Monday, 26 December 2011

Dark Scraping

A quick warm-up sketch done with ArtRage 3 for iPhone. I love the pc version, as my regular readers know, so I'm excited to play with the mobile version of this powerful digital painting toolbox.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Krismas, Trilobiteers!

Tra-la-la-la-lobite © Glendon Mellow
Make sure to read about the true meaning of Krismas for many of us on The Meming of Life with Dale McGowan.

Krismas, as defined by Jacob Walker:

Krismas is a secular holiday that celebrates the myth of Kris Kringle, commonly known as Santa Claus. It happens on December 25th of each year, and is also closely associated with Krismas Eve, which occurs December 24th… Krismas is about giving gifts, especially those “from the heart”; it is about the magic of childhood; it is about peace on earth; and it is about goodwill towards humankind, and anything else you wish it to mean that does not involve the Jesus as a savior bit. 
Merry Everything to Everyone!

- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Losing heroes

This is what getting older is, isn't it?  I mean at my stage in life. Losing heroes.  




I feel like I just got to this party. I've been blogging about art, science and atheism for almost 5 years, and seriously reading about atheism another 5 before that.  I just got here, and one of the most interesting guests had to go.

Feeling selfish this morning. I want to take the day, eschew my professional responsibilities and do a proper portrait of the man to make up for dawdle of a sketch I did when I heard the news in the middle of the night.

- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Hitchens sketch



This is a terrible, awful sketch of Christopher Hitchens, who died today and deserves better than my scratching at 2a.m. after two nights of no sleep from our teething baby. I'm posting it anyway. Fuck it.

Hitchens wrote with his verve and sharpness when he shouldn't have had any energy left.  I can post a sketch done out of dealing with my feelings at the loss of one of atheism's great champions and an author I enjoyed. This drawing was about the process upon immediately reading the news on Twitter. Done in ArtRage Studio Pro.

I think I got the eyes right. Hold your hand up and cover the lower half of the image. Unyielding, strong, you can hide behind those eyes like shields of reason.

I will miss him.

Here's Hitchens in defense of the Danish cartoonists targeted by fanatics. Every artist can learn from his defense of free speech.

- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Science-Art Gallery Show in January - submit!





I'm proud to announce that for the first time, ScienceOnline will be having a science-art show!  We'll be showing a digital slideshow of accepted images, curated by myself with help from Karyn Traphagen. Free for anyone to enter, we'll be picking the most fascinating images in scientific illustration, fine art, photography, cartoons, data-visualization, street art and more.
After the unconference, we'll be posting the final digital gallery online in some form. This is the first time we're attempting something like this, so we may ask for help or encounter some snags along the way. With so many talented science-artists attending #scio12 this year, we've got to forge ahead and gives this a try.  When applying to the show, you can give us links to three images.  Not all may be chosen, but what better way to get you images in front of eyeballs than up to 450 talented science communicators in one place?
Feel free to email with any questions at symbiartic.gm@gmail.com or via Twitter @flyingtrilobite.

- -
Thanks to Karyn Traphagen for her help, and to Perrin IrelandKalliopi Monoyios and Nathaniel Gold for agreeing to appear on the poster.

- - - - - - - -
Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite © to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Tree Pangolin sketch



A little sketch done at the Royal Ontario Museum while visiting with the SONSI crew. Tree Pangolin and an unidentified beetle for a warm-up.

The pattern of the overlapping plates and the unusual, almost neck-less body was challenging. Pangolins have really cool tails. I'm surprised they're not the basis for more science fiction creatures or robots.

- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

iPhone & iPod Case Sale - Darwin, Trilobite and Trilobite Boy



My online store is having a sale on iPhone and iPod cases.

RedBubble, who produces my prints, cards, shirts, stickers, calendars and iPhone cases has also expanded the line. Now, you can get cases for iPhone 4, 4S, 3GS and iPod Touch 4GS and 3GS.  Each is available either in a single piece clip-on Deflector style, or 2-piece slide-on Capsule style case.
Click here for Darwin Took Steps

Click here for Goldeneye Trilobite

Click here for Trilobite Boy Sk8

And use code CAPSULE15 at checkout to get 15% off.
Only until December 15th!

- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Movember's End

The itchy 'stache is gone. 


My thanks to Christian & Sheilagh, Sherry and Charles, Joe and Patricia, and Shereen and Lex for their contributions to my Movember campaign on the Crusty and Dusty team. Thanks for helping me support men's health by messing with my face. 



And now what you wanted to know you didn't know you didn't want: some photos of me hamming it up for Movember. 




Week 1: 



Week 2:

You're not looking at my moustache. You're looking at the baby.


Week 4:



Ah, Instagram. Coupla more years, and this is gonna be like lens flare
and we'll all think these faux-retro photos look stupid. My moustache is however, magnificent.
...aaaaand, back to the cowboy hat. 

Thanks everyone!  Especially my long-suffering wife Michelle. 

- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Oh hey, this looks familiar.

The buggy nightmare of Dynamic Views on The Flying Trilobite has ended.

For now.

For those who want to know my reasons for changing back, here's what I said in the discussion on G+:

My reasons for wanting to switch back to my old template: 
1. I think the alternate Dynamic Views button is too prominent. They're neat, but unnecessary and confusing. 
2. Commenting only really works if you're logged into your (Google, Yahoo etc) account before you start typing the comment. Otherwise it sends you to an old-style Blogger comment page, and doesn't bring the comment with it (hitting back allows you to find the comment again). 
3. "Below the fold" articles don't open up at all in the magazine layout. see:http://glendonmellow.blogspot.com/2011/10/illustration-blogging-why-its-essential.html
4. I liked having some of my widgets/gadgets in the sidebar and footer, though I think this exercise in Dynamic Views has made me realize I could lose tons of them and not care. Gadgets are apparently a work-in-progress for Blogger and will be coming back. 
5. It's working in every view I have tested: Safari, Chrome and Firefox. My iPhone picks up the mobile template and doesn't read Dynamic Views. But it sounds like some people are having problems with it. 
6. The HTML5 animations of transitions are sometimes choppy, and my internet connection is pretty damn good.



Thanks to everyone who commented and weighted in on Twitter, G+ and here on the blog. I learned how many gadgets I miss and how many I don't.  Changes haven't ended, but I thinking taking a step back after plunging forward is good for the design.

Changes haven't ended.  After all, when The Flying Trilobite turns 5 in a few months, it'll need a facelift.

- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Are the wings clipped on The Flying Trilobite?

Are the wings clipped on The Flying Trilobite? 


A couple of weeks ago, I made the jump to using Blogger's Dynamic Views here on The Flying Trilobite. 



After receiving a heartfelt complaint from a friend and colleague about the site re-design, I thought I'd ask:
  • Does it work aesthetically?  
  • For those familiar with it, was it better before with the simpler template? 
  • Is it crashing every time you try to load it? 
  • Are the individual posts functioning? 
  • Are they too hard to read (if you follow a link to a single post, the banner stays affixed in place and takes up half the screen - which doesn't happen if you click on one from the main page)?
Gadgets in the sidebar apparently will be coming back, so I'm not too concerned with those.



Would love any and all feedback. 




- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop

 --> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Movember has started.

Movember has started. 

Thanks to C&S and S&C for their donations so far. On Twitter and Facebook, and I noted I wouldn't post any pictures of my moustache so far until someone made a donation. And I promised a cowboy hat. 

Here's an Instagram for ya'll.



You can donate here on the Crusty & Dusty page to help kick prostate cancer in cojones.  The more donations, the more pictures of this magnificent moustache will appear here on The Flying Trilobite blog, on Twitter, Facebook and G+.

So, yeah: mixed blessing.


- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Dog's Full Moon

Dog's Full Moon © Glendon Mellow

Aroooooooo!

Here's a quick ArtRage 3.5 painting I did for Jason Goldman's excellent blog, The Thoughtful Animal.

Jason takes a look at the urban legend that dogs are more prone to biting humans during the full moon in his post, Real-Life Werewolves? Dog Bites and Full Moons.
- - - - - - - -


Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Monday, 24 October 2011

My Grandmother's Favourite Drawing - re-post

(With over 600 posts and almost 5 years of blogging, some days I'll dig through the archives and re-post an older Flying Trilobite post. This one originally appeared in November 2008.)
- -


This drawing was always my grandmother's favourite piece of my artwork. I drew this back in the early days of university after I had largely stopped drawing vampires and faeries, and as my interest in science had started coming back to the fore. I called it "Beetleman", though I'm not really sure why.

