Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Take A Bow

JAMES - this month's Bold Life cover was a bit of a challenge in the fact that the cover story wasn't quite as exciting or dynamic as the past few. the story was on a local country singer, Carol Rifkin. so i set out to achieve two main tasks - 1) to try and have the likeness be as authentic as possible (thankfully i was given a series of head shots of Carol, taken by the publisher, which helped heavily), and 2) as always, to make the final image striking and appealing.
i also decided early on to make this a regular illustration - there wasn't much time to experiment with stuff like i have been recently (but i have some really fun experiments i'm working on for future covers).

i sent over some sketches - this time i gave them quick color treatments, which not only helped bring the sketches to life, but really made things easier a few days later when it was time to color the final illustration - i wasted no time with the final illustration when it was time to choose a color pallette, i just used the same ones from the sketch.
also, i don't usually do this, but when i sent the sketches, i actually lobbied for the first one. i just felt it was the strongest, and it felt the most natural when i was drawing it. and again, there really was almost no time this month, so i felt i would be able to knock that one out the fastest.

all in all, the pencils came together quickly - the body had a nice bend to it, i love drawing guitars and microphones (it's a Coles44), and i had alot of fun with the decorative boarder. i found a bunch of photos of old cowboy shirts designed by Nudie Cohn - the guy who designed shirts for everyone from Roy Rodgers and John Wayne to Hank Williams and Gram Parsons. i picked a few of the embroidered designs and interpreted them for the boarder of the cover.
the real road block was her face. it was such a specific angle, and getting a specific likeness at that angle for anyone is hard, because there's not enough facial features that are showing. the original sketch has the head exactly how i wanted it to be held, and as you can see the pencil version is an absolute abomination of that.

i got busy with my brush and ink, and went to town. didn't take too long to finish inking, and the boarder was done mostly with marker.
later that night i looked at it again, and realized i hated the way her face came out. so i drew another one on another sheet (just the face) and pasted it on top of the old face. i still didn't like it, so i got out my brush pen (which has a huge tip) and went over all the little detail lines with big bold strokes. i also realized the angle of the hat was wrong and the hand/arm wasn't right either. after alot of whiteout and some more touchups, i finally had something i was happy with.

as i said, the coloring was mad easy, since i already chose the colors during the sketching. coloring the intricate boarder took the longest (but was worth it), and the flowery pattern in the pink background was all done in photoshop. placed the logo, text, and final little touch-ups, and we're good to go.
the issue is out, and it printed perfectly (as opposed to last month), and i'm very happy with it. besides that, the Bold Life website is now officially online, and i must say it's pretty amazing (not just cuz i worked on it). check it - www.boldlife.com

Saturday, July 28, 2007


JAMES - i'm playing with clay again. six bucks for a bunch of bright colors. i've got some cool projects in mind, so i guess this is practice.
i think he's got one of those 'i'm-a-douchebag' kinda mouths, like owen wilson. haha.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Orange Peel T-Shirts

JAMES - One of my latest projects was redesigning the T-Shirts for the Orange Peel here in Asheville. It was a pretty open assignment - they wanted 2 cool t-shirts (mens & womens), which had to have the name of the club and the names of the musicians that have played there (Bob Dylan, Smashing Pumpkins, Blondie, Arcade Fire, etc.), and they can have a maximum of 3 colors each. Other than that, I was free to do anything.
So i submitted over 14 sketch ideas with sample colors. I tried incorporating an "orange" into most, but the best ones were where i incorporated "orange" and "music". these are a few of the examples.

they liked the last three the best, as did i. i started with the "Cassette" design first. my original plan was to draw them as usual, pen and ink, then scan and color and that's it. so i took measurements of cassettes, got out my rulers and templates, and started drawing. i scanned in the pencil drawing and i changed my mind.

i decided to keep the drawing as reference, and do the whole design in Illustrator as a vector piece. i traced the pencil lines with the vector, and did lots of adjusting and smoothing, and in the end i had perfectly clean lines, which would probably look best on a t-shirt. for the "Loudspeaker" design, i just used my original sketch to trace with the vector, and added some flourishes. i then offered them color options for each design (www.jamesflames.com/orangepeel3.htm and www.jamesflames.com/orangepeel2.htm) - they picked their favorites and we were good to go.
working in vector was really fun and different - i'm very satisfied with how it came out, and the Orange Peel is really psyched with everything. the t-shirts are being printed as i write this, so i'll post photos when they come in.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


TOM- The quote is something that popped in my head one day, so i wrote it down in my sketch book alongside that drawing of the 'pomp' girl. Then i drew the 'fro' girl the other day also screaming/singing, and thought the two of them might look good in an illustration together. I've been wanting to play around with illustration and text lately, since I've been looking at these Morning Breath guys stuff , which has been very inspiring. I'm not a graphic designer, so my choice in text is based on pure instinct and guessing. I knew i wanted the feel of several different style fonts making up the sentence, but i wasn't exactly sure how to execute it. Maybe it'll just be something to play around with...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More big hair!

TOM- From the pompadour, to the fro. Covering all the bases when it comes to chicks with big hair. Just did this today, started out as sketchbook drawing, then on to inks and photoshop. This might become a series of drawings of chicks with big hair(theres another on the way) or it might find it's way into an illustration/promo piece. By the way, check out ArtBurn, me and Edowyn posted the results of our recent drawing exercise. Peace.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


TOM- So here is that sketchbook comic that i posted a while back, which i then refined and made into a black and white mini to sell at Mocca and now added color to it. I felt like i needed to experiment with coloring a comic, since all of my comics are black and white. I tried to apply stuff that i learned while interning with cartoonist Jason Little. He really knows how to set mood and believable lighting to really throw you into his stories. I might have went a little crazy with the burn and the dodge tools, but i just can't help myself with those things sometimes. I was glad to see James posting a comic, and i look to be posting some more very soon!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


JAMES - Tom passed on a link of the new R. Kikuo Johnson show, and i got the itchin to do some comic-style stuff again. something about raw ink on white paper, gets me every time. i actually had some time to work on personal stuff, so i ran this off as quick as i could - in preparation for some project i'd like to do soon.
Anyway, it's just a simple exercise, but the reason i'm posting it is to get reactions. so Tom, rip it up. anyone else, too.
And, for the sake of it: #3 Brush and Tachikawa nib, with Black Star ink on 8.5"x10.5" vellum bristol, with a little .02 Micron marker, and white silkscreen ink.