Tuesday, May 31, 2011

David Grove, Hall of Fame Illustrator





David Grove has been a long-time friend, and long-time influence on my work. If you don’t know his paintings, start your search today, as he is one of the preeminent American illustrators. His work is at once loose and controlled, depicting the right amount of information to tell a story or capture an interesting moment, whether it’s the play of light on a subject, or the way that subject happens to move. His original paintings are truly something to sit and stare at.



A few years ago he was inducted in the Society’s Hall of Fame, and I got the chance to introduce him. It was a great honor. My induction speech is included below. You’ll likely see more from David as I talk about him from time to time, and about a new book about his work that is soon to be published.



June, 2007

One could describe my friend David Grove as a reluctant illustrator....but a focused one.



You’d never know it from looking at the work, of course. There’s nothing reluctant about any of it...the passages of color, sweeping strokes and soft-sharp edges blending in and out with such control....no one goes into this kind of focus with reservation.



I’ve always gotten the sense that David was a bit of a maverick. Born to parents who were both artists, David decided that he would be a chemical engineer. He won a scholarship to Syracuse from a drawing competition.



But after being there awhile he changed his major to photography. He liked the technical side of things. After college he made enough money in a photography studio to indulge his wanderlust and fled to Europe.



Living in Paris, he lived the cafe lifestyle over there and made some money playing jazz piano. After a time, money running low, he was hired to do some pencil drawings for a Macy’s-style shop in France. He lived on the money he made from that one job for 3 months. Living an exotic European lifestyle.



He was later convinced to come to England to work at a studio, Artists Partners. This only lasted for a year....he might have remained in England but for the toxic nature of English food. He just could not take one more fish and chips. After all, he was getting older, he was 29....that stuff can kill a man.



He came back to the US and after seeing more of the great works of all the great illustrators living in Westport....he promptly fled to California. Where he found a bit of the Parisian cafe life in San Francisco.



At this point, David was doing all sorts of work for advertisers and publishers. I remember one distinct cover of a book he did about some rebels. The title, A Coffin Full of Dreams, is not as vivid as the image. Four figures in a mean-spirited pose, weapons in hand, one figure was a nun. The nun has nothing to do with the story I’m about to tell...but I’ve never forgotten that cover. (Maybe he can tell us about the nun later.)





David needed guns for this pose and instead of buying them, his technical side had the bright idea to build them. All he needed was the shapes and light on them to draw convincing weapons. But spray painting them in his apt would never do....so, like any sane man, he took them to the roof of the building.



Now, in those days, the SF Police were rather sensitive to rooftop snipers. But David had a deadline....and his focus was on the work. As he was spray painting a few of the fake guns on the roof, he heard the distinct crackle of a police radio, that seemed awfully close. Maybe down in the street. He kept on spray painting. But he soon had an odd sensation of being watched.



He held up the cardboard gun to check out how the sun was glinting off the steel grey cardboard barrel he was spraying, and as he turned to step back for a better look he noticed the door to the roof, and watched, bewildered, as a huge barrel of a gun slid slowly out of a small window by the door and was pointing directly at David.



Moments later he recalls being set upon by rather large members of SWAT, being thrown down and angrily frisked while all sorts of screaming ensued about how he should not try anything like ‘moving.’



With many frenetic silver-tongue reasons, he finally convinced them that the guns weren’t real. One SWAT member went over and picked up the toilet paper roll, cigarette pack, taped weapon and confirmed it.



He was led down to his apt where he showed them what he was doing, and while still explaining this in the stairway, as the police were headed out the front door, he happened to notice that his entire block had been cordoned off and a large crowd of people had gathered to watch the SWAT guys shoot the ‘sniper.’





This doesn’t say much about David’s actual painting, but more about his focus. He has a dead serious, laser-guided desire to wrangle a piece of painting into the most lovingly crafted flow of beauty.



So much so, that one time David was rubbing away at his painting, in the days when he used acrylics and inks instead of the guache and acrylics he would later use, to get a nice wash of color just perfect for a portrait head that he was doing for TIME magazine......when suddenly he realized he had rubbed completely through the illustration board he was painting on.



This is focus. This is David’s focus.



When I look at his work, I hear it as well as feel it. His washes and color become lyrical in a musical sense. His work is Beethoven strong....Mozart playful....and Paganini driven. And the light....oh....it is scrumptous, edible...it’s not the way the light falls on an object that he paints, but the light the painting generates within itself. It’s as if you could look at a Grove in the dark and still see it by it’s own light.