My grandmother loved this one, and I gave her a reproduction of it. I miss my grandparents, and I'll always appreciate how they encouraged me in my artwork. My grandmother would challenge me about what I was trying to do, and pester me with questions, until she'd laugh at my answer once it was clear. My grandfather would not have much commentary about the subjects, instead asking about the media used, and supplying us with astonishing amounts of paper when my sisters and I were small.

Good times.


- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Science-Art Geek iPhone 4 cases!


Available now, in my print shop at RedBubble.

Here's some specs from RedBubble themselves:

Uncommon spent months in the desert inventing a revolutionary and top secret printing process called TATT™, which embeds the design into the case—so no fading or peeling, ever. It all sounds a bit space age really, which we quite like.
Our cases were made specifically for the iPhone 4S & 4, ensuring that all of your bits, pieces and functions line up where they should. Plus, Uncommon cases are chosen by Apple for sale in Apple Stores. Seal of approval right there.

- - -
In addition to selling these designs on an ongoing basis, I'm also looking for someone to finance a few as prizes for ScienceOnline12 ! Please email me at theflyingtrilobite at gmail dot com if interested. 
 - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 
I hope everyone enjoys my cheesy mirror effect above.

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Let's have a frank talk about illustration royalties.

This is a conversation I think illustrators should have. My blog allows anonymous comments since I think that will let more of us have it. 




My experiences are still few and new in the field of illustration. I come from a science-inspired, fine art background, and since taking my artwork online almost 5 years ago, my fine art projects are usually asked into service illustrating science blogs, books and magazines (and occasionally skin with tattoo design).

The book work up until now has mainly been covers. However, after watching a couple of potential book contracts fall apart, one for a mid-size reputable publisher I will not name, I've been curious about one aspect of the illustration biz: royalties.

The experience I mention called for me to submit my originals, hand over all copyright and get paid a flat fee worth less than equivalent stock art images for my creations. No hope of royalties or re-negotiation if the book was a hit and re-printed.

At the time I was using the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines, 12th Edition (13th is out now).   Leaving out the details of the publisher's requirements, according to the Guide I should have been charging about $550 per drawing, and I was offering $300.  The publisher wanted to offer $150.

I know there are a lot of specific circumstances to any contract: we parted amicably I hope (they produce a lot of books I enjoy).  I thought it was just this case, for whatever reason.  After speaking to new illustration acquaintances on G+ over the last several weeks, from many different realms of illustration, I'm hearing that "no royalties" and prices below the GAG Guide are common.

What I wanted to discuss, is without details (I am not out to vilify any publishers here, that's not the point so no need to identify them) are illustrators:

  • getting royalties as part of a contract?
  • finding the GAG Guide prices accurate reflections of reality?
  • being offered more than work-for-hire?


Part of the 'long-tail' of illustration is licensing your own images after the copyright either reverts to you, or by retaining it. The other is royalties.

Let me know approximately how long you've been at the illustration biz, and whether you've found royalties common or uncommon. Again, I allow for anonymous comments and I'd prefer not to discuss specific publishers, just get more of a sense of what's happening out there.


- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

What would make good iPhone case art?



RedBubble, the extraordinary company that makes my art prints, cards, calendars, clothing and stickers for my online store has now started making iPhone 4 cases.

So I thought I would ask: what images from glendonmellow.com or my dA Gallery would make good iPhone cases in your opinion?  What do you think people would like to be seen carrying?  This info will help me ramp up for the holiday push to sell some wares in my online store.



Darwin Took Steps? A pink parasaurolophus? Trilobite Boy? Please comment below if you have an opinion on this!

Also: if anyone is interested in financing a giveaway of a number of cases or other Flying Trilobite swag at ScienceOnline12 in January, let's talk!


- - - - - - - - 

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow under Creative Commons Licence.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Eight Years




Eight years ago this evening, I married Michelle.



