Sunday, May 12, 2013

Ashley's Present

Title:  Ashley's Present
Date: ????
Medium: Ink, Pitt Pen

Notes:  I have a tendency to look up quotes for my fiancee and then write them down places... well this one I thought was exceptionally inspirational for her, so I tried to make an illustration for it for her.

Flower "Cup"

Title: Flower "Pot"
Date: May 9, 2013
Medium: Gouache, Pen

Notes:  I had a board laying around that Ashley painted the backdrop to and I just painted right on top of it and then used markers and pigment liners right on top of. This was fun!

Blue and Green Having a Battle

Title: Blue and Green Having a Battle
Date: ????
Medium: Watercolor
Scale: Original is 18" x 24"

Notes:  I was just staring up at the sky and for some reason the combination of the new spring leaves (the green) and the bright blue of the sky were vibrating. Couple that with the strong black lines of the tree itself and it just seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. This was fun because it was actually the first canvas I'd painted on.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"Killer Inside Me" Still

Title:  "Killer Inside Me" Still
Date: May 8, 2013
Medium: Photoshop
Scale: Original is 2700px x 1525px

Notes:  This is unfinished, and I think this is as far as I'm going to go with this one. Okay, so a little back story: I actually plan on doing a still from every movie (somewhere in it) of every movie that I watch this summer. I want it to be a good iconic spot of the movie, and would actually perfer it to have some interesting lighting situation or good interaction between characters. Let's face it, illustration should be about not only interesting characters, but interaction and A STORY. I consider these not only great color studies, but also mood, and interaction studies. Plus embedding the character in an environment.
This one in particular was a study in not only all those mentioned, but also  Reduction, Matter of Focus, and Limited Palette. Hopefully it reads from a distance as well.
All of these are going to be what I'll be going for in the next couple of months...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

These first few weeks will literally be just catching up my sketchbook work so that you all can see, but other than that it'll be really light. You know how you need those moments to just relax and get your head back on straight.

This summer should be extremely productive! And hopefully I'll start getting some freelance in the pipe.

Portrait Speeds

Title:  Portrait Speeds
Date: April, 2013
Medium: Photoshop
Scale: 8.5" x 11"

Notes:  These were done extremely fast, just trying to see if I can get some upgrades on that self-portrait series that I did ahile back for IPC.

Reductive Environment Sketches

Title:  Reductive Environment Sketches
Date: May 6, 2013
Medium: Photoshop
Scale: Originals are 8.5" x 11"

Notes:  These were less about accuracy and more about just trying to see if I can get substance out of pure values. They were extremely reductive and sort of just mood pieces so that I could start to get more of a feel for color. I'm still an extreme noob when it comes to color.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Silverspun Pickups - The Royal We

Welcome back... sheesh, that was a whirlwind of crazy to get from the last update to here. I've been cranking out like crazy. I actually have quite a few pieces to update this go around plus some writing.

One more day to go (Monday) then I'm free for the summer! OH MAN! THE PLANS!

Can't start dwelling on that yet, must finish out this last day... thus I need to get my sketchbook in order.

Speaking of sketchbooks, I have sooo many pages to get onto here. 

But yeah, before all that, let me catch up my pieces thus far in the digital realm. I'll have the next couple of months to play catch-up on my sketchbooks...

Here was my final essay for contemporary novel by the way:

An Insignificant Cart 
When someone generally thinks of a cart, they tend to just think about the physical description of a cart: four wheels, metal, maybe some plastic, quite possibly an area to set a child into. In a post-apocalyptic world such as the world in The Road by Cormac McCarthy, it can become so much more than that. It was a home and an unflinching friend on top of being what it was initially: A mobile storage container. This essay is an in-depth exploration as to what the cart itself represented, the personification of the cart, and even the emotional responses gathered from the characters themselves, all while tying back into the idea that the cart could arguably be one of the most influential ‘characters’ of the book.

