Sunday, June 29, 2014

Velvet Mill and "The Desert Silhouettes" sketches

So I got to a break from my research and producing artwork by going to see other artist's work studios at the "Velvet Mill Equities". This is a home town warehouse that provides open amount of space to many local artists, from famous glass blowers to beautiful painters that capture the atmosphere of Mystic and Stonington. Not to mention, a beautiful bakery "Zest", with their variety of delicious creations,  I must say that their Lavender Strawberry Coffee cake did taste like cinnamon coffee and sweet strawberries but I couldn't really taste the lavender. Perhaps I just don't identify the taste since I need really had it before. Anyways, I do recommend you go and support this local bakery and these artists.
                       When first entering the Mill, we were welcomed by Blacksmiths David "Doc" Kenney and Brain M. Jacobs. They presented a example of their welding items and beautiful craftsmanship they had. You could tell that they send their time wisely as the black iron was twisted and cursed beautifully. I even commented that it reminded me of the wire work that I did in the 3-D foundation course. In fact, I may have the opportunity to do some blacksmithing course with them so I'll have to post the pieces I created then. I'm so excited for that!!!
                       Then after getting lost in the building, this place was like walking through a open spaced maze than the warehouse from the Art Auction. We got to see some beautiful paintings on the way as they directed us to each studio, such as animal portraits by Joshua Prescott, dramatic wave painting and monotype prints by Annie Wildey, colorful craftsmanship done by glass blower Jeffery Pan and many more. Honestly, I love looking into working studio just to see their working progress and what pieces they created. Much like at Montserrat with the senior class and their working studios, a lot of creativity masterpieces can just develop after messing around in your studio. Honestly, I should just live in my studio than getting a house.
Anyways, we were then lead up to the top where a pretty big and organized studio resided by Lisa C. Leach. "And her pieces were amazing", quoted by me and my Aunt Sally. What she does is she gesso colored tissue paper, napkins and any type of little paper onto of a canvas to create beautiful landscapes. From the great selection of colors, new colors are made when they are layer over one another. Not to mention, there great use of textures to define every subject matter captured. That featured bunches of paper for flowers to folded up tissue in the mountain tops. Since I have loved paper collage, this was something I need to try, because they are just. . beautiful!!!
                        Lastly, we spend the most amount time in probably the one studio that we would have passes over. When you look through the doorway, you just see any average frame work shop, which is a good tool to have but can be expensive to obtain. Until one of the artists said that there was a gallery farther back, and there was. There were a number of beautiful oil paintings of the Mystic atmosphere, with the pastel pallet of colors, and natural scenes of someone home. Then when I saw the gouache paintings, I flipped. Even as simple still lifes of fruits, they were painted so realistic in the composition. While taking about my first year at Montserrat and that I was working with watercolors, one of the artist, Houston Parker, just bought out one of his many sketchbooks that were filled with thumbnails and sketches of observation scenes. Apparently he travels a lot, probably all over, and everywhere he went he bought his watercolor pans, brushes and pen & ink tools to draw with. They were really inspiring, making me think about how I should approach doing just watercolor sketches when I can do about anything. And the one advice that he said that I should try limiting my color pallet so I can make interesting colors, but also to do the stuff I like now. Mostly likely, after I graduate, I've a chance to obtain a job but won't be the dream job I'll have. Whether its advising or designing a logo, I won't have a lot of time to create what I want to do.  

Here are some of the links to the artist I met to check to out their artwork and support their site:

Color sketch, Watercolor & Gouache 5"x 3.5"
Deron's Character designs
      And that is what I planning to do, since the graphic novel prints are taking a little longer to prep up I have been really think of doing a web comic. These types of comics seems to very popular because the network is most accessible by everyone. Like I said, I do like the visual artwork put into graphic novels so I want to put one out on my own. One story that I was thinking of, and actually do some research, this story "The Desert Silhouettes" (or something else, not very good with titles :/ ).
Here a short summary, nineteen year old boy named Deron is put in the situation take the responsibly to begin his own family, as "tradition". However Deron doesn't. Beside being stuck in a village constructed by war involved men and abuse to women rights, Deron wants to travel out in the beyond to help benefit the village. When he gets his chance, he comes across an unusually being he calls Farooq, who is stranded in the desert. The story kind of starts there with a bunch of sketches. I'll figure out how it is going to be posted but I figure it out. It might be just for the summer but we'll see.