I drew this for our invitation, based on John Atkinson Grimshaw's Iris, my favourite painting, which we saw on our second date.

Victoria College, University of Toronto.











She is my favourite person. 


Times have sometimes been challenging but mostly they've been amazing.
We're never at a loss for conversation and I can't take my eyes off of her. 






We still have the best of times...






Even more now that little Mr. Amazing has rolled into our lives.





I love our family. Happy Anniversary. 


- - - - - - - - 

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow under Creative Commons Licence.


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Illustration blogging: why it's essential - a SONSI discussion

This post is mainly a supplementary series of links and points accompanying our discussion, "Illustration blogging: why it's essential" at SONSI's 2011 Presentation Day




Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Reminder: SONSI Science-Art Talks in Toronto this weekend!



I'll be one of the presenters at this weekend's Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrator's series of professional talks.  These should be a great help to illustrators of all stripes, and I'm psyched about the day.
Here's a link to the official blurb, and I've re-posted it below.

Invitation to all illustrators in Southern Ontario:

SONSI's 2011 Presentation Day
October 16, 2011 
12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Toronto's Harbourfront Community Centre
Assembly Room A
627 Queen’s Quay West, Toronto

Please join us for an afternoon of illustration-related presentations by members of the Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrators and a representative of Access Copyright. Light refreshments (coffee, cookies) will be provided.
For non-members, a $15 donation to SONSI is requested (or $10 for full-time students). This will help us cover the cost of facility rental and refreshments.

Space is limited so please register to attend by sending an e-mail to: sonsigroup@gmail.com


Agenda:
Arrive at noon, presentations begin promptly at 12:20.
12:20 pm to 1:30 pm "A Quick Look at Adobe Photoshop"
1:35 pm to 2:15 pm "What Access Copyright can do for Illustrators"
2:15-2:30 break
2:30 pm to 4 pm "Illustration Blogging; why it's essential"
4:10 pm to 4:50 pm "The Content of Contracts"

PROGRAM:
- - - 

"A Quick Look at Adobe Photoshop" by SONSI member Jeremy Loranger

Adobe Photoshop is one of the most powerful programs in an illustrator’s arsenal today. However useful it may be, Photoshop can also be quite a daunting program for newcomers. This presentation will serve as a brief introduction to the program as well as provide some very useful tips and tricks that are commonly overlooked in many tutorials. Proper file formatting for print and web, as well as web security for your work will also be discussed. Bring your questions!  


- - -
"What Access Copyright can do for Illustrators" by Margaret McGuffin of Access Copyright
Every day across the country individuals in schools, businesses and government copy excerpts from published works to obtain the valuable content they need to get their jobs done. But are you - the owners of that content - being compensated? If one of your copyrighted illustrations is published in a book, newspaper, magazine, or journal, then you need to find about becoming an Access Copyright Affiliate. Don't miss out on Payback! Also, Margaret will explain what grants The Access Copyright Foundation offers to creators of copyrighted material, including Research and Professional Development Grants. 


- - -

"Illustration Blogging: why it's essential" by SONSI member Glendon Mellow
How to dive into the online world of blogging and social media to find work, fulfilment and community. Worried about image theft and your copyright? Don't understand Twitter or G+? Want to see how easy it is to set up a blog?  Blogging your artwork can be essential in today's market - people expect to be able to provide feedback in numerous ways to images they find on the internet. We'll discuss the basics to the latest in social media for illustrators and how to be effectively busy online without losing control of your images and brand.

- - -

"The Content of Contracts" by SONSI member Emily S. Damstra
Wondering if it's really worthwhile to have your clients sign an agreement? Worried that your contract is missing something? Frustrated that the contract your client provided isn't quite what you had in mind? Hear from someone who has signed a lot of contracts in her career; learn from her mistakes as well as her successes.


- - -

The Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrators is a regional organization of illustrators whose works focus on science and nature.
Our goals are to:
  • Further our own professional development by learning from each other
  • Encourage each other toward higher standards of competence and ethics
  • Network and socialize with others having similar interests and work experiences
  • Support the intellectual property rights of visual artists
  • Promote our discipline to the general public and to potential clients
  • Educate the public about science and nature through our work
We meet every month or two throughout the year, primarily in locations between Kitchener and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Anyone with a genuine interest in nature and science illustration is welcome to join.
For more information about SONSI please visit our website: www.sonsi.ca
- - -
Bios of presenters:


Jeremy Loranger has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Technical and Scientific Illustration from Sheridan College and has been working freelance for 2 years. His work covers a broad spectrum including fine art, biomedical textbook illustration, exploded isometric assembly diagrams, video game production art, and 3D modelling. http://www.jloranger.com/

Margaret McGuffin is Director of Licensing and Distribution Services at Access Copyright. Prior to joining Access Copyright, Margaret worked as a consultant providing business planning and research services to organizations including the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, Canadian Heritage and The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Margaret has been involved in the formation and development of a large number of music industry collective management organizations including the Canadian Private Copyright Collective and the Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada. Margaret currently sits on the Advisory Committee of MusiCounts which is a not-for-profit providing grants to schools across Canada for the purchase of musical instruments. She also spends a large amount of her free time in hockey arenas with her two children as a team manager and trainer. For more information about Access Copyright visit their website: http://www.accesscopyright.ca/

Glendon Mellow is a fine artist + illustrator whose projects have ranged from fine art commissions to tattoo design to museum display; appearing in magazines such as Earth and Secular Nation, in books such as Geology in Art and The Open Laboratory and sites such as io9.comHe has spoken at the Centre for Inquiry Ontario and at ScienceOnline.  Glendon is a co-blogger on the new Scientific American science-art blog Symbiartic and shares his art process at his blog The Flying Trilobite, and tweets at  @flyingtrilobite. His portfolio can be found at glendonmellow.com.

Emily S. Damstra has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Michigan and has been a full-time freelance illustrator for eleven years. Her clients have included the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, The City of Kitchener, The University of Michigan Press, Natural History Magazine, The Royal Canadian Mint, The Calgary Zoo, and many more. Visit her website: www.emilydamstra.com

- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Monday, 3 October 2011

The best terrible painting (and decision) I've made.


It's been a year.

A year since I left my management job with a dynamic art supply retailer I'd been employed by for 10 years.

Above is a little painting I did the following Monday, my first day as a full-time freelancer.  It's kind of a poorly-painted little oil painting I call Freelance Leap, and it represents my excitement and anxiety at leaving a secure job and diving into my illustration and social media work.

I'm still glad I made the change to challenge myself in most ways. But I cannot deny, times have also been much rougher than I ever imagined. It's been the best and worst year ever.

Reading Jesse Bering's piece on Bering in Mind, Half Dead: Men and the "Mid-Life Crisis" has me wondering about which option of Jacques' will happen with my creativity in mid-life (note to self: you're 37 you're already there): will my current state of anxiety propel me to greater heights like Bach? Or will I do a major about-face in my creative style, brining me larger success than before?  (The third option, dying somehow, is off the table as far as I'm concerned.)

Good friend and amazing illustrator Eric Orchard shared this piece on G+ yesterday, by Scott Timberg from Salon: The Creative Class is a Lie. It's an engaging piece, covering everything from retail jobs to writers. And it offers a ton of interesting things to think about for illustrators.

Up until now, my business model has been:
1. Make cool artwork, mostly for a niche scientifically-literate audience
2. Put online for people to view for free.
3. Take commissions for originals or prints from people who like it enough to want their own, or have a budget.

It works. It works better than not being online ever did. It works haltingly, in fits and starts, with many months in between. It's not enough to feed my family. How does this whole creative economy do that? Or all we destined to be like rock stars, where only a tiny few ever make it despite the public''s hunger for imagery and illustration?

I outlined in my Symbiartic post, It's Time for Illustrators to Take Back the Net that illustrators supporting each other when faced with image theft online could put the profession back on a path to respectability.  Would income follow?

I miss the guy I was when I did that terrible little painting, above. I'm still optimistic I might get to that amusement park in the distance, but my feathers are bedraggled.

- - - - - - - -


Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

White Tree iPod doodle





Little sketch done in Sketch Club on my iPod. Still summery weather here for the most part with the exciting tingle of autumn in the air. Dunno where this winter scene was inspired from. 

Monday, 26 September 2011

Flying Trilobite YouTube Channel

There's been a positive response to my two very brief art tutorial videos, so I decided to make a YouTube Channel to keep them in one place. I hope to make some more.

You can see both videos below, or visit them on YouTube for comments, liking, and counting how many times I say "umm".








Flying Trilobite YouTube Channel

- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Making of The Last Refuge (repost)


This is a repost from last year.  I've been thinking about the process on this painting, and trying to apply some of the lessons learned in some new work I have incubating in my brain and my sketchbook. 
- -

Earlier this month I debuted a new painting, commissioned by Kevin Zelnio of Deep Sea News and The Other 95%.  You can see Kevin's post about
 The Last Refuge here, and who it was for. 

Here's a little about the process of making that painting. 

Kevin had mentioned it to me quite a while earlier, the first time we met in person.  The idea rattled around in my head quite a bit, so there wasn't a lot of prep work needed for this one. 

I started with the sketch above, done using my Faber-Castell Pitt pens.  It's a typical type of starting sketch for me, not a lot of stuff that may make sense to someone else.  I'll try to explain it after the jump.

First of all, it's two sketches side by side.  Let's look at the right one: the little "x" marks all around are a typical comic book notation for all black background. I knew I wanted heavy black shadows, and the light source coming from behind. 

You can see the original composition was quite symmetrical:  I wanted almost a reverent feel, almost like a religious landscape.  It's an easier feeling to invoke with obvious geometry and I thought black smoker thermal vents on either side would evoke that. 

Turned on Die Antwoord  and Massive Attack videos on my 'puter, made some coffee (mocha java) and got started painting.  Used black acrylic for a base in the background. As oil paints age, they become darker and more transparent, so a dark ground will prevent the painting from bleaching over time. 

But at the last second I changed the composition.



Something about all that indanthrene blue...I needed to give the ocean itself more space.  I jettisoned the symmetrical composition for a more natural one.  Also, I wanted a series of lines of light that would direct the eye around the painting in a trangular way, and the submersible hiding behind a smoker wouldn't have helped.




I stayed with a classical compositions with three distances.  The first distance, is the rock at the bottom left with the big standard trilobite (Elrathia kingi is one of my favourites).  This typically gives the viewer an entryway into the painting, and since we're in the West, starting on the left is typical.  The trilobite kind of gazes and points into the rest of the painting. The 2nd, or middle distance, brings in more detail, and shows the "story" of the painting.

When painting the submersible, originally I hadn't add much in the way of light.  I knew I wanted to make some dramatic beams, and a halo, but if I did that and it looked awful, I wouldn't be able to get that smooth deep blue of the surrounding water without starting completely over in the background.



Had to go for it. I was happy with the result, but I still miss that deep mysterious blue cutting down the left hand side.  The light is more dramatic, less tranquil.  


The shape of the light beam is actually inspired by comics. I still pick up Marvel or Dark Horse comics now and then, (love New Avengers) and the shape of the light beams is roughly the same as when a ninja throws multiple stars: the arc of their hand intercut with the path of the throwing stars. If you read comics, you probably know what I mean. 

For the title, I kicked around names like "Deep Discovery" and suchlike, but Kevn supplied the perfect one:  The Last Refuge.

My aim for The Last Refuge was to create a painting the recipient could sit still and look at, and notice little details in the edges.  The cluster of trilobites on the right. The tubeworms rising out of the dark. The shape and texture of the sulpherous smoke. 

It's about a dream, isn't it?  Richard Fortey in Trilobite!  Eyewitness to Evolution said, "Hope has faded that, when today's mid-ocean ridges were explored by bathyscape, in some dimly-known abyss there might still dwell a solitary trilobite to bring Paleozoic virtues into the age of the soundbite..,". 

I hope Kevin and the painting's recipient enjoy The Last Refuge for many years to come. 
- - - - - - 

The Last Refuge is also available in a variety of prints from my online print shop. I recommend the laminated print (shown below) or the charcoal frame with dark mat




- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!
Copyright © 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Glendon Mellow. All rights reserved. See Creative Commons Licence above in the sidebar for details.