Happy New Year!

Howdy, y'all. I hope anyone reading this had a great time over the recent holidays. It's a great opportunity to pig out for nearly a month, gain some weight, slack a bit with your productivity, and have fun with family and friends. I did a bunch of ALL of that, and I'm back to the grind, drawing as much as I can. It feels good.

I'm working on a new podcast that I've been thinking about for nearly 6 months. This one is completely new and exciting; I'm illustrating the vibe of a band that I've discovered (they're getting a bit more popular by now, you may know their work), with a focus on illustrating more accurately the characters created in a the lyrics to my favorite of their songs. It's a point I'm making on illustration, how cartoons can follow the "feel" of a group, a song, a story, an article, or anything else. Illustration is more than just putting a pretty picture to the cover of a magazine so people will buy it. I see it as an equal partnership of text and visual. Sound and sight. Editorial and humor. A good illustration suppliments a story or song, and does not retell it. There is a lot of redundant illustration, meaning the story says what the picture says, and not in a clever way.

This is just one facet of illustration, one theory. I know that good illustration also grabs your eye and will "sell" the reader of say, for example, a magazine. It needs to say enough so you get an idea and a smile or a feeling that makes you compelled to read more... but anyway, I'm just typing too much now.

For today, I'm throwing at you some sketches that I did last night (podcast spoiler?). I'm into drawing cars, much like Ken Knafou - and caricaturing them a bit. I like to extremely exaggerate, but I have found that it is easy to lose the ability to quickly get structure down on the page, in a convincing way. These drawings were for practice, just to keep my hand moving and to keep my brain limber in this respect. I'd hate to get rusty, and sketching is so important to help curb that rut.

Most of these are drawn from a classic car book that I own (Barnes & Noble Bargain Books section is GOLD), just trying to get a little exaggeration and a lot of essence down, while focusing on structure. I'm using what I call a blue "animator's" pencil (Staedtler Non-Photo Blue) and inking/shading with a .01 cm Prismacolor Fine-Liner pen and 10% cool gray Prismacolor Marker. I find these tools to be great for quick sketching. You can learn to commit to your lines quickly, knowing you can't erase the marker, yet you can lightly sketch with the gray marker or blue pencil before inking. Using the gray marker also gives you a chance to shade, layer and put washes down, experimenting again without the pressure of having to produce "finished" art. This is, again, why sketching is so vital. You build your skills without having the deadlines and stress of quality.

My buddy Jeremy said it best; "A sketchbook is a place where you are allowed to suck although you strive not to." This is so vital to an artist, and I really encourage everyone to sketch, doodle and practice. These sketches can definitely be improved, and I am seeing what I need to work on as I do more... That's why I'll be publishing my sketchbook collection this February, with quotes from amazing artists all throughout the book.

Anyway, I hope you dig these (each car sketch is 4-6" wide). I'll have more posts and another digital art podcast coming in the next few days.


Tooninator said...

I dig cars. And I definitely dig your slight exaggeration to these classics. All too often, car art is cheeeeeese. Not this.

ramanjit said...

hi sir,
happy new year!!!!!
its good to see you back to blog,we are waiting for your new podcast,brad pit is great in drawing board.i am realy learning so much from you.
thankyou very much.
take care!!

mordicai said...

You should start caricaturing EVERYTHING. Cars, pets, that sort of gross stuff would be really commercial I bet. Other stuff like guns could be cool-- Joe! Draw exaggerated GUNZ!

Everybody's gotta be in a Gang said...

Nice drawings, Joe- they have a lot of style.

Lash LeRoux said...

Thanks for the post, Joe. caricaturing, or cartooning, inanimate objects is something that gets overlooked all too often. With the result that the style of the background clashes with the style of characters in a lot of illustrations. I know this is something that I personally need to work a lot on.

Katon Aqhari said...

Wowh.....great!!!wish u a HAPPY NEW YEAR

Josh Spencer said...

Happy New Year! I love the cars, you make it look so easy. Do you find it hard to draw wheels?


Joe Bluhm said...

Thanks, all.

Josh: always. :)

Mordicai: for you, I think I will...

Hugo Freutel said...

Love cars too. Nice studies.