Vertebra – Photo-manipulation

A straight photo-manipulation my friend and I made using a mix of personal and free assets. It was a fun day trip driving out to Des Moines to gather a plethora of photos, and this is what we came up with. I think it could have gone a lot worse considering our relative inexperience with photography.

Putting it together was also difficult, as we had something like three hundred pictures to comb through. Anyway, I had fun putting it together!

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copr Blu-art 2018

Amalgam

One of my first attempts at a piece with an invisible background (not easy the way I paint). My style breaks down in cleanliness a little when you take away the background which I usually use for positive and negative space interplay, but this came out alright. It’s a little confusing to look at but it’s also a T-shirt design and I kind of like that it looks like a simple shape from far away but is also rather detailed up close.

It’s a mixed media piece. The women were done in ink while the buildings were photo manipulated into a fractal pattern. The pain splatters and textured splashes were painted digitally.

 

 

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Here’s some examples of how it looks printed:

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Anyway, had a lot of fun putting this together between exams and ER shifts this weekend.

 

Here’s a link to the store page if anyone is interested: https://www.designbyhumans.com/shop/t-shirt/men/metric-rain/952154/2

V – I miss you

Time lost up front.

You fell and it’s to late too fix the hole in your head.

So I’ll be there when they say it’s time, because I wasn’t there when I should’ve been. Time paid back in half…at best. Still, I’ll be there when they set you free, of that prison gravity put you in.

And at least your valves will work for someone who didn’t fall, but if I’m being honest I don’t care. Because their brain isn’t yours. There’s a romantic something to be found in the fact your heart will be pumping for someone else, but I liked your brain better than your heart. It was a good heart. You ran eight miles a day and left me in the dust whenever I tried to tag along.

I could blame the pseudo-asthma but the truth is you had a better heart. Figuratively and literally; a better heart. Which brings me back to the construct of you; your brain. Your dead brain. You survived the surgery and suddenly Kendra was right to have driven straight to Madison. You pushed through. But, it’s just as well, I’ll get to see you but I owe her an apology. The surgeon said you had three hours and I had eight hours of pavement to cover. So I cried instead.

Then we thought you were alive again. Until they couldn’t wake you up. So I cried again and at least Kendra was back to cry with me. I know I need to be there for her more than I have been too.

Still.

Fuck you for not using ropes. And fuck me for thinking it was cool every time you scaled a building or cliff face without them. Fuck me for not loving you back when you needed it and fuck me for taking so long to realize you were still my best friend. Fuck me for assuming you wanted nothing to do with me over that lie.

At least we figured it out near the end. Figured out we still needed each other.

And I know you want to leave now. I know you don’t want to be trapped in a coma. I know you don’t want to be buried so we’ll scatter you where you said.

Thank you for everything. Thank you for convincing me to keep arting, thank you for playing Borderlands 2 with me everyday after school for over a year because you knew I was lonely, and thank you for being there that summer during my surgery. Thank you for helping me cook for French class and convincing everyone I did it alone while I was in the other room. Thank you for thinking I was worth keeping around, and for believing in fate and love when I couldn’t seem to comprehend either. Thank you for taking the time to help me learn. I love you V.

And I’ll be there when they pull the plug and cut out your valves.

Cancer – Painting

Phew. Been working on this one for a few months. A put out a smaller version a while back, then realized it had more potential. So I added, a lot. And made it huge. I’m proud of it. There’s a lot of little details that are easy to miss, especially when it’s shrunk down like this. (If you can find the negative space crab, I’ll be impressed.

I still need to clean up a few things (especially the lips and the transition to the waterfall). But I think it’s on track to be one of my most complex pieces.

 

94×73 inch digital painting

Cancer

copr Blu-art and Arktic-ink 2018, all rights reserved.

Wallpaper cut:

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More Cover Art!

A collaboration project with an old art buddy of mine. Been working on it over the past month or so and I think it’s coming along nicely. It’s primarily a digital painting but there are composite elements in the largest flower and the famous building I’ve forgotten the name of (both were free photos from unsplash.com that we reworked into the composition). The subject was also based on a photo which I masked over and painted/re-textured. That’s essentially the equivalent of tracing something, but it is still painted and I think she turned out well.

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copr Blu-art and Kochre. 

I moved away here from my normal hyper-textured/realistic style primarily because there isn’t enough skin to make it work. Most of the composition was just black…so we worked in little Easter eggs from the story.

I’m especially proud of the eye re-texturing I did specifically for this piece.

