Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tijuana Film Festival this past october

This posters where created for the Tijuana Film Festival this past october, had a lot of fun going freaky with it. The Poster design is by Charles Glaubitz.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ideas for Generating Ideas

 Original link

tanks to Nate Williams for such a great article/post

Ideas for Generating Ideas

There are 3 things that have really helped me with idea generation.  Feed the subconscious, record and retrieve inspirational moments and ideas and find patterns in  ”good ideas”.
  • Feed the subconscious – Spontaneous ideas are usually the best ideas and one of the best ways to fuel your brain with material for spontaneous ideas is to have  many diverse life experiences swimming around in your subconscious.  When you brainstorm you will have more ideas, make more connections, associations, analogies and in a nutshell you will have more “dots to connects“.   Curiosity, inspiration, play and discovery are essential to having great ideas. We experience the world through our 5 human senses (Sight, Touch, Smell, Taste, Sound),  so spend some time celebrating them. Do it this week! Each day pick one of the 5 human senses and focus on experiences specific to that sense. The more human senses you can engage the more memorable the experience will be.
  • Record and retrieve inspirational moments and ideas – The best ideas usually come at inconvenient times, such as, walking the dog, taking a shower, waiting in line at the supermarket, etc. The key is to record these ideas and moments of inspiration so you can later develop them into something great when you are in the right place and have the time. Sketchbooks are great for recording and developing ideas, but not so great for retrieving them.  I can never remember which sketchbook??? I wrote my genius idea in. A solution for this problem is a program called Evernote. It’s probably the program I use most next to email and Adobe Photoshop.

  • Evernote is not paying me a dime to endorse them, I just love their product and highly recommend it to any creative.
  • Find patterns in  ”good ideas” – By looking at various  ideas we can classify them into “idea categories”. We then can use these categories as a framework to help explore any particular “subject”. Confused?  Below I explain a little more in-depth.


So say you are creating an illustration about “music piracy”. First, define your subject. music and piracy. The better you define what you will be brainstorming about, the more possible associations you will have to work with. Here are some ways to help you define your subject.
  • Function - Does it have a function? Is that function part of it’s identity? example: Shovel=dig, Telephone=talk, bridge=cross, Madonna=sing, etc
  • Physical Characteristics – Are it’s physical characteristics a key part of it’s identity? example: water=clear, sun=fire/hot, knife=sharp, ice=cold, etc
  • Non-Physical Characteristics – Are it’s non-physical characteristics a key part of it’s identity? example: Mother Teresa=unselfish, Albert Einstein= intelligent,  shark= dangerous, etc
  • Human senses – When you think about your subject in terms of the 5 human senses, Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, Touch , are their any characteristics that have a strong association with a particular sense? example: ice=cold, grass=green, lemon=sour, jalapeño =spicy, jackhammer=loud,etc
  • Association – A big part of editorial and adverting illustration is playing with visual cultural symbols. What are the first things that come to mind when you think about your subject? example: racism= swastika, money=dollar sign, crying=tears, etc
  • Can & Can’t / Is & Isn’t – Another good way to define your subject is to think of things that are the opposite of it. example: order=chaos, peace=war, snow=sun, etc

Idea Categories

Once you have “defined” your subject you will now have lots of material floating around in your head to work with. By looking at various creative ideas we can classify them into “idea categories”.  With your subject in mind look at each category and see if any ideas come to mind? Are there symbols I can merge to illustrate “music piracy”? Can I change a physical characteristic of a pirate to make the association of music? etc.
  • Merge
  • Word Play (Pun,Rhyme, etc)
  • Juxtapoz / context
  • Physical Characteristics
  • Non-Physical Characteristics
  • Comparison / Analogy
  • Function
  • Can & Can’t / Is & Isn’t
  • Time / Consequence
  • Irony / expectations / literal meaning
  • Parody
Note: lots of ideas have elements from more than one idea category.
Below you can see some explanations and examples of the idea categories I came up with. I am sure you can think of more categories to create your perfect idea category framework.

The real value in this exercise is to become aware and recognize patterns in successful ideas.

Browse through these websites and see if you start recognizing patterns in ideas and can come up with your own “idea categories”.



In order to describe a new concept we often combine two or more familiar concepts/symbols. For example, when the train was first invented it was described as an “iron horse” … because it was strong like iron and functioned as transportation like a horse. This helped people understand it’s function and characteristics. Other examples include “email, spork, etc”

Mr. E.T. by Andrew Jeffery Wright.

Juxtapoz / Context

Put something familiar in a new context to give it new meaning


Advertising Agency: Güzel Sanatlar Saatchi & Saatchi, Istanbul, Turkey

Facebook in a “real life” context vs. a virtual context

Word Play /Rhymes / Puns /etc

Play with words

Graham Roumieu
Focus Group & Focus Groupies By Graham Roumieu

I’m down by Lonely Dinosaur

Pentagon, Hexagon, Oregon by Lonely Dinosaur

Physical Characteristics

Change a physical characteristic. Exaggerate it, make it bigger, smaller,change its material, make it translucent, make it glow, make it rigid, make it fluid, make it shinny, etc

Advertising Agency: Grey, Santiago, Chile
Advertising Agency: JWT, Milan, Italy

Non-Physical Characteristics

Change a non-physical characteristic.


Comparison / Analogy

Make an analogy or comparison to show a correlation.

It's the Hat!
It’s the Hat! by Advertising Agency Serviceplan Hamburg


Change the context of it’s normal function. Replace the tool known for a common function.

