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Style, to death II

Welcome to this weeks post.

How are you hanging in there? Due to a storm drawing in over Belgium we couldn’t post yesterday so let’s make up for it in style.

Last week we discussed Western style. We took up some contemporary icons of art and two artists who have a very distinct style.

This week we’d like to discuss Eastern style and some of the lesser known (in the west) styles.

When we say “Eastern” we are referring to Asia and East Asia. Please also note that this is in no way a comprehensive, or necessarily correct, discourse over Asian art. Just observations.

Asia 

Asian artists have largely been unknown to westerners.  To introduce them now would take far more time and space than what this blog can do in a single post. So let’s focus on a smaller part of Asia, East Asia. More specifically, let’s focus on China and Japan for this time.

To understand how style works in China and Japan, we need to understand some of the background of the art movements through time in these two countries.

China

China has always had a strong cultural drive. Whether in form of theatre, dance, music, pottery, or painting; there has always been a strong development of the arts.

When it comes to painting in particular, the Chinese have always had interesting ideas around it; i.e. ink has been a strong influence on art. In western art, black has on occasion been seen as no colour, or at the very least a colour that should never be used. The Chinese, on the other hand, revered black as the best colour. Black ink was considered to have all colours in it, and thus could portray all colours. To be able to do this the ink had to be “alive” and applied in varying tones to display all the subtetlies of the spectra. Other colours become secondary and the ink takes the centre stage.

As there is a very specific manner to paint with ink on a brush, the form evolved and is something that still nowadays can clearly be seen in many contemporary Chinese artists.

A comprehensive list of Chinese artists throughout history can be found here:

http://www.artcyclopedia.com/nationalities/Chinese.html

Japan

Whereas Chinese art was always bound by traditions and evolved under strict circumstances to evolve into something perfect, Japanese art has had a number of influences from both mainland East Asia and the western world. The Japanese also took things to it’s extreme many times, for instance evolving the sumi-e in much the same fashion as the Chinese evolved their inkbrush techniques, but at the same time it could be influenced by the west, as with ukio-e, landscape paintings that where very common in the Edo-period.

Some basic knowledge about Japanese artschools and artists can be found through here-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Japanese_artists

Classical examples

A quick rundown of some of the most notable historical painters from East Asia:

Katsushika Hokusai

The Great Wave – Hokusai

Hishikawa Moronobu

Woodblock print, album leaf. Popular culture. Young man and woman in a roundel of maples and cherry blossoms. From an untitled album. Beni-e on paper.

Lee Cheng

Riding Mule in a winter forest – Lee Cheng

Modern examples

So when it comes down to modern art then? Most of you will recognize anime/manga as a style, and possibly have heard about artists such as Ai Weiwei or Aguri Igarashi.

Whereas Ai Weiwei does make interesting art, it hardly comes in mind for what we are looking at: pure painting/illustration. And whilst Anime and Manga are interesting, there are tons of interesting articles online about how to make your art look so.

So here are a couple of interesting artists that you possibly will know and that I would like to add for their distinct style:

Hayao Miyazaki

Nausicaa – Studio Ghibli

Whereas Studio Ghibli undoubtedly is an Anime studio, there is something specific and precise about the style which is lent by Hayao Miyazaki. This is more about design then style, but the daring manner with which he blends traditional and new concepts to create something new make it feel less like manga/anime and more like little perfect stories, filled with anything your imagination can manage, and more.

Fenghua Zhong

Sun Wukong vs Demons – Fenghua Zhong

Look at the textures, and the colours. The amount of natural occuring textures in this piece of art make it almost unfathomable that it is actually a purely digital piece of art. Fenghua works as a conceptartist and freelance illustrator. Specifically the manner with which the almost colourless and monotone colours come out as vibrant and diverse is interesting.

