What's up guys,
So, for the past 8 months or so I've been trying my hand at narrative vignettes and landscape paintings. Drawing and designing landscapes has always been one my weakest points as an illustrator, so why not take an assignment and improve. In some ways, this is record of growth, so lets reflect on the process first.
All of the pieces are depictions of nature with a surreal or fantastical element/quality to compliment the subject and inform a greater wonder/mystery. Some pieces are straight up studies done to increase clarification for design choices for later works. I've been producing these pieces in batches of 4, exploring alternative painting and design techniques to find the best method for communicating my client's needs. That said, for the sake of brevity, I'll only provide one example for each of the 8 batches with a carousel for the images in order at the bottom. I've provided a title for each piece to identify a point of interest that I wanted to develop and build upon sequentially.
I think after a few more refinements in line weight, vibrancy and variation of the mixed media elements I'll have created the best template going forward. Trees and stones aside, waterfalls and rivers are other subjects I'm looking forward to expressing in this design language. Perhaps enough assets can be created for legitimate world building. I've tried to stay away from manmade elements, but the introduction of ruins might pop up more frequently later if that is an idea worth pursuing.
What do you guys think? What is one the most beautiful view of nature you've personally witnessed? Red striped mountains in the desert? A majestic waterfall in the rainforest? Black sand beaches at the base of a volcano? Leave your thoughts down below! Like and share if you care. Until next time, peace.
WIP Wednesday | Devil's Craft
Welcome back to another entry on the SunKing Designs blog. This time around, I wanted to provide a look at a design that has been sitting, incomplete, for at least 6 years in my sketchbook. I think its safe to say that many artist start projects that typically wind up unfinished for even longer periods should they get distracted by other prospects both exciting and more time consuming. However, it might be a bit more rare for anyone to revisit an old design without completely revising it, but since there were no "glaring" issues regarding the initial portrait, I elected to maintain most of the original design since I thought it would be a waste otherwise.
Originally, the client requested a logo for their craft beer brand, "Holy Craft". At the time, I was working together with a friend specializing in Advertising, so I must give him credit for suggesting the image of a priest. You can see the reference photo collected via Pinterest to the right. I think the recommendation was well suited for the brand, but I concluded that plastering a random priest on a label would be a bit too "on-the-nose" and thus not very creative. Since priest are supposed to follow their faith diligently, associating the imagery with alcohol is adversely impious. I think this contradiction makes the design more appealing. So, after some discussions, I suggested we "darken" the tone of the portrait by sharpening the bone structure around the cheeks, elongate the nose, and protrude the eyebrow ridge. This naturally allowed me to increase the age of the model through his hair and adjust features in the face such as the lips, eyes, and forehead. This is certainly an occasion where the devil is in the details, since I went as far as to extrude the ears to replicate a more sinister expression. To dramatize the features even further, I implied subtle burns along the shadowed portions of his face just to add a bit more uneasiness to priest's character. Overall, I think the portrait was a success, but since the project was abandoned before we could address the typography the logo failed to be much more than a character portrait.
Fast forward years later, the acute imbalances in my original render became much more obvious with fresher eyes and accumulated experience. For the sake of the blog, I mirrored the image above and highlighted key points of interest.
1. The left hemisphere of the skull was out of perspective. This makes the forehead appear larger and flatter than it should be. Since the cranium is a round object, portions furthest from the viewer should turn back into space accordingly.
2. Though details in anatomy become more unclear in shadowy areas, I darkened the area around the cheek so much that the skull starts to lose form; again becoming too flat.
3. I think the unfurling parchment style "text box" was both cliché and off-center, so that too was nixed. You can tell from its absence that the entirety of the logo would be leaning to far left should I have left it. To further acknowledge this imbalance, I went ahead and highlighted the space around the head with red and green. Green being the most ideal proportion of space compared to areas in red.
After editing these areas, I selected a bold, gothic, san-serif font that featured a more contemporary style resulting in the final image below. Using the in-program measurement system, I was able to find the correct proportions of the composition from the typography to the portrait.
By this point I decided to change the name of the brand since the project was no longer being pursued by the original client(hence the name "Devils Craft"). Yet, I was still unsatisfied with this simple monochromatic rendering and opted to add a splash of red to push the design into more "ominous" territory. Since the Devil is commonly associated with red, I was inspired to replicate the effect of blood splashing across the entirety of the design. If you look carefully, you'll notice some of this red coloring has stained the color of the priest, effectively bringing the design to a finished state.
