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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bridging The Gap.

Hey, folks and happy Halloween!

Work on Monsters and Hamsters continues. It's been a fun and very encouraging couple of weeks. I completed another painting last night. A group of hamsters gets a fun and friendly helping hand from a gentle giant. HA! Alliteration... good times...

Titled "Airlifted", this piece was especially fun because I got to use my awesome new watercolor pencils. A set of 120 Caran D'Ache professional grade watercolor pencils, they are my new weapon of choice when completing these illustrations. I will still use my Derwent pencils but when it comes to vibrancy and ease of use, the Caran's win. When I started using watercolor pencils I had purchased the Derwent set of 24, a good little starter set. It's enough to get a sense of what they can do. Well, I was hooked. I was mixing them right on the board and if I wanted to use them like watercolors, all I had to do was just scribble some on a scrap piece of board and add water... a watercolor pencil palette. It quickly became obvious that this was gonna be a favorite medium and that I was gonna need more.

From there I graduated to a set of 72 Derwent watercolor pencils in a lovely wooden case. It was a sight to behold and I was in heaven.

The nice thing about watercolor pencils is they can be used 3 different ways... first as a pencil (I know, I know - Duh, Danny). So, if you're scared by the idea of squeezing paint out onto a palette, not knowing how much to use or wasting what you don't use, then these are for you. It's an easy transition to make too because they're in pencil form and you can't waste what you don't use. Then, once you've laid down your color, you can leave it as is - in pencil form - or hit it with a brush and water. This really is where the magic happens. It's a visceral reaction too - for me anyway. The painting really comes alive. And lastly there's the palette method which I use on every painting to add details or wash in some colors over others. At some point here soon I'll do a video or step by step of my process... but, until then... :)

The only problem with (but also a nice thing) is the Derwent pencils take a bit of "scrubbing" to get the pencil to 'melt' and wash completely. But this also leaves behind a nice little texture. Depending on what you're going for this can be a good thing. I like it sometimes, especially on the monsters. If I didn't want the texture then I have to use the palette or layer and scrub them with washes to get them to disappear.

After I purchased a few extra colors of the Caran D'Ache's water soluble pencils I was amazed out how they melted away, and into such vibrant colors. After a bit of use I was sold. I decided to invest in one of their big sets and I am glad I did. It was shocking how saturated the colors were... after using the Derwent pencils this whole time (which come out a bit less saturated in color vibrancy) it took my by surprise when I tested the new pencils. They're rich and melty... that's a word now by the way...

Suffice it to say I am very, very happy with my investment. They will help greatly me in my endeavors.

So, here's the painting! Sketch, final and a pic of one of the "palettes" I used in the process...

"Airlifted" watercolor pencil on Arches board - 16x20

Sketchbook painting - watercolor on toned paper
pic of the "palettes" I make along the way.

*this blog entry was in no way endorsed by Caran D'Ache or its subsidiaries. Danny Beck Art is in no way responsible for pretty paintings you create or any injuries sustained by the artist during the painting process. Use caution when lifting the pencils and do not dip the pencils in water thinking you were holding a brush like I have almost done so many times. Seriously, sometimes you forget which you're holding... the pencil or the brush - they're just that much fun to use.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Birthday Blogging!

Woo hoo! What a wonderful birthday it has been. Dina made me the sweetest cake ever. I'm a man of simple tastes so, my birthday cake request was the same as it always is. But, this time, with adornments of the most sugary kind - Circus Animal Cookies! These pink and white, frosting beasts are held firmly in place by the chocolate frosting that covers it. All that AND it has a layer of vanilla frosting in the middle of this yellow wonder of a birthday cake. I sat down to a slice of cake after lunch and it was everything I could've ever hoped for. Dina spoils me and I love her for it. :D

Today we've got a couple paintings to post. One is a commission painting I did for some good friends, the other is another #inktober entry. I love doing these armor studies. I treated myself to a trip to the art store to get some non waterproof ink and some white acrylic ink. I was using a white pen for the highlights in these armor studies but it just isn't good for blending out. I needed something that behaved more like the ink I was painting with. But I still use the white ink pen for the sharp, solid highlights. You can see the difference between the two armor studies.

