Fine art Archives

June 28, 2004


Yoshitoshi art: Does the cuckoo also announce its name from above the clouds?
(Did I say I meant it about the light, sporadic blogging? I didn't mean it about meaning it about the light, sporadic blogging)

Via Making Light:

Site about 19th-century Japanese print artist Yoshitoshi with many images. Jeroen has the book the print at left is reprinted in, One Hundred Views [or Aspects-RD] of the Moon, and it's turned us both into big Yoshitoshi fans. I have occasionally swiped stuff from the book, especially in the White House in Orbit story Target: The Emperor, so that means it must be good. I only steal from the best.

September 1, 2004

Better-looking money

A website with designs for the Euro that weren't used. Many of them look a lot better than the drab, nondescript bills we ended up with.
Jaap Drupsteen's designs are well worth looking at. They're not as good as the ones he did for the Dutch currency, but they would have been a lot easier to tell apart than what we got. Do look at the full-sized images; the colors on the thumbnails have been muted.

(Via A Fistful of Euros which is one year old today!)

October 10, 2004


Via Pete Ashton, here's a gallery of Pulp and SF book covers and movie posters. One day, I'll have no end of fun ripping these off for White House in Orbit.

November 4, 2004

Figure Drawing Factory

Figure Drawing Factory is "a group of artists and models that come together in cyber-space to fabricate art from the human figure. As a group we enjoy working together, learning together, and sharing our successes. We hope you enjoy our site and the drawings that we have created as much as we enjoy creating them."

What I like about this site is that you see the same models and poses as drawn by different artists of widely varying styles and abilities. At life drawing sessions I'm often so embarrassed about the quality of my own work that I daren't look over the other artists' shoulders for fear that they'll want to look over mine and see my struggle to get it even remotely right (I'm the only self-taught artist in the group, and for all that people complain about the quality of art school training, the difference shows). For the blog, I cherry-pick the results - the average quality of the life drawings in my sketchbook is appalling.
I'm glad that the participants in Figure Drawing Factory are not so shy. It's fascinating to see.

November 13, 2004

Theodor Kittelsen

Using the blog to replace my long term memory: a few years ago, Geir sent me a link to work by Theodor Kittelsen, one of Norway's most popular illustrators. I was reminded of his work while reviewing the latest Finntroll album (still in heavy rotation in my Diskman) a few weeks back. All Finntroll albums feature "Trollistration" by band member Skrymer who is obviously influenced by Kittelsen.
I liked the art Geir showed me but could never remember his name. Fortunately I still know how to google. It's not beyond the bounds of possibility that I will eventually write a spinoff of Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan involving trolls.
Small gallery of Kittelsen's work
Mini-portal to a bunch of trollistrators.
Gallery of troll art by... someone. Jon Bauer?

January 12, 2005

Ernst Haeckel mushroom trip

A while ago, Adam suggested to me that I should have done Professor Rįsdondr's testimoney in the style of Nineteenth-Century biologist Ernst Haeckel. At that time, I'd already finished the work on that section but in case I ever need a reference for that style again, here's a collection of Haeckel's drawings, mostly of marine invertebrates. Found on the ever-interesting Boing Boing.

Continue reading "Ernst Haeckel mushroom trip" »

March 25, 2005

Retro illustration

Through Drawn!:
Two great illustrators where mentionend on Drawn! recently. The first, Tadahiro Uesugi, is a Japanese master of illustration. He makes wonderful intuitive drawings, with great sense of texture and colour.
Pictures of his current exposition in Japan can be found here. His work has a retro feel to it, as well as the work of the second artist mentioned: Ronnie Del Carmen. He works at Pixar as a story artist, story supervisor, character designer, and illustrator. His illustrations also display a great feeling for colour, form and composition. Their work, especially Uesugi's, remind me a bit of that of the late great Dutch artist Fiep Westendorp. Unfortunately I can't seem to find a good gallery of her work, when I do, I'll update this.

Retro '50's, '60's and '70's style illustration really seems back with a bang, beautifully integrated in Pixars' "the Incredibles," especially if you know the Art of the Incredibles book.

April 27, 2005

The search for the Netherlands' dirtiest child

Are you, or do you know someone who is, the dirtiest child in the Netherlands? Can you walk out the door, freshly showered and in your best clothes, and get grime on you before you're past the garden fence? Does dirt like you? Then the parenting magazine J/M wants your story as part of their celebration of Annie M.G. Schmidt week, May 17-23. Annie M.G. Schmidt was the Netherlands' best-loved childrens' book writer, and this year's featured character is Floddertje, a little girl with a penchant for getting very very filthy indeed.

