I get asked about inking in Photoshop a lot, so here’s a video explaining one way to set up brushes in Photoshop. The link to my drawing actions set is in the video description on YouTube.
I get asked about inking in Photoshop a lot, so here’s a video explaining one way to set up brushes in Photoshop. The link to my drawing actions set is in the video description on YouTube.
Last year I got to do art for the 2015 Florida Bug jam. It was a Star Wars influenced design and it went over extremely well. When I got the call this year there was a little intimidation. It’s hard to follow up STAR WARS!!! I mean, that’s like coming on stage to sing after Mel Torme or Blossom Dearie! Tough order for sure.
It was cool cause the expectations were lowered and most folks understood. That however did not stop us from going with a Marvelesque theme and putting our best foot forward!
This is where the design landed. It was a blast to get a chance to be creative and give my take on what these heroes would drive.
As always I started out with a rough sketch. I know it’s very plain, but I saw the entire design at this stage. The rest of the steps are below.
Here’s a quick look at the benefits of a light table. It really helps to transfer a drawing to a clean piece of paper and make corrections as you go.
There’s a video below the pics showing the process.
I don’t know what it is, but I really like drawing trucks! Had a blast with this one.
If you’re interested in hiring me, contact me at email@example.com
I was fortunate enough to get a chance to sit down with a custom Lem-tenna Ball named Ballthasar and ask him a few questions. The Lem-tenna balls don’t stick around here long so it was nice to get a moment to just chat.
Here’s what went down:
Ummm…first of all, allow me to thank you for granting this interview. I understand you are scheduled to be shipped out to North Carolina tomorrow so once again, thank you for giving me your time.
Ain’t no thang but a chicken wang baby. I’m down with whatever…long as you don’t ask me about politics, religion, or staple guns.
Fair enough. So I see here that the Lem-balls have been out for a couple years now. How do you deal with the legacy? Is there performance pressure or, I don’t know, societal issues you have to face?
Ya know…not really. I mean there is still some historical hurt behind the fact that the first of our kind was stolen within 15 minutes of creation by some unsavory person at a Starbucks, but all in all, ball-life is good. I mean, ya know, we just get an antenna shoved up our hoo-haa, which is uncomfy for a sec or we dangle from mirrors or sit on shelves. It’s not like we have to do more than make folks smile so life as a ball is pretty chill for the most part.
Cool. A lot of people want to know what it’s like being created. Is it a painful process?
Honestly, no pain is involved. Our hats get soaked in water so they can be formed, and they dry pretty fast in the Arizona sun. After that us balls get a couple coats of black paint. That part actually feels pretty good. Oh wait….yeah man…the glue gun part kinda sux. I don’t know if you’ve ever had somebody squeeze hot glue into a hat and shove the top of your head into it, but yeah….that ain’t fun. After that we get our faces drawn and the back of our heads signed then we get acrylic coated to help us hold up.
I’d say we’re durable but ya know…if you keep anything outside in the elements for a long period of time, it’s gonna show some wear. Good thing we’re inexpensive. Life as a novelty can be misunderstood by some.
Good point. Let me ask you this. Is it hard to maintain a ball-to-ball relationship?
Daaaag man! I shoulda put that off limits with the rest, but since I didn’t, I’ll hip you on the topic.
Yeah…it’s tough…I mean, unless you get shipped together it’s almost impossible. I mean…we don’t have arms, and our phantom limbs don’t exist in your human realm so it’s not like we can text or Tinder or whatever. I tell ya playa, I was crazy in love with this lady ball named Rounda. She was smokin’ hot…had these big pretty eyes, and man she had a circumference to die for! I’m talking ba-donka-donk. Pi high to da sky!! Ya feel me?? Anyway I took her out to the front yard and we sat in the base of this Acacia tree and watched the moon rise. I thought she was feelin’ it so I reached my phantom arm around to pull her close and then she lost it!! Maaaaan she spun around took her phantom leg and kicked me right in the me!!! That was a bad night. Since then I just chill. I figure I need to work on being a better ball for “me” before I can be a part of “we”.
I feel ya on that my man. I have been to the Places My Balls Have Been Facebook Page and I see tons of pics showing the travels of you people. Do you have a favorite picture on that page?
Whatta-you mean by “you people”??
Oh…my apologies, I mean….you balls??
Apology accepted. Us balls have to deal with enough discrimination from the Equilaterals and frekkin Hexagons. I’m sorry I went off…what was your question again?
