Ken Graning Interview

It is my pleasure to present the autobiography and artwork of illustrator, Ken Graning. Ken Graning's impressive career as an illustrator spans an astonishing forty six years.

When It Comes To Logos These Companies Don't Play Around

The video game industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. In March, Forbes reported that Gabe Newell, founder of Valve Corporation, is "one of the richest people on the planet".

Ed Fella Interview

Ed Fella is one of the most prominent graphic designers of our time, and as you can imagine, a conversation with Ed Fella is both inspiring and enlightening

The Amazing Illustrations and Sketches of J.R. Mounger

Artist and designer J.R. Mounger has a passion for illustration and you sure can tell by the artwork he creates.

An Interview with Art Licensing Consultant, Maria Brophy

I first learned of Maria's work last year, when I featured the artwork of surf lifestyle artist, Drew Brophy, here on Illustration Pages - I've been a loyal fan and avid follower of both ever since.

FEATURED:

 

Creature Cabinets, Walking Cabbages: The Inspiring Designs & Sculptures of the Lalannes

Contributed by Melissa Kojima

Where design mixes with sculpture and whimsy with the functional, you'll find the husband and wife art duo, Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne. Their amazing cabinets and sculptures are on view in Paris at the Museum of Decorative Arts until July 4, 2010. If you are fortunate enough to be in the romantic city of lights, please go see this beautiful retrospective. It will be sure to inspire your imagination and take you away to a magical land. If you are not fortunate enough to be there, then take a look at the collection at this link. Below is a photo of the couple and a few of the pieces in the exhibition.

Illustration Pages News: The World Premier of the Shadow Eater

Desktop Gremlins is proud to unleash a new paper toy on your desk. Ward off shadows and bad luck of all kinds with this miraculous monstrosity! The Shadow Eater sits on your desk as a "grotesque" scaring away evil forces that might be conspiring against you. If some bad luck should try to get near you, the Shadow Eater will lash out with its sharp claws to capture and consume it - keeping you safe and sound. Build yours today...

Jeffrey Richter Fine Art on Etsy – Believe the Unbelievable

Contributed by Lou Simeone

It's hard to believe what some artists can create using charcoal, ink and graphite. Jeffrey Richter is one such artist. His meticulously detailed images are seductive and haunting, thought provoking and full of depth. In black and white, grayness and shadow, machinery is melded into the human form and beauty morphs into nightmares. Each of his pieces tells a story, like the woman above who sews herself together to become complete.

Love and war, strength, life and death, conflict and the relationship between man and machine, this is the art of Jeffrey Richter communicated with passion and contemplation. Beyond his impressive skill as a draftsman, Jeffrey captivates his viewers with the stories he tells about each piece and the stories his viewers can’t help but imagine about them on their own.

When not designing apparel as a graphic artist, Jeffrey can be found in his studio in St. Clair, Missouri recording his dreams and thoughts on paper – creating his astonishing works of art.

The Intellectual Artwork of Artist, Illustrator and Animator Kassem Ahmed on Facebook

Illustrator Kassem Ahmed uses his artwork as a means to address specific issues of our culture today. His subject matter and concepts are thought provoking and intriguing.

Through advertising, sitcoms, movies and video games we’re assaulted daily with a constant barrage of images centered on sex and violence. In some of his art Kassem focuses specifically on the advertising aspect of this assault and the effects it has on young women in our society. He is asking us to think about the advertisements we have accepted as our reality since childhood. What negative effects do they have on all of us? What negative effects do they have specifically on young girls who constantly see women portrayed by the media as objects and play things? How much of who we are has been influenced by what we've experienced through television, film, advertising and popular magazines? Is it possible to break free from the slogans and catch phrases rained down upon us by corporations and advertisers and not believe we are who they tell us we are?

Kassem has left all interpretations of his work up to the viewer. His purpose is not to provide the answers only to raise the questions. What do you take away from Kassem's art?

