Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Without Further Ado... MADAM BAUHAUS!

Commentary forthcoming. For now, enjoy my first completed comic story in a few years, my first full color adventure! And have a happy new year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ruin Cathedral

I've talked a lot about the challenges of the Storytelling and Environments class so I won't  anymore, just to reiterate that the more challenging the class, the more promising the results tend to be. Here is the 14 week project which required us to draw the same setting at various points of the day. A bit of an homage to Monet's Rouen Cathedral studies, I call them my Ruin Cathedral Studies. These are digital.

These last two were created by studying the work of masters Franklin Carmichael (water color) and Egon Schiele (naturally) - (Acrylic).

Friday, December 23, 2011

"At Least They Didn't Steal Our Dinosaur Drawings!"

That's what a seven year old Nick said when he and the family returned home to find that they had been burgled. Jewelry? Replaceable! The VCR? We could get by. But the dinosaur drawings? Thankfully those burglars knew nothing of fine art.

The above pic was my last assignment for Information Illustration, a great class that was fun and challenging, especially when it came to organizing the vast amounts of info on each poster. I freaking loved drawing dinosaurs again, reminded me of my love of drawing them as a kid. Tried to forego some of the outer lines on the dinosaurs, (a la Charlie Harper) letting the colors, values and patterns define the shapes. It was partly successful and I'll be trying more of that soon.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before but my Storytelling and Environments class was pretty brutal. Backgrounds are something I haver definitely skimped on over the years but this class forced me to work on landscapes and interiors, developing my skills with composition and color and in the end, I made some huge strides. This was my last project, a very moody peek into the world of two 70s hippies who fuck with black magic and unleash some unholy horror that takes shelter in the basement. I can;t help but imagine Shaggy and Scooby getting in way over their heads with some real serious evil.

This whole story was based on photo ref of my own apartment building so I can't help but feel the evil demon fetus watching me as I wait for my laundry to finish up.

Coming very soon: more environments and the long awaited debut of Madam Bauhaus: my first full color comic story!

Oh, and if I don't see you, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sketchbook Bonanza

Haven't shown off any sketchbook pages in awhile. This is a combination of the last bits of my summer sketchbook and my current first semester book.

Lots of figure work, trying to mix it up between photo ref and pulling wonky shit out of my head.

Not much else to say I suppose...

How are things with you?

Monday, November 14, 2011

To Hell With Conventions!

Hey, it's my birthday, but I have a gift for you!

Because I'm a rule breaker,
foundation shaker,
a loose cannon who gets results,
with or without his badge and his gun.

I'm 29 now.

This is the main character for the graphic novel project we're currently working on in Figure Illustration. Her name is Madam Bauhaus and she is inspired by a photo I found of a Bauhaus actress in costume.

It struck me as very bizarre and weird and super inspiring and I knew that I would have to use her as a character one day. She is basically the personification of the utopian ideals of the Bauhaus school. She runs around with a hammer and a bag of brass tacks, kicking ass in the name of progress. She is alluring and off-putting, like the dream of Utopia itself. Which has recently become the running theme of my work thus far.

I got really carried away with texture, experimenting a lot with collaging real materials and scanning them, as well as adding half-tones and such. I want to far and didn't pull it back enough so the images are a bit too much. But it was very fun to mess around. I'll be doing more collage for sure. Lesson learned. Moving on.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Extra-curricu-killer Activities

So I made a solemn oath that in exchange for not working a part time job while going to school (which I firmly believe at this point would be the death of me) I would start submitting my work to gallery shows and taking part in art events around Calgary. I have thus far kept my word and have enjoyed the results though I'm definitely feeling the vice of time constantly closing tighter on my nether regions.
This first piece is my first official submission to a gallery show:

Saint Portenta: Our Patron Saint of Possibilities

Acrylic and ink on wood panel, touched up in Photoshop for online viewing, this piece involved lots of research into the symbolism of Catholic paintings, specifically the Saint Portraiture. Because I am not a Catholic, or anything for that matter, I took a crack at what a Humanist Saint might look like. It is filled with symbols representing the potential of humanity as well as the destruction of our pre-conceived notions of good and evil. It was fun to get conceptual and do some research while applying what I've learned from my years in the design program.


This piece was displayed at the Low Brow art show in the Resolution gallery ( a beautiful space with a super nice owner and staff). Overall it felt great to have a piece in the show but as a critic I felt much of the show lacked concept, taking the idea of Low Brow as an excuse to paint pretty ladies with nothing to back it up. But there were some stellar pieces for sure and the opening was crazy busy.

And here are some process shots for my second year as part of chalk walk. It was tons of fun in the sun yet again, and I pulled in third place prize this year for this child-like chalk rendering of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. I really messed up the proportions on that central figure though. Geez, that looks awful. Aaaanyways...

Just finished a butt-load of storyboarding work for a client and started the graphic novel project at school. Can't wait to post the result.
Madam Bauhaus, comin' at ya.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Holy Trinity of Real-Life Monsters: Plaque, Witches and Heartbreak, Oh My!

It's been a long time since I posted anything new but I'm making up for it today! Year Three at ACAD has been absolutely crazy. The projects are bigger and tougher but they're also way more fun. Lump in a bunch of freelance illustration work and that makes me one busy monkey. The top pic was our first assignment for Figure Illustration. I turned quiet and sweet Maaike into the horrid White Witch of Dutch mythology. Don't worry, she got her revenge by transforming me into a crotchety old man. (Some have said it's not much of a stretch :) Wish I had toned down the colors a bit (as usual) and I got some much needed practice rendering in Photoshop, though clearly more hours are required. I accidentally deleted that last one (my favorite) the night before it was due so I had to redo it. Such a techno-twit!

The second pic is from Information Illustration; the assignment was to illustrate something that we can't see and I felt it was my duty as a super-powered humanitarian and enamel avenger to reveal the dirty truth about plaque. These guys were fun to draw. I really enjoy doing work for a younger audience. There was a lot of info to cram onto this thing which definitely made it a challenge. Dig the colors and the handmade title font. Wish I hadn't gone too sloppy with some of the colors and I got chewed out by my instructor for that bogus pinky knuckle.

Finally we have a cover I was commissioned to do for my pal and writer extraordinaire James Davidge. His publisher will be releasing an anthology of his short story work in Fall 2012 and it was an honor and a joy to create the cover. He requested a Lichtenstein/50s Romance feel and I think I nailed thanks to some studies, textures and good ol' fashioned half-tone pattern (computer simulated of course.) But like the capital IDIOT that I am, I accidentally flattened the original Photoshop file so will probably need to recreate this at a later day. Damn my technological ignorance!!!

That's all for now. More work to come, including storyboards and the long awaited comic project.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Why "Nick Soup?"

A few people have asked me why I decided to start branding myself and my work under the Nick Soup banner, and my basic idea was that a delicious and satisfying soup is made out of many different ingredients just as my practice spans many different fields, from art to music, writing and acting (at varying degrees of failure and success.) I wanted an identity that would encapsulate more than my drawing output. Sometimes an idea can't be limited to one medium and sometimes I like to ham it up like nobody's business! Whenever an interesting opportunity comes along, I just tend to say yes. "Hell yes," actually.

Here is a perfect example:

Yep, that's me as a freaky demo-goblin. My friend Kesar is an amazing makeup artist and she needed an actor to portray a crucified demon in the middle of the forest in the middle of the night, covered head to toe in makeup and fake blood. Hell yes!

Here's the final music video, directed by the intrepid Mr. Doug Cook:

And yes, I have entered ACAD Year 3, which I have dubbed The Awakening, as we are focusing more on creating a unique creative voice compared to the last two years which have been very focused on rendering and reality. So the posts won't be as regular as they were in summertime (beautiful, wonderful, fleeting summertime...) but I'm already balls deep in some amazing projects and I'll be posting those as they finish. For now, here is a sneak peek at some landscapes from my Environments class, a class that exploits my debilitating weakness of rendering landscapes and painting, well, anything. It's super difficult to wrap my brain around but I know it will pay off big time. Be gentle:

And finally, here is my submission for the Calgary Expo art book that I was supposed to keep secret until the day of release in June and then forgot about completely till now. I like that lady figure but goddam do I ever hate those giant, purple heads.

Chin up, my friend. Chin up.

Oh, and check out Ryan Gosling in DRIVE. That movie kicked my ass last weekend!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Design by Design, But Not Very Well

Here are some of my design efforts, the first was my final project for Comm. Design 2. My research led to the Secessionists becoming a very major influence on me and I really do adore their magazine Ver Sacrum. I love researching art history and referencing from life for class, thereby adding new stuff to the Nick Soup Mix. Makes the art gooder and the brain bigger.

