Wacom eStore - official Onlinestore Wacom InfoChannel http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel 2017-09-22T04:46:38Z Redesigning a brand with Intuos Pro | Coffee roaster tells company story on b... http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/redesigning-a-brand-with-intuos-pro-coffee-roaster-tells-company-story-on-brand-new-coffee-bag/1110?c=2213303 The Portland-based coffee roaster Nossa Familia has just launched their new bag design. All illustrations were created by graphic designer Phoebe Low, using Intuos Pro. A brand redesign story.

Coffee roaster tells its story on brand-new coffee bag - with Intuos Pro

The Portland-based coffee roaster Nossa Familia has just launched their new bag design. All illustrations were created by graphic designer Phoebe Low, using Wacom Intuos Pro. A brand redesign story.

Ready, set, go:

The Portland-based coffee roaster Nossa Familia recently launched its new, environmentally friendly coffee bags, along with a whole new design. All illustrations on the bags are created by graphic designer Phoebe Low – with the help of Intuos Pro.


Nossa Familia new, sustainable bag design

But what does it take to redesign a coffee bag?

The story behind the process is special in its own right: Established in 2004, Nossa Familia has put much effort into truly being a sustainable, family-oriented and democratic company, ordering coffee beans mostly from small family businesses and letting their staff have a say in most company decisions. In that vein, Nossa recently received a “B Corporation” certification by the nonprofit “B Lab” – the organization certifies for-profit companies that meet certain standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Its sustainable philosophy led the staff to also decide on a new, more environmentally friendly material for their bags: a biodegradable material called Biotre, which is made from wood pulp, with polyethylene lining. All of the material is compostable.


Old vs the new Nossa Familia bags 

Show your sustainability

The new bags now also needed an adequate design ... however, Nossa had just recently already rebranded their product – they had given it a new logo and a new color palette, switching from dark black and browns to a bright white and red, with a clean logo.

“Our new design was simple and elegant, but it didn’t communicate very well who we are as a company”, graphic designer Phoebe Low explains. “There wasn’t enough character or uniqueness to the bag.”

Adding character to the bag

Phoebe has been with Nossa Familia for several years and knows the company inside out. The former Studio Art & Art History student from Vermont first started working at Nossa Familia in Portland, Oregon, as a barista. At one point she was asked to hand-paint the new espresso bar menu.

Next thing she knew, Phoebe was designing sandwich boards, working on some digital design and photography for Nossa. “And then – boom – I somehow managed to be a full time in-house designer! It’s been a fun and exciting journey.”


Phoebe Low at work in her studio on the Intuos Pro

Phoebe often creates or works on her drawings with Intuos Pro. “When I first got my tablet, I created simple illustrations of brewing devices”, she says. “From there, the illustrations just started to bleed into many different types of projects.” Today, the graphic designer runs social media outlets for the company, creates signs, menus, email campaigns, printed ads – and then, of course, she makes the new packaging design come to life.

A new brand identity in images

The first things for Phoebe to focus on were the coffee bag sticker labels. She kept them simple and clean: “The package has several fonts and seven colors. I didn’t want to overcomplicate things by adding even more design elements.”

<Add pic of the new labels or Phoebe working at the computer>

Her next task was necessary due to a change of the bag itself: The old retail bags were folded, not sealed, whereas the new bags can be heat-sealed, in response to new food safety regulations. The challenge was to let the customers know – in a playful way – that they now had to cut open the bag instead of simply unfolding it.

Simple, yet unique design elements

Phoebe incorporated further, personal drawings to give the bag its new unique character: “We wanted to keep additional design elements fairly simple, so they would work seamlessly with our branding”, she explains. “I added color to the drawings very sparingly, and I’m in love with the off-registered look, as it feels humble, gives a human presence and a little personality.”


Phoebe´s cute sketch on the Nossa Familia coffee bags

Finally, a modern coffee bag came to life that everyone on the team is proud of and that communicates the company story, using mostly color, fonts, and imagery.

The Nossa team put a lot of work into the new design, Phoebe feels, especially when considering it is “such a small and unassuming bag”. But it was well worth the effort, the graphic designer says: “There’s a lot of pressure to get the brand’s identity across without saying it in too many words. But who wants a bag totally covered in text?”

Some trivia about Nossa Familia Coffee

The company is a Portland, Oregon-based coffee roaster whose goal is to deliver exceptional specialty coffee through deeply-rooted relationships. It was founded on the notion of family (‘Nossa Familia’ means ‘our family’ in Portuguese) by Augusto Carneiro, who began the company importing beans from his family’s Brazilian coffee farms.

In 2004, Augusto first started having coffee FedEx-ed from his grandfather. Since then, the company has started sourcing coffee also from countries such as Guatemala, Nicaragua, Kenya or Rwanda. However, they still source mainly from family farmers and smallholder cooperatives.

Social media following:

Follow Nossa Familia on social media:
Website - Twitter - Facebook - Instagram

Follow Phoebe Low on social media:
Website - Tumblr - Pinterest

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Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:09:47 +100
Behind the Scenes with Oil Painter Krisztián Tejfel http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/behind-the-scenes-with-oil-painter-krisztian-tejfel/1109?c=2213303 Wacom goes behind the scenes with Hungarian painter Krisztián Tejfel, who openes up to us about his creative process and his artistic origins in oil painting. You might recognize his work from the relaxing but mysterious process videos on social media. (Special gift inside)

Behind the Scenes with Oil Painter Krisztián Tejfel

Wacom goes behind the scenes with Hungarian painter Krisztián Tejfel, who openes up to us about his creative process and his artistic origins in oil painting. You might recognize his work from the relaxing but mysterious process videos on social media. 

Get his personal brush set:

Many of you asked us about the brushes Krisztián uses. So he´s made a couple of his personal brushes available for you.

Coming soon we will have a tutorial about creating oil-painting brushes, but for a few lucky winners we release these brushes early through a competition. Simply keep an eye on our Facebook to find out how to take part.

 

 

So we sat down with Kristián and asked him some questions about what life as a self-taught painter is like...

What is a normal work day like for you?

I usually start the day around 7 o'clock. I think it's important to have an early morning, because in the morning it is easier to think about what to do that day, or how to plan it according to my mood, I believe.

If I can, I go for a run. After that, I set out to paint or make reference photography or just make sketches, put down ideas. In the meantime, I answer emails, look through social media and carry out marketing tasks. Then, if I am still in the mood, I get back to creating.

As painting is affected by my mood, there is no rule when I take the "brush" in my hand. But my day looks like this, more or less, until 5 pm. Then I ride my bike, skateboard, meet buddies, play or watch movies ... You know, just the usual stuff.

What is the most important thing to remember when painting portraits?

Each face is different, each face has a different impact on the viewer. This is important to keep in mind, even to reinforce it, as this may be very important to the project.

There are no two identical faces, no two identical stories, that’s how we are wonderful. It is very important for me to feel some kindof emotion with the person I work with ... maybe this is the most important thing.

What hardware and software or other tools do you prefer to use?

I'm currently using a Wacom Cinitq 22HD Touch. The paintings are made in Photoshop.

I also paint with oil paint and I often use these traditional paintings as backgrounds or textures for my digital works.

Do you still practice (analog) drawing (alongside your digital work), and why?

Of course! If I can, I paint or doodle every day. Sometimes this is how a new idea or color harmony comes to life. An artist must always develop and there’s always where to develop. It is important to innovate, to try and strive for new techniques, to cross our own borders.

Making a lot of studies has another advantage over technical advancement: it helps you find yourselves. It’s because you are much more open to experimenting when doing a study.

What do you enjoy most from being a freelance painter?

The freedom! That nobody tells me what to do and how to do it. Today I paint a realistic portrait, tomorrow I come up with an abstract expressionist picture. Of course, freedom is always comes with sacrifice!

What is the difference between working freelance and working in an office studio?

This is very difficult to answer because I have only worked very little for a studio, as I'm not an illustrator. I'm a painter! Of course, I like to paint for a good magazine or brand if there’s a mutual  liking and they don’t interfere too much with my work.

But coming back to the question, if you work for a good studio, you have a solid background, a secure monthly salary, inspirational environment and colleagues if you are lucky, this is definitely an advantage! If you are a freelancer, then there’s the freedom I mentioned, that you can set your own schedule, you can choose what job to accept, what tools you use and how you work.

Of course, there is the shady side of this, too, because with a company all you need to do is work, while as a freelancer you have to find new customers, deal with marketing and lots of other things that are not related to art. This is important for everyone to think about carefully.

How did you become a self-taught artist?

Creation has always been part of my life, I've been drawing and scribbling since my childhood, but I did not plan to be a self-taught artist. This cannot be decided, it just happens that way. I did not study painting or drawing at school.

When did you decide to pursue on your passion?

I can not say exactly when, as you are constantly working on it, even in your subconscious. I don’t think this is a planned thing. You don’t just become an artist or a creator overnight, but you become one with due endurance, humility and talent as time passes. When you realize this, that’s the time to start working hard on your dream consciously.

Do you have any advice on how anyone can start learning to draw?

I learned a lot from reading books, there was no Internet or Youtube when I started painting.

At the age of 10-11, I copied and "analyzed" the works of Picasso and Rembrandt from albums. I found Cubism, the blown up forms interesting, but I also liked realistic portraits. I practiced a lot, scribbled everywhere.

I also did graffiti, so I was interested in anything that had to do with creation. Of course this was not yet conscious ... I just enjoyed it, it came natural to me.

What was the coolest experience you had as an artist?

My work reached a lot of people. My art has been shared and published by magazines and websites that I could never have imagined. I have been able to participate in many great and exciting projects, and I am expected to be involved in many in the future, too, and that is because of my art exclusively.

Did you struggle finding your first job?

No, because I did not think of it as a job, and I still don’t. The opportunities always found me, - but of course, I did a lot and worked hard for them. I believe that hard and enduring work will have its fruit.

What was the most difficult experience you had in your career?

Perhaps this is not exactly the answer to the question, but perhaps the most difficult thing is to believe that you are good at what you are doing, to grasp the small and big successes and to handle them as thy are, that dreams are fulfilled ... And how art has its ups and downs like everythig else.

Despite these statements, I’d say that I am a very optimistic and ambitious person and I believe in myself - in a healthy way, of course.

Where do you see your career future heading?

I feel like my art is transforming, where this stops, I cannot tell. One thing I'm sure about, I would like my paintings to get in high-quality places and I want to reach more and more people through my art. I would like to paint in huge dimensions, mix digital and traditional techniques.

What is the best advice you ever got for your career?

1. Follow your dreams and always do what you want, do not let external influences decide what to paint!
2. Do not be an artist, be a famous artist!

 

About Krisztián

Krisztián Tejfel is a self-taught Hungarian painter, focussing on classical portraits.

His works reveals the darker side of life, exploring emotions such as melancholy, depression, sorrow, and loneliness. He skilfully portrays these feelings behind the facades of strong, beautiful women. Often their faces apper incomplete.

Tejfel’s works carry hints of surrealism, usually particularly visible in the details around the models’ eyes.

All of Tejfel’s portraits balance between realism and its deconstruction. Whilst firmly rooted in classical art, creatingtraditional-digital hybrids.

Follow Krisztian on social media:
Website - Instagram - Twitter - Facebook - Youtube

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Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:06:55 +100
Let´s Talk Art | Balancing a Full Time Job with Freelance Work - Maria Suarez... http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/lets-talk-art-balancing-a-full-time-job-with-freelance-work/1108?c=2213303 Welcome to the eighth episode of Let’s Talk Art. In this interview we talk to freelance illustrator and graphic designer Maria Suarez Inclan who currently works for top global agency Saatchi&Saatchi. In this interview we explore her illustration style, techniques and Maria giv...

Balancing a Full Time Job with Freelance Work

Welcome to the next episode of Let’s Talk Art. In this interview we talk to Spanish illustrator Maria Suarez Inclan about her experience working in Madrid and London, her illustration style and her techniques. Maria currently works as a designer and illustrator for global agency Saatchi&Saatchi. In her spare time she applies her skills and knowledge to her own personal projects, which has led to official work with some of the worlds biggest brands.

