Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Is "Talent" Overrated?

"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work". - Stephen King

Yesterday I started this post on "talent" and then I abandoned it because writing is not one of my natural talents. Today I decided what the heck, if the post is about talent being overrated then why not throw caution to the wind and toss this out there.

Sometimes I think talent is overrated. I am fortunate in that I have been told all my life that I am talented, and I have always had the ability to tap into my artistic talents to create and achieve things. I have heard "your so talented" since I was about 5 years of age and so I have always been a bit cavalier in my mind about talent as a commodity. I have never seen it as something that you can run out of someday, nor is it something to hoard or to dole out with a teaspoon. Talent "is", it just "is". I have it, and so do millions of other people I see on the web and in the world.

When it comes to talent and earning a living it is my opinion that talent is only a thing of value if you also have a kick-ass work ethic to go along with it. Talent will serve you well only if you have faith in yourself as a well rounded person with brains and skills beyond your obvious "god given" talents. I believe talent will always take a backseat to passion and that the most talented artist on the planet will never earn a dime with their artwork if they are not passionate about their work. So yea, I would have to say that in general talent is overrated. You should value your talents and nurture them, however never work under the false assumption that your unique talent is going to make you special or make you stand out. Your unique talents are only one tiny piece of who you are are and what you have to give to the world.

Friday, October 26, 2007

German Shepherd Portrait

This is Nash and he just makes me smile. He looks like a flower to me with that one ear straight up, then there is the ear ( petal ) that points to the right, and of course the lazy tongue that creates yet a third flower petal in my mind. He is just a happy looking dog.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

French Bulldog Art With Pattern

Yesterday I was in a playful mood and experimented with pattern on top of a sweet Frenchie named Elle. Bold and graphic this new look may not be a client pick, but what fun to offer them something completely new in addition to my standard painterly style shown below.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Art Paw On TV!

Our artwork is going to be featured today on TV in Houston. Art Paw was contacted to create a special portrait for Great Day Houston's show host Whitney Casey's little pup Nolita. We are thrilled for the exposure and very happy with how this fun little Beagle portrait turned out. I'll be sure and post a link to the episode once it is on-line.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Yogi The Boxer

Unaltered Photo Of Yogi The Boxer ( above)

Yogi is a piece that Allison and I worked on together. For the past year or so I have been training both Allison and Diane to work with the wacom tablet and help me with the painterly portraits. This has become our most popular style and keeping up with the demand has become difficult. I still try to have a strong hand in every painterly portrait that goes out since this is my signature style.

On this piece we sat down together and discussed the original photograph for about 15 minutes. I asked Al to create more ear on the right and to place in an extra paw. Yogi is adorable and yet I thought that the original pose made this pup look just a wee bit sad. By perking up that ear on the right and adding in another playful paw I was hoping to lighten the mood a tad.

The image below was created by Allison, using the smudge tool. She has a wonderfully soft approach to the wacom and her technique is lovely. She never adds color with the paint brush or finger-painting tool however she is totally the queen around here with the smudge tool. You can see that addressing the glow eye , ears and paws have really perked this pup up. You can click images for larger versions.
Below you will see where I have started to play and have added some more color and bolder strokes here and there. You see it most around the ears, snout and paws. I like to have strong jabby-strokes and some visible line work present in most of my work.

The image below is my favorite and the one the client picked. Here I rotated this girl and erased some blanket to free up that ear on the right. By rotating her I created a much more playful pose. I used the posterize filter on this at a low opacity and then went in with some loose line-work on top using the wacom. The color is really starting to pop here.
Below I decided to just push it to a wild extreme and colorized the heck out of this girl playing with a halftone pattern along the way. This is not my favorite, but a fun option.

You can see in the small thumbnails below that composition is everything and it is important to not let your original pose or photograph limit you. I find that composition is the hardest thing to teach, and that too often new digital artists will limit themselves by the reality of the photo in front of them.

By working as a team on projects we end up putting in a lot of time on every piece and the creative ideas and sharing of skills have been making us all much stronger.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Me & Tommy at the Beach

Me & Tommy
Originally uploaded by artpaw
Well, my 3rd day back at work after a 4-day break and I am missing the ocean. I am working hard to get caught up with all the new orders that have come in this week, and all the projects from earlier this month still needing some attention. Tomorrow I think we are going to tear the office apart to rearrange and make room for my new machine. I finally broke down and got a new Mac and went ahead and upgraded to photoshop cs3. Life is good, but with every new tech-tool in life there is the ultimate awkward time where nothing quite fits or works perfect yet.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pet Magazine Cover Art

We just returned from a quick trip to the beach yesterday. We left on Friday and took the Scotties so the blog will be full of doggy pics in the ocean very soon. Today I am posting a magazine cover we did for the Chicagoland Tails Magazine. I worked on this artwork way back in the spring and so it is exciting to see it come to life. Their designer did a great job with the aqua font and groovy floral touches on the text place holder at the bottom right. We are thrilled for the exposure in Chicago and have even had a few calls already. Our thanks go out to Natalie for contacting us with this great opportunity.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Chloe The Yellow Lab

Today I have been playing around with Chloe. Her portrait will hang in the nursery to keep her newest human "Baby Quinn" company. If you scroll down you will see the order that I created these 5 proofs in. Click images for more detail.

Soft Painterly style with solid green background in image above. Below I added in a low opacity brick wall with abstract flowers painted on it. The textural grunge quality of the brick wall below gives the piece a very urban feel.

Below I slammed on a posterize filter and increased the hue saturation. I then painted a loose black out-line around the subject and added a red tennis ball so that Chloe's stash of hoarded toys would be larger. The filter and black lines serve to flatten the piece a bit making it more graphic and stylized. This is one of my favorite proofs. I love the color.
Remembering that the client wanted soft subtle color, I desaturated Chloe a bit here and gave her a blue wall.
Below I used a conte sketch filter in blue & yellow then played with the opacity of that layer over the original layers. The effect is cool and would make a great illustration for a magazine.