I first met him when I was a student. We got along immediately. I loved his passion about illustrating and getting it right. He was the first real professional illustrator I’d ever met. And when I & a friend brought our portfolios over to his apt one day, I realized that this was the lifestyle I wanted to have as an illustrator myself. He was an American Illustrator with a European lifestyle.



He said goodbye to us that day, wished us luck and said, “just remember...when you get out of school and into the field, I’ll be your competition.”



Again, David's focus.









RC

2011 Chesley Award Finalists





The Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists annually gives out the Chesley Awards, which were established in 1985 as ASFA's peer awards to recognize individual works and achievements not otherwise recognized by the Hugo Awards, during a given year. The Chesleys were initially called the ASFA Awards, but were later renamed to honor famed astronomical artist Chesley Bonestell after his death in 1986. The awards are usually presented annually at the World Science Fiction Convention or at the North American Science Fiction Convention when the Worldcon is held outside of North America. This year’s ceremeony will take place at the Reno World Con, Renovation, August 17th — 21st.



There are a lot of new names on the list this year. Good luck to all!!!



This year's nominees are:



Paperback (Gallery)

Volkan Baga, for The Zombies of Oz by Christian Endres; Atlantis, November 2010

Jason Chan, for Geist by Phillipa Ballantine; Ace, November 2010

Jon Foster, for Dreadnought by Cherie Priest; Tor, September 2010

Todd Lockwood, for The Ragged Man by Tom Lloyd; Pyr, August 2010

Stephan Martiniere, for Ares Express by Ian McDonald; Pyr, August 2010

Anthony Palumbo, for Yarn by Jon Armstrong; Night Shade Books, 12/2010

John Picacio, for Elric: Swords and Roses by Michael Moorcock; Del Rey, December 2010

Dan Dos Santos, for Alien Tango by Gini Koch; DAW, December 2010



Hardcover (Gallery)

Kinuko Y. Craft, for Midsummer Night by Freda Warrington; Tor, November 2010

Don Maitz, for Blasphemy by Mike Resnick Golden Gryphon Press, 08/2010

Gregory Manchess, for Spectrum 17 edited by Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner;

Underwood Books, Nov. 2010

John Picacio, for The Waters Risingby Sheri S. Tepper; Harper Voyager, August 2010

Michael Whelan, for The Way of the Kings by Brandon Sanderson; Tor, August 2010



Magazine (Gallery)

Julie Dillon, for Clarkesworld #48; September 2010

Nick Greenwood, for Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show #17; June 2010

David A. Hardy, for Analog; April 2010

Andrey Lazarev, for Clarkesworld #50; November 2010

Sergio Rebolledo, for Clarkesworld #40; January 2010

James Ryman, for Heavy Metal; January 2010









Three-Dimensional

Thomas S. Kuebler, Scream Queen; mixed media

David Meng, Amphibiana; mixed media

Mark Newman, Eel Walker; bronze

Michael Parkes, The Letter; bronze

Jordu Schell, Ixana; mixed media

Vincent Villafranca, The Dogs of War; bronze











Interior Illustration (Gallery)

Jason Chan, Vilcabamba by Harry Turtledove; Tor.com, 2010

Jon Foster, Four Horsemen, at Their Leisure by Richard Parks; Tor.com, April 2010

Donato Giancola, Middle Earth: Visions of a Modern Myth by Donato Giancola;

Underwood Books, 10/2010

John Picacio, Elric: Swords and Roses by Michael Moorcock; Del Rey, December 2010

Keith Thompson, Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld; Simon Pulse, October 2010





Unpublished Color (Gallery)

Daren Bader, Isis; oil

Julie Dillon, Planetary Alignment; digital

David A. Hardy, Portals to Infinity; acrylic

Omar Rayyan, The Favorite; oil

Matthew Stewart, Waterfall Dragons; oil

Raoul Vitale, Torin’s Quest; oil











Unpublished Monochrome (Gallery)

Eric Braddock, Highborne; graphite & white charcoal on toned paper

Anthony Francisco, Tikbalang; digital

Ed Ko, Drawing for Beautiful Grim; pencil

Petar Meseldžija, UNK!; pencil

Ian Miller, Triptych; ink

David Palumbo, Zombie Girl; acrylic











Product (Gallery)