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Here’s a closeup of the most recent addition. There’s some smoothing out to do still, but I’m rather fond of how it turned out.

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Here is a close-up of the hands alongside a few of the more complex transitions:

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I know it seems needlessly bloody, but the character depicted loses a finger during the act this heads, which is what it references. Furthermore, I did a questionable job on repainting the contour of the hand and messed up the skin color a little. The blood helps cover up the mediocrity.

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The artwork displayed here is copyrighted and not available for any type of reproduction without explicit written permission from me. I’m pretty open to letting people use stuff as long as they pass along credit, so don’t be afraid to ask!

My Portfolio: https://arctic-ink.myportfolio.com/

My Deviant Art: https://arctic-ink.deviantart.com/

My Design by Humans shop: https://www.designbyhumans.com/shop/ArcticInk/

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Sketches from my first sketchbook: Six years of progress #1

I took my first art/design course when I was a sophomore in high school (six years ago). I was interested in making art for video games and I was already learning C# and experimenting with tools like Autodesk maya and engines like UDK to make my own stuff.

That whole dream never really panned out (ended up in hard sciences) but I really went at the art. I was doing fifty hours a week, staying up all night to practice contour and learn to draw new things. It was one of my first real obsessive periods. I periodically get really into things which later eb and flow but most have stuck around (writing and drawing more than anything).

For the class we had to do daily sketches from life or our head based on a prompt. These are some of them. Bare in mind that while I was working hard, I was very much a beginner. It’s awesome to look back and compare this stuff to my current works and compositions. The style is actually pretty similar, still, in a lot of ways. It’s just more refined and cohesive now.

I’ll go in order of the pages and this was taped to the front page.

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I started out with bic pens and markers which s what this was in. Pretty sketchy shading but I was really proud of the contour. It took my a while and few tries at the time to nail down the general shape of a face let alone the gesture of a body.

This was probably the first time I tried to depict tattoos on skin, which is something I do on a regular basis now. I’ve gone so far as to design elaborate tattoos just so I could put them in a drawing later on:

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In this semi-photo-realistic digital portrait I spent the most time on the tattoos and hair. I’ve found that abstract designs (time here) work much better for accenting skin in the context of a drawing.

This style evolved further into turning the skin into it’s own canvas within a canvas:

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Here the skin is less skin and more of a symbolic mosaic kind of story. I don’t like to explain intent explicitly and won’t, but there is a specific reason things are where they are here.

To me it’s really cool to be able to trace stylistic elements I employ in my hyper-realism and composite art back to one of the first decent anime sketches I did a few months after I started drawing.

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Writing and creating artwork is pretty much the best thing ever. It comes to me whenever I need, and goes when I don’t. I love that. The hard part for me is sharing the products. It’s nerve-wracking putting a piece of yourself on display to be ridiculed or loved or even ignored. No, it feels much better to keep such things private, to hide them away from the toxic fangs of judgment and just enjoy them. That’s what I do most of the time, why most of my work never leaves this blog. It feels safer here than places like deviant art or even design by human.

Is it weird that I only find enjoyment in the act of creating? Even when it’s positive feedback or constructive…I don’t know. I don’t want these things to feel high stakes, I want them to be a medium for expression and emotion and a release. Maybe some of it comes from school, where I’m judged constantly during exams, quizzes, and projects. Maybe the arts an escape from that, and by sharing or submitting I end up falling into that same examination. I don’t like that feeling. I just wanna make pretty stuff and feel something.

I think that’s why I take so many hiatuses from blogging or posting anything at all. My art is just better when I don’t think about what other people will think about it. You know?

Anyway, happy hump day.

-Blu

Monthly Drawing Mosaic 2: April

Really starting to fall in love with Photoshop as a medium. Whatever is in your head…just make it happen.

 

Note: While not all of these are watermarked, they are copy righted (copr Blu-art 2018). If you’d like to use any of them, just ask first and I’ll likely say yes and provide a full resolution version. 

Cheers,

Blu

Painting for my Cousin’s birthday – Taurus

He’s a weight-lifter who just won state in power-lifting. He’s also a Taurus so I decided to continue the zodiac project which I’d been putting off.

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So my goal was to give the piece a heavy handed impact and a strong center focus, with the eyes being the most rendered bits. Been experimenting with more impressionistic and suggestive styles for skin facial structure. I think the varied texture and coloring of the skin and the blob of black with little bits of brown that suggest curly hair turned out well. The backgrounds a little meh, but I wanted the focus to go straight to the blue/purple eyes. The horn and shattered stone cow represent Taurus and the traits associated.