This interview series is produced by Jack Woodhams, the founder of PosterSpy which is an online showcase platform for poster artists. We would like to thank everyone who has responded positively to this series so far and hope you enjoy what´s to come.

So, let´s talk art...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You used to work in Madrid for Saatchi&Saatchi as a junior Art Director and you now work for Saatchi & Saatchi in London. As a young, aspirational artist how was this experience working for one of the world’s biggest agencies?

Yes, It’s been fine so far. As an illustrator working in a big agency it has been really helpful to find out what Art Directors look for in illustrators’ work. Also as a designer I’ve had the chance to work and learn from other professional designers.


Sea Hero Quest VR © Saatchi&Saatchi / Maria Suarez Inclan

You juggle your illustration work with your full time job, social life and everything in between. Would you like to be a full time illustrator one day? Or do you prefer to keep it as a hobby?

I don’t know if I would like to be a full time illustrator, I don’t think I’m keeping it as a hobby either though as I’m getting professional commissions and I take it really seriously. I think that having a job in an agency has lots of perks and I really enjoy the type of work we do.

I guess the main issue is the stability that an agency gives you and that’s something freelancers lack. Also the opportunity to work for different major clients is great. I think it’s nice to come into an office full of different people from other parts of the world that have their unique creative perspectives, I think it’s way more inspiring than working on your own.

I have to admit that organizing your own work and working with flexible hours and not having to cancel plans to stay late working in an agency sounds great though.


Havana Club © Maria Suarez Inclan

Do you have any tips for good time management?

Back in the day I studied two universities degrees (Design and Psychology) at the same time, I remember one semester when I had more than 10 subjects, so I had to learn to manage my time in the most effective way.

When I have a tight deadline, I forget everything else and I focus on finishing what needs to be done sooner. In these situations, good music, lots of coffee and having a clear idea of what you want to do is essential for me. 

When I have lots of projects to work on I think it’s better to focus on the biggest one or more difficult one and finish it before starting the others. Multitasking is a myth, of course everyone has his or her own tricks but I think it works for almost everyone. Also I make lots of calendars, sometimes it’s just for a busy month. I include social and work stuff in different colours to get a bigger picture of the month’s schedule and prepare stuff ahead.

You grew up in Spain and now live and work in London. Have you noticed much of a cultural difference and if so, has this affected your art?

I do notice lots of cultural differences; this is completely fine though. I like that it’s different and new. I miss lots of things from Spain but it’s amazing to experience new things, meet new people and explore different parts of the world. 

Work wise, one of the things that I think that has affected my art, is that in England people take politeness to the next level, they just cannot say in a direct way that something is bad or needs to be re-done while in Spain art directors are way more harsh and perfectionist, they give you creative freedom but they are involved in the process and want to get the best out of it.

In Spain I was doing design and art direction simultaneously so I didn’t have as many steps above me, as I do here. To have something approved it needs to be reviewed by lots of people that have different opinions (people who sometimes doesn’t even have a background in design or creativity) that affect the final artwork.


Crash Bandicoot © Maria Suarez Inclan

For many people, the idea of leaving behind family and friends is a scary concept. What would you say you enjoy most about living and working in a different country?

I enjoy being completely independent and to be able to do whatever I want. I love London, it’s been more than a year and it still feels new. You can do literally everything here, there are new places every week and the amount of creative people you meet here is insane. So I would say meeting new people is what I’ve enjoyed the most about living in London.

Your illustrations have a beautiful, gritty type of style, whilst remaining fun and charming. What tips would you give for adding texture and depth to digital illustrations?

I think that exploring different texture brushes is always good, I tend to use lots of splatter brushes to add texture. To add depth I often use color, to add this depth I explore different tones of the same color and use more desaturated ones for the backgrounds to make the first elements of the scene stand out more. 


Léon The Professional © Maria Suarez Inclan

Hollywood Kits” is a series you created exploring the films of famous directors and showcasing famous props and iconography. Tell us a little bit about this series.

This series was commissioned by Curioos. It’s a NY based company that makes prints and merch. They saw the Wes Anderson illustration I did for “Bad Dads”, the art show inspired by WA movies that Spoke Art does every year. They asked me to do 8 more film directors and I ended up doing Tarantino, Coen brothers, Scorsese, Spielberg, George Lucas, Fincher, JJAbrams and Sofia Coppola.

I think I learned a lot doing this project. As the main idea of the Wes Anderson print was to focus on the stuff he choses for his famous iconic film sets, I had to rewatch the movies and take special attention to details.

The project took several months as even if I had watched one movie I had to rewatch some scenes to remember the most important items. It was a long journey but I’m happy with the final poster and I think it was worth it.


Hollywood Kits © Maria Suarez Inclan

This series eventually led to your official “Kit” poster for Michael Mann’s Heat which was commissioned by Fox. How did that feel?

This was totally unexpected, someone posted the Hollywood kits on twitter and this guy who worked for Fox Home Ent saw it and loved it. He put me in contact with another person who was organizing Heat’s anniversary DVD launch and asked me to do an official poster for the fans of the movie.

The experience was great! They were really helpful providing the movie and making suggestions about what should be on it. I’d love to do something like this again soon!


Hollywood Kits “HEAT” © Maria Suarez Inclan

What other directors would you love to work with and why?

I’d love to work with Spielberg, he is a legend; He’s done some of my favourite movies like E.T. and Jurassic park, a master, mixing the ordinary with the extraordinary. He is probably one of the top ten directors of all time.

There is something special about Spielberg movies, after you watch them you feel like you’ve watched something important and epic, a feeling of completeness. I simply love the way his films made me feel when I watched them. How they have been made, from the sets, soundtracks (amazing John Williams), the camera angles to the casting.

Your current studio set-up includes a Macbook Pro and a Wacom Intuos Pro. How long has this been your go to set-up and is there a reason you chosen tools?

This has been my studio set up for almost 6 years now. When I started studying design I realized I had to save some money to buy a nice computer that allowed me to do all the work they would ask us to do. After the first year at University I had enough money to buy a MacBook or an iMac. It was a tough decision; I ended up buying a laptop, as I knew I was going to be most of my time in University and moving from building to building.

I’m actually dying to get a cintiq, I think it has to be really nice to feel like you’re drawing on paper but with all the perks of digital art (control and speed). 


Maria´s den

Before starting an illustration, do you go start digitally or do you begin with sketches on paper?

I always start sketching on paper; at least I do a couple of little thumbnails or schemes, just to start setting up different layouts and compositions. There have been some occasions when I was in a rush and the deadline was incredibly tight so I would start digitally, but it’s really rare for me. I like the natural feeling of doodling on a paper, it way more fluid.

Your career as an illustrator has been very successful, even more remarkable given your age. Do you feel there’s anything special you did that helped you to get where you are now?

I think one of the things that has helped me the most to get where I am was to join a collective of illustrators in uni (Guts). This was a huge step for all of us, because each of us had different experiences with illustration and we only knew that we all were really motivated and wanted to get better and to do exciting things.

When you find people that are passionate about the same thing you are, is when exciting projects are born. The main objective of Guts was to develop our styles, have fun and grow as illustrators as they didn’t teach us anything valuable in University, so we learned from each other. We published 5 issues of an illustration zine and we got our first professional clients like Heineken. We learned how to deal with clients, promote our work in an efficient way, how to read briefs and how to commit to projects.


Bridge of Spies – Oscar Series © Maria Suarez Inclan

Besides illustration, you’ve also done some commercial design, book layout design and logo work. What would you say is your favourite type of work other than illustration?

I love editorial design, I know everything is digital now. But I have this thing for materials, typography, nicely designed covers… There is something special in paper, a real-life interaction, when you take a book and you notice that the material of the cover feels nice or when the light reflects in a different way on the typography.

Also there is some historic aspect on print, when you’re designing a magazine or a book you know it’s going to be produced, it’s going to be an object and it may be out there for a while. You’re not going to keep a website or an app for years, while you may keep your favourite designed covers of a magazine. So the impact in an individual level is bigger in the long term.

Would you say your extensive skills and design ability have helped your career and why?

I think that it has indeed helped me. Someone that is multidisciplinary is always going to have it easier that someone that is focused just on one thing. Design and Art … they interact with each other, some elements of Design can help improve Illustration and vice versa, some elements of illustration can help make a better design.

Also both require similar skills and abilities. On the other side, Psychology might seem like it’s not related to these fields at all but It’s how crazy how Psychology has helped me develop in my career as a designer and illustrator.

Would you recommend that other designers experiment with different forms of design they’re less comfortable with?

I think that when you’re not comfortable with something it’s because it may be a challenge for you. And challenges make us move forward and actually learn and get better. We learn through experience, and only experimenting and taking new challenges we can get better.

So yes, I would say that exploring other forms of design will be helpful to have a wider perspective for future projects, and you can always apply what you’ve learned to other projects.


Spirited Away © Maria Suarez Inclan

I’m a big fan of your work, especially your use of colour. How do you usually decide on what colours to use for a project?

I usually set up some main colors first, let’s say I start exploring three colors or four colors. Depending on the briefing, I would go for a set of colors of a different one, for example I would start directly with pink, light blue, purple and red for Wes Anderson’s Hotel Budapest poster. But after setting up those colors together, I would try to find some others that work nicely with them, even if they’re not directly reflected in the movie.  

I would play with tone and saturation to get those three to work together nicely. After I have the main ones I usually play with different shades.

Sometimes I also like to think before what colors would be nice to use as shadows and lights, instead of having the same color with a darker shade maybe using a complete different one for the shadows. This usually gives the illustration a nicer contrast and a richer environment. 


Pulp Fiction © Maria Suarez Inclan

What tips would you give to aspiring illustrations that struggle to find the right colours for their artwork?

Also I would say they have to be curious about everything and specially about what other creatives are doing, keep exploring websites, going to art shows, watching old and new films and discovering new ways of doing things. You may have always drawn plants with different shades of green but then after going to a museum and see Matisse’s work, you realize that plant leaves can be blue, red, yellow, pink or black.

When watching movies, you realize color is a powerful storyteller tool, you get the subjective atmosphere the director wants to express with different lightings, and you can apply this to your illustrations as well. 

Where do you see yourself (career wise) in the future? And do you have any personal goals?

I would love to be developing my own projects and I want to be passionate about them. One of my personal goals is to have my own studio, but that is something I want to do in the future, after learning from other creatives and having more experience in the field. 


The Grand Budapest Hotel © Maria Suarez Inclan

Lastly, do you plan to live and work in another city at some point? Or has The Big Smoke become home?

London has become some sort of home for now, but you never know. I used to think I wanted to go to New York, and I think it’s still a dream I want to try.

I would love to come back to Madrid at some point as that’s where my family and where lots of my beloved friends live but creativity wise there is less opportunity for growing in a city like Madrid compared to London or New York and for now I want to focus on doing what I enjoy doing, which is illustration and design and become a better professional.

 

Thank you for reading!

It was a pleasure talking to Maria, who’s illustration work has a very unique and beautiful style. Hopefully Maria’s experience and advice will help your own work.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to share #LetsTalkArt with your friends! And follow Wacom across the social platforms so you don’t miss the next Let’s Talk Art!
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Be sure to follow Maria Suarez Inclan to stay up to date with her projects:
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Let's Talk Art series is written by Jack Woodhams, founder of PosterSpy.
Twitter - Website 

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Thu, 14 Sep 2017 13:27:16 +100
Illustration Tips & Tricks | The Blank Page: 7 Ways to Overcome Artist’s Block http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/illustration-tips-und-tricks-the-blank-page-7-ways-to-overcome-artists-block/1107?c=2213303 Looking for inspiration? So is Andrew Rae. The renowned illustrator and cartoonist has worked for international clients such as NY Times and Google – yet, just like everyone else, Andrew knows artist’s block and procrastination first-hand. But he has a few tips up his sleeve t...

The Blank Page: 7 Ways to Overcome Artist’s Block

Looking for inspiration? So is Andrew Rae. The renowned illustrator and cartoonist has worked for international clients such as NY Times and Google – yet, just like everyone else, Andrew knows artist’s block and procrastination first-hand. But he has a few tips up his sleeve that he’s not too shy to share.