Bob Eggleton, Dragon’s Domain: The Ultimate Dragon Painting Workshop; Impact, September 2010

Donato Giancola, St. George and the Dragon, promo art for Dragon*Con 2010

Lars Grant-West, Pact of the Blind, promo art for IlluXCon 3

David Palumbo, Transcend (aka Judgment), Heavy Metal tarot card; 2010

Sam Weber, Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan, promo art for Tor ebook; January 2010









Gaming (Gallery)

Daarken, Harbor Serpent (Magic card, Magic 2011 core set); WotC, July 2010

Lucas Graciano, Amorphous Drake (Legends of Norrath); Sony Online Entertainment, 2010

Kekai Kotaki, Gaea’s Revenge (Magic card, Magic 2011 core set); WotC, July 2010

Howard Lyon, Eel Umbra (Magic card, “Rise of the Eldrazi” set); WotC, April 2010

Matthew Stewart, Bloodshot Trainee (Magic card, “Scars of Mirrodin” set); WotC, October 2010

L. A. Williams, Maritime Guard (Magic card, Magic 2011 core set); WotC, July 2010



Art Director

Lou Anders — Pyr Books

Irene Gallo — Tor Books

William Schafer — Subterranean Press

Jon Schindehette — Wizards of the Coast

David Stevenson — Ballantine / Del Rey



Lifetime Artistic Achievement

Brom

Jeffrey / Catherine Jones

Ian Miller

Moebius/Jean Giraud

Darrell K. Sweet

Boris Vallejo



RC

St. George Final

12 x 16
Watercolor on Bristol


Final Digital Work

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spotlight On: SCOTT GUSTAFSON

-By Dan dos Santos



I went to Barnes & Nobles the other day with my family. As per our usual routine, I sat with my kids in the children's section while my Wife used the brief respite to look at some books in peace and quiet. While killing time in the play area, I spied a Scott Gustafson book on a nearby shelf that I had been meaning to pick up for a long time. I flipped through it, and was quickly reminded why Scott is at the top of my favorite artists list.



Scott Gustafson's 'Classic Fairy Tales' retells childhood classics such as Snow White, Goldilocks, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and several more. The stories are obviously wonderful, but honestly, it's all about the pictures for me. The book boasts 75 original paintings, almost all of which appear to be done in oils, and man are they good! They are beautifully rendered, colorful, and have a wonderful sense of depth and ambience.







Scott's work is rendered realistically, but drawn with real whimsy... resulting in a painting that is expertly balanced between a playful and believable nature.



For instance, blending a realistic little girl, and a Pixar-esque wolf, into a single cohesive image is tough feat to pull off. Make the girl too cartoonish and the image loses it's sense of realism. Make the wolf too realistic, and you've got a girl who should be crapping her pants. It's Scott's obvious grasp of light and color that allow him to pull that balance off so beautifully.



That balance is something I have been struggling with in my own work of late, so I find this book to be particularly inspiring. I only regret not picking up eight years ago when it first came out. Better late than never, I guess!



Over the nearly twenty-five years that span Scott's career, he has had the opportunity to fulfill commissions for a number of varied clients and publishers, including: Celestial Seasonings, Playboy magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, The Bradford Exchange, Dreamworks and The Greenwich Workshop.





His illustrated books include The Night Before Christmas, Peter Pan, Nutcracker, as well as two original titles, Animal Orchestra and Alphabet Soup. His book of Classic Fairy Tales, released in the fall of 2003 by The Greenwich Workshop Press, was awarded a Chesley award for best interior book illustrations from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.









His latest release, Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose, was released as a companion book to the fairy tale book in the fall of 2007 by The Greenwich Workshop Press,  and features over 45 color illustrations. This book recently won a Silver in the category of Best Children’s Picture Book by the 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards.





For those interested in the more technical aspects of Scott's work, check out his website where he has a pretty thorough step-by-step detailing his artistic process.



 
RC
Saturday, May 28, 2011

Garfield Coloring Pages




Posted in Garfield Coloring Pages
Robbikal Karim Garfield

Christmas Family Coloring Pages

Christmas is a family-orinted festival involving everyone's participation in preparations of Christmas eve. They together collectively work out to have best christmas party, decorations and gift exchange with guests & relatives. Watch out these Christmas Family Coloring Pages which shows family standing with Santa, decorating their house, placing tree, shopping and other scenes.



