Wednesday, December 15, 2010

HZ #16 Zombies

When I heard that the theme for the latest HOWiezine was going to be Zombies, I immediately signed up. I love horror movies, especially Zombie movies so this theme was right up my alley. I knew I wanted to do something involving horses, but I wasn't sure exactly what. Initially I thought of taking a realistic looking horse, and zombi-fying it. Eh, boring. Then I thought of purchasing a blank plastic pony and painting a zombie body on it. Too easy, and done before (if you do a google search you'll see what I am talking about).

Then my brain started ticking...and I thought of my stash of My Little Ponies, buried somewhere in the basement. Hmm. Would I be able to find these favorite toys that had been a big part of my youth? So, flashlight in hand I ventured downstairs into the dark, cold, dusty and spider zone known as the basement. Luckily I had a vague idea of the kind of box they were in, so it did not take me long to find them. I remembered I also had a nursery and barn, so I searched further and found those too. I brought everything upstairs, laid it all out on the floor and sat...thinking. How could I use this stuff to my advantage? Then I had an idea. What if I were to have a sort of, "average day in the life...gone horribly wrong" sort of deal. So I took a few things outdoors to the safety of the backyard (where no one would see a grown up playing with My Little Ponies of course) and set it all up. Then grabbed my camera and tripod and did some test shots. Eureka!...a zombielicious idea was brewing.

But, like all zombies in the making, I needed fake blood. It was past Halloween. Crap. So I did a bit of googling and found some fake blood recipes. I jotted down some notes, and got to work. Luckily I had the right ingredients. Three different blood mixtures later, I headed back out into the yard...thanking the fact that no one was going to bear witness to what was about to happen...

With some rubber gloves and a basting brush I got to work. Splatter here, clump there..blood trail in one directions, entrails in the next. Satisfied with the carnage, I quickly took the necessary shots and then hauled everything back indoors.

I bring you My Little Ponies...which will never be the same.*
*(Ok, really everything got cleaned off with soap and water so no ponies were seriously harmed in the zine making...)

Once I had all the photos, I had to figure out how I wanted everything to play out on paper. I took my main shot of Applejack and used that for the front of the design, adding just a snippet in the bottom corner of the horror that was to come. I wanted to showcase the various angles and enough of the carnage so I used a series of photos for the corresponding page, and sort of went with a comic book style, breaking up the sizes and layout on the page. Then all that was left was the writing. Once the writing was in, the story was set in motion.

(Photos can be clicked on to view larger and read the text)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

HZ #14 (15) Coffee

With the HOWiezine having been on hiatus for awhile, I had plenty of time to mull over a concept for the covers. Initially I had a list of ideas, which then got narrowed down to 3 concepts. The first two involved photography, and the third involved chalkboard art. Photography would have been the easy route to go, so instead I decided to challenge myself by taking on drawing (not my strong suite) in a new medium. I liked the idea of using chalkboard art, because chalkboard signs are a popular form of signage in coffee shops, restaurants, and even some grocers.

Since I have never experimented with chalkboard signs before, I did a bit of research to find out if there were any tricks, tips or specific art tools that would make the process easier. I found that, taking the size of scale into consideration, that using pastel pencils would be the easiest way to get the lines and detail I wanted. Another option was to buy water soluble paint markers, as they can clean up edges nice and make hand drawn lettering much easier. Unfortunately, buying the exact amount of colors I was going to need for rendering the drawing, wasn't exactly cost effective for my budget. I found a set of 24 pastel pencils which gave me a good range to work with, so I settled on those. I used a old chalkboard I have had since my childhood, and masked off a 14"x14" area for the drawing. This made drawing easier, and I was easily able to scale down the size to the 7"x7" requirements later on.

I was pretty well set on the table, chair, window, cat, and mug of coffee, and wood paneling on the bottom of the walls. The top area of the wall is what I changed several times. I experimented with different colors, but found the neutral colors stood out the best on the surface of the chalkboard. The other area I struggled with was, what to put on the wall, above the table? Should I draw a few funky looking pieces of art, like you might see in a coffee shop? Or put in another window? Or even a light fixture? In the end, I decided leaving room for a simple sign, (coffee shop style of course!) was the best and most accommodating option for the 'zine title/number as well. Plus, it also allowed the natural surface of the chalkboard to be visible and really enhance the sign itself. Basically, this was a classic example of, "less is more." Had I decided to go another route, I think it would have been too far busy, and overcomplicated my original idea.

Click on the photos to view the full images on Flickr.

HZ14/15 Coffee

This first picture is what the finished drawing looked like on the chalkboard. I found that using the blue painters tape allowed me not only a clean edge, but a place to rest my wrist while working on the drawing. Not that I didn't have a accidental smudge here and there...whoops! I found it easy to work around the drawing by rotating the blackboard and leaning it up against a wall while I worked. I did attempt to do the letting by hand, but it proved a bit too difficult to get the letterforms as solid as I wanted. So I put the pastels aside, photographed the chalkboard (ok, so "technically" some photography was involved), and added it in on the computer.

This is what the end result looked like, after the type was added and the color was ever so slightly adjusted.

HZ#14/15 Coffee

As for the interior pages, I had found two quotes I wanted to use. I knew that I wanted to do the drawings on brown paper bags, for a few reasons. The first was that I couldn't bring myself to erase the cover off the chalkboard yet! The second was the paper offered a nice, neutral and gritty service to work on, which captured the color really well. When it came time to draw, I was a little unsure of what I wanted to do. Once again, I found myself over thinking the drawing(s). After a few failed attempts, I decided to use a single coffee mug for the one, which looked a little like the mug from the cover.

As for the other, I decided to toss in a little humor, and play off the graphic of a slippery road sign. This gave in to the notion that sometimes a person just can't wait to break out of the office to grab a coffee. Since this is a HOWiezine, and the HOW Design Conference was coming up, I thought I'd also add a little thought bubble to the driver with the words, "HOW or bust!"

I used a white paint marker for the steam on the mug page, and for the thought bubble on the car page, which wound up being more visibly solid than using a white pastel. Once the drawings were done, both pages were scanned and the type was added in digitally as well.

HZ#14/15 Coffee

HZ#14/15 Coffee

Watkins Glen

One of my favorite gorges here in NY, I've also photographed this one to death. Once again, the smaller cascades in the gorge tend to go ignored, so I thought I'd showcase them a little rather than the main falls/attractions of the park. The sun really played off the bright green foliage of the trees, which resulted in some never before seen (at least by me) highlights in the water.








Friday, May 21, 2010

Stony Brook

I've been to Stony Brook more times than I can count, so it's always interesting to not only see what has changed each year, but to also be challenged by finding new things to photograph. I wandered down into a different area of the creek today and got some different angles of a waterfall, and also did some studies on some of the smaller cascades that typically get overshadowed by the main waterfalls within the gorge.








Thursday, April 8, 2010

Doodle Swap #5 Hand Drawn Typography

I have decent handwriting, but for some reason when I actually attempt to draw type, everything turns out not as how I wanted! I went simple this round, and picked a few sharpie colors to use for my doodles. Here's the better looking ones, as this was not my strongest round!




Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Garden Show

Some shots from this years annual spring flower show at the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens









Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Clydesdale Mare

A few days ago I was out at the barn, holding a gate while my friend was checking on her horse in the field. The winds were light, the sun was shining, and this mare was peaked with curiosity while I was waiting there. I had my point & shoot in my pocket, so I snagged a couple of shots...before she thought my camera was something for her to eat. :)