The monster/hamster painting was commissioned from my friend Kevin to give to his wife as a gift. It illustrates a personal story of theirs. It was an honor for me that I got to tell their story with my creations.

Keeping this post short today! I gotta get ready for my birthday dinner at my favorite sushi place with the most amazing woman in the world - my lovey.

Armor Study - brush and ink, brush pen and white pen

Armor Study - brush and black and white ink, white pen

"Gacon!" - 16x20 watercolor pencil on board.

Friday, October 18, 2013

SuperDeluxeMegaMonster Post

A few new drawings to post! Ranging from a couple inktober entries to some new monster/hamster ideas.

Things have been fairly busy and there had been some exciting progress on my book endeavor. Can't say anything about it just yet but it's got me very hopeful that it's the start of something big. I also started a class at Art Center on writing and illustrating children's books. By the end we will have a dummy book and be armed with the knowledge of how to approach publishers with our book ideas. It's been a lot of fun so far and I've learned a lot but, we're only 2 weeks in and have 8 more to go and lots of ground to cover.

I learned so much at the LA SCBWI conference in August but this course will actually produce a dummy book which I am excited about.

On to the drawings!

First up is a vignette inspired by the day Dina and I discovered our little hamster - Jelly. We wandered in to Petsmart with no greater plan than to just look around. When we made our way to the critters section Dina was instantly taken with all the cuteness contained in those glass cages. The hamsters all went about their daily activities seemingly unaware of the people staring in at them. But one little hamster was very interested in our presence. She was putting on a little show like a puppy at the pound, using every adorable device she possessed to get attention. This little hamster seemed genuinely aware of us and we instantly connected with the precocious, little Syrian hamster. She became the inspiration and the hamster I used in my paintings. Dina named her Jelly and she is just about the cutest damned hamster ever.

"An Easy Decision" - watercolor and ink sketchbook painting

A picture I took of Jelly hanging out on our couch. 

The next is another revisiting of one of the Critter Riders. Like the previous reworks I wanted to explore them in color and more action. This is the Red Squirrel Rider. So much fun to paint.

The idea for this sketchbook entry was given to me at Starbuck's before I even sat down to start drawing. Waiting in line to order my hot chocolate, a mother and very small son were ordering ahead of me... I was taken aback when the little boy stepped up to the counter and order some complicated mocha frappacino latte half-whip double scoop disco inferno! It was pretty impressive actually... it's just a sign of the times, I guess... I sheepishly followed up with my mundane order.

I went back to my tiny round table, hot chocolate in hand and figured I would get the last laugh. I titled it "Starting Them Early"
watercolor and ink sketchbook painting
It's not all monsters and hamsters, ya know... as much as I love to draw them I gotta keep myself somewhat prolific. :P I love doing figure drawing and portraits as well but never have much call for them so, when I want to take a break from all the cuteness and to sharpen my more realistic skills, I will knock out a study or two. There is a little social media challenge (so to speak) called Inktober where any artist can participate by doing a traditional media drawing so long as it is finished in ink, post it on instagram, facebook, twitter, etc. with the hashtag "inktober." Many artists take part and there is some amazing work that is done. You can do one a day, one every other day or one a week... whatever you have time for... I decided to use the opportunity to do my inktober entries as more realistic studies of things I love... armor, knights and sculptures. I love doing these so much that I am gonna make it a regular deviation from my usual monster/hamster routine.

Met Armor - Brush pen, ink pen and white ink pen on toned paper.

Met Sculpture - brush and ink and white pen on toned paper.

And now to bookend this blog entry with monster/hamster cuteness...

"Airlifted" - watercolor and ink sketchbook painting

Catch ya on the flip side!