My second semester Arts Technology classes are Intro to Sound, Digital Painting, and Kinetic Sculpture. Here’s my first painting from class. The assignment involved combining elements of photo reference into a cohesive composition and deleting the reference layer upon completion.
I thought it might be fun to combine some of the ruins from Angkor Wat with an unearthly landscape to create a Chariots of the Gods meets Ancient Astronauts vibe.
I’ve never been good at replicating my reference 100%. There are always areas where I deviate from it, or expand upon it (adding in mountains, for instance), and this piece was no exception. Most importantly, it was both challenging and fun—the best kind of learning.
Here’s the reference I cobbled together for the piece:
I’ll be hitting the road this spring, setting up in artist alley at Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle on March 2–5, and Chicago’s C2E2 on April 21–23. If you’d like to preorder a commission for either show, email me at SteveBryantArt@gmail.com. Prices are listed in the image above and additional examples can be found on the Commissions page of this site.
Here’s another assignment from my Intro to Digital Arts class from back in September. The assignment: “Take an artist or art piece that you are a fan of, and create your own original work of art inspired by it. If you are a fan of a TV show, draw a favorite or fictional scenario of it. If you are a fan of an artist, write a song similar to one of their songs, or do a remix or reinterpretation of one of their songs. Or, draw a picture inspired by a song or band, or create a song inspired by a drawing. Whatever you want!”
I loved Ernie Cline’s 2011 novel Ready Player One. The premise: in the mid-21st century, the multi-billionaire creator of the most successful virtual reality game/social network dies, leaving no heirs. His will announces that whoever finds an Easter Egg hidden somewhere in the sprawling game will inherit his entire estate. Cline uses the game creator’s backstory—growing up as a geek in the 1980s—to fill the book with tons of nerd trivia and 80s pop culture references. Buy the book here.
It’s easy for me to fall into the pattern of drawing stuff for my own comics, but creating this piece was incredibly fun and liberating. In fact, drawing this was the reason I attempted the Inktober challenge this year.
One of our first projects for my class was to create “junk” art. This isn’t a conceptual thing, or anything thematic. The goal was to work in a medium that you’re not confident in for 30 minutes. I opted to try digital painting.
I took a painting class in college, and never finished a single piece. Working in opaque paint was like pushing mud around and I had a tendency to over-smooth everything. This resulted in mushy looking definition of different planes. Barf.
The image was created in Manga Studio 5. The image on the left is where my painting was 30 minutes in. The image on the right is the piece at 4 hours in. It’s still not finished, but it’s coming along.
It was a fun challenge.
Last summer, I decided to go back to school and complete my bachelor’s degree in Arts Technology. ATK touches on the ways that technology can be applied to all aspects of the arts—visual, music, and performance—and all the parts in between. The best analogy I’ve come up with is that it’s the arts version of STEM studies.
As you’d expect, my life has become a cross between a Rodney Dangerfield movie and a Will Ferrell movie.
My current class, Basic Skills in the Digital Arts, mixes web design, Photoshop work, and, most importantly, creative philosophy. By “creative philosophy,” I was delighted to see an approach focused on demystifying the creative process. All of the pretensions of “art school” are set aside for practical lessons stressing motivation over inspiration. These are lessons I’ve learned (and re-learned) over the course of my career, so I’m glad to see a program that not only teaches it, but makes it a core part of the introductory class.
The end result has been a reaffirmation of some of my core creative beliefs—best summed up by the Jack London quote, “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to hunt it down with a club.” That quote isn’t part of the class, but the mentality behind it is.
I’ll share some of my work from the class in future entries, but for now, I’ll leave you with some recommended reading we’ve had in class: Steal Like and Artist, and Show Your Work, both by Austin Kleon. Any creative person, established or neophyte, can either learn or be galvanized by the ideas presented in both books.
We’re a few days away from the end of October and it’s a safe bet that I don’t have any more Inktober drawings coming.
Deadlines reared their heads—I’m starting production work on the second Ghoul Scouts series and finishing production stuff on the first new Athena Voltaire series from Action Lab. So yeah, no more Inktober for me.
But the experience was a blast. It was nice to break out of my deadlines and obligations for a couple of weeks and just draw characters that I usually wouldn’t, and to experiment with different media and techniques. I definitely plan to do it again next year.
Day 12! Modesty Blaise. Digital inks in with brushes.
#inktober Day 11. I call this one “Fact or Fiction.” Netflix’s Luke Cage checks out his Marvel comic. Digital inks in Manga Studio with Frenden brushes.
For #inktober Day 10, Kerrie requested this Kate Bush piece with lyric quote. Digital inks in Manga Studio, with Frenden Brushes. #inktober2016.
Day 9. A student at Kerrie’s school got to meet wrestler Dean Ambrose through the Make A Wish Foundation. I did a drawing for him.