Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bamboo Cat

I know a lot of artists don't enjoy keeping a sketchbook. But for me it's the easiest way to jot down my thoughts and have a visual record of my process. If I'm stuck I'll look through old sketchbooks and pick up an idea. Here is a quick sketch I did back in September of a cat with bamboo coming out its mouth and ears. Also a ticket from the William Kentridge show I saw in Kyoto, they are showing some of his work at the MOMA right now. If you appreciate charcoal drawings or animation you should check it out!

The idea for this visual was based off of a cat that lived near my apaato. (It gave me the creeps!). The second root of inspiration (hee hee) was bamboo, I feel in love with its tentacle like roots. I can definitely imagine them attacking someone. For some reason my brain mushed these two things together and so I started sketching this character.

I did some sketches of real cats and also of the cat in different positions and shaped slightly differently.

I had an extra copper plate for the printmaking class and wanted to create a print of the cat. Here's a more finished sketch of how I planned to print it. Things got busy and I ran out of time. Last month I started looking through my sketchbook and decided to work on Bamboo Cat some more.

After the sketch I did a final sketch on a nice piece of paper and scanned it. Then I printed out a few copies of it on crappy printer paper and did some color studies. I've found this is a great way to work things out before starting on the final. It seems time consuming, but actually the color studies are quick and loose. By the time I start the final I'm feeling pretty confident because I've already worked out the value and color relationships. I also love being able to change a color or add an extra pattern on the color study while I'm working on the final. Here I messed around with adding stripes to the stripes of the tiger and the outlining him in brown.

Here's the final! I was pretty happy with how it turned out so I think I'm going to approach the other Japanese monster drawings in a similar way.

Well that's it for now! As of this week I'm also starting on a website... finally! Yay!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Swimming, swimming, keep on swimming....

I just wanted to share some of the sketches and images from the Fish Market. I had a fun time looking through my photos and trying to identify some of the fish. From my sketchbook:

The more I drew the more I felt compelled to create images with paint, paper and pen that captured the textures and colors of Tsukiji.

Next, I thought about how I would explain the market to someone who had never seen it. Images that show the true juxtaposition of the market: intense concentration of the men working on a single fish to someone hacking at whole frozen tunas!
I was mostly struck by the organized chaos; the close quarters of the stalls and narrow alleys filled with booths and tables of fish carefully separated and labeled according to size and type.
The men working at the market seemed incredibly focused. Amidst all the confusion they knew where to go. Running from stall to stall, others carving fish and older men taking copious notes while overseeing the stall.

I loved watching customers interacting with the vendors. People talking about crabs, tasting fish roe and navigating the crowded alleys of Tsukiji at a rapid pace. (trying carefully not to be run over by people driving small vehicles).
How could I make a series of images of Tsukiji and neglect to mention sushi? On the left is what I had for breakfast one morning at the market; ikura, unagi and maguro (salmon roe, sea urchin and tuna over a bowl of rice with some cucumbers and a little wasabi) yumm... I know you might think its gross, but don't knock it till you've tried it! On the right are some other options of nigiri (fish on rice). I left space in the images or around them and i'll add some text but I'm still having a hard time with the writing.

Last image is of the overall market. I struggled with this piece and then I redid it completely. It falls flat for me.... I didn't feel like this captured the true chaos of the market and sheer volume of people and fish. But that's okay there are parts of it I still like.

So that's all for now! Happy Easter, Passover, Spring and April! The weekend was beautiful and the week is shaping up to be just as nice. I'm trying to get some time outside while staying productive before I return to DC next week for the Cherry Blossom race!