Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Manel No. 5

A few posts ago, I introduced French illustrator Stephane Manel. His style inspired me to buy a Wacom digital drawing pad similar to what he uses, and since then I've been feeling it out ... and it's not easy. While Wacom has created a very realistic pen-on-paper feel with the pad, nothing compares to the real thing, so it takes a lot of getting used to.

So, as a practice exercise, I have been trying to mirror Manel's portrait of Sebastien Tellier.

Here is Manel's portrait:

And mine:
Not perfect, but it is definitely an improvement over using Adobe Illustrator - and a lot more fun.

- J

The Kooks

I am going to start a new weekly department (yet to be named/designed), where I highlight some bands that I feel need a little recognition.

I will try to embed playlists like I did this week; otherwise, it will be my thoughts and links/photos.
Week One highlights UK punk/rock act The Kooks. The Kooks have been blowing up the scene both in America and overseas. They invoke thoughts of vintage UK punk acts like the Clash, Kinks, The Smiths and I'm sure they spent a lot of time listening to the Rolling Stones, The Ramones and Velvet Underground. Here is a link to their site:THE KOOKS.

The Kooks

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stamp of Approval

Clever use of type to create a floating feel.

Where there's good music, good design

usually follows close behind ...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Homage to Monsieur Manel

My portrait of Duane Allman ...

Manel's portrait of Sebastien Tellier.

Actually a homage to both French artist Stephane Manel and the late, great blues guitarist Duane Allman.

I discovered Manel after watching an illustrated music video for Chromeo's Momma's Boy and was blown away by his style. After analyzing his work closely I knew it was somehow computer generated, so I began my drawing of Duane as a sketch and traced it into illustrator to see what I could do with it.

While I could emulate most of his style with brushes, I was stumped on how he got his fluid lines and "sketchiness." I concluded that he must be using a Wacom digital drawing pad.

Kid you not, I was just searching for an image to slap with this post and stumbled on a video, in French, that shows Manel sketching using a Wacom pad (cool video, watch it). I KNEW IT!! That's how he gets his unique fluid line and maintains a sketchy look. I hope to get a Wacom pad soon. It will be a small investment, especially if I should want Corel Painter, which a video-game-designer-friend of mine requested I get if I buy a Wacom pad.

Now, maybe you're wondering why I chose Duane Allman for a portrait? The Tellier portrait reminded me of a photo I had; an Annie Leibovitz shot from the early '70s.

The shot shows the Allman Brothers, Duane, left, and Greg, asleep on the road in California. Leibovitz always knew how to capture the essence of rock and roll; this is no exception - one of my all-time favs.
I hope that by studying Manel's style a little rubbed off on me; actually, I'll make sure it does. When I get my hands on a Wacom pad, the fun begins.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Wallabee's gig

The Wallabee's gig was a success in many ways and we were asked to return in July for a repeat performance.

My brother Ted and his college band mate Tommy Giamichael, used the night to rekindle their days playing in Potsdam. They played a first set that included Lenny, by SRV, Friend of the Devil, He's Gone, Hey Hey and original tunes. My brother and I began the second set with The Allman Brothers' In Memory of Elizabeth Reed and went into In The Kitchen, Beautifully Broken and others. Then all three of us played well past midnight, touching on tunes like This Must Be The Place by the Talking Heads, Willin' by Little Feat and Don't Go Changin' On Me, a Ray Charles ballad.

All said, it was a fun night and I look forward to doing it again.

The Barrellhouse Brothers reunited ... for now


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Stamp of Approval: Mettawee River Theatre Company

My involvment in theater is limited to being forced to go to see my brother perform in Youth Theater, Adirondack Children's Troupe and Skidmore College productions. He usually had the lead roles, but I was more interested in checking out the lead lady.

Sure, seeing Joeseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on Broadway and Blue Man Group in a small NYC theater was cool, but my point is, I'm not "a theater guy."

Well, discovering the Mettawee River Theatre Company may have changed all that.

Ralph Lee is the visionary behind MRTC. Since the early 70's Lee has been adapting folk tales and myths from Egyptian, Greek, Native American and Myan cultures and incorporating his hand-made puppets to create full-on theatre productions.

Here is the first graph of his bio (Read the rest here):

Ralph Lee first created puppets as a child growing up in Middlebury, Vermont. He graduated from Amherst College in 1957, and studied dance and theater in Europe for two years on a Fulbright Scholarship. Upon returning to the United States, Lee acted on Broadway, off-Broadway, in regional theaters and with the Open Theatre. During that period he started creating masks, unusual props, puppets and larger-than-life figures for theater and dance companies, including the New York Shakespeare Festival, Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre, the Living Theatre, the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Shari Lewis and Saturday Night Live (he created the Land Shark).

The puppets aren't the talking kind you put on your hand. They are whimsical, detailed works of art that are pulled or worn by dancers. Some are enormous.

From the Web site

Performances are held both in the middle of a corn field in Salem, N.Y., and in theaters New York City. I'll be opting for the farm setting, where the audience sits on the grass and the show proceeds around you.

These "al-fresco" MRTC shows are few and far between, but I will surely have to experience this in the near future.

In the meantime I will create some artwork in response to MRTC. Add it to the list ... it's coming.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Preserve Time

Much to my dismay, I haven't had much time to focus on design lately as I've been too busy passing exits and eating at rest stops.

My travels the past couple of weeks have taken me from the coastal island preserve known as Bald Head Island, N.C., back north to the Adirondack Forest Preserve's Jabe Pond. Not a bad excuse for letting the blog get a little stale and a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

Photos from Bald Head:

My niece, Reilly and brother Pete at the beach on Bald Head

Nice sunsets every night ...

The oldest lighthouse in the country, affectionately known as "Old Baldy"


Carrying a rather heavy cooler to the beach

And Jabe Pond fishing trip:

Life is good in the land of plenty ...

Brook trout...

The campsite. It rained hard the night before;
sleep was not comfortable

Adirondack mornings are something to behold

Since the camping trip I have been to NYC to a Yankees game at the new stadium (forgot my camera in the car) and have been practicing for my first real gig tomorrow night at 9 p.m. at Wallabee's in Glens Falls with my brother and his college bandmate. As soon as I put the gig in the review mirror I will get back on track with graphic design on the brain.