Saturday, October 3, 2015

Absurdly Hi-Res Poster Art

by Cory Godbey

The other day I ran across this collection of absurdly hi-res film poster art by Imgur user joinyouinthesun.

Not all of the posters in the 80 piece collection are illustrated but many of them are, featuring the likes of Drew Struzan, Richard Amsel, Roger Kastel, John Alvin, and many more.

As a bonus, they're textless! Many of these (possibly all of them?) I've never seen without any text before and it's great getting the chance to let the image stand alone.

I pulled a few of my favorites here but you'll have to click over and find your own! At very least you got to go click on a few just to see how terrifically high the resolution is on many of them (some much more so than others but they're all pretty big images). Enjoy!

Friday, October 2, 2015


October is here and that means it is time for Inktober!  Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are about to be filled with ink drawings of all kinds.  Washes, crow-quill, brush, pen, sumi, sharpie and more.  All are welcome.

The full Inktober experience means posting one drawing a day for the entire month of October.  I realize this post is going up the 2nd of October, but it is alright.  Post two drawings today, use the #inktober tag and jump in!

Here is a link to the official site: Inktober

Inktober was started in 2009 by talented Jake Parker and it has taken off to be part of the illustration/pop culture community.  It is a lot of fun and is also a great example of using social media to start a movement.

On Instagram there are as of right now 484,000+ posts tagged with Inktober.  There are hundreds of thousands of posts on Twitter and Facebook as well from past years and this year is off to a strong start.  Go do a search and you can find some real treasures.

For some inspiration, here are some wonderful ink drawings from the past masters.

The Amazing Gibson Girl - Charles Dana Gibson

Charles Dana Gibson

Arthur Rackham

Franklin Booth

Arthur Rackham

Arthur Rackham

Edwin Austin Abbey

Edwin Austin Abbey

Edwin Austin Abbey

So go pick up your favorite ink pen or brush and get inking.

Here is my humble day one inking (I really shouldn't post one after all of the above drawings)

Howard Lyon

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Crimson Peak: Art Dump and Advance Screening Ticket Giveaway

by Lauren Panepinto

So in my line of work I have a lot of crazy friends involved in a lot of crazy projects, and I'm going to share a bit of the fun with you today. I have a friend working on Crimson Peak, the new Guillermo del Toro movie coming out Oct 16th, and I mentioned that just about every SFF and dark fantasy artist I know was super excited by the trailers and the glimpses of how amazing the designs were, and wanted to know more. She not only gave me a sneak peek of some spreads from the art book (I know we're all addicted to art-of-the-movie books here on Muddy Colors) and a special prize: A set of tickets for advance screenings in NYC and LA to give away.

First, did you see the new international trailer? You get to see more of the set and costume design than ever before:

And next, some art book porn for you: Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness

Along with some of my favorite stills:

And of course, there's Mondo posters! By Daniel Danger (in two colors) and Guy Davis:

I just cherry picked my favorite art from what I was given, but you can see tons more at the official Crimson Peak website.

And last, but far from least, I have 2 pairs of tickets to give away. Two for NYC and two for LA. 

NYC is Wed Oct 7th, 8pm, 34th Street AMC Loews
LA is Thurs Oct 8th, 8pm, AMC Burbank 16 on Palm Ave

Now listen carefully, I know you guys are excited, but this is important. IF you can make one of the 2 dates/times below then comment below with your name, your contact email, and which (NY or LA) screening you want to attend. Please do not enter unless you are sure you can go. Tickets are not transferable, there will be a guest list. And plan to get there early - it's going to be a mob scene, so plan on lining up, because I am not going to be there and I cannot guarantee your entry personally.

Monday Oct 5th at 5pm I will randomly pick one person to win each pair of tickets and email you directly.

Sadly I will have to wait til October 16th to see it, and I generally hate scary movies, but if they're going to be this gorgeous, then I'll brave it! Good Luck Everyone.



-By Lauren Panepinto

Many of you are familiar with the tradition of the MicroVisions show, curated by Dan Dos Santos, Irene Gallo, & Greg Manchess. Every year, a number of artists created and donated small originals to be auctioned off to benefit the Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship Fund. Over the many years that MicroVisions was held, it raised over $30,000 for the scholarship.