Oh! Oh! The Facebook Page. ya know man, there’s a ton of pics up there. I liked the couple pics of my cousins at The leaning Tower of Pisa and there was a shot by this gal named Mona with my aunt Ballarie at the grassy field where Julie Andrews did her dance with them kids in Sound of Music. I was diggin’ that one big time.
So is it safe to say you balls are international?
Oh yeah…we’re everywhere. US, Europe, Canada, Lost on Florida highways, heck we just made Australia last week. Those balls talk funny and they cost a bit more to ship, but yeah, it’s pretty cool.
That brings up a good question. There are 3 different types of balls that can be ordered. The regular smile like yours, the crooked smile and the Zombie balls. Are there any issues between different ball types? I mean…do you all get along?
Truthfully, we all have a Funk-centric core so even the Crooked Smiles get down. There was a Zombie ball named Ellipsy that was trippin’ for a bit. He kept tying to eat our brains, but it turns out he was Styrofoam-intolerant so it’s all good now.
Wow!…who knew? Ok…2 more questions. Being a ball isn’t an experience a lot of people get to have. What is the whole shipping thing like for your kind?
I gotta tell ya, from what I hear it’s pretty sweet. We get put in these custom signature boxes and there’s usually a couple of your business cards in there and a custom written haiku inside an origami boulder! The boulder looks like crumpled up paper but it’s really origami…that’s kinda cool. There’s plenty of room in the box though. My uncle Roundtree was super happy when he went out. He was all “Who’s the black ball that’s a hit with all the chicks??!” and I was like “umm..you??” and he said “ya daaaaammmn right”. So I’m thinkin’ it’s a pretty good experience.
Sweet. Last question my friend. I like to end interviews with a more insightful question. If you could have anything you wanted, what would it be?
HANDS! Real hands!!….or at least the thumb part. That would be helpful for sure. If not that then I guess I’d have to say a Bomb Pop. I mean yeah I know I’d need a working mouth and a digestive system to really enjoy it, but yeah… a Bomb Pop would be tha s__t!.
Well alright my man. That does it for this interview. I’d like to thank you once again for your time. I really appreciate you doing this for the folks out there. Best wishes and safe travels to NC brotha.
Naw, thank you man. Keep it circular. You’re alright for a biped.
If you’d like to order a Lem-tenna ball to take on your travels and share pics or just to sit on your desk and make you smile, click here.
Thanks for taking a ride on the bizarre side.
I recently got my recording set up working well and tested it on a Jeep render. It’s speedpainting style and I broke it apart into 5 videos so you can just watch individually. The menu is in the upper left corner.
I put them into a playlist too, so you can click play and watch the process from ink to finish.
I got a message on my facebook from a guy who said he was from The Portland Roadster Show!!! At first I thought he was pulling my leg so I started to cybernetically hang up, but he was in fact the real deal! I have heard of this show before so I was pretty happy. Turns out my good friend and amazing screen printer Mike Hertz of “Designs of All Kinds in Washington state referred me. The client was a great cat to work with and though I stumbled out of the block, we ended up in a very very good place. So shout out to David for the opportunity and trust.
Here’s how it went down.
The design was intended to speak to the rich history of the car show as well as the location. Portland is super cool city so finding elements to represent in conjunction with the automotive illustrations was pretty straightforward.
Now if you’re a car nut that’s been living under a rock for the last decade, I can understand how you might not know of the Utah based car builders Kindig It. For everyone else, you know this car. I’ve seen it on TV several times and it is definitely one of the top builds in the USA. I was admittedly intimidated but I just put on some groovy tunes and let the pixels fall where they may. After all these years, learning to believe in myself and my art is still a thing. I was very happy with where this one landed, and that made the rest go much MUCH smoother.
Drawing a hot rod for any car show t-shirt is always fun. I normally try to do them buttoned up as the engine work can be a pain in the Cintiq (my drawing tablet). In this case the drawing went super smooth. I had started on another hotrod initially but David wanted this one so we just flipped the script and made it happen. The depth in the paint was especially fun to capture. Much enjoyment was had on my end. (hmmm…that sounds dirty…you know what I mean though. )
Any automotive illustrator that says they don’t love drawing a lead sled is either lying or not telling the truth! I saved the sled for last as a sort of reward. There’s something very “good feeling” about those long lines, especially in profile view. Sometimes subtle beauty is the best beauty. I enjoyed this one greatly.
