Sunday, December 21, 2008

So here's the final Christmas card. Jeremy likes it, so I feel I've done my job. Yay!

Now I've been told that I should just show what I'm doing without telling the story behind so I'm considering doing just that. I haven't figured out what I'm going to do, so if any body (meaning the very few people that read this blog) has thoughts, then let me know. Should I keep it personal or should I be professional with this blog (while starting a new and improved personal blog). So let me know and I'll take any suggestions that I get.

So it's a small entry today, we'll see what happens in the future.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Project! Yay!

Ok. Story time...

As you all have figured out by now I still have a day job. Maybe one day I can do this for a living but until that day, the grind goes on. One day, a customer of mine (who knew I was illustrating a book) asked if I could do a Christmas Card for him. At the moment I was still doing the book, but I said as soon as I was done I would do it.

Now a little history about Jeremy's card (Jeremy, of course being the before mentioned customer)...

Jeremy has this friend Lenny
Every year Jeremy has a Christmas card in which we Photoshops Lenny's face onto some hilarious Christmas image. So Jeremy asks me if I could draw a Christmas card where a bunch of elves with Lenny's face are wrapping liqueur bottles and the like. I say ok, and now here we are.

I'm not going to say that I'm really good at caricatures but I've done a few in my day. The challenge here was to make it funny but also not insult Lenny. I do like what I do but I'm not a big fan of getting my ass kicked.

So I worked for a little while and came up with a couple of different versions....
I went with a combination between the middle two. The one on the left I tried the style from the old Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer stop motion special we all know and love. But I figured that since I'm not actually making the character and taking a picture of it, the humor would be lost. The one on the right is not what I was wanting at all. That is why I went with the mixture of the middle two.

Next time we'll see what I can do with what I have so far....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The End?

Sorry again about the lack of updates. Again there wasn't much to say about things that I couldn't show. But I'm not here for excuses, so on with the story about the book I illustrated...

I'm done. Yay!

THE END....?!?

Ok. I'll give you more detail.

First, let's flash back to Election night...

Jill (one of the authors) wanted to get together and figure out how large each of the drawing were going to be, so we decided to meet up on Tuesday the 4th of November. I had completely forgotten about the possibility of history being made that night along with the fact that I live in Chicago and could have gone to Grant Park to see Obama's acceptance speech. On the night of the meeting I had realized what day it was and wanted to reschedule but this is a job so I bit the bullet and did what needed to get done.

So I went to Jill's house and we all (Me, Jill and Billy) discussed each illustration and the size they should be when I inked them. Luckily she had election coverage on so I didn't feel bad about not canceling. Nothing to exciting happened during that meeting, we just went over everything that I had done and things that I still needed to do (changes, etc.). After we were done we all just sat around her T.V. watching the outcome of the election.

The next couple weeks went by and I inked what needed to ink and changed what needed to change. And this brings us to Friday the 22nd....

I had finished all the inking that needed to be done and Jill and I went through them all trying to figure out where they belonged. We also printed them out so that she could write notes about where the drawing would go and we would discuss any needed changes. After the meeting there was a few more changes that needed to be made, nothing too difficult.

I spent that weekend finishing everything up. When finished I burned them to a CD and gave Jill the CD when she dropped by my day job.

Last week I heard back from Jill. The editor loved the pictures, which is the main thing that I was worried about. So when I heard that a lot of stress that I was feeling evaporated instantly. So now I'm all done with my first major project of my new career as a free-lance artist.

But that's not it for this blog. I'm working on a Christmas card now and after that I have a tattoo that I'm doing for a friend. So there is more that I can talk about, and probably have more to say since I can now show the process on how I got from point A to point B a lot more in depth. Unfortunately with the book I wasn't able to show anything to you guys but with these other projects I have that freedom. So tomorrow I'm going to talk about the Christmas Card and show you some of the sketches and the story behind the card.

Ok guys. Talk to you later.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Long time.

Sorry about not updating for a while, but since I can't really show you my sketches there isn't really anything to say unless something important happens. Unless you want to read updates that basically say "Did some drawing....and that's about it. Believe me it was pretty exciting". I could do that but it would probably get boring pretty quickly. I could also lie, maybe add in a terrorist attack that I foiled or a lost orphan that taught me what it means to really love, but I think that would be wrong and you deserve better.

