'More then Capable' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Capable

So, the word for IF this week was Capable.

ca·pa·ble  (adjective) – having power and ability; efficient; competent: a capable instructor.”

Dictionary.com

I didn’t really think I’d have much time to do something for this week because of other commitments but I still toyed with several ideas, some more sophisticated than others, before doing a quick doodle on the side of a Sudoku puzzle in bed. Hmmm… I thought sleepily, this might have potential, but then I fell asleep and dropped the Sudoku puzzle on my face!

I re drew it the next day, scanned it in and then, every time I needed a break from the work I was doing, fiddled with it a little bit more in Photoshop until it was done. Had I had more time to dedicate to it, it would have obviously been more polished but as it is only a day’s tinkering in my downtime, I’m actually quite proud of it!

Right, without further a do, I am pleased to introduce to you Intergalactic Dishwasher Extraordinaire, Bob, a more than capable member of the kitchen team!

'More then Capable' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

'More then Capable' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Picasso quote

The Problem Of Nonconformity Is Not An Original One

It’s been said through time…

“I try not to break the rules, but merely to test their elasticity.” ~Bill Veeck

I was looking for a quote I half remembered about the law – something to do with bending without breaking it, possibly from a Tom Cruise film, but I never found it – but I found instead a fascinating website full of quotes about conformity. I found a bunch I really liked, including;

 “Most people are more comfortable with old problems than with new solutions.” ~Author Unknown

“If you want to look like the people next door, you’re probably smothering yourself and your dreams.” ~Clive Barker

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Art and Originality

Most artists want to be original, the greats in any creative movement – be it Disney and his funny notion that feature lengths animations might catch on or Warhol and his block colour, pop culture screen prints – were always trend setters rather than followers. However, bucking a trend is not easy (many artists, such as Van Gogh, are never recognised in their life time because of it), often publicly unpopular and rarely, in a commercial setting, what the client wants. A good friend once said that you often had to show a mock up to clients because “you had to show them what they don’t want so they could tell you what they do.” Profound, huh?

But following the trend is rarely either satisfying for the artist or beneficial to the client.

“Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh’s words bring to mind a dilemma a lot of commercial creatives – be they artists, web designers, film makers or animators – when it comes to a client who wants a “trendy” look for their product.

I was recently told by a friend who works in graphic design that they were asked to do something that they felt may contravene copyright. The client was set on doing something that was very fashionable and had fixated on a particular picture. The copyright issue was not clear cut, I would go as far as to say it was thorny, so my friend tried to work around rather than go through and suggested new ideas and variations on the theme.

The ideas were innovative and different and one half of the clients team liked them, but one of the group kept reiterating that they wanted a virtual duplicate of the image they had found.  She, unlike her partners, was quick to crush any new thinking and make sure that her vision would be made… even if, in the wake of the ruling made in the Temple Island Collection Ltd vs New English Teas case, it may get them sued.

The scenario brought to mind this quote;

“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip, and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.” ~Charlie Brower

I guess my friend could have walked away completely. Stuck to their guns and walked the nonconformist path, alienating the client and risking the barrage of bad press that that could generate. But they didn’t, they stuck with the client and, as far as I know, are still trying to compromise the clients vision enough to keeps things legal. Which brings me to this quote:

 “Lots of times you have to pretend to join a parade in which you’re not really interested in order to get where you’re going.” ~Christopher Morley

Illustration Friday - Fluid

Illustration Friday – Fluid

Ah, the 13th post! Well, perhaps this is fitting then.

This weeks Illustration Friday topic was ‘fluid’. I haven’t had all that much time this week, thanks to a freelance opportunity that has swung my way, so this image was really an idea which bubbled up as I was sketching something else and getting angry, frustrated and generally pissy about not being able to get the image in my head and the image on the paper to match! So, peeved at my own short comings, I turned the page and let my pencil take a stroll across the paper without me paying it much heed.

What appeared was this, it made me snigger and as soon as I started it I thought of the IF topic! I know its kinda cheeky, a little naughty and, well, litterally “toilet humour” but it made me giggle so I thought I’d run with it… if you pardon the phrase.

"One Fluid Motion" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

"One Fluid Motion" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

I won’t be explicit about whats happening in the picture, I’m sure you get the idea, but I will say that our hero has just realised that something is more fluid then is should be!!!

As I said, time this week was short so this piece really is only a quick sketch, not even attempting glossy or professional, with little work or Photoshoping. It is, in all senses of the term… a little crude!

One possible garden studio

Why Do We Need Creative Space?

Shed Heads

I dream about a shed in the garden! Perhaps you think this is setting the bar a little low, I know some people dream of Kardashian style wealth, Britney Spears’ super stardom or the success of J.K Rowling but for me these days, aside from a reliable income from my artistic endeavours, my big dream is a shed in a garden.

My dream shed (which some may call a garden lodge or summer house) would be of modest size wooden affair. It would have plenty of windows and maybe even skylights to let in plenty of light, would be well insulated to keep in the heat and would function as my studio. If I really indulge the fantasy it would have electricity either run from the house or from a small solar panel on which I could run some lights, my sewing machine and maybe a kettle. There would also be small wood-burning pot-bellied stove for heat. Heck, if I really want to visit fantasy land it sits atop a ragged cliff top and has a beautiful view over the ocean!!

The Perfect Place For The Muse

Little ShedWhy, you may ask, have I focused my hopes on a timber structure in the garden? Well, for starters I am a cat owner and, adore them as I do, it would be nice to have a place where I could paint, sew, glue, carve or sculpt without feline paws, tongues, fur or whiskers scratching, rubbing, ingesting or in any other way causing harm to themselves or the work. It’s difficult to get inspiration when you are worried that the slightest slip in attention could cause our furry friend (should that be fiend?) to require an urgent trip to the vets.

Additionally, being a primarily home based worker, there are always distractions around the house. Washing to be sorted, vacuuming to do, washing up to be done and of course the lure of that dreadful seductress, the internet! Not only does my muse, fickle beastie as she is, need to be kept away from these distractions but she needs somewhere where inspiration can be pulled from the air.

Real World

Of course, in the real world this wistful dream that creativity can be indulged only when the muse is up and awake is unrealistic for those who want to make a living. The path to money comes with deadlines, schedules and expectations.

I was chatting with a good friend this week, whose debut novel hits the shelves this autumn, and discussing how things have changed for us, creatively speaking, since our teens. During our teens we both plunged ourselves in to the world of art and writing, indulging our young muses by creating films and animations, putting together surreal photo shoots (the negatives for which have long since been destroyed… I hope), drawing, painting and writing.  We would come up with an idea and abandon all else, occasionally including school work, to explore it. Whatever else our teens may have been we agree that it was a magical time to be creative, but it was also indulgent in a way the real world does not allow!

In the real world we must be creative on demand, we must meet deadlines and please clients and to hell with whether we feel inspired. In the real world it is more important to be inspiring then inspired, which is why I dream of a shed! Since I need to be creative on demand, then a space dedicated to that creativity – somewhere that is part studio, part workshop, part sanctuary – is the way to keep the old magic alive. I may not get it any time soon but, one day, I will build my muse a temple to creativity… well, a little wooden house anyway… okay, okay, I mean shed!

Illustration Friday - Popularity

Illustration Friday – Popularity

“Please -It’s all about popular!It’s not about aptitude, it’s the way you’re viewed, so it’s very shrewd to be very, very popular… Like me!”Lyrics from the musical “Wicked” by Stephen SchwartzHere we are again with the challenge to come up with an image for the Illustration Friday word. I have no doubt that I could’ve done something very edgy for this weeks word, as ‘popularity’ is a real hot topic in these days of celebrity status, reality TV, product placement and social media.

Illustration Friday - Popularity

“Popularity” by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

However, when it came to it I thought that all that seemed too heavy, so I chose a very domestic scenario I encounter everyday! No matter how many unpopular decisions I have made through out the day (even including trips to the vet and vaccuum cleaning) at dinner time all is forgiven. As soon as that tin of cat food is open my popularity among the feline residents of our house goes through the roof… until of course the food is in their bowls, at which point, though all sins may be forgiven, I am once again relegated to servant status and duly dismissed whilst they eat!

The illustration was sketched and inked, then scanned and coloured in my old friend, Photoshop.

"Hatch!" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Suspense

I was REALLY inspired by this week’s Illustration Friday topic, “Suspense”. Whereas last time I took a while to hit my stride by brain, full of Hitchcock films and urban fantasy novels, was positively bursting with ideas for this. That said I quickly discarded some of my earlier inspirations – breaking rope, dangling knives and hands on door knobs – for this idea.
"Hatch!" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

"Hatch!" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Inspired by a trip to bird sanctuary many years ago, where I spent ages watching a chick hatch from an egg. It took hours, I stood and watched it when we arrived for maybe twenty minutes, hoping to see the moment when the little critter burst forth from the shell, but nothing much happened so I went round the santuary, went had some lunch in the facilities cafeteria and finally came back hours later to find that the chick had managed to produce another tiny crack in the shell. Hatching it seems is not a speedy process! With that in mind I suddenly thought what it would be like to watch an egg hatch and not know what might crawl out of it. A monster? A pterodactyl? A dragon? So this illustration is set in a dark space, maybe a cave, and the creature has just managed to push enough of the shell away to reveal an eye… and its certainly no fluffy little chick in there!!

This image was done almost entirely digitally, without the preliminary sketch that I usually do as a guide. I used Photoshop to create it, of course, and have tried to incorporate the use of more filters, textures and image manipulation.

3D modelled playing cards - Cinema 4D

Model Career Wanted – 2 years of 3D!

Pride cometh before a fall, the saying goes, but throughout my time studying how to create in this medium I’ve always been a little short of pride… but not short of falls.

For those without the God-given gift of “natural talent” in this area, and trust me when I tell you I don’t, the way to creating 3D models is strewn with pitfalls. Let’s start with the software in which the magic happens. These are colossal, computer-crashing behemoths of programming, with complicated interfaces, swelled from years of innovation and expansion, redefine the term un-intuitive.  Take industry standard Autodesk’s Maya, for example, not only presents the user with several rows of icons framing the stage but also incorporates layer upon layer of secret menu options, only accessible through obscure short cuts as obvious to the newbie as mason’s handshake!

Of course, there is a reason that these programs have become SO complicated, it is because they have become so powerful.  In a single application you can build, rig, texture and animate something, you can add particle effects (like dust and smoke), cloth effects (self explanatory, right?), sound and lighting, you can even composite real footage and CG objects! Mind blowing! The product you have on your desktop computer, or even your laptop, is the same thing used to create big name box office animations and VFX spectaculars, from “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Shrek” to “Avatar” and “Transformers” ! None of which is any consolation when you are staring at your early attempt at character creation and wondering why the things arm has suddenly and inexplicably turned inside out! It is like discovering the buried treasure and finding its in a safe with a combination lock!

But it’s worth slogging it out, win your fight with Zbrush, Cinema 4D, Maya, Modo, 3Ds Max and you have the keys to the kingdom! I think for me it is safe to say that the jangle of those keys is still some distance away but this is some of what I’ve managed so far…

Zbrush –

Zbrush

Maya –

Maya

Cinema 4D –

Cinema 4D

… and I’m still only getting started!!

Illustration Friday - Forward

Illustration Friday – Forward

I used to submit something to Illustration Friday regularly on a different blog but got out of the habit of doing them, but I’ve been using the new year (and a very chilly and unspiring January) to re evaluate the things I do with my time and IF is back on the menu. Its good to have a deadline and a brief but still keep almost complete artistic freedom.Illustration Friday - Forward

So, this week the word was forward which made me think of things which move forward and since time can only move forward I focused on that – both the human formulation (the clock) and the more physical manifestations, such as day and night and the seasons. This, by the way, is much deeper thinking then I normally come up with!!

As ever this was a drawing I scanned and then worked on in my old friend, Photoshop.