Thursday, April 30, 2009

Simple color and design exercises

A great way to hone your color and design skills is to draw a few shapes on the computer, assemble them in a design form and then color them.

Design 1
Here I have drawn a circle, triangle and square, all done in line on the computer. You could also draw freehand shapes instead of mechanical ones.

Design 1A
Above I have assembled them into a design, shown are four different possibilities, although many more could be created.

Color 1
I add colors using the Paint Bucket Tool.

Color 2
Countless variations are possible, just have fun.

Color 3

Color 4
Here I have pulled the designs together by just adding a black background. This is an interesting way to experiment with design and color.

Illustration  2

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Designing a logo for LET'S VENT AMERICA

I was asked by a friend if I would design a logo for a new website It sounded like an interesting project so I accepted.

It naturally takes a good bit of thought to get an idea to gel. I always keep a piece of paper in my pocket so I can jot down notes and ideas that might come while I'm on the run. These first thoughts were done while I was having lunch at one of my favorite restaurants. The top two depict stars and stripes with the lettering integrated. Not too interesting, but a start. The next one shows people yelling at Uncle Sam, not bad. The fourth rough shows people yelling at an elephant and donkey, symbols of our political parties, I thought that this idea had possibilities.

When I got home, another idea occurred to me, people opening the capital dome and yelling at congress, this was it, it told the whole story with a simple graphic.

I developed the idea with a more detailed sketch, it looked like this idea would make a great visual symbol.

Several further developmental sketches were drawn as I worked out the idea.

A few sketches of heads were drawn until I developed one that worked well.
A drawing of the capitol building was done next.

I assembled everything on the computer where I also added the lettering, finishing the design. Be sure to check out this site at and put in your two cents worth.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

ART ATTACK in Harbor Country

Art Attack copy
I live in what is known as Harbor Country and they have a yearly popular event called ART ATTACK. This year it will happen in the first weekend in May, May 1, 2 & 3rd, to be exact. Many galleries from New Buffalo to Sawyer, Michigan will be participating. It's a fun event and I hope that any of you in the area will join us. The gallery that represents me, Craig Smith Gallery, will have an opening reception for new work by his artists, it starts at 5 PM, May 2, 2009. Hope that you can join us ! You'll love it here, it's a very beautiful area of the state, some great restaurants are also located here, check it out.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Gallery open house Sunday April 26 in Oak Park

Oak Park
Tomorrow Craig Smith Gallery is having an exhibition at PURE REIGN in Oak Park, Illinois from 2 to 5 PM. If you are near the area, stop by and see some of the gallery artist's work as well as mine.

If you have any questions about my life in the illustration and ad business in the 1940's, '50's, '60's, '70's + or about any of the art techniques I've shown on these posts, feel free to ask. Just post them as comments and I'll do my very best to answer. If I can't answer a specific question, I probably know someone who can, There are still a few of my old buddies around, artists and reps that I worked with over the years who may be able to help.

Simple cartoon heads created on the computer

The computer is a great creative tool as well as being a lot of fun once you get used to working with it. Frequently I experiment to see what I can come up with. Here I have created a couple of cartoon heads using only the Line Tool and parts of a typeface.

Heads 1
I begin by doing some simple shapes with the Line Tool.

Heads 2
Then I add a couple of letter "O"s for the eyes and the hair. A large "O" which was cut in half was used for the lady's hair and a smaller "O" for the bun. Her eye is composed of a stretched "O" with lines added for the lashes.

Heads 3
Next I added the eyes and mouths, finishing them off.

Heads 3A
Here is one color version, I could try several more very easily.

Heads 4
A change of expressions by altering the mouths and his eyebrow.

Heads 5
Another change of expression. Try this and see what you can come up with, it's great fun and will help you develop your computer skills.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Experimenting with line sketches

HBexFig 1
First I drew a very quick crude sketch of a figure with a Pentel pen. Don't worry about accuracy or perfection for experiments like these, just have fun.

HBexFig 2
I scanned my sketch into the computer, distorted the image and combined it with another image of the same sketch.

HBexFig 3
Here is another version of the combined images to which I added color shapes.

HBexFig 4
Still another version with colors added. This is a wonderful way to experiment with color on the computer. Even with a very rough sketch as I started out with you can create a number of interesting color images.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Some more color and design studies

The computer medium offers great experimental and learning possibilities. I frequently do a series of abstract color and design studies like these. They are quite easy and fun to produce. These studies can also be used as sketches or ideas for larger acrylic paintings. They were all done using the Photoshop Elements 2.0 program. You don't need the more expensive and complicated versions of Photoshop to create images like these.

DigiArt 3

DigiArt 7

DigiArt 6

DigiArt 12

DigiArt 16

DigiArt 15

I usually begin by just creating a flat color background, then I start by adding various shapes. Try it, you'll enjoy it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Opening today at PORT 412

Today is the opening of my exhibition of paintings, sculpture and comic book cover parodies at PORT 412 restaurant in St. Joseph, Michigan. If you are in the area drop by. The exhibition will be up for a couple of months, so if you can't make it today, stop by at a later date and have a great lunch or dinner.

PORT 412 Poster

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My versions of Mona Lisa ( Sorry, Leonardo )

When I first began doing art on the computer I created a series of images titled DIGITAL DREAMS that parodied the fine art world. These were limited edition prints that I exhibited in galleries and museums.Here are some images that feature the Mona Lisa.

DaVinci 2
I also adapted this image and the one below for my comic book cover parodies series.

DaVinci 3

Here is Leonardo sketching one of the del Giocondo sisters.

Leonardo and the Camera Obscura.

A fun version of Mona.

Max Ernst paints the Mona Lisa.

A version of the Mona Lisa that Dali might have painted.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More digital abstract figure studies

As I have mentioned in previous posts I did a series of abstract digital figure studies that a few people thought would be a good basis for paintings. I am considering doing just that, but won't literally copy these images, just use them as a launching point.

NewFig 18
Some of these images, as the one above, are very abstract, creating very interesting designs.

NewFig 25

NewFig 31
I will probably start the series soon and will post some images as I progress. It could result in an exciting series of paintings.

NewFig 2

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Different color versions of an abstract figure

Here is another digital abstract figure study that I am thinking of using as a basis for a large acrylic on canvas painting.

DigiFig 1
Below are a few color variations that I experimented with. This is the beauty of doing studies on the computer. It took less than a half hour to do all of these color sketches. Accomplishing the same thing using traditional painting mediums would take hours to complete.

DigiFig 2

DigiFig 3

DigiFig 4


The image below is a negative of the preceeding image. This is done by pressing CONTROL and the "i" key. The computer is a very useful tool for creating color sketches.