I’ve been very busy this past week. A friend of mind Brad (no relation), twists my arm every once in a while to get involved in shows or contests… nine times out of ten I bail. This time I thought it could be an opportunity to see what I could do with my sketches I’ve been making of cartoon characters. I approached it much like I was doing back in 2006 with my Music Royalty series.
Charlie Brown, Milhouse & SpongeBob SquarePants
I started on some Masters of the Universe sketches: Man at Arms
I also got going on roughing out the fox for my forest painting.
I realized I didn’t share my last sketches of 2014:
Harvey Dent aka Two Face
The main Characters of Regular Show – Pops, Rigby, Mordecai, High Five Ghost, Muscle Man, Benson, and Skips
Last week I finally cleaned up my sidebar and background. My sidebar was taking up too much vertical space, and it was missing a link to my commercial portfolio. Even though I will miss my Leitch Selected Portfolio image I’m very happy with the new buttons. I shrank my gravatar and moved my info up beside it, as well as shrank my links to my other pages and added a title. All of this allowed me to add a widget that pulls data to show my most popular posts.
That’s it for now, Later.
I just gotta say, thanks so much for all the support with my forest paintings. Almost everyone that bought the pieces sent me photos of them hung in their living room, dining room, office, etc. Means a lot.
I’ve been designing up a storm these last few months which has put my fine art and sketching on the backburner. I’m falling into a nice rhythm so I should be getting back to it soon. I’ve been doing lots of logo work, banners, social media badges and icons, and food photography.
Here’s just some of the stuff I’ve been doing for Wildly Fit. I guess it’s my duty to tell you to check out some of the health and fitness services Morgan offers (the free Start Wild group is happening next week).
Site Badges/Instagram Advertising
Food Photos with Type
I started teaching in January. Typography 1 in the Graphic Design program at Toronto Film School. So far, I’m having a blast. It’s pretty cool to make these assignments and then the students come back with great work that exceeds expectations. They’re certainly pushing and inspiring me.Later
I’d like the thank everyone for their support with the forest painting. By Saturday morning I had sold them all. If you’re interested in grabbing one of these let me know ASAP. I’m not sure how many more I’m going to be able to make because the stencil will only last for a handful of sprays. I can make a limited number more. Once again if you’re interested in purchasing one, please email me at email@example.com subject line “forest painting”. And in the email let me know if you want the grey or the natural background.
On another note…one of the many projects I’ve been working on the last few weeks, has been modifying my booth for friend and former roommate Claire Manning.
It started with sanding, painting, and adding new knobs to an old dresser.
She had an old Umbra door clothing rack that I repainted, and made notches in the wall, so it would fit and prevent it from sliding from side to side. Finally I made simple shelves using cheap metal brackets.
Booth turned out great. Claire, another friend Michelle, and I got up at 3:30am this morning to set it all up.
If you’re hitting up the One Of A Kind Show in Toronto, be sure to stop by her booth. She’s at BOOTH P33. She’s selling tea towels, aprons, napkins and pillows.
I finished my stencil! After 10 months of picking away at it I cut my last piece on Monday at 2:30 am.
Felt good to finally have it done. The work wasn’t over though. I had to make a frame to slide the canvas into so the stencil could lay flat and I could make some sort of registration.
After that I tinted the white areas of the canvas so my highlights stencil would stand out.
Then I finally sprayed it. After layering colours over and over I got to a point where it looked perfect. Here they are…
So as you can see, this is just a section. I decided I can’t reveal it yet. I have only a fox to paint in and I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag just yet. From here on out any progress shots will be closeups until it’s finished.
So as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I have spent the last 10 months working away at this. It has shaved a couple years off my hands and back so I decided I would make other versions for as long as the stencils will hold up for other people to enjoy. Yup, they’re on sale. Here they are….
3ft x 2ft (36″ x 24″) Spray paint on wood panel (grey)
3ft x 2ft (36″ x 24″) Spray paint & wood stain on wood panel (natural)
In the grey version I have painted the panel before adding the stencils. On the tan version I have applied natural wood stain to the panel before adding the stencils. Both are $200 each.
If you’re interested in purchasing one, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org subject line “forest painting”. And in the email let me know if you want the grey or the natural background. Please note each painting is unique and will differ from all others (it’s the nature of this process) so they may differ somewhat from these photos but will look every bit as good.
By one for yourself or give one as a gift (wink wink, nudge nudge).
Back to work,
I’m in the homestretch now with my forest stencil. I finally finished the first stencil which was for the shadows.
I’m onto the second one now which will make up the highlights. It’s been going super fast in comparison…. there is just simply less detail to cut.
