Friday, September 24, 2010

Visual Essay 1

I'm going to write a bit about my idea behind my Visual Essay in Illustration. This post will get pretty personal, but I feel it's necessary to explain my intended results, and gather all of the information I have accumulated in my experience with the disease.

My proposal is as follows: I am trying to convey the effects of having Rheumatoid Arthritis on daily life. I'm taking specific moments that resonate in my life so far that have particularly been cumbersome, and turning them into Illustrations that try and show that dispute between what is natural, what is not, and the pain/despair/hopelessness encountered with it.

One thing that needs to be known about the disease is that it is pretty much a lifelong thing. It is a strange condition where a person's immune system begins attacking itself, causing the joints (and organs) to inflame and start to possibly deteriorate if not kept in check.

It is not treatable, only manageable, and another natural/unnatural element behind it (besides something as natural as the immune system acting in an unnatural manner) is the fact one has to be heavily medicated to appear/feel remotely normal. This can also cause many more side effects creating discomfort.

On a personal level, I am taking up to 5 650 mg Darvocet tablets a day for pain, 2 5mg Prednisone (steroid) tablets a day to keep the inflammation at a manageable level to where I can function/move around, and 8 2.5mg (or so, I don't have the bottle on me) tablets of Methotrexate, which is intended to be the drug that (once a proper dosage is figured out) will put my Rheumatoid Arthritis under control to a point where I won't have to take the first two drugs to feel normal.

Another problem with this is that the Methotrexate isn't working, and the first drug I took, Hydroxychloroquine did not work either. Instead, the first one caused me to drop about 40 pounds in the period of less than a month due to how sick it made me. The Methotrexate seems to be doing the same, causing me to sleep up to 20 hours Friday night, Saturday night and sometimes even Sunday night due to the fact my body gets extremely exhausted from processing the medication. If these 8 tablets (already increased from 2 to 6 to 8 from lack of success) do not work, I may possibly have to start giving myself weekly injections to help it along, as my Rheumatologist doesn't want me to try another drug yet (since the side effects of the other two available drugs are even worse than the previous two I have tried).

Aside from the struggle with pain and general function that is evident by simply clicking the first wikipedia link, it is also just hard to function mentally with this some days. I have, for the most part, gotten over the unfairness of this diagnosis and the fact that I will inevitably live with it for the rest of my life (pending some "miracle"). It is still a problem, however, that this extremely negative part of my life can overtake all of the positive things going on. Sometimes, when I can't turn a doorknob or open a bottle, I get extremely depressed and feel helpless and dependent on those around me.

I'm hoping that I can remain positive and keep working on my artwork, and that the negativity of this experience doesn't drag me down. I've been doing well so far. I tend to schedule my work schedule around when I know I will be in pain (mornings, half the days on weekends) and I continue to get my work done on time, and well. I've even risked applying for a job on the weekends.

This all leads up to the big problem of having this disease: having to limit what I'm doing. I'm not able to exercise, walk long distances, stand for long periods of time, or even stay in one position (be it sitting, laying down a certain way, etc) for a long time without experiencing pain or swelling. I have had to learn to regulate my day. A good explanation of this experience is located here. It is a lengthy story by a woman who has Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, which is a similar disease to Rheumatoid Arthritis in how it effects the body and how the pain experienced is not always visible to those around a person diagnosed with it. She tells about how she has to schedule her day around the disease by relating it to having a handful of spoons, and how each activity chosen to participate in requires one (or several, depending) spoons to accomplish, and when you run out your day is done and your body is exhausted/unable to perform.

Overall, I'm hoping to use the previous method of displaying a human form disfigured in subtle ways intertwined with natural imagery to show this duality of the interplay of the natural becoming unnatural and the unnatural being natural to certain people, as well as the overall struggle of dealing with this disease.

I'm hoping to accomplish these images traditionally on illustration board in a similar manner to my previous "What's Missing" illustration. These need to be detailed, engaging, and filled with subtle hints to the body falling apart. The viewer needs to be able to interact with the body and search for these irregularities to convey how it is not an obvious disease, but more of a silent constant in a person's life.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

OSW Finals


A collaboration Nova redesign by Justin Wheeler and myself for SHCC

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A new direction with my art.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Still working

I've been really down on myself artistically lately. I've been trying new things and while they've been enlightening and I've learned from them, they've caused a lot of frustration and made me feel pretty inadequate.

Monday, September 13, 2010

More Progress...

More progress on my childrens book illustrations. Any advice for final direction? I'm going to add some streamers/furniture in the window to the one where she's in the window and some people to the ballroom in the elongated one.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Still Working...

I've started the second one now...I'm hoping to have all three worked out pretty well before Monday so I can get feedback and finish them up/print them Tuesday.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Children's Book 1/3 Images In Progress

In my Children's Book class we're picking 1 of 3 stories to do 3 illustrations from. I picked one called, I think, "On Swan's Wings" or something to that's my first image in progress. I decided to do this cut paper appearing method I've been dying to try (minimal linework used) with textures since it looks awesome, is so far really fun to do, and will give me good results in a shorter amount of time than the thin lined drawing with microns I'm doing in Illustration 5. (The 3 full color images are due this coming Wednesday).

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"What's Missing" Progress Shot #2

Debating if I should fill in the framing branches with black...Sorry that this is hard to see. It will be scanned when it's finished.

Monday, September 6, 2010

"What's Missing" In Progress

I think I'm about 5-8 hours in...using only a .005 micron and 01's hard to tell all the detail with my crappy phone camera, but trust me...there's a lot.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New stuff!!

Here's a doodle from my sketchbook where I was practicing inking with a Winsor Newton series 7 and a sketch for my "What's Missing" piece in Illustration 5.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Illustration 5 Post #6

1. What sort of an illustrator are you?
One that tries to draw entirely from my imagination and tries to focus on the whimsical, fantastical and brutal as much as possible.

2. What sort of career do you want to have?
I want to be a concept artist for just about anything, but preferrably video games. I also would like to do illustrations and graphic novels on the side.

3. Does your present body of work reflect your aspirations? Could it do so more strongly?
For the most part I feel like it does. I could probably use a few more plainly brutal and detailed images...something that shows the amount of DETAIL I can do, which I like to do but often don't have the time to do finished images of with schoolwork. I feel like I really like brutal imagery, but I fall back on fantastic/childish/friendly work for my schoolwork since it is a faster way to produce something that still is high in quality.

4. List ten images/themes/techniques/subjects/formats that your portfolio needs in order to become more in line with your aspirations.
-Attention to detailed linework
-Atmospheric elements
-Spooky/less happy and quirky

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Illustration 5 Post #5

I apologize in advance for my post being slightly late...blame Justin not taking me home and playing pool instead. Seriously. Elliot was there.


1. If you had to spend the rest of your life illustrating one book, what would it be? Why?
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. They're my favorite books in the whole world, and if you read them you would know how heavy they are in imagery and opportunities to illustrate dynamic images.

2. If you could go apprentice with any two artists in the history of the world, who would they be?
James Jean and Florian Bertmer. They are two of my favorite artists and I admire their painting skills and lineart.

3. If you were banned from the art world and could have any career, what would it be?
I'd be a Crime Scene Investigator, because that was my other career option and I chose Illustration instead.

4. A) I would do a series of fancy lady and animal paintings on wood. I would do five, and split them up evenly throughout the month.
B) I would do a graphic novel with lineart inked traditionally and finished digitally that would include several short stories, one per month.
C) I would do a long graphic novel executed the same way as the series of short stories.