Grand Central Extended

For my drawing on location class, we had an extended project to pick a city block and do a series of nine drawings - three drawings in each of three locations on the block. I had originally chosen to draw uptown in my old neighborhood, but I had a really hard time in all of the locations and ended up despising all of the work that I did.

I had so much fun drawing at Grand Central a couple of weeks ago that I decided to go back and use it as my location. I divided up the station into three separate parts - the main terminal, the dining concourse, and the holiday market. While there, I did a bit of experimenting playing with different pens, but I'm pretty satisfied with the pieces I came out with.

Main Terminal

Dining Concourse

Holiday Market

It came from the mold...

Stop motion today was super exciting. We started to take the puppets out of our molds. They're a platinum-based silicon that we injected into our plaster molds last week. Because the silicon is so goopy, it tends to overflow the actual puppet shape and ooze into the flange (the flat bits) of the plaster mold, which ultimately results in creepy see-through style bat wigs.

So creeeeeeepy!

Grand Central Drawings

On Friday, we went to the main terminal of Grand Central station for my on location drawing class. The in-process drawings were featured on GCT's facebook page! Woot!

conte crayon:


Drawing Class

Hope everyone out there had a good Thanksgiving.

November has sped by in a haze of sneezing and coughing. I spent about half of the month sick and the remainder in front of the computer working on actionscript for the digital version of my thesis. More about that another day...

Today, however, I wanted to post a couple of images from my drawing class. Every Friday, I have five hours of drawing, either on location around the city or in the studio with live models. It's a great class, and it's been an opportunity for loads of experimentation.

Our on location days have included trips to Governor's Island, 50 stories up in a building overlooking the World Trade Center site, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Gleason's Boxing Gym... it's been amazing. Here are some highlights:

My classmates looking down out over the city -

Drawing the Woolworth building -

Skyline (looking North) -

Word Trade Center site -

Drawing from the South side of the building -

After such a detailed drawing, I wanted to do something looser... quick ink drawing of my classmates and the interior of the space -

Unfinished drawing, Woolworth building -

Patrick Dougherty sculptures at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden (If you haven't seen them yet, check them out! They're amazing... he also did an installation at Smith during my first year.) -

Erin drawing

Left-handed drawing to warm up... my pen ran out of ink halfway through -

Drawings of the sculpture -

Detail page from the cactus room in the greenhouse -

Back in the studio with three models. Warming up with charcoal -

Playing around with ink (unfinished) -

Tighter pencil drawing -

The Storyteller, now in 3D!

Hey there folks!

It has been a busy fall with loads of work on my thesis, digital projects, side projects, Halloween crafting, and, oddly enough, sculpting.

I've always loved stop motion animation, and throughout high school and into college, I used to sculpt little figurines out of polymer clay. Towards the end of my sculptural dabblings, I began to add armatures, trying to figure out how to animate the characters. Alas, much of my experimentation failed with a whole bunch of broken dolls and models; baked polymer clay does not bend.

In any case, as I was browsing the course catalogue for an audit class this term, I came across a class on character design/building for stop motion animation!! Many exclamation points!!!

I signed up right away.

Thus far, the hardest part of the class was deciding which character to bring to life. After spending so much time on the Amelia Pepper comic over the summer, I ultimately decided on the Storyteller character. I decided on him rather than the Peddler because I realized that I could easily build his squat sidekick with polymer clay head/hands/legs/feet on a wire armature hidden beneath a sewn coat.

A refresher, The Storyteller and the Peddler:

Making the figures first involves sculpting the bodies onto a wire armature. (The heads are made separately because the materials differ.) Once the models are built, we're going to make plaster molds for the bodies and silicone molds for the heads and finally cast the puppets.

So I started sculpting the Storyteller with his clothes on, figuring I'd paint the clothing and sew him a coat and a hat. I stylized him a bunch, made him rather slim, and gave him some pretty big hands and feet.