“We are already open!”
Advertising Agency: TBWA\Central Asia, Kazakhstan

Spun Dry by Glenn Jones

Can/Can’t and Is/Isn’t


Image by Banksy

Time / Consequence

rearrange the order of events, outcomes, objectives, etc

Like boxes of shit in your house? Get a cat


Irony / Expectations / Literal Meaning / etc


Christian Northeast
Clown Gun by Christian Northeast
Space Defenders by Glenn Jones

More suggestions for creative blocks

What works for you? Leave your suggestions in the comments
  • More Articles for Illustrators
  • change of environment (take a random bus)
  • exercise (run, bike, walk, gym, yoga, etc)
  • notice the mundane – listen to something new, read something new, eat something new, try something new, buy different brands (toothpaste, soap,etc), use your opposite hand to do common tasks
  • have a conversation with an old friend, a new friend, a strangers, etc
  • wake up at a different time, go to bed at a different time
  • look through old photos and sketchbooks



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

bill mayer, staying sharp.

original link

Naturally © Bill Mayer 2010

Naturally © Bill Mayer 2010

Naturally © Bill Mayer 2010

Naturally © Bill Mayer 2010

Naturally © Bill Mayer 2010

Naturally © Bill Mayer 2010

Naturally © Bill Mayer 2010

Naturally © Bill Mayer 2010

Naturally © Bill Mayer 2010

Naturally © Bill Mayer 2010

Naturally © Bill Mayer 2010

Naturally © Bill Mayer 2010

Naturally © Bill Mayer 2010

Naturally © Bill Mayer 2010
Okay a great way to stay sharp, take an object from your studio and do ten sketches :10 min.... for me; ( insert some lame joke about unlocking the creative psycy) ...So a key works..... If you want to see more "Staying Sharp," see Staying Sharp #2.
Right brain thinking....So it's a little exercise I started when I was in art school...Doesn't have to be brilliant, just a great way of staying fresh and keeping the ideas flowing. Honestly, this little set of drawings only took :10 but then another 20 minutes or so to scan them and figure out how to post them....but you get the idea.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

project 2 oct 13th 2010


AND PRINT FOR MONDAY. You guys can begin his project by reading the article and selecting information that you are atracted to, and to get the main general idea of the article. The main theme I want you to work on is the idea of transmutation, transformation.

the call to adventure.
The Call to Adventure
The hero starts off in a mundane situation of normality from which some information is received that acts as a clarion call to down tools, take up sword (literally or figuratively) and head off into the unknown.
The information may be a problem, a challenge or request. It critically acts to trigger desire, whether this is to win the hand of a lady, recover a lost object or defeat Ming the Merciless.
In Sherlock Holmes, stories start in 221b Baker Street, where a startling letter is received or a frantic lady bursts through the door.
In Star Wars, Leia's holographic plea is received 'Help us, Obi-Wan, you're our only hope!'
Across a crowded room, the hero sees the beautiful maiden and falls immediately in love.
The objective of the adventure is often generically referred to as the 'treasure', even though this treasure may be of non-physical or non-pecuniary nature, such as a freed captive or acquired knowledge.
The initial situation of normality is useful in creating a bond between the audience and the hero. If the hero is normal, then the audience can easily associate with the hero, joining their identities together in vicarious comradeship.
The appearance of the call provides the first step into tension. Will the hero accept the call? Would you? The audience wills the hero to accept and do what is right and moral. It also fears the hero, in what danger may be encountered if the challenge is accepted.
The call may be a gradual realization or it may be from a cataclysmic event, such as the destruction of ones home (typically by the villain).
The call may well be refused until internal pressures are powerful enough. Adventures are ok in books but often frightening and possibly deadly in experience. They thus may need some encouragement, such as worsening conditions or further attacks by the villain. A mentor may help this along, urging the hero to respond.

project 2 editorial illustration

Alejandro Jodorowsky
"The apocalypse is now! Americans know this, that the only hope is the flying saucers. Do you know how I see the world? Like a person who is dying. It's a worm who is dying to make a butterfly. We must not stop the worm from dying, we must help the worm to die to help the butterfly to be born. We need to dance with death. This world is dying, but very well. We will make a big, big enormous butterfly. You and I will be the first movements in the wings of the butterfly because we are speaking like this." 
~ ~ Alejandro Jodorowsky

"I see science and mysticism as two complementary manifestations of the human mind; of its rational and intuitive faculties."
Fritjof Capra - Tao of Physics. 

