I haven't updated in a month! That must be a record for me. I've been so busy with work that I haven't had much time to draw for fun, and since I can't post my work stuff I have nothing to post. I have done some doodling though, so here's a recent drawing for Sketch Dailies.
Last weekend I had the weird and wonderful opportunity to spend the day following around Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. Neil has been one of my artistic heroes for years. I read Neverwhere just before starting college, and since then I've read nearly all of his novels. I used Stardust as the basis for a handful of illustrations in school. And last year he chose one of my pieces for his Calendar of Tales project (which of course I didn't mention to him, because AHH). So to say I'm a fan is... well, accurate.
It was surreal to get to spend a day with him. He's the quiet, introverted artist type, which makes it even more impressive how much he pushes himself to be appreciative and kind with his fans. And Amanda is super fun. I went in not knowing much about her (though I had watched her awesome Ted Talk when it was going around a few years ago and I had vague knowledge of The Dresden Dolls), so I wasn't sure what to expect. She's hilarious and fearless, and immediately puts you at ease... I came to really admire her. Plus, her eyebrows are excellent. Here's a photo I took with her phone.
Meeting your heroes doesn't have to be a disappointment! Sometimes, it's just wonderful.
Some of my artwork is currently hanging on the walls at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, NY. Design director Diane Teglassia-Hymes did a great job setting up the display... it's pretty cool to see my art on the walls like this!
I made a gif! Exciting! I'm currently having a lot of Lawrence of Arabia feelings. Sometimes stories/characters hit me like a freight train and I just have to draw it out of my system. Like, literally draw.
I went to New York Comic Con last Thursday and it was awesome! I got to watch Juanjo Guarnido draw and ink Blacksad, so that was amazing. And I got to meet --and make a fool of myself in front of-- most of my favorite comic book illustrators (particularly Francis Manapul and Cliff Chiang). Overall it was a very, very great experience. I look forward to going again next year :)
I got home and immediately wanted to try inking something again. The previous weekend I went to the Bronx Zoo and fell a little bit in love with the camels, which are delightfully weird animals. So between that and a recent viewing of Lawrence of Arabia (don't even get me started on gloriousness of the Blu Ray), this happened.
There's an October inking challenge over on Twitter and I thought I'd try it. I've never really worked in ink before (only experimented with it a couple of times for class in college, but I don't really count that), so it was... kind of horrifying. I ended up tweaking it a bit and adding shading in Photoshop, but still... it wasn't awful!! The drawing is sort of based on a silly movie I watched this afternoon called How to Steal a Million starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole (because I enjoy looking at beautiful people).
Today's Sketch Dailies. I'm feeling really burnt out lately, I've got too many projects going on at once. It was nice to just take a short break this afternoon to draw something for fun... recharge my batteries a little bit. I shouldn't complain about having too much work... that's a good problem to have!
Also, I thought I'd share this from the other day. Took a 5 minute break and quickly sketched Lawrence and Ali (and a camel) from Lawrence of Arabia, which is my favorite movie. I can't think of a more perfectly acted, engrossing character study. It also has one of the greatest scripts ever written and truly astonishing cinematography. A perfect film. Anyway, I was pretty happy with how these likenesses came out, considering I drew them so quickly.
My final project for the Lab was to design a bag that would be given out to donors. It features a handful of migrant species that spend their Winters in South and Central America (often on coffee plantations, thus the coffee plants) and spend their summers in the US, often in new-growth forests. The species pictured are: Blackburnian Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, American Redstart, and Summer Tanager. Fall migration is starting up, and if you try going outside early in the morning and look up into the trees you may just see one of them! I saw a Blackburnian in my backyard a few days ago.
Today marks the 100 year anniversary of the death of the last Passenger Pigeon, and thus the extinction of the species. Once the most numerous bird in America, Passenger Pigeons traveled in flocks that numbered in the millions, often darkening the sky as they blotted out the sun. Humans are 100% responsible for their demise. Hunting and habitat loss decimated their numbers from 3.7 billion birds to 0 in only 40 years. In 1914 the last Passenger Pigeon, a specimen named Martha, died in captivity (having never lived in the wild). Today is a good day, then, to reflect on how powerfully we impact the environment, and how important it is to protect and maintain all living things.
Today was devoted to all the freelance I've got backed up, but I had to find time to draw at least a little bit for myself -- it's what keeps me fueled and motivated so I can work better on other assignments. Or at least that's what I tell myself :)
I was inspired by some photos that were going around the internet a while back of this young Mongolian girl and her Golden Eagle... pretty badass.
I've only got a little over one week left at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology! It's been a really great experience and I've gotten the chance to work on some amazing projects with some incredibly intelligent people. I've built my portfolio and learned a lot about birds (I even prepared a Cedar Waxwing specimen!), and I got to spend a summer in Ithaca, one of the best towns in New York. But I'm ready and excited to move on to the next stage of my career, and resume working on the freelance projects that I've been neglecting. Starting September 1st I'll be doing visual development for Molly Rocket, a game company. It's going to be a blast and I'm so excited to get started!
In the meantime, here's some art from the past week or two; one for work, one for fun.
Remembering Robin Williams today. It breaks my heart to know that a soul who lived to make others smile could be so deeply troubled. Like many people my age, Robin Williams is inseparable from my childhood. He's the Genie, he's Mrs. Doubtfire, he's Peter Pan and Alan Parrish and countless others. His death feels like losing a little piece of my inner child-- the part of me that never wants to grow up.
Here are some Red-backed fairywren sketches I did last week for work. I'm doing a bunch of illustrations that will be on the Lab's All About Birds website-- I'll share that as soon as it's online. It's going to be super adorable and I can't wait to see how it looks when it's all finished.
Also, I did this drawing of Artemis a little while ago and forgot about it! It's based on a sketch I did back in college for an assignment (which I've posted below too, because progress pics are always fun). Just thought I'd share, since I haven't had any time to draw for fun between work and freelance and this blog has been suffering a bit. It's all good, though... I just got a very exciting new freelance job that will start in September when I'm finished working at the Lab, which hopefully I can share more about once things get rolling. It's also worth noting that I got the job because of Sketch Dailies, which just goes to show how valuable a tool social media can be for illustrators!
Today DC announced a new creative team for Batgirl, including a completely rebooted costume, drawn by (gasp!) a female artist! It looks spectacular, and I can't wait to read it when the new run starts. Adding that and Gotham Academy to my pull list, I'll basically be living in Gotham with four Bat-related titles.
I didn't have much free time today, but I managed to scribble out this quick sketch of the new costume. (When I say scribble, I really do mean scribble).