Front view:

Back view:

Side view:

Shirt detail:

If you look closely, however, you'll notice that my carefully sculpted little fellow has scratches and bite marks on him. When I brought him home to work on, my kitten - by which I do mean deadly ferocious panther - decided that the Storyteller was a fun new chew toy.

He wasn't terribly mangled, but enough so that I reconsidered my original plan of painting the clothing on my character. Ultimately, I decided that actually sewing/handbuilding him clothing would make for a much more exciting figure... so I scrapped the whole thing and stripped him down to his skivvies.

Front view:

Side view:

Feet detail:

You also might be wondering why the little guy's hand has three fingers. Apparently, getting a decent amount of mobility in the hands and fingers is difficult if they're overcrowded... so for beginners, the teacher folks tell you to sculpt only three fingers and a thumb.

And finally, as I mentioned before, the head of the character gets sculpted and cast separately. Again, I added a bunch of detail because the character drawings are pretty simple and exaggerated his features - big ears, pointy chin, etc.

Front view:

Side view:

Three-quarter view:

I spent much of today finishing up, read re-doing, his head. (The original, like his body, also had some odd little toothmarks and black hairs sticking out of it.) Tomorrow, I'll be building and pouring the mold.

It moves!

Hey there loyal blog-readers,

October is speeding by, and it finally feels like autumn in NY. With Halloween less than two weeks away and the semester nearly two months over, things are getting pretty busy.

Second year at SVA is considerably different than first year. First year was very assignment oriented, with lots of little projects. This year, however, we're all hard at work on our thesis projects, which are designed to be much more self-motivated. This week we each had to give a presentation explaining our thoughts and ideas about our projects, so I have a long post about my thesis nearly ready for you. Soon to come, scouts honor.

In the meantime, however, I thought I would show you what I've been doing in the world of digital illustration. This year, we engineered a new class on the "digital book", all about how digital media can serve the book format, how books can be adapted for digital media, and how something entirely new can be created. I don't believe that we will ever lose the book as an object and a format (I hope, I hope), and as an avid reader, I do prefer holding a physical book rather than using an e-reader. That being said, new technology like the ipad, tablets, and iphones can be adapted for really exciting, interactive reading experiences, especially for kids.

In the class, we've been learning how to create interactive animations that could serve as illustrations for a digital book. Each of us chose an already existing story to play around with, and I've been working with the Wizard of Oz.

I've been playing with a scene of the scarecrow in the field and have just (huzzah!) gotten my scarecrow to swing his arms and legs. The crow perched on the scarecrow's post now flaps his wings and nods his head, and each time you click on him, another crow appears in the air. The clouds in the background are also interactive; if you click on them, they scuttle across the sky. I'm not yet sure how to post an interactive animation, so for the moment, you'll have to make do with a couple of stills. It's really exciting and suuuuper nerdy because the animation is all done with code in flash. It's a bit like learning a foreign language but with a bunch of logic and math thrown in. But, I digress... so on to the project:

Main scene:

Clicking the crow to add more crows:

Clicking the clouds to make them move:

Book Show: Hanging to Opening

Hey there folks!

Many thanks to everyone who came out for the opening reception of the Book Show. It was a marvelous evening filled with lovely people and fantastic artwork. Half of the show has already come down; my book comes down on Monday. Things are wrapping up, and as usual, photos from the last couple of weeks are long overdue.

Hanging day was super exciting. As a class, we've been watching the books grow from a tiny nugget of an idea. It was amazing to finally see all of the work finished and framed and the books printed and bound.

Decisions, decisions...

Placing and measuring...

Watching things start to go up...

Could it be a show?

It's up!

The book:

Opening reception...

Thanks again to everyone for coming out.

For those of you in the NY area who still want to catch a bit of the show, you can still do so this weekend. The gallery is located in SVA's main building at 209 E 23rd Street. And for those of you who expressed interest, I'll be selling full and half size prints of all of the spreads in the book. Drop me a line for sizes and prices.