Influence Map

Posted by campbell November 6th, 2010

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mongrel men

Posted by campbell November 3rd, 2010

This is an illustration I did a while ago but for some reason never got around to putting online. These are two characters that appeared in the Dungeons and Dragons campaign I wrote. They are mongrel men (well, one is a lady, “mongrel people” perhaps) who live in a caravan in the outskirts of Mont Azul. They herd away flocks of wild insects that threaten the local vineyards.

The mongrel men have been a particular favorite of my friends and I since we first flipped through an old monster manual. Awful, mutated bastard children of interbreeding races, they are like street dogs running around, hiding in the shadows and picking at scraps. In our mind, they always seem to have a lobster claw, tatty clothes and warty skin.

I can’t seem to find much reference to them on the internet, which is odd considering how awesome they are.

You can follow the adventures at Jimmerish FM download past episodes on itunes and check out the wiki.

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illustration process

Posted by campbell November 2nd, 2010

I thought I’d break down the process that I went through to make the illustration from my previous post.

I have been a big fan of James Gurneys blog, Gurney Journey for a long time. It’s relaxed, creative, super positive and full of amazing advice for visual artists of all types. When I read it, I feel I’m getting the art school education I missed out on when I actually went to art school.

James Gurney created (among other things) the hugely popular illustrated book series Dinotopia

University was fantastic for me, but for an artist with my interests, the visual components were severely lacking. We had very theory heavy classes which were more concerned with concepts than aesthetics. This left me pretty much on my own to work a lot of the technique side of things out.

Anyway, James Gurney offers many step by step insights in to his image making process. A wonderful example is this post here although he touches on these ideas in many of his other posts. His style is very naturalistic and based on super accurate observation of light, colour and how they combine to create form. I am pretty loosey goosey with these ideas. I tend to be more concerned with line creating flat shapes and colouring intuitively.

I thought for this illustration, I’d challenge myself to go through the same (well, at least similar) steps that James goes through when making an image.

The first step was to do sketches, to develop the idea as much as I could without any external assistance. I wound up with these.

I wanted to do an interior shot of the tree house, one of the characters bedrooms with him reclining and reading. I had a pretty clear vision of the emotions I wanted to convey, of comfort and warmth and relaxation. I remember sitting in bed, reading, exploring new worlds through pages and illustrations.

From these illustrations, I then developed a cardboard and clay model of the bedroom. This took a few hours and a little bit of trial and error as I’d never done one before. The materials made it easy to create soft organic shapes, and any imperfections in the molding were welcome as they provided some nice error in design.

After I was happy with the model, I spray painted the whole thing white. James Gurney does this in a number of examples so that observation of shadows and light become obvious. When there is tonal variation in the model itself, it makes it harder to pin point the relative tonal values.

I then played around with lighting the model. I knew I wanted to light it through the window, but this took a while to get right. I knew I was going to have a second light source coming from within the room, but I didn’t really have a way to get that one to work out.

After photographing the work, I did a detailed drawing from it, with the character and props in place. Once finished, I drew a grid over the work so that I could then expand it on to another sheet of paper.

Then I redrew the grid and the work very lightly on to a large piece of thick watercolour paper. I then worked in to it, with the model at hand for reference and the lit photographs beside me. I also had a small model that I’d made of the characters head. Although he is very cartoony, it helps greatly with maintaining the shape of him.

After I was happy with the colour I had laid down, I then worked back in to the piece with coloured pencils to define shapes and give surfaces texture. Then it was done. Unfortunately I don’t have any step by step images of the actual painting/drawing process. I might scan my next illustration step by step so you can see how I work on the page itself.

The model making and photographing was done over a day. This was because of various drying times involved. The actual labour time was much less. The illustration took one full day of work.

Overall the process was fantastically fulfilling and I learnt a lot through it. There are many lighting elements that I would never have anticipated if it had been illustrated straight from my mind. Environmental and character models are something that I plan on investing a lot more time on in the future. I am not so much interested in achieving a level of naturalism that James Gurney does, but it all helps to create a sense of “reality” for the viewer. That they can place themselves in the world that little bit more. Which I guess is the aim of all picture makers.

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bananas in pyjamas

Posted by campbell October 31st, 2010


Bananas in pyjamas are coming down the stairs,
Bananas in pyjamas are coming down in pears,
Bananas in pyjamas are chasing teddy bears,
‘cos on Tuesdays they all try to catch them unawares!

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treehouse bedroom

Posted by campbell October 30th, 2010


Here’s a new illustration from the comic series I’m working on, Home Time.