To me, it looks a lot like a traditional portrait for Scorpio I did four or five months ago: cropped-determination41.jpg

copr Blu-Art 2018

The theory and direction here was very similar, except it’s in watercolor and pen.

It’s crazy to think I’ve only just started my transition to digital art a few months ago, and I’m really proud of the progress I’ve made. I feel myself getting to the point where I can translate my traditional art style to my digital work in a much more fluid manner. When I first tried out digital drawing I was discouraged because everything felt disconnected. It felt like I wasn’t really building off of old skills, just learning something new. Now it feels like I’m slowly combining the two into something uniquely me.

Beyond the fact that this drawing was for someone close, it is important to me because it made me realize where I want to take my art and style as a whole. That’s something I’ve been trying to figure out for a long time, too.

 

Cheers,

Blu

Is Digital Art Cheating? – an actual blog post since I guess I have a blog that I don’t blog on and should fix that

I was at a party where many art majors were present last night.

I tend to sit in a corner and hangout with the person who invited me at these sorts of gatherings since I don’t drink. There was a lively debate running at a table I was near, and it caught my attention. There was a man arguing that digital art took literally no skill and that while it may take some time to learn the tools, was essentially the technician version of being a radiologist (technician is a good job, so he was already off base with the analogy).

So me and my friend both took issue with this and told him so. He kinda laughed because I guess I don’t look all that cool. Now I mean my main qualm was his assertion that someone couldn’t be both a digital artist and someone who could use a pencil. Now I use pens, which have a reputation for being significantly less wieldy than pencils (look ma, no eraser). So I told him that I do digital art and think I can also illustrate semi-competently.

Do I consider myself a professional or expert? No, absolutely not, and I hope I never think I’m an expert because that’s when you have hit your cap. I don’t ever wanna stop learning or improving because that progress is what drives me to make art in the first place. But do I think I can draw most things I’d want to? Yeah, I could attempt it and do an alright job probably. But it’s all practice.

So he told me to prove it, and I’m like “okay”.

I showed him this, which is multimedia, granted, but the digital and traditional portions are distinct. It was a traditional drawing that I later redid the background in illustrator.

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His response: “Pfft, that’s low art.”

My friend flipped on him there, asked him to share his high art. I was already uncomfortable with his insult, because I worked hard on this and never intended to sell it because it was art for something personal, which I think is what art should be for. It was the fourth drawing I did when I started drawing again early last year during a very difficult time in my life. This piece meant something to me, and art should mean something to you when you make it. This piece depicts bulimia nervosa and OCD which are both worth depicting, because they are brutal disorders.

If you really think you can honestly look at any drawing or piece of art and determine in five seconds whether or not it is low (has no meaning or minimal low-brow value/appeal) or high (has meaning and value), then you don’t know how art works.

So, he showed us a picture from a gallery of a large painting with an abstract horse thing as the subject. And it was good, in my opinion. I’m a sucker for abstract and impressionism. I told him I liked it and he seemed kinda self satisfied and my friend looked at me like what’s wrong with you. But I wasn’t gonna lie and say I didn’t like it to be bitter, I mean then I’d be like him; toxic.

Anyway. I left with her pretty quick after that, didn’t want to be around the negativity I’d associated with the room and party. I felt kind of bad until I thought about it more and realized that his attitude will ultimately prevent him from learning and getting better and that’s what’s sad…That he needs to shit on other peoples hard work and throw around “low art” when he doesn’t even understand the context of something.

 

I thought about the question more and here’s my answer:

I don’t think either is better, I think they are different and similar, but one is not better or a “lower” form of art. Traditional is hard because you don’t have a perfect eraser or perfect paper that never breaks. It’s easier to add than take away. This limitation is ninety-nine% mitigated in digital art, but now you have to either drop two-thousand on a flagship cintiq or struggle to draw lines with a mouse or low quality tablet. TABLET DRAWING IS SO HARD THAT I DRAW WITH A MOUSE.

Yes, I draw with a mouse and attempt to draw lines with a mouse. This is part of what makes digital art challenging, the images are not auto generated, you still have to make these things. And when you’re using composites it’s a whole different beast to blend disparate images together, it’s heavier and hard shading to do that than to draw a face in my experience.

But I love both because they look different and are unique. I can’t draw something that looks traditional in Photoshop and I can’t draw hyper-realism on traditional mediums. (I can composite backgrounds in after scanning via multimedia techniques though).

I feel like art is up against enough when we artists aren’t trying to eat up each others confidence, you know?

 

 

Cheers,

Blu