Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I've been mentioned!

The book I helped illustrate was reviewed, and I'll be damned, my art was specifically mentioned! No, really, I'm damned. Because he pointed it out for being terrible. Sigh.

I suppose he didn't say terrible, he said 'suspicious.' You can read the review here.

EDIT: Since the website doesn't work for everyone, here's the quote:

"One picture bothered me quite a bit, it was a picture of a man and a woman at a shooting range firing at overly large insects. If you follow Shadowrun, you know bugs are a big problem. What was so bothersome about this picture was that I swear I’ve seen this shot as a photo and it looks like the man and woman have been transposed and the bugs inserted into line art. The fact that both people are wielding current day firearms rather than really cool Shadowrun era firearms makes me even more suspicious."

Basically, he's saying that I cut and pasted some photos. Honestly, I'm a little hurt. But this isn't the first time something like this has happened. When I was in highschool, I made this:
See that hand coming out of the drawing? I sculpted it out of clay and fired it. I was really proud of it. I would lug it everywhere to show at college portfolio reviews. One teacher looked at the drawing, hefted the sculpted hand, and said, "This is great. I love the imagination, but what if you sculpted the hand, instead of casting it? Show us some other talents?"

I was dumbfounded. "I did sculpt that," I said. The man shrugged it off with an "Oh, okay."

Fast forward to sophomore year of college. The teacher is trying to get a feel on our particular talents, and assigns a drawing. One figure, beyond that, the drawing could be whatever you liked. So I made this:

When the projects were passed back, mine came with a sticky note attached. "See me, bring your photo reference." I showed my teacher the drawing and the photo side by side, and he shrugged, "Okay, sometimes kids will trace their photos to try and impress me. I can see you didn't. Nice." 

I got a B+.

Maybe I'm too sensitive, maybe my artist brain gets haughty and dramatic, but I'm proud of the work I do. Especially when I burn through hours of painting. Saying 'this is too good' is something of an underhanded compliment, and one I don't take lightly. Of course, the reviewer mentions other tidbits that I honestly dropped the ball on: the weapons aren't Shadowrun weapons. I should have looked into the arsenal instead of filling in what I knew. Whatever, let's get to it.

I was going to wait until later to make a post about how much trouble I go through to get reference. But, teacher, you wanted to know if I traced.

It starts with the thumbnail.

Then I try to line up some photos as nearly as I can to the thumbnail.


Sexy, right?


Yeah, that's an Aperture Science jacket. Be jealous.


My sister Ruby is lovely and the best and is super helpful. These are three out of more than twenty that I took making sure everything was right.

Once this is done, I gather other elements to paint off of. I was given some 'spirit bug' reference that I used, I looked up crabs to see the shape of their shells, and I grabbed some shooting range photos. I have a lot of sandy/grassy fields on my computer now.

Now you get to compare:


Obviously, I'm not going to post every time I get a negative review, but I go through great pains to achieve some semblance of realism in my work, and I pride myself in the fact that I don't take shortcuts. In that area, I'm always more than happy to defend my practices.

Those guns, though? Yeah, my bad.

4 comments:

Jason C. said...

Oh my god...


I want an Aperture Science Jacket!

Jason C. said...

Also, since I can't seem to find an edit button for my previous post...

Some people cannot understand true genius: you have it, they don't.

People will look at your work and instead of thinking, "Wow, this is really good.", they try any way they can do tear it down because they could never come close to being as good.

In my case I'm not even going to try. I fancy myself a mediocre artist (I like pixel art mostly) but I could never compare to your talent. But instead of detracting, I'll just admire someone better than me without needing to "reinforce my pathetic pride" as so many seem to need to do.

(Damn, I really didn't intend to write that much.)

David Hovey said...

Haha, thanks man, but I'm not too offended. This guy was reviewing the book not my art, and he thought this specific piece looked suspiciously like a photo manip.

First, I don't know if they changed my original at all, which could have an effect, and second, he's totally entitled to his opinion. I don't think he was trying to tear me down, he was just giving an example of what he was bothered by. My AD loved the piece, and he's really the only review I listen to.

In fact, to say that he thought it was 'too good' is manipulative wording on my part. He can not like it, and saying that piece didn't fit in with the rest of the book is a legitimate concern. What he can't do is say that I did't paint every pixel personally.

The use of terms like 'suspicious' and 'transposed' are the reason I wrote this article, because I wanted to stand up for my artistic integrity and make sure that he knew every ounce of effort that went into that design.

If he still wants to hate it after that, great.

Jason C. said...

Yeah, it's good to take things in stride. Certainly, criticism isn't bad and should always be both taken into consideration and taken with a grain of salt.

Mostly the example of the guy who said you should have sculpted the hand and then shrugged it off when you had actually done that is mainly what ticks me off.

Anyway, good stuff. I'm glad you are making progress professionally, it's nice to see that! I just need to spend more time on my own projects as well. When I get down to the grind, I really do learn a lot and progress in my ability.

Keep learning and growing and one day when companies are seeking you out for your art and throwing potential projects at your feet, I can be all like, yeah... I knew that guy when he was a fledgling artist. And all the hipsters will be jealous.

In all seriousness, however, I look forward to seeing you make a name for yourself.