I’m super pumped to be painting this within the next couple of weeks. In the first post about this painting I mentioned it’s been a long time coming (about 5-6 years). It’ll be great to move on to other projects I’ve had on the back-burner. I’ve decided instead of making one painting from these, I will make a few of them. Stay tuned! Next post should be the fruits of my labour.
I’ve been a bit all over the place lately, but I’ve recommitted myself to my forest stencil that I bagan at the beginning of 2014. It’s a beast, and with all of the detail it takes forever.
I’m really starting to make ground on it and you can begin to see the trees forming.
To get myself inspired again, I hit up a few art shows in only a couple of days. I checked out Hanna Hur‘s Get Well Soon Slow Editions Book Launch at Art Metropole which was different than most shows I attend. The art book was comprised of flower drawings created while in the hospital, of arrangements visitors had left for the artist. It was pretty rad and the shop as well.
The second show I attended that night was Jon Todd‘s Outsiders at Hermann & Audrey which showcased his brand of portraiture and story telling through mixed media painting and collage. It’s alway great to see his work in person (like any artist for that matter) because you don’t get to experience the scale and depth of the materials used from a computer screen.
To be honest I walked right through Michelangelo: Quest for Genius. I’m not sure if it’s just where I’m at with my own art, but I just found it completely boring. The Alex Colville show in my opinion was amazing. Room upon room of countless works and sketches spanning his career. I found his water colours of the war really cool and thought they would inspire many concept artists with his execution.
Now that I’ve seen that Alex Colville inspired so much of The Shining I should finally watch it… this week would be perfect.
I’m pretty pumped to share my latest painting. It’s been about three or more years since I’ve painted anything over 8″x10″.
Here it is – “Battery” 40″x40″ Spray paint & oil on canvas (eyes are oil paint).
Here’s some process shots
That’s it for now…
I’ve been super busy the last couple of months working on new projects, and finishing some old. I realized I had missed sharing some sketches I had done before I got going on my new commercial portfolio.
The next time I take a go at these, I want to try using gesso first. The boards were really drinking up the paint, and at times I found it difficult to move my brush across the surface smoothly.
Finally, the last two weeks I’ve been working on a new piece that I had been planning to do for quite a while now. It’s a wolf painting 40″x40″ in spray paint and oil. I’ll share it next post… until then here’s a preview (wasp not included).
I also painted a watercolour painting for Wildly Fit, a healthy living company based out of Toronto. It was inspired by my last post “Time for change”. Over the course of the next little while I’ll make a few of these, all with positive messages for their social media channels, and it might build into a larger project.
When I pulished my last post I realized I had not shared a sketch I had done after the pigeons but before the freelancing gig.
It’s Rick and Morty…
I’ve been hooked on this show from the get go. It’s created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland and it is funny. It’s adult humour with the two main characters inspired by Back to the Future‘s Emmett Brown and Marty McFly.
My first sketch back last week I did Captain Caveman.
And in honour of Canada’s birthday I did the The Log Driver’s Waltz.
I’m starting to gain momentum so hopefully I can share as I go.
I’m still here. I haven’t been sketching the last month because my sketches brought in some freelance work. The illustration turned out pretty sweet. I can’t share at the moment but hoping I might be able to soon. The past 5 or so days I’ve been getting back out of the house which included St Vincent at NXNE and ART BATTLE.
My buddy Brad (no relation) was in the Toronto City Finals and I went out to support. It was at The Great Hall which I haven’t been to in years. There was a pretty cool vibe. I think it was two rounds of 8 artists in each round. With the top three from each, moving onto a final round….oh and you only get 20 minutes to do it.
Pretty nuts what people can get up to in 20 minutes. Brad did a pretty tight piece in the time given. He didn’t make the cut. I though he was robbed because in my opinion he was minimum top three for his group, but I’m not sure how people were voting.
Also should say that right before the freelance job started I got the wedding photographs done. Feels pretty great to have those two huge projects done right when summer is getting into full swing.
Click over to my Flickr account to see more of the wedding photos.
I’m taking the long weekend off from work and art. Thinking of more sketches maybe some paintings. Who knows what the summer will bring.
In past weeks I’ve had a theme for my sketches for the week: dogs, cats, etc. Last week I decided to sketch some characters from the same show with the thought of using Photoshop to piece them together into one image. I chose the The Goodfeathers from Animaniacs. The Goodfeathers was a spoof on characters that were in the Goodfellas and The Godfather movies.
Initially I didn’t like the face I had given Squit. It came out way too wacky. He looked more like a Rodney Dangerfield than a Ray Liotta. So for the first time in theses sketches, I erased it and drew a new one that was less wacky, but still keeping in the look of the cartoon character.
I didn’t like it even more, so instead of wearing a whole in the page (and knowing I was piecing it together in the end anyway) I drew one to the side. I tried less making it look like the cartoon character and more like RayLiotta himself.
Finished off with GODPIGEON
I’m very happy with the result, and the decision to change up Squit’s face.
Think I might get it heat transferred to a shirt.
I ran out of time last week to put up a post, so I have a pile of sketches for this post. I tried some old characters as usual, but I also tried some current stuff.
It always means a lot when my friends and family dig what I’m doing, but it can also be awesome to have a complete stranger like what you up to. Someone on Instagram named “Jeffthechef” left the sweetest message yesterday.
Thanks Jeff #inspiredtokeepsketching
Another week of sketching…
now Stimpy has a Ren,
and Garfield has an Odie (who looks like he’s been sniffing glue).
I’ve gone and scanned each one in now, so if I ever make a print run or a poster, or even decide to photoshop the groups of characters together I can. This week I’m back to random characters…Mickey Mouse and Astro Boy so far…will share next week.
So as I said last week I had to shoot a wedding over the weekend. It was mad hectic for me. The wedding was great, the couple getting married was great (family wedding) ….no complaints what so ever. It was the stress of making sure I got decent shots. Turned out, I got some really great pics. For the next couple weeks I’ll be spending my time sorting through them all, so cutting my stencil will stay on the back burner. Once the couple sees them maybe I’ll share them here too.
Last week was cat week with my sketches
This week I’ve been doing dogs – snoopy, underdog, maybe an odie, and I think I’m going to ditch the themes after that and go back to a bunch of randoms again.
So my stencil cutting has ended for now. Just not enough hours in the day. I have wedding to shoot this weekend, so I’ve been prepping for that. Having to focus on my photography, allowed me to finally export a lot of my pics to an external drive to clear some much needed space (100+ Gigs worth). Then I finally imported a pile of pics I had taken in late December to the present.
Here’s one of them from the Toronto ice storm …click on it and it will jump you to my flickr page.
I’ve got more to post on my flickr once I have the time to go through them all.
Still keeping up with the daily sketches, here are last week’s:
This week I went with a cat theme, I’ll share next post. After that I have a Snoopy sketched so maybe I’ll do a dog week.
I have known Toronto based illustrator Derian McCrea for many years now. We went to bealart and college together, and I still call him a friend to this day. Since I can remember he has always had a love for boxing. For the last 10 plus years he has been in and around the creative field professionally, and boxing has been present in his work in various forms.
I’ve always had a vested interest in sports, especially the sport of boxing. I find boxing very interesting due to all of the characters and larger than life personalities in it. There are very dynamic perspectives, and their drives to be great tends to inspire me to create. To me that connection to creating is like a poet searching threw the depths of my craft, to express the profoundness of what interests them in a subject. This respect for the sport led to me learning how to box over 5 years, even though I wasn’t physically gifted for it. That experience allowed me to get into the character and the feel of what is was to hone my craft to the best of my ability. To me my art represents trying to tie the many relationships boxers have and what their frights/personalities give to the sport of boxing.
I find my style is like a journey to the finish; what I tend to see in my mind has to adapt and think and react to the changes that the various mediums I work with. Much like a pugilist, I can’t approach an opponent in the same way, change is inherent in the medium itself. Creating these portraits represents a connection I think all human beings strive for, relevance and direction threw challenges that we all come across. It’s a journey to find the heart and courage to move forward.
Follow more of Derian here:
IMAGES IN THIS POST ©COPYWRITE DERIAN MCCREA
As usual my latest painting is taking a crazy amount of time. In a previous post I said it was a new old painting that I was working on. It’s new because it’s my latest painting….it’s old, because I started it roughly 5 years ago. I’ve always planned to do this painting and the thought had never waivered on the subject matter.
Six years ago I started by painting the background, and then it sat leaning against a wall collecting dust. It’s going to be a red fox walking down a trail. I’m going to go about it much differently than I would have when I started. Chances are it would have look more like this piece.
Ink outlines, airbrushing, and a bit of oil paint on the details, all with the background comming through. My plan this time around is to cut a massive 2 colour stencil of the forest where the background will come through, and the fox will be solid oil paint and I’m going to make it as realistic as possible. In my head it works, will have to see if the two styles blend together enough and doesnt just look like one image sitting on top of another.
Here’s where I’m at with the stencil.
You can’t see much at this point but it should come together the more I get cut. I’m at about 40-50 hours of cutting in two weeks so far and I’m about a quarter done. The second stencil doesn’t have nearly as much cutting. It will probably equal the amount I’ve completed on this one, so that’s good news. It’s going to be a while before this one’s done. It won’t be that thrilling but I’ll do an update post or two to show where I’m at.
Back before Christmas there was an ice storm in Toronto which knocked out the power to many places, including my house. We were without power for three days. During that time I thought I would start a new small painting to pass the time. Because we have a front porch, little to no light makes its way into the house, so I thought I would paint by candle light. I mean that’s what they did back in the day… Let me tell you, I couldn’t see shit.
I thought I would paint in black and white (because that’s all I could see). I mix my black using burnt sienna and ultramarine blue. I thought I did a pretty bang up job until I saw it in the light the next day, and noticed some areas were more brown than others. As far as the style goes I’ve been watching a crazy amount of vids on Picasso lately and Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and wanted to try far less detail than I usually would go for. I used a way larger brush which prevented my from getting in really tight. I finished the main figure in the power out and pick up the rest after the new year.
I thought it might be cool to do a mind-body and spirit theme by adding another two expressions which would also fill the negative space. When I’m lost in thought I usually just space out and stare off to the side, and I figured the spirit should be rising above and more animated than the rest of the piece. I decided after the third face (mind) went in, that I needed to pull back the detail on the second face (spirit) and that I needed to either change the noses on the two secondary faces, or just the one on the main figure. It was really a tough decision for me. I had really loved how imperfect and lopsided it was, but it just didn’t match the other two. I reworked it, built out the right shoulder, pulled in the width of the head by her right temple, and added a bit of detail to the eyes and I’m really happy with how it turned out.
I kept the brown tone on the main figure which gives it more warmth and a bit of life. Planning on doing at least another one of these but full figure large-scale. Not going to be for a bit though, my latest painting is taking forever, I’ll share next post.
BRAD – Here’s the painting I repainted
MOM – What a difference and it didn’t take you forever to do it. She looks much happier in the re-do from the weathered looking woman in the first painting. Does this mean you may do more painting. I hope so, because you do great work.
BRAD – Bahahah the weathered one is the new painting
MOM – Are you sure? Anyway, they both look good, but different. What can I say? Usually the first one is the original and the second the most current. How did you enjoy the process?
That conversation took place in late September. I had repainted over a painting I had done almost a full year before, and painted nothing in between. It sat on a ledge in my living room annoying me every time I looked at it. I finished up a quick one last week which I’m not planning on painting over. I’ll share in the next post, and I’m already working on a new old one..I’ll explain later.
I Finally hit up the Frida & Diego Show at the AGO on the weekend. It was alright. I can appreciate it, but I’m not huge into Frida‘s stuff. Diego, I wasn’t framiliar with his work before, and I was pretty down with some of his stuff. The guy pulled off some pretty crazy murals in his day. I couldn’t grab any pics in the show so if you click their names above it will jump you to a google search of their work.
Afterword I went in search of the Evan Penny Exhibit which I’ve wanted to see since it opened and has also been up for a while.
This cats stuff was off the chain. It was hyperrealistic, but oversized. Everything was massive, and 50% of the sculpture was stretched or distorted in a way that completely messed with your eyes.
This one below I actually saw about 10 years ago at Museum London. It was cool to see it agian, but in different context. I could also see that light plays huge into these sculptures. In London this dude looked 100% real, the way he was lit. In Toronto he looked a bit grey in his flesh tone, but it was more than likely the wall colour reflecting on him….still sick as hell.
I realised as I was creating this post you might not want to follow an Evan Penny with your own sculpture, but let me tell you… if you were to create cardboard sculture, you would aspire to make work like this!
Booyah! Hahaha, doesn’t look that glamourous after Monseur Penny’s tres dopeness, but I’m happy with how it’s going. Right now it’s standing at about 10 inches tall. It’s taking longer than expected, but what else is new. The plan is to make about 5 of these bad boys which will lead into a larger group of work.I’d like to have the bulk of this figure done by the start of next week so I can get working on the next phase….if only I had some of those keebler elves that shoe maker had.
Started with taking some reference photos, literally assembled a pile of garbage.
Drew a blue jay, and did a basic rough inking.
I then assembled it in the computer to make a transfer.
Took a couple tries though. I switched up the file a bit, changed printers, and the paper I was working on and it came out perfect.
Last but not least, I hit it with a bit of oil painting to bring it all together. I wanted to keep a bit of the “marker/ink” look to the bird so I only added it mostly to the face and the underside.
Really happy with how this turned out. I tried to mix it up from my regular processes. My original idea was to paint a bird with a mohawk, but ended up going a different direction – I just made a nest out of plaid shirts, spraypaint caps, pins and band flyers.
Here’s the final: