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Jeremy Geddes May 9, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Artists, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Surreal.
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Post by Taylor Grant

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Jeremy Geddes is a working illustrator in Melbourne, Australia.  Beginning his career as a video game artist and art director, Geddes made a name for himself in the world of comics, game art and graphic novels. Having studied painting in the 90’s, Jeremy became a master of oils and turned to a career as a full time painter in 2003. His paintings exhibit an amazing capacity for rendering,with rich tones, extreme detail and a carefully considered composition. In order to achieve such refined finishes, Geddes starts with a preliminary painting which allow him to work out the composition, color and tone before starting on the finish.  From there, the painting is drawn out using washes of color to prep the canvas.  Finally, the painting is completed and then an additional level of glazes is added to enhance the depth of colors and texture.

(above)  The Cafe, right- details

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A combination of conceptual planning and technical ability makes Geddes’ pieces incredibly compelling.  The extreme photorealism of his rendering creates scenes that are completely believable, despite the surrealist elements. This idea is exemplified in Heat Death which features an astronaut floating weightlessly in an urban setting. Though his gravity defying pose is impossible, the figure and setting are both recognizable and realistic. I think this juxtaposition heightens the surrealism because I read the scene as a photograph, making it disconcerting because I know it could not actually occur.

(above)  Heat Death

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The same eerie discontentment is seen in Cluster. but unlike other works by Geddes, this piece is not in a setting but instead uses the negative space to add to the surrealism. the figures are intertwined to create an uncomfortable cluster in the center of the page. Their limbs are entangled but the weight of the form is limp.  The discomfort of their pose is haunting, which is again heightened by the believability of the rendering .

(above) The Cluster

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Jeremy Geddes continues to illustrate graphic novels, commissioned paintings and his own personally conceptualized work. You can view more of his paintings at: www.jeremygeddesart.com


Research-Radiolab and This American Life February 1, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Class Topics, Handout Sheets, Picture files and Reference, Researching for Art.
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Two of the smartest shows I know on NPR: Radiolab and This American Life… Both these shows are explore topics/themes that are researched and  presented in a thought provoking entertaining way.  Sound familiar?  This is just what your goal is when you create an illustration. Something peeks your interest, you research the topic and then develop a thought provoking visually entertaining piece of art.

Radiolab is hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich.  two hosts that have great chemistry together.  “Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we’ll feed it with possibility.”   to quote from their site  http://www.radiolab.org/about/

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This American Life – ” The radio show and TV show follow the same format. There’s a theme to each episode, and a variety of stories on that theme. It’s mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always. There’s lots more to the show, but it’s sort of hard to describe. Probably the best way to understand the show is to start at our favorites page,”    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/

What I like about both of these shows is their honest exploration of a topic or hypothesis. The obvious answer to a simple question might be dispproved (along with your assumptions…who knew parrasites good be good?), sometimes the show is about solid detective work (why is that goat standing on a cow’s back?), other times episodes bring to light issues , people , and places you never knew existed.

If you become a listener to these two shows you will never again ask your self…what’s a good topic/idea to explore for my project/thesis…(promise)

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By the way…if you do want to know why that goat is standing on the back of that cow..listen to this.

Reasearch-The Library of Congress February 1, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Class Topics, Picture files and Reference, Researching for Art.
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As an illustrator, you will be developing your own projects as well as collaborating with others on their projects. Authors, editors, creative directors, and art directors are all relying on your expertise to bring an idea to visual life. Researching your topic is one of the most important things you can do in developing an illustration. Gathering reference isn’t simply a matter of making sure your subject’s anatomy is correct but becoming enough of an expert on that subject so you can add integrity to your drawing/painting and know where you can take artistic liberties.  The Library of Congress ( LOC)  is an unbelievable resource for visual, and intellectual,research. A visit to the site will undoubtedly give you ideas and topics for projects for years to come. In many cases hi-res  files of the viewed image is available , ( you should be careful to read the copyright info, not everything is in the public domain).  Film, audio recordings… it really is a virtual treasure trove of information and imagery.

