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Archive for June, 2010

Ray Harryhausen’s 90th Birthday +1

June 30th, 2010

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For anyone needing an explanation as to who I’m talking about, click here. This will go into much more depth than I will, as I couldn’t possibly do the man’s career justice in just a few sentences. He was the genius behind many movies that really fueled my imagination. As a kid I couldn’t get enough of things like Jason’s battle with the skeletons, or the Talos striding across the beach.

Personal experience time:
In March of ’06 I had the good fortune of meeting Mr. Harryhausen when a local film festival flew him in to do a screening of JASON and the ARGONAUTS and later in the day he gave a talk giving a run down of his life’s work followed by a Q&A session. All of this was happening a grand total of about three blocks from the apartment I was living in at the time!

While due to some reason I’ve seemed to have forgotten in the last four years I wasn’t able to make it to the screening of Argonauts. I did make it to his retrospective and Q&A session. Which in one word was AWESOME. While there I got him to sign a copy of RAY HARRYHAUSEN: AN ANIMATED LIFE for me. Which is not only something that sits on my bookshelf in a place of pride, it was also an excuse to shake the man’s hand and say thank you.

I’ll be lucky to accomplish half as much in twice the time as he has.

So Happy Birthday Mr. Harryhausen, even if it is a day late. Thanks will never be enough.

As a post script: While searching for an image to run on this post I discovered he’s recently donated his life work to the National Media Museum in England. This is firmly added to things I need to see before the zombie holocaust takes us all.

Heroes

Week 10 The turn for home.

June 30th, 2010

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Week 10, was about making a mailer. Thanks to the folks I showed this to on my way to doing it. As always people who’ll critique for you are priceless. The penultimate week of the challenge has just been posted today. It’s task is setting up to send these out. Thus beginning the never ending promotional cycle in earnest. There is much homework to be done.

12wkch

Week 9 (Late in adding the post)

June 26th, 2010

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Sorry for the delay in the write up for week 9’s challenge. I had some downtime from my cpu, as I changed internet providers and then had to have my ailing machine resuscitated. A special shout out to my good friend Roberto Rubet for bringing it back from the dead. When you have a second, go check out his site as well. His work is mental in all of the best ways imaginable. And I’m pretty certain that as far as people go they don’t come anymore stand up than he is. Here’s a link to his site www.idodont.com. Chat him up and spark him to get busy. I want to see more of his awesome cartooning!

Anyway, Week 9 centered around getting a social media network into place. Which is really important for a number of reasons. While I can’t claim to have gotten a huge amount of work directly from my time spent networking through sites like facebook, twitter, or the like. I can say that I’ve learned an awful lot and made many contacts within the illustration community I may never have had the chance to make prior to their advent. I’ve said it time and time again, but I’m always amazed at how personable and approachable the folks in the illo world by and large have been. Having these places where they are so easily found all in one place? You’d be a fool not to take advantage of it. I’ve learned a ton, from these interactions. And for that thank you all. I hope to be in the position to pass it all on one day.

As far as tasks for the challenge, I went in and finally took the time to freshen up my twitter profile. I’ve had it for a few months now, and plainly hadn’t gotten around to changing the default background. I uploaded an avatar and started posting things. I didn’t do anything drastic really. Upload the background texture I use here on my main site, and changed the color palette where I could to also be more in line with my theme. These results can be seen here. If you’re reading this and don’t follow me there, please feel free. I neither bite nor post 500 things a day.

There is also my facebook (you have to be signed in now to see even public profiles I think) where I generally post links and chat with folks from time to time. I do try to read everything posted there by my friends list though. Even if I’ve gone quiet from time to time.

I’ve also got a pretty underutilized LinkedIn. This is something I need to correct. And plan to do so over the course of the coming months.

That seems to be a good place to stop my recap of the week before last’s activity with the challenge.

12wkch

The Ripple Effect

June 15th, 2010

Fair warning: This blog post is going to possess a lot less snark than I tend to write with here.

