Archive for the ‘Imagination’ Category

Georgian Bay Watersnake #Inktober

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

I was happily swimming off a Killbear Provincial Park rock this August when a friendly camper lady said, “Um, hey, you might want to know that there is a snake in the water.”

Ya, I think I would like to know that. And upon hearing that, I scrambled ever so ungracefully out of the lake and safely onto dry land. I was told that the snake in question was a small fox snake and that it wouldn’t hurt me and that it was probably more scared than I was. I doubt that.

So the other morning I was lying in bed, not quick to get up…but I had to get up, so I just pictured me in the lake with a watersnake swimming towards me. And that was it, I was out of bed.

And so of course that morning’s drawing was of my version of a watersnake. Happy #Inktober!

 

GeorgianBayWatersnake_M-J-Kelley-2015

Georgian Bay Watersnake (pencil/ink) by M-J Kelley 2015

Two cows ‘K? #Inktober –

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

My grandparents had a dairy farm when I was growing up. They had Holsteins. When I was young I thought they had 1000’s of cows, but I read recently that the average dairy farm in Canada milks 73 cows. So I guess they didn’t have 1000’s of cows. Regardless, I always thought they were beautiful and still do. They are super fun to draw if you can get the shape of the head correct – but actually I think that is true of anything you draw.

So in honour of #Inktober …. here are Two Cows ‘K? I don’t know what they are doing. I don’t think they do either.

Two Cows K by M-JKelley 2015 Inktober

Two Cows, ‘K? (pencil/ink) by M-J Kelley 2015

In addition, here is a formal pencil drawing I drew a few years ago.

Melody the Cow (graphite) - M-J Kelley Studio

Melody the Cow (pencil) by M-J Kelley

#Inktober – Four ‘cans better than Tucans

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

In honour of #Inktober … a couple of Tucans just hanging out.

Tucans_M-JKelley2015_400_2 #Inktober

Four ‘cans Better Than Two Cans (pencil/ink) – M-J Kelley 2015

Drawing Turbulence

Friday, August 14th, 2015

On my recent return flight from San Francisco, I experienced the worst turbulence. I had my sketchbook out at the time and decided just to keep on drawing – just to see what would happen.

Turbulence (graphite) by M-JKelley2015

Turbulence (graphite) by M-J Kelley 2015

Fringe Postcard Art

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Recently a good friend called and asked if I would help her by designing her Kansas City Fringe Festival performance art postcard. She asked if I would modify one of my paintings, Pectin.

Pectin (gouache) by M-J Kelley

Pectin (gouache) by M-J Kelley

She wanted something simple. To have the cherry magically transformed into a heart. And so I did that using Photoshop’s transform – warp tool. Then I cleaned it up with the eraser and the clone/stamp tool.

Pectin Fringe postcard M-J Kelley

I selected Blackadder ITC as the main title font which suited her performance piece and used a sans serif Open Sans for the information. I set everything up to her printer’s request including trim and bleed marks and pdf proofs.

Pectin Fringe postcard back M-J Kelley

And I made her a poster as well.

Pectin Fringe poster M-J Kelley

Jamie picked them up at the printer today and said they were beautiful. Glad to help. Good luck with your Fringe performance, Jamie!

Best New Thing in My World: Adobe Illustrator

Friday, January 9th, 2015

The summer and fall of 2014 were obviously not spent writing in my blog (sorry I will try to do better this year). Instead they were spent thinking and learning. I spent a lot of my time thinking about what I want to do with all that I know and came up with how much I still needed to learn. Funny that.

From all that thinking I came up with two things in particular that I wanted to do. First, I wanted to rebrand my web business and change it up a bit and the second was to work on a web comic.

Both needed websites and artwork. More precisely, vectorized digital artwork.

So how does a drawing in my sketchbook become a vectorized logo? Adobe Illustrator.

Three Loud Crows sketchbook M-J Kelley_2015

Sketchbook drawing of web services logo for Three Loud Crows

So I drew my new logo for my web services business Three Loud Crows in my sketchbook. Then I scanned the image into Adobe Photoshop, changed the colour mode to grayscale and cleaned it up. Enter, Adobe Illustrator … I placed the logo onto new artboard, image traced it, and painted it.

Final logo for Three Loud Crows web services business – M-J Kelley (digital artwork 2014)

Final logo for Three Loud Crows web services business – M-J Kelley (digital artwork 2014)

Et voilà! Vectorized digital artwork. It’s a big piece that fits nicely into the puzzle of what I’ll be working on this year.

My Journey into Sheridan College’s Computer Animation Grad Program

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

The last eight months have been somewhat grueling. I was in the Computer Animation Graduate Program at Sheridan College. Wow, that was challenging. Learning how to make an animated film is not for the faint of heart. You have to really want to do it and not for the possibility of a job or money or fame – just that you really want to do it.

My reason was that I really wanted to learn how to make my sketchbook characters come to life and to tell their stories. And I did just that with a Toad.