Ruan Jia

Flute player- Ruan Jia

Ruan Jia is a master with colour and tone by mixing colours of contrasting hues, but making them work because the tones are so close. Take a closer look at the eyes of the above illustration. Notice how the predominant colours around the eye, the eyelid, the brows, the lashes, and so on, are cold. Either blue or green. But that the eyes themselves, what little can be seen of them between the eyelashes, are pinkish/orangey-red. These things make the painting come alive with life rare to see outside of a master oilpainting.

So that’s a quick look at some Eastern Styles that are worth investigating. Do you have any other artists with styles you find unique or worth looking at when it comes to exploring your own style? Let us know in the comments!

Next Week

Next week we will take a look at how we can use the Western and Eastern style-examples we have looked at to help further, and find our own unique style.

If you have any suggestions on artists we should look at please let us know through the comments below, or through our Facebook page. or Twitter Page  (dont forget to hashtag with #dontfeartheclown on Twitter!).

Commissions

If you are interested in private commissions we have three slots open this week.

For more info and contact, go to the bottom of the About page and send us a message through the contact form.

Tell us what you think about todays blogpost. Use the form on the about page (link in sentence just above this) or through our Facebook page. or Twitter Page (hashtag it with #dontfeartheclown) We’d love to see your input!

Style, to death…

Welcome to a new week.

This week we would like to start to discuss style.

Style has been talked about by numerous artists, art directors and fans of art on so many occasions that it could be considered to be a done-to-death-topic. Nevertheless we’d like to bring it up in a two-part blog to showcase some of the more interesting styles out there that do not fully fall within the mainstream of western culture. At the end of these two articles (or possibly in a third installment) we will discuss what we can take with us from these different styles and see if we can use it to further our own styles.

This week and some other articles on style

This week we will talk about Western artists and some styles of Western origins. Next week we will bring up some Eastern artists and their styles.

For some interesting articles on Style in general, there are some to be found through Muddy Colors.

Here are a few:

http://muddycolors.blogspot.be/2012/06/style.html

http://muddycolors.blogspot.be/2014/06/honing-your-vision-ruminations-on-style.html

http://muddycolors.blogspot.be/2013/05/walt-disney-on-pursuing-style.html

Western Styles

When it comes to western styles, these ae the styles that most of the readers of this blog have grown up with. You see it on a daily, or weekly, basis. You have seein it in comicbooks, storybooks, museums, and game-art. These are the ones you all know about, and if we mention just a few well known examples you will immediately have an idea of what they would look like.

Frank Frazetta

Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell

Jeffrey Catherine Jones

Brom

Paul Bonner

To mention some of the contemporary ones.

The above artists and their styles have already had a huge impact on western styles in general. In some cases, like with Frazzetta and Jones, their respective styles have influenced whole generations, where as the others are inspiring on a grand scale, even if they might not have influenced entire generations. These artists, of course, stand on the shoulders of their own artheroes, whether early 20th century american popular artists like James Montgomery Flagg or N.C. Wyeth, or earlier masters ranging back in time to El Greco and Fra Angelico.

Point in case unique styles

Let us take a moment to mention two artists with unique styles that are worth taking a closer look at.

Mike Mignola

Rocketeer – Mike Mignola/Dave Stewart

Mike Mignola has a very distinct style, based mainly on solid fields of colour or shades.

Visible in his Hellboy-series, the most prominent part of the style is how black and white is used to create drama, often the “white” areas are filled with a solid colour (mostly aptly added by Dave Stewart) to create different ammounts of shade. Mignola also uses a very bold sense of shapes. His characters could almost be seen as charicatures with their oversimplyfied traits, more so then most comicbooks. But it is a great style because it conveys a lot of feeling. The bad guys look bad already at first glance. The Good guys (and gals) are very evocative in how they look and the style shows how every persona feel very well just through poses and how they are drawn in any given situation. Mignola have also mastered texturing in this style. Often making extraordinary large beasts look like they where made out of concrete or some sort of stone-material. Esotheric or non-physical beings, beams, or energy is often illustrated in a very solid fascion, but the way Mignola adds texture will tell the viewer that this is something special.