Robbikal Karim fun

Christmas Game Coloring Pages

Christmas brings with it playful holiday time for kids to enjoy activities, games, coloring and creative fun-filled work. Gaming and coloring togther make great combination just like the ones available here in the form of Christmas Game Coloring Pages. Puzzle, word search, arranging and other gaming options could be added to these sheets.

Robbikal Karim coloring-printables

Christmas Fireplace Coloring Pages

Color these blank pictuers of fireplace decorated with wreaths, garlands and stockings are hung for Santa to place some gifts inside them. View these pictures of Christmas Fireplace Coloring Pages to download and gift these easy printable sheet to your little kids and angels.


Anime Christmas Coloring Pages

Enjoy the unlimited range of coloring material based on anime cartoons celebrating Xmas festive holidays in a group. Select from any of these listed Anime Christmas Coloring Pages for gifting to others. Hope, our viewers love these printable based on sheets.



Robbikal Karim disney-cartoons
Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pricing Your Work...Some things to consider

-By Eric Fortune

Prior to having my work on the walls I discussed pricing with the gallery owner. It was suggested that the work be under priced. That hurt. Now, as some may know it's fairly standard for the gallery to take 50% of any sold work. Double whammy. 'Starving artist' took on a whole new meaning. I had to keep in mind my long term goals; produce art that I like, and make a living by doing so. Now there is actually a good reason for what was suggested. Under pricing is a strategy used to move work. In the gallery scene there's nothing quite like a "SOLD OUT" show to peak interest and build momentum. It creates a vacuum or demand for the work as it becomes scarce.



Under pricing makes it easier for a collector to invest in a new person on the scene. Someone who has not yet shown they can consistently produce quality and engaging work. I knew that many of the artists I was looking at in the Low Brow/Pop Surreal scene were also former illustrators. I assumed that collectors were probably familiar with illustrators because of this. I also assumed that because I had been accepted into The Society of Illustrators and Spectrum and had started to make a name for myself there would be some cross over. This may be true for some artists. However, it seemed I really was the new kid on the block and the bottom rung is where I was starting.



Because prices were lowered it did help the work to sell. And thank goodness I've sold most of my work as I don't have time for much illustration on the side these days. Because it's my only source of income every time I have a show it's the most stressful, nerve wracking experience. A few works may sell prior to the opening but things rarely fly off the wall. As good as it looks to have a "sold out" sign it's obviously not a good thing to have unsold work or even worse to have priced work too high and have to back peddle the prices on your next show. My goal, other than to make good art, is to consistently sell work, and to slowly raise prices appropriate to the demand of my work. No one wants to be a flash in the pan. Yet, it happens. There are many pitfalls one must be aware of. Pricing too high too fast can be one of them. It helps me to think in the long term about the sacrifices I make today that will hopefully pay off tomorrow. This is the route I'm taking and it may evolve.



There are obviously different dynamics and other factors that may come into play. For example if you already make a really good living on the side, selling art at the gallery may not have the same urgency. And pricing the work closer to what you think it's worth vs. what someone is willing to pay for it may not be a major concern. Some would rather hold on to their work rather than sell it for lower than what they would consider it's worth. However, if you're in the business of selling original art for a living hording your own stuff and being your own biggest collector won't get you where you want to be. The truth is galleries like artists who are in demand and who can sell. Like anything else it's a business. I should also mention that not all galleries are worth your time and money and you should always research as much as possible prior to working with a gallery. The relationship between gallery and artist should be a mutually beneficial one.



For anyone interested, I'm currently reading a book that offers some more insight into the gallery scene. Check out "The $12 Million Stuffed Shark" The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art" by Don Thompson. I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but the less debt one has the easier it is to take a risky decision concerning your career. Things to consider.
RC

MicroVisions Success!!!

I just received the final numbers for this year's MicroVisions auction. In total, the auction raised $4464.85! Literally every penny of that amount will go into the pockets of well-deserving art students, via the Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship Competition.



Thank you again to all the artists who generously donated their time, and to all those who bid on art, making the whole thing possible. Every dollar matters. And though a single contribution may not seem overly substantial by itself, I can assure you it is. As a past recipient of an SoI Scholarship myself, I can personally attest that it made a major difference in launching my career.



