Tag Archive | digital

Cropping With Ockham’s Razor

To be remembered one day is an unspoken desire of most people. It’s one of those little motivating factors that drive us to chase a dream of creating things, be it art or music or prose. After all, why throw it at the wall if you don’t want it to stick, or at least leave a mark, right? And if you couldn’t care less about that as an artist, you can rest assured that at least SOMEONE out there does, judging from the number of magazines and blogs and television shows that exist solely to document these works.
 
A late-night thinking binge took me down the rabbit hole, considering that today’s artists will be remembered or even rediscovered in quite a different fashion from those who came before. What’s odd is that instead of learning about me in libraries or museums, someone will find my life’s work via some internet search, scattered among loosely-related images and links chosen by some algorithm. A life I stumbled into, stumbled upon via a search routine designed to guide some randomly-chosen whim, and forgotten the instant that their search leads them down another rabbit hole.
 
It’s all very fleeting in nature, and I’m only just discovering the beauty in that with reference to reinventing one’s self; although there exists the possibility of such digital cataloging to create a whole other picture of oneself that stands in stark contrast to the that which we’d like to be remembered.
 
That said, I find it logical to believe the most successful artists of the future will ply their craft not so much in creating images, but managing their image. Live by the blade of the internet or die by underestimating its sharpness. Funny how that all works out.

It’s Nothing Without the Paper

An interesting thought I’ve been pondering in the background for quite some time:
 
I’m sick and tired of hearing people bash digital artwork and conceptual work as being something less than a sketch on paper. Absolutely done with it. And I’m talking about the work involving creating that which doesn’t exist, not hacking two photos you found on Google together to put another pony car on a set of off-the-shelf rims. I’m talking pure conceptual work here.
 
Let’s consider a pencil and marker sketch versus one created on a tablet using pixels, or even a photograph: It’s not as though a photograph is providing you with a small, actual landscape or an 8×10-inch person to tote around; nor does the marker rendering, or even the digital sketch/painting. All are artistic REPRESENTATIONS of something, and require a certain set of skills to create with any success. Don’t get me wrong, there is a HUGE gap between the good and the terrible, and that comes down to knowing the tools (doubly-so for a digital artist seeking to emulate a traditional tool or media, as that artist needs to have experience in physical AND digital media) and using them as a craftsman should. There is good art in any medium, be it sculpture or painting or drawing or photography or motion pictures and more. Ability and drive and vision aren’t limited to one tool, and if you think that they are, then you are severely limiting your outlook.
 
The digital stuff suffers because it’s created using a bunch of ones and zeros and can be wiped from existence with a key stroke, but it has the ability to exist everywhere. You can scan an analog piece and share in that instant, global sharing, much as you can with a digital photograph… And you can lose the original by spilling coffee on it as well.
 
Oddly enough, each is nothing without the paper it’s presented upon. So do tell me again where digital art is some lesser form because doesn’t exist until it’s on paper. And good luck sharing that original analog piece on social media without scanning it into bytes of data. Tell me how digital “ruins” the art. Go right on ahead.

Marker Time!

sci-fi pinup marker sketch

It has been a while since I posted anything here to really do with the actual drawing of cars… I mean, shit, that is the name of this whole mess, after all. I suppose that I could throw a few doodles into the mix now and then, right?

Of course.

Going through some of the older sketchbooks and whatnot, I’ve compiled a little peek behind the scenes; the stuff that goes on before the vector and digital voodoo-type sorcery. Let’s start with this piece:

cartoon car sketch

I had wanted to do a cartoon-y piece for a while, and the opportunity presented itself back in ’08-ish, so I went at it with some gusto, and created the ultimate swap meet find moment, with this happy gent scraping his way home with a brutal ’55 Chevy in tow. From markers to the scanned and re-drawn, vector art, you can see the importance of staying as true as possible to the original work. All pen tool… no brushes, auto-trace, meshes or other preset nonsense. It’s all about retaining the original line quality, and saving that hand-drawn looseness, but gaining all of the good things that a vector piece can supply!

digital cartoon drawing

I do a lot of t-shirt work, and to be honest, I enjoy it a lot more than the hot rod work, especially as things progress with my neuromuscular condition (more on that soon), and it really gives me a chance to play around in my imagination. There are so many things you can get away with, stretching reality on a graphic, versus having to make things work on the street!