You know, not much more to add. It was a huge opportunity and I’m glad I was able to get it done. New equipment helps, though the learning curve was greater than anticipated….(there will be a post about that for sure). This event takes place in March 2017. I hope to clear my schedule so I can attend. Once again, huge THANK YOU to David for the shot and Mike for the referral. This goes in the “Feel Good” column.
You can find out info on The Portland Roadster show here. If you can go…GO!!!
Yay!! I’m back! I have much to share so picking a starting point was rough. I recently upgraded my equipment and I have the ability to record my screen and edit the video so I think starting out with some video’s aimed at education is a good thing.
This video is of a current project I’m working on. Here is one of the ways I ink in Photoshop using the pen tool.
Alright…I’m gonna tell you somethin. Every since I was a kid I’ve always considered any space based movie or TV show connected. I mean, heck…it’s space! It’s infinite!!!…billions and billions of galaxies. It has always made sense to me that Yoda and Starbuck could be in the same time, just different places. Truthfully my affections tend to gravitate toward the brothas in space. Don’t get me wrong, Buck Rogers was the man, but Boomer on Battlestar Gallactica was my boi!! I think it’s just a subliminal connection thing. I fully realize that Boomer was not the star, but to me that was his show. It’s a lot like Issac on The Love Boat. Anyway.
That being the case I have on many many MANY occasions thought about how cool it would be to kick it with Lando Calrissian, Worf, Twiggy (Yes he’s a robot but he’s a brotha), and Chewie. You know…we’d be chillin, sippin on 40oz. Colt 2745s and talkin about how hot Princess Armada from Buck Rogers was. There’d be a knock on the door and Jar-Jar would be all…
“Meesa lika having some 40’s withums yousa homies!!”
And we’d be all… “Naw playa it’s cool. For real tho, the Ewoks are 2 floors down, go chill with them. They got Coors Light.”
Having had thoughts like that since I was a child, one can only imagine my excitement when I got a call from a guy named Randy to do the Star Wars based themed artwork for the 2015 Florida Bug Jam!
Randy is a cool cat so our conversations went well. He began by explaining that he wanted a cartoon design that was both VW and Star Wars related. He got about 3 sentences in and I cut him off because I was ready with an idea instantly! He laughed at my enthusiasm as my voice got all high pitched and squeaky with exuberance.
I’m a Star Wars fan…have been since Episode 4 which I saw for the first time in the balcony of a historic theater with my Grandmother when I was a wee tot. Note: That’s the same Grandmother that fed me art history books and was instrumental in building my passion for art in general. I miss her. Awesome, Awesome lady.
They already had some lettering done by one of Randy’s employees named Harrison Hunter Hedman…no joke. Both Randy and Hunter were great throughout the entire process so things went smooth. The concept was pretty simple. Make a bug an x-wing fighter and make a bus a tie-fighter and then incorporate them into a design. I swear I was sketching before I hung up the phone.
The art followed my normal path. Sketch, scan, enlarge, redraw on the light table, cry because I feel inadequate and pathetic, scan, print out blueline, tighten up on light table, crawl under the table and assume the fetal position while sucking my thumb, emerge, fight through the linework, feel better, scan, ink in photoshop, have fireman talk me off the ledge, then render. Pretty routine.
On the Bug X-Wing Fighter I thought a lot about Porkins in Star Wars Episode 4. You know…he’s in the rebel camp, eating a sandwich, watching Adam West Batman and the alarms go off. The fishhead commander gives a vague battle plan which includes the impossible act of shooting a missile or whatever through a hole with a 2 foot diameter while you’re travelling at ludicrous speed. Porkins hops in his fighter, brushes some crumbs off his windbreaker and 6 minutes later he gets blown up by Vader! What a rip! I honestly believe his character had more to give. I wrote George Lucas about it like 11 years ago, he didn’t reply…I’m assuming because he knows I’m right.
The Bug shape was a pretty natural fit. I decided to keep wheels and just tuck them for flight so maybe Luke and Leia could use it to go to the drive-in on Tatooine and smooch. (Note: She wasn’t his sister then. It became creepy after the fact.) Overall it landed pretty well so I was happy.