Here’s part one of his online tutorial series Luck of the Draw: The Blank Page.

How do you regularly fill the much-feared blank page with inspired art (and make a living with it)? Here are Andrew’s 7 invaluable tips:

Tip 1: Be your own boss

One of the big advantages of being an illustrator is that you can be your own boss. This also applies to what you wear and how you look. And, more importantly, you can choose your hours and (hopefully) your projects as well. This freedom will keep you going. It is the only possible way to keep looking at every image as a new discovery and a journey.

There are plenty of job types for freelance illustrators out there. They include editorial work that complements a text, illustrations for books (watch out, this requires lots of time and work), or advertising – which is often a quick way to make money, but it can be a hassle, too. You might also want to look for jobs in animation or live drawing in front of an audience.


llustration for an advertising job © Andrew Rae

Tip 2: Keep it simple – with pen and paper

Obviously, there are many tools for artists to create and render images. Paper, canvas, screen, felt pen, watercolor, ipad, Wacom graphic tablet, and more. All of these are regularly used by artists in an editorial and publishing as well as advertising, animation or mural context. However, amidst the abundant choice of equipment, it’s sometimes best to turn to the most basic of tools: a black pen on a piece of paper. It’s a quick and clear matter-of-fact way to communicate.


Illustrating with pen on Paper with the Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition © Andrew Rae

Tip 3: Get out, get inspired

Everybody suffers from self-doubt and a tendency to procrastinate once in a while. But don’t let artist’s block get a hold of you. Just get out and get inspired, as inspiration can hide anywhere – in books, catalogues, films, exhibitions, on the road or in the bathroom. Sometimes you might find that you get inspired by the things you specifically don’t like – this goes for politics and character traits as well as landscapes – rather than the nice and pretty things in the world.


Donald Trump caricature on magazine cover © Andrew Rae

Tip 4: Stop waiting, start drawing

Once you’re out and about, you might want to keep track of your ideas, i.e. in your phone or on a notepad. But be careful and don’t overwork a new idea. You want to keep it fresh and exciting for the actual drawing, with treasures to be found along the road while working it out. Otherwise the newly found inspiration might dissolve just as quickly as it has emerged.

This means: Stop waiting for inspiration and start drawing. You can always throw an image away if it’s no good. Often you will be surprised, however, as odd little thoughts often resonate for unknown reasons. If you experience difficulties bringing to paper what’s in your head (you might see or feel an idea in your mind, but it won’t translate onto paper the right way) – then still put in the effort and work it out step by step on paper. Don’t let difficulties be an excuse. You can make it work, and the result will be your reward.


“you’re nothing without a tapir” © Andrew Rae

Tip 5: Make it personal and interesting

How do we create truly interesting art? Combining images is one option. Draw a selection of symbols or simple, but emotionally loaded figures – such as a heart and a bomb and a brain and a gun. Now start mixing and combing them in interesting ways, then add character to your symbols to make them more personal. See how that works?


Playing around with symbols © Andrew Rae

Now draw something cliché like a still life, then add figures, tentacles or something unexpected to make it interesting, odd or funny. Draw what grabs your own attention. Have the image ask a question or allude to a story behind the image: Why is this character angry, what is that character thinking?

Remember: If you don’t find your image interesting, why should anyone else?

Tip 6: Find your own style and stick to it

Don’t worry too much about your style. Just let things flow, draw the way that comes to you naturally. Let your way of drawing become your “handwriting” – and just as natural and distinctive. Don’t try to copy other illustrators’ work, it will make your work less individual and characteristic. Avoid comparing yourself to other people and don’t let them tell you what you should do. Everyone is entitled to their own approach to drawing, sketching and doodling. You are your own creative machine!


"Why is he angry?" © Andrew Rae

Tip 7: Don’t overwork your art

Last but not least, one of the most vital tips for perfectionists: Stop before you overwork your art. At some point, just call it finished, and it will be.

 

Did you like this tutorial? Then look out for part two of Andrew Rae’s Luck of the Draw tutorial series: Don’t Polish a Turd. Coming up soon.

Rather watch Andrew´s spew his wisdom? Here you go:

Some Andrew Rae trivia

Andrew Rae is best known for his line drawing, expressive characters, playful and busy images filled with detail, as well as his sardonic, irreverent look at the world. He is a member of the multi-disciplinary Peepshow Collective, art directed the award-winning BBC animation Monkey Dust and created the graphic novel Moonhead and the Music Machine. Andrew gained special recognition in 1998 when he produced a series of flyers for the legendary club night Perverted Science in London, the vibrant city where he currently lives and works.

Follow Andrew on social media:

Website - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Tumblr

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Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:00:25 +100
Let´s Talk Art | Becoming a Freelancer and How it Changed my Life - Tracie Ch... http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/lets-talk-art-becoming-a-freelancer-and-how-it-changed-my-life-tracie-ching/1106?c=2213303 Welcome to the seventh episode of Let’s Talk Art. In this interview we talk to Tracie Ching from Washington, U.S., who has been working in the illustration industry for many years. In this interview, we’ll be talking about freelancing, how to get your work more visibility and ...

Becoming a Freelancer and How it Changed My Life

Welcome to the sixth interview in the Let’s Talk Art series. We will be talking about freelancing, how to give your work more visibility and illustration software.

In this interview we talk to Tracie Ching an artist living in Washington, U.S. Tracie has been working in the industry for many years and has developed many skills during her career as an illustrator. Tracie is currently a freelance artist, challenged with new and exciting projects every day. Most, if not all of Tracie’s work is created with Adobe Illustrator.

This interview series is written by Jack Woodhams, the founder of PosterSpy which is an online showcase platform for poster artists. We would like to thank everyone who has responded positively to this series so far and hope you enjoy what´s to come.

So let´s talk art...

(© Tracie Ching at Awesomecon 2017.)

 

 

 

 

 


Tell us a little about yourself, how did you first get into illustration?

The story of how I got into illustration is a bit crazy. I originally went to school for Fine Art, earning a BFA in 2009 with a concentration in mixed media sculpture. It is not an excuse that the Great Recession was the sole reason I was unemployed after graduation, given the nature of my degree, but it certainly made it difficult to find work of any kind.

While I did my job-hunting I attempted to find a lucrative outlet for my artist ability, so I began teaching myself Creative Suite. Looking back, it’s seems somewhat arrogant that my plan was to just make myself into a graphic designer, but in the end that’s what I did.

Once I’d become somewhat familiar with CS I tried to diversify to help build up my skills and start gaining some real design footholds. I began doing occasional design work for VC Ultimate, an ultimate Frisbee company, and worked on personal projects to build my portfolio, specifically vector pop-culture portraiture.

What really paid the bills, was my part-time office gig. My design skills eventually landed me a full-time position at my office gig, and later I earned the title as the company’s graphic designer. Simultaneously I became Lead Designer for VC Ultimate, with whom I still work today. Those personal projects eventually created a portfolio that allowed me to work with several pop culture galleries.

I do not over exaggerate when I say that I worked 16+ hour days, every day, no holidays, for two years. Eventually I was earning enough outside of my 9-5 that I was able to become a full-time freelance designer, and the rest, I suppose, is history.


Tracie Ching and her workspace. © Tracie Ching

How is your current studio set-up like?

Despite the complexity of my illustrations, my workspace has always been very simple. There’s storage for my prints and shipping area, but the heart of the creative operation is basically just my iMac, keyboard, and Wacom Intuos tablet living incongruously alongside my antique desk and banker’s lamp.

I work almost exclusively in Adobe Illustrator, a vector graphics editor, so there’s little I need outside my computer, tablet, and imagination.

The only other accessory I’ve always had is a window. As per the stereotype, I rarely escaped my chair in the early days so the window ensured I occasionally saw the light of day. Nowadays I actually leave the house, but staring out said window has become part of the process, than therefore integral.

Your current technique for creating artwork produces a beautifully complex image made from small brush lines; how did you first discover this way of working?

When I first started illustrating I would use solid shapes of color with the occasional contour line.

The real breakthroughs came, first, when my husband gifted me my first Wacom tablet. Up until that point I was, I kid you not, using the trackpad on my laptop and pen tooling everything out.

The tablet totally changed up my game, allowing me to illustrate more organically by actually drawing rather than just placing anchor points. The second came a little later when I stumbled across a tutorial on how to create illustrator brushes.

I created several illustrator brushes, some that I still use today, that featured tapering strokes that allowed me to create smoother transitions between shapes of colors [as seen in my Spock & Kirk prints].

Over time I incorporated more and more lines and developed techniques that mimic engraving-style crosshatching to further refine those transitions.


Leia and Geordi, early illustrations. © Tracie Ching

Typography is also a big part of your work. How long does it usually take you to do this type of design and does it all start with a sketch?

There is no average for how long it takes me to design the type. Like most of what I do it often varies quite a bit from project to project.

The funny bit is regardless of the number of portraits, complexity of the composition or arabesque framework, I always feel like the type takes me the longest to figure out. (There is a reason typography is its own vocation).

Luckily my interest in antique things started early and so I have a large collection of 19th and early 20th century ephemera to source as reference for antique type. Normally that’s where it starts, looking through Sanford maps or the works of Martin Gerlach and J.M. Bergling.

Once I’ve zeroed in on a few samples and styles that I feel suit the subject matter I rough out the basic solid forms and orientation, then move on to the ligatures and inner details.


Lettering by J.M. Bergling

How would you describe your experience, so far, as a freelance artist?

For me it’s a dream come true. I never really expected to make a living as an artist, let alone do so as my own boss working with clients I’ve long revered. I have the gift of choice - from the work I do to the hours I keep - but make no mistake, those hours tend to be long.

It took a monstrous amount of work to get here, and it require an equal amount of keep things running but I’ve never shied away from work. It would have been easy to stay at my commercial design job and earn a decent, steady paycheck for work that was, shall we say, safe, but in lieu of safety I opted to chase work I am passion about, work that pushes me to learn more, do more.

It should also be mentioned it is work that has allowed me to maintain an income while I raise three children without incurring the cost of child care. Too many parents in the US have to choose between their children, their careers, or paying skyrocketing child care costs.

The work could dry up tomorrow but I would still be grateful that freelance work has saved me from that choice these last few years.


Sherlock. Created in Adobe Illustrator. ©Tracie Ching

When taking on a new project, what’s the first thing you always do before you start?

Research. When approached with a new project I often have a few ideas straight away. Researching the subject will either convince me to further develop those ideas or inspire new concepts. It also gives the subject matter valuable context while simultaneously making sure I’m not repeating something that’s already been done.

One of the best things about being known for pop culture portraiture is the research generally involves watching movies or TV shows, which is a pretty fun thing to get paid to do.

More often than not, however, research means scouring the Internet for reference materials so I can nail likenesses. A positive byproduct of which tends to be learning new things about interesting people. For instance, I recently learned Elvis Presley was born an identical twin.

Was there ever anything in particular that influenced you to become an artist?

I’ve thought about this many times and I can’t pinpoint a time, place, or person that started it all. I was accumulating sketchbooks before I was 5. There isn’t a time I can remember when I wasn’t drawing or painting, or making something. Nor a time when anyone in my family thought I’d be anything other than a creative.

No one creates in a vacuum and there are plenty of things that have influenced the artist I am today. I couldn’t do what I do without my Wacom Intuos tablet or Adobe Illustrator. I wouldn’t be working in pop culture silkscreens if it weren’t for Mondo.

I wouldn’t be who I am without the things that have made impressions on me, but I don’t know if you become an artist if you aren’t already one somewhere inside.


Spock and Kirk © Tracie Ching

During your time as an illustrator you’ve attended many conventions and sold your work at booths to fans; what is that like?

It is the best. I do sell my work at cons but the main reason I attend is the opportunity to interact with fans and meet new people. Being a digital artist, I exist largely in the digital world. This means little time to talk regularly face-to-face with colleagues, let alone some of the individuals who have supported my profession for years. At cons, I have time to do all of that as well as the ability to discover and be discovered.

