Sunday, September 09, 2007

It's My Process

I love the use of the blog as a recording device for procedures. I've done some pretty extensive step by step blog posts (like this one) which are fun to share, but mostly, I enjoy reading other peoples tutorials on the different projects they find themselves doing.
I like popping over to Coop's blog and seeing him give up his secrets...or seeing my buddy Ken work on stuff...there's just all sorts of vital insights on people's blogs!
So, in this post, I'm going to show how I do my funny cartoon monster paintings, step by step.
One of myspace buddies, Dirk, invited me to be a part of a showing at his Atlanta gallery after seeing my paintings. The theme is Robots (kewl) and I came up with two ideas.
The first one came to me while thinking of tattoos, (Dirk's a tattoo artist) and robots. The likely conclusion is giving a robot a tattoo. What would it be...what kind of would it be visualized..?
I did a thumbnail or two trying to capture a retro robot and the Tattoo world at hand in one image...
The thumbnails are rough, crude...just enough info to remind me of the concept later. Sometimes just putting it on paper in a rough form, shows me other possibilities. Other themes come to light. For me, it also helps to talk about the idea out loud. Sometimes other angles pop into my head.
So,I finally ended up with our friend from the Rock'em Sock'em Robots game..the Blue Bomber..

...and the title came easily. Sometimes, very much like the old days of American International Pictures, one comes up with a grabber of a title, THEN makes the picture. I've done that a few times.
I scan the sketch into Photoshop at about 300 dpi, and tweak it on the Wacon tablet...

..I add lines, define areas..even erase areas. And yes, my Wacom tablet is pinstriped and kustomed. (It's a Graphire 3 with the clear surface plate removed for more sensitivity. The pinstripes are baby blue One Shot. Cost off'a Ebay...$60.)
After I get the basic image the way I want it, I enlarge the "canvas" in Photoshop to 12" x 12" actual canvas size. I then bring in guide lines and measure off a 8 & 1/2" x 11" inch section and make a lasso in that area. Copy, then paste as another layer. I do that until all of the image is broken up and all areas are represented by 8 & 1/2" x 11" sections in different layers. (see pic)

I then go to each layer and tell the printer to print that section out. I now have the sketch, measured to 12" x 12", in sections of 8.5 x 11. I tape those together, overlapping them on a light table for perfect registration, then compare it to my canvas...

This is my make shift easel until I get a new one...just some 1 x 2's on the garage wall. The background is already painted a yellow to contrast the aqua of the robot, and to mimic the box art from the original toys of the 60's.

I then lay down some graphite on the back of the sections with an Ebony pencil and effectively make a carbon on the back. They make carbon graphite paper for this, but I just wanted to knock it out.

Sometimes you can run the graphite over the areas where you need it, then smear it with a tissue soaked in lighter fluid to enrich the transfer quality.
I lay my sectioned design where I want it on the canvas, tape it down, then run over the sketch lines with a ball point pen, pressing hard to ensure a transfer from the graphite to the canvas.

Since it's taped into place, I check as I go..sometimes.

Eventually, the entire design is lightly transfered to the canvas...

Now, I take it in the garage and start laying in the colors. I always start with a darker shade of the mid tones first..

...then work my way up to the highlights. I go back and forth darkening areas, then pushing highlights..always trying to keep the colors bright and not muddy. Since acrylic dries fast, I can do this back and forth process very quickly and get my shapes and effects worked out fast.
Eventually, the top highlights are a pure white, and the darkest areas, are black or something damn near black.
I decided the tattoo should be pinstriped, and with actual pinstripe materials. I think a robot sporting pinstripes as a tattoo is so obvious...surely I'm not the first to come up with this idea.
I whip out the One Shot...

..and take out my striper brush from it's special protective tin case..

..this is a Big Daddy Roth edition dagger from Mack, given to me by a great friend...

I love this brush. Someday I'm going to figure out how to use it.
I laid in the lines like I would any other stripe work, (forming the name "Mom" in there which was April's amazing idea) and called it done.

With acrylic, I give it a coat of Mod Podge to deepen the contrast and to pop the high lites. Giving acrylic a clear coat of anything, enriches the colors and pushes the contrast as some of the paints are matte and flat.


Blogger Ken Mitchroney said...

Too cool Joe, Too cool.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Chemical Robotiks said...

thats a really nice painting

7:05 PM  
Blogger C:) said...

i want it i want it i want it! me me me! etc etc etc! will you do the red one with a tat of a robot skull?


11:55 PM  
Blogger BenT said...

wooooooh! ya knocked my block off!

when can I get that on a T-shirt?

6:31 PM  
Blogger Prince said...

Very nice! Interesting to see from start to finish. Nice blog.

8:53 PM  

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