Saturday, December 19, 2009

Process: Using References for your drawings

Below is Seal's animation layout drawing of a surfer's beach hut in Hawaii. She didn't know how to draw a beach hut or what specific shape made a beach hut different than any other dwelling. As an artist, Seal uses a lot of references to give her drawings believability. There is a delicate balance between being too reliant and copying a reference to being inspired and studying a reference while finding your own unique visual language.

Below is an example of a reference sheet that Seal used for the shape of the beach hut rooftop. Notice that Seal took on a similar shape, but not exactly. It is in the spirit of a beach hut. She simplified the hut so it would resemble more of an everyday average person's surfer hut and hangout, not necessarily to live in it. She also used references to get basic feel of the tiki and foliages that can be found in Hawaii.

Even Monkey, who is a lot more loose in his artwork, still uses reference. Even something as loose as his Panda Rage print was still based on photo reference.
Even though he had seen many pandas, Monkey wanted to make sure that he put the fur coloring in all the right places. Yes, pandas have a very distinctive color pattern on their fur, and if you don't follow that, you'll end up with something that may or may not read as a panda. However, the claws are exaggerated, but part of making art is experimenting on what features you can and cannot push and exaggerate or modify and have your visual message still come across.

Both Seal and Monkey use fun google image searches in order to find reference, but because they are usually copyrighted images, they only use them to get basic ideas of shapes, design patterns, and compositions. However, nothing beats taking your own photos, as then you can use the photos however you please, as you the photographer own the images. We highly encourage doing this as much as possible, and we often find that when drawing certain poses or angles, it's much faster to take a photo ourselves than it is to try and find that perfect photo on the web.

Have fun, and go get inspired (but don't copy!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Upcoming Projects for Monkey and Seal

Seal is currently working on more paintings for the Tyger Tyger series. Here is a sneak peek at some of the in-progress works. These paintings will debut at their next event: Artist's Alley at the Animation on Display convention in San Francisco's Japantown!

Meanwhile, Monkey just finished his screen printed book which he will talk more about in a different post. He is also working on their hand-pulled screen printed holiday cards for friends and family. 2010 will be a very exciting year for both Monkey and Seal. Monkey is working on the March secret event which will be disclosed once contracts are finalized. And Seal has just been recruited to be an art director for an upcoming independent revolutionary film project. Please be on the lookout for more updates. And thank you, everyone, for your support of our art!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Woo, more press!

So while running around at the Handmade Ho Down, Monkey got flagged down by Sean of Ashcan magazine for a quick interview. You can read the mini-interview here! There is also a charming little photo (if we do say so ourselves) of Monkey and Seal at our booth where we are showing off our ties and prints.

We also got a review of the Bad Date Zine Issue 2 at Razorcake, which is basically THE underground punk rock fanzine! Sweet. You can read what they thought over here.

Thanks to Sean and the Ashcan crew and Andrew over at Razorcake!

Other news: Mark your calendars for January 30 + 31, 2010, when Monkey + Seal will be in the Artist's Alley at the Animation on Display convention in San Francisco's Japantown! Woo!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Featured Design: On Za Line

Recently, Monkey and Seal found On Za Line: an awesome design team featuring natured-inspired art and goods.

Each item is carefully hand-made requiring a lengthy process which makes all of the products unique pieces of art. They make them without having an end product in mind. The team just enjoys the reactions that people have to their work. With each piece, they try to instill what they see as the true essences of life, moods, sentiments, passion, atmosphere and time.

One of Seal's favorite is this moss ring. It's real living moss; it's self-sustaining by gathering the moisture particles from our everyday air. Not sure if she wants to wear moss, but thought it was an awesome concept.

Another of Seal's favorite is this leaf cast dish. The shapes found in nature are always inspiring to an artist. These "natural" modern looks make Seal wants to eat more salad.

You can check out their official website for more information.