Apologies

Sorry for the lack of activity on here. I’m currently in the process of putting together and launching a new site that will be much better suited to promoting my work.

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Star Wars

With the upcoming release of the new Star Wars film later this year (yes, I do enjoy JJ Abrams’ films and I am looking forward to a SW film that hasn’t been directed by Lucas because, oh emm gee, stick to technology development and producing because you really can’t direct anymore and what was with the dialogue and wooden acting in the prequel trilogy, George?!)…

Sorry… got distracted.

Anyhoo, with the upcoming Episode VII I decided to try my hand at some vector-based fan art of the original trilogy. First up is an Art Deco inspired Millennium Falcon.

Millennium Falcon

I like the way that you can use Illustrator to get these big slabs of colour and shapes and imply detail without actually putting detail in. I wanted to imply speed with the big, long blue lines in the background. I also used a slant to the entire image to give it an energy and dynamism that was missing from the original idea I had which you can see here:

I also used an Art Deco style font to evoke that period of design. Once the initial design was done in Illustrator, I exported the image in to Photoshop where I used layer effects to add subtle lighting radiating from the bottom left. I then added in simplistic crescent shapes with rim lighting on the bottom left sides to give the viewer the impression of planets and moons. I think it turned out pretty well.

After that I wanted to try my hand at something a little more stylistic and something that I can turn into an ongoing series.

Print

I used Illustrator and the Pen tool (mainly) to create this piece. I used reference images of corridor and door panels from the Death Star interior to create the border. I was going for something akin to a monastic/religious motif with the bust and the Imperial emblem behind the character’s head. I’ve made the design so that it’s possible to just drag and drop each new character in to the available space. This will make it easier to turn into a series. Also, at the bottom will be that character’s distinctive weapon crossed over into something similar to a coat of arms. The Imperial/Royal Guards’ weapons were called Force Pikes. The next one will be a Stormtrooper with crossed blaster rifles, Scout Trooper with pistols or speederbikes, Snow Trooper with crossed… well, whatever they used… Ooh! Maybe AT-ATs?? And finish up with Darth Vader and his lightsabers. Yes, lightsabers. One from when he became Darth Vader and his one from when he was a Jedi. Just to add a bit of interest for the geeks out there.

So that’s something I’ll be working on for the next little while in my spare time.

In the meantime, I’m still working my way towards moving into a design career and leaving teaching. I’ve been adding things to my folio, working on freshening my skill set, assessing where my strengths and weaknesses lie, getting in touch with professionals to seek their advice, and going to talks and trying to make connections. 2015 is going to be the year I make it!

Catch ya!

Red Bubble Store! And The Year That’s Been!

Hey there, people!

It certainly has been a while, sorry about that. I’ve been very busy with work (teaching photography and art) and it’s taken up a lot of my time this past year. It’s been a year of highs and lows – though nothing too different than what I imagine the average person experiences. Still feeling somewhat unfulfilled, but have begun to rectify that by being more active in my art/design/photography work. I’ve even set up a Red Bubble store!

So what’s new?

This year I have taken on a permanent teaching role with a local high school as an art and photography teacher and I’ve had the privilege of working with some very fun and talented colleagues who I am lucky enough to call ‘friends’. I’ve also had the privilege of working with some talented young people. Sure, they can be ratbags at times, but their hearts are in the right places and if they push themselves they can achieve some great things in the years to come – they just need to believe in themselves. With that sentiment in mind, I’ve started taking some of my own (and others’) advice and taken a more active role in my own art making, because there’s no use talking about it if you’re not going to do something about it, right?

I put my design course on hold for the last 6 months while I concentrated on working with my senior group who are going into Year 12 next year. I’ll pick that course back up at the beginning of 2015 and complete the last 6 months of that. That’ll give me a Certificate IV in Graphic Design. As I’ve said in the past, I’m not keen on online learning so I won’t be continuing on and doing their web design component as I find their mode of delivery painful and frustrating.

I went camping down to the Great Ocean Road with a friend a couple of months back because I was keen on doing some night sky photography with my new 18-35mm f1.8 Sigma lens. Unfortunately, it was overcast the entire weekend bar about 15 minutes on one night. Still, we got some nice shots of steel wool spinning on the headlands around Loch Ard Gorge. I really must process them and get them up in my portfolio. It was a fun weekend of not-much-sleep, stupidly early mornings, and even more stupidly late nights!

