Friday, October 29, 2010
A little background on what I've been up to. I had spent several years slowly working my way through the illustration field. A few years back, I had an opportunity to show my work in the pop-surreal/low brow gallery scene. I took the red pill...or was it the blue pill? I took some pills and jumped in with both feet.
My art has been kicking my ass ever since. There's been a lot of experimenting, a lot of mistakes, and a lot of pushing myself to be better than I was the month before. Getting better everyday is just too much to ask for. There's a real ugly side to my work. Mostly the 80% that resides between starting and finishing. It's full of doubts, insecurities, a lot of choices, and a lot of muddy colors. Every painting is a difficult journey. If it were easy I wouldn't appreciate the end nearly as much. Mistakes are fine. Failing is okay. Learning from these experiences and getting back on the easel is even better. From here on we hope to imbue you with a little insight into the thoughts and processes of our work.
A recent journey has lead me to this painting which is part of an upcoming show opening Nov 6th at LeBasse Projects Gallery.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Before I get startet I think I need to introduce myself and apologize. The apology is for my bad mouth and poor English skills. I am from Denmark and English is only my second language. I was taught English in school, but mostly I learned it from from hip hop lyrics and old Clint Eastwood movies. So cut me a little slack if I sometimes sound like an aggressive, ignorant fool or an extremely impolite asshole. I assure you I am not an asshole.
I am Jesper Ejsing. I am a fantasy nerd. Ever since I played DnD for the first time I made the genre my own. When I read Lord of the Rings a whole new world opened up to me and I jumped right in.
Today I am glad I never listened or cared for the voices that told me to start drawing something else. ”When are you going to paint something serious, Jesper? And not just those big-boobed fantasy babes of yours?” Haven´t stopped yet and the practise, or stubbornness, has paid off.
I never wanted anything else but to draw and paint these scenes from a world that exists only in the minds those who play these games. I have been playing roleplaying games for so long that I almost feel like a resident of a medieval-like fantasy town. Or at least a regular visitor. When I illustrate things taking place there, I draw from memory or experience. Not artistic experience, but game experience, and I feel that is one of my strongest assets. I portray fantasy with an honesty, if nothing else. That is my humble mission. I think I succeed in one out of ten paintings.
Today i want to share with you a World of Warcraft card I did for Blizzard a year ago. Even if the illustration is somewhat classic and even naive, it represents a new beginning for me. I am perfectly aware how extremely stupid this sounds. Looking at the babe illustration you can only wonder what kind of a sad, simple mind Jesper has when he says it represents a new beginning, but let me explain...:
I have been doing these kinds of illustrations for so long that I finally became bored of them. Mean-looking dudes and babes with lots of weapons, ready to go; in every way, violently or sexually. I needed a new angle to make it interesting to myself again. But I didn´t want to change styles or anything. I decided that I wanted my characters to look more believable. Not naturalistic, that is certainly not for me. But more like a type, a real person, instead of just the ordinary Class A Barbarian. I began looking at H&M catalogs for small details like light under eyes, strands of hair or shapes of noses. Elements that would pull me out of my comfort zone. I also wanted the expressions to be more than just pornstar lips for women and clenched jaws for men.
This WOW character is the first one I did where I felt the face and the expression has something more than just looking cool. She has a small twist to the lips and a danger in the eyes. This may sound like something you learn the in the first semester of art school: Well I never went, and I only discovered this or realized that you could even do this, a years or so ago. Happy me... and why didn´t anyone tell me this from the start?
Anyway, I will show you the sketch and the final art work. The sketch has values added in Photoshop. I do this mostly for the art director - so that he can see the light and the shapes more clearly. Also it helps me figure out the values before I start painting. Having made you read all my sentimental ramblings about growing as a person, I would just ask you to be patient with me for a couple of moments longer. Notice the difference between the face from the sketch (clearly comical) and the final (more naturalistic; no that is not it... more believable; nah...well... better! Alright?)
It is acrylic on watercolor paper.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I still don't know quite how I managed to do it, but I somehow convinced what I consider some of the best Artists in the industry to join me in creating this blog. A blog which guarantees to take their already packed work days and stuff them even fuller with deadlines, tech-savvy shortcomings, and even a little self-doubt. And in return for all their hard work... the risk of public humiliation. Yet despite all of that, everyone still generously said 'Yes.' Proving they are not just some of the most talented people I know, but some of the nicest as well. For this, I am truly grateful, and extremely proud to call them my friends. I don't know how long it will be until this experiment blows up in our faces, but until then, we promise to have something new for you guys every single weekday. So please, check back in regularly!