Justin Gerard

Justin-gerard-spells-are-hardSpells Are Hard – Justin Gerard

Gerard has a playful style, filled with humour. Where most illustration today is moving towards more realism, Gerard manages to make his illustrations not only have an element of humour but also mintain a very good sense of colour and saturation. Gerard also mixes traditional sketching an painting with digital very effective, often giving his works a very nice textured feeling. To an extent one can see the same playfulness and humour as in the works of Paul Bonner, but where Bonner works exclusively with traditional mediums, Gerard has learnt to take full advantage of both traditional and digital mediums.

When going to see Gerards works, be sure to also take a look at the works of his wife, Annie Stegg Gerard, who is an accomplished artist as well.

So that’s a quick look at some Western Styles that are unique. Do you have any other artists with styles you find unique? Let us know in the comments!

Next Week

Next week we will take a look at some eastern artists, both contemporary and historical, to see if we can use them to help further, and find our own unique style.

If you have any suggestions on artists we should look at please let us know through the comments below, or through our Facebook page. or Twitter Page  (dont forget to hashtag with #dontfeartheclown on Twitter!).

Sketch and a WiP

Here is a sketch for the next Primarch and a WiP of the illustration for the Ars Scribendi winner. Next week we hope to be able to show you even further evolutions of these two.

Guillimanpreviewarsscribendipreview

Commissions

If you are interested in private commissions we have three slots open this week.

For more info and contact, go to the bottom of the About page and send us a message through the contact form.

Tell us what you think about todays blogpost. Use the form on the about page (link in sentence just above this) or through our Facebook page. or Twitter Page (hashtag it with #dontfeartheclown) We’d love to see your input!

What you need and what you want….

Hello there,

Welcome to yet another blogpost. It’s been another week and it was a busy one.
Several deadlines converged in short succession and as such there are a lot of finished illustrations, but alas little to show until they have been published.

Because of this, we thought we’d show you some general goodness on, and for, artists.

For the artist (and client)

30092014-artpact

Artpact.com is a tool to help Freelance Fantasy, Sci-fi, Comic book, and other illustrators negotiate a better living for themselves.
It is easy to think that life as an illustrator is great.
A lot of people approaching us in regards to our studio and working as artists or illustrators have this belief that we have all the spare time in the world, that all we do all day is exactly what we want, that it is easy, goes faster then a blink of an eye and that we roll in cash.

It really is not like that at all. In fact, it is all hard work. Often working with illustration means you have to paint what others want, not what you want. Deadlines are tight, you can’t display what you painted (sometimes up to years after you painted it). And this belief that it is simple, doesn’t cost much time or effort, and so should be more or less for free, mean that even p-professional clients have rules and contracts that make it even tougher to survive on being an illustrator.

Artpact.com is there to help the struggling artist.

But even if you are just interested in commissioning an artist, we suggest you go and read some of the articles there. Our suggestion is these two articles:

The Cost of Being an Illustrator - To give you an insight in why commissions cost as much as they do. There are costs for running a business, and before we even brake even, these costs must be deducted.

Dealing with Difficult Clients – Here you will find things you should try to think about as a client. We’re all humans, but these are some of the things that make artists feel less happy about a commission. And in the end, making sure to avoid these things will make your commission end up much more like what you had in mind.

On art and artists

30092014-Muddy

Muddy Colors is a place that’s all about art, artists, being an artist, being an art director, or just appreciating art.
If you are interesting in anything in regards to popular art, chances are that you will find something about it here.
The blog-posters are all illustrators, sculptors, 3D-artists, art directors, or gallerists. Dan Dos Santos, Arnie Fenner, Terryl Whitlatch, Lauren Panepinto, Greg Manchess, to name a few of them, are all very helpful in showing bits about art in all its forms, whether you want to work as an artist, hire an artist, or just appreciate good art.

