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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!

Summertime post

What can we offer you this week for your Colrouphobic fix?

Perhaps an insight in what inspires us. Last week, our city got mentioned. Since summer is an excellent time to go out and do some photography, it might be of interest to show you where we get visual cues and ideas from. So expect some photographs and how we use them the following weeks.

We also take heed to music: the right soundtrack can make painting and sketching so much easier. For those who dare we can recommend the following playlist over on youtube: Wardruna. This is music based upon Nordic and Viking spiritualism and musical traditions. For the observant ones amongst you: this music got also used in the TV-series Vikings. You do not have to be as extreme as we and have a background in Nordic languages and old Norse, however the mood in this music is extremely helpful when painting i.e. Space Marines (not just Space Wolves but in general). It is easy to envision a Black Templar emerging from the mist of battle on some far away planet when you hear the droning sound of the vocal work of Wardruna.

To be honest, we do diversify our choice of music immensely i.e. baroque music does wonders when working on a bombastic piece, and when an ork needs to be painted a good dose of metal provides the mental kick needed, the voice of Enya has accompanied us when finishing up details on a dragon’s scales…

It works for us, if you have any other tips. Feel free to share them,we welcome new artists and new music.

Yes we also mentioned the fabulous and magical O-word: Ork. In the 40k community this has been the topic of the week since the new Ork codex got released.

In a house where Orks are played and a studio where 50% of the artists devote their time on this faction, we cannot let this pass unnoticed, hence a small teaser and progress GIF to celebrate the rise of the Green tide:

speedorkspeedork

…bring on da dakka!

 

Ahem…anyways we still have a good month left on our Ars Scribendi contest and we have some brilliant entries already. It looks like competition is going to be tough and some very interesting narratives have been posted. It is going to be difficult to beat the ones we already have, but we are certain more folks are up to the challenge. It is open for everyone who has 500 words to spare. So let summertime inspire you.

Sláinte mhaith!

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

The question of the week is indeed: Who is watching the watchers?

 

This week we present you a proud son of Caliban, this character was created by Joshua Zanello and more information can be found on the character’s wiki here.

Living in a house with at least one other Dark Angel fanatic we can say this illustration was appreciated by more than just the artists of the studio.

Our kind meceanas was quite clear in what he wanted on his illustration so not much needs to be explained.

lowres2

We provided the sketch a few weeks back and looking back upon the advancements made, it never seizes to amaze us what a difference some layers of colours bring in regards to depth and life. These  little moments of revelation are one of the perks of working in this business. Our customers are happy when we manage to bring their vision alive, but in all honesty: it is still a rush to see that image that is locked up in your brain, slowly starting to form on the screen or on the canvas. Living in this city, where an eclectic mix of medieval, Gothic, baroque and modern can be found everywhere, it would almost be blasphemous to not be able to do anything creative in this environment. If we need reference of some sorts, we just need to take a trip with a camera down to the city centre and we usually find what we need. So hopefully we can provide some own non-commissioned works soon, it has been a while since we posted anything like that.

On a different note: our first contributions to the Ars Scribendi contest are coming in on the blog here. The entries already look promising, we cannot wait to see what more we shall receive, after all the deadline is still more than a month away.

Looks like summer is going to be bearable after all…

 

“Winter is Coming.”

…well summer more likely, but just love that quote having lived in Sweden, where no matter what, temperatures are always a tad chilly. Currently we are experiencing some nice sub-tropical temperatures here in Western-Europe, the windows are opened and the sounds of (urban) nature are definitely leaving a mark on the items we currently produce.

The quote however does apply to a private commission currently being produced. A nice bit, depicting an alternative Heresy than the canon 40k one, and for which we are happy to provide some snippets from.

GH-crop2 GH-crop1

The full image will appear on next week’s blog or at worst the week after that one. The client must, after all, have the right to parade the image around before we post it here.

If you can guess the Primarchs involved, you might understand why the “Winter is coming” quote applies.

Also, we have decided, since we are such nice peeps here, to provide you with some details from the Kaiju Beast contest. Last week we posted the linework/sketch and now we give you an insight on how it looks coloured in.

Kaiju-crop

We are handing the final piece in somewhere next week, no point in keeping it around even when the deadline is more than a month away. We entered the competition to do something different, as a personal challenge, so not per se to win. Would be nice, but was not our prerogative.

And as a quick intermezzo: we are posting some of our sketches over at TUMBLR, nothing fancy but for those who are interested: feel free to drop by and add us.

And finally a question to you, our loyal reader: Do you have any ideas for some kick-ass piece of artwork that we should produce? Any movies, games, books and whatnots that are coming out this year, or have come out and by a shear fluke of nature, we missed out on, that YOU would like to see something rendered from?

We are currently looking for some fun projects to fill out the daily routine, so any input is more than welcome.

Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance;

they make the latitudes and longitudes.

-H. D. Thoreau-

A lesson in studio anatomy

Written by Natasja 

It has been ages since our blog had a proper update; our sincere apologies for this. Many things have been happening lately and these updates were more or less put on the backburner.

So yes, my official post, well the first one with my signature, not per se the first post by me…  I wanted to give you all an insight into the belly of the beast, a nice one to start off with no?

First of all, the artists: you all know David, of course. David specialises in more commercial work and is known to dabble around in the oeuvre of Warhammer for inspiration. David is also full-time operational for all things Studio Colrouphobia-related and quite often can post his works online.