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artist talks

Posted by campbell October 30th, 2010


Last wednesday was the final artist talk at free range gallery, featuring Adrian Baldsing and Dom Trimboli.

I was lucky enough to have attended university with Adrian, so am pretty familiar with his work. He is a multi-discipline artist who draws strongly from architectural forms and the lasting impression that the September 11 attacks have left on our world.

In his talk, he spoke candidly about his latest exhibition at These Days gallery, his working process and how he blends contemporary street art, white wall gallery ideology, terrorism, 60’s/70’s counterculture, Basquiat and the Raft of the Meduesa.

I am less familiar with Dom’s work, he is a recent free range member, architect, lecturer at UWA and assists in the production of many sculptural works produced in Perth. Dom discussed his thoughts on the positioning of good design within lower economic levels, the recent construction of a house from discarded showroom kitchenettes and how technology is encouraging organic forms to reemerge in architecture.

Once again, Liz has done an amazing job of tying together the practices of two of our in house artists.

On an organisational front, the talks went smoothly and were quite easy to pull together, with eager artists and guests offering up their time. Next year, in October we’ll run the talks again and hopefully open it up to a wider range of artists who have exhibited with us during the year and let the public attend.

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artist talks

Posted by campbell October 26th, 2010


Last week we had the super talented Tanya Schultz and Jennifer Catalano talk about their recent works at free range gallery.

Both artists work with found objects from the environment but in very different ways. Jennifer works with dirt from the local wetlands and wilderness to create pastes which she paints with, while Tanya works with consumer items like plastics toys, candy wrappers and glitter. The contrast between the two practices was great, Jennifer discussed the difficulty in finding the kind of “natural” material that she worked with, she really had to hunt for untouched lands and regions, where as Tanya felt overwhelmed by the abundance of plastics and brightly coloured goodsl. My partner Liz did a fantastic job pairing these two artists up.

This Wednesday Adrian Baldsing and Dom Trimboli will be discussing their practices which are both heavily influenced by construction and architecture.

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all over

Posted by campbell October 25th, 2010

The New Perth exhibition is finished and this week I am taking down all the works, patching up the gallery and painting over the mural.

I’m pleased with how the show turned out, although, like all exhibitions the things that I wasn’t able to achieve are the ones that stick in my mind. These things are usually best not to talk about as people viewing the work most likely would never guess what they are.

This body of work is one that I’m keen to continue with, I finally feel that I have struck upon a methodology that combines all the ideas that persist with me. Many of my previous exhibitions, while fine in their own right, were a little all over the place in terms of visual cohesion. I’m looking forward to developing the narrative of New Perth, the myths and stories as well as branching out in to dimensional work. Creating costumes and relics from the struggle, false historical documents of what was.

During the run of the exhibition I was surprised at the amount of media response I received. Ric Spencers in depth review was a real highlight as it’s very difficult to get meaningful constructive criticism outside of university. He’s pretty bang on about a lot of my interests and influences as well, even referencing Leon Golub whose work at the Art Gallery of Western Australia was burnt in to my mind a long time ago. Also of note was my mention on Phantasmaphile, one of mine and Liz’ favorite blogs. To be highlighted alongside some of the most amazing contemporary figurative artists is a real treat. Finally my interview with Voice journalist David Bell was great as a chance to provide more context for the work.

I’d like to thank my wonderful partner Elizabeth Marruffo for her constant support of my practice and this project. None of it would be possible without her.

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artist talks

Posted by campbell October 15th, 2010


All this month at free range we are holding a series of artist talks by members of the organisation. Last night, my partner Elizabeth Marruffo and myself talked about our most recent exhibitions and what influences our figurative creative practices.

It was a fantastic opportunity to discuss our work and get critical feedback from an engaged and educated community. One of the biggest things that I miss about university is the critical analysis of your work that was always at hand, of people being able to interpret your images, your technique and methodology. These talks are perhaps an attempt to restore what is missing.

This month of talks is running as an in house trial, to see logistically what is involved in running them and so forth. In the future, we’re thinking of opening them up so that other artists can give regular presentations with the broader arts community able to attend.

I’m not really aware of any other regular arts events of this type in Perth. Can anyone fill in the gaps?
Where do you go for dialogue and community?

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dungeons and dragons

Posted by campbell October 13th, 2010

Tonight there will be dungeons and there will be dragons and they will be coming straight at you through the powers of the internets! Above, an image to get you pumped, a scrappy map I drew for the adventure I dm’d for. Our “regular” fortnightly sessions became kind of monthy, kind of. But now it’s back! And back in a big way!

You can follow the adventures at Jimmerish FM download past episodes on itunes and check out the wiki.

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