First off I’d like to say, it’s really inspiring to watch a grass roots effort take hold and mobilize a group of people. I was pointed in the direction of fellow illustrator Kelly Light’s amazing efforts over the weekend, through multiple folks on my Twitter follow list. Through numerous small steps and what I can only assume is an amazing amount of elbow grease Kelly has started the ripplesketches blog. With it she’s been putting up her own and other’s donated sketchcards or prints, selling them for the price of a ten dollar donation to either The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies or The International Bird Rescue Research Center .

It’s just that simple. She stood up and said out loud she wasn’t going to sit by doing nothing. Instead she used what she had at her disposal, and tried to make something happen. And you know what? It IS happening. In just a few short days and through word of mouth the project has raised as of last update 2,000 dollars. With what I can only imagine is no end in sight.

The cards I’ve submitted will be in the post to their new home tomorrow (Thanks Charlotte if you happen to be reading!). BUT, in saying this there are so many great pieces still available, by so many great artists.

One last plug, go check out the ripplesketches blog, and buy something great, while doing something great.

I’m happy to say in a small way I was a part of this. Thanks again Kelly, for everything you are doing.

pelicanegret

Projects, Scribbles

Week 8. (The week in which Warren catches up)

June 6th, 2010

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This is a placeholder post for continuity-sake.Week 8 is about setting up a portfolio website. Since I was drawing straight through the rest week that was originally set into the challenge, I used part of this week to recharge my batteries. In that time I’ve started with the planning of a larger project, and spent some time generally enjoying not running myself ragged. I’ll be back at the drawing boards very soon.

As a reminder since I haven’t posted the link in a while, the progress of my fellow challengers can be followed over at the 12 Week Challenge Clubhouse .

12wkch

Week 7: On Branding

June 3rd, 2010

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So the work for weeks 7 & 8 have been done. Much of it prior to the challenge honestly. So thankfully due to that I feel like in fairly short order I’ll finally be up and running again current with the challenge. Who knows? I may even hit the finish line on time. Week 7’s task is a deceptively challenging one, and one while I feel like I have a handle on, I’m not sure I’ve completely nailed it all together perfectly *just* yet. Anyway off to the challenge tasks, there will be run on sentences. Be warned.

The name for your business/project/service: This one is simple enough. I do all of my networking under my name and also my personal domain/and email addresses are also just my name as well. So Warren Belfield or Warren Belfield Illustration it is. Although I will say I feel for any of my fellow participants in the challenge with more unusual or less common names. My name is fairly straight forward, and while Belfield isn’t the most common surname in the world by a long shot I’m still surprised when people manage to mangle it. The number of times I’ve been called “Mr. Benfield”, “Mr. Battlefield”, and oddly “Mr. Garfield” gives me a laugh.

What your brand stands for (3 words) This is where I admit to being terrible at doing this kind of thing for myself. I’ve done some work where coming up with the angle for the project really came down to these little digestible bullet points before. Even worked on an ad spot that the entire pitch for it was Four words total. So I know it can be done, and it can be valuable. I don’t know, I almost want to turn this into a game for myself. Which is probably the EXACT wrong thing to do. I just have a hard time doing the buzz word thing with a straight face. I’m sure it’s something I should probably get over and realize class clowning isn’t always the way to go.

Spit-balling this with a frequent collaborator, I’m still not sure I cam up with much. His recommendation was:
Monsters, Miscreants, and Mayhem – which while I’m probably guilty of pushing all three at one time or another, I don’t think I’m necessarily ready for that tight of a pigeon hole just yet.

However other than that suggestion the best I’ve managed was:
Not From Concentrate which certainly isn’t taking a three word pitch very seriously at all.

Yeah I may strike out on this one.

A logo or some sort of visual identifier for the above: The closest thing to a logo or visual identifier I’ve been using would be the font I use for the url. It’s a modified version of a font called hammerkeys. What I’ve done to it is cut out the uppercase letters completely and mirrored the distressed bar found at the top of the font at the bottom as well. Thinking about it, one day I should just make a proper vector file of it so I’m not remaking it in Photoshop every time I need to resize it.

For instance this is my current Business card, the other font is called Typewrong if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
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A colour scheme for your brand (a primary colour and complimentary secondary colour palette): Since launching this site I’ve been using a mixture of black/white/and warm orange browns. In what is only a coincidence I assure you, since launching the site a lot of what I’ve been doing has been ink drawings on paper stained with coffee…which makes for warm orange brown paper. I wish I could say “I planned it that way.” But that’s something that just kind of happened.

Now those are the tasks more or less. (Man 3 word pitches. I’m doing it wrong) Here’s the analysis bit:

1. What single core message do you want to convey to your audience?

If I got to pick what people take away from my stuff, I’d like to think things like the effort I take in not only producing the work, but conceptualizing it comes through. Also I’d like to think “my voice” as it were is readily apparent in what I’m producing. No matter the subject matter, or media I’m using at a particular time. Also if more hyperbolic words were to enter into the discussion, I wouldn’t mind in the least. Also I would accept “I’ll buy it!”

2. What 3 words would you like people to use to describe your illustration business/service?

In a perfect world? I’d like those first three words to be “My first choice”

3. What colours convey the image you’d like to portray to a global audience?

I’m pretty good with what I’m using right now. I feel like it fits where I’m at in my work currently. Right now I feel my limited palette or straight black and white work is stronger than my full color work. This is something I really plan on addressing in personal work sometime in the not so distant future. So doing everything as Black/White/spot color for now seems appropriate.

4. What look and feel most communicate what you’re trying to convey most effectively (does it reflect the style/medium you work in)?

I’m not sure really. I just kind of draw the way I draw. For years I tried to fit the styles of what I really like and found myself fighting against what I naturally did, especially when I saw things trending away from what I was doing. Nowadays I’m just doing what I do, and I’m hoping to build up an audience as I go. It’s way less stressful this way. I’d assume it could be described as graphic since line really carries the work in most of what I do. It’s realistic without being photorealistic (I admire the draftsmanship in photorealism but it isn’t for me).

5. What kind of language will your audience best respond to? Formal, informal, slang, any global/international considerations?

Judging by the things I’m typically called upon to work on, and my own personal preferences. I’d have to say informal, but not to the point of absolute laziness to language. I don’t believe I’ll eschew things like a basic attempt at grammar, or attempts at proper spelling. I tend not to use leet or emoticons when I type if I can avoid it. But let’s be honest, I just drew a guy with a squid head TOTALLY EATING THE BRAINS of some guy. “Dear Sir or Madam” may not work for me.

6. Will your brand include an identifiable glyph or icon that could, in time, become associated with you and your work? If so, what single icon best reflects you/your work?

Right now the closest thing would be the font I use for my url. Images will change as I change what I’m promoting myself with.

This one turned into more words than I expected. I obviously had more going on in my head than I thought.

12wkch

Discover a Muse/End of Week 6 (A bit over due)

June 1st, 2010

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So here I am on the first day of week 8 posting my last image for week 6. I’ve been hustling, but never could make up the time from the about face I made at the mid point of week 5. However now I’m finished and I hope to be back on track by the week’s end.

The final image I chose to do was kind of a two for one for me. Prior to the 12 Week Challenge I’d run across a contest run by the most excellent ArtOrder blog who joined forces with Veronika Kotajic for this particular challenge. This was an awesome contest, run by an awesome blog (one I can’t believe it took me so long to stumble across), oh and judged by awesome judges. All for a good cause to boot? Sign me up.

It posed a lot of interesting problems for me. Not the least of which were the delivery dimensions. The final output was set for 13.5″ x 17″. Since I work traditionally I like to work larger pieces at least a bit larger than the final. In order to let scaling tighten up the image for me just a bit. So the original ended up being 16.875″ x 21.25″ so around twice as big as I have been working lately. It proved to be a lot of fun. I plan to work on more drawings at a larger scale as my schedule allows it in the near future.

Any way here’s what I was able to come up with this week. Let me know what you think.

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***ETA*** In my haste to post this I left off the link to Veronika’s page, and any mention of her being part of hosting this contest.

12wkch, Projects