Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wreck-It Ralph Theme

The song inexplicably getting me through my post-SDCC depression:

I had a really wonderful time and am having a hard time dealing with being back in real life! Full update post coming soon...

© Gina Florio 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dynamic Sketching videos

If you've been following the blog since I started it last fall, you'll know that the first class I took was VisCom 1: Dynamic Sketching with Peter Han. If you've ever thought about taking the class or wondered about what we learned, you should take half an hour to watch this video, in which Peter introduces the concept of visual communication and gives an overview of the kinds of exercises you can do to practice good sketching habits (you might remember me referring to them as "circles-and-lines exercises"). When I took the class, Peter and his TA, Patrick Ballesteros, stressed that they still practice these often, if not every day.

I love the gold frame that they put around his face at the beginning. If that doesn't say master artist I don't know what does.

This video was made for CGMA, an online school very similar to Concept Design Academy in most respects (except of course that all its classes are taught digitally). Peter teaches Dynamic Sketching there as well, for a similar price as CDA (so that would be a good option to take the class if you're not located in the Los Angeles area). In this second video, made for Dynamic Sketching II, he goes a little further into what's expected out of viscom students, and also demonstrates textures and forms/contours, which we were expected to do for homework as well.

Peter talks a lot about MILEAGE. This is something he stressed in our class as well. Drawing a lot, all the time. I specifically remember bringing in my homework one week and I really hadn't done too much. I think I'd taken one night that week and just shaded the stuff that I'd drawn in class. He wasn't angry, but I could tell he was disappointed. It's partly why I started the draw-every-day habit this year. Ira Glass's famous quote about reaching your artistic goals stresses "the most important thing you can do is a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work." I've come across this attitude again and again. Just produce work. Don't get attached to anything. Just do it, and do it, and improve.

These videos were great for me to watch to refresh myself on where I began, what I need to keep practicing, and where to go from here, so even if you have already taken Dynamic Sketching, they're worth watching.

In regular life news: I'm very excited to be able to say that in 48 hours' time, I will be at the SAN DIEGO COMIC CON for the first time in my life. I went to downtown Los Angeles's Comikaze in 2012 and Anaheim's Wondercon earlier this year, but I have always wanted to go to SDCC, and this year it's finally happening. I know I'll be doing lots and lots of waiting in lines, but I'm hoping to put a positive spin on this by turning it into major amounts of sketching time. I'm also looking forward to visiting both Peter and Patrick at their booths, as well as many other of the talented artists that I follow, such as Nathan Fowkes, Brett Bean, Aaron Diaz (Dresden Codak), and Pascal Campion, and going to the many great art-related panels and demos that will be happening throughout the weekend.

If you're following me on Instagram, you'll also know that I'm going in costume on one day, making this my very first cosplay (inspired, of course, by the fantastic cast of "Heroes of Cosplay", the show I've devoted way too much of my time to this year). I've spent a lot of time on my costume that probably should have been spent drawing instead, but it was fun and I'm excited to debut it. I won't give it away just yet but I will just say that there are a lot of things that I'm hoping to see at SDCC and I hope I can CATCH 'EM ALL.

© Gina Florio 2013

Friday, July 12, 2013

HTTYD 2 Teaser Trailer Released

Two blogs in one day??? Can it be?!?! YES IT CAN, because the teaser trailer for the sequel to MY FAVORITE MOVIE was just released. Do yourself a favor and watch it like I did - in an empty room, fullscreen, in HD, with the sound way... way up.

Seriously... my excitement for this borders on maniacal.

© Gina Florio 2013

Nightlife on the Pixar Campus

Most people who call themselves passionate about concept art and animation dream of working at Pixar. I would say that this article only heightens the status of the legendary campus from 'workplace of dreams' to 'Animator's Olympus': The Hottest Bars in Emeryville, CA are at Pixar Animation Studios

I do think Pixar has somewhat lost its way artistically lately, turning to sequels and prequels after its years of funny, heartfelt AND financially successful originals. So I can't say that I dream of working there, exactly (not that I'd turn it DOWN... Pixar talent scouts who are obviously reading my blog). But I would definitely love to work at a place that has this sort of attitude towards fun, a similar drive for bringing its people together (while blowing off creative steam).

© Gina Florio 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Daily Sketches Weeks 23-27 - Landscape Painting class

So this semester at Concept Design Academy I tried and failed to get into Environment Sketching with Ed Li (I was about 10 minutes too late to the signup website and it sold out). In a last-minute panic I signed up for Landscape Painting with Leighton Hickman instead. I have never painted in oils before, and I've NEVER painted outside. I was very nervous, and rightly so, because boy have I churned out some stinkers. BUT I actually think it was a blessing in disguise, for reasons I will go into later...

The teacher, Leighton, is a visual development artist at Dreamworks. This is one of his paintings that he had laid out on the first day for us to look at. Isn't this an amazing painting?

 The man himself, painting at our first location. You can see his subject right to the left of his head there.

For this class I bought a pochade box (this one, in fact), which attaches to a tripod for plein air painting. I also bought water-soluble oil paints so that I didn't have to deal with turpentine (I use gamsol for thinning and cleaning).

We started off painting in 5 values, using only titanium white and burnt umber.

June 5 - Week 1 homework. My first outdoor painting, in my neighborhood. Wooooof.
June 8 - Week 2 in-class painting. Double woof.

June 9 - Week 2 homework. Cheated a little and painted indoors this week. But it was my first painting that actually looked like what it was supposed to look like.

June 15 - Week 3 in-class painting. Even *I* don't know what it's supposed to be, and I painted it.

June 16 - Week 3 homework. The view from the top of my building.