 

A 1910 photo of Dr. Doyen separating “Hindoo twins”,  collections of  baseball cards, What was in Lincoln’s pocket when he was assassinated?  All of the above and a lot more can be researched and viewed online at the Library of Congress’ site   http://www.loc.gov/index.html

Noir: Andrew S. Allen’s “The Thomas Beale Cipher” January 28, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Animation, Class Discussions, Film, Narrative, Noir.
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Instructor Peter Hamlin e-mailed me about a wonderful piece of noir animation by Andrew S. Allen,  ” The Thomas Beale Cipher“. Take a look .

Natural History Class Pic November 28, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in Class Assignments, Class Topics, Picture files and Reference, Surreal.
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(above) Some of the Fall ’10 class in front of the reproduction of the Easter Island Moai

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This fall we met at the Museum of Natural History to sketch/ gather reference for an assignment exploring surrealism. Surrealism in art portrays the dream, the element of surprise sometimes with unexpected juxtapositions of things within the same space. The museum is an amazing place to sketch , draw and photograph not only animal life (taxidermied) but also exhibits of different cultures around the world. Of course the museum is also extremely surreal it self with it’s own sometimes odd juxtapositions of exhibits. View lowland gorillas and then turn the corner and you’re in Mexico .

We met on the 3rd floor which has displays of Indonesian shadow puppets, pacific islander culture along with other Native American exhibits. The museum is like one big living scrap(reference) file that you can walk through.  I’ve always found their exhibits organized similarly to how a sketchbook could be organized. Details called out from models, notes , captions. Where a part of an artifact  is missing the visual information is drawn in.  Then there is the subway stop with the mosaics depicting the evolution of species.

(above) For Want of a Nail, 2000  Glass and ceramic mosaic, handmade ceramic relief tiles, hand-cast glass, bronze and cut granite floor tiles throughout the 81st subway stop.

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A very inspiring place…

Jon Vermilyea Spills His Guts: Class Visit October 4, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in Artists, Comics, Guest Visits, Narrative, Printmaking.
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Monday, Sept. 27th  Illustrator-self publisher-silk screener Jon Vermilyea came to class to show his work, talk about his influences, his process and to offer advice.  Our class was joined by Peter Hamlin’s concepts class and Veronica Lawlor’s drawing in motion class along with other visitors, so  a good crowd were present.  Jon brought a variety of his work and started right off with some tee shirt designs.

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A few  books Jon worked on were passed around and Jon spoke about connections he made in school and how that lead to self publishing. Jon attended SVA for cartooning. He also talked about the importance of school as a place to experiment and try different ways of working without the fear of failure.  Embracing opportunity seemed to be a theme of Jon’s presentation.

The fact that he self-published, created an animation music video  for Animal Collective (http://vimeo.com/2616231) silkscreened prints and has a tee shirt line among more traditional work like comics is fairly signifigant and one of the reasons I asked Jon to stop by.  Jon generates his own projects and I think does so with a lot of integrity .

(above) Jon walks us through his Venom cover redo.

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(above) The Animal Collective box set illustrated by Jon designed by Rob Carmichael

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(above) Jon explaining color choices on the Mothman screenprint for the Giant Robot (San Francisco) show One Hundred Beasts that ran for the book Beasts! Book 2 published by Fantagraphics.

Thanks again for stopping by Jon it was great.  Here is a link to Jon’s site www.jonvermilyea.com/

Submitting Digital Versions of Your Assignments October 1, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in Class Topics, Handout Sheets, Scanning your assignments.
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You will be  handing in a digital file of all your assignments.  Finishes only not your sketches. This is  along with the original artwork you bring in and place up on the wall at  crits.  You are submitting 2  scans of each assignment, a hi-res and a lo-res.   Your low-resolution files should be derived from your original hi resolution file.   When you’ve finished your scan (color corrected, etc.)  burn your images onto a CD and make sure you test the disk  to make sure it works. On the CD please print please your full name  and email address  in permanent marker. Place your cd in a case or  envelope and hand it in to me.   Below are the specs for your scans:

The hi-res image:

  • RGB
  • Tiff
  • Flattened-NO LAYERS, all type should be rasterized (converted to art and flattened)
  • 350 dpi
  • Dimensions of the scan should be the same size as your original piece. ex.  A 24″ X 36″ painting = a 24″ X 36″ digital image
  • 8-bit , 16-bit

In photoshop go up to thge menu, select “File”  -and select “File info”.   You will get a dialogue box  that looks like this:

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Fill in Your name, the title of the piece or what assignment it was for, my name, the semester, and the class and your e-mail or some kind of contact info.