What do you think? I'm pleased to finally release this piece after such a long period of time. Its a shame that this design couldn't have been used for an actual product but perhaps I will get the opportunity to design a new beer label in the future. What would you like to see me design next? A coffee logo? Perhaps a fruit juice product? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and don't forget to like and share this post!
Until next time,
Whats up guys,
Perhaps you all have been eager for an update. If not, oh well, I have a lot to post that I've been holding on to for the past 2 months anyway. So lets get into it!
I was contacted by a friend whom wanted to produce a piece of work to be used as a gift and simultaneously be used as an album cover for his buddy's music(Ghostpops). Intrigued by the prospect, I undertook the commission and got to preview(listen?) the mix. I was immediately impressed by the quality of production and unique implementation of samples throughout the 32min EP. Upon multiple listens, I generated a list to describe the track in a way that could lead to some visual references I could research while creating the Pinterest board below. Some of these words included:
After I became familiar with the mood and tone set by Ghostpops production style, generating sketches became relatively straightforward and easy to layout the rest of the vision.
At this point in the process, I would generally elect to present my best ideas to the client, but since this was intended to be given as a gift, I elected to narrow the selection through my judgement alone. So, I figured the profile view maintained the integrity of Bart's iconic silhouette while providing the opportunity to integrate my own interpretation of what his anatomy could be in a cross-sectional "medical" illustration. However, just as important, was the placement and selection of specific types of plants to balance the exposed elements of Bart's anatomical design and framing.
After I clarified my compositional design discrepancies through a line draft, I was able to move forward with multiple value studies that could demonstrate the most accurate expression of tone.
Finding the right balance between the values is arguably the most important step in keeping your audience engaged with the image. I took the time to write all sorts of notes that would incrementally fine-tune these subtle details until the final color stages.
At this point in the process, I began to allow my references to influence my color selections. I felt that this decision would allow the image to fit among its trendy contemporaries while increasing the possibility of its virility on the web. Since the above images were drafted in color pencil, they didn't quite capture the richness of the palettes I intended. However, I believe they captured the mood of the Ghostpops' EP in the most accurate sense. It was at this point, I allowed my client to choose which of the 3 palettes best suited his interest. From there I took the composition to a digital finish using Krita.
Though there are some areas I would definitely improve in yet another iteration of this design, I was satisfied with my results. On the other hand, both my client and design recipient were so pleased by the work, I was later hired again for an even larger project to be continued in part 2 of this blog. What do you guys think? Would you have chosen a different color theme? What is your opinion of using pop-culture to supplement design or composition? As always, leave your thoughts in the comments below and don't forget to share and like this post.
Until next time,
WIP Wednesday | Couple's Lake
Happy New Years!
How was your winter holiday? Full of good times and happy people I hope.
In order to start the year off on the right foot, I thought it would be a good idea to update the site with some of my most recent commissions. Whether the news is surprising or not, I received a few comments from folks whom were unaware of the extent of my artistic capabilities. I hope this year gives me more opportunities to showcase my skills, as it can only lead to my portfolio expanding in breadth.
That said, I'd like to start off that conversation with an acrylic painting I was commissioned for during the holiday break. I was instructed to paint a couple rowing across a pond in a semi-impressionistic style. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the reference photos below.
To be fair, I think some painters would take the time to make small scale sketches to inform the overall design and technique to be utilized in the final piece. However, considering that time and money weren't that much of an option in my case, I decided to jump in, prime my canvas and loosely sketch out my plans.
Its here that I would like to acknowledge the general misconception most people have between drawing and painting. Fundamentally, the two are different in how each applies the order of design elements and how strongly each individual element is emphasized according to the necessity of the final product. For those unaware, the elements of design are: Space, Line, Shape, Form, Value, Color, and Texture. When drawing, the artist is highly reliant on both line and space to express their vision. Since a single pencil/pen is limited by its lack or limited use of color, an artist need not worry about its effects as they progress the image to completion. Instead, the artist must constantly be aware of space and shape in the early stages of the work since accuracy is highly valued. On the other hand, the characteristics of a paintbrush prevent an artist from relying too heavily on line at all. In fact, depending on the painting style, there should be little-to-no line-work implemented until the very end of the painting process. That means painters often rely on shape and form to block-out areas within the space to create a composition.
Accuracy may still be important, but paint has the flexibility of being covered up by more paint. White space does not share this type of forgiveness for artist who draw(though an eraser may be enough in some cases). So, as you can see in the following image, I've blocked-out large areas of the painting to reflect the process mentioned above, eventually reaching a point where the only negative space left is of the subjects on the boat.
