Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday: Seal's Process

Seal believes that artists don't create in a vacuum, so she would like to share some of her most recent inspirations and current artwork. For the past couple of weeks, Seal has been inspired by film noir and art deco architecture from the 1925-1940s. The lavish yet mathematical designs of Art Deco reflected the artists' backlash reaction against the imposed austerity by World War II and the looming Cold War. One notable artist and architect, Seal would like to share is Hugh Ferriss. His work is directly below:

Eventhough he didn't design any notable buildings during his lifetime, his style, theme, and method have continued on to influence popular culture and films like Frizt Lang's Metropolis, Batman's fictional Gotham City, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and the hardboiled detective genre.

Hugh Ferriss created his pieces on 18x24" drawing paper by using charcoal. He achieved the high contrast in values by toning his paper, lifting out the lights, and adding the darks.

In Seal's piece, she first spends time researching her materials; it can take anywhere from 1-5 hours. Often she works with a vague idea. In this case, she wanted to draw the front of a theatre-type building with some gothic gargoyles looming. She first created 5-10 small thumbnails no more than 1.5" wide to work out composition and perspective in graphite pencil. Generally the by the third one, the thumbnail is good and useable. She then works larger and draws a rough sketch in graphite. The sketch is then refined into the final line drawing (above). The next process is to do value studies in marker. Seal likes to use French Grey Prismacolor set #10, 40, 70, and 90. Seal has done one value study so far. She generally groups values into two: darks or lights (light source & shadows). Eventhough Seal loves color, details and color comes at the very last.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Monkey + Seal Giveaway Raffle!

Hey everyone! Monkey + Seal recently saw our first holiday card display (yikes!) and got in the gift-giving mood. Sooo, we have decided to hold our first raffle! Yay for you! Yay for free stuff! What can you win? Good question!

The prizes are:
3rd place - A free copy of The Monkey Zine!
2nd place - A free copy each of The Monkey Zine, The Bad Date Zine Issue 1 & Issue 2!
1st place - Your choice of any single print of Seal/Eve's that's in the shop!
Grand Prize - Either a free "Cryptids at Night" serigraph by Monkey/Ri.S.K. (value of $75) or a $45 gift certificate to the store.

Woo hoo! We're giving away over $100 worth of stuff! If you're as excited as we are, know that the contest is going to end this Sunday at 11:59 PM PST, with winners announced here at the blog on a special Tuesday post!

Here's the scoop as to how to enter:
Fill out our survey for 5 entries!
Any purchases on our Etsy site from Friday til Sunday night (11:59pm PST) gets 5 entries!
You get 2 entries for following our blog!
Fan us on Facebook for 2 entries!
You get 2 entries for signing up for our newsletter (from the sidebar on our main site).
You get 1 entry for posting a link to your favorite item in our shop and telling us why in the comments below!
If you saw our twitter post about our contest, retweet it for 1 entry! (limit 1 RT per 3 hours).

That's 18 potential entries you can have! More if you're a twitter-a-holic! Also, if you're already a fan on FB, or are following are blog, you don't even have to do anything - we'll already count you in!

Soo, good luck everyone, and we hope to see such a flurry of Monkey + Seal activity that we can barely contain ourselves! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pencil Colors!

Remember the days of pencil colors and colorful crayons? As a professional artist, Seal is often reproached that pencil colors are meant for the "student artist." She disagrees: pencil color can be used for texture on gouache or watercolor, it can do immediate "fixes" for color saturation or desaturation. They can be layered opaquely or lightly in a translucent manner.

Seal came across this awesome pencil color set by Tombo(w) and she is super excited about getting a set and trying them out on her illustrations. Apparently the Tombo pencils, Seal found out, are not your ordinary pencil colors. They are meant to better immitate the subtle muted colors found in a natural landscape. They are called "irojiten" meaning "color library/dictionary/encyclopedia" in Japanese. Seal drools over the different gradations of color.

They come packaged like a booklet. Each booklet has 10 pencil colors, and a volume contains 3 booklets. The super duper complete set is 3 volumes: 90 pencils. For more information, you can go directly to the manufacturer's website: Tombo

Good tools just makes it easier on the artist.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Blu's Muto

So if you've never seen the video Muto by artist Blu, you need to take a few minutes out of your day and see this now.

Blu inspires Monkey + Seal on so many levels. A combination of illustration, painting, street art, and stop motion animation, Blu's work is seriously an amazing injection of inspiration directly to the heart.

There isn't much to say about Blu's work besides this: it is simply amazing.

Additionally, this video of the world's 2nd largest aquarium is pretty amazingly beautiful, serene, and breathtaking all at once. Thanks to Di at What I Learned Today for the OP of this video!

Kuroshio Sea - 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world - (song is Please don't go by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.