"Shamanism" is basically the practise of contacting the "spirit world" and doing work on the dimensional and/or on a soul level. This could encompass many methods and modes of doing such. Shamans/Healers have been the corner stone of many spiritual traditions throughout the world. The roots of these ancient Healers and Priests regarded the soul and consciousness as a part of the whole cosmos. The shamanistic concept of "journeying" could be explained by as traveling through space and time dimensions to heal the soul and the person or many various other reasons depending on the culture of that healer. For many healer/shamans multidimensional traveling is a way of life. There is no distinct separation.
by James Kent
Chapter 06a: Psychedelic Information Theory
Since the subtitle of this book is "Shamanism in the Age of Reason," it seems fitting that we provide a good definition of shamanism to work from. There are many definitions of shamanism that have something to do with tribal healing, ritual magic, and/or dealing with the spirit world, but beyond the many skills and functions of a shaman, what is the essence of this unique tribal role? How, and why, does the shaman actually work magic?
Instead of focusing on the various functions a shaman might fill -- such as healer, priest, psychologist, etc. -- I am going to take a somewhat more reductive position and state flatly that a shaman's role is to transform reality; and that the power of any shaman can be directly measured by the success of his or her transformations. And to be absolutely clear, when I say "transform reality," I mean that in both in the literal sense (through direct action or alchemical transmutation) as well as in the figurative sense (through the alteration of people's perceptions of reality). By transforming reality itself, as well as the perception of reality, the shaman works on two levels to create a magic that is equal parts innovation and illusion. This ability to manipulate reality on multiple levels is the fundamental art of the shaman we will be exploring throughout this text.
I concede, first of all, that the power to transform reality is the job title of many people, including capitalists, engineers, farmers, prophets, politicians, emperors, chemists, alchemists, magicians, artists, cooks, hairstylists, advertising executives... And when you get right down to it, everyone transmutes reality at some level simply by interacting with their environment. Through the power of genetic expression we are constantly transmuting nutrients (food) into living organisms (our bodies). This is a magic we are born with, and the shaman understands that this power to live within, ingest, and become one with our environment is the most powerful kind of transmutation there is. The base transmutation of turning inert minerals into organic life is the magic that makes all other magic possible, and at the very core of this transmutation is a charged storm of atoms, elements, and chains of simple molecules all colliding and interacting with each other through time. The constant energy exchange within the electro-chemical process of life is what I refer to in this text as the flow, and manipulating this flow is at the root of all shamanic power.
As stated previously, the art of shamanic transformation works on two different levels. The first transmutation happens on the literal level, where real energy is applied at an opportune moment to directly alter the outcome of a specific event or events in reality, as in a chemical, metabolic, kinetic, or social reaction. This transmutation may be as simple as speaking the right words at the right time; as complex as devising a battle plan; or as arcane as brewing a magical potion to enchant, heal, or derange. Although they may not know it, today's chemists and high-energy physicists are carrying on the work of the original shamen, only now their areas of expertise have become much more specialized. Like shamen, scientists are always looking for new ways to manipulate the fabric and transform the boundaries of reality. The act of turning base metals into gold is often said to be the greatest alchemical transmutation a magician can perform, though many believe this is just a metaphor for the spiritual transformation a magician makes along his journey toward enlightenment.
Which brings us to our second shamanic transformation: the figurative transmutation of the mind. In this level of transformation, the shaman seeks to transform the individual by manipulating their perception, belief structure, or paradigm of reality. To apply figurative transformation, the shaman may use talk therapy, stagecraft and trickery, hypnosis and trance states, group trance states, psychoactive drugs, and a variety of other ritual indoctrination technologies. By applying successful figurative transmutations to other tribal members, the shaman's power to influence the tribe and perform literal, physical transmutations increases. In other words, the shaman's job is to entrain and fine-tune the mental activity of the entire tribe to maximize harmony and increase tribal output towards transformative goals.
For instance, a jaguar-shaman may not literally be able to shape-shift into a jaguar, but if she can apply the appropriate technology (such as psychoactive drugs, ritual trance states, and stagecraft) to make herself so convincing that she and others actually believe that she has shape-shifted into a jaguar, then the transmutation is successful. If the tribe is convinced that the shaman magically embodies the spirit of the jaguar, the shaman's respect, power, and influence increases, and that specific shape-shifting transmutation becomes an integral part of the shaman's total power base. Similarly, if a frog-shaman can extract a frog toxin that grants his hunters and warriors supernatural stamina, that shaman's respect and power to influence the tribe increases. In a traditional sense, the shaman does not analyze or even need to know the fine dynamics between transmutation and tribal power that I have described here, but this is something that every good shaman intuitively understands: transformation = power.
Since shamanic transformation can be used for tasks both good and evil, it is traditionally the case that society only tolerates such power as long as it is useful to have around. If shamanic power is abused to brainwash tribe members into personal sex slaves or sociopathic killers (see Manson, Charles), society will quickly seek to ostracize the shaman and outlaw all shamanic rituals. Because of this tricky dynamic, a practicing shaman must always walk the line between reviled outcast and friendly karma mechanic. When there is conflict in the tribe, it is the shaman's job to apply technology and restore balance; When there is disease and sickness in the tribe, it is the shaman's job to apply technology and restore balance; When there is war and conflict with neighboring tribes, it's the shaman's job to apply technology and restore balance. If the shaman fails at the basic tasks of healing and conflict resolution, or abuses shamanic technology to undermine the well-being of the tribe for personal gain, then the shaman loses power and risks being ostracized by the tribe. Thus, the shaman's role and power base is defined as much by the larger tribe (or society) as it is by the actual technology the shaman applies.

Shamanism, Spirituality, and Religion
To provide a well-rounded definition of shamanism, we must also include the spiritual side of the shaman's power and identity. When talking about the spirit, we are really discussing religion, faith, belief, and perceptions of the self within the world. Since figurative transformations of the mind rely on the manipulation of personal perceptions and individual belief structures, the shaman's role will always be intertwined with the religious mythology and spiritual iconography of the larger tribe. Thus, a shaman may use a traditional mythology (plant spirits), occult mythology (black magic), a new-age mythology (healing energies), or a clinical mythology (psychotherapy) to apply the figurative transformation, depending on the belief structures shared by the shaman and patient and the specific transformation needed. In other words, the specific belief structures are not integral to the job of the shaman, which is to apply transformation. Instead, the shaman uses the tribal belief structures as a handle or interface to connect with the patient's psyche so that the needed transformation may be applied.
Also, when talking about shamanic healing, we are talking about healing the spirit as much as healing the body. Many shamanic traditions speak literally about restoring the patient's connection with God or the eternal source of all energy to cleanse them of impurities and infuse them with a renewed sense of spirit. There are numerous digressions I could make her about faith, optimism, mood therapy, mind over matter, psychic healing, psychoneuroimmunology, etc., but the bottom line on all of it is that people who feel good about themselves and have faith and optimism tend to be healthier, live longer, and recover from disease faster than people who don't feel good about themselves. So how does the shaman operate to restore people's spirits?
Obviously, the whole notion of spirit tends to be a rather complex theological and psychological subject, for myself it boils down to one simple formula: spirit = health. If the organism is in good health and is well cared for, it will be in good spirits. If the organism is in poor health and is neglected, it will be in bad spirits. The connection between spirit and health is a cyclical driver, and mental health and physical health are the same thing in this equation. It is the shaman's job to reach into the patient (either literally or metaphorically), find the bad spirits, and cast them out. In the act of cleansing the patient of bad spirits, the shaman empties the spiritual vessel and re-charges it with a renewed sense of hope and optimism. Luckily for the shaman, the psychedelics do most of the work for them in this area: Cleansing, purging, vomiting, ecstatic visions, and renewed spiritual energy are all side-effects of the powerful ayahuasca brew, and it is more than symbolic that their clinical effects so closely match descriptions of classical religious experiences. Since the brew does most of the heavy lifting in this area, it is the shaman's job to create a convincing ritual context (the "stage" and "script" if you will) for the transformation to take place. The shaman's script may involve days or even weeks of special dietary preparations, prayers, fasting, etc., but it is all to set the stage for the spiritual transformation. If the stage is set properly and the ritual script is followed, the patient is likely to emerge from the visionary experience spiritually recharged.