Jane Doe, “I Hate Squid”, pen, ink and collage, 10″ x 16″, Sept.  2010, Les Kanturek, instructor, Soph. Concepts”


The Lo-res image:

  • RGB
  • Tiff
  • Flattened-NO LAYERS, all type should be rasterized (converted to art and flattened)
  • 72 dpi
  • Dimensions of the scan should be the same size as your original piece. ex.  A 24″ X 36″ painting = a 24″ X 36″ digital image
  • 8-bit

File Naming

Label the actual tiff as follows:

last name_first name_HWTitle_lr_Les.jpg (ex: smith_john_POVSquid_lr_Les.tiff)

The “lr” stands for “low-res”- hr- “high-res”

Do not put “untitled” for your work, if it does not have a title then use the name of the assignment    or a short descriptive name (i.e. “Invisible Man”).

You should archive all of your art and have a digital copy of everything you do.

P.O.V Assignment/Fall ’10 August 30, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in Class Assignments, Class Topics, P.O.V., Point of View, Visual Narrative.
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Sketches due: 9/13
Finish due: 9/20

For the finish you will be handing in 2 sequential Color illustrations.

The heart of this assignment is to consider and change the point of view you would normally take when illustrating.
• Select a story from one of the audio recordings of Lou Beach’s “420 characters”. or read the stories yourself at Lou’s site. They are stories “limited to 420 characters each, (including spaces and punctuation) by illustrator Lou Beach.  The audio recordings are by Jeff Bridges and Ian McShane.
• Imagine yourself as a character in a story and draw from that perspective, both emotionally and physically. It can be the P.O.V. of the main character or  of  a minor one,  the character that you are exploring could even be implied but not explicitly mentioned . It doesn’t even have to be human.

What/who are you looking at and from where? Remember, you are now in the scene, not just a viewer/audience member. Try a range of viewpoints including an extreme POV and see what happens in your sketches. Keep in mind that your point of view encompasses not only a physical perspective but also a mental one.

Take the story of The Wizard of OZ as an example (obviously more than 420 words): Would the Wicked Witch of the West see Dorothy differently through her point of view than the way Glinda the good witch sees her? Think about the slides we saw in class of a child’s point of view, there was the physical (under the table or being baptized), but also the the children’s drawing of the WTC on 9-11.

Do your research. Act out the scene with some friends. Take pictures. Research your subject. Don’t take anything for granted. What would you really experience or see if you were that character. Think of the story you selected as a beginning point. Should the story take place in a different locale or time period? That’s up to you. Lou’s stories are  open to a lot of interpretations.

Your finished illustration should be roughly 8.5” X 11” either horizontal or vertical. I’d like at least 6 sketches from different points of view. Not done in your sketchbook. You can do more than 6 of course and pick more than one story.

Your sketches do not have to be 8.5” X 11”. As long as they are proportionate to a rectangle. They don’t have to be in color but you might want to indicate what colors will be in the sketch.

Visual Thinking and Literature May 9, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in Books, Narrative, Student Post.
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Post by Rachel Tonthat

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One of the most fascinating things for me is the intersection between art and literature. This can most commonly be found in the realm of comics, but I have been interested in artists and writers who move between genres or redefine them.

My best friend had the recent opportunity of interviewing Salvador Plascencia who I believe is an example of an unconventional thinker.

Salvador Plascencia is the author of the novel The People of Paper, a book that amazes me in terms of the relationship between the story and the actual physicality of its vessel (one of my other obsessions being the symbiotic relationship between stories and bookmaking). The story is set in El Monte, a small town which finds itself in a struggle against an invisible enemy they call Saturn, which is later revealed to be the author himself. Their war on Saturn is a war in which they try to reclaim their town for their own, learning to hide their thought and thus erasing them from the pages of the book. In first edition of the novel, words are physical cut from the pages of the book as the people rebel.

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What I find so remarkable about his system of writing is that it is a very visual process. Each chapter is encoded using circles and dashes, and his manuscript is laid out in a sketchbook with the different shapes and sections. Though he is not an artist, the way he writes is visual.