On a lighter note, Kassem is also a story board artist and animator. Let’s switch gears as we watch his brilliantly produced short, traditional, cell animation.


Illustration Pages News: Miss Poochie's Doodle A Day

A new doodle each day resonating with truth, as well as being fun to look at with a mishmash of drawing, text and collage. The endearing quality of her illustrations are enhanced by her perceptive detail, particularly with regard to her choice of topics delightfully captivating both young and old. Doodle a day...

Super Sculpey Polymer Clay Just Got Inspiring! The Art of Meredith Dittmar

Contributed by Melissa Kojima

Okay, call me closed-minded if you must, but I never got into Super Sculpey Polymer Clay. Despite its many advantages, I thought it was too crafty or too much for kids or something like that. Alas, when I came across Meredith Dittmar's art, my view changed.

As you can see below, her sculptures are amazing. They are little dioramas full of amazing detail and they are created with polymer clay. Pouring over them, I suddenly got inspired and wanted to try my hand again at this bake-able art.


Illustration Pages News: Announcing A New Illustration and Design Site

London illustrator and designer, Farhana Nicholson recently launched her new website.

Go to the site...

Christina Ung Sells Giclee Prints, Limited Editions and Original Works of Art

Illustrator Christina Ung was born in Bangkok, Thailand. When she was 3, she flew to Canada where she was introduced to Barbie and Lego...and has never left the country since. Such toys were the source of her creativity as a child.

In 2007, Christina graduated with a BAA Illustration degree at Sheridan College and since, has illustrated for several editorial publications and commercial clients across North America.  Her work has appeared in group exhibitions and has received recognition in both Communication Arts and Applied Arts award annuals.

Christina's images are geared toward young adults with themes relating to lifestyle, fashion, people and social expressions. Her influences range from pop culture, vintage prints and posters to graffiti street art and Japanese Woodblocks. All of these influences are are expressed in her color palettes and brush strokes.

Download Your Free Illustration Pages Poster

The new Illustration Pages poster has proven to be quite a hot little item. IP readers have been downloading it like mad since I first announced it here on the site last month. If you would like to join in on the fun – follow the links below and download yours today. Print it out and hang it in your studio, cubicle, office, on campus, on telephone poles - hang it anywhere and everywhere to show your IP love.

To download the poster click one of the two links below. One file is setup as a standard 8.5 x 11 so you can simply download it and print it out. The other link is setup as 11x 14 which you can print to tabloid paper and trim it to the edges if you wish to have a larger size poster. Both posters are high resolution PDFs for the best quality print output so depending on your connection speed they might take a couple of minutes to download.



Thank you everyone and enjoy the poster.

Lou Simeone
Illustration Pages
creativity   community   culture

About Erin Klauk:
A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Erin Klauk moved to NYC in 2002 to study illustration at Pratt Institute, where she received her BFA in 2004. She went on to receive an MA in illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2009. Her clients include Arthur Magazine, Crawlspace Magazine, The Boston Historical Neighborhoods Society, SBRA Architects, Gerard & Sarzin Publishing, Mark, and L’OrĂ©al Paris. She creates gig posters, album artwork and music merchandise for a number of local bands such as Traveling Circle, Heavy Hands, Sorceress, Whooping Crane, Anorak, The Actual Facts and The Broken Reed Saxophone Quartet.

To see more of illustrator Erin Klauk's work visit her blog, Erinaceous Illustration, The Art and Design of Erin Klauk.

Invasion of the Desktop Gremlins: The Paper Sculptures of David Landis

Contributed by David Landis

My name is David Landis, president and manager of Landis Productions in Richmond, Virginia. I started Landis Productions 15 years ago to provide expert creative solutions to clients in a graphic design "studio" format for local, national and international clients. I do a little bit of everything ranging from magazine layout, corporate branding and packaging solutions to web page, multimedia and product design.

