14 November 1997

All Work and No Play...

During these first few months since making the switch from traditional to digital illustration, I was doing a lot of 'playtime'. It was 'play' in the sense that these drawings were all unassigned, and I was enjoying playing around with my new 'paintbox', but it all served the purpose of getting me familiar with what this software could do, and I was also playing around with the idea of sending out a promotional postcard or two in order to promote this new innovation. One of the better efforts of this time was a portrait of Franz Kafka that I did sometime in the fall of '97 (dates are a little spotty for these illustrations). I decided not to send it out as a postcard ultimately, because I didn't really feel it represented my style very accurately. So this one has sat in a file folder for ten years, briefly being posted as a sample on my website, but other than that, never publicly shown until now.
I did a couple quickie portraits of Louise Brooks around this time, as a way of practicing a couple new techniques I was interested in learning. The illustration to the left was from a scene early in "Pandora's Box" which I rendered using oil pastels. The illustration below was another stab at trying scratchboard techniques but with color instead of white as the 'pen default', similar to the Kafka picture above. I wasn't as impressed with how this one turned out, and after several false starts, I eventually abandoned the idea of working in this manner.

The 'gorilla' picture below is another one that I did around this time, using the 'scratchboard as color' idea. I did eventually end up talking one of my clients into this technique for a while, but it proved unpractical both as a workable style and in the time it took to work in this manner.

Below are a couple other unpublished pieces from around this time that I considered for promotional purposes, but ultimately shelved in favor of something else. The 'holiday lighthouse' picture below was to be a christmas postcard. It was an interesting oil paint technique that rarely ever tried again. The illustration below that was another postcard idea that never took off either, using a similar but slightly different approach to oils.

This was an exciting time, and it was fun to take a break from the routine of work and assignments and simply 'play with my paintbox', turning off my 'inner critic' and drawing whatever came to mind. Of course, the 'inner critic' eventually showed up, as he always does, which is why all these pieces ended up in a forgotten file folder on my computer for ten years.