At this point in time I was feeling very frustrated with the class and unsure of why I'd even tried. Everyone calls oils a "forgiving medium," but I will debunk that for you right here and now. Oils are extremely expensive, messy, and difficult to get used to. You try to use too little and it won't even take up 1/3000th of the canvas. Then you try to mix more and you can't mix exactly that same shade again. The paint glops up on your brush and you try to put some on the canvas and it ends up taking previously laid down paint OFF the canvas instead and you are just like "Paint, WTF, why you gotta hate."

HOWEVER - I got some unexpected time off that week and was able to go out for a second homework session, which I think of as my first successful painting session. With the whole day ahead of me, I was able to slow down, find a spot I liked, and take my time, and I think that made all the difference.

June 21 - semi-success at Griffith Park.
photo of my subject
A second painting to use up the rest of my paint. Not as successful but still not terrible.

Photo of subject #2. I'd love to tackle this again actually, I love the composition.

In week 4 of class, we started color!

June 22 - Week 4 in-class painting. Same palm I drew back in Viscom 1 class last October.

Our homework that week was to do a master copy - not worrying too much about the style or brushstrokes, just trying to match the colors. I decided to do this painting by Edgar Payne. (What a beautiful painting, don't you think?)

I tried to knock this out one night after work - painting under a plain old yellow lightbulb instead of a daylight-temperature lamp. See for yourself (this is what it looked like in the morning under natural light).

June 24 - COMPLETELY off colors.

In the hour and a half I had before work, I kicked it into high gear and tried to fix the colors. Leighton pointed out that the bottom half of the cliff is way too high in value, and he's right - I definitely got tunnel vision on the cliff and heightened all the color and value variations in my head. I've had trouble so far juggling both value AND color in my paintings.

June 25

Last week we were at Vasquez Rocks, in 100˚ heat, with no shade in sight. I had to leave about 2/3 of the way through class because I felt really faint. So I mostly worked off of a photo for this painting.

July 5 - Week 5 in-class painting AND homework.

photo from Vasquez

We're halfway through the ten-week class now, and I have to say, as frustrated as I was at first, I'm really happy with my progress. I still don't feel totally comfortable in oils, and it's CRAZY annoying to lug all my painting supplies all over Los Angeles and stand out in the summer heat, getting all sweaty and squinting at my subject and squinting at my palette and wondering what I'm doing wrong. I don't think I'll do too much landscape painting after I'm done with the class, or really much oil painting at all. I hate setting up, AND cleaning up. It really makes me appreciate the ease of a pencil and paper, or digital painting. And I think I have more of a mind for drawing than for painting. They're definitely two different things.

But BECAUSE of all that, this class has pushed me SO far outside my comfort zone that I think I've made new strides as an artist. Painting outside forces you to stop and really LOOK at what you're trying to paint and really THINK about how to accomplish that with paint and a brush. This has sunk in to the point where I'm starting to approach all of my art this way - not just paintings. And as a result, I think my two most recent pen-and-marker sketches have come out better, and more painterly. See for yourself.

June 11

June 20

I think I've already mentioned this, but just in case, if you'd like to keep up with my daily sketches on a more, y'know, DAILY basis, you can follow me on instagram, where I post everything that eventually goes on this blog. You may get some wayward non-art-related posts, but for the most part, it's all sketches and paintings.

WHOOF - that's all for now. I'll try not to have it be so long before my next Daily Sketches post. In the meantime though I've got tons of potential entries lined up in my "Stuff to Blog About" folder! So stay tuned...

© Gina Florio 2013

Friday, July 5, 2013

Daily Sketches Weeks 15-22

Are you guys ready for this?? It's been three whole months since my last one so I just want to make sure you're prepared.

That's right... it's a DAILY SKETCHES POST!!

Well, sort of. You will note that some days are missing. Many days, in fact. Life's been crazy busy for the past few months. Dave and I called June "pile it on month." (Now we're behind on everything, so July is "get our shit together month.") So, although I have no proof, I HAVE been drawing every day... it's just that some days, I only have enough time to scribble some random faces on a post-it note, or even just to do my circles-and-lines exercises from Viscom 1 class. So sometimes, my "daily sketch" isn't really worthy of a photo, and more often than not of late. But there has still been a lot of art in my life this year, and I've been continuing to learn and grow as an artist and as a person, and for that, I'm very happy.

Apr 7

Apr 8

Apr 9 - experimenting with digital painting

Apr 10 - Dave videogaming in funny positions

Apr 11
Apr 12 - The vision of this robot in a snowy wasteland was so clear in my head, then I tried to put him on paper and it all fell apart.

Apr 13 - completed dapper hippo digital painting

Apr 14 - more life studies

Apr 15 - Dave in WoNkY PeRSpeEctIve wOrlD

Apr 17 - the start of post-it-note faces

Apr 25 - more photoshop experiments

Apr 26

Apr 29

Apr 30 - studies from the Proko YouTube channel

May 1

May 2

May 3

May 5

May 7 - doodle in my mom's mother's day card

May 11 - watercolor practice on a hazy California day
May 19 - more watercolor practice

May 24 - airport sketching

May 29

May 30 - messing around with my oil paints for the first time

June 1 - more airport sketches

June 2 - an EDIBLE daily sketch.

June 2 - I am such a fantastic icing artist that I needed to add a caption so people could tell what it was.

June 4 - my brother's graduation ceremony.

There's so much to catch up on that I'm actually going to break this up into two posts - everything you've seen has been all before I started my Landscape Painting class. Next post will have some landscape paintings in it, as well as details on the class!

© Gina Florio 2013