Sunday, February 26, 2012

Vinyl Thoughts teaser...

Here's a work-in-progress teaser of my piece for the upcoming Vinyl Thoughts 2 video game themed art show in Dallas, Thursday March 15th.  Check out the website and don't miss it!  Free admission, door prizes, lots of awesome sponsors, and of course fantastic custom toys by 30+ artists on display and for sale.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

For The Love of The Artists - Show Poster

Just finished up the show poster for Kettle Art's "For The Love of The Artists" group gallery show.  Don't miss it, soft opening Sat Feb 22nd & Grand Opening Saturday March 3rd, 7-10pm.  Hope to see everyone there!

The original drawing (below) is pen & ink line art on 5x7 scratchboard, finished in photoshop with hand lettering and additional grey tones.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Animated Movie Poster Illustration

Just finished up this poster illustration and animated gif for Broken Heart Disease, a short film being directed out in good ol' Los Angeles.  Learn about the film and "Like" the movie page on facebook!

Beyond the fun drawing itself, it's like visiting an old friend working with animated gifs, and I think I'll make an effort to find more outlets for it.  This piece would also make a fun anaglyph for retro red/blue 3D glasses.

Here's the raw drawing on its own... 5x7, pen & ink on scratchboard, followed by some of the initial doodles to gain my bearings.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Balancing Values in Black & White Line Art

In the seven months since beginning my Low Residency MFA in Illustration at Hartford, the biggest personal change I've witnessed beyond multiplied creative output is a new found sense of focus and confidence in my individual style. In the 6 years from undergraduate work til now, a number of techniques, media, and approaches took hold of me. In that experimentation, I lost a sense of confident direction in my work... and my output suffered as well. Whether it was the final decision to take responsibility for my growth through graduate work, or simply being surrounded by massively talented classmates, almost instantly in the first days on campus I could see with a new clarity which piece best represented me as an artist. 

'Survival of the Biggest' had been an experiment in process, using technical pen on blank white clayboard as opposed to scratching into pre-inked black scratchboard (something I went back and forth about multiple times over the years). Claybord's unique flexibility for sculpting values in ink combined with additional compositional prep work on my part brought the piece to a certain level of style and finish that I continue to be proud of today.  I decided that between my enjoyment of that process and satisfaction with the final product, this was the vein I would continue down for the foreseeable future. 

Since that moment seven months ago, I have held true to the process and started building a new portfolio of work that feels genuinely 'Albright,' for all intents and purposes. Now I've come to a point where I feel a comfortable enough distance from the pieces that I can evaluate the body of work as a whole, and am more able to improve upon the formula in small but significant ways. For example, using what I'd call thumbnail evaluation some images are more effective than others when viewed from a distance or reduced to a small preview on screen.  Viewing an image at this greatly reduced size helps you ignore the subtleties for a moment and instead judge the overall composition, clarity, and impact.  

Using quick thumbnail evaluation, I've recognized that my drawings with larger areas of heavy blacks are more immediately effective and easier for the eyes to process than drawings with even contrast through the entire piece.  Case in point, both 'Sabre Skull Valley' and 'Pterodactdinner' (above) are rather tonally even throughout.  Intending to provide the viewers dense jungle of information to explore, all areas of the picture plane are handled with equal contrast and no large areas of heavy black aside from 'Pterodactdinner's frame. But in comparison with 'Lava' or 'Post-Apocrowlyptic' (below), both of which contain large areas of black to counter evenly balanced hatch work, I'm finding the two latter examples are more successful and give the eyes both a resting place and an easier point of entry.  And by that virtue, they both perhaps appear more 'finished.'

Long story short, moving forward I intend to pay closer attention to having areas of heavy black as a resting point for the eyes.  I also suspect this will lead me to make more complete use of the claybord medium in the sense that these black areas will require that I use my scratch tool for white detailing, rather than building up values with the pen and using the scraper tool for corrections alone.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

From the Heart of my Bottom

What's really, really warm and comes deep from within?  Love, of course!!
Happy Valentine's everyone, from the Heart of my Bottom!

I finally designed this greeting card after sitting (hah) on the idea for quite awhile.  Sometimes those inspirations will get stuck in the back of your head and won't go away until you put them down on paper.  It's not my usual style, but I love working with vector graphics all the same!  Check these out on my etsy shop for the next loving special occasion. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Deny Spec Work

There are thousands of posts about why sites like are bad news for businesses and designers, so I won't try to summarize them all.  But I'd like to provide a couple links to helps educate upcoming designers and artists about why this dreaded 'Spec Work' and croudsourced designs are ill-advised and actually hurt you as a creative professional.  These practices also hurt the credibility of the client business when they take advantage of artists in this way.

To use the old cliche, you wouldn't hire a plumber to fix your toilet only to pay him if you decide you liked his personal technique.  We are professionals, and our services should be approached as such.  So please avoid sites where businesses are encouraged to ask designers to put their time, resources, and reputations on the line in hopes that the business won't steal your work or decide to pay you a low price after the fact.

(Note: I realize some consider Threadless submissions spec work, and while I agree that it fits the bill in some ways, it's with a conscious knowledge of its other benefits that I draw the line.  A perk of submitting to Threadless is its ability to provide feedback on the designs, and in the end, the work is still yours to sell or market if not accepted for print by Threadless.  On the other hand, being asked to design a client specific graphic only to have them pay someone else for the job is unethical.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Illustrated Greeting Cards

Check out the illustrated greeting card collection on my etsy shop!  I wanted to compile my favorite pen & ink / scratchboard pieces from the past year, and also added a couple bonus items to the set.

Printed on recycled paper with blank interiors and envelopes.  And every purchase in the store comes with a bonus gift.  Happy shopping and thank you for your support!

Pressure-Sensitive iPad Stylus

I don't normally post about tech gear, but I'm really excited about the upcoming JaJa pressure-sensitive ipad stylus on Kickstarter.  I just pledged $80 for a 2-pack and replacement nibs for about the price of one, as it will eventually retail.  These ship out in April and will integrate with the well-regarded ProCreate app, essentially giving us the Wacom Cintiq solution we've been looking for in portable form on the iPad.  I've been fiddling with the Wacom Bamboo stylus, but this sounds like the thing I've been hoping for instead.

I'll spare you a full-blown summary of all of it's features, but two programmable buttons and airplane mode functionality (bypassing wifi and bluetooth through high pitched frequencies) make this a really exciting option for artists on the go.  Anyone out there with an iPad who's been salivating over a Cintiq might want to look into this....