Monday, February 27, 2006

Ashlee Simpson Rant

I know, I know, mine is a contrary and controversial opinion - hunh? it isn't? oh good, I'm certainly most comfortable swimming with the rest of the school - I was moved to attempt to capture her shovel-to-the-face visage after watching the indie movie "Undiscovered". Don't ask. Every so often V and I like to construct our own "So Bad It's Good" mini film festivals. (You haven't really lived until you've watched a double feature of "Showgirls" and "Glitter" in one sitting. My favorite snippet from an actual EW review of "Glitter" when it was in release: "Mariah Carey acts with all the nuance of a catatonic lemur." Nice.) So we checked out "Undiscovered" and realized what an awesome double feature it would make when coupled with "From Justin To Kelly". Gives me the shivers just picturing it.
In "Undiscovered", we are subjected to continuous jittery hand held camerawork, (for no discernible reason aside from the DP ingesting too many venti macchiatos) inconsistent character development, careless story arcs, truly juvenile acting, and the embarrassing spectacle of Ashlee Shovelface doing her best impersonation of Susanna Hoffs. Someone must have convinced her that if she constantly looks sidewise all the time when she's on camera people might mistake it for an alluring, mysterious personality. Or any kind of personality. Where have you gone, Garbo? And I just gotta say, that smarmy Britney pseudo little girl ("I'm not yet a woman, except for this massive rack I like to parade around") voice of hers is like scraping rusty metal against itself. Or a sack of dyspeptic cats.
It's easy to pick on Ashlee, I really should find better things to do with my time, but one grows weary when talentless individuals like her are constantly shoved down our collective throats everywhere we look. Can't I just be in line at Safeway buying my Hot Pockets in peace without having to see her aforementioned chestballoons and witchypoo face plastered on every other magazine cover? (mustn't neglect Lindsay and Paris and Jen and Hilary) I mean I like a bit of tasteful cleavage as much as the next red-blooded male but let's have some standards here people!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Illustration Friday Chair

Thanks to Drawn! (Most. Addictive. Blog. Ever.) for pointing me to the Illustration Friday blog. Cool idea. Must participate. Here's a chair drawing I really liked, done for a free lance job a while back. Who'd a thunk a chair could be so much fun to draw?

Jackie and Hank

Two of the greatest players of all time - Jackie Robinson, who officially broke baseball's color barrier, and Hank Aaron, still the most prolific home run hitter of all time. Jackie is done in acrylics, Hank is oils, both were drawn directly onto the page of the sketchbook with no workup sketch, and away I went with the paint. These are two of my favorites - I was especially happy with the way Hank turned out.
I'm gonna cease with the baseball heads for awhile, post some other stuff, some odds n' ends n' caricatures n' rants. But there'll be more in the future, rest assured.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Honus Wagner and "King" Kelly

I got a bit lazy on these two. I wanted to do drawings from the early days of Major League baseball and I had all these great photos to work from, but I just didn't wanna cut any friskets. So I tried a couple of monochromatic faces, just a drawing in charcoal, a spritz of acrylic, and some highlights with colored pencil. While I like the drawing of Honus Wagner better (and he does have some color blending going on) these ultimately proved to be two of my least satisfying faces.
Mike "King" Kelly initially played for the Reds starting in 1878, apparently one of the great players of his era and perhaps of all time. The books say he played every position and was noted for his nimble baserunning. After a few stellar years with the White Sox in the 1880's, he was traded to the Boston Braves. This so riled the Chicago fans that they actually boycotted games unless Boston was in town, they loved Kelly so much. Fan loyalty back in the day.
Honus Wagner, AKA "The Flying Dutchman" was a tremendous talent and the first Hall of Famer. A legendary shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Wagner did everything well. He hit for average, ran the basepaths like a madman (he once stole Home twice in the same game) and was so loyal to Pittsburgh that he turned down big money to go play elsewhere. It's Wagner's baseball card that continues to be the Holy Grail for collectors, (fetching $1,265,000 at auction in 2000) being so rare because Wagner demanded that the card cease to be printed because he thought the card's sponsor, a tobacco company, promoted unhealthy living. Wagner didn't like smoking, although apparently he did chew tobacco.
So wait a minute, let me get this straight - a professional baseball player who turned down big money out of loyalty to fans, played for one team essentially his entire career, objected to being glorified by a tobacco company because he objected to the substance, and was known for his modesty as much as his playing prowess? Wow. It's almost like reading about another species.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Dizzy Dean and Babe Ruth

A number of years ago a friend gave me a copy of the book Baseball's Golden Age, The Photographs of Charles M. Conlon, a beautiful collection of images of some of the greatest players in the game's history. Most of the photos are from the 10's & 20's, black & white,very close up and with a sense of intimacy you don't get from regular publicity shots or baseball card portraits. I was playing around with a Prismacolor blending pencil - a pencil infused with a bit of solvent to break down and blend regular Prismacolor colored pencils to give them a look as if they were charcoal or conte - and wanted to draw from some of the Conlon photos, so I just drew the faces dirctly onto the page of the sketchbook (instead of figuring the face out on tracing paper then projecting the drawing onto the sketchbook via the lucigraph, which was the method for most of these baseball faces) and started blending. I liked the strong structural, yet almost ghostly quality of these drawings a lot, in contrast to the slightly slicker finish of the airbrush/colored pencil pieces.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Cecil Fielder

One of the big power hitters of the early 90's, Fielder (in 1990) was the first Major League player in almost 30 years to hit more than 50 home runs, something that has since become almost commonplace each season, what with weight training and steroids. He played for the Detroit Tigers for a few years and then helped the Yankees win a World Series in 1996.
The photo I was working from here was really dark, and I wanted to do something in a low key, limited palette. A good exercise, but not a very punchy result, although I do like his expression.