If you're not the dirtiest child in the Netherlands, you can still go to the Floddertje website to enjoy Fiep Westendorp's fantastic illustrations (see Voorpublicatie).

June 17, 2005

Things you have to know

Ursula Vernon has a Deviant Art site with lots of cool stuff on it. Once you've rushed to that site to gaze on her imaginative, stylish art, come back here.

Back? Good. I wanted to point out one piece in particular, to wit, this one:

A nice old lady with an axe

This image is proof that great minds think alike, although it also proves that some great minds are better at getting their ideas into concrete form than others. Those of you who are already familiar with the cast of The Stone of Contention, whether through reading it online in the mid-90s or through reading the print version from the same period, will notice that the Orcish Warrior Woman Ruby Elfgutter painted by Ursula is very similar in personality and appearance (well.... conceptually at least) to Ghrghuha the Gnomian Warrior Woman from "Contention". Ursula's creation has shades of Nanny Ogg in her, which I thoroughly approve of as well.

I wish I could draw like that. Heck, I wish I could afford to hire Ursula for a story or two.

There's plenty in that gallery that I haven't seen yet, so I'll spend some more of my idle time (of which there's been quite a lot this past week as I'm winding down my activities in preparation for a vacation) cyberstalking herperusing her works.

July 1, 2005

Worst logo possible?

I don't have time to post a full report from Denmark yet, so instead I'll leave you with this thought for the weekend: Is it just me or does the logo graphic for Blank Label Comics look like a feminine hygiene product? It's the first association that comes to my mind when I see it, anyway.
"Blank Label Comics - It's curved, just like you are." Except it isn't, really.

July 25, 2005

Ping Teo's Man-chest tutorial

Quick Tutorial on drawing the male torso. Could come in handy.

August 14, 2005

A couple of interesting art sites

Like just about everyone else, I love Art Lad's web place. The six-year-old artist isn't just very talented, he thinks like artist, looking at his work and saying "It looked better in my head". His dad helps him with the reading and the writing, but the insight is all his. And he looks like he's having fun working on his art. (Via Drawn. BTW at the time of writing, the site appears to be broken. I don't know what's going on with that. Let's hope Dad will keep us posted.)
Also seen on Drawn, Funny Cute has lots of caricatures in development, including many of women. Many artists find female caricature very difficult, and I hope to find inspiration in this site in the near future.
Lauren Bergholm is an artist whose work I spotted on DeviantArt where she posted mostly penciled Harry Potter fan art. If that doesn't sound too appetising, I should add that her interpretations of the characters were all original, not based on the book jackets or the movies, and really fun to look at although few of them stood out individually. She does cute character portraits.

August 16, 2005

Moi aussi j'ai adopté Toupouri

Another artist I liked on Deviantart has a Sketch Blog. I should gather my art blog links up some time and blogroll them, soon.

Oooh! Szukalski!

Pete linked to this convoluted website, and I took a look at it, as one does. Holy crap, it's got Szukalski art on it!

One of my studio mates once brought a book of Szukalski's art to the studio, and I was immediately fascinated by it. His sculpture looked like something from an undiscovered culture, but executed by the hand of a pre-modern master. A lot of it was destroyed or stolen in the upheavals in his native Poland during and after World War II. His drawings were an extention of that sculpture work: meticulous, skillful and strange.

Whether it was the loss of the work of the first half of his life, or some genetic disposition, or both, I can't tell, but one other thing was clear from reading the book: Szukalski was also absolutely insane. I know some of my readers hate terms like "fucking nuts" or "batshit insane", but he was both, and more. Szukalski devoted the second half of his long life, and his considerable artistic skills, to documenting a racial theory he had invented, called Zermatism, in which he argued that mankind had been polluted through contact with subhuman ape-men, yetis, or ahumans. His illustrations included many portraits of historical figures, purporting to demonstrate that history's worst villains, the Stalins and Hitlers (as well as anyone else Szukalski didn't like), were all ape-men, a contamination of the pure and good human race. The text of the book my studio-mate showed me was full of invective against anyone suspected of being an ape-man, the offspring of human beings raped by ape-men, or contaminated by the ideologies of ape-men. From reading it, those categories eventually came to include anyone who wasn't Szukalski.