Recently, I've been doing more and more illustration work in the form of character concepts, children's book illustrations and advertising cartoons. But where are these new projects coming from? And why, after 15 years of working in this field are these new opportunities suddenly popping up on my job list?

Because of the mischievous Desktop Gremlins, of course.

What are Desktop Gremlins? Well, back in 2008, I dreamed up a web site to enable me to interact with my clients and friends in a fun way. I loved the idea of using the internet to form community around art and creativity. It also allowed me the chance to further explore design and illustration for the pure joy of the process. With these hopes in mind, I launched desktopgremlins.com and a companion Facebook page so visitors could download and build paper craft toys of my original character illustrations - zany and fantastic creatures of fantasy called Desktop Gremlins.

I've been making paper craft ever since I was a young boy. I loved making paper craft vehicles for my action figures (sure was cheaper than buying the plastic versions!) In fact, I created my largest project when I was about 12 years old - a 6 foot long cardboard snow speeder that a friend and I could sit inside back-to-back! It was magical to create paper toys back then and I carried this love to adulthood.

Face it, we live in a digital world, but I really like the idea of shifting gears and doing something organic once and a while. Desktop Gremlins are my outlet to empower people to do this by printing and building ultra-cool paper toys.

What I love about illustrating for paper craft is that it combines so many of my creative interests. Of course, illustration is vital. But along the way, I get to explore many additional creative processes. I love thinking in terms of 3-d space - watching how an illustration changes when you look at it from different angles or the unique shadows that are created when the shape is under lights. Creative writing and story telling is also a huge part of the process - breathing life into the characters.

I created three distinct rules for myself to help me focus on what makes my paper craft and illustration unique.

  1. Super-easy to build. Personally, I don't have an hour or two of free time to build paper craft. So I decided that a Desktop Gremlin character should only have enough pieces to require one sheet of paper for its construction sheet. I also forced myself to ELIMINATE the need for any sort of gluing, taping or cutting with X-ACTO blades. Scissors-only and about 10-15 minutes of time are my target here.
  2. Make a strong splash with a powerful "brand." This rule came more from my advertising background - the desire to create a strong "brand" that would allow me the freedom to invent a wide variety of paper toys but also generate a feeling of "family" among the characters.
  3. Tell a story. My final rule was that each character needed a great "story." This gives it a reason to be proudly displayed on the desk of the person who built it. I wanted people to react strongly to the illustration, but I also wanted people to fall in love with the CHARACTER. The story is the best way to achieve that.

PROCESS:

My process when creating a new Desktop Gremlin is not that different than doing any other illustration project. I research ideas, draw sketches, dream, test and explore the world around me for inspiration...whatever it takes.

One of my favorite Desktop Gremlins is SPARKY. Sometimes I draft sketches of the full paper craft as one unit, but SPARKY was a little looser in the way it COULD come together, so I drew it in separate pieces from the get-go.

I just use plain old pencil and paper (with separate Black Pearl eraser -- because I HATE the erasers on the back end of a pencil). After I sketch the character, I scan and import it into Adobe Illustrator for digital manipulation.

This is the point where I usually begin the PUZZLE of making it into a paper craft. This requires making my best guess at what might work, printing it out and testing a build. Then I mark it with new lines that might make for a better 3-d shape, disassemble, scan, rearrange, print and build again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It can take a while!

After I feel like the construction is about 90% correct, I reward myself with re-drawing my sketch using the vector drawing tools of Illustrator. I've always enjoyed the ability to push and pull my lines around to get things just right. I like a really clean character style, so all the Desktop Gremlins have a relatively small color palette. I usually try to keep a character down to 4 or 5 colors maximum.

The creation process is similar from character to character, but the order in which the steps happen is always unique.

Sometimes my STORY for the character is finished early in the process. Other times, I write the story after I see the character in its finished 3-d glory. The building process is fascinating to me. I might envision some sort of 3-d curve of the paper or a new construction technique which will DRIVE me to invent a specific character. A good example of this was the process I went through with my "cloud" shaped paper craft. The idea was to create a 3-d shape perched on top of a cylinder. It was a personal challenge I could not back down from and a "rain cloud shape" made the most sense as the way to get me there. In fact, the illustration of the character came very late in the design process as I tested multiple ways to solve this 3-d puzzle before doing my first sketch.