Across the Bridge of Life and Death
The final thing to mention about shamanism is the shaman's connection to death and the spirit realms. Traditionally, the shaman would receive his or her powers at a young age, through either an illness or poisoning that brings the child literally to death's door and back again, but now reborn with the eyes of a shaman. The near-death-experience (NDE) or "crossing over" into the land of the dead has been integral to the shaman's identity since the beginning of history. From this, the most cynical among us may conclude that the shaman's job is to overdose himself into a near-death coma, and then miraculously bring himself back to life with new-found wisdom, week after week. It sounds funny when say it this way; that the big trick of shamanism is, "almost dying, but not quite." But there is a lot of truth to this sentiment. The real question is, how important is this crossing-over trick to the shaman's identity?
Shamanic purists will tell you that crossing over into the land of the spirit is extremely important, and that any shaman that shies away from the crossing-over experience is not really a shaman at all, but is actually a dabbler who has not yet conquered the fear of death. And conquering the fear of death is essential to the role of the shaman: the shaman does not fear death, the shaman is intimate with death. The shaman has been across the bridge of life and death so many times, he literally looks death in the eye and laughs, not because he has mastered death, but because he is happy to see his old friend again. It is that kind of relationship. But why is this morbid parlor trick so important? Why does the shaman willingly push himself across this life/death barrier? What is to be learned from the experience?
Traditional mythology states that crossing over into the land of the spirit is how the shaman receives his or her power and knowledge, presumably from ancestors or entities of supernatural origin. I believe that the sensation of meeting with entities in a spirit world does indeed occur on psychedelics, but attempting to verify the ontological nature of this spirit world is impossible. As in dreams, the entities within the spirit world are fleeting and always changing, and often the wisdom that emerges from this space is anything but supernatural. And yet, sometimes it seems eerily supernatural, almost unmistakably so, and it is perfectly understandable why this state would be confused with a near-death astral vacation into the land of the dead.
But, to pass another slice through this riddle, I will state for the record that I very much doubt that your typical shaman on a vision-quest ever actually comes anywhere near to death, nor would I ever suggest that the practice of deliberate near-death-overdose is a healthy one. Rather, it is far more likely that the shaman actually knows (through very careful trials) the exact dosage needed to put himself into a very deep trance state that mimics unresponsive catatonia, yet allows his brain to stay active with NDE-type visionary activity. Having had the benefit of experimenting with many NDE-inducing drugs, I can say from personal experience that you can literally feel the paradox of floating around disembodied in the spirit world while your heartbeat and respiration continue to sustain your body perfectly well in the living world. And while it would be exciting to say that I have found an ontologically solid and distinct spirit world accessible via shamanic vision-questing, I am more inclined to say that this sensation of "crossing-over" into a spirit world is more like entering an extremely vivid, highly fluid lucid dream space than it is like having a classic NDE. And in actuality, very few people actually die from ingesting even heroic doses of psychedelics, they just *feel* like they are dying, and that is a significant difference when dissecting the whole issue of crossing the life-death barrier. Actual death is not necessary, just the sensation of death will suffice.
So what is the wisdom gained from the pseudo-NDE crossing-over experience? It seems that the experience of leaving your ego behind, crossing over into a spirit world, and then being reborn back into your body is spiritually transformational in and of itself. It does not matter if you actually die or not, if the NDE seems real it will radically transform your notion of self and spirit. And if the shaman's job is to apply transformation, he must be very familiar with this specific near-death trick in order to set the ritual stage and guide others safely across the chasm. Being intimate with death, even on a metaphorical level, can help people understand what they want from life with renewed clarity. Death is a very concrete motivator that drives us all, and using this motivator as an agent of change is just one of many tricks in the shaman's bag.

The Modern Day Shaman
So now we know who the shaman is and what the shaman does. The role of the shaman has always been to apply transformation, typically to restore balance and harmony within tribal units. The shaman works his magic by manipulating the flow of energy and the perceptions of those around him on as many different levels as possible. The shaman synergizes many layers of transformation in the act of brewing and ingesting psychoactive sacraments, and uses mythology and sacred ritual to navigate through conflict and fine-tune the harmony of his tribe.
In the modern world, the role of the shaman has been splintered into many various subspecialties. Instead of a single shaman for the whole tribe, we get physicians, chemists, pharmacists, scientists, naturopaths, psychologists, botanists, hypnotists, therapists, priests, gurus, growers, dealers, magicians, poets, pop-stars, DJs, etc. But in the process of breaking the role of the shaman down into its modern component parts, some pieces have turned-up missing; pieces like preserving tribal ritual, providing group healing, and facilitating that all-important spirit-revitalizing visionary experience to those who seek it. These roles are filled in modern culture, but not in any canonized way, and more typically evolve in spontaneous fashion by those who find themselves in the position to apply shamanic transformation when needed. And, of course, modern techno-tribal groups continue to form around the ritual use of psychedelics in a celebratory context, which makes the role of the shaman as vital today as it was five thousand years ago.
Although tribal shamen continue to work in Central America, the Amazon basin, and in parts of Africa, shamanism in the modern world has yet to fully take shape. It is tempting to blame the diminution of the shaman's role in modern culture on legal prohibition, but prohibition is just an extreme backlash against specific ritual abuses made when industrial-strength shamanic power was released on an unwitting public. In other words, the neo-shaman who introduced LSD to the post-industrial masses -- Huxley, Leary, Owsley, Kesey, Gottleib, Hubbard, Manson, etc. -- did not realize what kind of heady voodoo they were getting into, and were not prepared for the results. The LSD shamen quickly lost control of their sacrament, lost power, and were ostracized within the greater tribe. And when the neo-shamen were shut down, the post-industrial counter-culture co-opted and re-invented the shamanic ritual on their own terms, deliberately decentralizing the role of the shaman into many specialized tasks. The character of the shaman quickly dissipated into a network of home cultivators, underground chemists, street dealers, jam bands, fly-by-night promoters, and local tribes of tuned-in people all looking to converge on the next transformative party. Everyone became a do-it-yourself shaman, everyone knew they had to bring their own mojo to the mix. Even without a shaman, the modern tribe did a pretty good job of making up the rituals as they went along.
But as the popular view on psychedelics continues to mature, the role of the shaman in modern society will continue to materialize. Right now, psychedelic research is back in vogue, and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that ayahuasca-using church groups have a constitutional right to consume sacramental hallucinogens in ritual settings. Even though clinicians are bound by strict protocols and church groups are invariably tied to some form of immutable dogma, there is the general feeling that the shaman's role in modern culture is back on the rise and will continue to evolve. We can only hope that those waiting to fill this changing role are educated, courageous, and ready to take on the challenges ahead.

