Sunday, December 18, 2016

More like Graphic Design

Okay, so lately I've been looking into how much kinds of work I have and I'm noticing that I haven't been making anything to showcase for retail.  I was making gondole pricing tags from my past temp job for the Toronto's L'Oreal Warehouse Sale as a pricing associate.  Mostly I had to print and laminate the gondola tags made at their headquarters (gondola as in those shelving stands common in retail stores) and place them on the correct spots at the sale's location, including editing and replacing them as prices changes in Adobe Photoshop Elements.
Sand Checkers Club, 2016
The job did gave me the knowledge about coordinating the product's info and imagery together into an appealing yet understanding composition for any reader.  I had done some school postings before so I already had some amateur experience with this.  Anyways, these are samples of event postings and pricing tags using my own artworks (excluding product photographs); none of them are for authentic store prices or events.

Annual Winter Solstice Fair (Postcard Ad), 2016
Since I'm considering applying for jobs that deals with making these, these are for my portfolio for graphic design-related works.

Gondola Pricing Tags, 2016
Lance Blush (Bin Labels), 2016

Multi Brands Makeup (Bin Labels), 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

Happy Birthday Brother!!!

Jay's Birthday Illustration, 2016
If you do a search on "Pac man" on Google or click this link:, you can play a classical-like version of Pac-man! Or click on this link for the grand daddy of Pac man:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Might've went a little overboard for doing a quick commission style...
Original Sketch, 2014

Green Mother, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Wooden Rooster

If anyone can remember back about 2 years ago, I've posted up here about a wooden structure that I've painted.  A wooden bird with a lobster cage-like body that I've found while out walking in my neighbourhood. It took a while to finish as I used oil paints and they have among the longest drying times of paints, especially red oil paint with linseed oil.

Well, I've finally completed another side project that I started a long while ago that's similar.  There was a wooden chicken standee that's been stashed in the family basement for a long time. Can't remember how we got it, from an auction out by Colborne, ON maybe.  I can remember that the turnoff from the HWY 401 was by the Big Apple venue where they got a giant apple building attraction.  Anyways, back to the bird...

I've rediscover it while cleaning up our storage in the basement.  With the idea of us of having that eventual rummage sale (soon maybe), I thought that decorating this wooden chicken standee would help fetch a better price.  I washed and sanded the standee down and after allowing it to dry out, primed and treated it with double-boiled linseed oil (I still have that bottle of it that I bought years ago for sculpture classes, nearly empty now).

 Next, much like how you would lightly paint-wash a canvas, laying out your composition, I painted in where I want the base colours to be. It started as completely white all over except the base, then once that dried in a few days, carefully painted red the comb (the crown on top) and side wattles.

It took a long time waiting for the paint to dry with each session I did. Been over a year in fact.  I was painting in layers and had to wait for the paint to not smear around, getting muddy with the new paint layers.  I masked off areas with masking tape to help keep the edges clean, especially with the wattles, wings and base. Sometimes I would put the standee aside for several weeks when I did other things.  For layering after the white undercoat, I went with an orange head and hackle, dark green chest and hock, dark blue saddle feathers, yellow beak and feet and mahogany wings.

After those layers dried, I added the highlights and gradients with a feathery texture.  For the base, I used a small tin of Minwax PolyShades (it's a stain & protective polyurethane varnish for wooden furniture and works).  Polyurethane is a new medium for me but I've gotten the hang of it. I had to use some on another job with revarnishing the top of our coffee table. Multiple absences of placemats and coasters plus cigarette burns from Dad's smoking.

Lastly with finishing touches, I glued it two decorative domed-cap nails for its eyes and sprayed on a couple coats of clear varnish all over the rooster.  I wanted to avoid washing linseed oil as a protective coat as my goose started to look a bit too yellowish.  The rooster is proudly standing on my bedside table for now.  I might store it back in the basement beside the Canadian Goose later.

As much as beautifully the rooster turned out in the end like the goose, I don't want to get into painting any new wooden structures.  With having more time for exterior ventures like employment opportunities, I'm going to get more into my professional line of work.  However I hate leaving things on the back burner of my mind, having started these things to have something to keep busy with while nursing my Dad throughout the day and wanting now to clear them off to push myself forward onto new things.

