Gene Parola, the author of Lehua, Ka’ao a ka Wahine [Lehua, The story of a Woman]: A Hawaiian Noblewoman Comes of Age at a “Changing of the Gods.”, and Deborah Bond-Upson of Awesome Stories have commissioned me to paint Lehua. Above are my early thumbnails for the project. The final paintings will be included in a second print of the book and also online at Awesome Stories. We are also currently looking into whether to include these thumbnails throughout the book.
Lehua’s story is about the shift from Hawai’i’s native religion in favor of Christianity and the place of this fictional young leader in that period of cultural transition. I highly recommend it. It’s compelling, romantic, very historically accurate, and a good read for young adults. Click the image below and you’ll be taken to first edition of the downloadable book on Amazon.com.
Though born to American parents in 1856, John Singer Sargent began painting under a leading French artist named Carolus-Duran, who emphasized painterly freedom and study of the works of Frans Hals, Rembrandt, Sir Anthony van Dyke, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and the Spanish master Diego Velázquez. Though he painted and won acclaim for genre scenes and subject pictures, the demand for portrait commissions defined his reputation.
Through these studies I got a feel for how he wove impressionist techniques he may have learned through association with Claude Monet while focusing with more realism on key areas like the face and hands in these portraits. Sargent’s impressionistic style compliments the realism and enhances it. I also enjoyed his exquisite use of color, especially his blues and greens that are reminiscent of Claude Monet’s palette.
Wednesday, January 26th, 2011: New Graduate Student Orientation
Orientation was a required event for all of the new graduate students. We were there to meet the president and vice president of the Academy of Art University, our admissions representatives, and heads of our respective schools. I’ve quickly learned that AAU is very focused on creating professionals ready to enter the industry by graduation. And an event like this was a perfect opportunity to network and meet any and all of the new graduate students in one place. I approached it like a trade conference.
At Reed College, I quickly realized that the most interesting kids in school went there and places like it. I could spend hours talking excitedly (or ‘geeking out’ if you prefer) with any student there. At AAU, I have the impression that the most creative and driven aspiring artists go there. Same dedication, same ambition, same intrinsic motivation to learn and grow. Just my kind of people, but with a different focus.
I’m not the type to briefly exchange names and cards with as many people as I can in the time allotted. That may work for some people, and I’ll grant, it generates a lot of contacts. But I’m more comfortable with meeting 3-4 people at an event like this, talking in depth for about 20 minutes each if I can (or in a group if they know each other), and try to form lasting connections with them. These could be my collaborators or colleagues in the future, perhaps near-future if we combine forces in school. Hopefully we’d be ambitious enough to publish our own books or found our own companies. Such things have happened in AAU and schools like it.
I don’t know why people get nervous about meeting each other at an event like this. Ok, well, maybe I do because I used to be painfully shy too. I had a very negative inner monologue right up until I was settled at Reed. And maybe it does echo into my consciousness from time to time, particularly when I’m out of my element. But in reality, people want to meet each other. They are silently screaming, ‘Talk to me, please! I don’t know anyone!’ I know because that’s what I’ve thought. So I just dive in. Ask questions. Be like a reporter and interview people. People love to talk about themselves, so I give them the excuse, and my card. I love listening to them, especially when I find we’re obsessed about the same things.
After the meet & greet, I went with two new friends up to the welcome lecture. The highlight there was the spring show reel of the work that previous Masters in Fine Art (MFA) students have created. Some of their work was quite impressive. The video ended with the promise that we would create art like that. Many of us swore we would create art at that caliber. Yet some of us feared, deep inside, that there had been a mistake. We feared we weren’t qualified and didn’t have the talent.
Fear is perfectly healthy at the beginning of a long transformation such as this. It prevents one from being arrogant, complacent, and closed to new ideas. After-all, to understand is to stand under a concept for a while. But that fear isn’t completely warranted. Yes, there are schools out there that just want funding and will take (and pass) anyone. I’ve heard the horror stories. A school like this one, however, has a good reputation for working its students hard, challenge them, and pushing them out of their comfort zones. And a school like AAU reviews admission application portfolios for a reason – to find the potential in them.
Next we split into our respective schools. Those like me in the Illustration School convened with Bill Maughan, the Director of Graduate Illustration. I was a little tongue-tied meeting him, and this is why:
A professional illustrator and fine artist, Mr. Maughan received a Bachelor of Fine Art in Illustration from the Art Center College of Design. He has provided numerous illustrations for such companies as DreamWorks, Woman’s Day, TV Guide, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, CBS, Universal Studios, Wells Fargo Bank, Chevrolet, GMC, Franklin Library, New American Library, Avon Books, Pinnacle Books, Signet Books, Tor Books, Doubleday, Harcourt Brace, Knopf, Oxford University Press, Danbury Mint, Fenwick and others. Since the early ’80s Mr. Maughan’s work, both originals and prints, has been represented by major galleries and publishers, domestically and internationally. His works of art are included in private, commercial and museum collections. Mr. Maughan’s book, The Artist’s Complete Guide to Drawing the Head, was published in 2004 by Watson/Guptill.