It’s also an excuse to let loose and have some fun. In my experience, comic con attendees are some of the nicest, funniest, and most dedicated fans out there as proven by the recent Ice Cream Special I ran at my home town convention, Awesome Con. There were some very dedicated fans that got very creative in bringing me pints of ice cream in return for the Specials.

You’ve taken part in a few collaborative art shows including the Bad Dad shows at Spoke Art, which celebrate the films of Wes Anderson and Marvel shows at Hero Complex Gallery. How did you first get involved with galleries?

Getting involved with some of the pop culture galleries was one of my goals about 2 years into getting into the design game (again, diversify!). I pinpointed the galleries I bought from or followed personally. Galleries who carried artists I admired or followed. Once I had my portfolio together I would occasionally reach out with a note and a link.  

My first break came with Spoke Art. I’d sent them some work previously but as I’d added a couple more works I send them an update. This was about 2 months before their annual Bad Dads show and Ken Harman, the gallery’s founder, recommended I send them a rough for a piece to submit to the show. They approved the rough and a couple weeks later my Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou print was hanging in the gallery. It was an instant sell out and from that point on I’ve had a wonderful relationship with them.

A little while later, when Adam Martin was launching Hero Complex he contacted me about being in one of their shows. By that time I had been bouncing around the silkscreen community for a bit and I believe he came across my work online. HCG has a strong pop culture lean, specifically in relation to films and TV, and I believe he saw, like I did, what a good fit we’d be.


The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou © Tracie Ching

What advice would you give to aspiring artists hoping to have their work exhibited in shows like this?

You are your own best advocate. Make sure to check out galleries and find the ones whose shows and rosters mesh well with your work. Some will have instructions for submissions or occasional call for artists on their websites, but if they don’t feel, reach out via email. As long as you are respectful, there’s nothing wrong with promoting your work. Personally, I didn’t reach out more than twice a year and I landed a couple shows at different galleries.

Additionally, don’t forget that presentation is key. These are busy people and they don’t have time to scroll through your Instagram trying to find photos of your work amongst those of your cat. Make sure you have a website or some sort of online portfolio, like Behance, that cleanly shows your work.

Currently, you utilize the major social platforms. Would you say that they have been beneficial to your career?

I certainly hope they have as social media upkeep takes up a decent chunk of time. It’s hard for me to say for sure if I’ve gained work from someone stumbling across one of my feeds, especially at the early stages in my career, but I will say they’ve helped me maintain, and grow my fan base. And in today’s world I think engagement has become just as important as the actual work.

Before the advent of the internet art had these very specific outlets and artists, for the most part, you would work for an agency, company, or gallery that connects to audiences. Now, that still holds true but there are equal parts advantage and burden on the artist to put themselves in front of people, which is where social media comes in.

I don’t think you can have a career as a contemporary artist without some kind of social media presence.

Being in the public eye also opens you up to criticism and even the possibility of misrepresentation; has this ever been a concern?

In some ways, yes. Very early on I encountered a great deal of criticism from within the silkscreen poster community. Some of it was because I was a woman operating in a male-dominated arena. But most of it was due to me being an outsider and playing the game in a way certain people didn’t think was “the right way”.

It was tough when I had artist friends and clients give me a heads up when they’d received a jealous message claiming I was a thief, a talentless hack, and should be blacklisted. It was extremely distressing to be so new and insecure and have this kind of backlash but I am, if nothing, persistent, and I do not give in to bullies.

Now, after having worked with clients like Adidas, TIME, Marvel, Disney, Lionsgate, and so many more, I like to think those critics have fallen silent because they’re too busy eating their words.  


2001: A Spacy Odyssey © Tracie Ching

You currently reside in Washington, US. Is there anywhere you´d like to visit that you find particularly inspiring?  

I have been in love with the National Gallery of Art ever since my first trip to the capitol in middle school. When I decided to move to DC, many years later, I was most excited by the prospect of being able to visit regularly. I often still go there, especially in summer, to walk through the Dutch Masters collection, visit da Vinci’s Ginevra de' Benci, and sit in the cool garden courtyards.

It wasn't until later that I would find the National Portrait Gallery and that the Air and Space Museum has night showings of sci-fi movies in the IMAX theatre. You really can’t keep me off The Mall.

As a freelance artist it’s often down to you to handle your own clients. Have you ever had any really bad experiences and how did you overcome it/them?

I have been lucky enough to sidestep most of the worst freelance experiences. I’ve had nightmare clients but I’ve never been stiffed. Most of the time that’s because I instituted a deposit and contract early on, and I never released anything other than small PNGs before final payment was sent.

Word to the wise - anyone who shies away from a deposit isn't someone you want as a client.

Now I am lucky enough to be represented by Debut Art. They handle all my negotiations, pricing, contracts, and invoicing and payments. I literally could not be more grateful for the work they do and recommend finding yourself a good agent or agency if you are a designer.

You work almost exclusively with Adobe Illustrator. What would you say is the biggest advantage of using the vector program?

I did a lot of assemblage in college as part of my major. Being able to rearrange and assemble things is my natural state, something much more easily accomplished in Illustrator.

In truth I use Illustrator because it functions more closely to the way my brain works. If I gravitated more toward painterly styles and I would undoubtedly use Photoshop, but I’ve always worked with lines and blocks of solid color. I can resize, alter and move all my elements around at will without worrying about the resolution or what layer they’re on.

 
Mia Wallace © Craig Drake

Are there any artists in particular who inspire you? And what about their work do you admire?

No one has the time or patience to read that list. It would be too long. I am constantly inspired by artists, new and old. But for the sake of your audience I’m going to list some of my contemporaries so they can go and check them out and also be inspired. 

Right now I am in awe of Paul Shipper, the gentlemen you previously interviewed for Let’s Talk Art. Beyond being the nicest man he creates gorgeous work. His portraits have such a beautiful soft quality and I always love his color. You should check out the work he did for Star Wars Celebration. The complete incompleteness of the key art portraits made me drool.

There’s also Craig Drake, my vector buddy. Craig is what would happen if you gave Patrick Nagel Adobe Illustrator and made him more awesome. I have the luxury of burying the viewer in lines so I am always impressed by someone who can create something dynamic and powerful with the appearance of ease and/or simplicity. 

And of course I have to mention Aaron Horkey, the master of linework. He’s who I want to be when I grow up.


Aaron Horkey True Grit ©Aaron Horkey / MondoTees.

How long did it take for your work to start getting traction and how did it feel when people started buying your artwork?

It wasn’t all that long from when I started posting work to when I gained momentum. After I had developed my skills in Illustrator I started creating portraits of some of my favorite TV characters. Eventually I wanted to have one or two made into silkscreen prints, but the labor and supplies was costly for a first-timer like me with no fan base.

Fortunately, KickStarter had just come on the scene and I decided to run a campaign to print my Admiral Ackbar design. I figured if it doesn’t pan out, no big deal. The original goal was $700 with each backer getting a print or prints. I reached my fund goal within 2 days and by the end of the campaign had 103 backers pledging $5,000. That month was nothing but pure joy and those backers help launch my career.


Admiral Ackbar print, funded via Kickstarter ©Tracie Ching.

You focus a lot on pop culture at the moment in your career; what types of movies do you personally like to watch?

I live pretty firmly in the land of Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure, and Fantasy movies, in that order. My favorite thing to do while I work is watching good-bad Sci-Fi. If I put on Blade Runner, I can’t audit peripherally. Too good. I have to watch it. That’s why good-bad Sci-Fi is so important.

I can turn on Pitch Black and sporadically check in on Vin Diesel running around a desert planet fighting night monsters. Entertaining enough to keep me entertained, but not so good as to be distracting. Whereas say bad-bad Sci-Fi, like Battlefield Earth, would make me want to gouge out my eyes, which would inevitably affect my productivity.

Besides movie posters or art prints, what else do you like to work on that we may not see so often?

I think the work most people don’t see and would be most surprise by is my ultimate Frisbee apparel design. When I started out I played ultimate and picked up some freelance work with VC Ultimate designing logos and jerseys. Over the years the sport grew, producing professional leagues in the US and spreading further abroad.

This growth required the sport to invest more in it’s appearance and eventually we were handling creative for some of the biggest tournaments including the World Ultimate Championships and national teams like Great Britain, Canada, and Denmark.

Recently the PM of Canada, Justin Trudeau, was seen running in a jersey we designed for Canada’s 2015 national team kit, so technically, by the transitive property, I’ve been running with Justin Trudeau.


The Avengers:Age of Ultron showcase at Hero Complex Gallery, L.A. © Tracie Ching.

As well as being an artist yourself, you also collect art. What is your most prized possession?

It depends. My most prized silkscreen print is Aaron Horkey’s There Will Be Blood variant. I loved it instantly but I didn’t stand a chance when it dropped through Mondo. They were near impossible to find on the aftermarket, let alone for a reasonable price so

I waited… for years. Finally, I ended up acquiring mine through a very accommodating group of collectors who agreed to gift me the Horkey in lieu of payment for their private commission.

My most prized fine art print is my Hunter Zephyr by the mother of mezzotint, Carol Wax. She had a huge impact on me, especially during undergrad, and I think you can still see the influence of her deep, high-contrast shadows in my work today.

My most prized sketch is my Catwoman sketch from Adam Hughes. Won’t lie. I cried a little when I got that one.

Finally, like many artists, your artwork has changed and improved over the years, is there anything you’d like to experiment with more or try to improve in the future?

One of the things that I think has made me successful are the goals I set for myself. Whether it was getting one of my designs printed or working with a gallery, I gave myself a year to make it happen. This year’s goals are to bring in more color and motion into my work.

I’m also continuing last year’s goal which is to create more original works. Being a digital artist who creates silkscreens my focus tends to be on multiples or things that stay on the internet. I’ve also gotten out of the habit of drawing on paper with pencil so I’ve joined The Sketchbook Project and undertaken a few other projects to bring me out of my comfort zone and get my hands dirty. 

Thank you for reading!

We hope you enjoyed this Let’s Talk Art interview with the brilliant Tracie Ching. If you enjoyed this article be sure to follow Wacom across the social platforms so you don’t miss the next Let’s Talk Art! 
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Be sure to follow Tracie to stay up to date with her projects:
Facebook • Twitter • Instagram • Behance • Website

Let's Talk Art series is written by Jack Woodhams, founder of PosterSpy.
Twitter • Website 

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Mon, 14 Aug 2017 13:23:34 +100
Wacom Heroes & Villains 3D Contest | Announcing the Winners http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/wacom-heroes-und-villains-3d-contest-announcing-the-winners/1105?c=2213303 We believe that having the best tools go a long way toward bringing out your creativity. Therefore we collaborated with Shapeways and asked the creative community to design a 3D model of a tabletop gaming Hero or Villain character in the Wacom Heroes & Villains Contest. The en...

Announcing the Winners of the Wacom Heroes & Villains 3D Contest

We believe that having the best tools can go a long way toward bringing out your creativity. Therefore we collaborated with Shapeways and asked the creative community to design a 3D model of a tabletop gaming Hero or Villain character in 28mm sclae for the Wacom Heroes & Villains Contest.

Contestants had a chance to win a Wacom Intuos 3D tablet which comes with ZBrushCore software® and Shapeways store credit.

The entries blew us away with their creativity and incredible detail. Thankfully, we didn’t have to choose the winners alone. With help from judges at Shapeways BHDA team, and special guest tie-breaking judge Jessica at Gameosity, we’re ready to declare the victors who’ll get the spoils. Each design is for sale on Shapeways´ Marketplace.

We’re excited to announce that the winners are...

