Friday, November 5, 2021

Watercolor Fun

 This summer I started experimenting with using watercolors in the hope to start doing more drawing while out hiking and birdwatching:

Great Egret

Red-footed Booby

Giraffatitan brancai sketch

Giraffatitan brancai + watercolors

I also used Inktober this year to practice a bit as well, and thought I'd cross post some of those paintings here:

Red Knot


Thalassodromeus sethi

Helmeted Hornbill

Inktober 2021

  I thought last year was a great experience to push my artistic skills out of my comfort zone, and so decided to participate in Inktober again this year. I really embraced the limitations of the physical media and focused on being consistent over perfection. I also tried pushing myself further by playing with watercolors and other mixed traditional media this year. I like some more than others for sure, but am happy to have completed it among all the other things I'm working on. For ease of acces, here's my complete Inktober 2021 compiled in one place:

Prompt 1: Crystal

Prompt 2: Suit

Prompt 3: Vessel

Prompt 4: Knot

Prompt 5: Raven

Prompt 6: Spirit

Prompt 7: Fan

Prompt 8: Watch

Prompt 9: Pressure

Prompt 10: Pick

Prompt 11: Sour

Prompt 12: Stuck

Prompt 13: Roof

Prompt 14: Helmet

Prompt 15: Tick

Prompt 16: Compass

Prompt 17: Collide

Prompt 18: Moon

Prompt 19: Loop

Prompt 20: Sprout

Prompt 21: Fuzzy

Prompt 22: Open

Prompt 23: Leak

Prompt 24: Extinct

Prompt 25: Splat

Prompt 26: Connect

Prompt 27: Spark

Prompt 28: Crispy

Prompt 29: Patch

Prompt 30: Slither

Prompt 31: Risk

Jack-O-Lantern Designs 2021: Publix Commission Edition!

 Hey Everyone! Don't worry I didn't forget to do my annual pumpkin designs! Yes it may appear that way, seeing as it's now November, but there's something different in store for this year (literally), and when you add the worldwide shipping delays to the equation, we're unfortunately a bit late. 

So what's the deal?

Well, earlier this spring, I was contacted by Publix Super Markets Inc. with a request to license some of my jack-o-lantern designs for some Halloween-themed reusable tote bags! They were inquiring about the very first two contact sheets, and upon informing them that I had over 10 years worth of these things, they stuck to their initial request of the 2010 and 2011 sheets. 

There was one little complication though. Since I have been using the same template for over a decade, the resolution of my typical designs aren't very high at all. I remember finding a public domain pumpkin image as the background back in the day, but it was pretty low resolution and I can't even seem to track down the original anymore (even with reverse image searches).

The great folks at Publix had a solution, and bought a high res stock image for me, with the understanding that I would up-res and clean up the original facial expressions so they would work when printing (thank goodness for keeping the original photoshop files for all these years!)

So here we have new HD versions of my 10 and 11 year old designs:

For Comparison, here's the original low-res versions:

But WAIT! There's MORE! They also asked if they could commission an entirely new set for them, including one with their logo on it. So this year's designs are literally brought to you by Publix Super Markets, Inc:

Despite this project having wrapped up all the way back in April, because of production and shipping delays, it took a while to get the totes into the stores, and I wanted to wait to post until I had some in my hands. The team at Publix ended up picking and choosing various designs from all three contact sheets and mixing and matching:

I think they look great, don't you? They should be available in Publix stores around the country NOW! (Although I've been informed that they're actually selling out! So get them while you can!) 

This turned out to be a great experience for me. I find it fun to see such old drawings that I did as a fun request from a friend bringing joy to people a decade later. As an artist, I look back on these old contact sheets and see them as simple unrefined works - and yet here they are today, still resonating people. It's a good reminder to stay humble and while it's great to constantly be pushing yourself as an artist, your current skills don't invalidate your old work. 

So again, sorry for the delay, but HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!

As always, feel free to check out previous year designs here:

Conservation Painting 2021

 Hey All! Is anyone still reading this? I thought I'd go ahead and update with some work I did this year.

First up, more painting in support of conservation initiatives! In previous years I've done a number of paintings for various conservation related charity auctions. With last year being (hopefully) peak pandemic, all the usual events I do artwork for were either cancelled, or had their format tweaked to a virtual environment.

World Giraffe Day 2021

It was nice this year when my first post-vaccinated gathering was the annual 'Laughs for Giraffes' event in celebration/support of World Giraffe Day in June - this year hosted by the Global Conservation Force. I was asked if I would be willing to create something, which I happily agreed to, and came up with this:

 What was fun about this one was how serendipitously it came about. I was actually planning something completely different but while experimenting with different compositions and doing a bunch of sketching of Giraffes, I ended up jotting down this pose which really resonated with me, so I designed the image around it:

And here's the final framed print that sold at the silent auction:

World Rhino Day 2021

While the annual Bowling for Rhinos event didn't happen this year, I decided to do a drawing to post across all my social media platforms to raise awareness for World Rhino Day on Sep 22, 2021:

No that's not just a poorly drawn rhino, these are the actual proportions of the stout extinct American rhino, Teleoceras, made famous by the Ashfall Fossil Beds in Nebraska. As content as this animal looks, it has no idea an eruption from the Yellowstone volcano ~700 miles away is soon going to 'Pompei' its entire herd. While these guys were wiped out before humanity even existed, humans are directly causing the rapid decline of all 5 rhino species still alive today. 

And that's what I have for this year. I've been thinking a lot lately about how to take these sorts of projects further, and put my skills to good use to do more science communication on a variety of important topics. While animals like rhinos and giraffes certainly need our help there are a lot of more obscure animals, and indeed entire interconnected ecosystems that deserve awareness and better PR campaigns as well. After all, a wild rhino population isn't going to survive if the rest of its ecosystem isn't in tact....

That's all for now. I hope to have more on this topic soon.