Copyright : James Kent, 2006
Posted on: 2006-05-01 13:22:11

india ink with washes 16x16

understanding composition how to observe and deconstruct compositions from other artists, how to re-construct composition

communicating your idea what images best conveys your message, how to know when to use:
playing with scale
putting the familiar in a unfamiliar setting

the use of metaphors
Concepts and Metaphors
The strength of many contemporary illustrations lies in a dynamic concept of metaphor. Through word lists, thumbnail sketches, and research, students expand their ideas to improve their illustration. Students examine art by renowned conceptual illustrators such as Brian Cronin, Seymour Chwast, Philippe Weisbecker, Brad Holland and Anita Kunz. Students create individual images as well as series projects with editorial, advertising, and corporate audiences. Color media and demonstrations are covered. This project encourages further development of  traditional media as well as concepts, research, techniques, craft, and professional presentation.
Visual Metaphors: What’s a metaphor? Let’s take a trip back to high school (or over to Wikipedia), shall we? A metaphor is a direct comparison between two or more seemingly unrelated subjects describing one subject as being alike to another subject in some way. Metaphors are useful for illustrating ideas, simplifying complex subjects and making people think.
Metaphors should not be confused with a simile because a simile makes the comparison by using “like” or “as”. Metaphors are commonly used in poetry, music, writing, advertising and traditional art. If it still sounds a bit confusing here are some written examples:
    •    “You are my sunshine.”
    •    “They need a financial safety net.”
    •    “Let me play the devil’s advocate.”
    •    “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

Why visual metaphors work?
Metaphors visually enhance the subject at hand. Metaphors make you think, inviting you to analyze how two subjects relate. On the web, visual metaphors can enhance content and a site’s purpose dramatically. This works magnificently if you seek to capture the attention of an audience for more than a quick glance. A metaphor consists of two main parts: the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which the metaphor is applied. The vehicle is the metaphorical term through which the tenor is applied. These two parts come together to reach a point of similarity known as a ground. 1
In a world where many websites embrace simplicity by providing content in an easy to digest format, visual metaphors will always steal the spotlight. While you have a visitor’s attention, give them a reason to stay and mull over an idea. Why not make your audience think?
Here are 7 excellent examples of metaphors at work on the web.
01 – Extended Metaphor
An extended metaphor sets up a principal subject with several subsidiary subjects or comparisons. Essentially the subject is developed at great length, occurring frequently in or throughout a work. A written example:
“The winds were ocean waves, thrashing against the trees limbs. The gales remained thereafter, only ceasing when the sun went down. Their waves clashed brilliantly with the water beneath, bringing foam and dying leaves to the shore.” 2
Hope Garden is a great example of an extended metaphor. The tenor is "hope" and the "garden" becomes the vehicle. Thus, the flowers become symbols of desire from individual submissions. Hope garden becomes an extended metaphor when the flowers are “watered” with support from users illustrating the idea that hope will "grow".

02 – Paralogical Metaphor
Paralogical Metaphors have no apparent similarity between the idea and the image.3 This means that two completely unrelated subjects are compared to create the metaphor. Example: "My toilet is the mailbox of the bathroom." (Ewww, that sounds disgusting!)
Post Secret serves as a wonderful resource for all kinds of metaphorical inspiration and often has examples of visual paralogical metaphors. (Not all secrets are paralogical but many are). Users submit the content so this one isn’t about the design of the site but the metaphorical beauty of each secret. Many of the submitted secrets have images which are not related to the secret but add to the subtext when absorbing a secret’s meaning. New secrets are posted every Sunday.

03 – Iconic Metaphor
This is the type of metaphor where icons visually represent a subject. Iconic metaphors have become common place on the web, such as a home icon representing the route to get back to a site’s index page or an envelope representing the contact page.
Davor Vaneijk uses icons prominently on the index page and as a consistent mechanism to represent each section. Icons are meant to be visually obvious and the beauty of this example is the simplicity and consistency of styling.

04 – Color as a Metaphor
Color metaphors are commonly used in art where red may represent passion, gold hues are flash-backs of the past, blue represents melancholy emotions and so on. Color metaphors on the web are often used as a way to represent sections of content and provide a sense of location in place of breadcrumbs.
An example of color used to represent sections of content is
This site uses colored shapes to represent the types of content. For example print is blue, brand campaigns are gray, design is pink and so on. These colors don’t represent the sections in an emotional sense but become a simple visual metaphor to organize the user experience.

05 – Mixed Metaphor
This one is a bit confusing so let’s start with an example: "He stepped up to the plate and grabbed the bull by the horns". Mixed metaphors are different metaphors occurring in the same utterance that are used to express the same concept. Mixed metaphors often, but not always, result in a conflict of concepts. 4 This is one of the most difficult metaphors to pin-point on the web.
Pet Mustache is a close example of a mixed metaphor. The site is a viral initiative for Burger King. The entire concept is a mixed metaphor stating, "Next to a horse, every cowboy has a well trained mustache too. It’s time to bring out your inner cowboy, cowboy". The first part of the mixed metaphor is the pet mustache. In fact, you can not truly have a mustache as a pet but you can groom or "train" it. The second part of the mixed metaphor is the inner cowboy as a metaphor for bringing out your wild side. Interestingly, the BK King has a "well groomed" mustache too which is what probably inspired the concept.
This is a mixed metaphor because of the comparison of pet and mustache – and bringing out your inner cowboy.  I’m sporting my very own pet mustache below and that was me at age 4. I need to train my "stache" better; it’s looking a bit unruly. Yee-ha!