This is just something I did really quick when I was bored at work. I can't draw or scan anything while I'm there so I just grab photos off the internet or make abstract shapes and color schemes.

What kind of articles would we find in the latest issue of Bang: a Magazine? I used the Big Bang as my starting point and that's where this image began.

And finally, here are some fake posters for my yet-to-be-made opus Reactionary, also made at work under the constraints of online images and type and color as opposed to illustration. I did these to practice design, as well as large format printing and mounting at work. I also find it inspirational to the writing process to have these phony posters to look at. I really could have pushed that type more... The look and the colors are pretty much ripped off from an amazing poster for the George Clooney flick The American. It really struck me and I knew I had to try my own crack at it.

I have finished a complete and comprehensive plot for Reactionary and have begun writing it. It's still a very large and complicated tale, and quite the challenge, but pieces are falling into place and I've made some serious advancements to both the story and the look of the world of Reactionary.

ON SALE NOW!!!: At the Fabler, you can now purchase the Classics Illustrated book that was meant to go on sale at the Calgary Expo but it's available for online purchase now and there really are some beautiful pieces by some amazing local artists (excluding the Masque of the Red Death pic I contributed which I am starting to hate passionately.)

That's it for tonight. I'm aiming to have some new comic pages up in the next couple weeks before school hits. That's right. ACAD Year 3: The Awakening is on the horizon.

Can't wait!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Shut Up, Crime: Step-by-Step.

I recently watched the movie SUPER, written and directed by James Gunn. It was definitely one of the most fucked up movies I've ever seen, but what may be even more troubling is how much I loved it. I mean, what does that say about me, right? The film is very similar to KICK-ASS, though I feel it does an even better job of grounding its world in reality, which I believe is why it ended up being more intense, more emotional, yet somehow still funny.

If there was ever any doubt that Rainn Wilson could ever get out of the shadow of his Dwight character from THE OFFICE, this removes it completely. And Ellen Page is downright insane. The movie is seriously so messed up, I am careful who I recommend it to. Bt it definitely has balls and I commend everyone involved for creating something truly unique and it really got to me.

Regardless of my critical blither blather, here is some fan art because I was inspired.

I'm using some different inking techniques to add some personality to my work and I'm pretty excited about it. A nice new Lamy pen and a Pentel Brush pen create some nice details and varying line thickness. My colouring technique is very similar to what I did on the Daredevil pic this week, and it's already starting to feel a little old hat, so I'm going to need to step it up a notch.

Friday, July 29, 2011

"You Can Draw Anything You Want in the World, But You Always Just Draw Daredevil!"

I just finished a big client job and there's nothing more satisfying to do in celebration than draw whatever I want, however I want. And as my roomie Chad just mentioned, whenever that is the case, I usually just end up drawing Daredevil.


Cuz he's awesome. Duh!

I drew this at work and then coloured over my pencils at home. If there's one thing I learned at art school last year (seriously though, I learned tons of things) it's that textures add so much visual interest, as do gradients, colour theory, and actual brushstrokes, even when painting digitally.

So yeah, that's enough about that. Some SUPER fan art is coming very soon, in unison with an exciting inking breakthrough that has me absolutely giddly. School girl giddy. I cant stop weeping.

So stoked about arts right now.

Is that the pBR talking?


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Because Christopher Gets Bored and Needs Some Stuff to Look At!

One of the many motivations to update my blog (as infrequent as that may be as of late) is keeping my fellow artists entertained with new arts and humorous observations about arts that I'm sure they never bother to read :) If you've never visited Chris Johnston's blog, do so now, because he's got some truly beautiful work and a style all his own. He's a frequent attendee of the Calgary Drink n Draw and reminded me that I hadn't updated in quite some time.

Both of the top pieces are old work that have finally been given the proper colour treatment. And I must say they look far better than before. The Haunted House pic is tearing it up on Tumblr at the moment. Sweet.

Gah, so much to talk about but I really gotta go to bed. We'll talk soon I promise, but for good measure, here is a sketch from Drink n Draw last night. I'm very happy with this spread, and that is clearly the result of observation based drawing, something my teacher's have really been pushing me to do.

I think it's working.