Continue reading "Oooh! Szukalski!" »

September 16, 2005

Adorable Laurel

redhead stroking pussy
Le site officiel de Laurel contient des dessins mignons, sexys et bien-faits. Ses BDs sont drôles aussi.
(Trouvé par Peter Breedveld)

(This is about all I have to show for the French I took for five years in secondary school. Sad how that gets rusty. But Laurel's drawings are quite lovely)

March 2, 2006

Katie Rice and Radicalstab, for the Inspiration Files

I keep having to go back to Drawn to look for their entry on Katie Rice's Funny Cute blog with its lovely caricatures of girls. I've been unhappy with my inability to draw as wide a range of female faces as I want to - the main Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan cast pretty much exhausts my repertoire in that respect. Those simple character designs should merely be the beginning; they should be surrounded by more striking-looking gals.

I also like DeviantArt user Radicalstab's drawings of girls - her characters don't have that range of caricatural portraiture, but they are cute and have confident linework, good colours and a very strong "cool factor". She has a collaborative art blog in French.

Many artists, not just male ones, have trouble drawing more than one type of women, and while I do my best, I'm definitely one of them. So I'm throwing these links out as reminders to myself and hopefully to inspire others.

June 15, 2006

Willard Mullin on animals

The Animation Archive has some lovely samples of a Famous Artists cartooning coursebook showing how sports cartoonist Willard Mullin drew animals. It's lovely lovely stuff, inspiring and educational. I like it extra because it will help me settle a long-standing argument with studio-mate E. in my favour: Mullin names the joints of an animal according to their structural correspondence with human joints, not their functional ones (otherwise what Mullin calls the wrist would be called a knee). That'll teach E. to look at me funny when I try to describe animal parts.

June 28, 2006

An unfortunate choice of home page design

The new home page for the Tour de France website has a design that, by itself, isn't particularly disturbing. Nevertheless, it will disturb some, because they'll be reminded of something disturbing.

There are certain things that, when you've seen them, you can never un-see again. (Cropped screenshot below the cut)

Continue reading "An unfortunate choice of home page design" »

September 14, 2006

Seven Camels

Drawn points me to the Temple of the Seven Camels blog by Carson Van OstenMark Kennedy, which really is excellent. So, of course, are many things posted on Drawn, but this one caught my attention because it's actually telling me how to deal with problems that were bugging me while drawing yesterday.

The Lazy Grind has had an excellent effect on my motivation and productivity, but in the last two pages I drew I was beginning to find some rushedness creeping in. This shows not so much in declining ink quality (because my inks are always sloppy and take a lot of time to fix anyway) as in a slackness of design, especially the design of background characters. Following Van OstenKennedy's tips on proportion and asymmetry will help me create those extras fast without costing me that much more time.

Update: Misattribution corrected.

October 1, 2006

Vera Rocks

Having been a member of the Vera Artdivision for some five years now, I am a tad prejudiced; but over on two posters by fellow Artdivision members made "Poster of the Week." A nice bit of recognition for our hard work.
Mara's poster
Mara Piccione's
weird but awesome Ghettoways poster. This week it's Reinder's ex-studiomate Sidsel Genee's turn in the spotlights. Kudos!

March 7, 2007

Life drawing while drunk

Yesterday afternoon, I met with my friends Kim, Danny and Steve in the pub to quickly celebrate Kim's birthday before she had to go back to Plauen in eastern Germany. That was at five o'clock. Three hours, three Belgian beers and a quick meal later, I had a life drawing session with the VOIC.
So, how unsteady was my hand? I won't claim that the life drawings below are my best ever, but they're not nearly my worst either. I sat down at a table for the first time since I started taking part in those sessions (I normally prefer to either sit with the sketchbook in my hands, or stand at an easel). That helped, and what also helped was that the model was very good at sitting still. So was her identical twin. The pink elephant, on the other hand, was a constant nuisance.

drunk life drawing with wrap.
For the first few drawings, the model kept her wraparound towel on, so I tried to work on draperies and feet. There's a girl in the class I teach who can draw feet amazingly well, so I need to improve to keep up with my student.

drunk life drawing - sitting nude
Nice hands. Terrible legs.

drunk life drawing -sitting nude
Cartoonish face, proportions all wrong. Must have been that pink elephant trumpeting in my ears.

drunk life drawing -standing nude against minimalist painting
I had to cheat a bit with this one. When I was drawing this one, I liked how the abstract, minimalist painting in the background framed her skin and hair against a square red area. However, I didn't have any colour tools on me so I tried, and failed, to replicated the effect with my grey pencils. That wasn't the same because the red square was the same brightness as the hair, causing the hair to disappear. Photoshop to the rescue... this is actually a good approximation of what it would have looked like if I'd had my colour pencils with me.

drunk life drawing - standing nude
This one turned out all right in the end, though as I was working on it, I had no idea how to make the way the model's body was turned unambiguously clear. Older, fatter models usually have some folds that can be used to indicate how the twist works, but this model lacked them. In the end, I don't think it was necessary to emphasize the mechanics. She's turned. This was how it looked.