30092014-fzd

Feng Zhu Design School Cinema is a Youtube channel that gives insights in what it’s like to work as a concept artist. With more then 70 episodes, most longer then half an hour, this is a vast source of inspiration, help, and insight in what it means working in the entertainment business as an artist. And if you just want to paint for fun, just watch as Feng Zhu and his guest-instructors paint, talk about things like composition and colourtheory. You should be able to find just about anything on the technical aspects of painting and illustrating, as well as conceptualizing, except for the foundations. This is something Feng Zhu teaches at his school in Singapore. And even some foundation bits can be found here and there.

Whilst you’re at it, go check out Feng’s own art gallery initiative, in the wake of the loss of CGHUB, DrawCrowd. You might find some art you never seen before.

Commissions

If you are interested in private commissions we have three slots open this week.

For more info and contact, go to the bottom of the About page and send us a message through the contact form.

Tell us what you think about todays blogpost. Use the form on the about page (link in sentence just above this) or through our Facebook page. or Twitter Page (hashtag it with #dontfeartheclown) We’d love to see your input!

Gone fishing…

Hello there,

Welcome back to another update. This week we will let you see some process images on how to find concepts through randomness.

Throwing the net

So you’re trying to figure something out. A concept.

It doesn’t have to be concept art that is the ultimate goal. Perhaps you are exploring charachters, creatures or any form of machinery as part of a larger illustration you are doing.

How do you actually get from “I have no idea” to a complete concept?

A long time ago, when we started doing this as a sidejob, Andrew Jones said “You throw out a net and reel in the concept“.

Let’s see if we can show you an example of it.

The small fish

David Started this by using Alchemy.org, a free program for getting random shapes. You can use any number of random shape-generating programmes, ranging from fractal programmes to zbrush and even specific randomizing brushes in Photoshopp or Painter.

The beauty of this particular programme is that you do not have to know how to paint or illustrate to get somewhere, you only need to try to get random shapes that resemble something. The artistic part comes when you start putting together more complex pieces. Here are some of the first shapes.

000006

These are just random shapes that came out after playing around with Alchemy for a while. Though there are six on this particular sheet, David came up with closer to fifty different shapes that he collected into one file.

Catching the medium-sized fish

So now we take these shapes into Photoshop (or any photo-editing/illustration programme of your choice) and start putting them together in interesting ways. In Photoshop, David cut and paste the shapes on top of one another. Moving things around, turning and flipping and sometimes even erasing to get more interesting shapes.

The idea is to get a silhouette of that looks robotic, but what exactly is not certain at this stage, so David is going for various things, ranging from quadroped robots, to biped robots. Tall and slender to short and robust. The key is the silhouette. The details inside the silhouette are bonuses for later, when we detail the concept.

The addition of colour can help make parts stand out; This doesn’t neccesarily mean these parts will have that colour in a final illustration. The colours can represent anything from actual coloured panels, to lightsources, beams, special areas of some sort that will look vastly different on the final concept/illustration but that for now just need to be marked out as “special”.

variations00001

So the sky is really the limit here, these above are the first groups David put together. He then made a couple of more, and started combining them together.

The bigger fish

After putting the first few shapes together, David have some basic robotic shapes. It is very easy to stop at this point and be happy, and some of the best concepts can be done at this stage, but it feels a little stale, so David combine this group of ten simpler silhouettes into some more complex ones. Not all work out, and it is important to be selective about the silhouette at this point. If two look the same, look at which one feels the most interesting as far as details go. Discard the other, or save it in a separate file for usage another day. Eventually, we havet six variations that can be used for illustrations.

Here is one of these simple bases:

RoughConcepts00003

And from there we can make an illustrated concept, or go straight to illustration, if it feels like everything needed is there.

The big fish

So here is a sneak-peek of something that will come out of this particular fish-net (not based on the above image, but something else).

300001

This is meant for the project David and Aaron Debski-Bowden is putting together and we are hoping to be able to show you much more before the end of the year.