I should also acknowledge the amount of strategy and planning that goes into painting. Since the medium dries quickly*, pigments must be mixed with enough quantities in advance, and specific brushes are necessary at various points in the process, therefore, the activity requires a lot of patience and discipline. This becomes especially true once a person becomes more focused in the smaller areas that require more attention to detail.
While I'm pretty satisfied of what I managed to complete in just 2.5 days, there are many areas I'd like to improve the next time I'm commissioned for a painting. Since I use acrylics, the medium tends to dry quickly which prevents the smooth blending capabilities common among oils. Since that is the case, I want to try "painting into wet" more often. You can actually see this technique along the hull of the boat in the photo above. Next, I want to improve my atmospheric perspective, i.e; diffusing background elements into the sky to produce depth in the composition. Finally, I want to buy finer brushes to paint smaller areas in greater detail should future projects require it.
Otherwise, what do you guys think? Would you like to see more traditional paintings in the future? What styles would you like to see me attempt? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
WIP Wednesday | Julienne Pierre pt.1
Long time, no see. Last month was extraordinarily busy between moving house, vacationing in Barcelona, accommodating my grandparent's first visit to Japan, and of course, work. October was joyful overall and I'm kinda sad to see it fade into the past as we move into the end of the year. Hopefully, 2020 will be just as eventful. In any case, I have a backlog of things to share with you all, so I aim to publish the content that has slowly been building up in my sketchbook over the past few weeks. Lets start with a long overdue, WIP Wednesday.
Not too long ago, I was commissioned to create a logo that could merchandise the image of an upcoming rap artist. I've worked on logos for bakers, business consultants, student organizations, pod-casters, Twitch Streamers, cannabis marketers, and others; but never a rapper. I thought taking on this project would be an exciting opportunity that would continue to prove my flexibility at challenging different markets; often requiring different artistic styles and techniques.
As always, I discussed the use-purpose of the logo, the message my client want associated with it, as well as stylistic options to be considered throughout its development. After concentrating our meeting to a few notes, later translated as keywords, I created a Pinterest board full of reference photos to help focus the vision of the final design.
Its rare that I have a client with a vision simple enough to be distilled into a few basic ideas, but I think it worked out in the best interest of the overall design as I managed to fly through the sketch process with little resistance.
However, due to the nature of the line-work and my ideas for how to approach rendering in the future, assigning the appropriate values in the correct order, in the right places was by far the most challenging part of the process. I think most people would not be so considerate in attributing so much time to this part of the production, but finding values that elevated and maintained the integrity of the design is paramount in how readable the work is. My exercises focused on no more than 6 values, with varying proportions over 20 different sketches. If you look closely at the images below, you can read some of the notes critiquing some the flaws and points of interest to maintain in each consecutive iteration.
From here on, the next stages require a few color iterations to ensure the accuracy of my vision. Perhaps you can grasp what I'm going for by the references I've collected through Pinterest. Otherwise, you all can look forward to the final design in the coming weeks. What do you think so far? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post.
Until next time,
When was the last time you saw a sketchbook? What was in it?
This is mine. A patchwork of my likes, experiences, and memories. What would you expect to find inside should you open it? Its not unreasonable to assume there would be numerous illustrations considering its a sketchbook.
Mine, however, features more writing than one might expect.
Yet, there was once a time when I refused to take notes here as to not ruin the continuity of the book. Thats obviously no longer important, as the book is meant for me and doesn’t require the elements to make it a “showpiece”. That said, its contents should showcase the utility of my process as it relates to art, regardless of the amount of illustrations present.
Many of the notes are simply shortcuts and bullet points for my design processes; ideas to be considered when taking a piece from one phase to another (especially when digital tools are introduced). So, instead of constantly drawing to grow my technical skills toward mastering specific techniques, I usually focus on organizing my thoughts and envisioning methods to produce visuals that I may not have the time/patience to render by hand. Thankfully, this has given me the ability to devise design plans quickly and efficiently. Sometimes allowing me to take a portion of one project and implement it in a completely different context or use-case. See my Olympic postage stamp as an example. This one instance has now afforded me the option to purse a completely new project that could potentially be monetized.
Since its WIP Wednesday, I thought sharing a look at my book would help inform my audience about my approach to art creation. Simultaneously, acknowledging the possibility of varying ways in which to create design solutions. I firmly believe the way I’m able to strategize quick and reliable solutions for clients is due to the resourcefulness of my sketchbooks. Often offering me the most creative solutions even when the path is not so obvious.
