Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Work In Progress Stage 1

"The house must have fallen on her. Whatever shall we do?"

With my last piece, I took pictures of the work at various phases of completion and posted them on Facebook for friends and relatives to see. It was interesting to look back in the gallery and see it evolve from under-drawing to finished Watercolour. After that experiment, I thought I would post my WIP here as well. My objective is not so much to demystify the work, but to show that this indeed is a labor of love. Illuminating stories will be my lifes work, and I can think of no better story to begin with than The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

I still have a few more details to add to this before inking, but the under-drawing is pretty much done. There are obviously more details in this than the sketch, some planned and some spontaneous. I wanted to truthfully represent the impact of the house on the Wicked Witch of the East. I imagined it caught her by surprise; smashing into her from the back. It will be more noticeable in the final piece but the holes on her legs are from her stockings and directly beneath her legs are the remnants of her robe. The bricks that are strewn about are from a part of the brick foundation which also took flight along with the clothes line. I am not looking to make it gory since the Witches of OZ all seem to be made of dust or ash and are not so much flesh and bone. My hope is that this comes across as a more honest representation of Dorothy's shock and the intensity of the impact. Apologies for the low quality photograph. The final piece will be a high quality scan.

Next up... inking! :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Imagine FX, North Coast Excursions, Work in Progress.

So a little while ago I sent some work in to Imagine FX on a whim. My co-worker is a subscriber so I usually get to leaf through it when she is there (ever since that one time when she lent me a copy and I misplaced it... I payed her back). Anyway, it looks like some of my work will be featured in the May issue in the FXpose section for traditional media. I submitted three paintings though I'm still not clear if they will be publishing all three or only publishing one. Either way, I am flattered and surprised, and very happy. The publication originates in the UK so it won't get to the US until June. I've also been waiting to hear back from Communication Arts and Spectrum Fantastic Art. By this point it seems that I may not have made the cut, but you win some and you loose some. I'll have bigger and better work for next year so... moving on.

I was able to get away a bit recently to the small coastal town of Mendocino which is like my little piece of heaven on earth. I was happy to have found some cheap accommodations at a hostel in Caspar between Fort Bragg and Mendocino. I haven't yet been able to sit down on the trails to do some sketching, but the next time I go up, I want to do some landscape sketches perhaps some botanical drawing. It's been a while since I have done any observational sketching so its about time.

Right now I have two pieces on the easel. The first one is OZ related depicting this moment in the book. So far I am happy with the way it is coming together, though I still need to work on Toto's pose, and I also need to sketch out the landscape in the background. This piece promised to be a huge challenge from the get go. I am trying to wrap my head around the amount of pattern layout I will have to do for the different garments... Always those little Everest's... That's the story of my life. The second one is The little Match Girl. This is coming along quite nicely. I still have to work a few details out, but hopefully by next Wednesday I will have all of the under drawing done for the first painting and most of the under drawing done for the second. Provided I have no more personal setbacks as I did on Wednesday, I should be well on my way to inking.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Tin Woodman

First off I want to mention that tin actually does NOT rust... Most tin cans are actually made of steel or iron and "galvanized" with tin in order to prevent rusting. That said, my version of the Tin Woodman is made out of steel though plated with tin. However, being stuck out in the elements for a year, he was significantly rusted by thawing snow and little rivers of rain water that ran down his body and wore down the plating; seeping in to the steel. Besides that, his ball and socket joints are more than likely steel machined ball bearings which would definitely be vulnerable to rust. In the book he is one of the most tragic and tender characters; always crying if he accidentally kills a bug or something small and vulnerable. For this reason I added the tear streams that go from his eyes to the jaw joint which is constantly rusting shut.

My Tin Woodman is not a mechanical man like Tik Tok. His body was gradually replaced from one of flesh to one of metal, though his soul remains within the caverns of his shell. You will also notice that his scarf is not metal. This decision I made based on a bit of artistic license. I imagined that his true love (whom he forgot once he lost his heart) gave him the scarf as a keepsake and that it was really the only thing that reminded him of her after his complete transformation. His axe is likewise a reminder of his old self in keeping the wood handle and the grip wrapping. I made the blade bigger than I originally designed it since I figured he does some pretty heavy chopping throughout the book.

I always thought it was somewhat ironic that Baum made the Tin-Woodman's origin so gruesome. Even in his intro to the book, he wrote that he wanted to keep the wonders but get rid of the horrors of fairy tales. His unconscious surely played a trick on him with this character. While he is very tender, he is also the most brutally violent of the four.

Psychologically speaking he is by far the most interesting character in the OZ Universe.

Anyway, thanks for looking and enjoy!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Little Match Girl

I've been hard at work on the Tin Woodsman and I'm only a few steps away from finishing him so he should be ready to post by the middle of next week. Simultaneously I've been working on a few new pieces, one of which is not OZ related. Above is the preliminary compositional/color sketch I did around Christmastime last year. I started working on the final piece but I felt compelled to finish my first OZ illustration (posted below). I will be coming back to it as soon as I finish the Tin Man. Many more Illustrations to come. By this point I have pretty much gotten used to my work flow with Watercolour, so you can expect more pieces in the coming months. Thanks again for looking! :)