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Friday, February 5, 2016

Rotofugi - Robot Envy Show

This is my first showing at Rotofugi in Chicago. It's one of the best places in the windy city for pop art and wickedly cool artist designed toys! I've gotten lost for hours there peering at all the fun oddities!

"Robot Envy Zenith" is a combined art showing and book launch for fans of awesome robot art! curated by artist Dave Pasciuto (davpunk). My piece, "A Robot's Best Friend", celebrates my love of dogs, and is is on the sweeter side of 'bot love. 

2780 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago IL 60614
Opening Reception Friday February 5th, 7-9pm

"A Robot's Best Friend"
Acrylic on Birch Board

Above is my starting sketch - an innocent unboxing of a bot companion. There are certainly elements of the sketch here that I absolutely love - which is why rough art is just as great or sometimes better than final. The looseness goes a long way here for me. Done on the iPad Pro.

With the printed rough in view, I lay down the paint on the birch board. Thin layers as I apply and try to do a gradient of the tones towards darker shades on the farther edges. Not really perfect - but it's got that painted "quality".   I go in on the silhouette a bit since mixing the exact gradient again will be tough if I want to go over the characters with background tones - I try and get the background finished in one pass.

 Here are flat color layers painted in - really just concentrating on edge coverage. I leave a few areas blank where I know I want to get in there and add creases between the robot coverings.

Further along - getting to the dog-bot's box - I ended up recoloring it based on the nose as a light source. Going into the painting, I hadn't committed yet to painting the dog nose as glowing or just an unlit lightbulb - but as you can see, I chose a lit-up nose. I really liked the idea of yellow reflecting in the orange robot's eyes!

OK - here is where things got clever. I hadn't originally considered a dramatic cast shadow for this piece, but as I worked on it, the nose-light made it seem very appropriate to add it in. Now, I had already painted the background gradient, and If I screwed up the cast shadow, it would be a pain in the chassis to re-paint. So what I did here was take a photo of the painting and "test" out the cast shadow in Procreate to see if it's what I wanted to do, and to try and place the cast shadow in the right spot. Above is the procreate digital render/test (see a hint of my original sketch in the background behind it?)

I've used this technique a few times before - a great tool for those unplanned decisions or just trying something radical before committing to the real deal. 

Ah,  and you can see my re-pained dog box with highlights now on the inside to better showcase the lit dog nose. 

Here is the finished piece with the sketch on the side. The cast shadow painted in, and a corny techno name for the dog - "5P07 v1.0". Maybe this is the orange robot's first companion ever - these guys are at the very beginning of sharing a special bond!

Hope you enjoyed my process story here - thanks much for reading! Until next time! - Dave