This piece was a fun one in so many ways:

sci-fi pinup marker sketch

My pal Jon had wanted a cool tee for his shop. He knew he wanted a pinup girl with a retro feel, but wanted to include two of the more well-known cars they’ve painted… However, those cars are decidedly modern Pro-Touring style rides, so the challenge was on to make these elements work. I decided that I’d use the opportunity to include elements from some of my favorite science fiction spacecraft, lending a little bit of a retro/space feel. And what space-age pinup would be complete without a glass dome helmet and a ray gun-turned-paint gun? Naturally. Sketch to color-blocking in marker took what seemed like forever as my hands weren’t cooperating too well at the time, but I had managed to bust this out over a couple of days (from sketch to final vector work):

vectior tshirt pinup

Speaking of tees and posters, here’s a little one from 2012:

poster sketch

This is a peek at that weird moment where the sketch meets the digital work. For me, this is a bittersweet moment at times, knowing that some elements in the original design will probably change, be it to make things more print-friendly, of due to a client’s request… And some of the really neat little bleeds and whatnot in the marker stage will be lost forever to the super-smoothness of a vector curve. I pay a TON of attention at this stage to keep as much of that hand-hewn character and personality in there!

The completed vector art:

poster design

Let’s peek at the rendering side of things with a little ’50 Chevy pickup piece. Starting with a pencil sketch (you can find the whole process on this particular illustration as part of a quick tutorial, if you’d like), I refine it to a point where I feel confident that I have enough information to move into the digital side. This one got a bit carried away, as I was putting that how-to together, and thought I’d have an expanded version for the upcoming book:

truck rendering sketch

Mostly pencils with just a touch of gray marker making its way in, just to nail down the shading.

Once it’s all vector drawn (again, I’m a strictly pen tool kinda guy on these personal pieces, as it’s more about getting m,y own hand and style into the art, versus banging out a piece to feed the kids. After a bunch of hours and hundreds of layers and detailing, we get this:

chevy tuck rendering

One last piece for this installment, if you’ll indulge me:
truck pencil sketch

Sketching on-site is always fun, and this piece was the highlight of a fun weekend, hanging in Burbank. While the plan was to go full digital with this one, I decided that it just had too much going on to lose the feel, and decided that markers just fit the bill, and, well…

truck marker rendering

…it worked out pretty well! Experimenting sometimes with a technique or style that’s outside of your everyday working methods can often bring exciting results! In this case, I had really intended to keep it looser, and get that cool plein air feel… but in the end, I forced a bit of my tighter rendering style in there. Maybe next time!

Custom Car Renderings

Some of my recent concept renderings, designs, and pieces of hot rod art:

Playing with some color and texture and technique the past few days with this Buick. I was using it as a warm-up exercise, and it kind of snowballed into an experiment-fest. Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and a touch of Painter X, working from a drawing of mine and a plate shot on the Universal Studios back-lot, and a few one-off brushes I’ve been making:

custom 1956 buick

A custom 1954 F-100. I began with a pencil sketch, then scanned it to Illustrator, and re-drew and color-blocked using the pen tool. From there, I exported to Photoshop, and re-worked a plate I shot on the Universal Studios back-lot, and began rendering lighting and effects, completing the work in Painter:

1954 f100 rendering

Concept rendering for a SEMA Show project vehicle currently under construction by a friend of mine. The goal was to create an active lifestyle vehicle concept that would see just as much track time as it does hauling bikes and boards on the weekend.

A lot more time spent on getting the paint dialed-in than resorting to typical bolt-on gee-gaws that you’d normally see on the SEMA Show floor… it’s surprisingly mild, body-wise. Had a ton of fun rendering a car in snow for a change:

fr-s rendering

A concept design rendering for a one-off, custom 1962 Ford Falcon project. Creating some new surfaces, as well as updating the existing panel work with new materials to update the overall look. A cross between pro-touring and custom car. Eliminated the rear seat, added a pair of roll bars/frame stiffeners, floor-mount pedals, center console, and fresh seating created using custom-made frames and sculpted foam. Seating will feature leather surfaces, with that material used on door panel inserts and wheel tub covering, with hard surfaces being painted using a ‘soft touch’ satin finish. Polished accents throughout, and minimal switches. Instrumentation is located according to the vehicle owner’s sight line:

custom interior design

Rendering for a client’s project 1969 Camaro, currently under construction in my friend’s shop, and scheduled to appear at this year’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas. A subtle car with lots of trick and one-off parts, it’s actually a brand-new car from the ground up, starting with a reproduction steel body. The background plates were shot by my wife, and the composite crafted in Photoshop, then worked in Painter and Illustrator to achieve the look I wanted. The car began as a pencil sketch, scanned, and completed in Illustrator.

1969 Camaro rendering

Playing with a more behind-the-scenes moment. A slick ’56 sits on a Western movie stage, clashing some styles, yet looking perfectly natural… Fun piece, hope you dig it:

1956 chevy artwork

Thanks for looking in… much more to come!

Keep up with the latest from my desk on Facebook: /PCKStudio, and on my site at www.problemchildkustoms.com

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