Monday, December 7, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Photo Processing...

For our Alternative Representations project, I knew that it would NOT be good if I were to take the pictures my own self. Known far and wide as the most terrible picture-taker in the world, I knew that the project would be a disaster if I took all of the photos. So, I enlisted a certain wife of mine to take most of the pictures. And she did a very good job, much better than me. But disaster did strike, for, as Barbara prepared the cake and batter photos, it was left to me to take a few others. So, I did, and ended up with blurry things loosely called "photos." (Example #1: The Doggie face-Raisins photo). For the most part I actaully was happy with the photos (mostly the ones I didn't take). It was really interesting to transfer the pics and use Photoshop to rotate and "fix" some of them. Just for reference, we used a Kodak digital camera with 7.1 megapixels that we bought a couple years ago.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Picasa web album

This is the link to my web album of the Alternative Representations (featuring Doggie):

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Favorite Directors...

Movies movies movies.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I (probably) tend to follow actors more than directors. But, I do know that I tend to say "Hey, this movie is from the same guys that made..."
Anyway (as I child of the 80's) here's just a few off the top of my head:
Paul Verhoeven- Widely known as a Dutch crazyman, he made Showgirls and Basic Instinct. Yeahhh...but he also made RoboCop (my favorite movie ever) and Starship Troopers.
Lawrence Kasdan- Directed two of my favorites, Silverado and Mumford. Wrote tons more, including (the good) original Star Wars films.
Walter Hill- The 80' king of action/cult movies. I like Trespass and Streets of Fire. Also did The Warriors and helped write the Aliens films.
Tim Burton- Sigh. Of course. I like Ed Wood best, also Corpse Bride, and Sleepy Hollow.
Rob Reiner- He had a run of hit movies that are also just darn good movies. Princess Bride, A Few Good Men, Stand By Me, American President, Spinal Tap.
Bob Clark- Made A Christmas Story, and also Porky's, and also Black Christmas, one of the first slasher/horror films. Amazing range of projects.
Kevin Smith- I might actually like HIM more than his films, but I like Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy a lot. Ben Affleck ruled in Jersey Girl!!!
Jim Jarmusch- From my days of indie film fanning. Love Night on Earth, Ghost Dog is cool.
Lately, I think Bryan Singer and Guillermo Del Toro bring a slick, cinematic, filmic look to their films that almost no one else does. Their films always LOOK great. (Can't beat X-Men and Hellboy for comic book films).
That Tarantino guy is good too.
I know there are tons of others, but I'm blanking out. One thought that I do have is that many good directors also seem to be good at writing and/or artwork.
By the way, how far have Steven Spielberg and George Lucas fallen? Once the kings of Hollywood, most of their new stuff is terrible.
And on that thought, until next time, save me the aisle seat.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Logo Graphic Process

I always thought I was pretty good at brainstorming. Being an old English major, there were many times I would brainstorm and come up with streams of words and ideas. But this project seemed harder, probably because I also had it in the back of my brain that there should be an image of some kind to go along with the words (even if that really wasn't the case). So I tried to come up with words off the top of my head.
I made my list and then started brainstorming words that would go with each list word. Ahh, Sex-Food-Sleep. After I had done several words, I started doodling little pictures to go with the words. Later though, I realized I didn't have enough words, so I went back and brainstormed some more.
I doodled little simple pictures to go with as many words as I could. It wasn't as easy it first seemed. How DO you draw "DMV" or "long hours"?
I started combining doodles that had similar shapes (and also tried to go for things that weren't extremely similar or close to each other). I came up with things like car money, computer movie, license plate movie, and newspaper car. Later, I did bigger, better-quality (sort of) versions of my original doodles and may be going with computer movie as my first logo graphic because of it's simplicity and bolder shapes.
From many ideas, down to one!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Could someone please pass the gestalt?

Gestalt Psychology puts forth that a person's brain tends toward ordering things in a logical, organized way (this is termed "pragnanz"--seeing things in a concise way). This comes into play in illustrations because, for example, a person's brain will tend to connect lines that aren't actually drawn connected or see warmly colored things standing out and coolly colored things receding into the background. People also feel a sense of accomplishment when they are able to pick up on visual clues or puzzles (like brainteasers or optical illusions) and then solve them. Gestalt Psychology says that the whole (which is the puzzle that has been solved--the image that a person's brain picks up on) is greater than it's parts (three simple black lines can form the image and ideas in a person's brain that the lines are the Loch Ness Monster bobbing up and down in the murky Scottish waters).
Parts of Gestalt Psychology:
1. Emergence-Brain puts together dashes or dots or shapes to form them into a recognizable image (dog picture).
2. Reification- The negative space of shapes can create a whole "new" shape between them (triangle pics).
3. Multistability-Optical illusions. The eye goes back and forth between seeing 2 different things (the cube, the vase illos).
4. Invariance-The brain can recognize the same shape from many angles and POVs.
Closure- Brain fills in breaks between lines.
Similarity-Mind groups like things together into groups or patterns.
Proximity- How close things are placed together. The mind will group closely-placed things together as a group.
Symmetry- Figure ground relation. Brain will put symmetrical objects o the same plane.
Continuity- The mind continues patterns already shown.
Common Fate- Elements going in the same direction are perceived as a group.
Summary: It is important to keep all of the above elements in mind when creating an illlustration. How the viewer sees the finished piece and how it is perceived are very very important. The illustrator must make sure that the "parts" of the piece add up to whole. If elements in the piece are not done well or correctly, it may trip up the viewer's perception, and therefore the intended meaning (and as we said before, the meaning is vital to why an illustration is even created).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

SEMIOTICS (class day 2)

Semiotics is the study of meaning. de Saussure is the "father of semiotics." To DENOTE something is to give it direct meaning. To CONNOTE something is to give it a symbolized meaning. Structuralism is finding meaning in the parts of a whole. Semantics is different meanings for something to different people. ("'s a matter of semantics. Let's just agree to disagree!")
Personally, as an illustrator, semiotics and the above are all extremely, extremely important. An illustrator has to be constantly thinking of how people are going to view the finished illustration and if they are going to get the intended meaning of it. I always think in my head as I'm working on a piece, "OK, if I saw this in a newspaper, what would be my first reaction to it? Would it give the article that it is accompanying the correct meaning, tone, point, etc.?" An illustrator has to work as simply and straightforwardly as possible to get the correct intended meaning for their finished artwork. And like we said in class, the simpler and more direct a piece is, the stronger the meaning will be (and there will be far less questions about it since it will be understood by a larger group of people...hopefully everyone.)
Semiotics is the study of meaning--and meaning is the most basic part of an illustration.