I did discover that there is a minor(ish) glitch in the new lens when the aperture is open right up to f1.8. The autofocus likes to back focus on occasion which becomes annoying because you can’t tell until you upload the images to the computer. What the camera told you was in pin-sharp focus is instead softly blurred while something in the background is nice and sharply defined. Or, on occasion, there is nothing in the shot that’s in focus. Once I discovered this issue I contacted the Sigma consumer department and they were super-quick to get back to me. They’ll sort it out free-of-charge (obviously), but I just have to drop it off to their store which is unhelpfully located down in the boondocks of Port Melbourne. I’ll get on to that in January as I don’t have the time over the next couple of weeks and then it’ll be xmas and then New Years and blah blah blah.

Anyway, I have other work I need to be doing. Keep checking back to my Red Bubble store for new designs and stuff. If you have any requests, feel free to get in touch and I’ll see what I can do for you.

Stay creative!

Political Shenanigans

I had a bit of a crack at a political cartoon a little while ago. Every time I hear Abbott say “Australia is open for business” all I can imagine is the country getting screwed six-ways-from-sundown by these people…

This won't hurt... much.
This won’t hurt… much.

Some layout issues. I’d probably flip Abbott so he’s facing the other way. It would make the image a little more cohesive methinks.

Keep creating, friends.

2014 Kia Rio

Hey folks, long time no see. It’s been pretty busy here. I managed to get myself a steady job as a photography teacher in a local high school (and all the after-hours work that entails) and finishing off a subject at the online course I’m doing. Lots of stuff to keep me busy. In the mean time I’ve been keeping my eye open for photography jobs I can apply for because I’m still keen to follow the dream of being a photographer for a living. As a teacher you tend to find yourself nurturing other people’s dreams and aspirations while ignoring your own for the most part.

With that in mind I’ve applied once again for a photography position with CarSales that came up the other week. Part of the application required me to take 20 shots of a car so I took a new Kia out and proceeded to try and capture its best features. I went easy on the post-processing this time around and tried to make sure I had all the aspects set right in-camera so I wouldn’t have to do too much Photoshopping in the end. I think the most I did was remove a couple of tyre marks and parking lines from the main image. Otherwise it was all just some bumping up of clarity, a little adjustment here and there in a curves adjustment layer, and some slight cropping. Nothing too major.

Fingers crossed I hear back about my application.


front corner

Front

Doors Open

Selfies!

Well, singular, not plural.

Last week I was sketching out some ideas for a new resume. You know, something to look shmick and eye-catching and help put me out front of other applicants, because there’s nothing more boring than a resume that looks just like every other person’s resume. Black text on a white background. Standard serif font (or maybe a san serif like Arial if you’re feeling a little out there). Left aligned. Some bolded text for headings. You know the drill. Instead, I decided to use some of the artistic skills I have to come up with something a little different.

As something creative to add to my resume I figured I would make a simplified, cartoony vector self-portrait image in Illustrator. You know, instead of a bog-standard photo my resume will have something a little more jazzy and creative. This was the initial concept sketch.

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I decided that a full-body image would be a bit much and so I started on a very quick head sketch. This is a style I’ve been working on for a few years ever since I started sketching cartoony versions of my students back in 2008 when I was teaching at Oxley High School. It’s gotten a little cleaner and sharper. Anyways, back on topic… I sketched this and then scanned it into Photoshop and saved it as a simple .JPEG file.

Selfie Sketch

After that I exported it into Illustrator and locked the selection (so I couldn’t accidentally select it while working over it). Using this as the basis I came up with this:

Print

There are some obvious differences and changes were made on the fly. Firstly the decision to have no outline was a no-brainer because I like the look of flat coloured shapes defining the image. I think it’s a very “vector art” look and I like that. I made concessions with the eyes being outlined because I found they faded too much into the face colour and I wanted them to stand out a bit more. I made the ears a bit bigger because they just looked a tad weird and then added a neck and shoulders because it looked strange just being a disembodied head and left it looking ungrounded (if that makes sense?). I then added highlights to the hair and bear to get it to pop just that little bit and narrowed the head a bit.

To be honest, this looks a bit more “manly” and “jawsome!” than I actually am, but I’m cool with that and I think it worked as a decent cartoon/caricature.

Stay creative, peeps!

Damien.