Back to the story at hand...

Last night I had another meeting with the authors. Luckily they had the election coverage on in the background. I don't know if I could have been able to concentrate with out knowing what was going on. We talked about the illustrations that I needed to change and luckily I got them right this time. I do need to change one or two more, but other than those, I'm done with the pencil art.

Another thing that we talked about was the size of the illustrations for the book. We went through each drawing and discussed what would be the best size. Now we begin the inking process. It's a little time consuming but not nearly as hard as the pencil art and all the re-dos that I've had to do. That's one thing that I've learned doing the book; it's hard to draw someone's ideas. You can't really see inside their head so you don't really know what they want. But that's the job, so I need to adapt.

After we got done going over the book we watched McCain's concession speech and the Obama's acceptance speech. Which was good because I don't have cable or any rabbit ears (or whatever box I need to get for the digital change up) so I would not have been able to watch it live. It was also nice to watch it with other people.

So that's about it for now and I think I covered everything that I wanted to mention; meeting, inking and lack of updates. Take it Easy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not a good time to get sick or How I Learned to Love My Bleeding Eyes

O.k., so here's the story about his week. I've been fighting a bug since Monday and have been basically bedridden since Tuesday. I've been able to get up a few time but only for a few minutes and really not enough time to get any work done. To be honest, it really hit me a few hours after making my last post on Tuesday. I'm not saying that my writing made me sick, I'm just saying that it's a big coincidence. I ask anyone reading this blog that if you get sick after, let me know so I can take some writing classes and try to stop this epidemic I'm now calling Acute Writingdeficiency Justistosis.

Seriously though, it could not have happened at a worst time. I did get some work done on Monday and a little on Tuesday morning, but the bedridden part of being sick made it so that I couldn't work Tuesday evening or Wednesday.

Now you might think that one and a half days is not that bad of a loss. But the work I did on Monday I decide to scrap due to the fact that I didn't like what I did (I wasn't feeling well either that day and looking back at my work, I should have just put the pencil down and gone to bed), so add that day to the wasted days column. And the work I did on Tuesday was some minor sketching and the addition to the blog. I wasn't able to do anything that I wanted to get done.

Which brings me today. Usually when I work through out the day I take little breaks every few finished illustrations. Nothing huge maybe half an hour, maybe an hour, depending on how much I got done. But today to make up for being sick I've been drawing straight since 7:30 his morning to about 6:30 (whenever I started updating the blog). So that's about ten hours of drawing (I took an hour break around 12 for some lunch, which was the only food I'd had since lunchtime Tuesday). I'm not going to lie, my eyes are killing me.

But I DID get a lot done today. Baring any changes that need to be made, I only have five illustrations left. Tomorrow I'm going to Billy's dog grooming salon to get some ideas on a couple of the illustrations that are left, and will hopefully be done with the pencil art for the book. I don't know if I'm going to be able to stick to my goal of having finished by the end my vacation (I still have a nine to fiver) but at least I got enough done today to make up for the lost days earlier in the week.

That's about it. I think I'm done for the evening. I'm just going to listen to the radio and give my eyes a must deserved rest.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Meetings and Missteps

Last Thursday, I had a meeting with Jill and Billy about the illustrations that I had done. They were pretty well received, though I do have to make some changes. The changes aren't too big, I only have to make a couple of changes to the tools that I use in the illustrations, and a couple of awkward hand gestures.

So the meeting went pretty good, we basically went over all the drawing that I had done. We also talked about some of the illustrations that I have yet to do. I don't have many more to do, hopefully it won't take long so I can get to the inking stage.

Speaking of inking, the editor wants me to use Adobe Illustrator instead of Photoshop, which I can understand. You do get a crisper line with Illustrator, I just hate working with vector. It's a major pain in the ass. But since I'm getting paid, I guess I'll just jump through the necessary hoops. The main hiccup is that the inking might just take a little longer than I had anticipated, so I need to plan for that.