Sam Weber, Yuko Shimizu, Nicolas Delort
It's no secret that the MicroVisions show was part of the inspiration for Every Day Original, so Marc Scheff & I were especially honored when Irene, Dan, & Greg stepped down and asked us if we would take over the show. We were honored and excited, but also mildly terrified. Big shoes to fill.

Robert Hunt, Jeffrey Alan Love, Anita Kunz

We decided it wouldn't be right to just assume the name MicroVisions—it needed to be retired with honor. So we brainstormed a lot of ideas, and came up with a name that was new, but also felt related to the MicroVisions name. We came up with the name "Visionarium", and a logo—both of which, we felt, spoke to the fantasy illustration roots of the show, but left room for a wider group of artists.

Curation and Art Direction are related, but very different. As Marc put it, an AD works at your target, and a Curator has to find it for you. In other words, as an Art Director, we have to give someone's idea to an artist to interpret. When curating, you're giving the artist only the barest of perimeters, and then pushing them to come up with their own ideas. We didn't have an assignment, this was one of those dreaded "whatever you want" situations. Personal work has a huge part to play in a show like this, because we to pick people who show dedication to their own growth outside of "work."

Karla Ortiz, Allen Williams, Marc Burckhardt

We want to thank all the artists who donated works, when their schedules are so overburdened. We appreciate that they didn't delete our emails initially because they were too busy—and we especially appreciate each and every piece of work that came in, because they are all magnificent! The internet doesn't do them justice, trust me.

Rob Rey, Greg Ruth, Kadir Nelson

The auctions are live now on ebay. They end October 7th. Bid now, and know that not only are you winning a gorgeous piece of art, you're also helping out a very good cause. And you can download hi-res images here.

The history of the Student Scholarship is an impressive one. Since its inception, it has bestowed over one million dollars to the award winners. A Jury of professional peers, including illustrators and art directors, review approximately 8,000 entries every year. From this selection the jury reconvenes to review the original paintings and honor select pieces with cash awards. Illustrators who have been featured in the show have gone on to become some of the field's brightest stars.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Perfect Passage: Schoenherr

Greg Manchess

John Schoenherr's compositions are among the very best in illustration. His command of picture space allowed for large open areas to give his elements breathing room, and yet never feel empty. He positioned his subjects to control space without taking up space.

Schoenherr’s paintings for DUNE were perhaps the first visualizations of the book that captured the imaginative story with the right amount of description. His design for the sandworm mouth is so simple and classic that no one has improved it.

In the depiction above, of the sandworm battle with the Sardukar, the entire painting hinges on the way the light has sliced through a break in the clouds, just capturing the lips and illuminating the soldiers with differing levels of value, showing how many are pulled into the maul of the worm while others are still firing away. The contrast is both exquisite and dramatic.

The grouping of the figures is as important and intentional a design element as the bits of sand clumped and blowing through the scene.

Another masterful depiction, achieving a grand sense of scale and beautiful night light...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

In Defense of Art Awards

-by Justin Gerard

Art awards, and whether or not to submit to a show, have been a debated theme here on Muddycolors and in the industry in general of late. Arnie Fenner covered the symbolic importance of awards in his post Do Awards Matter. And Dan Dos Santos covered the career importance of awards in his post Rejected!

Today I would like to pose a third value of awards in art.

Consider THIS:

Trevi Fountain

I propose that art awards make the world a better place. They compel us to strive for something greater than our current abilities.

In 1732 Pope Clement XII held a competition among Rome's artists to see who would finish a fountain begun in the previous century by Bernini. Competitions like this were quite popular during this era and resulted in some of the most impressive public architecture and sculpture in the world today. Many artists submitted wonderful and daring designs to win Clement's competition. The result is what you see above, one of the grandest public works of art in existence.

Competitions have a long and vibrant history in the art world, from the Prix de Rome to the Paris Salon. While competitions have historically been unfairly judged by biased panels, the result has still always been a flowering of artwork and artistic ability which has improved the understanding of art culturally overall. This has benefitted all of us by giving us a strong artistic heritage and visual language that we use to both communicate and understand ourselves and our fellow man better.

Because of this I believe that the existence of judged competitions (with awards) should be celebrated. Every year I try my absolute best to get into Spectrum... and every year I get pieces rejected. Through this process I grow and become a better artist.