Hopefully this introduction to concepting gave you guys some ideas and motivation to go out and practice. We would love to see links to your own concepts, practice or otherwise!

As always, you can find things through social medias, so keep an eye out for updates and sketches on Facebook,Twitterand Tumblr.

Commissions

If you are interested in private commissions we have three slots open this week.

For more info and contact, go to the bottom of the About page and send us a message through the contact form.

Tell us what you think about todays blogpost. Use the form on the about page (link in sentence just above this) or through our Facebook page. or Twitter Page (hashtag #dontfeartheclown) We’d love to hear your input!

Jingling the Bells

Hi there, and welcome to this weeks blogpost.

This week we’d like to take the time to discuss something that might seem far away, but that you should start thinking about, should you want to use an artist’s services for it.

We’re talking about Christmas.

 

Yes, it might seem a bit over the top to talk about Christmas and Christmas presents when we just turned our calendar over to September, but to be able to make it the merriest of hollidays, we really need to bring this up.

So you want to give away art for Christmas?

Let’s say you want to surprise someone with a piece of art for their Christmas. There are many ways you can do this, depending on what you want. There are fantastic galleries out there where you can find the right piece for just about anyone. Usually, a gallery-piece will not be that problematic to acquire in time for Christmas.

There are also multiple shops, artists, and other establishments, that carry posters and prints of artwork. If you acquire something like this, we hope you take the time to make sure the right person(s) get paid. Usually an artist will charge less for a better quality poster/print then a counterfeit. Might be worth noting.

 

So you want to commission an original piece of art for Christmas?

But what we wanted to discuss was the commissioning of an original artpiece, whether painted with brush on canvas, pencil on paper, digital and printed, or other.

For these sort gifts, you need to be out in time. Know your artist. Learn what sort of deadlines he/she works with. Find out if they are specifically busy for Christmas, if they have any special deals that might come up, for hollidays before Christmas maybe even.

Traditional Artists

Alot of artists that work traditionally will have a lot of orders for artwork coming in before Christmas. You need to consider that artists like Dan Dos Santos take about three to six weeks to complete their traditional oilpaintings, and that they might want to dry their paintings for a certain ammount of time before shipping them. If they have a lot of commissions, they might have waitingtimes until November-December already.

Digital Artists

At the other end, where you find artists like Noah Bradley, the digital artists will probably not need such a long time to paint for you, though it varies. The problem for a digital illustrator is rather going to be at the printing-end. The closer you get to Christmas, the longer in advance you will need to contact printers about printing things. Some printers specialize in art-prints, some are multiprinting businesses and will have a lot to do with Christmas cards, brochures an everything Christmassy.

What about Studio Colrouphobia?

So, you might ask yourself, where do we find Studio Colrouphobia in this? Well, we do both traditional and digital. It all depends on what it is you are looking for. So if you are interested in commissioning us for Christmas, you should first figure out what it is you would like to get, then contact us relatively soon, so we can discuss around making sure that your gift becomes the thing it should be- a joy for the person who will receive it.

 

Eyecandy

For some eyecandy, since we try our best to include something every blogpost, here is a private commission David just finished for a Shadowrun player

-AndrejsOrch

 

And how about another small sneak-peek at something from the secret project Aaron and David are working on?

Capture1

 

As always, you can find things through social medias, so keep an eye out for updates and sketches on Facebook,Twitterand Tumblr.

 

Commissions

If you are interested in private commissions we have two slots open this week. Last week the two last slots with discounts where taken, but keep an eye out for other drives in the future.

For more info and contact, go to the bottom of the About page and send us a message through the contact form.

 

Tell us what you think about todays blogpost. Use the form on the about page (link in sentence just above this) or through our Facebook page. We’d love to hear your input.