Unlike other scholarship programs that simply reduce one's tuition, the Society of Illustrators grants cash awards. Meaning that an art student can spend the scholarship any way he sees fit; be it launching a website, printing postcards, traveling to NY or whatever.



A special congratulations to our own Jesper Ejsing, whose 5x7 inch painting was the highest selling item, raising $1046.00 by itself. Quite an achievement!






John Cuneo's contribution to the MicroVisions Auction.
RC
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Trap

-Jesper Ejsing



I was deeply honoured to be asked to do a painting for the MicroVisions expo. Fully conscious of the artists that has contributed in th past, I set out to do something difficult but close to my heart. I was going to do a little story in the picture and thus resisting the temptation to do a barbarian babe portrait ( which is always my first choice in doing an unbound assignment or when I am asked to: “hey can you do a fantasy-art drawing?”)



I wanted to do something evil and creepy but with more mood than core, and finally I decided on something that would allow me to still fit in a barbarian babe. I sketched a loose thumb of a nude girl reaching for jewels hanging out on a branch, maybe placed there in the sun as a bait. In the shadows underneath the rocks and half covered in water hid the zombie, that had placed the jewels. The nude would not only be because I could, but because the soft skin would show her as being more vulnerable and less protected.



I took it around at the studio and Christian Højgaard, a comic book artist, pointed out that the lack of involvement or gesture of the zombie might read wrong. It would simply look like there was just a dead guy lying in the water washed up against the rocks. Certainly not as frightening as the sorry I had planed. Also I abandoned the idea of necklace hanging in branches. It didn’t look placed enough. So I switch it out with a flat rock and made the jewels to be bracelets, thick and solid gold. ( the original was going the be very small so I needed something big and visible.



Next I did the real sketch. I placed things more correctly and tried out 2 different colour themes.





Once again I asked around at the studio and got 50-50 for both versions. Next step was doing some more precise sketches of the 2 figures. The zombie came right out in first try. The eagerness of him was very important. I wanted him to look hopeful, even if it is not a very common thought for zombies, I am guessing.





The female sketch was okay, but I was already anxious to get the face right. I asked on Facebook if anyone in the Copenhagen area wanted to pose in bikini for a zombie painting. Apart from a couple of guys volunteering I got one really good contact. Sabina came around the studio the day after and posed in a ring mail bikini I just happened to have lying around my work area. The photos proved to be both a help and a curse. I sketched 2 different versions of the photo but the pose seemed to die or look boring when I went too close to the photo. So in the end I just took some of the photographic elements as the face, hair line in the scalp, butt cheeks and foreshortening in the arm, and placed them within my initial sketch.





With the 2 figures sketch on separate papers I copy pasted them in to the thumb sketch in Photoshop. I think it is a good think to sketch the different figures separately after the thumb and after you know what and how they are supposed to look and pose. This way you can do sketch after sketch until you get it right, as opposed to doing the whole sketch on one paper. ( yes I did that years ago. Sketches all in one paper in 100% until someone pointed out that it was a waste of time, effort and paper. And I was introduced to Thumb-sketching ). It takes the pressure out if it and lets you aggressively power every single figure for what it is supposed to do. Only when every figure is fully sketched to its potential, I combined them digitally. In this case it is not that difficult, but had this instead been a battle scene of five figures you can see how much benefit it is to separate them. Also It cheats the mind to concentrate on small bites instead of the whole cake.





Next step. Ordinary I would transfer the sketch the hard way on to board or paper and thus drawing it a third or forth time. This time I tried a little trick taught to me by the honourable and talented Steve Prescott. My fellow fantasy artist friend and acrylic painter. He prints out the sketch onto Bristol paper. Sealing it down and closing the surface with matt medium. Well; I did not have a printer, so I used a copy machine to get it down to the Bristol. Problem is, when you do that with thick paper you can rub off the black and grey, so I let it go through another rtime into the machine for it to be warmed up again. The warm hardens the powder from the machine. You can also bake the paper for a couple of minutes to harden the powder. It is a trick we all used here at the studio years ago before everyone went digital and we used to joke around saying “Oh I just need to bake this illustration and it is done.” I did not use matt medium. I like the paint to soak into the paper.



Lastly I found the Wyeth painting that originally inspired me to this painting. I looked hard at it for 2 minutes and then removed it to avoid copying.





The final painting is really nice. And I was proud to deliver it to Dan and Irene.

Lastly, you can buy this painting on ebay today if you place a bid on the auction.
RC