I think this was the last side project I had in the works.  Now it just making promos for freelancing and getting through my Udemy classes. Also some reading books that I've been meaning to get to.  

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Christmas Icons Art

For another profile's splash page (Linkedin), I spent the week rendering these christmas icons for the upcoming Christmas season.  LinkedIn is still a new site for me and apparently, I haven't had any artwork for my header.  It looks different here as the one in LinkedIn would look, like this:

Christmas Icons, formatted to LinkedIn's background section.
For each social media or job-hunting sites where you can customize your profile pages, they have different size formats requirements for posting up your splash image or banner. Along with file size limits.  It's a good idea to write down those requirements for when you want to update those profiles with fresh artwork, either from past jobs or custom-made works for them particularly.

I got about half of my customizable profiles done now.  I might for my Facebook and Twitter profiles use promo artwork for my splash images.  That's my next artistic goal, to update my portfolios with new and more diverse examples as I want to make them for job-hunting for new jobs.  While I'm getting some responses from my Fiverr account, I'm not getting a lot of replies back from clients after a few response exchanges.  Not much job security on that site or I'm not doing something right on there.

It's not like I'm very tight on cash yet, but I can't allow myself to keep working for peanuts or promise to do high-quality work on an impossible deadline; it's not feasible living for me nor make for a good rep on professionalism.  I could do work at a temp agency that actually pays the bills compare to how some people seem to think what work conditions I should do with my freelancing.  I illustrate because it's what I'm best at and I enjoy it; it's feels more of a hobby than a 9-5 job that most people do just for survival.

Anyways, there's more art to come as I continue to freshen up things.  And if my clients don't want to return my messages, hey more time to get this all done. Maybe before New Year's.  See ya later.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Grocer's Aisle

Grocer's Aisle, 2016
Here's a new banner piece, made for the splash profile webpage for my account. You won't get to see the whole piece on Freelancer but that was to be expected with the site's default setup structure.   I'll need to update my portfolio pieces there as well over time.

So with this new piece, I wanted to make more pixel-based works.  It's based off a photo I taken on a recent day trip to The Beach neighbourhood.  There's one grocery store that has a hanging trellis, attached with baskets and leaves.  It looked like a really interesting installation so I took a few snapshots.

The banner piece had to be made at the format of 550 H x 1920 to 3840 L for Freelancer, so the work may appear too small for seeing the details of each pixel. Surprisingly, it takes a long while to do pixel work as it does for a painting.  Normally, pixel works are small, even the animated gif ones but this was a large scale project so it was taking several hours to work on each section.  Here are some enlargements of each section, 2X to 3X the normal size to see the details better.

Some of the products are parodies of what brands I've had or seen.  Like Coke bottles, Arizona tall canned iced tea, Baci Chocolates, Honey Bee plastic bear bottles, etc.  Looking at grocery store photos from the internet also helped with seeing the different kinds of packaging that our foods and drinks come in.  For the racks and doors, Photoshop had allowed me to make translucent layers to show glass panes, bottles and plastic containers.  Using its Edit > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation option also allowed me to make quick recolour copies. Not for all of them though; I applied some better colour tints/shades choices with the computer's adjustments.  

Like most Photoshop/Illustrator works, I make many layers for each part: The booth with solid colour backing, the shelves, the baskets, the gondola labels, the produce, etc.  For an easier time of making identical items for different recolours/redesigns like the jars, I have one layer for the contents (the jam/jelly) and another for the container (the glass jar with lid). The jar layer is translucent (half see-through) and separate so I can easily cut & paste the layer's pixels over and over.  For the more solid items like the peppers, onions and tomatoes, I saved a template of each item for later use on a hidden sample layer. Then I can just recolour, cut & paste them in a group of items (with a little touch-up of values).  The exceptions here are the pumpkins and melons as I made individual layers in a group layer folder.  

For some items like in the Shelves section, I made a double layer of some products to be place behind the original.  I did 2 methods of darkening the double layers behind: one was setting the eraser tool to 50% opacity to make the pixels translucent to allow the solid colour backing to make the items appear further back on the shelves and the other, I took the solid colour from the shelves' backing and coloured over them after using the wand tool to marquee them and setting the pencil tool to 30% opacity.  The difference between the 2 methods are that the first one is more see through while the latter is solid with the overlaying brown wash. The first method I used mostly for the plastic packaging.

While digital imaging programs do make it easy to copy other items to recolour in the same scale size, it's not so much when you custom-scale your cuts for a larger or smaller one.  Clicking off the anti-alias option for the marquee/selection tools helps with keeping the colours pixels inside the selection from bleeding, having a cleaner edge as you custom-scale and paint with the pencil tool.  For Photoshop in Edit > Preferences in General section, you can change the Image Interpolation to Nearest Neighbor, which would allow you to custom-scale your selections without the pixels' colours mixing with one another.  
Even then, the detail of the original markings don't keep as well as vector graphics in Illustrator.  A little of touching up will always be liking as detail is lost or stretched out when you custom-scale.  For these enlarged inserts without losing the original details, I've scaled them larger from 100% to 200-300%, by hundredths easily.

If you want to see the advice that helps with changing the Photoshop settings to make pixel artworks, here's the link to a Youtube video by Luiz Zuno, a very talented game graphics artist: 

If the video doesn't explain all your questions on this, there's plenty of other Youtube time lapse videos by artists that regularly upload their progress on their works online. Or maybe pay for a Udemy course on making pixel art/game graphics.  I would recommend 'Pixel Art for Videos Games' by Marco Vale which I've taken and learnt a few new tricks on Photoshop for it.  It's also a lifetime access upon a purchase of $40 approx. (Look out for discount coupon codes in your emails) so it's of good value.

I don't tend to (not yet anyways) record my progress on my work as I seem to complete these things slower than the estimated times I read from other artists' times.  To be fair, they are usually smaller sized works, about 700 px or less, probably. This one took me over a week to work on with a few hours each day.   I should try to do smaller formats when doing future pixel works. 

Well, onto the next work of art...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Painter's Process (A Long, Loooong post, just to warn you; bring a snack & drink)

If you have seen in my earlier posts on my equipment, I've had customized my french easel with wheels to make it easier to walk with it around the city.   
I've bought some wheels that I could screw into the bottom, turning it into a carry-on luggage. Plus a couple of supporting pegs to help it stand up idly. Just had to test it out in public next but had to wait for warmer weather for En plain air conditions.  As soon as I could, I loaded up a blank canvas, my wooden foldable stool and a seat cushion along with anything I would likely take with me for my day trips and headed out.

The wheels did make it easier to pull it along rather than carrying a heavy wooden box by a thin strap on your shoulder like a overweighted awkward purse.  The only problem I found with the changes was the original handles and strap were a little too short to pull the easel at a comfortable angle: pulling it up too high and I get nowhere with it, too low and not only so I strain my lower back, I was also scratching the wheel guards over the cement/asphalt.  I needed to find a better way to pull it along without these problems.

 During one of my day trips cycling in the city, I came across an apartment complex's dumping area to scrounge for anything salvageable.  Aside from a few coins and a couple of Canadian Tire bills, I also found this metal frame of a shopper's trolley with an expendable handle being tossed; it was missing its fabric but everything else of it was still functional.  Thinking of my french easel, I brought it back home to clean up and tried loading my easel on it, A perfect fit! After getting a long strap to secure the easel with my stool and cushion to the trolley, I had now a way to take my easel out on day trips.

Now with a practical means of painting outdoors, I took my first real painting trip to an outdoor festival in the city: Woofstock. In late Spring or May, Toronto has a festival for dogs and dog lovers each year and this year, it was in Woodbine Park, located near The Beach neighbourhood.  It was my first time seeing the event and I wanted to paint on a favourite subject which are dogs. After watching  and photographing many of the attractions, I settled on an area where I saw much interaction with the dogs and their handlers.  Woodbine Park had a large pond (with live fish and ducks) and a shallow area for the dogs to waddle in from the hot sun.  It was very humid so I brought along my golfing umbrella (larger than the average umbrella to shade me while I began my acrylic painting.  