The cart was initially introduced as a seemingly inconspicuous grocery cart with no real description given besides that. When it was first introduced it seemed so minute, so insignificant because even this page in the story had already built up the story up with such epic grandiose. It could be argued though, that without this cart, the father and boy might not have survived very long. In a way, it was the glue that bound them to survival. Without the cart they would not have had a method of carrying the larger amounts of supplies that they had throughout the story. Quite a few times the cart seemed to come to their rescue with promises of supplies and potentially shelter. If things would have been dire enough, the man could have probably even tipped the cart over and covered it with a tarp and they would have had a makeshift shelter for at least the boy to get by in. The cart itself seemed to almost represent their very floor of survival.

The author alluded to the importance of the cart, even though it could not talk, when he wrote: “Clamped to the handle of the cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror that he used to watch the road behind them” (McCarthy, 6). The story didn't explicitly state that the cart had any other specific modifications done to it to make it more appealing to anyone else save for the supplies themselves that were burdened upon it. The second cart got stolen once but it didn't seem to complain, it was just content doing what it did best, move objects from one spot to another. Luckily each time they found a cart it was a four-wheeled cart and not a three-wheeled one (like a wheelbarrow), because the sense of stability offered by a four-wheeled cart is much better and wouldn't fall over if stopped when they had to pull the gun on the cart thief later in the story. Each time they stopped, the cart would wait there like a very well trained dog, sitting with it’s tail wagging constantly just wanting nothing more than attention.

The boy seemed to feel a sense of abandonment (more so than the father) when he and his father had to leave the cart behind and “took a last look through the basket but that was it. Let’s go, he said. The boy took one last look back at the cart and then followed him out to the road” (McCarthy, 100). In a way the cart could - at this point - be compared to a used up prostitute being left in an alley way with nothing but her panties around her ankles. It was a sad state of affairs when the cart had to be abandoned. It could be argued that in a way the father and son found this cart on the road in the same way that a person might find a drifter on the side of a long dusty desert road. They both picked it up, rode along with them, then proceeded to turn on the cart and dump it when it had used up all it’s usefulness. To add even further insult to the original cart, they find one later in the story. “There was a market at the end of the street and in one of the aisles piled with empty boxes there were three metal grocery carts. He looked them over and pulled one of them free and squatted and turned the wheels and then stood and pushed it up the aisle and back again.”(McCarthy, 150) This could be argued as the treatment of man vs. man. The personified cart is a reflection of the selfishness of mankind’s nature. They will literally use something until it is completely used up and then toss it aside without so much as a reflective thought before moving on.

Throughout this essay there was an exploration into the ‘character’ of the cart, treatment of that character throughout, and the responses that the other characters show to this cart. All-in-all Cormac’s story in The Road is a very bleak outlook on a hypothetical near future, but somehow through man’s perseverance alone, it is actually more of a story of survival and struggle. The cart in the story is not explicitly given a minor character role, but throughout the entire journey it is always there, unflinching in the face of danger. For god’s sake  if someone were to be trapped in this hypothetical future completely alone without so much as a backpack or even a pair of pants with a bunch of pockets, at the very least hope for a cart without a squeaky wheel.

Oh, right ... art!

Wood Carving: Additive Sculpture

Title:  Wood Carving: Additive Sculpture
Medium: Wood Sculpture

Notes: This piece changed so many times from conception to completion. It initially started much different, but as the process went on, the puzzle pieces kept radically changing. While I enjoy the result (sort of retro robot feel), it looks nothing like the plan.
Overall, the piece deserves merit in terms of flow. I tried to make a great attempt at trying to play with the angularity as well as using the negative spaces to push the eye back into the piece.
As with the previous piece, I tried to use the patterning of the wood grain to move the eye around the piece. I almost think that having some object placed off-kilter or on the top would make for a nice break-up of the symmetry so that the piece wouldn't be so similar on each side.

