Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry Holidays!



It's that time of the year again. Here's a couple of my favorite Christmas/winter designs from this year.The Santa designs are from last year and where a lot of fun creating. I'd really love to do more character designing; it reminds me of caricature and graphic design which I used to do a lot more of when I was in college.

Best wishes to you this season and a Happy New Year! :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lonely Island Caricatures

The other night I bought the newest Lonely Island album (Turtlenecks and Chains) and can't stop laughing. The group is made of three guys including Andy Sandberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer and they are best known for their comedic music. If you've been watching SNL the last five years, you've probably seen some of their music videos as digital shorts. This drawing was done about a year ago and I was inspired to share it after the last couple days of ROFLing. So good... :)



Blog Update: 11/24/11


Couldn't help myself; I've been listening to the new album so much I had to caricature the whole crew. I think it'd be cool to do this drawing again and trace it in Illustrator to really get that clean, symmetrical look. I'd also play with their silhouettes and likeness more.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Season Panels

This was a fun little project I did at work (Embroidery Library) with the theme of nature and the change of seasons. The top image is how they turned out before handing off the project to the digitzers and the bottom image is the thumbnail sketches. In these four panels, I tried to create them to stand alone individually but look good if they were used together. I like doing drawings that go together for a series. Maybe it's something about designing them so that they all look unified. I also enjoy doing thumbnails and environment sketches now and then. Just another way to play with shapes, which is something I love to do.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Halloween Cat



Happy (early) Halloween! Black cats and and jack o' lants are the theme :)
This was a design I did for Urban Threads recently. Inspired yet again by the art of Skottie Young, the drawing above was a quick sketch to bring to a design planning meeting. A lot of my "rough" drawings are actually pretty tight, but this one wasn't as much the case. I think that's what I liked about it... not so much the art but the mentality of being open minded and just letting what ever comes through me (while drawing) to do so. I'm learning to silence my "inner critic" more and it feels really good and hopefully reflects in the art.

Hope you're enjoying the season and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Paper Wings Podcast

Paper Wings Podcast: Learn to make & sell your creator-owned comics, graphic novels, picture books & animation!

How do I make a living from my own ideas?

For most visual storytellers, and creative people of all kinds, this is the question of the century.

Led by by Disney character designer Chris Oatley and IDW comics creator Lora Innes, the Paper Wings Team is pursuing answers to this question by covering relevant topics such as:

  • How to craft beautiful and engaging visual stories.
  • How to get attention from big studios & publishers with an independent project.
  • How to grow an audience through technology and social media.
  • How to run a small, creative business legally and profitably.
  • How to make the most of your limited time and energy.


This was all copied and pasted from the Paper Wings website; I figured they can sell it better than me :)

I can't say enough good things about what's going on over at this site and am continually blown away by how much information is so generously shared on the Internet. You can almost call it free art school, not to mention a community of other artists/storytellers to grow with.

If you're a visual storyteller, this site is definitely worth checking out!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Follow Your Dreams!

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

- Mark Twain

Monday, September 12, 2011

High in the Sky



This drawing makes me happy :)



Saturday, August 27, 2011

Zombie Kitty


Hello, Zombo :)

A couple more trading cards from last month. Each card is drawn with marker and ink on 2.5" x 3.5" illustration board. Also, like before, these original artist trading cards are for sale ($20) and all proceeds go to the local food shelf in Wayzata, MN. If interested, shoot me an e-mail at taylorsmith03@hotmail.com

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 12, 2011

"Shiver Me Whiskers!"



Going with the pirate theme here. :) Just another drawing that makes me happy and also, a new t-shirt design over at my RedBubble store.

Also, I'm really happy to share that there's a new roommate with me at Wayzata Lake Apartments. Meet, Tootsie! (a.k.a. Gato Meowpur) She's 4 years old last month and was adopted last Saturday. I've never had a pet before so it's been an experience this last week, but a good one for sure! Here's a couple picks of her at the new home. The picture of her on the window ledge is her looking down at a muskrat (I think) outside. And the picture of her on the toilet cracks me up thinking of Jinkxy the cat from "Meet the Parents." :)





8/13/2011 (Blog Post Update)

This just in... Tootsie is actually a guy!? This blows my mind! Some how the animal shelter seemed to miss this one, and so did I! Wow... I don't know if that's an insult to my cat's "manhood" or a mistake in the paper work, but oh well. I took my cat to the vet today for a check up and it's confirmed... she is actually a he! So from this day forward, Tootsie is renamed to Stimpson J. Cat (Stimpy).

:)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mindfulness

In art school, there's something really awesome about being in a classroom environment with other like minded students who are all eager to grow and learn and be inspired by one and another. It's also really awesome to have great teachers around to nurture and foster these students into well rounded artists. But what happens when you leave that scene and move on to a new chapter in life? With out the school, how do you continue evolving, improving and growing as an artist? Our first thoughts might be, "thank God for the Internet." :) A second thought might be, "what if there is a way to continue improving as an artist, even when we are not drawing/painting?" Perhaps there is a way we can teach ourselves!

