Portrait of a Book Launch

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Late last week I attended a book launch panel discussion put together by the Game Based Learning Meet Up group in NYC. The book is “Learning, Education and Gaming” and the panelists were some of the authors of the book: Elena Bertozzi, Ethan Hein, Gabriela Richard and moderator Karen Schrier. It was a great talk covering many different aspects of how to bring games into teaching environments.

I did pencil sketches during the talk, then redrew them at home with sepia Derwent Inktense pencils. Thet are water soluble ink pencils so I then applied water for a soft effect. It’s a little different than straight ink wash; there’s a subtle pencil texture and the water softens the outlines. This drawing is warm up for a larger portrait project I’m doing for a local magazine of restaurant owners in Jersey City .

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The Lil’ Red Marble

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After years working in Flash I’ve finally launched my first HTML5 game. It’s programmed in PuzzleScript and has been a blast to make. In keeping with my summer of mazes I went with a simple interactive maze where you guide a red marble through tunnels to find a golden ring. I designed the graphics using Edge Touch on my iPhone and translated it to PuzzleScript using Plain Text, also on my iPhone. I’m thrilled to be able to create an interactive game while sitting at the playground with my kids, working on a computer I can fit into my pocket. Play it now!

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A Week of Daily Drawing

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I’m still going strong after a week of daily drawings of my food. I started off poorly with a picture of grapes that wound up being so over worked with ink wash that I had to throw it away. Since then I’ve refined my process and have been enjoying trying a new pen, the PITT brush pen from Faber-Castell. I started using it for the pizza picture above, and like being able to vary the thickness of my line after using Sakura Micron 08 and 01 pens.

I’m not an ink purist so I’ve been coloring my pictures in Photoshop as a way to brighten them up and have some fun with color. I’ve had limited success in the past trying to color my monochrome ink wash pictures but I’m having fun with these and have been much happier. Doing them quickly and pushing them out keeps me from endlessly reworking my pictures and I like the fresh look they have, even when it’s reheated pasta!

I now have social media overload and am posting on my Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr… and here on my blog.

Below is the Flickr set of all of my drawings for Inktober 2014.

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Renee Kurilla Makes a Dot

The Making of a Dot from Renee Kurilla on Vimeo.

Illustrator Renee Kurilla has a cute time-lapse video up showing the creation of an illustration inspired by Peter H. Reynolds’ book “The Dot”. I love seeing watercolor and brush work in stop motion. See the finished drawing on her Twitter feed.

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Inktober in October

inky-handTomorrow is the first day on Inktober and it looks like a great opportunity to work on a new daily exercise. I spent 2 months at the end of the summer drawing mazes every day and it turned out to be very rewarding. I was able to explore a variety of different ways to make mazes and developed some new techniques for drawing, digitizing and coloring that will prove valuable in all my drawings.
 
Inktober is an annual exercise in daily discipline during the month of October. Created as an informal challenge by illustrator Jake Parker in 2009, artists around the world will make an ink drawing every day for 31 days and post it with the hashtag #inktober on Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, or wherever. I have an upcoming magazine commission to create illustrations of beer, wine and restaurants so for Inktober I’ll be drawing whatever food and drink I can find around my apartment. My plan is to use a brush pen and sumi ink wash and I’ll be posting work-in-progress on my Instagram and finished drawings on my Tumblr. Let the inking begin!

UPDATE: I’m posting the full set on my Flickr account.

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The Powerhouse in Jersey City

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I spent the early afternoon drawing the Powerhouse building in Jersey City from across the street. I used Edge Touch on my iPhone to draw the building, light rail and cars, then animated in Fireworks back at home. I’m really happy with this one.

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Pixel Art with Edge Touch

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I made the above drawing of my daughters while we were hanging out at the playground next to their school. I created it in Edge Touch on my iPhone and I’m really impressed with this app. I’ve tried a few other pixel art apps but this one had all the features I could hope for: an HLS slider to fine tune colors, customizable color palettes, and GIF export. Add to that layers, animation and even onion skinning and I’ve finally found an app for my phone that I’m excited to draw with. Color me impressed… and a bit confused. All those features packed on a tiny touch screen can be daunting. Luckily there’s an online manual.

hobokenlibraryI sat in Church Square Park today and drew the Hoboken Library, then animated the GIF later in Adobe Fireworks.

BONUS:

Christopher Yabsley has a great series of pixel art tutorials on YouTube, as well as a few covering the software Pyxel Edit, which is great for making 2d game sprites.

Here’s a great run down on what pixel art is (and isn’t) and explains concepts like anti-aliasing, dithering, banding, jaggies and more.

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Digital Painting and the Hudson River School

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Chris Oatley has a wonderful blog post about how to create realistic texture in digital painting by examining the techniques of the 19th century Hudson River School of painters. It’s really important to open our eyes to history and see how past artists have tackled issues in visual image making and Chris has done a great job analyzing this particular period of realistic artists.

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Peanuts in 3D

Charles Schulz ink drawings of good ol’ Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang are a joyful display of jiggly, wiggly lines and anxious slashes of ink. It looks like some of those lines are finding their way in the new Peanuts movie. Even though the movie is in 3D the film makers managed to kept the personality of the characters and gave them some dimension. It looks like a great way to respect the original artwork so we don’t get a creepy 3D reboot like Yogi Bear or Garfield.

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Whale Facts

I wish I’d seen this animation by Drew Christie before reading Moby Dick last year. Learn about whales and more in “Song of the Spindle“.

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