GOLD - Space Mercenary by Claudio Setti Art

SILVER - Arcane Wizard Miniature by dsDesign

BRONZE - Rashnar, King of the Hogs by Denetariko Shop

Honorable Mentions

“Fenrix-7” Robot Knight Commander 28mm by MECHVOID ARSENAL

Extinxion in Battle Form, 28mm Scale Mini by Prize Inside by The Octavirate Forge

Eric The Viking – 28mm Tabletop Figurine by BITGEM


Dogrovan the Paladin by medunecer

Snake Monster by Terror Form Miniatures

Tabletop Game Resting Dwarf Warrior 28mm by Mostly jewelry

High Elf Dragon Maiden by Small Ox Miniatures

Half Orc Barbarian by Mistwalker Foundry

Gregario the Half-Hamster warrior by Curio Inventorium

Eye of Evil by Spectoys

 

If you enjoyed this article be sure to follow Wacom across their social platforms so you don’t miss out!
Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Website – Youtube


About Shapeways

Founded in 2007, Shapeways is led by folks who've spent most of their careers in startups, and combine serious technical chops with an inspiring vision of what the world could be. We’re bringing together a passionate, dynamic team of game changers. We're having a great time working and playing harder than we ever have in our lives. It doesn’t hurt to know that what we do is changing the future as we know it.

Headquartered in New York, Shapeways has factories and offices in Eindhoven, Queens, and Seattle. Shapeways is a spin-out of the lifestyle incubator of Royal Philips Electronics, and our investors include Union Square VenturesIndex VenturesLux CapitalAndreessen HorowitzINKEF CapitalHewlett Packard Ventures, and Presidio Ventures.

Since its inception, Shapeways has been defining the industry. Join our passionate team and help create the future of 3D printing today!

Follow Shapeways on social media:
FacebookTwitterInstagram – YoutubeFlickrTumblr

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Thu, 27 Jul 2017 10:59:23 +100
Exclusive Wacom Masterclass Competition http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/exclusive-wacom-masterclass-competition/1104?c=2213303 With Drink and Draw Berlin coming up on 31 August, Wacom is welcome to set up camp. And we are offering an exclusive masterclass with famous illustrators/ animators and designers. These artists will act as tutors and guide teams to complete an assignment. Not only is this a gr...

Exclusive Wacom Masterclass Competition

With Drink and Draw Berlin coming up on 31 August, Wacom is welcome to set up camp. And we are offering an exclusive masterclass with famous illustrators, animators and designers. These artists will act as tutors and guide teams to complete an assignment.

You will have the option to choose what you want to learn by picking one of four categories: Illustration, Comic, Concept and 2D Animation. So not only is this a great opportunity to gain your desired skills and network, but there is also a certificate for completion and a chance to win the new Wacom Intuos Pro.

About the competition

This masterclass is exclusive and the way to apply is through this competition and winning a seat. Please note that Wacom will not be covering the travel expenses.

Competition period

The Wacom Masterclass Competition will be running from Friday 21 July 09:00 CEST and ending Friday 18 August at 23:59:59 CEST.

How do I enter?

Simply:
1)    Like Wacom official Facebook page.
2)    Choose a theme: Illustration, Comic, Concept Art or 2D Animation.
3)    Create or use an existing artwork with your chosen theme.
4)    Submit by sharing your artwork on Facebook/ Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #WacomMasterclass + a hastag for your chosen theme (#illustration/ #comic/ #conceptart or #2Danimation).
5)    Email your artwork to contest@wacom.com. Add "Wacom Masterclass Competition 2017" to the email subject line.

Entry form requirements

Everyone is eligible for one entry only. Both digital and traditional is allowed.

To participate in the Wacom Masterclass Competition: 
1)    You must be a legal resident of the European Union.
2)    You must be at least 18 years of age.
3)    You must be willing to travel to the location in Germany by own means and costs.

What can I win?

A seat in the exclusive masterclass. And during the masterclass you have the chance to win the new Intuos Pro Medium.

How do I win?

Per theme, five winning artworks will be selected by a panel consisting of three people from the Wacom marketing team and Drink and Draw.

Please also have a read through our terms and conditions.


Drink and Draw Berlin event 2016

About the Masterclass

The masterclass is hosted by Drink and Draw Berlin and will take place on 31 August. The location will be: Umspannwerk Alexanderplatz, Voltairestraße 5, 10179 Berlin-Mitte in Germany.

The masterclass will be six hours long and a combination of theory and a practical assignment. The day program will start at 10:30 and last until 18:00. Later on in the evening there will be the opportunity for networking and let loose.

See the full schedule here.

Four professional artists will act as tutors in the field of IllustrationComicConcept Art or 2D Animation. Each tutor teaches a group of 5 students. Each student works on the assignment individually and there will be one winning artwork per group. The tutor makes the call together with the group in a discussion. The winner receives the new Intuos Pro.

All participants will receive a certificate stating that states they have completed the Wacom Masterclass and acquired certain skills.

Important to note is that Wacom will provide the hardware tools (Wacom tablets). Participants will have to bring their own computer systems with preferred software.

The artists:

Josan Gonzáles | Illustration - characters, background, composition
Adrian Wilkins  | Concept Art - more details soon
Goran Sudzuka | Comic - more details soon
Raman Djafari  | 2D Animation - process leading animation, animation as experimental medium, curiosity as starting point


About Drink and Draw Berlin

Drink and Draw Berlin has been an artist collective since 2014. Its home base is the Alte Münze in Berlin. Their aim is to improve and expand the art scene in Berlin by providing courses, workshops, parties and festivals for everyone that is interested in art.

Follow Drink and Draw on social media: FacebookInstagram

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Wed, 19 Jul 2017 17:11:09 +100
Let´s Talk Art with Paul Shipper | How Self Belief and Dedication Propel Your... http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/lets-talk-art-with-paul-shipper-how-self-belief-and-dedication-propel-your-career/1103?c=2213303 Welcome to the sixth episode of Let’s Talk Art. This time we chat with Paul Shipper, who is known globally for his work with some of the biggest brands in film and T.V. Including Lucas film, Disney, Marvel, HBO, Rolling Stone, Topps and more.

How self belief and dedication propel your career

Welcome to the sixth episode of Let’s Talk Art. This time we chat with legendary artist Paul Shipper, who is known far and wide by illustrators and fans for his work with some of the biggest brands in film and T.V. Including Lucasfilm, Disney, Marvel, HBO, Rolling Stone, Topps and more. 

In this interview Paul talks about how he established himself as an illustrator, as well as giving tips and tricks on how to make it in the industry. Paul also shares his inspirations and where he sees himself in the future. 

So, Let’s Talk Art…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Like many artists, it’s taken many years for you to get to where you are now. Were there any moments in your career where you wanted to give up? How did you overcome those feelings?

There was one time when I was taken advantage of by someone who really took me for a ride. It was a really horrible place to be in and this guy almost made me throw in the towel due to trust issues. But with the help of friends and some of my peers I got through it and overcome it. Feeling a lot worldlier and wise at the end of it all.


Warcraft Poster Art by Paul Shipper

You recently did a Carrie Fisher tribute piece for Empire Magazine, how was that experience for you as both a fan and as an artist?

Working for Empire magazine was a definite bucket list job for me, and being asked to create a tribute to the late Carrie Fisher I regarded as a great honour for their 24 page love letter to the actress.


Paul’s Carrie Fisher Tribute piece which was featured in Empire Magazine

Given you’ve illustrated for various movies and TV shows over the years, is there any particular title that you love working on the most?

It’s difficult to say you have a favourite, but there are the occasional jobs that stand out as being a little bit extra special. I would have to say being asked to create the Key Art and badge art for this year’s Star Wars Celebration in Orlando was one of those special jobs.


Paul standing in front of his key art designs at Star Wars Celebration Orlando.

Growing up, what inspired you to start drawing or experimenting with movie poster art?

I’ve always drawn pictures from an early age and it was in my early teens that I was starting to gravitate to the illustrated film poster.  I collected them from my local video shop and studied them. 

Composition, style, technique… it was all there. It became an obsession and it excited me. It was from that moment, realising there was a job called an “illustrator” that I decided to follow this path.


Star Trek Poster Art by Paul Shipper

You’ve mentioned in the past that Drew Struzan is a large inspiration for your career in movie posters. What is your favourite Drew Struzan piece of art and why?

Drew’s incredible film posters were among those I collected and loved growing up. He created over 100 illustrated posters during his career and picking out one would be very difficult indeed. But the ones that impacted me the most growing up would have been his Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade art, Adventures in Babysitting, Goonies along with the Back to the Future trilogy.

There is also a poster that drew illustrated for the 10th Anniversary of Star Wars. It’s a signed Giclée that I have had framed and it has travelled the world with me.


“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and “The Goonies” by Drew Struzan

Although you primarily work in a digital medium, your art has a traditional feel to it, harking back to those classic movie posters that inspired you during your childhood. How have these affected your work?

I started out using traditional methods, the way that Drew Struzan worked. He was my main inspiration and became my virtual mentor by way of studying his poster art. 

It wasn’t until the turn of the millennium that I began to dabble in digital illustration. It was due to a couple of clients requesting that the artwork should be digital, that made me look into it. 

I decided that I would only do it if I could somehow replicate the traditional style that I loved so much. With a bit of trial and error I was on my way to making it happen, something which I have been continually trying to perfect ever since that time.

To create my digital art I use my trusty old Intuos Pro and my new Cintiq 27QHD.


Paul Shipper illustrating a poster for "ET The Extra Terrestrial" on his Cintiq 27QHD

Freelancing can be tough, getting clients, sticking to a dedicated schedule and for artists starting out, even paying the bills can be hard. Is there anything you can recommend for artists who are either considering freelancing or those who have just started?

It is tough, but as I have told many up and coming artists who are still employees at some place or other - you won’t regret it. It will be hard, it won’t be easy but you cannot beat doing something you love and being able to pay the bills with the fruits of your own work.


The Hateful Eight Poster Art by Paul Shipper

Do you have your own freelance daily routine?

I don’t really have a routine that I stick to on a daily basis but I do take breaks between work so I can go back to things and reflect at what I’m working on with fresh eyes so to speak. So I might play my guitar or keyboard… I like to play games on my Playstation with friends too.

Your illustrations are usually of famous faces and recognisable actors and actresses. Do you have any tips for getting likenesses right?

Likenesses are something I always strive to get right; they can be difficult. Reference, good reference is the key, as well as being aware of the actor and their previous performances.


The Thing Poster Art by Paul Shipper

Is there anything you really want to tackle during the rest of your career as an artist?

Honestly, I’m just going with the flow right now, which is thankfully keeping me very busy. The future is not known, and that is exciting. I’m getting to work with some really great and passionate people, which is a great deal. I don’t have any far flung aspirations right now, I really just want to try and be one of the best at what I am doing, and for me, that is enough… for now. 

Finally, for those reading this who want to get into movie poster illustration, what advice can you give in regards to finding the right visual cues and imagery for an evocative piece of art?

There are a lot of people trying to do this now it seems. When I was younger I almost felt like I was among the very few. The best advice for creating compositions would be to trust your own instincts and aesthetics. They will serve you well… Follow your heart always… or as often as you can (sometimes you can’t call all of the shots).

 

Thank you for reading!

Paul’s skill and dedication has helped to propel him through his career and hopefully some of his advice will help aspiring artists reading this to achieve their own individual goals. 

Let’s Talk Art will begin again shortly with more insights into the mind of the artist as I chat to more illustrators from around the world. Thank you to everyone who’s been supportive of this series and I’ll catch you soon.

If you enjoyed this article be sure to follow Wacom across their social platforms so you don’t miss the next Let’s Talk Art!
Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Website – Youtube

Be sure to follow Paul to stay up to date with his projects:
Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Website

Let's Talk Art series is written by Jack Woodhams, founder of PosterSpy.
Twitter – Website 

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Mon, 17 Jul 2017 12:25:19 +100
Interview | Building a Freelance Career in Fashion Photography and Graphic De... http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/detail/index/sArticle/1102/sCategory/2213303 Multiple award winning fashion photographer Ilona Veresk from Russia found her passion outside of school. Getting involved in photography and graphic design she became a freelancer. Ilona also has an interest in fairy tale art portrayed in a dark style.

Building a Freelance Career in Fashion Photography and Graphic Design

Multiple award winning fashion photographer Ilona Veresk from Russia found her passion outside of school. Getting involved in photography and graphic design she became a freelancer. Ilona also has an interest in fairy tale art portrayed in a dark style.

For the Create More campaign, Ilona has shown Wacom her ways, her studio and created a gorgeous portrait. Enjoy.