Whoohoo, we’re rich…or some such…

2-09-2014-1

Life is getting back to it’s normal routine after vacation. Mails have been piling up and some sorting needed to be done. Amidst all the junk and commercial mail we encountered a message from a certain Nigerian prince indicating we are his only relatives and we can inherit a fortune if only we give our bank-details…wow :)

First reaction was one of amazement: that mail is still doing the rounds? That felt rather comforting, almost like meeting an old acquaintance, like somethings never die and the internet, despite it’s fleeting character, has some consistency to it. Next conclusion: wow, they must’ve finally ran out of e-mail-addies and doing the rounds again in case they missed some the first time around :)

With this mail and the following S. Adams quote (yeah the Dilbert guy :) ) we came to the conclusion that we have gotten some pretty bizarre requests during the years and thought we might share some gems with you. We shall call this category:

I get mail; therefore I am. (S.Adams)

Here are a few questions received by David:

  • “I have a loose idea: essentially I want you to paint me violated.” We respectfully declined this one. 
  • “She should look like she is in agony, not having an orgasm.” Alterations to the piece were made. Up to this day we still cannot see what the client saw  :)
  • “If you paint it in gray-scale, I can colour it in later.”

And here a few from the canvas scene as reported by Natasja:

  • “If you paint on paper and use watercolour, instead of oil on canvas. Will it cost less?” No, it is the amount of time spent that makes up the lion-part of the cost of a painting, not so much the materials.
  • “Does it have to be this yellow?” (Was a desert scene, oil-painting photo referenced)
  • “Do you paint nudes and can I pose? Photo’s do not do me justice.” Person was slightly to eager and overzealous to pose nude. Received naked images for quite a while there, each one captioned “this does not do me justice.” :) Eventually no portrait was made due to clients financial situation.

Now these are just 0.01% of the mails we have received over the years as a studio. It is however remarkable how much more educated our clientele has become, the majority of our customers whether private or corporate are very clear and professional. Most communication really helps us in furthering our artwork. Of course we have grown into this as well, but recently we have not received odd requests and comments. But who knows, perhaps like the Nigerian Prince they will reoccur once and a while.

Anyways, what has the studio been up to the past days?

We can give another glimpse of the super secret Aaron & David project:

2-09-2014-1

More details will follow, this is just an initial concept. Loads of concepts in the pipeline atm.

And number two we can share is the initial sketch for our Ars Scribendi contest winner (yay!) When this piece is finished we will dedicate an entire post to it. So stay tuned.

26082014-arsscribendi

For our private customers, last week we had no takers for our discount commissions (mostly due to our vacation° so the last two discount slots are still open. They will vanish after this week, so be fast or they be gone :)

And now to quote Tigger: TTFN!

 

The end is nigh…

Friends and followers of Studio Colrouphobia: This week we see the deadline of the Ars Scribendi competition approaching. By Friday, at midnight GMT August 1st 2014, final entries need to be in. We have some really good entries already, so if you want to get a chance to have your narrative turned into an illustrated piece, printed and signed, to hang on your wall; this is the final week to enter!

Since this competition was such a success, we are looking into doing this next year as well, possibly with more prices, famous (or infamous) judges and more. We hope you liked writing the entries this year, and if you didn’t write, we hope you enjoyed reading the entries as much as we do.

We would also like to post a little something for you who wish to know more about painting and sketching. Below are two videos that illustrate the possibilities of the digital media and using photographs. It is quite commonly thought that all any illustrators do with photographs are to use them for paint-overs, cut and paste or using layerstyles to make patterns appear. But this is not all that is done. Mostly, photographs are just used as plain reference, so here David has used a photograph of a model dinosaur to first sketch the same dinosaur, and then to take it further by painting over the sketch and turning it into a dragon.

Note how not a single colourpick, nor paintover from/of the photo was done.  

And here is the final image, taken about ten minutes more towards completion (total time spent 60 minutes): dragon

So what do you think? Have you got your own experiences in regards to using photos as reference?

 

This week we have two slots open for private commissions. You can make any inquiries at the bottom of the “about” page.

 

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