12.06.2007

Great Ideas

There is really something to be said about a great idea. Sometimes the ingenuity and inspiration of a plan is just as valuable as the execution. However when you have truly talented individuals at the helm of these ideas, it instantly becomes a "home run" in my eyes.

Here are a few truly great concepts. Sometimes the best ideas are not huge commercial successes, and come from independent artists or publishers. I also have to admit, these are all artists (I'm a fan, I won't lie!). I'm a bit biased. Being an artist myself, I have an affinity towards these creative ideas and the drawing types, so I've gravitated towards
these gems:

Stephen Silver's Sketchbooks


I'll start with a classic. Sketches by Silver. I know I've hyped up the character designer/sketch artist/caricaturist Stephen Silver in the past, but old habits die hard. He's my friend, he's a pro, he works hard, and his work is VERY appealing. Steve has been teaching with Bobby Chiu and the folks over at Imaginism Studios for a year now, and his class is surely one of the rare education purchases (among all Imaginism classes) that is truly worth it, in the art world.

Steve has published three sketchbooks already, in hardcover. The first was his big she-bang,
The Art of Silver. This is a typical approach, but not a typical product. A 160+ pg hardcover sketchbook with work from his childhood, his adult life, his cartoon career, his advertising career, and sketchbooks in between. All the while he talks about his choices and process. A great buy. But that wasn't enough...

To say that Silver likes to sketch is an understatement. Silver HAS TO SKETCH. He needs it. He loves it. He compares sketchbooks and artists to gyms and fitness. And he's right. With all these sketchbooks laying around, Steve decided to publish a book of ONE YEAR's work, from his sketchbooks.

Great idea. $15. Small. Packed full of art. Per dollar, you will not get a better handful of cartoon and sketching inspiration. A must-have... and to top it off, his next sketchbook was an even more clever and sincere idea. Go to his site and check it out.


Schoolism.com - Online Art School


I mentioned Imaginism Studios above. If you haven't gone to the website, check it out. They are comprised of some talented and sincerely wonderful folks. You'll notice the work of Bobby Chiu and Kei Acedera all over BORDER'S Bookstores for the Holiday season, as well as many other places.

The folks at Imaginism are dedicated artists who love to sketch, do concept art, humorous illustration, comic illustration, digital painting, and much more. Though they didn't birth the concept, they teach online classes with some of the best artists in their fields at a place called SCHOOLISM.com.

Schoolism is an opportunity for artists to take courses from the ARTISTS THEY KNOW. When someone is talented and successful in their field, artists often write them asking questions about technique, industry, process and other elements of their niche. This is a chance to see what each instructor can do, has achieved, and to get personal feedback from video courses, at home. The popularity of online schools and courses is improved with video-capture technology and digital painting programs, and the folks as Schoolism are among the best. I have had the privilege to get to know most of the artists and instructors and I can safely say that they inspire me to try new things all the time, keep me motivated, and offer fresh ideas and viewpoints on my career, as well as the actual artwork.

Schoolism is a great way to get a lesson at home, intimately, with the artist that you admire. Check it out, and if nothing else, take a look at all the wonderful themed art books that they offer at ImaginismStudios.com.

BlubberLubber.blogspot.com


The idea of the blog is no longer new. The idea of an art blog is just as old, and the ambition to do a piece of art per day is even older. But every once in a while, one of these guys pops up and screams of fun and originality.

After drawing in theme parks for years, I know of the attraction to the uniqueness and weird nature of each individual human being. Let's face it,
we're all different and we're all funny looking. This doesn't, however, make it easy for an artist (or ANY individual) to pick out what is interesting and weird, let alone draw it well. Dan Hay is one of those exceptions.

Dan is a caricaturist currently working in Florida. His work has been referred to as (with all due respect and admiration to John K.) "what Ren and Stimpy tried to be". He sees strange features, grotesque folds, zits, funny walks, the way clothes fit or don't fit, and he gets it on paper.

Dan recently started a blog called BlubberLubber. Each day he draws a person or pair of people that he observed that day, entirely from memory. Dan's art has a way of making you laugh without words or gags... just a simple drawing of a real person.

He's on vacation for another week or two, but when he's home, he is
adding a cartoon drawing daily. It's the best laugh of my day.

Famous Corpses, 2005


Another great book idea is one from the minds of artists/humorists Brad Bailey, Beau Hufford and Jan Op de Beeck. These three friends of mine co-wrote, to Jan's extremely exaggerated digital caricature illustrations, a sort of "celebrity epitaph roast".

The genius of Famous Corpses needs no explaination. There is fresh content every year and the writing is edgy and cutting (almost taboo).
A wonderful little book.

John Martz's "Excelsior"


The last great idea for today's mention is a small book by John Martz, called Excelsior. I acquired this gem at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF).

Martz is the founder of the popular website DRAWN.ca (as well as the creator of one of my favorite fonts!) and is a very talented cartoonist.

This book is nothing more than a project he took on to practice an inking style with his nib pen... one that got to him. Martz took his mother's yearbook and cartooned every student photo from beginning to end, merely changing the names and dates. This concept of caricature and varying faces with a consistent style, along with having so much material and feigned nostalgia, is hilarious and comforting at the same time. The book is small (about 5"x9" or smaller) and a landscape orientation. Some ideas don't have to be complex or take a lot of writing, but they are just wonderful in their simplicity. This is one of my favorites.
=============
These great ideas are not the ONLY concepts that I think are amazing, but they are merely the ones that I had on my mind today. Over the last year or so I've become a big fan of books. I am enjoying the designs, the layout, the simplicity, the ideas, the luster, the antique of many of them, and many other parts of publishing altogether. I've learned a lot about this industry as well, and am coming to appreciate it, as well as many of the unique ideas and concepts that are found in this genre.

I'll surely feature other Great Ideas from time to time. For now, take a peek at these ones, if you haven't already. They will surely put a smile on your face.

4 comments:

Bobby Chiu said...

Hey thanks for the kind words Joe! Hopefully we can get you teaching something on Schoolism one day as well!

Btw, 'the Art of Silver' wasn't his first book. His first book was titled 'My First Sketchbook'...hehehe... it looked like a little comic book. I have a copy somewhere

StudioRisingStar said...

Hi Joe!
I met you at comic con! I'm brandon.
I was asking you how did you use your prismacolor art sticks because I had hurt my hand using them.Great book my boss bought it at the reno NCN con.
I wish I could have gone. Please keep in touch.

-SRS

bog_art said...

I do agree that SCHOOLISM.com it is a great idea!!.. but I think it is a great idea that you have put together all these great ideas in your blog too..

dan said...

Thanks joe! I dig your blog, too! I miss seeing you draw live, though! Nobody draws the reflection in sunglasses like you!