 

 

"Magic begins when you switching off your camera" - Ilona Veresk

 

1. Tell us a little bit about your education.

Mixed with basic school lessons, the main disciplines in my lyceum were painting, composition, and drawing. Also decorative and applied arts like tapestry, battik, ceramics and woodcarving. 

My lyceum offered a lot of time to be creative, but it was still very challenging. I was 12-16 years old when I studied there. However, the basic knowledge I've got from there became much more useful after school, when I took the plunge to self-education. There were no lessons about photography or something similar. It takes practice to learn photography and photo-manipulation.

2. You say that photography was not your passion at first. What was your dream job, and why did it change into photography?  

I always had strange dreams. As a child I wanted to be a voice actor for cartoons, or make princess dresses (thanks to Disney, ha-ha). Much later, when I fell for visual art, I wanted to become a designer. I could not believe how many types of designers there are! 

I enrolled at an Interior design in university in city (Izhevsk, little city closer to Ural). It was so boring for me after lyceum because their program was intended for entry-level and basics. So I was really disappointed. In parallel, I worked on photo manipulations. It started to give me some revenue because my work got recognition in circles of musicians. I did CD covers and booklets for their singles and music albums. 

One year after university I moved to the capital in searching for further development in my career.
Love for photography came to me three years ago. I had already bought my first camera, but it still felt like a silly hobby to me. Life in Moscow forced me to look for jobs to pay for housing and food, so I found myself a studio and started using my camera to earn money. Then things started moving fast. At first I thought it was just a job on the side, but I started to get more and more involved. And I started to understand that if you treat your work serious and use your imagination it becomes really interesting. 

That's why I think my dream founds me, not the other way around.

3. Nature and long-haired models are a common in your work. What do you like most about these elements? 

Every artist asks themselves where to get inspiration from. Someone can steal, someone can re-interpret. My way is just a mix of different styles and objects and I can find inspiration by brainstorming. It looks like this: "If I combine a cow with butterfly what can it be". I'm sure, you will try to imagine a cow with shining wings, but my imagination captives by human and clothes, I can imagine that as a girl in spotty costume with antennas. That's just a rough example.

My friend told me once my brain is that of a fashion designer, not from photographer. My thoughts are very scattered and I do not lack any imagination.

Girls always catch my eye. I'm in love with their fragile beauty, porcelain skin, undated faces. They are not like celebrities from covers, they seem like fairies, ethereal and elusive. And you have to understand there is always natural beauty. I don't use Photoshop on my pictures to perfect bodies or skin, it is already perfect. 

4. You designed and sewed some of the costumes for your "Victims" series in 2015. Do you design costumes and accessories for your current work?

Yes, I do that, but now I have not so much time as in start of my activity to sew or do embroidery because it can take weeks or months. Now it's only exclusive feature for my artistic personal projects. Sometimes I do headpieces and accessories, sometimes simple cloth or make over of old costumes. 

5. Shooting under water must have been a challenge for your series on sirens! Can you describe for our readers what the creative and shooting processes were like?

The underwater portraiture was not so hard to shoot but it has a lot of specifics. My first underwater shoot was very exciting. I couldn’t sleep. Thoughts were always running through my head and I was afraid I could not pull it off. 

I rented all possible lenses and two different cameras. But in the end it was not so hard. A big problem is the communication between a model and other team. The water really differs from any other condition that I shot in before, but it was a great creative kick. I think that I can do everything now (hahaha)!

6. What artists have inspired your work? 

Artists who work in architecture and sculpting and sometimes musicians. But if we will talk about visual industry it is people like Nick Knight, Tim Walker, Mario Testino, Eugenio Recuenco, or Bruno Dayan. 

There are also many digital and traditional artists in this list, doll makers, fashion designers (Alexander McQueen, Commes Des Garcons, Elie Saab, Valentino, John Galliano, Vera Wang, Zuhair Murad, Guo Pei. But never active in the mass market.

So, inspiration is everywhere, do not create borders for your creativity.

7. What is your preferred camera, equipment and lenses? 

The camera I use doesn't matter to me. Every modern brand works just as well for me. The difference lies in control and taste. 
Most part of my recent portfolio was shot with a Canon 600D, it's entry-level cheap model, as you know. Just add a good lens (Fix or L series) and you will get nice "working horse" for lower price. The best camera I have tested is Hasselblad. This one really gives extremely detailed images, but it's very heavy and expensive. 

However, I'm really meticulous person when it comes to light equipment because light in photography is more important than the camera in my opinion. I am really impressed with the Broncolor systems. 

8. What is your editing process like, and which software do you prefer?

My editing process is a long story. If I want more commercially looking pictures I use Capture One to convert my RAW's and save all the color nuances, if I want to get something more artistic, I just open my images in Photoshop. 

In my process there is not so much skin retouching involved, and no light repainting like you would expect (thanks to models, light and my makeup artists). But sometimes there are extreme color corrections needed.

Sometimes it's photo manipulations, of course. I mean Adagio series, where most of the images was either painted or manipulated. 

For the digital processes I use a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet. It is really comfortable and feels naturally easy like a pencil.

9. As your work has been published in magazines, and you offer advertising services, would you call yourself a full-time photographer? 

Photography is full-time job for me, though most of it is freelance based. It actually makes me a little mad because it feels like I´m fighting the system and corporate slavery! (hahaha). I'm really addicted to my work and I enjoy every minute working on personal images as well for clients. Mostly my job includes fashion books, advertising campaigns (fashion and beauty). My recent clients are really supporting my style. I am so lucky!

It is the projects that need a fancy element where I can use my abilities to create, and not only need to press a button. 

Tips and tricks for beginner artists:

These are some things which make Ilona´s life much easier. She says: “just try to follow my tips and you will start enjoying your process of education and up your works on new level!”.

- “Think about the story behind your picture before creating it. The main concept is very important if you want to do something remarkable.”

- “Always do your research. It is even easier now we have internet and access to any kind of information. You can learn a lot from behind-the-scenes videos and tutorials of professionals in your field.”

- “If you'd like to improve your skills, find someone who can teach you and be your mentor. Looking up to someone who is better than you can challenge you and bring out the best in you. It is a very productive and quick way to gain experience.”

- “Promote you work using social media by creating unique and interesting content. Not boring advertising.”

- “Find your niche. It is difficult to work on freelance basis in some of the popular genres because there are many other artists who can take away your clients. If you become expert in a small niche, you will not feel less pressure or competition and you will earn more working on your own terms.”

- “Use your talents to promote your other talents. If you are good at sewing, for example, why not to use it in your photography?”

- “Keep a clear mind. Some artists cannot control their emotions and that is normal, but if you want to start your own business you will have to learn how to be calm in any situation.”

- Quality is very important. Always create your work in higher resolution and show the details. Even it's for an Instagram post.

Ilona´s Awards:

2017: Broncolor ambassador and GenNext 2017 winner
2017: Best of Russia 2016, Feb 15 opening. Winzavod gallery, Moscow (Style category)
2017: Pannonia reflections salon, Gallery Muzeum Lendava. Lendava, Slovenia (FIAP honorable mention)
2017: Grand prix Inspire photography2016: Grand prix of KAVYAR Fashion & beauty photography award
2016/17: Fine art photography awards: fashion nominee (professional category)
2016: VIPA 2016 photographer of the year (Fashion category), exhibition in Bulgaria, Sofia
2016: International photography awards CIS - Silver winner (Fashion category), Bronze Winner (Fine Art category)
2015: Solo exhibition "Victims". Moscow, Russia

About Ilona D. Veresk

Ilona D. Veresk is a 23 y.o. from Moscow. She graduated from art-aesthetic school in Izhevsk.

However, her heart did not lie with a career in graphic designer. She was very much engaged in commercial activities and computer graphics. So she took a chance to expand her capabilities and moved to a bigger city.

At first she worked in the field of photo manipulation and created cover art of CDs for music bands before finding her passion for fashion photography. “I think this is the best way to express my ideas.” Ilona says.

Ilona expresses: “Genres such as fashion art, surrealism, dark art and fairytale fashion resemble my personality”. She draws inspiration from nature, plants and mixes these with avant-garde fashion and fantasy. The post-apocalyptic topics and utopian worlds and the mixture of totally different styles and eras is also a large inspiration for her.

“Photography is not just a clicking on a button.” she says. Ilona works as art director and producer of her own surreal fairy tales. She does the lighting, pre- and post-production. Sometimes she also does costume design and accessories.  

At the moment Ilona lives and works in Moscow collaborating with foreign and local magazines, customers globally, shooting fashion and beauty advertising and personal art projects. 

Follow Ilona on social media:
Website - Behance - Facebook - Instagram

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Fri, 14 Jul 2017 14:28:46 +100
Autodesk Sketchbook Tutorial | Learn the Basics of Color Theory Techniques fr... http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/autodesk-sketchbook-tutorial-learn-the-basics-of-color-theory-techniques-from-mike-azevedo/1101?c=2213303 We teamed up with Autodesk Sketchbook and concept artist Mike Azevedo to get a professional´s take on Color Theroy. Mike works primarily in the Games industry. He has worked on projects such as League of Legends and Hex for clients such as Blizzard, Guerrilla Games and Games W...

Learn the Basics of Color Theory Techniques from Mike Azevedo

We teamed up with Autodesk Sketchbook and concept artist Mike Azevedo to get a professional´s take on Color Theroy. Mike works primarily in the Games industry. He has worked on projects such as League of Legends and Hex for clients such as Blizzard, Guerrilla Games and Games Workshop.

In this tutorial he takes us through his decision making process when it comes to color and light and gives us the basics of Color Theory. He talks about relationships between colors on the color wheel and the tone of the light in a composition to change the way he approaches a figure. If you would like to learn from Wacom color master first hand, click here for more tutorials.

Have a look at the video or read the tutorial step by step below.

 

Now that you have a handle on the basics of Mike’s Color Theory techniques have a look at the tutorial Mike has prepared on this dashing Older Knight. He walks us all through the steps he takes to make sure the color values are right and the light and shadows are effective in his drawings.

Step 1: Structure

This first step is essential to making a solid painting, colors are great, but they can’t save a bad drawing. When sketching out the figure, I like to think about the attitude of the character and the simple geometric forms that compose his structure.

Step 2: Base colors

Once the structure is set, I like to go straight to color. I select colors that are 50-70% dark and not very saturated since you can always add more color later. It’s good to think about this stage as the “original colors of the objects before adding direct light source and shadows”, the true color of the object or subject.

Step 3: Adding Shadows

At this stage I think about the direction the light comes from, which planes are definately not facing the light source directly and the shadows casted between objects. I try to think like a sculptor. In this composition I use a dark orange because I want to have a blue light on the figure and adding a bit of the complementary color to blue creates the effect of shadows accurately.

Step 4: Shadow Accents

I find that most of the time adding shadows creates more volume than adding light does. So I like to create accent shadows, tiny dark shadows that reinforce the form. I especially place them when objects are in contact and I love to use triangle shapes for these. Sometimes this step solves the problem of adding volume to the figure and you don’t really need to add much light later because the form is already there.

Step 5: Ambience

Now it is time to focus on making the character look like he’s somewhere. I added some dark blues and greens to the background to emphasize the orange shadows and I added a Darken Gradient Layer in blue to imply the light fading off to the side.

Step 6: Light

Keeping in mind the original color of the object, the intensity and proximity of the light source as well as the material of the object (i.e how reflective if is) I now add the neutral blue light. It is important that you figure out how the light changes for every object and differentiate the materials, metallic surfaces are going to reflect more blue and the skin is only going to reflect a little bit of that blue.

Step 7: Overall Check

Now, I zoom all the way out and check if the materials look correct. For this composition I decide to tone back some of the skin brightness and I also add dynamic brush strokes to the background to direct the eye towards the character. It is important to not move forward past this step before you feel good about what you have, adding detail will not make the mistakes go away (I wish I knew that when I started).

Step 8: First Zoom in

I am 45 minutes into this painting and this is the first time I have zoomed in. Now it’s time to make the area around the eyes and mouth more defined, good reference pictures and a vast visual library are the key now for not overwhelming the image with information at this point.