06 – Dead Metaphor
Even though it sounds a kind of creepy, it’s not. Dead metaphors, by definition, normally go unnoticed. 5 Essentially a dead metaphor is a metaphor that through overuse has lost figurative value. Example: "to grasp a concept" or "to gather you’ve understood." Both of these phrases use a physical action as a metaphor for understanding (itself a metaphor), but in none of these cases do most speakers of English actually visualize the physical action.
Capital Corporate Communications opens with the tagline “We Shape ideas”. This is a dead metaphor because it uses a physical action to give tangibility to the metaphor. It is a commonly used phrase where the user doesn’t visualize the physical action of shaping an "idea".
Capital Corporate Communications attempts to overcome this and demonstrate the metaphor by using origami to indicate each section of the site. The dead metaphor becomes illustrated through the unfolding of paper thereby changing its shape.

07 – A Synecdochic [si-nek-duh-kee] Metaphor
This is a fun word to keep in your back pocket if you ever want to sound ridiculously smart. Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a term denoting a part of something is used to refer to the whole thing, or a term denoting a thing (a "whole") is used to refer to part of it. Synecdoche is also a term denoting a material is used to refer to an object composed of that material. 6
A Synecdochic metaphor is one in which a small part of something is chosen to represent the whole so as to highlight certain elements of the whole. For example: "I dig your wheels!" [wheels = car].
A great visual paradigm of a synecdochic metaphor is the WDCS Life Size Whale. This example is synecdochic because as you view the whale you view small parts which represent the whole. This perspective also relates to the scale of humans in relation to the whale giving an emotional tie in perspective of our human view compared to the true scale of the whale.

Creating successful metaphors takes a lot of time and thought – but they can have big payoffs. Metaphors will add to the stickiness of your site and create buzz. They also visually stimulate your audience’s appetite for creative thinking.  The first step to creating a successful metaphor is to understand the types of metaphors. Next, think about what makes a metaphor work. Finally, focus on presenting your metaphorical concept in a visual manner. Step outside the box and start making metaphors!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Frank Stockton’s Drawing from Your Imagination tutorial

This is good :

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Teaching Yourself to Draw from Your Imagination -- part 1

Over the next few months I'm going to be posting some articles about teaching yourself to draw from your imagination. These ideas expressed on the subject of drawing come from both my own observations and from lectures from several fantastic drawing teachers I have had the privilege of studying with, such as Kevin Chen, Dallas Good, Steve Huston and Bob Kato.

Keep in mind that this is general theory and not to be taken as hard, fast rules about what makes a drawing "good." In fact, when it comes to making art, it's the ways in which we diverge from the principles that gives artwork its originality, style, and charm.

Also keep in mind that nothing I or anyone else says are going to make you instantly better; that's only going to come gradually and with a lot of hard work drawing people on your own and from life.


There are two elements present in all kinds of art: IDEA and FORM.

The IDEA is what you want to express, and the FORM is the different elements that make up the piece.

Another way of saying that is the form is like the notes on a piano, and the idea is how you string them together. And as in music, the quality comes not from how well you hit the keys but how they all relate to one another to form a song.

The GESTURE is the IDEA of a figurative drawing.

This can also be described as the "story," or the "pose." When related to drawing, these terms can be used interchangeably, and in fact I prefer to use the word "story" instead of gesture when talking about drawing because it is often much clearer as to what the goal is.


If gesture means the same thing as story, then it should be clear that a "gesture drawing" isn't just a bunch of scribbles done in 30 or 60 seconds from the model, as was my understanding of it from the earliest days of figure drawing.

A gesture is any line or set of lines that gets the story across.

The gesture the most important element in drawing figures by far, because if you fail to tell a convincing story, no amount of style, anatomy, or rendering will ever be able to fix it.

A good draftsman can tell a complex story with stick figures because of his or her grasp of this concept.

I've chosen to use stick figures here to illustrate the point that people will forgive 95% of all your other artistic shortcomings if you can tell the story well.

This is where a lot of drawings fall apart, either in the beginning or in the later stages as you get farther away from the core message of what you're trying to say.

When in the early stages of learning to draw, it's often a good idea to start your gesture off with a single, usually swooping "action line" essentially serves as the "theme" of the figure. This concept is described in greater detail and with many fantastic examples in John Buscema's "How To Draw Comics the Marvel Way."

Also, I should note that the example drawings posted here don't necessarily represent my personal process of drawing; for that, you can look through older blog posts and get an idea of how I come up with my poses; it's a lot more organic and scribbly most times than it looks here. You're going to want to develop your own process, which I will talk about in another post.

Every line you put down should serve to strengthen the basic idea of the pose. If you're drawing a person who is tired or depressed, not only should your initial first few lines get that point across, but subsequent design decisions you make should reinforce that message. The reason being is that every time you put down a mark that gets away from the core idea, the less effectively it communicates its intended message.

In my opinion, the people who are the best at drawing from their imagination are usually animators. It's an animator's job to tell stories through pose. If the storytelling is just the slightest bit "off," everyone can tell. Therefore, it's extremely important that your drawings always focus on the story.

In addition to the initial sketch of a drawing where you get the general idea of the pose down, getting the details right is also important. As I mentioned before, any line you put down that doesn't strengthen the basic story of the drawing you're making serves to weaken it.

This is just another way of saying that to draw is to design.

In drawing just as in storytelling, you're usually going to want to communicate as clearly as possible. Silhouettes offer the fastest, clearest communication of gesture. Will Eisner explained silhouettes in his book "Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative," which I highly recommend.