What do you think? Do you keep a sketchbook, bullet journal, or planner? What do you use it for? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don’t forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
Another week means another work in progress update. Again, I will be revisiting the Musick's project since it seems to continuously grow in scale with each passing day. I promise next week will be something different though; I have a lot of different projects on hold at the moment.
Anyway, today's update is again related to the Musick's /podcast. I agreed to work with them over the coming year to produce an image for the weekly release of their podcast. Each image is intended to be a unique edition in what I can only hope would be a lovely collage of all things culturally Japanese. They aren't intended to be anything super sophisticated, but I think I will try to observe some major holidays/events, seasonal foods, and imagery that is commonly associated with this country from a domesticated perspective. So, don't expect to see any Sumo wrestlers, Geisha, or any other stereotype images over the next 52 weeks.
Above are the first 4 images I've drawn up for the most current and furture episodes(at the time of writing). I'm pretty happy that I've been entrusted with a long term project like this. Since I have full creative control of these images, I think it will ultimately help showcase my versatility and creativity in the long run. Of course, it will no doubt improve my consistency and speed as well.
What do you guys think? What kinds of projects are you working on? Have you ever been commissioned long term? What kinds of images do you associate with Japan? Do you want to know why I chose the imagery that I did? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, please like and share this post~
Until next time,
Today's post is much less a work in progress as it is a complete product. Nearly one month ago, on Toriaezu Tuesday, I announced the beginning of my commission for /the Musicks in Japan podcast. Sometime early last week, I completed the first portion of the project; drafting the logo and rendering mockups. In the following paragraphs, I've taken the opportunity to explain some of my design decisions throughout the process.
For the logo, I knew an enclosed circular design would be ideal to not only organize the wordmark, but easily implement its use as an icon across various social media platforms. Second, I chose to create a hand lettered font with swooping curves and rounded shapes to reflect the kind and approachable nature the Musicks's envoke through their podcast. These softer shapes also do well to keep the circular framing device more consistent throughout the composition. I decided to reinforce that idea by using the traditonal scallop pattern to also breakup stagnant negative space in the background. Third, I think utilizing red was an obvious choice to reference the hinomaru symbol emlazoned upon Japan's national flag, as well as discreetly communicating the idea of the Musicks literally being in Japan. Finally, there are limited opportunities to visually tie the content of the podcast to the logo in more obvious ways. Therefore, I figured utilizing the iconic imagery of Hokusai's Great Wave would be the safest and easiest way to bring all the elements in the design together while simultaneously framing the logo in a manner to keep audience's attention within the boundaries of the composition.
After completing the logo, I thought it would be nice to try my hand at creating mockups. Mockups are an easy way to showcase ways in which designs can be implemented on various products. I'd never created mockups before this project, but I'm considering returning to several older designs to fill out my portfolio in a more comprehensive way.
What do you guys think? Are you looking for a project to be commissioned? Which one of my former projects should I return and mockup? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
I've been working on today's piece for a few weeks now. If you are a follower of my instagram, some portions of this post may seem familiar. Some time ago, Yui asked if I could create an image that incorporated her family into elements that she could identify with as a personal logo. After some thought, we concluded that merging the family business' into one design would be the most ideal. Her father's side created tofu, while her mother's side grows cabbage. Since she is the product of these two families, no other design solution made as impactful or visually-intriguing image as the thumbnails below.
Just before the Golden Week break, I started utilizing a method of painting that solely used masks and blend modes. By incorporating that method into the design process, I managed to get subtle color and lighting variations between various planes of both objects dependent on their orientation in space.
What do you think? What two things should I combine next? What imagery do you think represents your family? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,
WIP Wednesday | Bedroom Painting
Today is Wednesday, so that means its time to share some stuff I've been working on this week. Its been at least 7 or 8 years since I last touched a paintbrush, but I've been finesseing the painting below over the last few days. Some people swear by oil, but I prefer to use acrylic. Its easier to manage, dries faster, and can be easily painted over if you find your work unsatisfactory.
There is still much to be done with this piece, but I'm happy I got most of the structure and layout of the room down. Next, I will focus on color correction to push depth of field and clarify plane changes among various objects. I'll probably be using various tinting and muting techniques to create some atmospheric depth in the background while adding more contrast in the foreground. I also want to clarify my light source(window), but its a bit difficult. The room naturally bounced a lot of light in an atmospheric manner, so I may have to artificially dim sections of the room furthest from the light source to achieve that effect. Afterwards, I will go ahead and other fine details to make the room more personalized. It feels very boring and static at the moment.
If I have any painter friends lurking around here, what do you think? Any tips you'd like to share to achieve the goals listed above? Am I on the right track? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, dont forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,