Here are four blogs I’m finding myself visiting every day now:
ILLUSTRATION ART — a wonderfully written blog on illustration, past and present, with terrific visual examples. The analyses and human story angles are wonderful, and spot-on, in my opinion.
Today’s Inspiration — a daily upload of illustrations from the 1940s through the 1970s (for the most part); an interesting time for illustration, when academic training was mixed with abstraction and experimentation. The author also has a wonderful knack for finding information about near-forgotten illustrators of the era and their lives and work habits.
Charlie Allen’s Blog and
Harry Borgman Art Blog — both of these men are now in their eighties: the former retired and uploading absolutely stunning illustrations from his past; the latter still going strong and sharing great works from past and present. They both write well and have great stories concerning the art they show. Mr. Borgman has an amazing range of work, from fine art, experimental, pure abstraction, to grounded-in-reality paintings and intricate line drawings. His textbook on line drawing, published in the late 1970s was something I, as a teenager crazy about pen and ink, checked out so often from our public library in Richardson Texas that it was dog-eared by the time I left for California.
All of these are a pleasure to see and read about, so I’m sharing them with you.
I just picked up a copy of a local magazine — the Verdugo Monthly — that has a great article about fashion and film illustrator Gregory Weir-Quiton. The print version has many examples of his beautiful pencil and watercolor life sketches. The on-line version of the article has reproduced one of them at the top of the page. Check it out here.
As of this writing his official web site is still mostly under construction, but the flash intro page has a few more examples of his drawings. Really inspiring.
Once again I’ve been looking at Mort Drucker’s work for inspiration, and once again I get that combination of excitement, admiration and ego-flattening humility in the presence of his genius. Check out this blog post of some of his originals (you can see his pencil lines and washes really well on close inspection). Truly awe-inspiring.
Here’s a wonderful collection of 20th century American illustrators — every name is worth clicking on. It’s wonderful to see how much advertising used to be illustrated by hand, in oils, watercolor, pencil, pen and ink, as opposed to the absolute totalitarian hegemony of photography in advertising these days.
Here’s a wonderful collection of story illustrations done for Reader’s Digest about 50 years ago. Most are beautifully rendered and composed without being overworked.
Lastly, a friend sent me a link to I’m Learning To Share — a blog about music, illustration and culture that’s a lot of fun to nose around in.
My friend, and fellow storyboarder, Dan Sweetman has co-created some animated craziness on YouTube. Check out Cotton Candy Autopsy. Great drawings, goofy slapstick humor
Dan’s illustration work is fabulous. His official site for Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children has a lot more to look at.
This is a fun video blog: Stefan G. Bucher’s DAILY MONSTER. He draws a new monster every day, based on an ink spill he creates. Fun to watch him think and come up with something spontaneously. Mr. Bucher is a designer and his regular web site is here. There’s a whimsical feel to it that’s refreshing.
I’ve read about it, I’ve blogged about it, but a friend sent me this video earlier today and I have to say it’s amazing to actually see Mr. Wiltshire in action. All I can do is shake my head in silent amazement.
My work schedule in the last couple days has precluded too much sketching, so I’m sharing this little gold nugget instead. Wally Wood was a legendary comic book illustrator from the 1950s through the 1970s and a huge influence on me as a teenager. He put together a collection of “22 panels that always work” for times when he needed a quick jolt of compositional inspiration while he was laying out a comic page. Joel Johnson has made this wonderful collection, previously passed down from artist to artist only by photostat then shabby xeroxes, now beautifully scanned and available – free – for all of us. This is a must for storyboard artists, illustrators and anyone interested in a peek into the mind of one of the late, great geniuses of American graphic storytelling.
I just happened upon this introductory level tutorial on how to draw a head. Some good general information about art supplies for sketching, too. It’s interesting to see how different people divide up the facial proportions. This one’s a little different than the classic eyes-in-the-middle-of-the-head version I learned. Also, the facial expression slider at the end is amusing.
Chris Wahl is an illustrator living in Australia who has a wonderful blog. He has some videos on his site that show (in sped-up time) him doing some great drawing right in the computer. He uses the traditional blue pencil (in this case a digital “pencil”) underdrawing and then digitally “inks” in black over it. It’s great to watch him “undo” stuff he’s not happy with, reposition elements, and even flip the entire drawing backwards to get a fresh perspective on it, then flip it back again. It’s like taking a drawing to the mirror that you’ve been working on a while – it’s always a shock to see some glaring errors that you’ve just become used to, but are really apparent when the image is flipped. I’ve actually never thought, before this, to use the “edit>transform>flip horizontal” function in Photoshop to do the same thing.
The video is here to check out, and there are several more on his main page.
Peter Rubin, veteran storyboard and previs artist, has a beautifully written article – Why Storyboards Still Work – that tells it like it is in regard to hand-drawn storyboards “vs.” digital previs. This is an especially key paragraph:
So which should the director/producer choose if there’s only money for one? (A hypothetical question — it will always be cheaper to storyboard, at least until the day that video iPods come down to the price of paper. But let’s pretend.) All else being equal, animatics or storyboards? That depends, and not on technology. It depends on the personal preferences of the director, the schedule, and the gifts of the available artists. 2D or 3D, in motion or static, a previsualized sequence will only be as good as the person executing it. I would argue that if you can afford previs, you can’t afford not to storyboard as well.
Beautiful. The gifts of the available artists. That’s it. A lot of this silliness about 3d vs. 2d ignores the basic fact that the quality of the work is more dependent upon the quality of the artist, not the tools the artist uses.
And he has this one last word of caution:
All of this would be merely academic, and darn funny, if the livelihoods of some outstanding film professionals (and, some would argue, the quality of the final work) were not already being adversely affected by opinions like this. Storyboards are still widely in use — but some productions are now starting to deny it, so that they won’t seem behind the times (this recently happened to one of my ex-ILM colleagues). That should make us, artists and directors of all dimensions, just a little bit alarmed.
It should always be about how to make the film the best it can be, regardless of what tools are used. This is a great article. He touched on some of the points I’ve pointed out, but I think he articulated it better than I did.