In one of his quotes he states,

“I do think that the way we materially see the novel has a profound effect on the way we construct narrative. If we understand the novel as a single column of prose spread over five hundred pages—so one block of text per page—the stories and paragraphs we write are in a very real sense just conforming to this arbitrary guide. From a production and design perspective, it makes sense to streamline—eliminate multiple columns, push out the woodcuts, standardize the fonts and sizes. You can move the novel from site to site much easier this way: a near automated process from hardback to pocket paperback to e-book.

Somewhere along the evolutionary line of the novel, we opted for faster flips of the page over a more varied typography. We opted for velocity… I’m interested in the reverse: in a writing that sticks to the page and brings the reader closer to the pulp that they are holding. Novels where the paper is the site of the novel, not just some container.”

Not only is Plascencia’s visual process interesting, the way that he is looking to reuse the design of a book to interact with the reader seems like a crucial point for us as illustrators and designers. This concept could be easily applied to fine art, comics and even advertisements with incredible possibilities. Often I believe it is easy to become complacent with the tools we are working with, when, as Teen showed us, paper can almost speak its own.

Salvadore Plascencia’s interview in the Nashville Review is definitely worth reading. I would rather not take the photos of the original manuscript from the site, as I feel that might be an infringement of something.

http://www.vanderbilt.edu/english/nashvillereview/archives/1084

Two Awesome Worlds Collide April 19, 2010

Posted by leskanturek in 3-D work, Animation, Film, Music, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Surreal.
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Post by Grace Lang

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In recent months, I have been watching a lot of music videos, specifically ones that feature dope-ass animation. It was sensational to realize that there are so many places for illustration within the music realm because jams, tunes, and diddies inspire most of us in some way or another.   SO…I wanna share what I’ve found!

Chad Vangaalen is a musician from Canada whose music I got into during high school. A few months ago, a friend showed me one of his music videos and I realized that he is actually an incredible illustrator and animator as well.  I think its pretty amazing when a person can master music and visual art. TOUGH STUFF. Here is a still from that video…it is called “Molten Light” and the song is off his album, “Soft Airplane.” The link to watch it on youtube is below the photo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwrIRhw4Z6Y

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In 2009, Chad released an album under the alias, Black Mold, called “Snow Blindness is Crystal Antz.” It doesn’t feature lyrics like his other stuff, but is effin incredible anyway. Here is a still and link to a video for the song, “Metal Spiderwebs.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUdKAYg84nQ

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Seriously, y’al. All his videos are phenomenal and totally worth checking out, SO DO IT.

NEXT UP is a bitchin claymation video for the Grizzly Bear (a Brooklyn-based folk rock group) song, “Ready, Able,” off the album, “Veckatimest.” The guys in the band didn’t make the video, as they aren’t animators like Mr. Vangaalen . This video is unbelievable and inspiring. I like it because it seems like a new approach to a somewhat common form of animation (claymation). The way it mixes media is especially fresh. Again, here is a still and a link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Puph1hejMQE

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The last video I want to share is from a band called Ramona Falls and it’s for their song, “I Say Fever.” Ciara, another  student in the illustration Dept., showed me this video and I am infinitely grateful because not only is it one of the best things I have EVER seen, but it also exposed me to a great new band. (I bought the album. SO GOOD.) The band is based in Portland, Oregon and their first/only album is titled, “Intuit.” This video is super different from the others. It doesn’t have as much of a hand-drawn feeling as Chad Vangaalen’s stuff, but there’s no disputing that it’s an insane and beautiful concept. I am drawn (PUN SO INTENDED) to it mostly because it fuses so many things that I like together: intricate line-work, bizarre imagery, good color choices, and ANIMALS. It’s also really nice to see something that was clearly manifested on the computer, but doesn’t feel super technology-y.

ONCE MORE, A STILL AND A VIDEO.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga0ohgZFVqc

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Oh, and another thing. When I got this album, I was overjoyed to realize that one of my long-time favorite illustrators, Theo Ellsworth, did the album artwork. This made me really happy because he’s beyond brilliant and I am glad to see he is getting such cool jobs. Here is the album cover and I highly suggest looking up more of his work. His book, “Capacity,” is especially inspiring.