A second "puzzle" to my process is forcing all the pieces, building instructions and photos to fit on one sheet of paper. Again, this can be time consuming, but this stage of the process becomes an enjoyable change of pace as well and helps strengthen my brand attachment.

The last thing that I have to do is create a FLAT illustration of the character for promotional e-mails, t-shirts - whatever I might need for display in the more traditional world of illustration. It's amazing that this flattening of the design also requires quite a bit of work as the 2-d version will overlap or mask out features of the 3-d shape.

CONCLUSION:

When you read the STORY of SPARKY, you realize that he is a "spark-giver." Sparks of inspiration, sparks of creativity, sparks of wisdom - even sparks of love! All of the "sparks" that make life extraordinary, he will provide as he sits on your desk. Just write down what you need on a small piece of paper and toss it into this happy inferno. Get ready for the sparks to fly!

And that is the real root of what the Desktop Gremlins are all about. I hope they inspire people to appreciate illustration in all its forms and realize the power a "little character" can bring to your state of mind.

DesktopGremlins.com is the destination for people to download and build the paper craft. But the heart of social interactivity around Desktop Gremlins is found at my Facebook page. I sometimes ask for beta testers to test my new construction sheets and I also post teasers about my new characters so my followers can "SCOOP" the launch date to their friends. It's been a wonderful way to share stories with other illustrators or fans of my paper craft. It has made me feel more "at home" from a GLOBAL perspective and I'm thankful for it.

Below are links of interest mentioned throughout the article:
landisproductions.com
desktopgremlins.com
Desktop Gremlins on Facebook
Desktop Gremlins on Twitter

A special thanks to David Landis of Landis Productions for contributing his fascinating article to the Illustration Pages site. If you have an article, tutorial, technique or process that you would like to contribute to the Illustration Pages site please contact us at info@illustrationpages.com

You might also enjoy reading Illustration Pages' in-depth interviews.

Illustration Pages News: Rockport Publishers Call for Entries! Inside the World of Board Graphics: Skate, Surf, Snow

WHAT IS ELIGIBLE: Any design/art that is on a surfboard, skateboard, or snowbaord. Manufactured designs as well as one-offs are all welcome. The art must exist on a ride-able board. There is no entry fee.

For more details and information on how to send in materials, please visit the Call for Entries section at www.rockpub.com.

Illustration Pages News: Charlene Chua's NXNE Cover Illustration

Charlene Chua illustrates the cover of Lucid Magazine. The feature was the NXNE music festival, which is a big, free music bash in Toronto that features over 600 bands and musicians.
Read More...

Artist Demos Are Always Inspiring. Watch a Few at The Art Department.

Contributed by Melissa Kojima

I always get a rush of inspiration when I watch an artist work. You can watch some of the great contemporary illustrators work in short demos at The Art Department website. Check out videos by Anita Kunz, Gary Kelley, Sterling Hundley and more.

Pick Up Inspiration in Thomas James' eBook, "15 Steps to Freelance Illustration"

Contributed by Melissa Kojima

Inspiring, hardworking illustrator, Thomas James has discovered and suffered the ins and outs of freelance illustration and he wants to share his wisdom and experience with you in his new eBook, "15 Steps to Freelance Illustration". Through Friday, June 18, 2010, it will be available at 25% off. Get it for this reduced price on his site, Escape From Illustration Island.

Get Your Daily Dose of Art Inspiration: Food Art by Hanock Piven

Contributed by Melissa Kojima

Can you make art out of food? Sure you can! Portrait illustrator Hanock Piven does it all the time as you can see in the portrait of Yelsin below. Check out his inspiring interview at Illustration Friday.

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