Wood Carving: Subtractive Sculpture

Title:  Wood Carving: Subtractive Sculpture
Medium: Wood Sculpture

Notes: My initial thought process was to create an even more, slightly asymmetrical, organic piece. It was originally supposed to look more like a squid-like tentacle, but it ended up being more of a bird-like skull sculpture.
I decided midway through that it would be more interesting to turn the piece on it’s side and mount it slightly off-center to the wood block. I made as many attempts to follow the wood grain patterning as much as possible. I think by doing so I managed to make it even more organic. 
The problem areas seem to stem from the fact that it wasn't as smooth as I would have like it to be (especially around the “neck” area). There are so many nicks and bruises in the wood that it seems more like the piece still has a ton of work in terms of smoothing it out. Hilariously enough, I naturally threw my arm and wrist out while working on this piece

20/40 Planed Shapes

Title:  20/40 Planed Shapes
Medium: Shaped Paper

Notes:  The overall craftsmanship began moderately well, but I have since discovered that working larger tends to make things a bit clearer. I began with a much simpler design, and then realized that there weren't enough shapes to make up the overall design. I then began to place more objects in a circular pattern to mimic the exterior shape of the icosahedrons and then expanding that form at the bottom of the piece. I then took that a step further by opening the bottom of the shape to include smaller cube shapes in the interior. Since a triangular shape is the most stable shape, I decided that this would help to create a good sense of balance throughout. The shape breakup had to happen with the cubes being echoed on the outside as well.
I wish I had made the external shape at the top more load bearing because it would have helped to create a more solid viewpoint from the bottom. Also I would have liked much better craftsmanship overall, but as I stated initially, working smaller tends to be a detriment. So for next time, bigger IS better.

Dynamic Wire Sculpture

Title:  Dynamic Wire Sculpture
Medium: Shaped Wood, Wire

Notes:  For the majority of the gesture drawings, I had a tendency to draw prone animals (let’s face it, most of the animals in the zoo have become slightly apathetic). So I decided it would be ideal to find the largest animal I could find and draw it in the prone position as many times as I could before it stood up. Which led to my gesture wire frame as the bear.
My wire sculpting techniques seem to err on the slightly more gesture side instead of directly figurative. I tried to think about each of the sculpts as though I was going to 3D model the wire frame, but the output did not look as interesting as I would have liked. I tried to my best to loosen up the wire.
I could literally draw poses for days. I went to a website ( and attempted to gesture draw a ton of action poses. The pose that I chose was like a pre-leap pose because it gives an implied motion rather than an “in-motion” which I think might have been a bit more interesting perhaps.
For each base I tried to give a bit more dynamics to the piece by sort of tying the base to the piece. For example, with the bear piece I tried to give a sort of shale or rock texture. And for the leaping piece, I harkened back to the childish game of “don’t step on the crack or you’ll break your mother’s back” that I used to play as a kid.

Illustration II - Digital Portfolio

Title:  Illustration II - Digital Portfolio
Date: January - May 2013
Medium: Varies
Scale: Varies

Notes:  See each piece for more on the notes of each. As a whole though, this is the entirety of my illustration II class. For the most part each piece has all the work involved next to it, the only difference is that I had to truncate the amount of sketches that were with each piece.

WIP: Face that Could have been a Painting up Front

Title:  WIP: Face that Could have been a Painting up Front
Date: May 3, 2013
Medium: Photoshop

Notes:  While looking for a good reference to paint from, I stumbled upon this girl's deviant art page. She actually looks like she's painted up front, which is kind of strange, but I decided to try my hand at painting her. Unfortunately, it's still extremely stylized and the colors are kind of strange, BUT I was actually staring at Caravaggio's palette while painting this piece and tried a new technique of building up the layers. Hopefully it's starting to show some improvement, but I think I still have quite a ways to go.

Follow Mat @artofmatk

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