During the meeting I mentioned this blog, to find out what I could and couldn't say. We also discussed what I could show, if anything, which is why I took down the drawing from the first post. We decided that until we can get permission from the publisher figuring it would be safer to wait on posting anything, so we don't piss anyone off. If it turns out that I can put some stuff up, then I'll upload those pictures again, with some others.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The first batch of illustrations

Yesterday I sent out the first set of illustrations for the book to the authors. I'm going to see if I can show some here, but first I'm going to ask the authors what I can say and can't, and what I'm allowed to show. I got an email last night saying that they liked the drawings (personally I wanted hear the word love, though she used two "!" so that's something) but that some of them need a little tweaking. Nothing to much, a few changes to the scissors or brushes, so luckily nothing that is going to take a lot of effort.

Having done these drawings put me up to 20 of the 30 I need for my contractual obligation. That's the main thing I worry about, not fulfilling the contract and getting sued. I know I still have more than a month to finish 10 images and ink them all, but ever since I signed the contract and got half of my fee, I've just had a major sense of urgency. They also told me that they want more than 30 so the faster I get done with these I can start on the others and get more money (yeah I know that sounds bad).

The authors want to meet up to discuss the changes needed to the pictures, so I sent an email telling them I could do it whenever. Hopefully I'll hear from them soon.

Monday, October 6, 2008

My first Book

So here we go. Following the advice of a friend, I've decided to start a blog chronicling my first illustration job. Since I'm a few weeks into it I guess I should tell the story so far....

It started at my day job at a restaurant called Hot Doug's. I've been working there for about three and a half years now, which is the longest job that I've ever held down. Before that I'd never stayed at a place for more than eight months. The job is good; nice money and lots of vacation time. It also allows me a lot of time to draw.

Several customers knew that I doodled at work and took interest in it. They would talk to me about it, want to see my stuff, ask me if I did anything outside of Hot Doug's. So me knowing how to draw was pretty well known through out our regulars.

Enough back story, now to.....the....front...story? Well anyway...

One day, a regular started talking to me about a book that she was writing, and since I actually liked this particular customer, it was one of the few times that I paid attention. She was mentioning that she needed an illustrator for the project. Since she knew that I could draw and had seen some of my stuff, she asked if I would like to try out for the job. She said that she had to look at other artist but would love to give me a chance to work with her.

And as I said before, I had worked at Doug's for nearing four years now, and having started getting sick of the place, I of course said "aaa..Yeah!"

The project that Jill was writing a dog care book, and wanted it to have a fun, cartoony flavor. And she wanted to see what I had in mind for it so she asked for me to draw up a few sample pictures.

So I had a few weeks to draw up a couple samples, which was more than enough time to get it done. After having inked up a several drawings, I sent them off, hoping that I had done what was needed of me to get the job. The dog to the right is one of the samples.
The next day I get a phone call from Jill saying that she and Billy (the other author) loved the samples and wanted me on the project. Needless to say, I was excited about being chosen. She then told me that the editor was worried that the dog looked to goofy and asked if I could make it look, and I quote "Less goofy"

Knowing what needed to be done, I used that descriptive criticism to rework the dog. After reading the email from the editor that Jill forwarded to me, I was able to figure out what was making it so "goofy" and started reworking the eyes and snout.
After doing several different face (see above) I sent them off to Jill to see if I had fixed the goofy problem. After a few days, she gave me a call to tell me that the editor loved the top left one so I had the job.

Two weeks ago I went to Jill's house to sign the contracts and to meet Billy. After signing all the different things that I needed to sign (contracts, etc.) and getting all the chapters that had been finished, we started talking about the book, i.e. what was needed from me and any idea that I had.

So that's the story so far. Fast-forward two weeks to the present; I've read the available chapters, made notes on where I need to have illustrations, and went to Billy's studio to take reference pictures of the different procedures. Now it's time to actually do the work.

I took today and tomorrow off work so that I can get a good start on it and have spent most of the day drawing, which I have to say is not a bad way to spend a day. I've taken a break to start this blog to record for prosperity what I'm doing. I don't really know if anyone is going to read it but it might help with the project, and help get out to others what I do.

So that's the story so far. I'm undertaking a long journey into a new career and I hope you stay for the rest of the ride.