But what if I lose? Won't that be a crushing defeat for me?


And is that such a terrible realization? We aren't perfect and to do anything truly well takes serious dedication. To be an artist means that you have dedicated yourself to being able to do something well that an average person cannot do well. To get there we need more practice.

Losing is not a refutation, it is a challenge.

But what if the competition is biased and unfairly judged? And anyway, isn't all art highly subjective?


I believe the real prize is being better able to do the thing you set out to do. And isn't that what we as artists all wanted to begin with? To be better able to share our vision with those around us?

If the attempt at an award compelled you to achieve something greater than you knew you were capable of and made you a better artist (and it will) how is that not a victory?

It isn't always fair, but that isn't the point. Every year I can't wait to open up Spectrum. Why? Because I know that thousands of people have pushed themselves beyond their abilities for this and I know that what I am about to see will move me, inspire me, terrify me and challenge me.  My world is made brighter because of what they (you!) have tried to accomplish.

So... Look, what if I don't want to have to work for it? Can't I just pay off the right people? 

Maybe, who knows?

In conclusion, I discourage attempting to corrupt appointed officials, and I encourage you to enter these competitions. Even though it will cost you money and you might fail.
I believe it will not only make you a better artist but it might also just make the world a better place.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Artist of the Month: William Blake

-By William O’Connor

“Art is the tree of life. Science is the tree of death.”
-William Blake

The Romantics have always been one of the most powerful influences on my life and career as an artist.  In the late 18th century the scientific and analytical symmetry of the Age of Reason began to transform.  The pendulum was moving from strict, classical techniques and into a more experimental age of emotional and spiritual expression.  Academic discoveries such as the Rosetta Stone (1799) the publication of Grimms Fairy Tales (1812) and Beowulf (1815), began a renaissance in folklore, legend and mythology from a non-classical past.  Poets Byron, Wordsworth and Shelly were truly at the vanguard of this movement embracing the newly discovered medieval romances of King Arthur which gave their movement its name.  Chief among the avant-garde artists of this period was William Blake (1757-1827)

Blake stands out as one of the first true author/illustrators in history.  In the past most artists would be in the service of a powerful patron such as the church or the aristocracy, but Blake created his own poetry which he illustrated himself.  During the Romantic movement artists became their own “brand” as we would call them today, developing a unique style and perspective all their own.  Deeply dissatisfied with his academy training under the mentorship of Joshua Reynolds, Blake drew inspiration from medieval illuminated manuscripts, as well as renaissance masters,  writing, illustrating and self publishing his own works deeply grounded in his spirituality, and passionate belief in human freedom.  Later becoming the inspiration for some of nineteenth century’s most important artists, including the Pre-Raphaelites, the Arts and Crafts movement and Golden Age illustrators.  Blake’s influence extends into the 20th C. as well with reflections in Chagall, Picasso, the Surrealists and 1960’s poets.

As we stand on the threshold of our new century with its new technology and the freedom it provides we see many parallels to Blake’s work 200 years ago.  Artists and authors unencumbered by the patronage of publishing companies or recording studios striking out onto their own to create their own works in their own style.  Blake stands as a wonderful inspiration to every artist and author who dreams of bringing their imagination to life to share with the world.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Perspective and Elevation in the Figures You Draw

-By Ron Lemen

Hello all and happy September.  We are in Montana at the moment, taking in some breathtaking scenery while visiting my family.  I will finish the second part to the False Start article I began a few weeks back when I return to San Diego.  While we have been out of town I have been pondering many additional topics I am adding to my figure drawing book and I would like to share one of them with you here.

I draw from the figure almost daily.  I teach several classes during the week that allows me to stay close to the subject and the rest of my work time is spent doing illustrations, character designs and commissions where I am constantly working with and manipulating characters.  I am constantly reminded of the problems we face when drawing, and especially when working with the figure.  

The most universal problem I have found with many artists, beginners, and intermediates as well as with many seasoned professionals is matching everything drawn in a scene to the horizon line, especially organic shapes and of course the figure.  Many times the figure is drawn with a flat forward look to every part of the body.  In other words, there is no real elevation change in the figure from head to toe and/or if there is, it is only emphasized where it is most obviously recognizable. 