Obviously it is often more difficult to show the gesture on a foreshortened figure than on one shown at a more conservative angle, because a strong grasp of three-dimensional form and basic anatomy come immediately into play in such cases.

Consider your pose in such instances; it may be possible to tilt the angle of the viewer so that there is a clearer story expressed in the silhouette.

The biggest challenge with designing foreshortened figures (after the actual foreshortening part) is keeping the silhouette from being a "bean" and losing all the dynamism of the pose.

Also, you can use a digital camera and a self-timer, or a friend to quickly check and adjust accordingly the way you've designed the pose and make necessary adjustments.

It's essential to use reference while drawing. Failing to use a camera, mirror, or something else when you need it is like not using a dictionary to first look up a word you don't know the meaning of that you want to use in an essay.

Designing for the page

A key difference between the way an illustrator draws and an animator or cartoonist draws is in designing for the page.

Often times in illustration there isn't as strong of a need to stay "on model" as there usually is in comics, cartooning and animation.

Letting go of the principles you've practiced over and over in the drawing workshops to make more interesting illustration can be both extremely daunting and exciting at the same time.

The key to making this work is realizing that there are no limits to what the figure can do when you put it down on paper; as long as you are able to communicate the idea, the possibilities are as endless and free as you permit yourself to imagine.

Always push your design. It's much easier to take a step back from going too far than it is to push forward when you haven't gone far enough.

If you've noticed, this is just "design" in a broader sense, not just figure invention.

The ultimate truth of drawing figures or anything else is that it comes down to your skills as a designer; if it looks good, it's because you designed it well, and if it looks bad, it's because you didn't design it well; it has nothing to do with how much anatomy you know or how well you understand the principles of drawing.

All that knowledge is helpful for informing your design choices, but it doesn't guarantee you a good drawing.

It's important that no matter what teacher you are learning from that you practice drawing out of your imagination on your own, AS WELL AS from life.

You MUST set aside time on a regular basis if you want to improve. It's more beneficial to spend 30 minutes studying the figure on a daily basis than it is to spend four hours in a workshop once a week.

Life drawing should be thought of essentially as "the lab" where you test out ideas and try to figure out what works for you.

Drawing from life is a key component of the over-all equation of learning to draw, as is drawing from your imagination and studying the drawings of other artists.

Do whatever you have to do to make practicing interesting and fun for yourself. If the idea of practicing the figure sounds boring to you, your brain will essentially shut off and you'll just be wasting your time. Find a way to make it fun.

Do not strive to copy exactly the way any one teacher explains to you to draw. It MUST be a process of trial and error. You are essentially trying to find out your own way to do things. This is how you will engage your brain so that you learn quickly.

Practice on your own. Your deficiencies in figure invention will become immediately apparent. Make note of your weaknesses and attack them when you draw from life. You are working to develop your own understanding of the figure.

One way to practice figure invention is to draw comics, which can give you scenarios you never thought of to illustrate.

Listen to different teachers and find out where their ideas overlap. Strive to find the principles and the core messages they are delivering; don't get wrapped up in their process.