I believe one way is to become more mindful.

A good theory I heard from another artist was about how our experiences in life are all rapped up in the art that we create. When we are not in the present, our minds are often traveling back and forth between the past and the future and consequently we miss a lot of things that are going on around us. As artists, we can be more mindful in our observations through out the day to help us continue to grow. When you're traveling to work, what car or building designs inspire you? When you're waiting in line at the grocery store, who has a great face or interesting character for caricature and how would you exaggerate it? When you're walking outside, what color schemes and environments do you love and how would you make it into a composition? When we ask questions, it almost "tricks" our mind into finding answers and this helps us stay in the moment. Like anything worth having, this takes a little bit of effort (being more mindful) and thankfully it gets easier the more you practice it.

Another cool thing about being mindful is that with it comes peace and happiness. When we keep our minds focused and alert on the present (rather than listening to thoughts in our heads) we're more able to appreciate and enjoy the moment we're in. So not only do you build upon experiences and memories to plug into your art, you feel better, too. Kind of a win win situation for the artist. :)

On a side note, I want say a big THANK YOU to everyone that bought trading cards this last month and for their support. Together, we raised over a hundred dollars for the local food bank in Wayzata, MN. It's a real joy to be making art and doing it for a good cause, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Gratitude

Two of the greatest words my parents ever taught me while growing up were "thank" and "you." At the time, it seemed like a polite thing to say when someone else did something nice for you. As I grow older, the significance of these words becomes more understood.


Gratitude can be thought of as a multiplier of good things in life. By the law of attraction (also known as the law of love) what we give we shall receive. Gratitude is also a form of love, and by giving thanks we are giving love. This is a really great way to bring more positive people, circumstances and events into our lives. The cool thing about this is that you can feel and think this way any time you choose! If it's hard to find something you're grateful for, you can always fall back on the things we might take for granted (running water, health, eyes, ears, friends, pets, nature, etc.) By really dwelling on the things we appreciate and love, we can turn around a tough day or create better days for the future. :)


In closing, a certain inspirational figure comes to mind on this subject. Is it any coincidence (if you believe in coincidences) that one of the greatest minds that ever lived, Albert Einstein gave thanks at least a hundred times a day? Could it be that life revealed so many of it's mysteries to him because of his understanding and practice of gratitude on a daily basis?


"A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving."


- Albert Einstein

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Goals

Today, I wanted to share something that's close to heart and hopefully valuable to you in some way. It's nothing new. It's significance, though, can not be praised enough.

When I was 16, I went to a wrestling camp at the University of Minnesota. Along with the vigorous training, drilling and learning new moves, the camp instructors gave us booklets to work in at night. The booklets were meant for the wrestlers to figure out what goals they wanted to achieve as athletes and in our personal lives.

A couple years ago when I was living in California, I revisited my goal list from the wrestling booklet and to my amazement one of my goals was to "live in California." It blew my mind. I had written that goal maybe 6 or 7 years ago, forgot about it and was then currently living a dream and didn't even know it.

There's something about writing out our goals that is so helpful in getting to places that we wish to be in life. It helps us figure out what we really want and desire. In this short time we are here on earth, what is it that you want to do? Who do you want to be? You can think of goals as a bull's eye on the dart board. When you know what you're aiming for, it's easier to hit the target... otherwise, you're just throwing darts and it doesn't really matter where you hit the board. And that's OK, too.

On my computer there's several word documents with personal and career goals filled out. As artists and designers, we all ready have that creative muscle we use regularly. It can be applied here as well... and when doing this, just let it run wild! Have fun with it. Imagine yourself selling a painting for "XX,XXX" amount of dollars. Imagine yourself being published in a popular magazine and picking up the issue off the shelf at the grocery store. Image yourself eating dinner and having an amazing conversation with your favorite artist. Imagine your children's book or personal sketchbook being published and holding it your hands.

I could write about this for another hour it feels, so I'll try to rap up this post with some encouragement to make your own goal list. Look at it often and change and add to it as you go. Again, have fun with it! And don't wonder "how" you're going to achieve these... this isn't important. Just let go of hindering thoughts and dream big.

:)





Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sketch Book Caricatures


Here's a couple caricatures pulled from the sketchbook. The first one is of the rapper, Emenem. I think it's funny how he looks so serious or doesn't smile in his pictures so I decide to "lighten the mood." As my project manager would say, "somebody needs a hug..." The second caricature is of the auther, Franz Kafka done for the Caricaturama Showdown 3000 over at Facebook. I haven't drawn a lot of caricatures in the last year and these were some challenges from my friend, Ricardo, so thanks for pushing me, buddy. It was a lot fun!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Animals with Balloons

Another animal design project for Embroidery Library. I have to say, my art directors are really talented and have a good eye for things. They see things that I can't in my own art and know how to tweak certain things to get them looking better than before. It's all a team effort and I'm really grateful to have the experience of working with them and the other artists at this job.