Step 9: Play Within the Boundaries

Now it is time to have fun with the nuances and try to add new colors that are interesting but still respect that initial decision of a blue light source. For example, adding a more saturated orange or yellow to the lit area of the face is going to ruin the temperature here, but adding  some dessaturated pink or purple is fine. You have to remember the limits you established when you defined the light source and object properties and then you have to stick to them.

Step 10: Effects and Glow

I tried to emphasize the blue  temperature a bit and added a Glow Layer with blue on top of his armor, scarf and eyes. I also added a red overlay layer to make his cheeks, nose and mouth more red, trying to keep it subtle. And to finish off I added a soft light layer filled with blue on top of everything. These little tweaks can go a long way to unify the painting.

And that is the finished painting!

We hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and have learned about Color Theory. If you would like to learn from Wacom color master first hand, click here for more tutorials.

If you would like to see more of Mike´s work and tutorials, visit him on social media:

Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Youtube - Tumblr - ArtStation


Mike Azevedo at work in the studio.

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Tue, 20 Jun 2017 17:06:43 +100
Let´s Talk Art with Erin Gallagher | How to Tell a Story Through Narrative Art http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/detail/index/sArticle/1100/sCategory/2213303 Welcome to the fourth part of the Let's Talk Art series. This time we chat with Erin Gallagher, an illustrator and designer living in Los Angeles. Describing herself as a multi-faceted designer, Erin has produced work for some fantastic clients over the years including Disney,...

How to Tell a Story Through Narrative Art

Welcome to the fifth part of the Let's Talk Art series.  This time we chat with Erin Gallagher, an illustrator and designer living in Los Angeles. Describing herself as a multi-faceted designer, Erin has produced work for some fantastic clients over the years including Disney, Pixar, 20th Century Fox and more. She works in many different mediums and has a passion for hand lettering and comics.

During this interview we’ll be talking about what it means to be a multi faceted designer and how it’s beneficial to Erin’s career. Erin also talks about her future plans as an illustrator and gives advice to aspiring artists looking to find clients.

So let´s talk art...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You describe yourself as a ‘Multi-faced illustrator and designer’. What does that mean?

Many illustrators have a singular style or method that they use in their work, and for a long time I felt that I was failing by not quite having that one, super distinct “thing”... I would do lettering in my illustrations, then I would get hired to do a logo. I would do portraits and poster art, but then I would get hired to do chalkboard signs. I had done comics, and I would be hired to do concept art or storyboards. So I felt I was all over the place and I was doing the whole illustration thing wrong...

Then I decided to embrace it and add that ability to my brand as a positive, because I feel that using many methods, working on a lot of different projects and having various specialties is something valuable and maybe a little bit rare in the illustration world. Plus, I’ve found that I get bored doing the exact same thing over and over.

I love that for a few days I’m doing a mural project, all by hand, standing on a ladder, crouching on the ground, getting messy, and the rest of the week I’m working all digital, at my desk or taking my Macbook and Wacom tablet to the cafe. One day I’m using Adobe Illustrator, making something like custom invitations, then I’m drawing on paper with charcoal pencil or painting with watercolours, then I’m using Kyle Webster’s Photoshop brushes to digitally colour a poster. It keeps me interested and it keeps me learning.

I do think that there’s an obvious sensibility that runs through the work, that’s solidified over many years of working on all these varied projects. Eventually I did learn of some other illustrators who’ve made multiple styles or techniques work for them as well, so it’s definitely viable. I think it’s all about organizing your portfolio clearly so that clients can easily point to what they want from you.

You grew up in New York but now reside in LA. Is there anything you miss from New York’s art scene? And do you find there is much cultural difference?

I moved to L.A. having never visited the West Coast, or lived outside of NYC, so it was a shock. It took me about 6 months to acclimate. It turns out working mostly by yourself from your home studio can make it difficult to meet people in a new city! But luckily I had already been in some art shows in L.A. before I moved, like Hero Complex Gallery and Eat More Art Out. After I moved I started doing shows at Gallery 1988 as well, so that’s been an awesome way to get involved and socialize.

Some freelancers are natural homebodies, but I’m a pretty social person, so I have to get out of the office frequently to stay sane. Personally, I’ve found that for pop culture art, and of course low brow and pop surrealism, the L.A. art scene is hard to top.

Since I moved I was fortunate enough be in some really fun shows:
- an official American Horror Story show
- an official Disney’s Alice in Wonderland show at HCG; a Broad City pop up art show party curated by the women of Eat More Art Out, which I did the poster for, and which was filmed and added to the show’s Season 3 DVD extras;
- an official Rick and Morty art show at Gallery 1988 that broke their records for attendance and sales.

I've met so many welcoming and talented artists out here - it's a very relaxed and fun scene. There was a period like that in NYC where I met really great artists at pop culture group shows that are now friends, but sadly it was fleeting.

Of course NYC is not lacking in great art by any means, but for the pop culture it makes sense that L.A. is the place to be. I do miss going to the Society of Illustrators in NYC, where I’ve met many talented illustrators; they have life drawing sessions, lectures, and they showcase the best illustration talent past and present so there’s always something interesting going on at SOI.

Your work was featured in the Star Trek 50 art book last year, a big achievement! How did you get involved in that?

I was quite shocked when I received a seemingly ordinary email inviting me to participate in the official Star Trek 50th Anniversary art exhibition. First I thought someone may have been pranking me, but then I realized: hell yeah!

We worked on the art well in advance of the actual anniversary, so I didn’t know until much later that the show would travel the globe, and that there would be a book as well – that was all gravy for me.

I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation with my family, and went on to be a fan of DS9, Voyager, the original series, of course, and the new films. I had done two Star Trek illustrations prior to the anniversary exhibition: one was a screenprint for Art v Cancer, a charity run by artist Chris Thornley (aka Raid 71) and Julia Hall. The theme was ‘time and space’, so I chose to focus on Time’s Arrow - a great two-part episode featuring time travel, Mark Twain, and Data the android. The second piece was an alternative poster illustration for Star Trek: Into Darkness, which I was invited to do as my first project with the Poster Posse.

I’m guessing that Jorge Ferreiro, the curator of the anniversary show, must have seen one or both of those illustrations, but however they found me I am very grateful to be involved even in a small way with a show that changed the cultural zeitgeist and that strove to change the world for the better through entertainment.

It is not difficult to spot your love for hand lettering. Do you know where that stems from?

Growing up as a kid I read tons of comics and picture books. I also went to art school during the transition from analog to digital art. I actually didn’t own a computer during my time at school, so I had to hand letter my own mini-comics and narrative art. Around that time was also the beginning of the hand lettering boom in illustration.

During my third year the school offered a new hand lettering elective and I knew I wanted to follow that class. It taught the pre-digital methods of designing and drawing fonts; it was tedious at times but I’m very glad I got to take that class. What I learned there was not really what I do now with lettering but it was a great foundation for drawing letters.

I’ve never designed a font, although I wouldn’t rule it out for the future. I don’t use traditional sign painting methods either - which I admire very much - even though I do work on chalkboards and signage as well. For the most part I look at letters just like other subjects I draw - comprised of line, shape, and texture – but with some extra attention paid to legibility, kerning, leading, and details like that.

Is there any medium or style of art that you’ve always wanted to experiment with a little more?

I’ve done a couple of GIFs and definitely need to create more because I’ve always been a huge fan of storytelling in visual art. Whether just through one narrative image, in sequential art or animation. Even if it’s just a super short “story” through movement in a GIF or just a few panels of a comic, I really enjoy what you can accomplish through that medium.

Plus, motion is definitely going to stick around in the illustration world, so I want to keep up. I love making comics as well, but they do take forever, but maybe someday I’ll do one of my mini comics again. I’d also love to give digital 3D modeling a shot – I’ve never tried that so it would definitely be a challenge for me. I know some illustrators use 3D modeling to help with backgrounds for paintings and I think that would be very useful for me.  

You recently took part in a few Adobe Live sessions. How did it feel drawing live in front of viewers, especially as drawing is often a very personal experience?

Doing Adobe Live was definitely a highlight of this year so far – it was an awesome experience. I’ve been using Adobe products since I was in high school many moons ago, and consistently since then, so it’s a brand that’s close to my heart – and there aren’t a ton of those for me.

Luckily, I’ve done a fair amount of art in front of people, so I did have some experience. I used to do chalkboard/ mural art for some retail companies and sometimes had to work in view of the shopping public, and while it wasn’t necessarily supposed to be a performative job it certainly felt that way sometimes.

I also did some work for Moleskine; demonstrating to attendees at Adobe Max how to use their Adobe Smart Notebooks. I would draw and talk to people all day, showing them the app and sketching.

The most difficult part of Adobe Live was multitasking, because you are talking to the host and viewers while consistently drawing and while occasionally answering what the viewers were writing on the live chat. Oh and trying not to curse because remember – it’s live! So it’s a fair amount going on at once...

The folks at Adobe were stellar and really made me feel comfortable and at home. All three days the viewers were lovely and had great questions. It was so awesome to interact with people all over the globe – sometimes the internet is a beautiful place. I actually bought a phone holder afterward so I could start recording more art videos or live streaming. I’ve also done some time-lapse videos and definitely will be doing more of that.

 

You currently use a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet to produce your work. As someone who also uses traditional mediums, how do you find dipping out of traditional to digital and vice versa?

I do enjoy switching between analog and digital media. I started using a Wacom pen tablet way back when I had my first staff art job, at Whole Foods Market. My wrist was bothering me from using a computer mouse, and I was terrified of getting carpal tunnel syndrome. The Wacom felt so much more natural and comfortable to work with than a mouse, and I quickly got one for home use, and over the years I’ve upgraded models and been hooked ever since.

Due to the Wacom pen, going from a pencil or brush on paper to my Macbook isn’t a very jarring change for me. Until recently I did have some trouble doing tight pencils or inks with the Wacom tablet, so I preferred doing line art on paper and switching to digital for colour. I did work on a project where I had no choice but to do all the line art digitally and it definitely became easier the more I did it.

I do want to upgrade soon to the Wacom MobileStudio Pro, because that would be an even more seamless transition to draw directly on the screen, and I would save myself the steps of scanning and printing pencils and inks, which take up a lot of valuable time.

I would still do some original art for gallery shows, and I’d still do my chalkboard/ mural projects, which obviously can’t be done digitally (yet!). So even if I get the Mobile Studio Pro I’ll still have plenty of analog work to keep me busy.

Is there a particular philosophy you have when it comes to producing art?

One of my favourite instructors at the School of Visual Arts - Keith Mayerson - always said: “the form fits the function”. That always stuck with me. It’s true in nature, and it’s an important tenet in design of all kinds, especially functional design and in storytelling. When applied to illustration, to me it means that your lines, shapes, colours, and textures should all be conveying the feeling you want to get across instead of just relying on your concept. Which is why I think I’m comfortable having multiple styles and approaches – because what works well for one subject won’t be the best choice for another.

I think form-fits-function is something many great art directors follow, because their job is to find the right illustrator to convey a particular feeling or idea. So they have to recognize that an artist has the potential to create something that fits the project perfectly.

Another great instructor I had was the legendary Jack Potter, and he had a similar philosophy regarding drawing: that every line should need to be on the page and there shouldn’t be any wishy-washy or extraneous lines. I think that’s great because it teaches you to not just to put lines on the page but to think about what’s important to the viewer. Now, I don’t know how well I follow either of those tenets – but I try to keep them in mind.

You’ve had your work published in magazines, exhibited at galleries and you’ve even created some wall murals. What advice can you give to emerging artists when it comes to getting your work in front of as many eyes as possible?

1)    A professional email is good to have (you know, not “pizzaisgreat at gmail dot com”) which is clearly visible on every page of your site. So that’s number one.

2)    Obviously the internet and social media are great - trust me, social media barely existed when I was first starting out. That said I think there’s absolutely no excuse these days to not have a great looking proper portfolio site in addition to Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Behance, etc.

3)    There’s any number of web builders like Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly (what I use for my site) that you can use to easily create a professional level site and then link to your social media accounts. Remember to use SEO keywords so Google can find you!