 Or, I was thinking of doing a webcomic about my cute dog Kona. I always forget have lovelable and ridicouls she can be when I home. So I might do that as well, becasue EVERYONE LOVE DOGS, Right?!!
Women designs 
Playing with Deron
Farooq character designs
Village sketches, inspired by Haraza people 

Deron and Farooq
Deron, Kambas and men

Friday, June 27, 2014

Under the Hudson River: Book Review on Mark Siegel's Sailor Twain or The Mermaid in the Hudson

This week has probably been the hottest ever, much like walking through a steaming fog pocket that fills the atmosphere. So what better way to cool down by reading a book about rain, water and mermaids. For the last few weeks, I have honestly been excited about working on "Tails" graphic novel, which is still be printed out onto watercolor paper. Actually, today, I just got my first page print but  So besides drawing illustrations for Tails and writing a possible sequel, I wanted to read a novel based on the mermaid myth, "Sailor Twain or the Mermaid in the Hudson" written and illustrated by Mark Siegel.                                                                        
 The one word that can best descriptions for this story is "gripping", from a touching romanic to thrilling dangers that lurk upon land and below it. For this story, I try not to spoil any parts of this story because this is an instant                                 "need-to-read"book for people interested in the overlapping worlds of fantasy and the existing world of the Hudson river. The story is of Captain Twain, the captain of a steamboat that travels along the Hudson river, as his friend Lafayette, the owner of the boat, is going through the emotional struggle about his disappeared brother. Then one night, Captain Twain rescues a wounded mermaid and decides to nurse her back to health in his cabin. While a strong bond is being made, Twains learns that Lafayette is doing his own research when the author, C. G. Beverton, releases the book "Secrets and Mysteries of the River Hudson". So it is a race on protecting the mermaid and finding out what Lafayette is getting into. That's just the brief summary of part 1 of Siegel's tale, all the spoils are in the next three parts that you have to read. Heck, the climax gets twisted up like a wet rag that it is that gripping. 
                   When I first started it, I thought that I would stop once finished with part 1 but it actually made me want to read on. There aren't a lot of graphic novels that can really attract you in like that. One of the habits is that I would stop reading at a part, then I would flip through some of the upcoming pages to see if it catches my interest. But not with this, I read this like any other novel, by letting each page wanting to know more about the characters, story and environment they were put into. 

                      So as a graphic novel, the visual illustration need to appeal to the readers and need to be defined enough to understand the panel. I remember that I questioned myself if I have to start drawing in the digital medium for these novels to look more "professional" for the viewers. Here, Mark Siegel proved me wrong, with the use of the traditional fine medium of charcoal. I never seen it applied to the illustration uses like this before, which Siegel use creativity with limit of black and white pallet. From the smoky background of the city to the gray tones of the deep Hudson. Then with the characters, Siegel drew them as icon cartoons but with realistic elements to fill the panel. Especially with the clothing that illustrated the time period of 1887. And yes, I have been using this mermaid depiction to help illustrate my mermaid studies, giving off the textures of her fish tail and the acceptable body language.                                                           Another element that I like in this narration was the research, legends and myths that Mark Siegel blended into his story. When Captain Twain reads through C.G. Beverton's book, there are examples that can be familiar of the mermaid myth lore to what could be happening in the plot. The one story that is highlighted is like a greek legend about three mermaids being cursed to reside in different larges rivers for breaking one of the ancient laws. The tone reminds me a lot of the story Odysseus, taking a small interest into an adaptation of the three sirens. Maybe it is just me, since it is only explained in nine pages, but ever since I was working with my "Tails" novel, I was doing a lot of research about the mermaid folklore. 
                  Mermaid's Treasures 1998-2011). And then there are the interpretations as them as water demons, creatures that can be piranhas if you mess with their stuff (Walter Gregor 1881). To see where I learned these, here are the links to them: 
The network does expose a lot of the cultural legends with this one creation. For example, one legend from Ancient Greece was about the goddess Atargatis, who seem to be the alpha for the mermaids stories. She became a mermaid when he accidentally killed her mortal lover. Ashamed, she tried to escape her mistake by changing herself into a fish, but the water could not conceal her beauty so her transformation made her a mermaid (Briggs 2014). Another legend is from Scandinavian was that mermaids were considered bad omens for fishers while mermen were actually much helpful than deceitful (