There are tools that the artist can use to solve this issue long before investing time in the rendering.  If we use landmarks, ellipses and overlap shapes using a strong draw through method, as well as indicate a ground plane and possibly a horizon line, unless we fall asleep at the drawing wheel theses tools should work well setting up solid armatures to take to a finish.

Landmarks, also known as subcutaneous boney surfaces, are the bones under the skin that influence the surface.  The skull for the most part is one large subcutaneous landmark.  With exception to the cheeks, most of the skull is just below the skin.  The clavicles, the sternum, the elbows, the knees, etc. are landmarks we look for.   One use of the landmarks is to compare the left side of the body to the right side of the body.  Using the centerline as a gauge for these landmarks, we align the left side with the right side or the front with the back based upon the landmarks, their elevation and their distance to one another.  The following skeletons show the landmarks of both the front and the back of the skeleton.

The mannequin is the starting point for the figure, or the armature that represents the skeletal structure of the pose.  The core of the skeleton is called the axial skeleton while the arms and legs are called the appendicular skeleton.  Ellipses should be drawn around the axial skeleton near the neck, the 10th ribs, the pair of iliac crests and the base of the pelvis including the greater trochanters.  The upper and lower half of each leg and arm should have ellipses drawn around them dividing each segment of each appendicular limb into thirds.  This division will come in handy when drawing out the proportions of the muscles and tendons.

These ellipses drawn help us understand a few things we are looking at.  The first is the foreshortening of a space.  The more circular you see the elliptical lines the more you are looking straight through the object.   The flatter the ellipses, nearing a straight line, the more perpendicular we are facing that ellipse.   The other use of the ellipses is when we draw these ellipses around the cylinder forms we are placing markers on the body to help us with volume as well as with elevation.  If we sit low to the model then we should be looking up under the ellipses more and if we are above the model we should be looking down at the ellipses.   This diagram below further illustrates this concept.

Overlapping lines and shapes also help with identifying the spatial relationships with the body.   Overlapping shapes can and usually indicate foreshortened sections of the body.  The shapes should be drawn using the draw through method.  With the draw through method shapes are completed, spaces are totally resolved and more information than is necessary is found helping the artist fully realize where all the parts of the body are with any pose.  Overlapping lines are very similar and are used in places like the hips or any bending segment of the body.  Of the converging lines, one ends abruptly called a broken line and the other becomes the tangent.  The tangential line indicates one volume passing behind another volume indicated with the broken line.

Now, when starting the figure drawing elevation is critical to the delivery of convincing forms in 3D space.  When drawing from a photograph it might be more difficult to indicate where the eye level is.  Hint:  If the reference is a full figure from head to toe then look at the feet.  The rise of the heels in relationship to the toes and the reverse is very telling of the perspective of the pose.  If the photo is cropped then it will be more difficult to observe where the proper eye level is to the horizon line.  When life drawing or shooting photo reference for an illustration we have to be fully aware of our position to the model.

Drawing in a ground plane is always helpful and beneficial to reminding the artist that the figure drawn exists in 3D space.  Gridding the floor plane is always smart as it helps us with measuring up through the figure and determine distances between feet, knees, etc.  It does not need to be absolutely accurate, it just needs to remind the artist to constantly measure the figure not just for likeness but also for elevation and dimension as well.

I would also strongly recommend that for every object, figure, or anything else that you draw should have a horizon line indicated relative to your position or the photographer’s position to the reference.  This will constantly remind you of elevation and to remember to exaggerate whatever features are necessary to maintain a solid elevation in the pictorial space.  There is no need for vanishing points or connecting back to the horizon line, it is not complicated perspective. 

One last tip for drawing the figure in 3D space at the correct elevation is to create was is called a bounding box around the reference.  By doing this the box will help the artist remember all sides of the figure as well as dimension and elevation reference points.  In fact, this method can be taken one step farther by taking the bounding boxes and rotating, tipping, tilting and turning them in different positions and redrawing the pose to fit within them.  I will cover this in greater detail in another future article.  

Put these concepts to work and practice them as much as possible.  They are simple exercises but do not rush them.  This exercise should be thoughtful and slowly developed.  The more you practice it the easier and quicker it will be to use.  Good luck and enjoy your development.