Rabu, 29 April 2015

9 Toes Beach Club

Ever since I was young I've had somewhat of a water phobia. Knowing fish like the 'Angler Fish' lurk in the deepest parts of the Oceans waiting to bit my toes off doesn't make me want to go swimming anytime soon. Lakes are fine and I love Sea-Dooing but I still prefer the non-infested chlorinated variety swimming hole.

It's amazing the variety of fish there are and these puppies are stinking scary looking in real life. God sure does have an incredible portfolio and imagination.

(Click for larger preview)

Selasa, 21 April 2015

DZGN-BOT Says: Draw you puny human!

This 'Illustration Friday' word is killing me. Every fiber of my being wants to draw a 'Robot' but I simply do not have the time to do so. I am off to inspire the Yutes at the 'Seattle Art Institute' on Monday and do a presentation on my 'Illustrative Design Creative Process'.

So instead I am giving everyone a sneak peek at one of my 'Keyboard Characters'. This is 'DZGN-BOT' your standard issue model ready to crank out conceptual ideas and art like an artistic machine. He comes custom with all the necessary ports and of course he is designed using MAC technology so you won't get any viruses from him.

Minggu, 19 April 2015


My Illustration Friday illo.

(Be sure to click on the image to see the full view.)

Jumat, 17 April 2015

Eye Root!

Sometimes in the course of creating artwork I get side tracked. In this case I was looking through older illustrations I had done last year and came across a nice tree I had illustrated. So I copied it out and started playing with it in another file. What I ended up with was this piece of art. I like how it came out and I wouldn't mind having a t-shirt with this on it someday.

Selasa, 14 April 2015

Jesus Wins!

A few years back I was waiting in line at the grocery store. All along the aisle was chocolate bunnies. I wondered what Jesus would think about the Easter Bunny. At the time I was illustrating a set of 'Business Icons' that used almost a Fisher Price™ figure style in them. I adapted that format and created this image.

Of course I emailed it to my Mom and her only comment was "I don't think that's funny at all." Which of course made it hilarious.

So with that said I hope your Easter is a good one!

Illustrative Design

First off I have to give a thank you to Erin Potter fellow HOWie who drove to the location and took reference pictures for me on this project.

Over the years those not in our industry have asked me "What do you do for a living." It's always been interesting how they respond when I tell them. Doesn't matter if I say 'Graphic Designer' or 'Illustrator' they tend to bake it down to a comment like "Oh, OK so you draw pictures." That may bug some but I don't mind it at all. In a way it's accurate. But I've coined my own phrase to describe what I do and I feel it fits better. I refer to myself as an 'Illustrative Designer'.

Some of you might be wondering "What is an Illustrative Designer?" well this artwork is a good example of 'Illustrative Design'. Too many view 'Illustration' merely as a supportive role within 'Design'. I think this is ignorant at best. I view each as key elements in my own creative process. I am making design decisions when I illustrate and I use illustrative solutions when I design the two are fused together and one without the other suffers creatively.

On this project I was hired by a branding firm to take a real life statue and create an illustrative iconic mark for use on a branding project for a small town. It's an illustrative approach but it also took many design centric decisions along the way as I created the artwork. If you viewed the real statue you'd notice that no matter what angle you viewed it you wouldn't find this exact pose. I purposely designed the pose to reflect the statue but paid attention to detail on how negative space interacted with shapes, what detail to emphasize, simplifying detail so it works small and can handle dot gain etc.

There are many overlapping aspects of illustration and design and the more a designer can learn to capitalize on each and let them mingle together the more diverse their work will become.

Mocked up Usage (The firm used it in their own motif, I just did this to show an example of usage)

Detail Image

PS: Later this summer I'll be launching a pod cast called 'The Illustrative Designer' where I'll talk more about this relationship, interview those who do it best, share insights, tips and tricks and other fun stuff. You can bookmark now and if you'd like to be a 'Creative Correspondent' for the pod cast shoot me an email and I'll let you know what that is all about. Or if you want to suggest a person to be interviewed I'd like to hear about that as well. podcast@vonster.com

Senin, 13 April 2015

The bird that didn't soar.

Sometimes when working on projects it becomes apparent mid-stream that the likelihood of the end result being what you expected or was told to expect just isn't going to happen. This project was just such a case.

I was contacted by Upper Deck Company Entertainment to illustrate a mark they could use on a card game for 'World of Warcraft' the mark they wanted was a two headed eagle. In all I did 3-4 incarnations. The character was based on a part of the game apparently and the creature had antlers as well which are not shown in this version.

The mark incarnations I created also contained an eye on the chest with flames above and below. I've worked with this art director before and he's excellent. I feel the problem in this creative pursuit was the classic 'too many chefs in the kitchen.' It's hard to gauge perception and feedback when each stage of the project seems to contradict the original brief and the previous feedback and suggestions.

Years ago I remember a marketing person coming up to me and deciding he was going to play art director and saying "I think what we are looking for is a post modern edgy retro feel!" Well I have never bothered to learn how to speak psycho-babble so I just responded "What does that mean?" He just looked at me not sure what to say. In essence I couldn't get a radar fix on what his or any other marketing weasels expectation was.

This project felt like that. I'd get some very nebulous feedback along the way and it felt like I was shooting in the dark hoping it would hit the mark. In the end I felt like I struck out and that really bugs me. Doesn't happen often but when it does I have a hard time shaking it off and stepping up to the plate. (Yes I like baseball analogies thank you)

This version never made it past a pencil rough I scanned in and emailed for consideration. They pretty much wrote it off immediately even-though I felt it had some good solid potential. So as not to feel like a complete loss creatively speaking I took that sketch and refined it and then did the finished work for no other reason then to show myself what it would have looked like fleshed out fully. Personally I didn't like the eye or flames which looked kind of corn-ball so I removed those and simplified the art.

Thus you have the bird that didn't soar.

PS: Years ago when I had my yearly review with my then boss and art director I remember him telling me "Von you can't be so married to your artwork." Now looking back and fully understanding his business, how he worked and trying to interpret that statement now I know it was his way of saying "You have to allow me to control it." At the time I thought that is what he might have meant but the statement even if not meant that way bugged me.

I feel like I am not being honest with myself or investing the needed part of 'me' in my art if I don't feel attached to it. I am not a short order cook. Order up! One logo with a side order of identity. Heres your art and I move on to the next order taken. Part of what I like about what I do is being passionate about it, investing my interest and drive into something and seeing it through. I am reminded every so often that just isn't always possible when you have too many people who are non-creatives deciding to play the part and wanting to treat design as a creative ala carte.

Maybe I could change my name to 'Greasy Spoon Graphics'? Ok I need to go check and see if that domain is available.....