Monday, November 26, 2012

"Every Hair on the Dog" Animal Eye Acrylic Technique

Our sixth assignment was Brandes' "Every Hair On The Dog" technique. I won't go into the details of the actual process, but it's very tedious and absolutely cannot be rushed. Despite that, it's actually a lot of fun to do once you get the hang of it. The assignment was to focus on an animal eye. I chose a cormorant, like I knew I was going to do since the first day of class and I saw this assignment on the syllabus. Ever since working at the Wildlife Center I have fallen in love with the cormorants. They have more personality than any of the other sea birds and they have the craziest eyes.

Process work! My initial drawing of the cormorant.

Detail. Also brought the bottom of the beak down further to stay true to my reference.

Finished piece.

After I finished this piece I brought it with me to my History class (on the second floor) with plans to matte it afterwards. I decided to lean my work against the wall without realized there was an enormous crack between the floor and the wall that lead to god only knows where. My painting was gone in a second. Where it went, I'll never know. But after a slight mental breakdown, maintenance was able to retrieve it the next day. Enjoy my exasperated emails with my professor:

Hi Brandes.

Today I dropped my "Every Hair on a Dog" project down a crack in the floor in room 207 (see picture). Maintenance is unsure about how to get it out, but they are going to try tomorrow when no one is in the room. Needless to say, I don't know when my work will be recovered if at all. I don't have a scanned version either. I will keep you updated, but I may or may not have it with me on monday. I was going to matte it after class today, but obviously that isn't going to happen any more. 

I don't even know what else to say.  I guess I'll just go sit in a corner and cry forever now. 

- Jay


Jay, I thought I had heard every excuse in the book but this is a new one on me. I will be telling this at the thanksgiving day table and am sure to get a laugh from the family and friends... at your expense! Keep your sense of humor on this one and other than that ...I do not know what else to say either. have a great thanksgiving break. don brandes

PS have you tried bubble gum on the end of a ruler?


I will try to have a sense of humor between my buckets of tears.  If I never get my art back I hope that this is a good enough reason to give me an A. If not, I'll have to purchase a chainsaw that specializes in cutting through floors. 

Thanks for understanding.

- Jay


I think I own a chainsaw made just for that. db


After this email exchange I actually ran into him as he was biking and he stopped to laugh and tell me just how entertaining he thought the whole situation was. He then proceeded to tell his freshmen figure class about my misfortunes. And everyone else as well, I'm sure.  Thanks, Brandes. 

Oil Rub/Colored Pencil Portrait

Wow. This one was a doozy. Our fifth assignment in Media was to do an oil rub/colored pencil portrait from a black and white photo pre 1960s. I found a wonderful photo of Kurt Vonnegut that I fell in love with. I still don't feel like my piece did it justice because it was just a great photo. I don't know if I actually had fun doing the portrait, I think generally I was just frustrated, but I did have a great time doing the transfer of a page from Slaughterhouse Five in the background and the drawing of the asshole on his pin. 

So it goes. 


For our fourth Media assignment we worked with scratchboard. This was a totally foreign concept to me. It was something like reverse pen and ink mixed with elements of sculpting. Basically you use different tools to scratch away the black surface of the board to reveil the white underneath. I was really stoked to take my own reference for this one. Not really sure how the concept came to be, but I like it. 
I had a small 5 x 5 practice scratchboard left over after finishing my skull, so I decided to do a quick (about 40 - 60 minute) scratchboard of a juvenile blue jay from a picture I took on my phone at the wildlife center that I volunteer at. The pattern on it's wing is a shadow of the cage, but it ended up looking more like the poor thing got attacked by a waffle iron. Oh well, you live and you learn. 

Watercolor Food and Portraits

 For our third assignment in Media we learned how to do Brande's three wash technique in water color. I was REALLY stoked about finally learning how to handle water color since I've been messing around with washes for a while but never understood how to tackle an actual watercolor piece. So I was a little bummed when I wasn't a natural at it, but I'm still glad that I've been shown the ropes so that I can eventually be where I want to be when it comes to water color.

rainier cherry

rainier cherries

experimental mcintosh apple 

 cup of coffee
 organic tomatoes 
Partial structural landscape 
Exaggerated portrait of Anne. 
Did about five or six more portraits in addition to this one but have not had the chance to scan them yet.

*Partial shot - the whole thing wouldn't fit in my scanner. This particular piece was not part of Brande's three wash technique. Instead, Pratt showed our Illustration class how to do a more traditional water color piece, working wet into wet. We worked from vintage black and white photos as reference. Totally different feel to this one. I personally prefer Brandes' technique, but it was cool to try something new.

There Are No Bears About During Winter, Dear.

In between Media assignments I was also working on some pieces in my Illustration class.  The first assignment was a flat, paper cut assignment which I have not gotten a chance to scan yet. This was our second assignment, which was open ended and left completely up to us. For some reason I really wanted to do something with a bear and I was inspired by Brave's Mordu when designing mine. 
I've also been on a pink kick lately, for those of you who are unaware. This is not the first figure with pink hair and it certainly won't be the last.

This was my first digital piece that I've done for school. That being said, I didn't really know what I was doing, but I  think I learned a lot about how to handle a lot of layers and I have definitely learned which pieces to do digitally and which to do traditionally. 

Paper Cut Portrait

Our second Media assignment was to do a paper cut of one of our classmates. My scanner just barely fit my portrait of Dani. This began as a single piece of black construction paper.  Once I got my line work transfered, I slowly and carefully cut away all of the lit areas, leaving only one giant shadow shape that was descriptive enough to define the figure and hold the paper together.  This was a really tedious assignment because you had to be super careful not to make a mistake, but I had a good time doing it and I'm really happy with the result. 

We then took our paper cuts and transfered them again so we could do a single wash of watercolor. I'm a little iffy with my choice of color for this one, but otherwise I think it was fairly successful. 

Pen and Ink

The first assignment for Illustration Media was a fish in pen and ink. I chose a sockeye salmon. Didn't get the best critique on this one, mostly due to the value range and composition, but it was my first time working with a dip pen and my first fully rendered pen and ink piece EVER so I think I learned a lot.


With the semester coming to a close in the next couple of weeks, I have finally gotten around to uploading most of my art from school. I have yet to upload anything that doesn't fit in my 8 x 10 scanner at home, but hopefully I'll get around to uploading everything eventually. I'm going to post in the order that the projects were done.