Any teacher is explaining to you their own unique understanding. You cannot understand things exactly the same way they do, so you must strive to find your understanding. You must walk your own path parallel to your heroes, but not try to follow in their footsteps.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Illustrators are finding inspiration and tips on how to improve their technique on the web. From cartoonists to those exploring digital art, illustrators can learn a lot from each other. Many illustrators are using blogs to show off their commercial work, while others have a niche following for their quirky drawings.
Tutorial and Illustration History Blogs
These blogs aim at helping artists new and old learn how to draw with a creative edge.
    1. Drawn : Arguably the ultimate online resource for illustrators this site is packed with tips on drawing, improving your craft and learning how to make images come together. 2. Today’s Inspiration : This blog focuses on illustrations from the 1940s and ‘50s and also moves into the ‘60s at times. It makes for a great lesson in art for aspiring illustrators or those who want a refresher on techniques of the past. 3. The Comics Journal : This is the place for cartoonists to get an insider’s perspective on everything from classic comics to more modern graphic novels. 4. Animation Archive : Check out this amazing site that’s packed with cartoons and illustrations from the days of yore, plus countless pointers for improving your own technique when drawing. 5. Drawger : Get ready to be inspired and laugh like crazy at this site for illustrators of every kind. 6. Sea Nursery : This fascinating blog will keep you busy for hours as it explains the importance of taking care of our oceans and how sea life is managing major changes. 7. Tiny Showcase : Developed in 2004, this site is devoted to putting small illustrators in the spotlight. It’s a tiny gallery with a whole lot of talent. 8. 100 Years of Illustration : This blog is a massive retrospect of cartoons and illustrations over the past 100 years. There’s tons of World War II images and great comments from folks all over the world who own authentic posters from the era. 9. The Little Chimp Society : Whether you’re an artist or not, you’ll be drawn to this illustration blog with amazing drawings for everything from emerging artists to album art. 10. BibliOdyssey : If the obscure grabs your interest, head over to this blog that tracks remote illustrations on book covers and music albums. 11. Cartoon Brew : It’s all cartoons at this blog with tons of animated shorts and interviews with cartoonists. 12. Illustration Art : Sometimes less is more and this site celebrates the forgotten artists that worked on posters and ads that shaped the 20th century. 13. Pencil Test Depot : If you’re an illustrator who works mainly with pencil or charcoal, you’ll go nuts for this blog where simple sketches become jaw dropping images in motion. 14. Ape on the Moon : This site provides a look at modern comics. The best thing is there’s publications from all over the globe, giving you a taste of what’s out there without leaving home. 15. Motionographer : It’s all movies at this blog where the writer analyzes typography and animation. 16. AniPages Daily : Pull up a chair and sink into the lengthy posts found on this blog that discuss everything anime, including some of the first anime films ever made. 17. Illustration Class : Learn the tricks of the trade at this fantastic illustration site that makes drawing seem easy. 18. Illustration Friday This site has all types of clever art, but the drawings really take the cake. 19. Illustrophile : A team of illustrators contribute to this blog. Get ready for everything from quirky to breathtaking, proving the word”illustrator” has a very broad range. 20. Journalista : Find all of the news that’s fit to print for illustrators and cartoonists. 21. Meathaus : Illustrators will love this blog because it’s packed with drawing tips, but also showcases inspiration from photographers and video artists. 22. Animation Backgrounds : Read interesting commentary on the background animation of famed cartoons like Disney movies and classic TV shows. 23. Animation Blast : This is an animation site that has delved into the world of print successfully. See some of the artwork featured in the magazine here. 24. Chris Wahl Art : If you want to caricatures of celebrities, this is your blog. Check out cool illustrations of Thom Yorke and Megan Fox. 25. Pikaland : If quirky illustrations are your thing, you’ll fall in love fast with this blog that also features goodies on Etsy.
General Illustration Blogs
Check out these illustration blogs for inspiration and tips on how to market yourself as an illustrator.
    26. Creative Opera : This site provides business help for designers and those in the creative field.. This is a great resource for those who deal with freelancing contracts. 27. Vandelay Desgin : This blog is aimed at designers, but illustrators will appreciate the open advice about selling your services online. 28. Escape from Illustration Island : This blog has the best of both worlds – plenty of creative inspiration as well as business-minded posts to help you make a living at illustrating. 29. Illustration-Design : Illustrators and designers can check this blog for updates on job openings around the world and the web. 30. Illustration Pages : Tracking the talent on Facebook, this site is full of art from amazing artists that draw for the love of art. 32. Booooooom : Get ready for some serious inspiration from this neat blog that’s chock full of the strange and surreal when it comes to many mediums of art. 33. Hai! : The name is short for”hire an illustrator” and the site is packed with portfolios to get your creative juices flowing. 34. Sugar Frosted Goodness : If you’re a beginner, this is a good site to check out that will make the illustrating game feel approachable. 35. Illustration House : This is an auction house for vintage illustrations. The techniques and concepts behind these old images will inspire you. 36. The Art Department : With occasional auctions for charity, this site is devoted to creating book cover art for new wave sci-fi novels that will amaze you. 37. Illustration Mundo : Ever wonder what it’s like to matter in the world of art? This site takes a look at the heavy hitters in the industry and the future of illustrating and publishing. 38. Zero 2 Illo : While this site no longer updates, the archived material is worth a look for beginner illustrators or those looking to make a career out of their hobby. 39. Editorial Anonymous : This secretive children’s book editor shares his or her’s woes on the job and solid tips for those looking to break into the biz. 40. The Daily Cartoonist : News for the modern cartoonist. There’s everything from commercial animation to web comics and classic panels and storyboards. 41. Lines and Colors : The art at this site will stun even the most seasoned illustrator. Be prepared for serious inspiration from the amazing artists featured on this blog. 42. Signature Illustration Blog : Another homerun of an illustration site with exceptional work from artists. Some images are so startling, you’ll find yourself thinking of them throughout the day. It’s that intense.. 43. Fuel Your Illustration : Be prepared for inspiration galore at this site. There are featured illustrators and archives posts that will improve your craft. 44. Thunder Chunky : It’s illustration, design and even screenprinting at this ridiculously addictive site that will make you channel your inner artist (even if it’s just a remote part of you). 45. The Illustrator Academy : This site is full of tips for illustrators and comes to you from the pros. 46. The Illustration Site : Real tips for people who want to work in illustrating. Sit down and take in the great tips that illustrator Lorraine Dey has to offer. 47. Art and Story : Listen to these podcasts which examine the relationship between a storyline and the images that bring it to life. 48. Character Design : A look at all of your favorite characters, re-interpreted by illustrators who bend the rules. The site gets especially busy during events like Comic Con when readers submit work they’ll be selling at the iconic convention. 49. Illustration Magazine : This magazine tracks illustrations throughout the 20th century, giving yo a taste of what once was. While there aren’t many images available online, there’s info on how to subscribe to and order back issues of this exceptional publication for illustrators. 50. How Design : This is an excellent site for artists looking to improve the business side of their services.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

Smashing Pumpkins - Tonight, Tonight (Video)

more photoshop tutorials

scroll down to find and download turorial files

Friday, April 30, 2010

checkout this website, it has some nice tutorials for illustration.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

the boy v.s the tornado

Sketchbook drawing, doodle

final drawing/sketch photoshop, wacom tablet 

Final Drawing Sumi ink on watercolor paper

 Final Art photoshop, wacom tablet, scanned hand made textures.

I did this sketch a while back november/december 2009 for a workshop I was teaching at CECUT (centro cultural tijuana/tijuana cultural center). The project was to create a parable, methaphor or image that could in fact add to my favorite buddisht proverb"at the end all that matters, is how fully you lived, how fully you loved and how fully you learn to let go".

Most students where stump with the idea of comunicating this idea, they had a hard time grasping that you could crete a illustration that was not literal or see say in any sense and still comunicate the idea. After a passionate lecture of letting go of preconceived ideas, notions, reality and inject their concept with imagination...most succeded in creating a good image.

So back to the present 2010, I was going through my sketchbook from that time and found this image of a boy v.s. a tornado trowing his paper airplane at it...I stopped and asked myself what does this mean? confronting impending doom, a problem, a disaster, a situation, a opportunity in a game of chance and confront it with a paper airplane wich could be anything depending on what is on the piece of paper that is being throwened at the tornado, a drawing, a wish, a desire, a sigil, a poem, a story, a experience of life...and then I get it, the experince of life, love manifested in a creative way turned into a vehicle to let go.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

digital coloring, tutorials and stuff

Here is a link to James Jean blog, where you can download a bunch of files from rapidsahre. James is kind enough to leave all the files open for us to see how his process works...I suggest that the best way is to investigate and see how each layer affects the whole composition, if you can figure it out this will help you learn a trick or two.

I also suggest you guys get: Comic Book Coloring with Steve Firchow by visiting or finding it somehow.

also check

if you have no idea about photoshop

Friday, March 26, 2010