The Bus Tie-Fighter required a little more thought. I didn’t know if I should do a Bay window bus or a Split window bus. Splittys are considered the more desirable in the hobby but there are more Bays on the road, at least out here. The tipper was the fact that I could write BAY-DER on the Westfalia top of the Bay. Many times my ability to giggle when I see something wins out. I pulled a lot of reference for all these pieces as I wanted to make sure there was some accuracy even though it was a cartoon. In the end the Bus landed ok too so I was above the desk, not under it and feeling good.
For the layout it seemed like conveying some action would be a good thing. I didn’t get to include my “pew-pew” noise but a battle scene and a VW modified Death Star seemed to fit it well. In the end the design was received favorably so that was cool for me. There was a lot of shares socially and hundreds of shirts sold online prior to the event date. Yay.
I got to do a Kahrmanneum Falcon too! It wasn’t on the design but it, and all the original sketches were auctioned off for charity at the event.
So…My wife, Carole had an in home commission in Louisville, Kentucky and that’s only a 2 hour flight from Dade City, Florida so we made a 13 day trip out of it. We spent over a week in Kentucky in this old Victorian house while she painted a horse for her client and I worked on my stuff. It was cool. We actually got to meet American Pharoah in person! I touched him!!! He was also the subject of Carole’s painting so it was beyond swell. Her painting came out awesome and her client was thrilled.
I portabilized my entire system so I was able to do work for my clients and drew another Bug Wars pic using a laptop and my tablet.
We flew to Tampa and rented a 2015 New Beetle and drove to Dade City for the weekend. The Florida Bug Jam was huge! Very HUGE. I’ve been to many West Coast shows and this one dwarfed them. Randy and his crew were amazing. They had a Poker Run and police escorted cruise to downtown. There was a big stage and great bands playing. They built an offroad course for the buggy guys to go get dirty in. Valve cover races, food, prizes, vendors, beer, camping (Hi Charlie and Susan!!), plus so much more. It was nice to see different cars and see how they build out there as opposed to how we build out here. I have many many ideas for my car now.
The shirts came out very very nice and sold like Alderon Hot Cakes. The trophies were sic and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
Now…it was hot…not Tucson hot, but Florida muggy hot. The temp was 87 and I think the humidity was 400%!!! I’m not used to that at all so I had some issues. I didn’t understand why I was sweating at 9am and all I was doing was standing there signing stuff. I told a few people that guys in Florida must only pick up chix between January and April cause there’s no way you can be a smooth operator under those conditions.
All in all though, it was a great event. I was blown away by the hospitality and the energy of the people there. Randy and his staff were excellent. Running an event that large is hard and they deserve applause for their efforts. I was honored to be there and experience it first hand. If you get a chance to go to The Florida Bug Jam…Go!
Oh! My sister verified that Twiggy is a brotha, she says his walk says it all. I think we can all agree that Dr. Theopolis was not a brotha though.
Whew….ok…I think that about does it….time to kick my feet up, open a can of Colt 2745 and watch my boi get blown up by a nuke in Starship Troopers.
Till next time.
The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. -Richard Bach
Pretty sappy for an art cat but in this case it couldn’t be more accurate. Sometimes a job comes around that changes your entire path and leads to a connection that is life changing in both spirit and action. That’s me and my man Vince Powers of Vintage Wagens in a nutshell.
So…I’m chillin at home one day, picking my nose and feeling stale about art in general. It happens. Growth in art can be slow and sometimes you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and just not getting anywhere. I was having one of those years and then I get an email from this cat near Atlanta.
He made mention of knowing my work in videos from like 10 years ago and he said he wanted to talk about doing a project for him. I get on the phone with this dude and instantly there’s a bond. It was weird. Like we have been friends forever. Like military friends, ya know? Turns out Vince restores cars in the Atlanta area. He was looking at his favorite shirt which happens to be a gig I did and he saw my name. That prompted the email.
What followed was nothing short of phenomenal. This cat is so cool I struggle to find the words to describe him. Just know that after hours and hours of conversations that go waaaaaaaay beyond just art, and getting a chance to meet, eat and hang out at a VW event in Florida, Vince is family to me. This cat lifted me from a deep down bad place and ignited a whole new flame. His tagline line is “Next Level Restorations.” It was through him that I was able to take my art as well as myself to the “Next Level”. I am honored to have V in my world.
Now…let’s look at the art!
Vince is an excellent car builder. He sent me pics of the 4 vehicles he wanted on this t-shirt design, and I was blown away! The quality of the restos is as good as I have seen in the hobby, plus he has a flair to his builds…a little attitude if you will.
I roughed out some layouts and then set about rendering the cars.