Toad (pencil/sketchbook) by M-J Kelley 2014

Toad (pencil/sketchbook) by M-J Kelley 2014

But first came the learning of software…3D (Maya), rendering (Vray), sculpting (Mudbox), compositing (After Effects) – just to name a few.

If I had known anything about animation, virtual sculpting, compositing, editing, or rendering prior to the program, my life would have been immediately better. Instead, I had to learn all of that in addition to modeling, UV layouts, lighting, texturing, shading, cameras, rigging, etc.

My first three months I was way behind. It wasn’t because I didn’t work hard. It was because there was just so much to learn and the language was different – pipeline, UVs, IK handles, CVs, dope sheet, anisotropic, etc. By December, I began to catch up and that was because of storyboarding. Pencil and paper, I knew how to do. And that gave me just enough time to really focus on rigging and animating and so before I left for the holidays I was on track.

When I came back, the very best smartest thing I did was I focused on my Toad’s animation. My story has 34 scenes – which is a lot of for a 1:42 minute film. That means it has jump cuts and a lot of those isn’t always good. So working on the animation, meant I also worked on the timing, the cuts, the camera angles, which in turn improved the telling of my story. All the same, that was a painful ten weeks. My animation isn’t perfect, but I became a much better animator for having worked that hard for that long on all of those scenes.

I pretty much stayed on track that is until I hit “how to texture the terrain” bump, which was really more like running headlong into a brick wall. There are a lot of different ways to do it and I really wanted to use image projection offered by Mudbox. I really wanted that to work…but it didn’t, which meant I lost a huge amount of time. And you just can’t lose time on this project. So I had to come up with another procedure which made me spin my wheels for a bit. Eventually I bought a bunch of very expensive high-res rock images and used Maya’s planar projection mapping, created a Vray sand shader, and finished it off with Maya’s Paint Effects — all in the nick of time so I could keep up with the film’s impending deadline. Deadlines are good. They are so very helpful for sorting out what is important and what is not.

My film is finished. And yet there is still so much to do. But it tells a story pleasantly and effectively and that was my goal.

Two days ago was Industry Day. It is where you show your film to the animation industry. I have mixed feelings about Industry Day. I wanted to take home a richer experience than I did. But that would be hard to do, because the last eight months were the rich experience. How could anything much top making one’s own character come to life? Well actually today could. Because I am ready to start a new film…I’m going to flip through my sketchbooks and find just the right character and just the right story and start again…

Sketchbook Drawing: Precious Egg

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Precious Egg (graphite) by M-J Kelley 2013

Precious Egg (graphite) by M-J Kelley 2013

…from my sketchbook.

BIG IDEAS

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

I love BIG IDEAS. Somehow, I magically come up with a plan for something and move in that direction. When I do that, I give it my all. I dig deep and research, ask questions, stay up late, get up early and do the hard work needed to achieve my goals. This behavior is a constant as long as I have a BIG IDEA.

For the last several years, I have had a BIG IDEA for my artwork. I have worked hard and some of that has paid off. But some, quite frankly, has seen me throwing precious energy into the wind only to watch it fly away.

The latter is unbelievably frustrating.

And so, here I am, reassessing my BIG IDEA. In fact, I’ve been doing it since late September, which is the main reason why I haven’t posted a blog since then. Reassessing BIG IDEAS is a bit paralyzing. It’s a mental transition that seemingly affects all of me. I am no good without a BIG IDEA. The transition takes time, but fortunately, I always seem to be able to move toward another BIG IDEA.

My new BIG IDEA begins with a return in the New Year to my traditional figurative roots. I was never very far from it, but it is hard to do everything I like to do. I have spent the last several years exploring my imaginative work with my surreal art. It will continue on its creative storytelling journey even as I take a more traditional turn. And as for my wildlife drawings, I have opted to only draw a few of them this year.

The biggest thing I am axing from my last BIG IDEA is the art show circuit. I want to focus on being a better artist ― strengthening my knowledge, honing my skills and just enjoying the process. Sometimes the art show preparation is so demanding that it is easy to forget that I paint or draw not for others, but for myself ― for the simple goals of expression and enjoyment.

I have other ideas tucked into my BIG IDEA but for now I think that is a good beginning to the New Year.

Paint Me A Birmingham

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

I like listening to country music. I heard a song today by Tracy Lawrence — "Paint Me a Birmingham." The premise of the song is that a man stumbles upon an artist who is painting on the beach. The man asks him "if he only painted ocean scenes." The artist replies, "For twenty dollars, I’ll paint you anything."

Twenty dollars? For anything? So the man says to the artist:

"Could you Paint Me A Birmingham
Make it look just the way I planned
A little house on the edge of town
Porch goin’ all the way around
Put her there in the front yard swing
Cotton dress make it, early spring
For a while she’ll be, mine again
If you can Paint Me A Birmingham."

All that for twenty dollars and the artist offers to paint the man "back into her arms again."

I have to admit I am a sucker for this kind of romantic ballad. What I wouldn’t give to be able to paint someone’s heartache away. Maybe that is why the artist only charged twenty dollars — to cover his material costs.