Monday, February 28, 2011

Creepin Baba.

Continuing with my infatuation of the Russian hag, I've been compelled to keep playing with the design and feel of Baba herself. This piece was part experimentation in atmosphere and texture, part development of character. Honestly, I wanted to paint a creepy piece.

I had an idea in mind of an image of Baba Yaga, out in the woods in the snow (NYC had quite a bit recently, I was in the mood) in overcast conditions. I wanted to capture the feeling you get when you realize you aren't alone in a room and someone has been looking at you the whole time you've been there.
Some of the more coherent thumbnails I generated.
Rough value study and tightened drawing

The final painting was a blast. I think I did more variations in texture than any previous painting, and had no idea I'd enjoy it that much. Messed up dried brushes, salt, lifts, the works. I'm pretty stoked to do more of its like.
Oh, didn't see you there.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Silence of Eggs

A while back I was contacted by Sagoma Editore to do the cover and back cover for their upcoming book "The Silence of Eggs" or "Il Silenzio Dell'uovo" for those of you in Italy.  I received a brief, in awesome broken English, describing a fictional biography of a 19th century poet obsessed with the silence of things. They wanted to push the bizarrely humorous nature of a person stubbornly preoccupied with an egg's silence... as if the egg was holding out on the poet and the poet wasn't buying it. Oh, and another goal was to have the feel of high class literature. But,  you know... with an quiet egg.

I sent a couple ideas to see if I was in the ballpark of what they were looking for and quickly found out they really had no clue what they were looking for. Through a series of some of the most baffling art direction I've ever received, I produced a number of very loose sketches. 
The interrogation chair and the duct tape make me stupidly happy.
Of course they picked the only one I was sure they would not.
So... I was to paint an egg for the front cover, with a monochromatic background. Before I could moan about the mind-numbing boredom of such a choice, the client sent a request for the back cover. He wanted the same egg, but now crushed by a frustrated poet's fist. Somehow, without knowing it, they asked me to create a rollover like I'd done many times before.
Of course, just the right flavor of angry/desperate/insane took a couple tries to nail down.
And despite all the struggle I'm pretty satisfied with the final. Maybe it's my narcissism since that poet is basically me with a mustache.