Friday, May 27, 2011

Life Drawing Workshop: Brianna Leigh

Brianna Leigh: Seated Study 3: Graham Smith
This week, Brianna Leigh was a joy to draw, twice! She modeled for a few quick studies at the Sony Life Drawing Workshop, and for a longer pose at the San Diego Drawing and Painting Meetup Group, later in the week. We all shared some Skittles and spent the evening drawing with our friends.

Brianna Leigh: Seated Study 1: Graham Smith
Brianna Leigh: Seated Study 2: Graham Smith
Brianna Leigh: gesture studies: Graham Smith

For the art geeks: 18 x 24 inches, colored pencils and white charcoal, on Strathmore 400 series Dry Media paper, 100lb with an Raw Sienna acrylic paint wash.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kidnapping Illustration "Seized" Award

Seized illustration by Graham Smith
The Arizona Press Club awarded "Seized" a second place nod in the Best Illustration category, as judged by the design staff of the Los Angeles Times.

Thanks Arizona Press Club! Illustrating this frightening kidnapping story (and all that fur) in a bold, graphic composition was really fun. The best part was collaborating with the super talented Peter Storch while illustrating this compelling story.    Read more about how this illustration was created...
Judges: “An overwhelmingly arresting image. The combination of the tiny chick peering from the unescapable fangs of a terrifying wolf is harrowing. You can't help but be drawn into this story.”
 Illustration by Graham Smith. Art Directed by Peter Storch, for the Phoenix New Times. Story by Monica Alonzo.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hustle & Woe for Seattle Weekly

Hustle & Woe: Graham Smith
The Seattle Weekly, was looking for someone to illustrate the Shyan Selah: Hustle & Woe cover story, by Keegan Hamilton, when Art Director Boo Davis, saw the gangster rat video, and thought my rough and gritty style might be a good fit.

The Seattle Weekly wanted an energetic, moody illustration of hip-hop artist Shyan Selah, with the headline drawn as a tattoo on the his arms. Boo explained the whole project while dragging a suitcase down the San Francisco streets, on the way to see Shyan Selah in concert.

Boo was going there to see for herself what he is: a hip-hop artist, or a con artist.

Here's how I illustrated the cover:
Hustle & Woe pencil sketch: Graham Smith
After a round of thumbnails, I sketched up the idea of the rap star tangled in his own mic cord. To figure out how to draw the hands and arms, I put my baseball hat on, blasted the stereo and channeled my inner rap star into the studio mirror for a while. Yeah! That counts as work. I love this job.

Illustrating hand drawn type is really fun too, in a putting-a-puzzle-together kind of way. It took a long time to figure out how to wrap ye Olde English type around a forearm contour, in perspective. I comped up the pencil drawing with the Seattle Weekly masthead and sent it to Boo.

"Can the figure be flipped... quicker read on the headline?" She asked.

Now, it was me that had to hustle. I quickly re-drew the headline. To save some time, I inked the whole thing with the type reading backwards. I planned to flip the whole thing one more time, using Photoshop, making the type read forwards in the final illustration. 

Original inking: Graham Smith
To make room for all the typography, I inked the Shyan Selah illustration pretty big, about 18 inches tall. I used a big, round # 8 sized brush to make sure the brush strokes were big and bold. India ink, on 100 lb Strathmore Recycled Drawing paper.

Original inking next to printed paper, before it was flipped and colored. Illustration: Graham Smith

The original ink drawing is about 150% bigger than the printed magazine. Notice the backwards headline on his arms? To begin the digital work, I scanned the inking in several pieces and auto-stitched them together in Photoshop.

Hustle & Woe for Seattle Weekly. Illustration: Graham Smith
Above is the finshed illustration next to the edited, printed magazine. Below is a detail. It wasn't until the illustration printed that I noticed his Rolex was on the wrong hand!

Hustle & Woe. Illustration: Graham Smith
Hustle & Woe detail: Graham Smith

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Boston Review: Small Changes, Big Results

I worked with Art Director, George Restrepo before, so when he asked me to illustrate an article for the Boston Review, filled with statistics, studies, percentages and facts about behavioral economics, I didn't freak out. I knew that at the heart of it, the illustration would be about people, their feelings and motivations, something we all have in common. The key was to connect the data to the viewer, so I pulled some quotes I thought were emotional, and illustration worthy, and began sketching.

1. Indian woman and the lentils
"...small upfront incentives should be very effective at changing behavior. And indeed a program that provided a small incentive for mothers to immunize their children (1kg of lentils for each immunization and a set of plates when the full course was completed) raised full immunization rates from 5 percent to 38 percent in rural Rajasthan (Banerjee, Duflo, Glennerster and Kothari, 2011)."

Sketch 1: Indian woman wearing colorful traditional Sari, struggles toward her goal, held back by diagrams representing malaria, economics and immunizations. She is incentivized by the immediate benefit of 1kg of lentils, the unseen benefit of immunizations are too abstract to overcome her daily toils. Set in Indian countryside. These sketches are 18 x 24 inches and drawn with graphite sticks and 6b Ebony pencils.

2. Kenyan girl chases education.
 "Research in Kenya found that providing a free school uniform (costing about $6) could increase school attendance by 6.4 percentage points (Evans, Kremer, Ngatia, 2009)."
Sketch 2: A Kenyan girl chases her dream of an education, if only she had a $6 school uniform. People sitting under the shade of the trees look on, is her dream out of reach? Kilamanjaro in the background. Graphics of a coin and mosquito are tied to her feet by thread, these problems hold her back.

3. Overcoming obstacles
"...small costs can deter people from making very beneficial investments..."

Sketch 3: Kenyan people struggle to overcome economic obstacles, represented as local currency. The Boston Review liked the idea of coins representing obstacles, but I wanted to add an element of people helping each other too. Which sketch would you have chosen?

Boston Review, Behavioral Economics. Small Changes, Big Results. Art Director: George Restrepo. Illustration: Graham Smith.

Boston Review: Small Changes, Big Results. Illustration (detail): Graham Smith

Friday, May 6, 2011

Life Drawing Workshop: Summer 2011

I will be instructing an 8 week life drawing workshop at Sony Online Entertainment from May 17th to July 12th, this summer. Every Tuesday night from 6 - 9 pm, we will draw from life, using nude models to study the human form, draw expressively and to practice observational drawing.

Life Drawing Workshop : Art Supply List

Must Have:

A big drawing board, at least 18 x 24.

18 x 24 paper - your choice
                smooth newsprint - erases easier
                rough newsprint - nice grainy texture
                sketch paper - white (Canson Biggie Sketch or Strathmore sketch)
Drawing implements - one or many of the following:
                charcoal pencil's, soft -  General
                woodless graphite pencils - 6b
                graphite sticks - 6b
                conte crayons
                colored pencils - get the cheap ones made by Blick.
                colored pencil sticks - the size of a small french fry, all color, no wood.
                pens - ball point

Pencil sharpener - get a good one, or a razor blade.
kneaded eraser
Small eraser -  like the Tuff Stick, the mechanical pencil of erasers.


                Brush pens: Tombo, one end like a brush, the other a felt tip marker.
                oil pastels
                markers - bring half dried up ones too, they make a nice texture
                other kinds of paper - toned or color

Is there something you've always wanted to try? Experimentation is part of the workshop. Bring a few things to see what you like.

Local Art Supply Stores:

Blick Art Materials
1844 India St.
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 687-0050

Artist and Craftsman Supply
San Diego, CA
3804 Fourth Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: 619.688.1911

Rhino Art
97 N Coast Highway 101
Encinitas, CA 92024-3282
(760) 943-7440

The SOE Life Drawing Workshop is a private workshop, open to artists and animators at SCEA and SOE San Diego only. The workshop is limited to 20 participants.

For a list of Life Drawing Workshops open to the public in San Diego, click here: Life Drawing In San Diego.
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