When he’s not teaching Academy students the fundamentals — realism-based drawing, design concepts, value, form, color and composition — he paints in his studio in the mountains of Utah.
Bill (I feel a little irreverent using his first name, but that’s the convention at school), Bill has been illustrating long before I was born; to say that he knows what he’s talking about is a grand understatement.
Bill Maughan took the time to advise us at the beginning of our careers with AAU and after. He also reviewed what the midpoint reviews and final theses will entail for each focus (or track). Mine is the Concept Art track with a focus on games.
Midpoint review will involve a few of our best examples from each of the classes we’ll be taking (or new pieces in the subjects those classes covered, they don’t need to have been presented in class – I might be better at head drawing long after finishing that class for example). This is also when I’ll pitch my final thesis project in a written proposal.
The Final thesis for Concept Art will involve a entire ‘pitch’ for a film or game. Thumbnails, three character designs (only one can be human), a turnaround, a painted background environment, and the layout design of a room from several angles.
Yeah, kinda frightening! But this is also the master who saw our portfolios and essays in our applications and believes we have potential.
So while, even as I write, my stomach is twisted in knots at what is ahead, I have faith that the school knows what it’s doing and would have turned me down if I couldn’t succeed. I just have to apply myself and work very, very hard.
Q: So what are you offering today?
- Original Characters and creatures
- Landscapes and cityscapes both real from photo reference and imagined
- Book Covers
- Nudity you wouldn’t mind your mom seeing
- Your relatives and friends (not nude)
I work mainly in digital realistic and painterly styles, but upon request I can work in either comic book or animation styles.
Q: What’s that?
A: Full color head & shoulders of any character OR real life people if you have a good quality reference of front/side/3quarter.
Q: What do I need to provide?
A: Several good images of the character, plus a description of their personality, OR one good image of the real person and descriptions of their personality. If the subject is a real person, you’ll need the rights to the photo too (if you took the photo yourself, or have permission from the photographer).
Q: Then what happens?
A: I scurry away and sketch up an outline. I’ll show it to you and you can make your comments and I’ll tweak it. Once you’re happy with that, I’ll color and detail it in my painted style. I can’t accept revisions after it’s done, since portraits are quick and cheap. Unless, of course, it’s my own fault for getting something wrong that was clearly shown in the reference.
Q: What can I do with the image?
A: Print it, hang it up, stick it on your fridge, anything you like…just don’t make money off it or use it to create new artwork. If you post it online, I would also ask for credit when and where possible.
Q: What will you do with the image?
A: I’ll add it to my portfolio and use it for promoting my work.
Q: What else should I know?
A: I retain ownership of the final artwork and reserve the right to display it on my website, portfolios, and submit it to magazines or artbooks. It will however never be sold, used for profit, or licenced to another without your approval. You may use the image for non-profit purposes only unless agreed otherwise. Full licence agreement is available on request.
Q: I am totally cool with all that. How much?
A: Portraits……$50 US
Waist Up…….$70-$80 (Depending on costume and pose complexity)
Full body……$90-$100 (Depending on costume and pose complexity)
Scenes………$160+ (Depends on background detail, number of characters, size)$40 via Paypal.
If you want two characters in an image, double the price and subtract $10. For scenes, it’s generally $50 per extra character (eg. a three character scene would be $260).
Portraits, full bodies, and waist-ups come with simple backgrounds (ie colour gradients, textures, blurry detail) only. Adding a full background counts as a scene.
Q. Ok great, how do I hire you for a commission?
Contact Me first describing what you would like for your commission. Please provide a detailed description of the character (pose, appearance, costume, personality) and any visual references or inspiration. For commissions of real-life people, provide either one photo (I will reference it directly, guarantees likeness) or many quality photos from multiple angles (I will use them to figure out face shapes, results in unique image but may not be perfect likeness). I can then price your commission and you can return here to purchase it.
Commissions are first come, first served. Most artworks are completed within two weeks
I accept payments through Paypal only. 50% of payment is due upon approval of sketch (except for portraits, full payment is due upon approval of the sketch). Remainder must be paid before full-resolution 300dpi image is provided. Due to the fluctuating exchange rate all values are in US dollars.
To purchase your commission:
At five years old I had chosen my first favorite color: Black.
I know what you’re thinking: I must have been a death-rocker in the mid-80’s, back before black was the new pink. No, goth. Definitely goth. Robie, my good college friend, supplied this incriminating photographic evidence.
Here my dark secret is exposed: I was a goth child, seen here communing with a conch. This was the precise merger of the known and unknown, the outer shell that is seen by the outside world vs. the inner sanctum of the shell.This was my natural state, prior to public school, genderization, and exposure to social expectation.
Seriously? No, not really. I did play with GI Joe before I picked up the Barbie habit…but I had an alternative motive for choosing black.
I loved black because I’d realized that all of the outlines in cartoons were thin black lines. I realized that black encompassed the world and imagined lines around everything. I hadn’t heard of negative space, outer space, or the spaces in-between. I just saw the common thread, and it was black.
This was the age when I became an artist.
Welcome to my site, StudioBond.net, and thank you for visiting my corner of the Interweb.