I, on the other hand, do still keep a day-job at hand. We shall not mention anything about the corporate world I work in, but I can only contribute part-time to the studio. The difference between David’s work and mine (and so are the commissions and clientele) lies mostly in the mediums we use. I paint oils on canvas, a process which I am quite fond of, however a very painstaking slow one. I hardly use any retarders or accelerant when I paint with oils, hence the drying time for a canvas takes quite a while. I also tend to have way larger deadlines than David so as a result I perhaps produce only 2 to 3 large pieces a year. Given that this is my part-time occupation, I can hardly complain.

I do however once in a while provide sketches that David finishes up and generally deal with most things admin for the studio. On top of that one we can both be lucky to have some form of synergy that enables us to comment on each other’s work, pointing out errors and compositional issues etc…and still maintain a marriage that is amicable.

Our current standing discussion deals with Spacemarines (am an Ork player so automatically have issues with beakies..) and their anatomy. In my humble opinion, a suit of power armor, as depicted on models and most illustrations, does not add up anatomically and this peeves me beyond all, and has done so the past 7 years. Seriously those shoulderpads and …anyways this is the human part of our studio. Add Khan the Cat, Balor our French bulldog, and most of all our two Hellspawn ages 8 and 10 and you can imagine the Studio to be a lively place at times.

This brings me to the second part of this post. Since we have moved last August, we actually had the opportunity to install a proper studio in our new house. Our old apartment just was not that suited all these activities and alas oil-painting with pets and children running around proved to not always be the best of combinations. Since August we have been refurbishing the studio, making sure one space is properly dedicated to all things artsy and booksy. We moved our rather extensive library into the same studio-space. We take quite some inspiration from books and comics, so it made sense to have them close at hand. However one shelf is solely dedicated to all things art.

In this shelf you will find:

1)      Paper, sketchbooks, stamps, and prints

2)      Reference books. Oh yes these we like, ranging from books about sculpture, Da Vinci sketches to books about the rainforest, books with vintage cards, books about WW2, books made by artists we like and respect (Paul Bonner, Alan Lee, you name it…)

3)      RPG books. Yes, we both play RPG, tabletop and miniature (LARP we leave for the experts). These books provide us with insight so our illustrations and paintings actually make sense in the universe they are supposed to take place.

4)      More RPG books and our contributor copies. On this shelf I also keep a model of a 1967 Ford Cobra 427 and we have some bugs in resin as reference. We use almost anything.

5)      Here we keep our signed copies of books that we received from colleagues. It is always nice to swap artwork with fellow artists after a convention is over. We also keep magazines for reference here.  You would be surprised how much help you can get from i.e. a Vogue magazine, or Motorsports Europe.

6)      Models here. From dinosaurs, to sketch-dummies to manta-rays…we keep most of our models on the top shelf. (albeit a bit empty now, since some models are still in one of those elusive “last-box-after-move-which-will-stand-taunting-me-for-months-more-to-come”-mode.)

7)      …and coffee. No proper studio functions without a jolt of caffeine (no number added, I assume a thermos is quite visible and noticeable…and perhaps draws less attention to my caffeine addiction)

bookcase

This is of course all in a nutshell.  The studio as a workspace is far from complete. We still need to exchange the desk and install the drawing table. We hope to provide an update soon and show you all a nice image of an organised studio. Which will last about 5 minutes before two artists are let loose in it and Chaos will reign supreme again…

Next update by me will provide you with a start to finish painting on canvas, until then I am quite sure my partner-in-art will keep you all in awe with his illustrations.

 

“Can I just use your images, like, however I want?” / Artworks to show.

So this is a dual post. It will start by making a point about posting other peoples artwork around the Internet without referring to the artist.
It will end with a couple of new artworks from the studio.
In a couple of days, there will be a new post with process on the Mortarion-piece, but today’s post is important.

So recently, it came to the attention of a couple of artists that I keep close contact with, that a certain Facebook-page is posting images.
Nothing bad about this, however, the page is notoriously bad at referring to the artist.
Art-theft

So the second comment sais it is Karl Richardson, which is helpful, however, the comments are really not where such a reference should be, they should be where the artwork is posted, in the description.

This is a quite serious problem, usually brushed aside by fans as not being a problem at all.
So let’s try and give a little insight in this part of being an Artist.

    FANS, this is for You! Take a good look and try understanding why this is important!

Let’s post this as an image. There will be a “free to use” disclaimer in the bottom of the image(s).
Please take your time to consider what each point say.

Art-theft2

So what does this mean?

It means that whoever made the art you found cool and wanted to repost- tell us who made it! In the description of the art.
If you don’t know, the write that. That way, if someone let you know, you can alter it.

Does it mean that you will never be able to show any of Studio Colrouphobias works online?
No, it doesn’t. Of course you will.
But we would appreciate being asked. Sometimes our works are actually not for show everywhere. Some commissioners pay for more exclusive views. And we would demand a reference on the artwork, back to us, our website or facebook-page would be preferable.

It means that whoever made the art you found cool and wanted to repost- tell the viewer who made it! In the description of the art.
If you don’t know, then write that you don’t know. That way people can help you find out and, if someone let you know who the artist is, you can alter it.
You see, if we don’t get referred to then nobody will commission us, which also mean we will need to stop doing what we do.
And then there will be no art from us.
Everybody looses.

And now to stop on a more light note.

Here is a piece that Natasja has been working on on and off for a while:
sharks

Being the more traditional painter of the studio, she is working mainly in Artrage, using some techniques She “learnt in the age of the dinosaurs, only now applying them on a digital canvas.” Images used for reference comes, amongst others, from National Geographics.

We hope to be able to show more of Natasjas work shortly.

Also shown today, is the newest commission David completed.
Finalpainting-web

Until next time!

Studio Colrouphobia also has a twitter account: https://twitter.com/Colrouphobia
Studio Colrouphobia also has a Facebook-page: https://www.facebook.com/StudioColrouphobia

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