 I've spent about 3 to 4 hours just blocking in the general colours and features of my chosen location.  As I painted, I took photos with my iPhone during my session on the different people and dogs that came to the area.  I knew that as I painted, I wouldn't be able to capture every person and dog there in detail so the photos were for reference later on when I resume on the painting at home.  

Getting close to sunset, I was getting hungry and thirsty and I already ate all on my packed lunch.  Calling it for the day, I began packing everything up: stacking my equipment on the trolley, disposed my wastes responsibly and began walking along Queen Street to The Beach's restaurants for my dinner, including a very icy peach bubble tea to cool me down greatly.  

Weeks later after working on other freelancing projects during the summer, I had the time now to work on the painting again.  Glad that I took those photos earlier to help complete it. Either that or I take my easel back to Woodbine Park's pond for the week but I'm not likely to get as many dogs or people there probably.  What I began doing while looking at the photos is slightly tweak the colours over what I blocked in before.  I worked with the background features first as I drab little stipplings and streaks of acrylic paint with a fine point and a small flat paintbrushes.  In it was a washroom building and lots of various trees that had their leaves nearly full grown. 

Watering down the acrylics on my palette made it easier to apply quick, smooth streaks for the brown and dark branches while dotting warm and cool greens in a tapping movement on the canvas with the fine point. I swapped to my small flat for doing a cluster-stippled marking with some of the leaves. Otherwise the brush was for painting the sky's gradient and the subtle clouds above.

Coming into the Mid-ground, there was the pathway with the exposed dirt path leading to the pond and the weathered wooden boardwalk that borders part of the pond.  Carefully I blocked in opaque shapes of base colours, covering up the earlier markings. This was for mostly the people, dogs and other solid objects.  After the acrylic dries for each base colour, I added their tints and shades.  After doing each solid figure from furthest to closest, I added textured grasses and a bushy tree that shows a bit behind it. It took yellowish greens and bluish greens with green-tinted white in overlaying streaks to make natural looking grass

Adding on more figures from the photos as I go, I began streaking marks on the pond in the foreground to show the ripples being made by the dogs.  Small streaks in the mid-ground to show both the water's choppiness and distance from the smoother and larger streaks in the foreground. The pond looked green mostly due to all the green leaves reflecting on the surface, using both light and dark greens to show subtle ripples and shaded areas like beneath the boardwalk.  Blue and white streaks are added as the clearing of the trees allows the sky to appear on the surface too.  

As well as ripples, I stippled in tints of greens and blues with white to show the dogs' splashing as they jump and dash in the water.  Both my fine point and small flat brushes helped to create natural texture for the splashes and wakes, using overlaying stipples with smooth streaks.  

Woofstock in Woodbine Park Pond, 2016
Finally, I began working on figures on the broadwalk.  Like before, I blocked in solid base colours where I then added their shades and tints.  Redoing the boardwalk as well, I used reddish and yellowish browns for showing the dry, weathered planks and wet patches made by the wet dogs. As you may see in the lower right corner on the boardwalk, there was another artist there that wanted to capture the scene of the dogs playing in the pond.  We chatted a little bit and then went on to do our work.

While you can see the area being crowded with varied people and dogs, in my photos references, there were more people and dogs around during my outdoor session at the park.  I chose that I wouldn't overcrowd the painting with too many figures and allow the viewers to see the location's beauty as well as the playful interaction of the dogs and their handlers at Woofstock. It wasn't like I could get everyone in so I picked out whichever person and dog that added to the idea of the festival where they are both enjoying each other's company.  

Adding together the time I spent on this painting, I would say about a full day's time since last weekend it took to complete it.  I could only stand to sit down whole days for so long at a time; it's similar to standing on your feet all day but my projects usually got me having to sit long hours to work.  I still worked with my easel at home; usually it is set up by my studio desk to have better counter space and to view my photos easier on my monitor.  My desk is an old-style drafting table so I can place a lot of items or have a wide space on work as you can see.  While I have the easel set up for holding my canvas, I tend to pick it up from the ledge and hold it up close by hand to do all the mark-making.  It's similar when I draw on my desk or tablet as I would lean in to get as sharp a view as I can to get the details right.  Heck, when working in Photoshop or Illustrator, I'd magnify the zoom-in almost to max to get the sharpest marks I can make, even if it means that detail might be lost in the actual size view.

Rather than stain my wooden palette that came with the easel, I use disposable palette sheets that are taped on.  I also have these rubber collapsable water cups to rinse my brushes of excess paint or to get clean water to dilute the paints thinner.  For rags, some of my clothing eventually do get worn out behind repair (I can sew to mend, tailor or make my own clothes by the way; made my own artist's smock from an old bed sheet spread) so I tear and rip them into large strips of fabric that become my painting towels.  Sometimes, I accumulate too many and I would donate them to my old school, OCADU downtown for the students, clean of course.  One of my old teachers often said that if he had only one artist tool while painting, he'd prefer to have a rag. 

So this was a compilation of photos and insight on my progress on one of my works.   Hopefully with showing what goes into the process of not only creating the painting but also getting the tools together for it, gives others the understanding of the kind of time-consuming but enjoyable commitment artists make to bring these works to life.  While I work for my income mostly online with digital software, I still like working with traditional media.  Usually to create my Christmas/Birthday Cards for family.

Well, until my next update (It'll be shorter next time, maybe...)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Customized Background Image and Blogger Design Setup

Hello everyone to Autumn (or near Autumn for those in the Northern Hemisphere)!  Even I'm noticing the cool down during the last few summer nights before the season change.  I haven't been outside as much as I would've like due to freelancing work but that's been better from receiving not one job placement from my current temp agency for months.  As I am now updating your online portfolio/profiles, my Blogger Page here needs to have its own custom background image rather one of the sites' generic images.

Rainforest, 2016

Originally, this first image was what I intend to have for my background.  I wanted to make it pixel art background and also wanted to make a green scene (to pass over the upcoming winter).  Unfortunately after uploading this for the background template, I've noticed how Blogger would tile the background image if it wasn't large enough and I did this by 3600 x 6400 pixels, 300 Resolution. Also it looked choppy as you scroll down the page's posts.  It just wasn't looking good so I decided then to make a new background that's more compatible with Blogger's design setup.

IconApp-Tiles, 2016
Having sketched some icon art earlier this year, I chose to pixelize some for my next background image.  The tiling effect is working better for the adjustable window frame and it's looking better than the former.  I did a cafe/produce theme where I took rounded square silhouettes and colour/shade/highlight.  Took a surprising long time by making a stippling effect with the pixels within a 180 sq. pix. and with about 3 to 5 different colours.  Love the final results, both the image and its application to Blogger.

Before the snow begins to fall, I'm planning of updating my other sites to freshen them up.  Having a few of them as I do, it'll take a few weeks as I balance with other crucial matters at this time. I'm working to streamline my employment right now, meaning that I'm looking for a closer agency to Scarborough or within it to work for.  With job placements that don't take near 2 hours commuting time, especially with 8 to 12 hour shifts.  I love riding on my bicycle but I should start to learn to drive a car soon if I want to have a larger range of employment opportunities.

Well, until next update!

Speaking of pixel background art, check out this webpage on a very long article but lined with great pixel art:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mid-Summer News

Wow!  It's been a while since my last update!  Well, that's been mostly from me taking up some more illustration jobs online.  Some being more successful than others.  Making some income at least since I haven't been able to apply for any seasonal work this summer.  A lot of necessary professional house renovations with me needing to house-sit during the week.

But anyways, here are some of my work:

Oyster Company Logo Concept

Kel and Uda, ebook stamp illustration

Noir & Blanc Illustration Contest Entry
Treasure Chest App Icon (1 of 4)

Dragon's Lunch - Business Card Concept

So most likely, I'll be taking on other illustration jobs while renovations continue.   I might start getting enough work coming in soon to afford my monthly health coverage among other things.  So if anyone wants to see my profiles on Freelancer and Fiverr where I take on freelancing jobs, click on the links below:



I'll be getting more works showcase here fairly soon.