 9, 2017

New Painting: The Watchman!


I'm VERY happy to be done with—and be able to share—my latest digital painting.

"The Watchman" - Copyright 2017 - Jephyr! - All Rights Reserved
"The Watchman" - Copyright 2017 - Jephyr! - All Rights Reserved

As I mentioned in other posts—I've rejoined the Concept Art Forum and started a new "sketchbook" there—and it inspired me to go through old an old "works in progress" file on my computer.

I came across a WIP that began as a character sketch I finished WAY back in 2011.  Then in 2012, I took that into my painting software and began working on it there.

I can see from looking through those old files that I would open and do a bit on it from time to time through the years—but always felt like I wasn't making any satisfactory progress...and would quickly move on to other things.

When I opened it recently—I struggled in the beginning a bit again—but then it was like the creative tap was unstopped.

Salvador Dali - Surrealism And Return To Classicism - 1950's Onward

Having been very influenced by surrealism—especially Salvador Dali's later paintings—starting in the 1950's when he returned to classicism—and after reading a number of books about him and his thought process about his work—I've found that it has given me a freedom to create from my subconscious—without worrying to much about the meaning about what I'm doing.

BUT—I can also say that this way of working also leads me to be surprised at my own sense of self-discovery at what comes out during this process.

In the case of this painting—the character as I drew him long ago—looked like an older Japanese man—and so I created an old looking World War II flag of Japan behind him.

At first I thought I was heading in the direction of turning him him into a Japanese soldier—or Kamikaze pilot—and so I made the flag look like it was painted on the side of a ship or plane and then added rivets to complete the look.

As I was close to finishing most of the character—it occurred to me to add some Japanese script to the painting.

But what?

Then the words "Faith, Hope and Love" from 1 Corinthians 13:13 came into my mind—and I found them in Kanji script on-line—and added them across the bottom of the image—creating the symbols using the pen tool.  I LOVED the way this looked.

That lead me to search Bible Gateway for that verse—and found a Japanese Living Bible translation for it.

The end of that verse in Japanese says simply (the English translation)—"The best of them is love," and those words in in the original Living Bible Translation fit PERFECTLY under the the script for "Faith, Hope and Love."

By this time my creative energies were FLOWING—and I decided to add a halo above the character—and then a banner behind the him.

I felt like I was nearing being done—but it was clear the banner looked a bit plain and needed "something."

I began searching for other Japanese words and phrases to put on it—and tried a number of different ones—and ultimately settled on the kanji words for "Watchman" to the left of the character—and the word "Peace" to the right—making the words look like they'd been embossed on a silk-ish ribbon.

In the end—it all felt so "right"—and what was began as a simple cartoony character—now had a deeper meaning to me.

I hope you enjoy this image as well!

Thanks for stopping by—and God Bless you!