4)    I think it’s important to share your work through groups or projects like “Illustration Friday”, “Little Chimp Society”, “Month of Love”, “Inktober”, “Poster Spy”, etc. – there’s a lot of options out there, so choose what works best for your style or subject matter.

5)    I know it’s annoying, but share your images directly on Twitter and don´t link from Instagram. No one wants to make the extra effort to click through.

6)    Another thing you may not think of when first starting out is business cards. They aren’t too expensive, and even if you don’t have a big networking event (and most definitely if you do) they could help you out. I get asked for cards when I’m working at the coffee shop – you never know when you may need one, and you look like a pro if you have one at the ready.

7)    You also want to get your work not only in front of as many people as possible, but in front of the right people. The thing I’m not great at is emailing and/ or sending postcards to art directors and other potential clients; it’s time consuming, but it’s important. It can be very expensive to buy an AD list, but you can start the old fashioned way and look up mastheads at magazines or researching agencies. Other helpful sites are Drawn & Drafted, which offers lots of resources, including “Dear AD” where you can read Q&A’s from illustrators to real (anonymous) Art Directors, and Illustration Age, which is a blog and podcast as well.

8)    Take advantage of all the free help available on the interwebs!

As well as digital art, you also do a lot of ‘traditional art’ – one thing you do a lot of is chalk wall murals. What is it about this medium that you like in particular?

It’s funny, because my “chalkboard art” is typically neither chalk nor on a board, and I started doing it out of necessity. I began doing chalkboard art at Whole Foods Market a long time ago. We used chalk markers (acrylic paint markers) so they wouldn’t smudge, so that’s what I became comfortable with.

After I left Whole Foods Market and was freelancing I got another retail chalk art client. It was a small chain of juice bars in Manhattan, and it started out as a few small boards that gradually became whole walls in more and more stores. Eventually it was a ton of work for one person and my art became a big part of the brand – unfortunately the client didn’t want to compensate for that so I moved on.

During that time a friend worked at a lovely wine and cocktail bar called Anfora in the West Village and they wanted to do monthly chalk art featuring a different spirit every month. They gave me a lot of creative freedom and I did some work for their other restaurants. When their marketing director moved to Kimpton Hotels I worked on some chalkboards for them as well, along with other restaurant and event clients in NYC.

Eventually I was moving to L.A., and I told Anfora – they had been planning on doing a calendar of my chalk art as a gift to their clients. I loved working with them, so I decided to test out chalk vinyl before I left, and it worked!

I was able to continue doing the monthly chalk art in L.A. and ship it to Anfora in NYC. I told my contact at Kimpton about my new method and started doing boards for Kimpton restaurants in various cities. Since then I’ve done on-site window art and a mural for Kimpton locations in San Diego and Huntington Beach.

I also did a really fun wall mural that was filmed for a Super Deluxe video. What’s fun for me, about the signage I do for Anfora or Kimpton, is having lot of creative freedom. But I need to fit the brand, so that’s form fitting the function. It usually involves combining lettering and illustration in a fun way. Also, I love good food and drinks! As for the bigger murals, I really enjoy working on large scale and would love to do more of that.

You have a pretty impressive client list including Disney/ Pixar, Midnight Oil, SciFiNow, Moleskine, Twentieth Century Fox, Birth.Movies.Death and many more. What’s the one piece of advice you would give to artists struggling to get clients?

I think a great piece of advice that I was given was when I was in art school: do the work in your portfolio that you enjoy doing the most, not what you think will get you hired…Because the work you truly enjoy doing will probably be better than something you think you have to force yourself to do for your portfolio.

It took me a while to fully follow that advice, but it wasn’t long after I did some illustrations just for me, just for fun, that I was asked to join the Poster Posse, which then led to me doing pop culture gallery shows, and getting hired for jobs with Twentieth Century Fox and Disney, and being invited to be in the Star Trek show, which probably led to getting into Birth.Movies.Death, and so on.

So it can be hard when you’re struggling to get work, because we all have rent to pay, but make time for those personal projects, the passion projects, and put them out into the world.

Another bonus piece of advice, especially for the social media age, is to know that it may feel or look like every other artist you know has it all together and they are crushing it and you’re not...but we all struggle.

Everyone trying to make a living making art doubts themselves at one time or another, or is late on an assignment, or is having artist’s block on that project, or is waiting for that client payment to come through so they can buy more supplies...we just don’t always share it on social media.

It’s taken me years to build up that client list – and many years ago I would’ve been jealous of it if it were someone else’s, but it’s mine and now I want more….that’s the trick – appreciating what you have, acknowledging what it took to get it, and wanting to improve and accomplish the next goal until the next.

What lies on the horizon for you? Do you have anything exciting coming up that you want to tell us about?

I worked on interior art for a children’s book a few months ago, which I never really expected to do. The book is a partnership with Crayola and it’s called Chalk It Up: Imagine That! And it involves – you guessed it – chalk art, which is why I was hired.

I haven’t seen the final product yet, but I’m pretty excited to get a copy for my little nieces and nephew. It was pretty challenging for me because it was quite a tight deadline, and I wasn’t used to working on such a long term project, where I couldn’t really switch off to do other things, and I started to doubt my work a bit because I had just been looking at it all the time. It was kind of like running a marathon for the first time in years, which was tough.

Now that I’ve had that experience though, I’d love to work on a book project like an adult colouring book – I think that would be a lot of fun – something punky and the opposite of zen.

Chalk It Up: Imagine That! will be on sale via Amazon and bookstores on August 29 and is published through Simon Spotlight, a division of Simon & Schuster.

I also have some pop culture related art that I can’t reveal just yet but will hopefully drop any day now – so keep an eye on my Instagram feed!

Is there anything you’d particularly like to practise more in your work?

I think it’s important to not get too comfortable. So I’d like to try and find some new ways to challenge myself, maybe focus on more interesting compositions or backgrounds in my poster/illustration work. Figures and portraits tend to be easiest for me so I naturally devote more time and space on that. But the only way to improve something is to keep working at it, so I really should be spending more time on backgrounds and composition.

Recently I was working on a more background-heavy Buffy and Willow illustration that I had to put on the back burner for a bit but I’m looking forward to completing. I’d like to experiment with colour, since I can sometimes get a little safe with my colour choices.

I have a really great collection of art books, and sometimes you need to pause and take a look at the masters, or find other inspiration besides illustration, whether it’s fashion, architecture, or nature, and come back refreshed.

The great thing is, there’s always something new to learn in art – I think you’ll only be bored if you’re boring.

Hopefully you enjoyed reading the interview.

That’s it for this #LetsTalkArt episode. Erin has produced some amazing work over the years and we´re glad to chat about the highlights of her career as an artist. For aspiring artists, we hope you found the advice and insight into Erin’s life as an illustrator useful.

If you enjoyed this article be sure to follow Wacom across their social platforms so you don’t miss the next Let’s Talk Art!
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Be sure to follow Erin on her social platforms to stay up to date with her art and more:
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Let's Talk Art series is written by Jack Woodhams, founder of PosterSpy.
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Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:11:19 +100
Attack New Ideas | How To Breath Life Into Your Passion http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/attack-new-ideas-how-to-breath-life-into-your-passion/1099?c=2213303 Disney´s own veteran animator Aaron Blaise is used to bringing things to life. For 20+ years he’s designed characters for movies like Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, and more. Now he’s spearheading his largest project to date: helping others breathe life into their passions by be...

Attack New Ideas: How To Breath Life Into Your Passion

Disney´s own veteran animator Aaron Blaise is used to bringing things to life. For 20+ years he’s designed characters for movies like Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, and more. Now he’s spearheading his largest project to date: helping others breathe life into their passions by becoming a mentor to anyone with a love of art.   

It Begins with Roadkill

Blaise has been drawing for as long as he can remember, and his childhood projects were not your average popsicle stick crafts.  Inspired by John James Audubon, who made detailed drawings of the birds he shot, Blaise pinned dead birds to his walls as models for his paintings.  “I was never a hunter; I couldn’t kill anything.  But anything I found on the side of the road was fair game!” he laughed. 

Blaise loved drawing animals; from the time he was young, he dreamed of being a National Geographic staff illustrator.  The best path to that dream, he thought, was to study illustration.  At Ringling College of Art and Design, he received a strong grounding in the fundamentals.  But he soon realized National Geographic used mostly freelance artists.  With no dream job to turn to, he looked for other options.  

Discovered by Disney

When Disney came to Ringling College of Art and Design to find interns, it was big news: this was their first time visiting non-animation schools.  Blaise submitted his portfolio and won a position in Disney’s highly competitive program, one of only eight interns selected nationwide.  They paired him with legendary Disney animator Glen Keane.  Blaise was constantly at Keane’s side.  “He instilled this fascination, love, passion in animation,” Blaise explained.  “All of a sudden I could take my love of animals and art and fold it into this new art form that includes movement and timing and music and acting and wraps it all up into one.  I just got hooked!” 

At the end of his internship, Disney offered him a job at its new Florida studio.  “We were supposed to be doing Mickey, Donald, and Goofy short cartoons, but we never did a single one,” Blaise said.  “The studio in California realized they needed help with features, so we worked on the Little Mermaid and Rescuers Down Under.  And Glen Keane asked me to work with him to animate the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.”  After that, he worked on Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Mulan—almost every animated Disney movie for two decades.

Brother Bear: From Violinist to Conductor

Blaise moved from animating to directing for the highly acclaimed and Oscar nominated Brother Bear.  “If you think about an orchestra,” he said, “the animator is like the violin player and the director is the conductor.  As an animator, I’d work on a film for nine months and move on to another movie.  But with directing, I’m deeply involved in story, design, casting, recording, environments—every aspect of the film.  There’s a real headiness to that.  Your job never gets boring.”

Unfortunately for Blaise, Disney’s animation studios were oversized, with more than 2000 animation staffers across three studios, and it was becoming difficult to maintain.  “With the full crew on, we were burning about $860,000 a week in salaries alone.  When you’re burning almost a million bucks a week, you’ve got to make sure that when you finish, you have another movie coming in behind it.  We were finding it more and more difficult to do that.”  Disney decided to downsize.

Searching and Finding Answers

Blaise was one of the few retained from the Florida animation studio, and he was transferred to California.  It was a difficult time for him.  “I had some personal things happen.  I lost my wife to cancer.  A lot of things in my life turned upside down.”  Blaise decided it was time to leave Disney to do something different.  And he found an answer back in his home state of Florida.

 

A new company called Digital Domain was starting an animation studio, and Blaise was one of several people hired as creative heads of Studio. He and his directing partner started developing an animated elephant movie called The Legend of Tembo.  They invested a great deal of effort and heart into it; it was a story they were building together from the ground up.  They were two years into making the film when Digital Domain suddenly went bankrupt and Blaise found himself without a job again.  He sold his house and started over.

On the Upward Trajectory

Blaise went back to freelancing to pay the bills.  He got a phone call from a company in London, BlinkInk, asking if he would design the characters, and be co-animation supervisor  for a British television commercial, The Bear and the Hare.  For the commercial, Blaise along with a crew of his ex-Disney collegues created entirely hand drawn old-fashioned animation which was then digitized, colored, and printed out onto thick boards.  Using stop animation technology against real sets, they built a beautiful story of animal friendship.  The commercial went viral.

After The Bear and the Hare, Blaise started a project called "The Art of Aaron Blaise". This one allows Blaise to mentor thousands of people at once.  “The inspiration for it came from me sitting there without a job, thinking back to my days with Glen Keane.  He was wonderful at inspiring people, at giving them the tools they needed to succeed.  I wanted to see if I could start doing the same thing he did for me, but on a worldwide scale.”

Where else can you learn from a master animator and animal artist the tips that bring his art to life?  With art tutorials on animation as well as fine art, he has a website (The Art of Aaron Blaise) and YouTube channel (Aaron’s Art Tips) with a worldwide following.  He hopes to develop workshops, television programs, and more in the future.


Follow Aaron Blaise on social media:

Website - Youtube - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram

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Wed, 14 Jun 2017 11:02:30 +100