For what is technically my inaugural post, I'd like to briefly show off a new painting I just finished, and talk a little about what is quickly becoming one of coolest series I get to work on.
Daw books contacted me a little over a year ago to do the cover for a book called 'Touched by an Alien", by Gini Koch. The story revolves around a woman named Katherine (Kitty) Katt, who fights along side Armani-clad (and drop dead gorgeous) Alpha Centurions to defend the Earth from hostile alien invasion. The story is packed full of sex, violence, and surprisingly... humor.
Sex and violence? No problem! I've done a lot of that in my covers. But capturing humor was something that never came up, and quite honestly, scared me a little. This wasn't slapstick or something else that could be brashly depicted. It was a subtle campiness that pervaded the book, and really brought a lightheartedness to an otherwise intense story. Capturing this flavor was something I had little experience in, but I knew it was essential if this were to be a good cover.
After struggling for a while with the initial sketches, I ended up finding inspiration in movies like 'Army of Darkness' and 'Men in Black'. It occurred to me when watching these movies that I never actually feared for the safety of the heroes. I knew they would succeed, no matter how ludicrous and over-the-top their situation was. Why did I know that? Because they knew it. And therein lay the solution to my problem... stupidity. Nothing says 'campy' quite like an imbecilic lack of fear in the face of obvious danger. The more danger there is, the more fun it is.
This series of covers quickly became proverbial kitchen sinks; chock full of monsters, aliens, guns, exploding cars, clones, and even crocodiles?! I distinctly remember sitting at my easel in the early morning hours, really tired, painting this crocodile and asking myself "What the HELL am I doing right now?" Yet in retrospect, I wouldn't like the painting half as much if it weren't for that cute little guy. It seems the more I stuff in there, the better they get. Not only does this make the images more exciting to look at, but it makes for a really fun painting experience. The other nice thing is that it allows me to add a slew of narrative elements from the book. Elements, which I hope readers will pick up on as they come across them in the story.
The most recent addition to the series is "Alien in the Family". The book won't be out for sometime yet, so I can't mention the epic intergalactic bloodbath... But suffice it to say, it was super fun to paint, and promises to bring me yet another really cool painting to work on in 2011.
|Oils on board, 20x30 inches.|
Monday, October 25, 2010
I’d like to welcome everyone to the “Muddy Colors” blog. Hopefully this will be a place of informative and enlightening information not only about illustration but the the arts in general. Maybe even a bit of mud slinging will occur! Who knows? Many of us have our feet in both camps - the field of illustration and personal gallery work. An overview of this group indicates a preference for traditional methods for creating paintings. This does not mean we are not open and aware of other avenues of expression and technology - we prefer paint to pixels. All of us are well-seasoned pros in the field of illustration, art direction, art instruction, mentoring etc... and we have consistently produced award winning work over the years. We don’t pretend to know everything but will share our views, our accomplishments, limitations, knowledge and philosophies in regard to the ever changing field of illustration and the arts. Sure - we'll show in-progress work, where the work will be exhibited, tips, techniques and everything else associated with our experiences creating images. For patrons, fellow professionals and art students there may be opportunities to meet and attend any number of workshops, exhibitions, conventions and appearances by the participants of “Muddy Colors”.
Personally I don’t like to display my in-progress efforts in the studio (more on that later) but I do have a few thoughts in regard to a life in the arts. In some cases these thoughts are like the spaces between the brushstorkes. Painting pictures can be a rewarding experience and can also be fraught with pitfalls and discouragement. The thing is you have to be tenacious and passionate in your efforts. In the coming months I hope to direct you to various points of view that I think are noteworthy. I will also share some of my personal experiences and in general, pontificate on any number of subjects related to the arts. Let’s face it...There’s a lot of crap on the net but there are many individuals that offer sound practical advice and have noble intentions. I hope, in some measure to inspire an appreciation for the creative spirit and its humble origin's.
This man does knows what he’s talking about in regard to the state of the arts. He has produced a number of outstanding documentaries for the BBC and PBS. They are: “American Visions”, “The Shock of the New” and “The Mona Lisa Curse”. These can all be viewed on YouTube and are well worth watching. Most of these television documentaries have companion books published by Mr. Hughes and should be a part of any artist’s required reading. Knowing ourselves and our place in the larger world of art and creativity.... these documentaries offer a source guide to the artist and illustrator.
TWO MUDDERS: Jon Foster and John Jude Palencar will be showing thier work in a group exhibition.
See links below: