Friday, July 04, 2014

The Fun and Unused...

Fun and Unused Clips.
2014 Digital.
Well, its certainty been long enough since my last post, so I figure that I owe everyone an update. Unfortunately, I can't post what I have been working on yet, so I decided to do something FUN and Unique. Basically I dug through the past year or so of my files and took snapshots from the ones that will most likely never see the light of day. Many of the illustrations are studies, while others are un-finished and/or unusable illustrations (for my portfolio). Tell me what you think!

In addition, if you hadn't already noticed, I updated my profile pic a month or so ago (see my profile pic up to the right?)  I was tired of the one I had made back in 2011 and it was time to get it up to par with my current stuff. Come on, it's 2014 already! See below...

2014 Profile pic!
2014 Digital.

Anyway, I am currently pretty busy, and if/when things calm down I will start updating regularly again.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What happens when an Illustrator remodels a kitchen?

Digital sketch/photo collage.
2014. Mike Blake

So early 2013 my wife and I got a GREAT deal on a house. The only catch was that it needed alot of work. Save for the kitchen(more on this later) and the main bathroom (which the floor and some of the walls had rotted through due to a leaky toilet and the previous owner removing the shower surround...while still using the tub) the house mostly needed cleaned up, patched, a new coat of paint, and the floor refinished.  Sounds simple enough right? 

Well, the first sign that things weren't going to go as smooth was that my wife insisted each room have its own idea was to paint the whole house white.  She thought my idea was boring, and I would agree, but I am pretty picky and a hard person to please....and looking back, having to decide a color scheme was probably one of the hardest/most frustrating things i've ever done!  I went through so many iterations of what I liked and what she liked....of what worked together and didn't work...that my brain was spinning. I'll bet my wife often wondered what nightmare she had opened. 

Some of what I came up with is represented below (the second one represents more closely what I did, though since I used Crayola markers the colors are obviously off):

Finally narrowing down a small selection of color chips, we made our purchase and painted everything but the kitchen.  The kitchen also needed work, but it was functional and was probably the nicest room in the house (which isn't saying much). So we decided against working on it and making a final decision on color until that time.  

Painting the walls, refinishing the floor, fixing the electrical, and  cleaning EVERYTHING else, plus a myriad of other refinishing things, the house was livable and we moved from the unfinished basement (which we had been living in for the 2 months it took for us to do the work with help of family and friends) and we had a new house! 

Well...wait...what about the kitchen you ask?  Yah.....that.  Well, for financial reasons and lack of motivation we put it off and made plans to start in 2014.  So for an entire year we lived with crumbling tiles made of asbestos, multi colored walls due to cigarette smoke and ugly wall-paper we removed, and an appliance/cabinet arrangement that would make any sane person CRAZY.  The sink leaked, ants climbed under the back door, and the fan also wobbled and the light made an awful buzzing noise.  See a rough sketch below I made (back when I thought we would just leave everything as it was and repaint everything):

Motivated by the kitchen issues, over the next year, I would get a short burst of energy and would draw up ideas for the kitchen. Some are represented below:

But nothing ever came of them...up until the sleeping giant finally woke from it's long sleep from the last remodel.  Motivation hit me, about November 2013 (I promise is wasn't that I had to do all the dishes by hand myself...) and I began to spend hours and hours looking up Cabinet suppliers, and design options, and installation tutorials and so forth. Between plans for the house remodel and the kitchen, I have filled up a binder with all my "To do" lists, color/design/etc scraps, sketches, and so forth.   The kitchen actually took as much, if not more, planning than the rest of the house combined (even counting the bathroom we had to tear apart from ground up.)  My wife and I also stopped in often at local hardward/remodeling stores. I would look at colors, tile options, appliance options, countertop colors, cabinet styles/colors/sizes/etc/etc...

 Aside from the COUNTLESS options one could do for cabinets, if there was anything more of a nightmare for an artist,  it is the kitchen colors...because the number of colors required  is staggering! For one thing, I had already painted the rest of the house and had picked bold colors, so that severely limited my options, and for another... let me give a run through on all the places colors could/should/can be different: Tiled floor, trim, wall color, possible accent wall, cabinet color, possible two colored cabinet (higher cabinets one color, lower cabinets another), countertop color, appliances color, backsplash tile color, cieling color, door color, etc. Each color could be unique, but must also work together, and must also fit in the rest of the HOUSE!  GAH!  I know I spent more time picking colors for the kitchen than the entire house. If that wasn't enough, I probably spent more time trying to decide between various shades of green, then ANY OTHER COLOR.

PHew. So one thing that I developed to help in this was a color relationship pic. I used Microsoft paint during my down-time at work to try different options, or what worked. I made dozens of options and would occasionally send them to my wife to see what she thought. See one below:

Still to this day, I am not completely satisfied with my final choices, but below is as close to what we have now (I made this using a rough sketch of the kitchen and mapped textures and photos in. I also made several iterations...replacing textures, or adjusting colors,etc and below is pretty close to the final):

Digital sketch/photo collage.
2014. Mike Blake
Anyway, I could spend alot more time talking about the different aspects of what I did or time I spent planning for my kitchen, but it is done. I spent more time, by far, planning than it actually took to put together. The same went for the rest of my house.  As I mentioned earlier, I have an entire binder full of plans, sketches, scraps and etc, for the house. 

This project was like doing an illustration, but my client was the most demanding person I have ever worked for....Myself. Sigh...... Hope you enjoy more schematics and notes for the kitchen below:

BONUS: (A picture of my little helpers)!

My little helpers!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bubbling Brew - COMPLETE

In case you were tired of digging through my blog to find all the pages of my Illustrated poem, "Bubbling Brew" I included them TOGETHER!  I hope you enjoyed this project as much as I did.

If you are out of the loop this was my Halloween gift to everyone for 2013, but I kept getting delayed.  It is a relief to finally be done, but in the future I hope to do more stories like this (I even started work on a sequel, but haven't had time to get that far...maybe if enough of you petition, I will make it a priority? haha).  Please have your children read this and leave feedback!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Bubbling Brew - Page 10 (of 10).

Bubbling Brew. Page 10 (of 10).
Bubbling Brew is all done. Phew. I think that this page is my favorite of the whole poem...which is yours?  

You know, in some regard, I am relieved the story is complete, but truthfully I am going to miss drawing the girl and her house. Geez, I love that house!  I will mention in passing that I wrote a sequel to Bubbling Brew, but other projects are taking the center stage for now (such as my webcomic "A Day in the Life"  and a short novel I wrote and need to finish the 2nd draft.) Maybe if enough of you demand, I will start work on the sequel of Bubbling Brew? ^_^

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my illustrated poem. I love short projects like these, and plan to publish more in the future (including rebooting and finishing "Make it Rain").  So keep posted!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Bubbling Brew - Page 8 (of 10).

Bubbling Brew. Page 8 (of 10). 
I think out of all the pictures of the girl, this is my favorite, or at least the one that shows the most personality..and what about that psychedelic explosion? Man I love those colors!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Bubbling Brew - Page 7 (of 10).

Bubbling Brew. Page 7 (of 10). 
I had to re-draw the last 4 pages of the poem 3 times.This page pretty much stayed the same, while  8 and 9 changed drastically. X_x Basically  the original ending artwork I had in mind was too direct and not as satisfying.  So I revamped the ending and the flow of the panels was still jarring the 2nd time.  Finally I took another stab and everything fit together perfectly. I'm glad I took the extra time to get things right! (I can be such a perfectionist sometimes.)