March 22, 2007

Works in progress, plus sketches@Wielaart's

First, a cover drawing for a forthcoming ebook:

Guðrún and Alcydia

The e-book version of Guðrún will be launched real soon now. Headsmen (link goes directly to downloadable file) was downloaded more than 900 times, so there are clearly plenty of people who want Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan ebooks. As with Headsmen, the e-book will be a stepping-stone towards a print book, but some raising of funds will also be involved in its publication.

I spent yesterday evening at the monthly sketching party at Erik Wielaart's. Most of the sketches came out fairly raw and low-contrast, so I've had to adjust them to the hilt and keep most of them small. Pictures below may or may not enlarge if you click on them.

Continue reading "Works in progress, plus sketches@Wielaart's" »

July 24, 2007

I made a lot of drawings yesterday, but I'm only showing you these two

I promised a few people to show them sketches from the sketching trip to Emmen zoo that I took with some of the guys from Gr'nn. Unfortunately, I'm not all that happy with how the sketches turned out; it's hard to be satisfied when you're in the company of four others who kick your ass at drawing from observation, and even the good sketches came out very light and hesitant.
I'll post two, though.
Kodiak Bears
I thought these Kodiak Bears, lounging at the top of an artificial waterfall in their enclosure, looked bored and unhappy. Then again, these bears have face masks that seem to droop a bit anyway. There was a third bear that showed signs of neurotic behaviour, pacing around separately from the other two.
The view in the bear enclosure isn't too good; you can only really get a good look at the bears when they're in that waterfall spot. This turned out to be a blessing, because that one spot makes a very pretty picture. I tried to capture some of those surroundings, which made for a nicer sketch in the end.

Most animals make terrible models. I did several pages worth of sketches of meerkats that were ruined by the little buggers' inability to sit still. The others, particularly Erik Wielaart, did well in spite of the lack of cooperation from the animals; it's a matter of drawing what you can and then waiting for the animal to return to the position you were drawing them in, which they often do. I guess I'll have to develop a knack for this.
This juvenile giraffe, on the other hand, sat perfectly still for the better part of an hour, allowing me to make several drawings of it from various angles. This one is the best of mine.
Giraffes are actually very interesting to draw. I had prepared myself by looking at Mithandir's safari pictures beforehand, so I had some idea what the shape and the mechanics of a giraffe's head were like (even though the ones in Mithandir's pics are a different species), which helped a lot. Still, I was surprised to find myself spending so much time on drawing them because I'm not normally interested in charismatic megafauna. I think trying to draw made them less familiar and brought home just how strange these animals actually are.

I will be doing this again. Like life drawing, I expect to get better at it with practice. For now, though, you'll be spared my sketches of meerkats, prairie dogs, gnus, porcupines, sharks, sturgeons, geckos and various unidentified fish. I also apologise for not drawing any cephalopods; the zoo didn't have any.

August 17, 2007

Kidnapped Princesses by Geir and Daniel

The Double and Alcydia artist Daniel Østvold has updated his pages (in Norwegian) with some pictures of recent fine art projects and a preview of the sequel to Alcydia, Kidnapped Princesses.

Daniel works fast when he has the opportunity to, but he usually has several things on the boil at any time, so it's nice to see that he has been working on a new comics project. As usual, the script is by Geir. I have no further details than what it says on the pages, which is basically that Countess Alcydia has been settling into a new line of business, kidnapping prinsesses for fun and profit. I hope we'll be able to run it on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen web site late this year.

October 13, 2007

Diary of a Process Junkie

Diary of a Process junkie is the life/art blog of Alberto Ruiz, and has lots of lovely writing and reference material for artists, such as exhaustive lists of classic anatomy books, plus links to digital versions of same. Me like, me download. I especially like the many peeks into the books Ruiz publishes himself through his company, Brandstudio Press. Very geared towards cartoony pin-up type art, but all the artists involve can draw like mo-fos. Spend a couple of hours reading what Ruiz has to say about drawing and downloading the resources. (Via)

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