Thanks for stopping by and happy early Mother's Day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Threadless T-Shirt Submission

New T-shirt design up for voting at Threadless.com

If you have an account set up at their site, it only takes a couple seconds to give it a vote. Careful though! My disclaimer is that voting on T-shirt designs is like eating potato chips... you can't just have one! By that I mean it's easy to vote for one, and then two, and then thirteen. But it is a lot of fun to see what people are creating over there. :) Good stuff, homie!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Illustration Friday: "Bottled"

This week for Illustration Friday the theme is "bottled." This is the first time I've participated with this group and it was a lot of fun and a good challenge. My personal goal was to do this as quickly as I could (thumbnails to a finish) with out second guessing my first instincts. Comments and feedback are welcome.

On a side not, I discovered another great resource for illustration online. At Illustration Mundo, you can listen to a bunch of great pod casts with artists, illustrators, designers, directors, etc. Definitely a HUGE resource for anyone who does illustration or is an artist. Can't emphasise that enough! Some how these pod casts are related to Escape from Illustration Island which is another great resource that I'm learning about.

I just wanted to say a big thank you to the people that contribute their time and efforts to these sites. What a great way to share with the community and be a hub for inspiration.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Nosferatu Drawing


My friend Ricardo and I live in different states (California and Minnesota) but thanks to the interwebs, we've been doing this thing were we sketch together using Skype. If you haven't used it before, it's a program that lets you call, instant message or video chat with other people. We both have web cameras so we can show each other what we've been doing in our sketchbook or just make weird faces at each other. It's a great way to catch up, do some drawing and share any thing new we've learned about art, life, etc.


This drawing is from the other day with Ricardo. I'm not familiar with Nosferatu, but I know of him from the early horror movies.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Victorian Cat and Monkey Sunset



I'm having a lot of fun taking my drawings done in Illustrator and playing around with textures and color in Photoshop. The cat on the top was drawn in pencil, cleaned up in Illustrator and finished in Photoshop. We'll call him, "the Catitude, Dude!"

The drawing on the bottom was sort of a warm up sketch before work. Pascal Campion does these really great illustrations that convey a lot of emotion and story in them. He does one a day and gives himself a hour or two to finish it and I was inspired to do my own. Technically, it's not the greatest drawing and that's something I'm working on "letting go" and focussing more on telling a story. Norman Rockwell's illustration teacher once told him; "If you throw a tennis ball hard against a wall, it will come back at you hard. Likewise, if you feel a drawing hard, your audience will feel it, too."

Comments, feedback and suggestions are all welcome and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kokeshi Dolls


Another embroidery design series done over at Embroidery Library. This series was inspired by Japanese wood dolls and then modified by giving them an object to hold. I'm really inspired by Asian art and design so it was a real treat work on these.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Baby Dragon


Every now and then I like to take the vector art that was used for a project at work and "spice" it up a little with more details, color, background, etc. It's also fun to play around with the programs and teach yourself something new.

Lastly, I'd like to share a quote that stuck with me from the movie "Kung Fu Panda." Master Oogway shares with the panda a bit of his wisdom durring a dificult time. The quote goes...

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift. That is why they call it the present." :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Winter Birds and Artist Inspiration


Sometimes when I'm drawing on the computer I like to listen to artist interviews to keep inspired. Usually, when I'm on the computer tracing my artwork in Adobe Illustrator, it requires less imagination and creativity than say when I'm at the drawing table. For clarity I should state that most of my illustrations are roughed out at a drawing table and then scanned in and finished on the computer. During the drawing table phase, most of the illustration is figured out on paper and the computer is more of a tool to polish and clean up the art. So here's a couple entertainment art sites that I like to stream audio on and listen to when I'm creating on the computer.

Hosted by the amazingly enthusiastic and tallented Bobby Chiu, this site is full of interviews with professionals in the entertainment art industry. This is HUGE inspiration for me!

Character designer and illustrator, Stephen Silver shares his wealth of knowledge and wisdom about art and life. Another great source of inspiration!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cardinal Stack


Recently we did a series of "stack" designs at Embroidery Library. The stack being three animals or objects of a similar nature sitting on top of each other. The cardinals were my favorite of the series. Something about simplicity really interests me, whether it's writing, speaking, etc.

Friday, January 14, 2011

2010 Favorites






These are some of my favorite designs I've worked on in the last year. Big props to the amazingly tallented digitizers and art directors at Urban Threads. These embroider designs are a team effort between us all. I can't say enough good things about this group of people. It's been a great year.