 Overall, the stories that Siegel expresses tell a lot of the plot as to what may come into play. And it can even make you questions what the mermaids can be actually labeled as. Are you on the side of the cheerful, loving mermaids depicted in the "Little Mermaid" or are they just vicious man killers of the waters.  

So, again, I advice you to read this graphic novel and really appreciate the artwork and amazing story narration that you may enjoy. The balance on romance, mystery, thriller and question yourself about our human natures. Really, take time out of your Summer and try this book out, you won't be disappointed.
You can also read it online on his website :

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Train your Dragon thumb nail sketches

Exploring the Ice Coast, watercolor and gouache

Toothless and Hiccup sky falling, watercolor and gouache

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fire-breathing Lightsaber: "How to Train your Dragon 2"

              On the hottest days of this week, My best big sister and I sent the day to hung out together. With her having two part time jobs gives her a little time to relax with me so I been spending as much time as possible whenever. And we are both excited to see our friend's performance "Wedding Singer" so differently looking forwards to that, especially when he is going to have a role in the show :)

               So, today (which is Wednesday right now), We got to see the sequel to Dreamwork's "How to Train your Dragon"and "Wow" I was impressed. There was a lot of time and effort put into this story as the first and those people should be proud of it. From the trailers and newspaper reviews they were building up, the story plot was a lot more misleading near the end. I definitely knew that the mother was going to make a strong impact to Hiccup, the main protagonist, than being a negative conflict. Seeing the innocence and asking for forgiven are very touchy moments, especially when we can see a part of her in her son. Then when the parents reunite again, I cried out at that moment. From thinking of the expected the couple argument it turns into a sweet loving moment, just showing how compassionate and loving his father is in this movie. A lot has changed in five years in their universe and they have defined those changes, including making Hiccup more handsomer :3  
             I also notice how much they incorporated in this movie, apart from the Scottish culture and the expanding worlds that Hiccup and Toothless discover.The first movie was to introduce the main characters and set the standards of his home village. So when sequel came out, there was more exploration and creativity with the new dragons that the movie introduce. There doesn't have be so much focus on the main characters because the audience knows about them. The creators can now move on to bringing new ideas, characters and creations with Hiccup's coming of age transition. The ice capsule landscape remind me of the Iceland or Norway waters, foreshadowing the bitter enemy in this movie. More of the Scottish culture was bought into this sequel and the familiar landscape of the Highlands. Favorite moment was when the Alpha's dragon home incorporated ice structures and the rock formation of Fingal's Cave. or the Isle of Staffa. If you google this cave, these rock formation have incredible hexagon cylinders that make up the entire cave. I can't imagine how nature works but it can be so beautiful to see what they makes out of its surrounding environment.    

  Lastly, there were actually some beautiful artwork. When the credits showed, illustrations and concept art of the movie were displayed. From very expressive lights in the ice structures to contrasting colors stand strong. It kind of shown all the impressive work that was thought through. It actually got me inspired to create some watercolor and gouache paintings. I'll post them soon :)  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Respecting your Daddy :)

Happy Father's Day!!!!

Make sure you enjoy this Sunday from all the other rainy days of this week. Right now, I have been comforting and taking care of his cold he received from traveling. Like I always believe, each day you should respect these father figures everyday since they carry most of the household's responsibilities. From carrying out all the hard duty labor, travel plan, future arrangements or gourmet meals for his wife and family. But he doesn't have to be a father to his love ones, but he is a father to his close friends, upcoming adults and young boys. My father has been strongly involved with the Boy Scout of America community becoming a Boy Scout Leader for his son's boy scout troop and then continuing himself as an advisor when another father figure took charge of the Boy Scout troop. And still now that his son is finishing up college, he gets into venturing, a cooperation of males and females becoming mentors for the boy scouts of America. You could say that my father has a passion to pass his teachings of survival and knowledge to take on the world.
Sometimes I think of the title "Father" as the major chief of of the household, which can be good or bad for people. However, I like to keep an open mind and think of the people that have acted as fathers that we have or haven't had. The definition for "Father figure" is known as an older man who is respected for his paternal qualities and may be an emotional substitute for a father. In other word, this person has admirable qualities that you would look upon when you are a mentor to your children and peers. 

So to all the fathers, grandfathers, guy friends, fellow employees or the kind gentlemen that assisted you in someway should be most thankful for this day. Then we should respect all the passing fathers that have left a meaningful spot in our hearts. 

Here are my father day cards that I have made for tomorrow  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Coloring past the Lines

                     Slowly and surely this novel will be fully done. A few days ago I just sent all my pages to the printer, waiting for the watercolor paper prints to come out. So I have been thinking about how this story should be presented, what design of the cover page will fascinate the readers. 
                      Every cover is one of the strongest elements to a book is the imagery that depict the story. From simple icons spotted below the title or a fully illustrated scenes from the author's words. Usually the cover should feature a listing of these ideals: the main character(s), a hint to the story plot, a remembrance scene that will interest the possible readers, or a defined speculation of emotions in this narration. One of these tip or not were most of the reasons, or you were the ones who read the summaries on the back.    
This illustrations is of Rob smoking a cigarette as it release Katie's hair instead of smoke. This position is depicted in the beginning of the story. Even though I never smoked I do like abstractive flow of the smoke that I drawn. The smoke would be thick as sky clouds, that would bundle up or swirl infinity. I always thought of them as Rob's realm, a world that cut him off from reality and isolate his emotions within. And by having Katie emerge into his realm is what the story starts off about.

Next is a simple icon that stands for its title "Tails". This was the title I named this narrative my high school senior year and unfortunately don't have any other title for this story. Any ways image of the fish tail will be seen through the story so it makes sense to be illustrated on the title page. You could argue that it could have been any other type of animals tails however the setting place along a small town built along side the seashore, inspire by the Stonington Borough, Connecticut. Also, apparently, fish tails are an important symbol in our world's culture. Fish tails symbolize transformation from Roman and Greek myths, acknowledge wisdom from Celtic and fertility and creativity from African legends. Read this entry from the blog about the knowledge of the ocean spirits and the fish symbolisms in historical documents. 

                    Lastly these two illustrations are one of my favorite, they don't define a particular scene or characters but the atmospherical mood within the story. This design was inspired by the craftsmanship of the stain glass windows, where the colors and imagery are divided within the composition. Both these paintings depict Rob, shadowed in his recognizable attire, while the face of Katie is brightly above his horizon like the sun. I have Rob resigning in the darken town of the puffy smoke as Katie dropped in from above.
The first one I did is the one on the left, with Katie's golden locks largely swirl around the sky. However, looking back upon this, the color pallet choices are a little too bright, especially in Rob's blue coat.
Then the painting on the right seems to be more colorful and filling in the composition a lot more than the first one. There is a lot more of a playful feel with Katie's golden-yellow strands with complement her characteristics. Also the pieces are more defined than be blurred by the darken colors.
 Right now these two paintings could be the illustration cover for the graphic novel, as it introduces the main protagonists and the possible conflict in this story plot. Please let me know what you think of these pieces, the more feedback for this project would be great from my point of view. When appealing the rest of the viewers is a major purpose for an artist.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mystic Art Evening Event

                     Friday, I got to draw out in their public park behind the Mystic Art Center (MAC) to promote their upcoming silent audition. This was much like the Art audition event that I volunteered for at my school event, where I just drawn while the guests would look over your shoulder. Unfortunately I didn't get to do a landscape but I did do a still life of shells. I might finish this piece but this is what I got so far.

Then my next upcoming project is to paint a portrait of my long lost childhood pet, Chani, in oil paints. So long forwards to that.

Three Movie reviews/ amazing spiderman/ x-men future past/ maleficent

             Also coming back from art school got me to see more new released movies. So here are my brief thoughts about the recently seen movies: "The Amazing Spiderman 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Maleficent".

                       First off, The Amazing Spiderman 2 was a good transitionally comic book hero to get back into the superhero movie franchise this summer. Probably one of the best times to experience adventure and thrill because of the unique characters that play around in our portrayed environment. Especially the perspectives as you swing around as Spiderman, I do love the animation that is put in the scenes and really captures the motion and weight of the protagonist.
             Secondly, I really like the romantic relationship between Peter and Gwen; both being believable and supportive in this movie. Every time they appeared on screen, it was just adorably cute to see them interact with each other. It was really nice that they perfective that when they were building it up from the First Amazing Spiderman. In fact, I wonder if the movie would hold up if it was just about their relationship more than the Spiderman sub plots. There seems to be a lot to swallow in order to imagine the upcoming sequel but I rather see them together. And yes, I was heartbroken about Gwen's death, making it so accurate from the source material and strongly be impacting to the ending.
                 The only faults that I didn't like were the design for the villains. They seem out of place in this world and even too CGI to look at. Like the Green Goblin, why couldn't they go with the comic book costumes. There are more believable and identifiable for the audience. When I first saw the appearance of the Green Goblin, it looked a lot more like the book character Max from "Where the Wild Things Are" instead covered with green face paint. Unless they update his costume in the next movie, I couldn't take it seriously. Only thing I found beneficial to Electro was the music complement to him. The use of dub-step or EDM worked very well in this instance as it expresses his electric powers pumping through his veins.

                Next, I went to see "X-Men: Days of Future Past" with a bunch of my friends which made us switch from one theater to another because of the midnight release of "Maleficent". After finding a next closest theater, we finally got to see it. First thing I could say about is that I really felt the number of deaths. Maybe because it's being displayed on large movie screen it more overwhelming but I could actually feel every punch, shock and stab of the main heroes. It does it very tensive when your childhood heroes get axed off. You will see a lot of that in the far beginning and ending of this plot.
                The overall plot of someone going back in time to prevent a powerful army of weapons isn't a bad plot as all. It is easy to follow the goal and the addressed conflicts, including the main villain Magneto that released. By the way, most of my favorite screens came from the break in of the pentagon. However, there were a few things that I was confused with like young professor x's relationship with Myst, or why he was hiding out in a school, or what was Myst doing. There were a lot of holes of the past that the audience knew or didn't. I felt like I had to watch the newer wolverine or first class movie to understand these questions. Or I have to do some research because Myst really plays a strong role in the series than I was lead to believe.


            Lastly, I got to see "Maleficent" last night with my close friend which actually surprised me. All the time, I always predicted the movie to be like Wicked, showing how the Disney version of "Sleeping Beauty" was wrong and misleading. It actually has a strong relatable plot about young love, betrayal and the transition to opening one's self up to emotions. You can even see some of the dark psychology emotions emerge out the characters, much like the emotions that Shakespeare's Macbeth portrayed.
               Mostly I enjoyed the fantasy creatures that were created in this world. For computer generated creatures, they were beautiful and could fill the screen perfectly, along side the protagonists. Clever idea with the mermaid like sprites or swamp dwellers that inhabit this kingdom. I even how they down played the three good fairies with the flower like elements.
              As for Angelina Jolie performance, it was pretty good. She did a good job presenting this newer Maleficent side while being over exaggerate the recognizable scenes from the original hand drawn animated "Sleeping Beauty". Those parts were very unusually to see because they don't really fit with her characteristics but they were put there to bring the nostalgic feeling to the older viewers. I even like the added element with her crow companion since these two actors really depict the relationship of a couple. Also, I kept getting the sense of Lady Gaga in this role. Every time the phrase "Good night beasties", I keep thinking of Lady Gaga as she acknowledge her "little monsters".

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Tail Thumbnails

                        Today, I was pretty much getting back into watercolors and gouache and figuring out the color scheme for the characters Katie and Rob. Most of the thumbnails are scene from the "Tail" story but some are just fun illustrations. 

Here is also an older illustration I found (original illustration created by Steve Purcell) and hand-painted in watercolors and gouache, based on PC Games Tales of Monkey Island
Here is a link to his blog: