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New Category: Cartoons & Comics

Surviving Winter Shellie Lewis

I started this blog to mainly do one thing: dump my art school education online for free.* (I saved you all tens of thousands of dollars. You’re welcome.) Also, I tried to serve as a translator for the real world to have a portal to the academic art world, but doing so in plain English, hitting some of the more interesting parts of theory or art history while avoiding any snootiness.

I looked to particularly post practical things that non-art people would not know offhand, like the difference between acrylic paint and oil paint. I added art media tips, digital resources and troubleshooting tips like getting oil paint off a dog. I’m kind of surprised how many people have needed to Google that last one.

Well, after 1,287 posts I am crazy bored of my own blog. Really, crazy bored. I never went for junk blogging: like ranking something via numbers articles, re-blogging other people’s content for quotas or teaser click-bait posts. It’s not too late, I can still write “CLICK HERE to Learn the Top 5 Reasons to Not Recycle Posts From Other Blogs!”… but I won’t.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes I’ve experimented with an animation program and have been doing cartoons and short form comics the past year when I found the time. The cartoons and comic art was mostly autobiographical and local Chicago stuff which I have circulated as physical media, and I’m talking photocopied zines; because that is exactly how you get wide circulation in the 21st Century digital world. The only thing more useless is large scale paintings that no one wants to buy and are hard to store in an urban apartment.

I am now adding a Cartoons & Comics category to this blog. This is what fine art programs tell you is garbage and anathema but what is most accessible to the general public –and probably the most appreciated art form. Basically, if it is fun and people like it, the academic fine art world will denigrate it as rubbish by calling it illustration, fan art, commercial art and a number of other things that indicate it is trash and not “art.” The fine art world can be really cerebral but also a real drag. They are cranky because of decades of economic distress.

Around 85 – 95% of Chicago’s smaller or entry level art galleries have gone under since 2008 and Chicago’s largest art show died in 2013. William Conger wrote an article about how art schools are self-perpetuating –that art schools just turn out students and some go on to work at art schools– and that it is impossible to have a fine art career anymore; then Judy Chicago went and wrote a whole book about the same subject. When it comes to the business aspect of the real world, art school teaches outdated information about having an “art career” that has no basis in reality. All the rap about “being serious” and doing things “right” to be a “real artist” is claptrap. The college I graduated from was repeating pedagogy from before I was born like a broken record, steps on a path that washed away and is a memory now. Lack of success which falls in the “paying your dues” mythos thus putting blame on graduates and not the school. Art school is people whose income comes from teaching ironically teaching you how to sell art in a way that would not even work for them. The things they added to the traditional “art career” pedagogy regarding social media and the internet for self-promotion is laughable.

Case in point: the last gallery show I had paintings in, about seven people came and they were all relatives of or dating the artists. No one bought anything. That gallery went under afterward.

The moral of the story is: never go to art school. They don’t teach any secrets and do not confer any kind of beneficial pedigree. There is plenty of informative books that you can read for free or cheap. You will find far more information online than will be taught in any degree program.

I have had all sorts of an art career but not a dime in profit from making art. I think you can make art or you can make an art career. I’m just going to wander off into the social media world and have fun. Check back for some cartoons or comics as they appear.

*Any ads you come across on this WordPress are being inserted by your Mac, Apple device, internet service provider, browser, etc. I still have zero ads or monetization on this blog. When I made this blog to be free, I meant it.

It’s Roenick, he’s good!

June 10, 2015 4 comments

Roenick-Logo-ver-1

I have a hockey team, but we don’t really have a name. We just have an NHL team name that was slapped on us by the rink so we know when the heck to show up for games. There are probably about a million variations of the Chicago Blackhawks logo for rec league teams. This is the one I had stuck in my head, so I sat down today to get it out.

One advantage is that being a vector design will make it super easy to vinyl cut the logo and iron it on a jersey. It’s a high contrast design so it would also be easy to silkscreen. What makes it harder is that rink stuck us with bright gold jerseys. Unless we can think of a color that was not assigned to a team in the league, we will be carrying on the summer season in gaudy gold.

Game 3-28-2015 WEB A

Oh no, a sad robot!

March 18, 2015 1 comment

sad-robot-march-17-2015-chicago-WEB

Poor sad robot! This winter was the worst, I agree. Hang in there my retro robot buddy. The snow finally flipping melted.

Found near Clark & Belmont, Chicago.

Sandhill Cranes Fall Hike in Indiana

November 10, 2014 Leave a comment
Sandhill-Cranes-Shellie-Lewis-2014-01-WEB

sandhill cranes flying overhead

I went on a guided hiking trip with Skokie Park District and took some nature photos this weekend! We traveled to the Jasper-Pulaski Nature Reserve in Indiana for the sandhill crane migration. The nature preserve is in a really rural area. And there is no cellular coverage there, either.

I only had a 300 mm lens on a Nikon DSLR and was looking at envy with anyone that had a 600 mm or larger lens. It turns out that sandhill cranes are sensitive to being disturbed and the nature preserve has the viewing area is well back from the feeding and roosting areas. Binoculars were really helpful for viewing; photography was difficult. At least I have some images that will be okay as visual references for drawing or painting.  Also, the weekend had a big surprise; so that will be the last photo!

River-Birch-Trees-Shellie-Lewis-2014-WEB

river birch trees

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Fun with the Intuitive Painting Technique

Intuitive Painting 2014 Shellie Lewis

 

The best description of “intuitive painting” as the phrase is in use today is working wet and loosely, letting the paint media have some random effects and working for enjoyment more than trying to model features. Doing faces is a popular subject and ArtTrader magazine has a nice article with many examples here. The technique works best if you work with a monochrome or very few closely related colours.

I tried to branch out and used some watered down CMY Process silkscreen inks. The art went into a round robin zine that had a group of artists contributing work. I think I framed this painting with too many ink lines and worked too tightly, so I will try this process again. It is an interesting exercise to do for working loosely and quickly.

watercolorfaces2

[source]

 

ACen Chicago 2014 Cosplay Artists

May 23, 2014 4 comments

Are you wandering around a fluorescent lit cave taking pictures of people’s cosplay? That’s a fan convention for you! It is great to see the mad love people put into their cosplay. I was going to just put up a few favorites and then I decided to blog a ton more. I was just carrying my crappy pocket camera and using the sport setting to not blast people with the flash. All pictures are from ACen (Anime Central) Chicago at the Rosemont Convention Center.

I identify characters where I can and take wild guesses where I cannot. The joy of cosplay is that people are taking from a wide range of movies, anime, manga, webcomics, comics, cartoons, video games and memes. They are further mixing up genres, genders and mash ups to the point that no one can know everything… or can they? If I get anything wrong or you know what something is, please let me know! I love that just about anything with a fan base has some fans passionate enough to cosplay characters.

 

ACen 2014 Cosplay 01 Bioshock

This Bioshock was off the chain! Lights with sounds from the game keyed to the costume.

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Categories: Chicago, Fun Stuff, Photography

Basic Hand Drawn Animation

April 12, 2014 8 comments

WIYM-Mailbox-Animation-Shellie-Lewis-2014

 

400 x 400 pixels

Here is the finished little “What’s in your mailbox?” animated GIF someone requested for a mail art group. It’s cute and it was fun to make. Too bad the GIF format pixelates color gradients. The animation looks better in the program because the glowing light and clouds are smooth. I have no idea why there is not an animated JPG format; only a programmer could explain why.

I put a lot of time into the second round of this little seven second animation. I forgot to save the original Photoshop file where I matched and laid out the layers of the rough pencil sketches. I just did a screen capture of the GIF I put online, dropped each screen capture as a layer for the new Photoshop file and up-sampled the roughs to 144 dpi.

I was going batty from slamming layers in Photoshop all day. Sal, my Hockey Blogger Boyfriend, insisted I find the Beavis and Butthead “Animation Sucks” episode, which further proves that Mike Judge is both brilliant and hilarious in describing reality. Animation is pretty exhausting. It helps to try and not do it all at once. You really need to take breaks when working on an animation project. It also helps to remind yourself that the professional grade work is done by huge teams of people using better software and hardware!

Mailbox-animation_250W_Shellie-Lewis

Small 250 x 250 pixels

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